Guide to Chicago's Attractions

Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago has been the home to blues and it origin and history are a major part of today's culture and signature of the "Windy City". Chicago's love for blues music is reflected by one of the City's most popular cultural events - the Chicago Blues Festival.


This year's Chicago Blues Festival is celebrating its 25th anniversary and will be held on June 5-8, 2008 at Grant Park from 11:00 a.m. until 9:30 p.m., with free admission to all concerts. Food and beverage tickets will be sold in strips of 12 for $8.00. No pets are allowed and no alcoholic beverages will be allowed in the festival grounds. Since there will be no parking allowed on the grounds, the Chicago Mayor's office is encouraging the use of Chicago's public transportation to the event. For more information on Chicago public transportation, please read the information below.


Schedule of Events

This year's schedule of events promises to be spectacular. Opening night expect to see guitarist Johnny Winter, together with James Cotton on the harmonica. For more information, please visit the City of Chicago's website at www.cityofchicago.org.


Lincoln Park Zoo

Animal lovers will not want to miss visiting The Lincoln Park Zoo, located at 2001 N. Clark Street, which is one of the oldest zoos in the country. It was established in 1868. Today it is considered one of the most modern and finest zoos worldwide, famous for its historical and beautiful architectural structures. The Lincoln Park Zoo is free to the public and is open every day. Lincoln Park Zoo also has many specialty attractions such as SBC Endangered Species Carousel ride, paddle boat and swan boat rides, an Express Train Ride, and the 4-D Virtual Safari simulator and Safari Audio Tour. Note, There is a small fee for the specialty attractions. You will find several places to eat and two gift shops for browsing.


Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium, the world's largest indoor aquarium, is located on Museum Campus at 1200 S. Lakeshore Drive, Chicago, Illinois 60605, telephone number (312) 939-2438. You will find over 8,000 aquatic animals with species from all over the world. There is a beautiful Caribbean Reef with corals, sharks, stingrays, angelfish and hawksbill sea turtles. During scheduled times throughout the day, you will see divers hand-feed sharks, sea turtles and eels. Also, there is a Marine Mammal presentation several times a day where you can see the staff interacting with dolphins and whales. Visitors can learn information about the aquatic world and how Shedd takes care of them at Shedd's habitat informal talks. The animal encounters allows visitors to look, learn and touch critters such as the Chilean rose tarantula, a leopard gecko, an African bullfrog, a red tailed boa or king snake. There are special events for preschoolers on Tuesdays which include story telling, arts and crafts, an animal touching session, and other activities.

Food is offered at the Bubble Net Food Court, and there is full table service at Sounding Restaurant. Also, you will find Mrs. Field's Cookie House which serves cookies, brownies, and beverages. Don't forget to visit the gift shop for souvenirs.


The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is located at 111 S. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL 60603, Telephone number (312) 443-3600. Here you will find some of the world's most interesting and fabulous art collections such as The African & Amerindian collection of African wood sculptures, masks, ceramics, furniture, textiles and bead work and the Amerindian collection of Mesoamerican and Andean ceramics, sculpture, textiles and metalwork, together with South American Indian ceramics and figurative art.


The Ernest R. Graham Study Center for Architectural Drawings has more than 130,000 architectural drawings and sketches. The European Painting collections contain approximately 950 works from the Middle Ages to the 1900's. You will find many French artworks from the 19th Century too. At the European Decorative Arts collection, there are 25,000 objects which include furniture, ceramics, metalwork, glass, enamels, and ivory from the year 1100 to present and sculpture from the medieval period to the 1900's. The Department of Modern and Contemporary Art collection includes more than 15,000 paints and sculptures from Europe and America from the 20th century.

There are two options for dining either the Court Cafe or the Garden Restaurant. Visitors will also want to stop by the museum shop.


Go Chicago Card

The Go Chicago Card can be purchased for a 1 day pass up to 7 day pass for one low price depending on how many days you purchase which allows you unlimited admission to over 25 Chicago attractions and tours such as Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, The Art Institute of Chicago, Hancock Observatory, Sears Tower and several Grayline Tours, Navy Pier and discounts at certain Chicago restaurants and retailers.


Public Transportation to Chicago Attractions

It is easy and economical to use the Chicago Public transportation to the above attractions. The Chicago Transit Authority (CTA) public transportation buses will take you to most major Chicago attractions. For schedules, visit CTA's website at www.yourcta.com. If you are commuting from the suburbs of Chicago, Metra, Chicago's rail system makes travel easy or Pace, the suburban bus division of RTA. Registered seniors can ride for free if they have an RTA reduced fair permit. To register for the senior permit, contact RTA at 836-7000 or visit their Senior Free Ride program website. For general information on Pace's fees and schedules, visit their website at http://www.pacebus.com/. You can connect to Metra's locations via CTA buses or trains or Pace buses. For more information on Metra's routes and schedules, please visit their website at http://metrarail.com/general.html.


Summer Trolleys

Since 2001, Chicago's summer free trolleys provide daily service at special marked stops to a variety of Chicago's attractions and cultural events. Starting Memorial Day Weekend, trolley service is available approximately every 20-30 minutes from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. with extended hours to 7:00 p.m. during Taste of Chicago. There is no ticket or reservation required. All the trolley routes are conveniently located near either CTA routes, Metra or Amtrak. Lincoln Park free trolley only operates on the weekends and holidays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. Navy Pier free trolley operates every day, year-round from 10:00 a.m. to an hour after the Pier closes. So just hop on!