10+ Things to Do Near Millennium Park & the Loop During Your Trip to Chicago

Millennium Park is the green heart of urban Chicago. From vast open spaces for walking, relaxing, or playing to an eclectic variety of ever-changing special events, festivals, and performances, there’s something for everyone at this famous park.

Whether you want to scope out iconic works of art, explore renowned museums, or embark on fascinating tours, Millennium Park’s got you covered.

So, if you’re looking for things to do in Millennium Park and the Loop during your trip to Chicago, check out our list of the best local activities and attractions, including…

  • SkyDeck Chicago
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Chicago Architecture Tours
  • Bus tours
  • And more!

Save on Millennium Park Attraction Admission

Admission to many of these top Chicago attractions and activities and more are included on the Go Chicago® Card.

Choose as you go from dozens of top attractions and save up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

See all available passes, attractions & prices – Learn more.

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Things to Do Near Millennium Park & the Loop

SkyDeck Chicago

Sears-Tower-Skydeck-3Visit the famed Willis Tower and ascend to the popular SkyDeck Chicago, located on the 103rd floor.

In addition to phenomenal panoramic views of the city’s skyline, the waterfront, and lands far beyond, you’ll also enjoy informative exhibits and historical photographs.

They’ll help you explore SkyDeck Chicago and learn all about this popular attraction’s history and legacy.

Be sure to check out our guide and tips for vising SkyDeck Chicago before your visit.

Getting In: SkyDeck Chicago tickets are included on the Go Chicago® Card.

Chicago Architecture Foundation

Chicago-Architecture-Foundation-2Chicago is famed far and wide for its diverse architecture. As a city that literally rose from the ashes after a terrible fire in 1871, much of the architecture hails from an array of twentieth-century architectural and artistic movements.

Choose from over 80 different guided walking tours and explore new facets of the city on each and every tour.

Getting In: Chicago Architecture Foundation tickets are included on the Go Chicago® Card.

Art Institute of Chicago

The-Art-Institute-of-Chicago-2Visit the museum recently voted #1 Museum in the World by a TripAdvisor poll, and see what all the fuss is about.

This fantastic institution features extensive collections of paintings, photographs, sculpture, textiles, decorative arts, and much more.

They’ve even got a series of beautiful stained glass windows! Art lovers cannot miss this inspiring attraction.

Getting In: Art Institute of Chicago tickets are included on the Go Chicago® Card.

Chicago Theatre Tour

The-Chicago-Theatre-1Chicago is a very artsy city, with plenty of museums, music, and tons of great theatrical performances.

Take a spin through the city’s theatre district for a view of some of the most historic and striking marquees, then enjoy an in-depth tour of the Chicago Theatre, one of the most famed theatres in all of American artistic history.

See the celebrity-signed walls backstage, walk across the stage itself, and enjoy a variety of historical photographs.

Getting In: Chicago Theatre tour tickets are included with the Go Chicago® Card.

Chicago Bus Tours

Gray-Line-South-Shore-Tour-4Choose from two different guided bus tours of Chicago – North Side and South Side tours.

Both feature informative narration of all the sights and sounds you’ll see, including featured attractions like the Art Institute, Grant Park, & Museum Campus (on the South Shore tour) and Wrigley Field, the Botanical Gardens, and Lincoln Park (on the North Side tour) Of course, you could also take both tours!

Getting In: North Side tour tickets and South Shore tour tickets are included on the Go Chicago® Card.

Cloud Gate aka The Bean

By Giuseppe Milo [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

By Giuseppe Milo [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Also known affectionately as The Bean, this famous sculpture in Millennium Park is the perfect Chicago attraction to Instagram.

With its magnificent reflections of the sky above – and the people around it – it’s a visually striking experience whether or not you’re photographing it. No filters necessary here!

Getting In: Admission to view the Cloud Gate sculpture is free.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion

Chicago-Architecture-Foundation-1One of the best outdoor amphitheaters in the entire region, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion is a favorite with Chicagoans over the spring and summer months.

From free orchestral performances to live pop concerts and beyond, there are a wide variety of shows available at this lively attraction. It’s one of the top things to do in Millennium Park!

Getting In: Admission to Jay Prizker Pavilion events and performances is separately ticketed and not included on the Go Chicago® Card. To purchase tickets and for more information, please visit the attraction website. Some events are free; check calendar for details.

The Crown Fountain

Beloved by kids and adults, this interactive sculpture combines water features with changing digital displays to create one striking artistic experience.

Run through the sprays on a hot day, or just sit and watching the digital videos of different faces as they transition over the course of a few minutes. Another perfect photo op!

Getting In: Access to the Crown Fountain is free.

The Lurie Garden

This 2.5-acre garden, near the southernmost part of Millennium Park, is a marvel amidst so urban a setting as Chicago.

Filled with flowers, trees, shrubs, and more, it’s a beautiful sight year ‘round, although it’s obviously the most vibrant in the spring and summer months.

Enjoy guided walks and lectures, or just wander through on your own. They also frequently host family events and festivals!

Getting In: Admission to Lurie Garden is free.

Daley Plaza

Named for longtime Chicago major Richard Daley, this landmark plaza in the Loop is home to a number of festive events throughout the course of the year.

During the winter months you’ll see their famous Christmas Tree, and in the summer months you can roam farmers’ markets. Be sure to check out the massive (but nameless) Picasso statute in the heart of the Plaza!

Getting In: Admission to Daley Plaza is free.

Remember to Save on Attraction Admission

There you go – a few great recommendations for things to do near Millennium Park & the Loop during your trip to Chicago.

Remember, many of these fun attraction options and more are included on the Go Chicago® Card, where you can save up to 55% on combined admission vs. paying at the gate.

We hope you consider adding a few of these great options to your Chicago vacation itinerary.

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