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See the world from the Top
Sears Tower Skydeck. The view from the Skydeck on the 103rd floor of the Sears Tower is amazing! On a clear day, you can see 40-50 miles -- the city of Chicago and its beautiful architecture, Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.
For your enjoyment on the way up, the elevators are equipped with 50-inch flat screen monitors that make you feel like you're blasting off through the top of the Sears Tower and into space - with views of the earth compliments of NASA and the Space Shuttle Endeavor.
The Skydeck also features interactive, museum-quality exhibits highlighting Chicago's history and historic characters. Interactive kiosks provide a tour of Chicago's landmarks. Knee-High Chicago is a kid-level display that extends all the way around the Skydeck. Cool cut-out windows put kids eye-to-eye with scenes from Chicago's most fascinating moments in history. The Skydeck also has high-tech, high-powered telescopes for a closer look at the city.
Restaurants in the Sears Tower include Augustino’s Rock and Roll Deli, now located on the 2nd floor restaurant level. A great Mexican restaurant is opening in May called Salsario Loco also located on the 2nd floor restaurant level. In the main lobby are Starbucks and Corner Bakery and on Lower Level 1 (also easily accessible to the public) is Venice Café, a long standing loop favorite that relocated from across Wacker Dr.
Chicago architecture tours
including bus tours, walking tours and a boat tour on the Chicago River. You can choose from a number of bus tours, such as Bungalows By Bus, which features the Chicago bungalows built between 1910 and 1940, or the Frank Lloyd Wright Bus Tour where you'll see samples of his unique architecture in the Frank Lloyd Wright Historic District. An example of a walking tour is Evanston Along The Lake, which takes you through the Evanston Lakeshore Historic District where you'll see Romanesque and Georgian style churches, Queen Anne, Tudor, Italianate residences and more.
From May through November, the Foundation offers its narrated Architecture River Cruise, highlighting at least 50 architecturally significant sites. Both cruise vessels, Chicago's First Lady and Chicago's Little Lady, offer both indoor and outdoor seating and a snack and beverage bar.
Be sure to check the Chicago Architecture Foundation's website for a full listing of tours, schedule, places of departure and prices.
Chicago Symphony Orchestra
Orchestra Hall, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, is home of the world-famous Chicago Symphony Orchestra and part of the larger Symphony Center, which also contains a restaurant and a rehearsal space. In addition to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Orchestra Hall features jazz, pop, chamber, and world music concerts. The Hall was initially conceived in the very early 1900's. After years of performances, the Hall underwent a major renovation, which was completed in 1997. You can call ahead to schedule a tour of the facility.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra consists of 110 talented musicians, three internationally-renowned conductors and an award-winning composer-in-residence.
Check the Chicago Symphony Orchestra website for upcoming performances.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo, located in Chicago, is among the oldest zoological gardens in the country (established in 1868) and is also among the most modern. A premier Chicago attraction, Lincoln Park Zoo each year welcomes more than three million visitors, providing them with remarkable educational experiences as well as fun and enjoyment. Its intimate setting enables guests, young and old alike, to experience the thrill of gazing directly into the eyes of a lowland gorilla and standing toe to toe with grazing giraffes. Famous also for its historical structures, the zoo has succeeded at combining state-of-the-art animal and visitor facilities with beautiful architectural reflections of past times and sensibilities.
As Lincoln Park continues to evolve into one of the finest zoos worldwide, the one element that will not change is its admission policy: Lincoln Park Zoo stands as one of the last free major cultural institutions in the United States and the only one left in Chicago. The Zoo is open 365 days a year.
In addition to observing all of the wonderful animals, Lincoln Park Zoo features its SBC Endangered Species Carousel ride, paddle boat and swan boat rides, the LPZOO Express train ride, the 4-D Virtual Safari simulator and a Safari Audio Tour. Note that there is a small fee for each of these specialty attractions. The Zoo also offers a variety of dining options and two gift shops.
The Chicago History Museum
The Chicago History Museum, formerly known as the Chicago Historical Society, is a must-see for all Chicago natives and visitors. The city’s oldest cultural institution, the Museum is all new after completing a nine month renovation in September 2006.
The Museum’s permanent exhibition, Chicago: Crossroads of America, explores the city’s economy, crises, innovation, neighborhoods, and entertainment. Visitors entering the exhibition are greeted by ‘L’ Car No. 1, the city’s first elevated train car. The Museum also installed its first Children’s Gallery, where kids can explore Chicago’s history using their five senses. Additional highlights include a Costume and Textile Gallery that showcases the Museum’s premier costume collection, and installation throughout the building, including a 1978 Chevy Monte Carlo custom low-rider and Lincoln’s death bed, and artifacts from Chicago’s two world’s fairs.
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