Don't let the rain or cold ruin your perfect Chicago day. These options are fun—both with and without bad weather—and with the Windy City's unpredictable patterns, play it safe with these fabulous activities.
MUSEUMS & ATTRACTIONS
The nexus of the city’s famous architecture boat, bus and walking tours is the Chicago Architecture Center (formerly known as the Chicago Architecture Foundation). The nonprofit was founded in 1966 to save the historic Glessner House, and its impact on the city ever since has been profound. 111 E. Wacker Drive
Formerly the John Hancock Observatory, this landmark offers 360-degree views from 1,000 feet above Lake Michigan and the city’s famed Mag Mile. Visitors can stand on a glass platform that extends over Michigan Avenue. 875 N. Michigan Ave., 94th Floor
The museum’s extensive collection specializes in art across the centuries from diverse civilizations to French impressionist paintings. The Modern Wing, designed by Renzo Piano, features world-renowned art from the 20th and 21st centuries. 111 S. Michigan Ave.
This museum is devoted to the rich multicultural history of Chicago and Illinois. Galleries are devoted to the life and work of Abraham Lincoln, local authors, journalists, fashion designers and the architects who rebuilt the city after the 1871 Great Chicago Fire. 1601 N. Clark St.
Steps from the Magnificent Mile, Driehaus Museum offers visitors a fascinating glimpse into one of the few remaining examples of palatial homes erected by the wealthy people of America’s Gilded Age. The galleries, elegantly furnished with period pieces selected from the Driehaus Collection, are presented in harmony with the interiors and surviving furnishings, immersing visitors in the original splendor of this late 19th century home. 40 E. Erie St.
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One of the nation’s largest facilities devoted to risk taking art of our times, MCA offers exhibitions that document visual culture through painting, sculpture, photography, video and film, and performance. One of the building’s most iconic features is its outdoor staircase, inspired by the original gateway to the Acropolis. Among its greatest strengths are surrealist works from the 1940s and ’50s; minimalist works from the ’60s, and conceptual art and photography from the ’60s to present. 220 E. Chicago Ave.
Founded to house the biological and anthropological collections from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, the museum contains more than 20 million specimens. “Sue,” the world’s largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex, finds a permanent home in the main lobby. 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
This beautifully preserved Oak Park landmark served as Frank Lloyd Wright’s private residence and workplace from 1889 to 1909, the first 20 years of his career. Here, he and his associates developed a new American architecture—the prairie style. Trained interpreters offer insights into Wright’s family life and architectural career through a variety of tours, including interior views and neighborhood walking tours, Unity Temple, Robie House and more. 951 Chicago Ave., Oak Park
Founded on the therapeutic power of sensory engagement, the institute is an interactive vibrant experience, satisfying to all. The contemporary art and experiential space features its signature hand-crafted artisanal slime, providing vivid scents and captivating ASMR experiences. And, if you choose, you can get drenched head to toe in slime (protective ponchos provided, of course). 820 N. Orleans St.
On Chicago’s Near West Side, the golden dome of Garfield Park’s field house points the way to expansive landscape art under glass. Designed by Jens Jensen in 1906, this 4 ½-acre plant haven was conceived as a series of naturalistic landscapes. 300 N. Central Park Ave.
The permanent collection, based at Columbia College Chicago, focuses on American and U.S.-resident photography produced since 1936. More than 7,000 photographs and related objects reflect photography’s multiple roles in society. 600 S. Michigan Ave.
Pronounced “Wonder,” this museum is a contemporary art stop that features works from some of the biggest contemporary names in art, including Keith Haring and Yayoi Kusama. What really makes this museum stand out, however, is the amount of “interactive” exhibits the museum features, including an “Infinity Mirror Room,” Light Floor, Flux Room and a virtual data choir humming Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” together. WNDR recently announced its year-long collaboration with The New Vanguard, a Chicago-based creative coalition dedicated to supporting and uplifting BIPOC creatives. 1130 W. Monroe St.
This museum is a delicious, thrilling, and multi-sensory playground for all ages and a perfect place to release your inner child. The unlimited desserts and vibrant interactive exhibits are sites to indulge, connect and simply play! 435 N. Michigan Ave.
This mind-bending museum offers a sensory immersive experience that will transfix those of all ages. Rooms such as the Vortex Tunnel and the Rotated Room make for a thrilling walk-through and are complimented by various other psychedelic installations. 25 E. Washington St.
This natural history museum has remained a Chicago staple for over 165 years. The exhibits range from live animals to nature inspired design and art work, including interactive spaces for all age groups. Among the museum's many ethereal exhibits is The Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, an internationally renowned exhibit of the world's most rare butterfly species. Step out of the city and into eden. 2430 N. Cannon Dr.
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Anchored by Bloomingdale’s, the 900 North Michigan Shops are hard to miss. Not only do they prove to be a one-stop destination for everything from designer brands like Gucci and Ippolita to multiple spas, but Aster Hall adds outposts of some of the city’s favorite restaurants that complement the luxury lifestyle shops found within the six-level shopping paradise. 900 N. Michigan Ave.
Covering six city blocks, The Shops at North Bridge include over 50 stores, with all the top brands in clothing, jewelry and cosmetics. While both casual, quick bites and three-course meals can be enjoyed here, perhaps the most fun can be had at Eataly, a multilevel Italian marketplace complete with a fresh pasta counter, wine bar and culinary education center. 520 N. Michigan Ave.
This eight-story shopping mecca is home to a vast selection of over 100 stores, including the must-see American Girl Place and Chicago-themed restaurants such as Harry Caray’s 7th Inning Stretch. After the shops close, the Broadway Playhouse theater offers fun—and often family-friendly—performances. 835 N. Michigan Ave.
Chock-full of titles, zines, graphic novels and comics by independent artists, Quimby's is sure to give daring readers a well-needed dose of spunk. 1854 W. North Ave.
A Chicago classic since 1988, this curated record shop offers an optimal selection for music and film lovers alike. Sift through vintage cassettes and films as well as a massive collection of both new and used vinyl. 26 E. Madison
This luxury eclectic theater offers the best place to view in comfort and style. Enjoy crudité and cocktails while taking in the next blockbuster. 3519 N. Clark St.
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Occupying a cavernous space in River West, AIRE is an experience unlike any other in the city. The serene candlelit space features a series of hot and cold pools to traverse at your leisure. The thermal experience promotes tranquility while awakening the senses. A pair of steam rooms, heated marble stones and ultraluxe add-ons complete the picture. 800 W. Superior St.
By now, we are all aware of the benefits of meditation. The tricky part, though, is getting started. That’s where this new modern meditation and wellness studio in River North comes in. At Chill, the goal is to make meditation approachable with its variety of classes, ranging from the 30-minute Breath to the 60-minute Yoga and Meditation. Its services are currently offered online. 222 W. Kinzie St.
Doctors Jack Dybis and Scott Yilk are behind the IVme treatments that cater to weight loss and fat burning, jet lag, cold and flu, vitality and fatigue at their Old Town facility. An experienced, registered nurse from I.V. Doc will travel to your home, office or hotel room to administer its range of services such as migraine relief and antioxidant therapy. 1347 N. Wells St., 346 N. State St.
Every treatment at Chuan Spa begins with the optional Chuan Bathing Ritual, recommended to prepare your body and mind. In the comfort and privacy of gender-separate locker rooms, guests can make their way through four hot and cold rooms to loosen muscles and stimulate the senses. The Herbal Sauna opens the respiratory system; the Salt Stone Sauna reduces stress and heals skin ailments; the Experience Shower uses aromatherapy to awaken and invigorate; and, finally, the Oriental Steam room soothes with the scent of chamomile. 330 N. Wabash Ave.
With five float suites and three different types of tanks, there’s something for everyone at Float Sixty. Floating in an Epsom salt-concentrated tank reduces stress-causing cortisol and increases dopamine and endorphins, resulting in benefits from increased immune function to pain management. 303 W. Erie St., 1143 S. State St.
Photography by: MCA photo by Peter McCullough; other photos courtesy of brands; cover photo by KaidoKarner/iStock