Formerly known as Sears Tower, Willis Tower offers a 360-degree view of Chicago at a whopping 1,353 feet in the air making it the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. The famed Skydeck experience wouldn’t be the same without looking out over The Ledge, which is an all glass box that visitors can stand in to see miles of land all around them and the Chicago streets right below their feet. This is such a unique experience that really gets your heart pumping!

Pack a picnic or take a stroll, Millennium Park is a great way to get back to nature without ever having to leave the city. This park is filled with thousands of flowers and exquisitely landscaped grounds that are interjected with modern architecture and art installations; one of them being the famous “Bean.”

Located in Millennium Park, Cloud Gate is what most people refer to as “The Bean” because of its unique shape. The art installation is meant to reflect the Chicago skyline and clouds above, but many use it as a selfie backdrop.

Bordering the edge of Lake Michigan, this 18-mile stretch of trail allows visitors to take in the beauty of the lake. Bike rentals speckle the trail along with food and drink vendors. Lakefront Trail is commonly used by runners as a scenic route for their morning workout or a lunch-break stroll.

One of my favorite aquariums I have ever been to, Shedd Aquarium, houses more than 32,000 marine animals with an array of exhibits from the 360-degree Caribbean Reef to the Polar Play Zone that features an underwater viewing of one of the largest tanks at their facility. Shedd Aquarium also does amazing things for the preservation of these marine animals by rescuing and rehabilitating endangered species and their habitats.

Navy Pier alone has plenty of things to do, see, and taste. The famous Ferris wheel, Centennial Wheel, is open year-round with 360-degree views of Chicago from 200 feet up in enclosed gondolas. There are also plenty of restaurants, shopping, and entertainment.

Shop your way down the world-renowned Magnificent Mile from budget stores to high-end boutiques to satisfy every shoppers desires. Magnificent Mile is a small portion of Michigan Avenue, which is dotted with some of the best restaurants, hotels, and entertainment, but it is best known for its shopping because it contains more than 460 retailers including some international luxury brands, major flagship stores, and multilevel shopping centers.

Getting drinks at The Signature Lounge at the 96th is a must in Chicago! This is one of the most spectacular views of the skyline and Lake Michigan, especially at sunset. This breathtaking lounge is in the John Hancock Center and just below it, on the 95thfloor, is their high-end restaurant. Make sure to grab a table next to the windows on the side where the sun is setting and thank me later.

We’ve all seen the oversized colorful drinks with the fog rolling off of them and the candy protruding out the top of the cup; this is what the Sugar Factory is known for. I took advantage of being within walking distance to the famous restaurant and ordered one of their Lollipop Passion Signature 60 oz. Goblet Drinks. This is definitely a drink to share and of course take advantage of the photo-op.

Check out a sporting event for one of the many teams that Chicago has to offer. Whether it is baseball, football, or any other sport of your liking, it is always fun to visit another city’s sporting events and mingle amongst their home town fans.

I had a bit of downtime when I was in Chicago for a business meeting during the fall so I took the opportunity to get some fresh air and check out the area by foot. On E Huron Street near St. James Cathedral, there are many gothic and historical buildings lined with trees and shrubs that turn a stunning burnt orange in the Fall. This little section of the city that I stumbled upon was perfectly picturesque and irresistibly “Instagram-able.”

Something is ALWAYS going on in Chicago from festivals for food, wine, or the arts to concerts of all genres. Check out the city of Chicago website to see what is taking place while you’re in town.

Buckingham Fountain is located in Grant Park and is one of the largest fountains in the world. Its impressive beauty is accompanied by the backdrop of the skyscraper filled city and lush green park.

There is a museum for everyone in Chicago; Art Institute of Chicago, Museum of Science & Industry, Field Museum of Natural History, or the Museum of Contemporary Art. Some of these museums even offer free museum days so look them up before you go!

The Chicago River flows through the city as skyscrapers line the riverbank. The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is the perfect way to view all of the architecture that Chicago has to offer and learn about the buildings and history surrounding you.