Here are the essential places to visit in Chicago, Illinois. The selection is made using the FavRiver scoring system which takes into account the most relevant metrics and expert reviews.
Last update : Jun 12, 2019
31Promontory Point (Chicago)
Promontory Point (known locally as The Point) is a man-made peninsula jutting into Lake Michigan. It is located in Chicago's Burnham Park. The Point was constructed from landfill and by the late 1930s was protected by a seawall or revetment. The revetment was designed and constructed by Chicago Park District engineers and consists of limestone blocks arranged in a series of four steps leading to a promenade.
Located on Chicago Park District land at 55th Street in Chicago's south side Hyde Park neighborhood, it was opened to the public in 1937. Alfred Caldwell, a disciple of Jens Jensen, designed the landscaping, following the Prairie School which uses native plants and stone. Caldwell's design featured a raised "meadow" section in the center of the 12-acre (49,000 m2) peninsula and included hundreds of flowering trees and shrubs. In 1938, Caldwell created stone sitting rings - called "council rings" - around the lakefront edge, which today are used as fire pits. Few of Caldwell's original plantings remain today.
The park is accessed by the Lakefront Trail, and a tunnel which passes under Lake Shore Drive at the east end of 55th Street. At the head of the park, seen immediately upon emerging from the 55th Street tunnel, is the David Wallach Memorial Fountain. This fountain was designed in 1939 by Elizabeth and Frederick Hibbard in the shape of a fawn, with drinking areas at human and animal levels. During the Cold War the park also housed a 150-foot (46 m) radar tower for the Nike Hercules missile defense system; it was dismantled in 1971.
The park contains a field house, built in 1937, the exterior of which is made of Lannon stone from Wisconsin. Partly because of its view of the lake and cityscape, it is a popular wedding and corporate event location. It competes with the much larger Jackson Park 63rd Street Beach House and the even larger South Shore Cultural Center as south side beachfront special use facilities. The frequent summer fireworks displays at Navy Pier are often viewed from The Point, especially on Independence Day, when large numbers of Hyde Parkers and other south side residents gather there. It neighbors the Museum of Science and Industry and the 57th Street Beach.
Water access is an important aspect of the Point's history of use. Swimmers, sunbathers, kayakers, and windsurfers use the Point's revetment to access the waters of Lake Michigan. People have been swimming off of the limestone revetment at Promontory Point since it was built, in 1937. In the summer months, the North side of the Point functions as a "rock beach." The water is shallow and the lake bottom is sand, making the North side a family friendly swimming area. On the both sides of the Point, open water swimmers enter the water off the rocks and swim across the bays. Both North and South side swimming areas are marked with "Swimming Area" buoys in the summer months. In the past, open water, or distance, swimming was a source of conflict with the Chicago Park District as the legality of swimming off the Point is ambiguous. From time to time, swimmers were ticketed. Recently, however, the Chicago Park District created an officially sanctioned open water swimming area off the South side of the Point. All motorized boat traffic is prohibited inside the buoyed areas.
Promontory Point (Chicago)
32Thalia Hall (Chicago)
Thalia Hall is a historic building in Pilsen, Chicago which is currently a mixed-use music, retail, and bar/restaurant space. It was designated as a Chicago Landmark on October 25, 1989.
Thalia Hall was built in 1892 by saloonkeeper John Dusek and designed by architects Frederick Faber and William Pagels in the Romanesque Revival style.
Its current owners are Bruce Finkelman and Craig Golden.
Thalia Hall (Chicago)
33Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is a nature museum located in Chicago, Illinois. Founded in 1857 by the Chicago Academy of Sciences, the museum, which opened in its present facility in October 1999, is located at the intersection of Fullerton Parkway and Cannon Drive in Lincoln Park. The museum focuses on the natural history of the Chicago region, and offers educational programs for children and adults. It is known for its live butterfly house.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
34National Museum of Mexican Art
The National Museum of Mexican Art (Formerly known as the Mexican Fine Arts Center Museum) is a museum which features Mexican, Latino, and Chicano art and culture. The museum was founded in 1982 by Carlos Tortolero and Helen Valdez. Located in the Pilsen neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois, the current building in Harrison Park opened on March 27, 1987. The museum is the only Latino museum accredited by the American Alliance of Museums. The mission of the museum is to display Mexican culture as one sin fronteras (without borders). The museum describes itself as the largest Latino cultural institution in America.
National Museum of Mexican Art
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