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Chicago see + do

Chicago is home to such a diverse range of powerhouse museums that you could spend an entire visit reeling through the city's galleries. The Art Institute of Chicago—specifically its Impressionist collection—is the one thing you must not miss. But the Field Museum's natural history holdings are just as impressive (they include the world's largest Tyrannosaurus rex, with the shortest name: Sue). And the too-often-overlooked Museum of Contemporary Art brings in large-scale exhibits of contemporary artists, such as Jeff Koons. Other crowd-pleasers—depending on the crowd you're with—include the Adler Planetarium, the Museum of Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium, and your choice of the Hancock Observatory or the Sears Tower Skydeck. Chicago's performance calendar is equally robust. Second City continues to be a genuinely funny comedy club; the Steppenwolf Theatre is one of the country's most innovative companies (its original production of August, Osage County swept the 2008 Tony Awards); and the Lyric Opera of Chicago still dares to stage Wagner's 15-hour masterpiece, the Ring Cycle, in one week, as the composer intended For the latest lineups and showtimes, check Time Out Chicago.

Chicago's other big lures are those that draw both locals and visitors into the sunlight. The city's sandy lakeside beaches are crowded through the summer; Millennium Park has become an urban meeting point; and the Lincoln Park Zoo is a tranquil refuge, framed by the Gold Coast's venerable skyscrapers. Nothing pulls more people outside, though, than a Cubs game at Wrigley Park, followed by a celebratory round of barhopping in surrounding Wrigleyville.

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Willis Tower (Sears Tower), Chicago

Designed by renowned architects Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, this 1,353-foot landmark tower is one of the five tallest in the world (though Chicagoans, who...more

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Wrigley Field, Chicago

Regardless of how the Cubs play (both the team and its fans are long-suffering), catching a game on a sunny afternoon at historic Wrigley Field is a...more

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