The Museum Campus conveniently encompasses a trio of CityPass attractions in the 57-acre park with rolling hills, open green spaces and wide paved paths. The Field Museum is home to Sue, the world’s largest T. rex skeleton, plus the stunning Grainger Hall of Gems. Shedd Aquarium’s Jellies exhibit features ethereal jellyfish; dolphins and beluga whales live in the Oceanarium. Inside the Adler Planetarium, the impressive Grainger Sky Theater puts viewers in the middle of a supernova. (Realistically, plan to hit two of the three in a day.) Grab dinner on South Wabash at Buddy Guy’s Legends, where soul food (jambalaya and po’ boys) and live music restore weary travelers. Nearby, relax in freshly styled rooms at the Essex Inn (from $199).
Architecture, medieval armor, photography, European sculptures and Impressionist art are just a few of the collections at the Art Institute of Chicago. (CityPass grants access to either the Art Institute or Adler Planetarium.) Don’t overlook the fantastic dining options; upscale Terzo Piano’s menu stars Italian classics. Seven blocks away, visitors thrill to the views from the Ledge, a clear-glass case jutting out from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. Other options? Choose a visit to either the Museum of Science and Industry or the 360 Chicago (formerly called the John Hancock Observatory). When it’s time for dinner, the enticing entrees at Sepia in the West Loop include duck breast with beets, fennel and duck jus served along with artisanal wines.