The Worldwide Food Expo will have enough activities, seminars, and exhibits to keep attendees busy while they’re in Chicago. Still, all work and no play make trade show attendees tired. Just in case you’d like to get out and see the sights in one of the greatest cities in the world, The NATIONAL PROVISIONER offers a few tips of things to see and do downtown.
Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum — Explore the universe through exhibits that include scale models of the solar system, ancient astronomical instruments and interactive adventures. The StarRider and Sky Theaters also provide some outstanding shows. “TimeSpace” takes you through 14 billion years of the universe’s history, and “SonicVision” combines digital animation with alternative rock music. 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., phone (312) 922-STAR, or visit www.adlerplanetarium.org
The Art Institute of Chicago — With a collection that ranges from 3,000 B.C. to modern times, the Art Institute has a fantastic collection of Impressionist paintings, as well as artwork from Europe, Latin America, Asia, and Africa. 111 S. Michigan Ave.; phone (312) 443-3600, or visit www.artic.edu/aic/
Field Museum — Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus rex ever found, is prominently on display, as is the man-eating lions of Tsavo, an Egyptian tomb, a lava flow, and a jewel collection. The building has such a massive collection that it’s easy to lose an entire day wandering around inside. 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., phone (312) 922-9410, or visit www.fieldmuseum.org
Museum of Science and Industry — Where else can you descend in a mine shaft and explore a German World War II submarine in the same building? The MSI has 14 acres of permanent and temporary exhibits, plus a five-story Omnimax theater. 57th St. and Lake Shore Dr., phone (773) 684-1414, or visit www.msichicago.org
Shedd Aquarium — A must-visit for anyone in the seafood industry. The aquarium houses 22,000 fish and other sea animals, located in the original 1929 location, an oceanarium, and wild reef exhibits. 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., phone (312) 939-2438, or visit www.sheddaquarium.org
Magnificent Mile — Located along Michigan Ave. There are 460 stores located on eight city blocks, including American Girl, Niketown, and Crate & Barrel. No matter what your taste, interest, or fashion sense is, you will have no problem spending your money on the Mag Mile. 900 North Michigan Ave., or visit www.themagnificentmile.com
State Street — Visit and shop in historic Marshall Field’s and Carson Prairie Scott stores. There are also some great dining options, like the Billy Goat Tavern, Berghoffs and the Walnut Room inside Marshall Fields.
With dozens of theaters in and around the downtown Chicago area, there are a variety of plays and musicals on any day of the week. While the Worldwide Food Expo is in town, the shows will include “Wicked,” “Merchant of Venice,” “Blue Man Group,” “Manuscript Found in Saragossa,” and “Grand Hotel.” Visit www.broadwayinchicago.com and www.chicagoplays.com
Buckingham Fountain — Every hour on the hour, weather permitting, the fountain features a major water display, launching water 150 feet into the air. At dusk, the show is accompanied by a light and music display. The fountain shuts down for the year on November 1, so enjoy the fountain’s water and light shows while you have the chance. Located in beautiful Grant Park.
Lincoln Park Zoo — One of the last free zoos in the country, the Lincoln Park Zoo is located right in the heart of Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood. The state-of-the-art Regenstein Center for Africa Apes opened in July 2004, and it has 29,000 square feet of living space for its gorillas and chimpanzees. 2001 N. Clark St., phone (312) 742-2000, or visit www.lpzoo.com
Millennium Park — The largest sculpture in Chicago has just officially opened to the public. The artist gave it the pretentious name of “Cloud Gate,” but to millions of Chicagoans, it’s “The Bean.” There are also numerous gardens, fountains, and walkways located around the park. Visit www.millenniumpark.org
Navy Pier — For one of the best views of Chicago’s skyline and lakefront, take a ride on Navy Pier’s 150-foot-tall Ferris wheel. Numerous boat tours also depart from the Pier on a regular basis. Along with many restaurants, Navy Pier also boasts a shopping mall, an IMAX theater, Chicago’s Children Museum, and Chicago’s Shakespeare Theater. Visit www.navypier.com
Sears Tower — At 1,730 feet tall, the Sears Tower is the tallest building in North America and one of the tallest in the world. Take the 110-story elevator ride to the observation deck and see all of Chicago’s downtown, as well as Indiana, Michigan, and Wisconsin on a clear day. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. 233 S. Wacker Drive, phone (312) 875-9696, or visit www.the-skydeck.com NP
For more information about Chicago’s attractions, events, and dining options, visit the following Web sites: