4-Day Chicago Highlights: Iconic Cook County Tour

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by Ava

May 8, 2024 · 3 min read

Cook County 4 Days Itinerary

Embark on a 4-day journey through the vibrant heart of Cook County, where Chicago's iconic attractions await. Day 1 kicks off with the lush landscapes of Millennium Park, followed by an immersive day at The Art Institute of Chicago, housing some of the world's most famous artworks. Cap off the day with breathtaking views from the Willis Tower's observation deck. Day 2 elevates the experience with another stunning panorama at 360 CHICAGO, then takes you down to the bustling Magnificent Mile for some upscale exploration, and concludes with the cultural vibrancy of Chinatown. The adventure continues on Day 3 at the Field Museum, where history comes to life, followed by aquatic wonders at Shedd Aquarium, and a cosmic journey at Adler Planetarium. Your final day, Day 4, invites you to the lively Navy Pier, offering entertainment and lakefront vistas, before unwinding in the serene expanse of Lincoln Park. Each day is meticulously planned to ensure a blend of Chicago's best urban parks, cultural hotspots, and awe-inspiring views, making your Cook County trip unforgettable.

Top 6 Hotels in Cook County
TOP 1
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O'Hare
Four Points by Sheraton Chicago O'Hare
hotelStar
3/5
136 reviews
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TOP 2
Sheraton Chicago Northbrook
Sheraton Chicago Northbrook
hotelStar
4/5
104 reviews
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TOP 3
JW Marriott Chicago
JW Marriott Chicago
hotelStar
5/5
61 reviews
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Best Western Plus OHare International South Hotel
Best Western Plus OHare International South Hotel
hotelStar
2/5
116 reviews
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Sheraton Suites Chicago Elk Grove
Sheraton Suites Chicago Elk Grove
hotelStar
3/5
91 reviews
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Chicago NW - Arlington Heights
Chicago NW - Arlington Heights
hotelStar
2/5
107 reviews
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4 Days in Cook County Itinerary: Day 1

1

Millennium Park

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Kickstart your Cook County adventure at Millennium Park, the vibrant green space that stands as a testament to Chicago's commitment to art and community. Nestled in the bustling cityscape, this park offers a serene retreat with its iconic Cloud Gate sculpture, enchanting Lurie Garden, and the impressive Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Allow yourself a couple of hours to bask in the creative spirit and urban energy that this park exudes.

Attraction Info

  • 201 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60602, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open from 6:00am-11:00pm

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/5 · 0 reviews
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2

The Art Institute of Chicago

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Next, immerse yourself in the rich tapestry of art at The Art Institute of Chicago, a world-class art gallery that promises a full day of cultural enrichment. With an extensive collection that spans thousands of years, the Art Institute is a treasure trove of masterpieces from across the globe. From the timeless works of the Impressionists to the thought-provoking contemporary pieces, every corner of this gallery invites you to ponder and appreciate the visual language of artists.

Attraction Info

  • 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, USA
  • Suggested tour duration: 0.5-1 day
  • Closed on Tue-Wed;Open on Thu,11:00am-8:00pm;Open on Mon, Fri-Sun,11:00am-5:00pm
4 min,0.97 km
3

Willis Tower

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Conclude your day with a sky-high adventure at Willis Tower and its awe-inspiring observation deck. As one of the tallest buildings in the Western Hemisphere, Willis Tower offers breathtaking panoramic views of Chicago's skyline and beyond. Spend a couple of hours marveling at the city's architectural wonders from this unparalleled vantage point, and let the day's experiences culminate in this moment of awe and wonder.

Attraction Info

  • 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open from 3/1-9/30,Mon-Fri,9:00am-10:00pm;Open from 10/1-2/28,Mon-Fri,9:00am-8:00pm;Open from 10/1-2/28,Sat-Sun,9:00am-10:00pm;Open from 3/1-9/30,Sat-Sun,8:30am-10:00pm,Please refer to the official website for details of holiday opening hours; the specific business status is subject to the opening conditions on that day.
4.5/5106 Reviews
4.5/5Excellent106 Reviews
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|0.07km from Willis Tower
4.5/5107 Reviews
4.5/5Excellent107 Reviews
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|0.16km from Willis Tower

4 Days in Cook County Itinerary: Day 2

1

360 CHICAGO

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Begin your second day in Cook County with breathtaking views from 360 CHICAGO, the city's iconic observation deck. Perched on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Center, you'll have the opportunity to start your morning with a panoramic sweep of the city skyline and Lake Michigan. The thrill-seekers in your group can even experience TILT, a unique glass lookout that tilts you over the edge for an adrenaline-pumping vista. Allow yourself an hour to soak in the sights and perhaps grab a coffee at the café, setting a high bar for the rest of the day's adventures.

Attraction Info

  • 875 N Michigan Ave 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 1-2 hour
  • Open from 9:00am-11:00pm

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/5 · 0 reviews
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2

Magnificent Mile

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After descending from the sky-high wonders of 360 CHICAGO, immerse yourself in the urban elegance of the Magnificent Mile. This renowned stretch of Michigan Avenue offers a blend of luxury retailers, classic eateries, and historic landmarks. Spend a couple of hours exploring the shops, admiring the architecture, and perhaps indulging in a Chicago-style deep-dish pizza. The Magnificent Mile is more than just a shopping destination; it's a vibrant slice of Chicago life that invites you to stroll and discover.

Attraction Info

  • Chicago, IL 60611, USA
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open 24 hours
15 min,9.01 km
3

Chinatown

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Conclude your day's journey with a cultural excursion to Chicago's Chinatown, a lively neighborhood brimming with rich heritage and flavors. Here, you can wander through streets lined with colorful murals, traditional Chinese shops, and an array of restaurants serving authentic cuisine. Dedicate a couple of hours to explore the intricate designs of the Chinatown Gate, visit the tranquil Ping Tom Memorial Park, and perhaps find a keepsake at one of the many specialty stores. Chinatown is not just a place to eat; it's a destination to experience a different facet of Chicago's diverse tapestry.

Attraction Info

  • Chicago, IL 60616, USA
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open 24 hours

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4 Days in Cook County Itinerary: Day 3

1

Field Museum

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Kick off your third day in Cook County with an intellectual adventure at the Field Museum. Nestled at 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, this iconic museum is a treasure trove of natural history. Spend an hour marveling at ancient artifacts, dazzling gemstones, and the awe-inspiring Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton named Sue. The Field Museum is not just a walk through the past; it's an exploration of the wonders that have shaped our world.

Attraction Info

  • 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 1-3 hour
  • Open from 9:00am-5:00pm

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2

Shedd Aquarium

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Continue your journey of discovery at the Shedd Aquarium, a mere stone's throw away from the Field Museum. Immerse yourself in an underwater world for two hours, where you can encounter everything from tiny seahorses to the majestic beluga whales. Located at 1200 S DuSable Lk Shr Dr, the Shedd Aquarium offers a deep dive into the mysteries of aquatic life, making it a must-see for ocean enthusiasts and families alike.

Attraction Info

  • 1200 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open on Mon, Wed-Fri,9:00am-5:00pm;Open on Tue,9:00am-9:00pm;Open on Sat-Sun,9:00am-6:00pm
10 min,0.76 km
3

Adler Planetarium

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Conclude your day's exploration at the Adler Planetarium, situated at 1300 S DuSable Lk Shr Dr, just a short stroll from the Shedd Aquarium. Dedicate two hours to gaze at the stars and unravel the secrets of the cosmos. The Adler Planetarium is not only a gateway to the universe but also a hub of interactive exhibits and cutting-edge sky shows that will leave you starstruck. It's the perfect finale to a day spent in awe of science and nature.

Attraction Info

  • 1300 S DuSable Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-3 hour
  • Open on Mon, Fri-Sun,9:00am-4:00pm;Open on Wed,4:00pm-10:00pm;Closed on Tue, Thu,The specific opening hours for special holidays are subject to the opening conditions on that day.
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4 Days in Cook County Itinerary: Day 4

1

Navy Pier

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Begin your final day with a splash at Navy Pier, Chicago's iconic lakeside destination. As the first stop of the day, allow the fresh lake breeze to invigorate you for the hours ahead. Navy Pier extends over Lake Michigan, offering not just stunning views but also a plethora of entertainment options. With a suggested stay time of 2 hours, you can explore the many facets of this harbor haven, from the vibrant carousel to the majestic Centennial Wheel, and perhaps catch a scenic boat tour that showcases the city's skyline from a unique vantage point.

Attraction Info

  • 600 E Grand Ave, Chicago, IL 60611, United States
  • Suggested tour duration: 2-4 hour
  • Open on Fri-Sat,11:00am-10:00pm;Open on Mon-Thu, Sun,11:00am-9:00pm

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2

Lincoln Park

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After the bustling energy of Navy Pier, immerse yourself in the serene atmosphere of Lincoln Park. As the second and final attraction of your Cook County itinerary, Lincoln Park is a verdant oasis in the heart of Chicago. Spend the day meandering through the lush pathways, visiting the famous Lincoln Park Zoo, or simply lounging on the green lawns. With an entire day dedicated to this city park, you'll have ample time to discover hidden gardens, historical statues, and maybe even partake in a leisurely game of frisbee or a picnic by the pond.

Attraction Info

  • Lincoln Park, Chicago, IL, USA
  • Suggested tour duration: 0.5-1 day
  • Open from 6:00am-11:00pm

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Where to Stay Tonight

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Top Things to Do in Cook County-2024

TOP 1
Field Museum
Field Museum
4.6/5 · 281 review
taCommentInfo-imageBased on 8,962 review
Highlights:
Founded in 1893, the Field Museum is one of the more important museums in Chicago. Part of the Chicago Museum Campus, it houses more than 20 million specimens. The Field Museum exhibits the larger and more complete Tyrannosaurus Rex fossil (T.rex). Here, you can go on an underground adventure with insect compound eyes, enter Egyptian tombs, discover dazzling jewelry rooms, interact with man-eating lions from Kenya up close, and experience the experience of living with dinosaurs in the rotating earth exhibition! It can be said that the Field Museum is like a complete natural treasure house and has a very high visiting value.
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TOP 2
The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago
4.7/5 · 397 review
taCommentInfo-imageBased on 24,592 review
Highlights:
Founded in 1891, the Art Institute of Chicago is not only one of the oldest art galleries in the world, but also one of the three largest art galleries in the United States today. The museum collects art treasures from five thousand years and five continents, and it can be called the Museum of All Nations. In particular, the representative works of French Impressionist painters are world-renowned. The masterpieces of Renoir, Picasso and Van Gogh are invaluable. Even the bronze lion statues on both sides of the gate have become the symbol of Chicago. The main entrance of the museum faces Michigan South Street and has a Victorian appearance. The entire museum is divided into 10 exhibition halls, with a collection of more than 300,000 exhibits. There are European, American and Oriental engravings, paintings, prints, drawings, decorative arts, as well as photography as well as African art and pre-Columbian American art. Among them, Grant Wood's famous work "American Gothic" is definitely a treasure of the town hall and one of the cultural symbols symbolizing the United States.
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TOP 3
Willis Tower
Willis Tower
4.5/5 · 465 review
taCommentInfo-imageBased on 17,893 review
Highlights:
The Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower, is a high point in the Chicago skyline. The building is currently used as an office building with a total of 110 floors. Tens of thousands of tourists come here every day just to board the 412-meter-high 103-story Chicago Sky Observation Deck to overlook the entire Chicago panorama. 1.103rd floor observation deck, enjoy the city view of Chicago. As soon as you enter the Willis Tower, you will be attracted by the words "Windy City", "Chicago" and "Chicago City" written in English on the wall. Then step into the elevator, and each floor the elevator goes up will display the current floor, the current height, and the buildings with the same height. For example, the 25th floor: the Statue of Liberty in New York, the 86th floor: the Eiffel Tower in Paris, and the 102nd floor: the Empire State Building in New York. When you get out of the elevator to the observation deck on the 103rd floor, you can overlook the entire Chicago city and the skyline across Lake Michigan. 2. A real sense of suspension, a thrilling and exciting experience When you come here, you must not miss the thrilling feeling of standing on the glass roof. In June 2009, the designer added 4 glass roofs, all of which were built on the west side of the building, extending about 1.2 meters to the interior. Standing on the transparent glass balcony, the city street view is unobstructed, but it is frightening. And you can also see the tourists on the rooftop next to it, and it feels like they are hanging in the air. Of course there are people standing on it, some people are squatting on the glass, and some people are even lying on it. 3. The sky is clear in the daytime, and the neon lights are bright at night. During the day, you can feel the openness of the mountains and small mountains. At night, you can overlook the brightly lit night scene of Chicago. It is recommended to arrive at the observation deck 30-45 minutes before sunset, so that you can see the beauty of the alternating day and night.
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TOP 4
Millennium Park
Millennium Park
4.6/5 · 568 review
taCommentInfo-imageBased on 25,152 review
Highlights:
Millennium Park is a large urban park in Chicago. One side of the park is Chicago's more prosperous Michigan Avenue, and the other side is the scenic Lake Michigan. In the park, the imprint of post-modern architectural style can be seen everywhere, so some people regard this park as a concentration of post-modern architectural style. Among them, the open-air concert hall, cloud gate and crown fountain are the three representative postmodern buildings in Millennium Park.
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TOP 5
Historic Route 66 Begin Sign
Historic Route 66 Begin Sign
4.6/5 · 69 review
Highlights:
Route 66 is affectionately called "Mother Road" by Americans. Route 66 runs diagonally from Chicago to Santa Monica, California. Route 66 total length: 2448 miles (about 3939 kilometers). Construction of Route 66 began on November 11, 1926, and was only announced as complete in 1938. It begins in Chicago, Illinois, and runs through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, Arizona, and diagonally across the U.S. territory to Los Angeles, California (later extending to Santa Monica). ), spanning eight states, three time zones, and a total length of 2,450 miles, or about 3,943 kilometers. In John Steinbeck's novel The Grapes of Wrath, this road is called the "Mother Road". So the name was used. Route 66 was informally named The Will Rogers Highway by the US Route 66 Organization in 1952. A sign honoring the humorist is still standing in Santa Monica, California.
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* All user reviews in this article have been translated by machine.

* The information above is subject to change at any time. For the latest information, please check the websites of hotels and attractions.

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Cook County 4 Days Itinerary