Chicago, Off the Beaten Path

Chicago, like many big cities, has plenty of tourist attractions, but if you’re looking to go off the beaten path and visit some unusual attractions, this blog is for you. I have you covered from actual destinations to fun sculptures and so much in between. Here are 15 (non-tourist) attractions you have to check out in Chicago.

1. Busy Beaver Button Museum

In 2010, the most unusual museum was opened in Chicago – the worlds only pin-back button museum. It houses over 30,000 buttons in all different categories such as politics, art, advertising, sports, social cause, and music. 

2. Obama Kissing Rock

A rock with a metal plaque may not be your typical tourist destination but it should be. Check out the boulder where Barack and Michelle shared their first kiss.“On our first date, I treated her to the finest ice cream Baskin-Robbins had to offer, our dinner table doubling as the curb. I kissed her and it tasted like chocolate.” -Barack Obama

3. Tommy Guns Garage

This dinner show set in a 1920s speakeasy during the prohibition era is a can’t miss comedy event. The food is delicious and the jokes will have you laughing so hard your face hurts.

4. Money Museum

The Federal Reserve money museum is small but still interesting. You can stand on a million dollars, differentiate real bills from fakes, and learn why $1,000 is called a grand.

5. Palmer House

This historic hotel has been named the longest continuously operating hotel in America. The architecture is beautiful and it may even be haunted.

6. DNA Discovery Center

From dinosaurs to DNA, the field museum allows visitors to learn about the genetic building blocks of life that span millions of years. There are many permanent collections as well as traveling collections depending on when you visit.

7. Crown Fountain

Two 50-foot high translucent towers constructed of glass brick display the faces of Chicagoans from all ages and backgrounds. Located in Millenium Park, these spitting towers are a fun places to splash around in summer.

8. Haymarket Square

Located in a less developed part of the city, history buffs visit this monument that commemorates the protest and bombing for 8 hour work days.

9. Polish Broadway

An interesting merge between old fashioned Polish Chicago and modern hipster Chicago combines restaurants and night life.

10. Concrete Traffic

Created in 1970, an actual 1957 Cadillac De Ville encased in cement is on display in a University of Chicago parking garage. It was commissioned by the Museum of Contemporary Art because why not?

11. Shit Fountain

Want to see a bronze pile of shit sitting upon a pedestal like a quality statue? This funny piece of art stands as a reminder to pet owners to pick up after their animals.

12. Shameless Homes

If you’ve love the Gallagher family as much as the rest of America, you have to check out their houses. The owner of the Gallagher house is friendly and lets people take pictures on the steps. Also Kev and Veronica’s house is two houses down. Check out for all the addresses.

13. Oz Park

Located in the Lincoln Park Neighborhood, this Wizard of Oz theme park is a must see attraction. Take pictures with iconic statues and let your kids run around the playground.

14. Secret Mermaid

In 1986, four artists decided to create an unauthorized sculpture that now sits along Oakwood Beach. Not many tourists know about this local landmark.

15. Fountain of Time

For over a century, a 127 foot long statue has sat within Washington Park. 100 human figures are shown across the age spectrum, reminding people that their time on Earth is limited. It also commemorates the first 100 years of peace between the United States and Great Britain following the war of 1812.

That’s all for unusual locations to visit in the Chicago area. Let me know if you want me to do any other cities, off the beaten path.

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