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7 Things You've Never Seen in Chicago

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Chicago is a wonderful place to live and a world-class tourist destination. With its incredible architecture, fascinating history, beautiful outdoor spaces, mesmerizing museums and galleries, and innovative restaurants and bars, it's no wonder over 50 million people flock to Chicago each year.

Whether you call the Windy City home, or you're just planning a vacation, there are so many activities that it can be difficult to narrow down your options. Plus, if you've been to Chicago plenty of times, you might want to diversify and try something new and exciting.

Everyone visits Millennium Park and Cloud Gate for that iconic photo, or walks through the Art Institute of Chicago or Museum of Science and Industry. But what about the equally amazing, but much less known, attractions? We've put together our list of top unique and original destinations, activities, and events to check out in Chicago. So, once you've finished off a busy week of work (maybe after finishing one or two DIY appliance repair projects) why not treat yourself to a fun weekend or more exploring Chicago? This list has something for everyone.

Kayak Through the City on the Chicago River

There are many ways to tour Chicago and soak in the sights. While every city has its walking and bus tours, here in Chicago you've also got access to a river for a unique vantage point. Head to one of Urban Kayak's two locations (Riverwalk or Lakefront) to book a guided excursion. They offer numerous themed tours, so you can paddle while enjoying happy hour, sunset, or even fireworks. Or, go at your own pace, and rent a kayak from Wateriders. They also offer paddling lessons for free, so you can get comfortable in the boat before heading out.

Wander Through the Enchanting Garfield Park Conservatory

This botanical paradise is a favorite of many locals, but is often overlooked by visitors who prioritize Lincoln Zoo or the Chicago Botanic Garden. Garfield Park Conservatory is a 12-acre oasis nestled within the larger Garfield Park. With expansive glass enclosures, you can experience tropical flora year round. Or, wander through the vast outdoor gardens with plenty of space to play and explore. They host regular educational and art events, so be sure to check their website and plan accordingly.

Immerse Yourself in a Gangster or Ghost Tour



Image via Pixabay by TheDigitalArtist

Chicago is known for its history of organized crime, and there are certainly lost souls looking to complete unfinished business. As a result, a number of tour companies offer gangster and ghost tours of the city. Learn about Chicago's mobster past on the Untouchable Tours Gangster Bus. If you prefer the scarier side of history, join Chicago Hauntings for one of their spooky expeditions. Or combine both interests with Chicago Tour's Gangster and Ghost Tour, which leaves no stone unturned in its exploration of Chicago's mysterious past.

Visit Big Joe's for Turtle Racing

Racing turtles might be the most unique thing you ever do, not only the most unique thing you do in Chicago. Believe it or not, this isn't even a new thing in the city – there's record of a turtle race being held in Riverview Park as early as 1908. To try your hand at this quirky past time, head to Big Joe's or Tin Lizzie on a Friday evening. At Big Joe's, each drink purchase will get you a ticket to bid on a contender. At Tin Lizzie's, $40 gets you unlimited drink and food, and four races.

Check Out Local Street Art Hotspots

Once you've walked the famous city streets of Chicago, you're likely to crave something a little different. If you enjoy art, an Offbeat Street Art Tour is the perfect unique experience. Chicago has some incredible street art right under your nose, in plain sight, or hidden around a back alley. The professionals at Offbeat know exactly where to take you to see some of the most incredible, jaw-dropping murals. They're also committed to giving back to the community through the Logan Square Art Community, so you can trust that you're supporting local artists while seeing the sights.

Treat your Taste Buds at Chicago French Market

There are numerous food markets and tours in the city, so why not try something a bit different on your next visit? Since its first run in 2009, the French Market of Chicago has been transporting visitors to another world with its authentic European stalls. The market is open year round and hosts over 30 local vendors, with products ranging from French pastries to Italian street food to seasonal fruit and vegetables. You can dine at the market and enjoy ready-made meals, or fill your shopping bags with ingredients for home cooking.

Walk the Halls of Frank Lloyd Wright's Home and Studio

Frank Lloyd Wright was a visionary of American architecture, and his home is right here in Chicago's Oak Park neighborhood. This is a great and unique destination for anyone who appreciates design, building, or architecture. During his life, Wright designed over 1,000 buildings. You can still see many of them in Chicago, and a few are within walking distance of his house. We recommend that after touring his home and studio, you check out his Frederick C. Robie House, which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Enjoy Chicago's Unique Attractions

We hope this list has provided you with plenty of ideas for a unique and diverse visit to Chicago. Whether you've been to the windy city dozens of times, live here, or it's your first time – it's always worth trying something a bit nontraditional.

From gangster tours to kayak expeditions, architecture museums to botanic gardens, turtle racing to French markets, you're guaranteed to find entertainment at these unique Chicago attractions. Did we miss your favorite unique local spot in Chicago? Let us know.

In the meantime, if you're at home and finishing up some important DIY projects, be sure to check out the products available at Automatic Appliance Parts Corporation. Their appliance model lookup makes it easy to find the diagrams and parts for your models.