12 Fun Things to Do in Chicago for Young Adults (Millennials + Gen Z)

by Flora Backup
This post may have affiliate links, where I may receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Beyond the windy streets and deep-dish pizza, Chicago is a playground for the young and restless. Our guide is packed with the coolest things to do in Chicago for young adults, from thrilling escapes to buzzing nightlife spots!

So, you’re thinking about hitting up Chicago? Great choice! This city isn’t just a bunch of buildings and deep-dish pizza (though, let’s be real, the pizza is a big deal). The vibes here? Totally unmatched.

You’ve got neighborhoods each with their own flavor, from the hipster haunts in Wicker Park to the chill vibes in Lincoln Park. And the music scene? It’s the heart and soul of Chicago. Whether you’re into jazz, rock, or just a good beat, there’s always a tune playing somewhere in this city.

But hey, it’s not all about what you see. It’s the experiences, right? Like cheering with the locals at a Cubs game, or finding that hole-in-the-wall eatery with the best tacos you’ve ever had. And let’s not forget about cruising on the river, seeing the city from a whole new angle.

So, grab your friends, pack that sense of adventure, and let’s dive into Chicago. Trust me, it’s not just a trip; it’s a bunch of stories waiting to happen. Ready to make some memories?

The best things to do in Chicago for young adults right now

Fun Things to Do in Chicago for Young Adults

Ready to explore the best young adult activities in Chicago? From skyline views to vibrant street art, let’s uncover the city’s most exciting spots together!

1. Catch Thrills at Navy Pier

Navy Pier, stretching over 3000 feet into Lake Michigan, always buzzes with energy and fun. Picture yourself riding the 260-foot-tall Ferris wheel, getting those epic skyline shots for your feed.

The Pier is a hub for cool exhibits, tasty eats, and unique shops. It’s like a festival that never ends. You can catch a show at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater or hop on a cruise for a different view of the city. And the best part? It’s perfect for hanging out with friends or even solo exploring. You’ll never run out of things to see and do in this hidden gem in Chicago.

The Pier serves as a focal point for intriguing exhibits, delectable dining, and distinctive shops, offering a diverse experience.
The Pier serves as a focal point for intriguing exhibits, delectable dining, and distinctive shops, offering a diverse experience.

And let’s talk about the food. From classic Chicago-style hot dogs to gourmet treats, your taste buds are in for a treat. Visit in the evening for an amazing sunset view. And if you’re there on a summer Wednesday or Saturday, don’t miss the fireworks!

2. Savor the Flavor at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria

Get ready to bite into a slice of Chicago’s heart at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria. Here, deep-dish pizza gets a whole new meaning. Imagine a buttery crust, layers of gooey cheese, and a rich, chunky tomato sauce. Every bite is a taste of Chicago’s culinary pride.

Lou Malnati’s has been serving up these delicious pies since the 1940s. They stick to a tried-and-true recipe, making each pizza a masterpiece. Whether you’re a cheese fanatic or a pepperoni lover, they’ve got you covered. Their veggie pizza is a vegetarian dream! One of the most fun things to do with friends in Chicago is to order different pizza flavors for sharing.

Prepare to savor a taste of Chicago's essence at Lou Malnati's Pizzeria, where every bite is iconic.
Prepare to savor a taste of Chicago’s essence at Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, where every bite is iconic.

The restaurant is a great spot to chill with friends, share stories, and enjoy a meal that’s more like an experience. The staff are friendly, adding to the cozy, welcoming atmosphere. These pizzas are popular, so expect a bit of a wait, especially during peak hours. Trust us, it’s worth it. An extra tip: go for the classic Malnati Chicago Classic™. It’s loaded with extra cheese and their famous lean sausage!

3. Try Yoga With a View at 360 CHICAGO

Elevate your Chicago experience at 360 CHICAGO. It’s not every day you get to do yoga 94 floors above the city! The 360 Chicago Observation Deck offers more than just stunning views; it’s a place where you can stretch, bend, and find your zen in the sky.

Here’s where you’ll find some of the coolest things to do in Chicago. Imagine doing your sun salutations with the entire cityscape as your backdrop. The yoga classes here cater to all levels, so don’t worry if you’re not a pro. It’s all about enjoying the moment and the incredible view.

Elevate your Chicago experience by practicing yoga at 360 CHICAGO, combining breathtaking views with mindfulness. | Image Credits: The Magnificent Mile
Elevate your Chicago experience by practicing yoga at 360 CHICAGO, combining breathtaking views with mindfulness. | Image Credits: The Magnificent Mile

After yoga, stick around to explore the observation deck. The TILT attraction tilts you over the edge of the building for an adrenaline rush like no other. And if you’re up for a drink, there’s a bar where you can toast to your sky-high adventure.

Tip: Book your yoga session in advance as spots fill up quickly. And don’t forget your camera – the views are too good not to capture!

4. Sip Cocktails High Above the City at LondonHouse Chicago

Elevate your evening at LondonHouse Chicago, where the rooftop bar isn’t just a place to drink; it’s an experience. Perched on the 22nd floor, this rooftop is a fusion of luxury, comfort, and style, making it one of the top places to hang out in Chicago.

The open-air rooftop bar presents a panoramic view of the city’s skyline, the Chicago River, and the bustling streets below. It’s the perfect spot to unwind after a day of exploring, where the glowing lights of the city create a backdrop unlike any other.

Indulge in a distinctive afternoon with the River Vista Afternoon Tea Service, offering a delightful and unique experience.
Indulge in a distinctive afternoon with the River Vista Afternoon Tea Service, offering a delightful and unique experience.

The indoor bar on the 21st floor, LH on 21, offers a cozy yet elegant setting. Here, you can savor re-imagined American cuisine and hand-crafted cocktails. The menu is a testament to culinary excellence, with options that cater to every palate.

For a unique afternoon experience, the River Vista Afternoon Tea Service is a delightful option. It combines the elegance of traditional tea with a modern twist, all while you enjoy the stunning river views.

5. Cheer Like a Local at Wrigley Field

Experience the roar of the crowd at Wrigley Field, where baseball isn’t just a game; it’s a Chicago tradition. Nestled in the heart of Wrigleyville, this historic ballpark is a must-visit for anyone looking to dive into the city’s sports culture.

Wrigley Field is where you’ll find some of the cool stuff in Chicago. Here you can feel the energy of passionate fans, munch on classic ballpark snacks, and sing along during the 7th-inning stretch. The atmosphere here is electric, whether you’re a die-hard baseball fan or just soaking in the vibes.

Discover cool vibes at Wrigley Field, where excitement and memorable experiences await baseball enthusiasts and beyond.
Discover cool vibes at Wrigley Field, where excitement and memorable experiences await baseball enthusiasts and beyond.

The stadium itself is a piece of history, being the second-oldest ballpark in the major leagues. Walking through its gates is like stepping back in time. Don’t miss the chance to take a tour and learn about the legendary moments that have taken place here.

Tips: For a unique view, check out the rooftop seats around the stadium. And remember, Cubs games are popular, so book your tickets in advance. Joining in with the locals for a game at Wrigley Field is an unforgettable way to experience Chicago’s love for baseball.

6. Cruise and Schmooze on Spirit of Chicago

Embark on a festive journey with the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise. As you sail along Lake Michigan, the city’s lights dance on the waves, creating a magical backdrop for your evening.

The Spirit of Chicago is a hub for fun places to go in Chicago. The cruise offers a grand dinner buffet, featuring a variety of delicious foods crafted by “Chopped” champion and celebrity chef Eric LeVine. From fresh salads to signature short ribs and delightful desserts, every dish is a treat for your taste buds.

Set sail on a celebratory adventure aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise.
Set sail on a celebratory adventure aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise.

But the food is just part of the fun. The cruise comes alive at night with entertainment. Dance to top-40 hits, enjoy line dances, and soak in the perfect vibe set by the interactive MC. The outdoor observation decks offer fresh air and stunning sights, including landmarks like The Willis Tower and Navy Pier. On select nights, the Spirit of Chicago Fireworks Dinner Cruises add an extra sparkle.

Dress up for the occasion to enhance your experience. Booking in advance is recommended, especially for firework cruises. And don’t forget to step onto the observation deck for breathtaking views of Chicago’s skyline.

7. Dive into Discovery at Shedd Aquarium

Plunge into a world of aquatic wonders at Shedd Aquarium. It’s not every day you get to come face-to-face with exotic sea creatures. From colorful fish to majestic sharks, Shedd Aquarium is a gateway to the underwater world.

Shedd Aquarium is packed with young adult things to do. Engage with interactive exhibits, watch dolphins leap in the air, and get up close with beluga whales. It’s a blend of education, conservation, and pure wonder.

Immerse yourself in a mesmerizing world of underwater wonders and marine marvels at Chicago's renowned Shedd Aquarium.
Immerse yourself in a mesmerizing world of underwater wonders and marine marvels at Chicago’s renowned Shedd Aquarium.

Visitors can also participate in animal encounters, behind-the-scenes tours, and hands-on activities. Each visit is a chance to gain new insights and make unforgettable memories! Weekdays are less crowded than weekends. Check out their special exhibits and shows in advance to plan your visit. And don’t forget, the aquatic show is a must-see – it’s a display of marine intelligence and grace you won’t want to miss.

8. Discover Art at the Museum of Contemporary Art

Feed your inner culture vulture at the Museum of Contemporary Art, one of the most popular attractions for young adults in Chicago. It’s one of the largest contemporary art museums in the world, showcasing a diverse range of works from audio and video to visual art, photography, sculpture, and more. The museum focuses on works created by living artists and those of recent decades, making it a place of constant discovery and engagement.

The MCA’s collection is vast and varied, featuring over 2,500 pieces that rotate with relevant exhibits. You’ll find works by notable artists like Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman, and Jasper Johns. The museum also hosts a variety of exhibitions each year, displaying the work of one artist or a combination of carefully curated works that span styles and eras.

Satisfy your cultural appetite at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a top choice among Chicago's young adults.
Satisfy your cultural appetite at the Museum of Contemporary Art, a top choice among Chicago’s young adults.

In addition to visual art, MCA is home to the Edlis Neeson Theater, an intimate performance space for dance, theater, music, and film. This adds to the museum’s reputation as an incredible center for interdisciplinary art.

9. Rock Out at The House of Blues

Feel the rhythm at The House of Blues, where every night is a celebration of music and culture. This iconic venue is a melting pot of sounds and styles, from rock and blues to pop and R&B.

Founded nearly three decades ago, The House of Blues stands as a testament to the mantra “Unity in Diversity.” It’s a place where music lovers of all backgrounds come together.

Experience the vibrant beats at The House of Blues, where each night transforms into a music and cultural celebration.
Experience the vibrant beats at The House of Blues, where each night transforms into a music and cultural celebration.

The venue’s mission is to celebrate the power of music in bringing people together, making it a vibrant spot for fun activities in Chicago for adults.

The House of Blues is more than a concert hall; it’s a living museum of Outsider and American Folk Art. The walls are adorned with works from over 150 artists, creating a visual blues that complements the auditory experience. The venue also features a unique God Wall, paying homage to the spiritual symbols of world religions, celebrating the differences that unite us.

Arrive early to explore the art-filled walls and enjoy a meal at the Southern-inspired restaurant. Check out the Foundation Room for a more intimate and luxurious experience.

10. Zip Through the Sky at 360 CHICAGO

Elevate your adventure at 360 CHICAGO. Standing 94 floors above the bustling streets, this observation deck offers more than just a panoramic view of the city. At 360 CHICAGO, you’re stepping into a world of awe-inspiring sights.

From the top, you can see up to four states on a clear day. It’s a perfect blend of urban and natural beauty, with Lake Michigan stretching out like a vast, blue canvas. For things to do in Chicago for 18 year olds, 360 CHICAGO is a hit. It’s home to TILT – Chicago’s highest thrill ride, also one of the best attractions in Chicago with teens. Imagine leaning out over the city, with nothing but glass between you and the streets below. It’s an adrenaline rush like no other.

For young adults in search of Chicago activities, 360 CHICAGO is a popular and must-visit attraction.
For young adults in search of Chicago activities, 360 CHICAGO is a popular and must-visit attraction.

Visit during sunset for a breathtaking view. If you’re up for a challenge, try TILT – it’s an unforgettable experience. Buying tickets online in advance can save time and sometimes money.

11. Gaze at Stars at Adler Planetarium

Embark on a cosmic journey at Adler Planetarium. Here, the mysteries of space are within your reach, unfolding across expansive screens and interactive exhibits. Adler Planetarium takes you beyond Earth’s boundaries. Explore distant galaxies, learn about the wonders of our solar system, and experience the vastness of space like never before. It’s a place where science meets imagination, sparking curiosity and awe.

For things to do in Chicago at night under 21, Adler Planetarium is a stellar choice. Their nighttime events, like the Adler After Dark series, offer unique experiences. Imagine exploring the universe, attending special lectures, and enjoying hands-on activities, all under the night sky.

Embark on an awe-inspiring cosmic journey filled with discovery and wonder at Chicago's renowned Adler Planetarium.
Embark on an awe-inspiring cosmic journey filled with discovery and wonder at Chicago’s renowned Adler Planetarium.

Don’t forget to check Adler’s event calendar for special evening programs. These events are a great way to experience the planetarium in a different light. Remember, some events might require advance ticket purchases.

12. Solve Mysteries at The Escape Game Chicago

Unleash your inner detective at The Escape Game Chicago. Here, you and your friends become the heroes of your own thrilling story, solving puzzles and uncovering secrets to escape.

Located in the heart of the city, The Escape Game offers a variety of themed rooms. Each room is a different world, from heist scenarios to space missions. The challenges are clever, the settings are incredibly realistic, and the adrenaline rush is real.

When seeking enjoyable activities in Chicago for young adults, The Escape Game stands out as an excellent choice.
When seeking enjoyable activities in Chicago for young adults, The Escape Game stands out as an excellent choice.

For fun things to do in Chicago for young adults, The Escape Game is a standout choice. It’s perfect for those who love a challenge and enjoy working as a team. Whether you’re cracking codes or finding hidden objects, every moment is packed with excitement and fun.

Book your game in advance, especially on weekends, as slots fill up quickly. Choose a theme that excites your group for an unforgettable experience. And remember, teamwork is key to escaping!

Frequently Asked Questions About Fun Activities in Chicago for Young Adults

Curious about what Chicago for young adults has to offer? Our FAQs have got you covered with all the insider tips and must-knows!

What makes Chicago a great destination for young adults?

Chicago is a vibrant city teeming with activities that cater to young adults. From its dynamic music scene and diverse nightlife to its rich cultural offerings like museums and theaters, there’s always something exciting to explore. The city’s blend of urban charm and lakeside beauty offers a unique backdrop for a variety of experiences, making it an ideal destination for those seeking adventure, entertainment, and cultural enrichment.

Activities for 20 year olds in Chicago are diverse and thrilling. This age group often enjoys exploring the city’s lively music venues, like The House of Blues, or engaging in interactive experiences like The Escape Game Chicago. Outdoor enthusiasts can bike along the Lakefront Trail, while art lovers can immerse themselves in the contemporary collections at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The city’s diverse neighborhoods also offer a chance to experience different cultures and cuisines.

What’s Chicago famous for?

Chicago is renowned for its impressive architecture, deep-dish pizza, and jazz and blues heritage. The city boasts iconic structures like Willis Tower and the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millennium Park. Chicago’s culinary scene is also a highlight, with its famous Chicago-style hot dogs and diverse dining options. Additionally, the city’s rich history in jazz and blues music continues to thrive in its many live music venues.

Are there any notable bars for young adults in Chicago?

Chicago has some of the best bars in Chicago for young adults, offering a range of atmospheres from trendy rooftop bars to cozy speakeasies. Popular spots include the lively atmosphere of Three Dots and a Dash, known for its tiki-themed cocktails, and the chic ambiance of The Signature Room at the 95th, offering stunning city views. For those who enjoy craft beers, the city’s numerous breweries and taprooms provide a taste of local flavors. It’s also one of the best places to go in Chicago for couples where the ambiance, food, and views come together to create a magical experience.

In the vibrant city of Chicago, boundless energy and countless opportunities await young adults seeking adventure and fresh experiences.
In the vibrant city of Chicago, boundless energy and countless opportunities await young adults seeking adventure and fresh experiences.

Is Chicago good for shopping?

Chicago is a fantastic city for shopping, offering everything from high-end boutiques on the Magnificent Mile to unique finds in local neighborhoods like Wicker Park and the Loop. The city is home to major department stores, designer outlets, and independent shops, catering to a wide range of styles and budgets. Whether you’re looking for the latest fashion trends or one-of-a-kind gifts, Chicago’s shopping scene has it all.

How do I spend my day in Chicago?

Spending a day in Chicago can be an exciting mix of sightseeing, dining, and entertainment. Start with a visit to a famous attraction in Chicago like the Art Institute of Chicago or the Skydeck at Willis Tower. Enjoy lunch at a local eatery, then spend the afternoon exploring neighborhoods like Lincoln Park or the Gold Coast. End your day with a show at a theater in the Theater District or with live music at a venue like The House of Blues.

What are some unique things to do in Chicago for young adults?

For young adults looking for unique experiences, Chicago offers a range of options. Engage in an immersive art experience at places like the Museum of Contemporary Art or explore the city’s vibrant street art scene. For a taste of adventure, try kayaking on the Chicago River or join a bike tour through the city’s historic neighborhoods. The city’s diverse cultural festivals throughout the year also offer a unique way to experience Chicago’s rich heritage.

What are the best ways to experience Chicago’s nightlife?

Experiencing Chicago’s nightlife is a must, with options ranging from jazz clubs and rooftop bars to dance clubs and comedy shows. The city’s music scene is vibrant, offering everything from blues and jazz to indie and electronic music. For a more laid-back evening, enjoy a cocktail at a rooftop bar with city views or laugh the night away at a comedy club like The Second City. Chicago’s nightlife truly has something for every taste.

Final Thoughts on Chicago Attractions for Young Adults

Chicago is a city bursting with energy and possibilities, especially for young adults looking for adventure and new experiences. From the towering skyscrapers and bustling streets to the serene parks and lakefront, the city offers a diverse range of activities. This makes it one of the best places to travel in the US for young people.

Whether you’re into music, art, food, or outdoor adventures, there’s no shortage of fun stuff to do in Chicago for young adults. Each neighborhood tells its own story, inviting you to explore and create memories. Chicago is a place where every visit can be different, yet always exciting. So, pack your sense of adventure and get ready to discover all the fun and wonders this vibrant city has to offer.

The best things to do for young adults in Chicago for all types of travelers
Enjoyed reading about the best things to do for young adults in Chicago? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment