Chicago is typically known for deep dish pizza and the bean. But beyond the skyscrapers and more modern buildings, there is history and architecture that goes back to a different time. The windy city was founded around 1830 and has continued to flourish and grow ever since. Whether you’re a local, renting your first apartment, or visiting the Windy City for the first time, check out some of these top historical sites that are beautiful and almost frozen in time.
Fourth Presbyterian Church
The Fourth Presbyterian Church was built nearly a century ago and has welcomed over 8 million visitors since 1914. An ornate steeple accented by the thick stained-glass west window and delicate carvings of seven foot-tall angels, this church is the oldest building on the Magnificent Mile —a renowned section of Michigan Avenue. Fourth Presbyterian boasts French and English Gothic styles that are unlike the tall skyscrapers and modern buildings of Chicago.
Picasso Sculpture at the Daley Plaza
This three-dimensional sculpture was gifted to the Daley Center in 1967 from Pablo Picasso himself. It stands 50 feet tall, weighs 162 tons and is constructed of self-weathering steel to give it a natural rust. It’s an artistic extension of the government building that also works as an outdoor space for various public activities. It’s rumored by Picasso’s family that the sculpture was inspired by a young women whom Picasso was infatuated with.
First opened in 1914, Wrigley Field is a sentimental site for baseball fans of all ages. Feel the vibe of the “good ole’ days” with a manual scoreboard and ivy-covered brick walls. Even if you don’t have time to watch a game, you can schedule a tour of more than 90 years of baseball history. If you are able to catch a game, be sure to grab a hot-dog, a beer ,and some friends to join you for a day at Wrigley Field!
Chicago Water Tower
The Chicago Water Tower was built in 1869 and survived the great fire of 1871. The main tower is 154 feet high and features several smaller towers surrounding the main attraction. Although it is no longer functioning, it was chosen by the American Water Works Association as the first American Water Landmark in the US.
Sitting right between Lake Michigan and the towering skyscrapers of downtown, sits Grant Park. It has been the city’s most popular playground for well over 150 years and features various monuments, gardens, and walking paths. Known as “Chicago’s front yard” and stretching over 319 acres, it’s a history lesson mixed with a beautiful stroll in the park.
Chicago Board of Trade Building
An important and recognized Chicago landmark, the Chicago Board of Trade Building was established in 1885 as a center for agricultural market trade. It was one of the first buildings to experience electric lighting and was ultimately redesigned in 1930 in an art-deco style. The CBOT regularly hosts architectural tours to the public, so you can catch a glimpse of this amazing design work.
Take a walk down memory lane and bask in the history that Chicago has to offer. Of course, there are plenty of other sites that have a rich past. But this is a great place to start to learn a bit more about this beautiful city!