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Chicago From a Distance: Virtual Attraction Tour

April 10, 2020 By CityPASS

With its iconic skyscrapers and famous museums, Chicago is home to world-class culture. While our favorite Chicago attractions are temporarily closed, you can still “visit” them from home. While you take a virtual tour, keep your eyes open for Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot. She's been spotted in the tanks of the Shedd Aquarium and in iconic paintings at the Art Institute of Chicago, enforcing the city's stay-at-home guidelines. Memes of the mayor have been cropping up on social media with the hashtag #WheresLightfoot and on the account @whereslightfoot. Here's how to experience Chicago from home, without a stern warning from the Mayor.

Shedd Aquarium

The Shedd Aquarium is inviting guests to experience, explore and learn about the aquatic animal world online through several digital resources. Keep up-to-date on the daily lives of the aquarium's animals on social media; create learning experiences for early learners through the Sea Curious YouTube series; check out live views from the Underwater Beauty special exhibit; and dive deep with 360-video views to Keep Sharks Swimming.


From virtual yoga classes on The Ledge, to Skydeck Movie Nights (Ferris Bueller's Day Off, anyone?), there is plenty to keep you entertained. At 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge's glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck at Willis Tower. You can also bring some of the best views in the city to your online meetings with Skydeck Chicago Zoom backgrounds. Stay connected on social media with the hashtags #SkydeckChicago and #StreettoSkyChi.

Field Museum

The Field Museum wants you to keep exploring natural history with online resources and at-home activities for all ages, with lesson plans, videos, games, and more for teachers and parents. The learning resources hub makes it easy to filter by grade level and topic. Kids and their adults can explore plants and animals, world cultures, Earth science, and more. Any natural history lover or curious mind will also enjoy The Brain Scoop's videos, created by Chief Curiosity Correspondent Emily Graslie. Together with museum scientists and other guests, Graslie gets hands-on with collections, lab work, museum history—even some educational dissections.

Adler Planetarium

On a cosmic scale, there's hardly any distance between any of us here on planet earth. So even though the Adler's doors are closed for now, you can stay connected with the museum, with science and astronomy, with our universe—and with other people—exactly where you are. Adler has a whole list of online resources, including blogs, podcasts, virtual exhibits, and at-home experiments to try. You can even contribute to real scientific research through Zooniverse.

Art Institute

Wherever you are, whatever the time, the Art Institute of Chicago has online resources to connect you to their collection of art from around the world—whether you're seeking inspiration, community, or a little adventure. You can explore the collection online, enjoy a behind-the-scenes view through blogs, get stories behind objects with interactive features and watch videos that offer insights into art, profiles and history. The JourneyMaker tool builds personalized museum booklets for kids around themes like superheroes and sleepovers. So cool!

Museum of Science and Industry

The Museum of Science and Industry has a great roundup of at-home science activities that utilize basic materials. Try Nature Bingo or the Egg Drop Challenge. Their video page lets you watch baby chicks being born, see how the U-505 Submarine was moved to its new home, and more. Experience science hands-on with web and mobile-based apps. Try "Code Fred: Survival Mode" to help Fred outrun danger in the woods or take a virtual tour inside a beating human heart.

360 Chicago Observation Deck

The 360 Chicago Observation Deck in the iconic John Hancock Building is still offering up some of the best views of Chicago, but for now, from a very safe distance. You can find the inspiring city views and witty commentary on their social media pages. They really want to see your view, too. Share your view from home with the hashtag .

Header image: ©Shedd Aquarium; Brenna Hernandez

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