If you’re planning a visit the Chicago and don’t want to spend your time at Wrigley Field, Navy Pier or shopping on the Magnificent Mile, there are plenty of other things to do. Many visitors to Chicago come for the amazing food in the city, but the Windy City has so much more to offer. It’s a city filled with culture, history, and art.
Here are the 5 strangest things to see while in Chicago.
Willis Tower Glass Platforms
While the Willis Tower, formerly known as the Sears Tower (and still adamantly called that by Chicago natives), is a huge tourist attraction, there is something strange and different to see there. It’s the eleventh tallest building in the world and the tallest in the Western Hemisphere. Many people don’t know that the Willis Tower has four glass boxes that hover over 1,000 feet in the air. Visitors can stand in these boxes, that seem to have no structural support whatsoever, and see in all directions, including down, enjoying a view that encompasses 50 miles and 4 states.
In the middle of Chicago’s Lincoln Park, there is a garden dedicated to Chicago native Frank Baum and his masterpiece, “The Wizard of Oz”. There is a community-run Emerald Garden along with Dorothy’s Playground. What makes this park really stand out are the statues of the Tin Man, the Scarecrow, and the Cowardly Lion. For fans of the book, Oz Park is a must-see (Image via Flickr by Ingrid Richter).
Chicago Cultural Center’s Tiffany Dome
Preston Hall is home to one of the largest Tiffany Ceiling Domes in the world. It’s an awe-inspiring 38 feet in diameter and has over 30,000 individual panes of glass. The dome was built in 1897 by Tiffany’s mosaicist, J. A. Holzer. Around the edges of the dome, you can see each of the signs of the Zodiac. After a renovation and preservation project in 2009, the dome is more beautiful than ever and is definitely worth seeing.
International Museum of Surgical Science
This museum is strange and bordering on the bizarre. Run by the International Surgical Society, it is devoted to maintaining and chronicling the history of surgery throughout the ages. Here, you can see both antique and modern surgical equipment and learn how different surgeries have been performed in the past. In the fall, they even offer Halloween themed tours that feature mock amputations (Image via Flickr by deadhorse).
Division Street Russian and Turkish Baths
The Division Street Baths are one of the few working bath houses left in the country. They have the traditional separate entrances for men and women and offer a variety of bathing services. You can enjoy a traditional sauna, steam bath, and even receive a rub down by an attendant wielding birch branches. This is a spa service you can’t miss.
When you stay off the beaten path, you’ll receive a reward in the form of unique experiences and treasured memories. Of course, when you’re in Chicago, you can enjoy some of the commonplace tourist attractions as well. Use a handy tool like Gogobot to find the perfect place to stay near any of the city’s coolest spots. Happy exploring!
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Feature Image via Flickr by Charlotte