Things To Do in Chicago for Seniors

Posted by Lexington Square

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A Senior’s Guide to Exploring Chicago

Chicago is one of the world’s great cities where year-round you can find new and exciting things to do no matter your interests or age. We will cover quite a few different activities you may enjoy, and provide you with links to all the resources we discuss. That way you can easily contact any of the venues and businesses you may want to visit. Obviously, in a city the size of Chicago we will not be able to cover everything, but with the resources provided, you should be able to find something that piques your interest. The only way to discover all that awaits you is to get out and explore.

Tours & Cruises

One of the best ways to see the city, and avoid all the walking, is to take a tour or cruise. You can contact the City of Chicago’s Department of Family and Support Services to schedule something through their office, or simply contact one of the many tour and cruise operators located in the city directly. Either option will work fine though the direct approach leads to a much more customizable adventure.

Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co

(773) 648-5000

Chicago’s longest-running tour company, the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co, offers a great ride through downtown with stops at 13 of the city’s most iconic landmarks. You will get a guidebook containing maps, recommendations, schedules, and coupons to get goodies, like world famous Garrett’s Popcorn, for free. Riders can hop on and off the bus at any of the stops to see the sights up close, and get back on the next bus when it arrives. Buses are usually spaced 20 to 30 minutes apart, so you will have plenty of time to explore each stop. Tickets can be purchased for 48 hours too, so if you get tired you can always come back the next day to finish where you left off. Here is a listing of the 13 stops currently available on the tour:

  • Skydeck Chicago
  • Michigan Avenue Bridge
  • Art Institute & Millennium Park
  • Hilton Chicago & Grant Park
  • Adler Planetarium
  • Field Museum & Shedd Aquarium
  • Maggie Daley Park & Millennium Park
  • Sheraton Hotel
  • Navy Pier
  • The Magnificent Mile
  • Water Tower
  • 360 Chicago at John Hancock Center
  • Hard Rock & River North

Chicago’s First Lady

112 E. Wacker Dr.
(847) 358-1330

One of the best ways to spend a day in the city is cruising on the Chicago River. Chicago’s First Lady will take you on an architectural touring cruise you will never forget. Named a Top 10 Tour in the U.S. by TripAdvisor, this 90-minute cruise along the river and back highlights the wonderful architecture of Chicago, and more than likely learn something you had never known; even if you have lived here all your life. As the tour guide regales you with stories about the history of the beautiful structures you encounter, you can relax in a large, comfortable boat with refreshment in hand. There really are no easier ways to see the sights and learn a little something about what makes Chicago such a wonderful place to live. As an added bonus, it is a great way to exercise the mind while resting the body. Tickets can be purchased online or at the dock.

Museums

There are many people who would say that Chicago’s greatest asset is its museums. There are so many wonderful exhibits in so many unique and beautiful structures that you could spend a lifetime exploring the intricacies of them all. But, if you only want to spend a day then you have some choices to make. Are you interested in your cultural heritage? Do you prefer Impressionists? Or are you a natural history buff? Well, no matter what you fancy Chicago has the perfect museum for you. We will highlight a couple of the area favorites to give you a sense of what is awaiting you, and you will find the other major museums’ contact information at the end of this article.

Field Museum of Natural History

1400 Lake Shore Drive

Easily one of the premier natural history museums in the world, the Field Museum of Natural History is a Chicago landmark that should not be missed. Here you will find some of the rarest and most prized exhibits from ages past, and you are guaranteed to discover something new every time you visit. The staff are incredibly knowledgeable and always a joy to talk to, so ask all the questions you like. They will happily answer them all, and point you in the right direction if you are lost. They also have free admission days throughout the year. Their website has all sorts of useful information you can view before your visit like directions, downloadable maps, and audio tour guides. You can even download their mobile app to use while there to enhance an already incredible experience.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
2430 N. Cannon Drive
(773) 755-5100

The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum may be less well known than the Field Museum, but it holds a special place in the hearts of Chicagoans. Located right next to the Lincoln Park Zoo which boasts free  admission to see the animals, this museum is basically a two-for-one. You can visit the museum to enjoy the beauty of nature, and perhaps have your picture taken in the magnificent butterfly enclosure. The truly fortunate have butterflies landing all over them as their photo is taken. Think of it as a Lincoln Park tradition you should be a part of. Then take your ease watching children play in the water play areas, or learn something amazing about the world you live in through the educational and informative exhibits on display. Tickets are curretly $7 for seniors and free admission days are held throughout the year for Chicago residents. Their website has directions, hours, and other useful information to view before planning your trip. Now when you are ready to go, you can take in the Lincoln Park Zoo with its wide assortment of animals from all over the world. Be sure to see the baby snow monkeys for a good laugh!

Life Enrichment

Chicago is on the forefront of providing real and effective services to the senior citizens that call this city home. There is a large network of senior centers located throughout the city that offer classes and programs to seniors every day of the week. You can take classes on almost anything you can imagine at the Discovery Center: from personal investing to publishing, digital photography to AARP driver safety. Computer classes are available through SeniorNet at the Levy Regional Center. Don’t forget, you can join Chicago Fitness Plus, an award-winning fitness program run by the city of Chicago, to take group exercise classes for senior fitness, arthritis, yoga, weight training, and tai chi. Chicago Fitness Plus is available at all senior centers and regional satellite centers throughout Chicago.

These senior centers also offer comprehensive information on preventing disease and maintaining health. They regularly provide a Wellness Team at many locations made up of a nurse, a dietitian, a social worker, and a pharmacist. This team will administer blood pressure screenings and hold consultations with seniors to discuss any issues they may have with their health. It is a great resource to take advantage of and costs absolutely nothing for Chicago seniors.

Here is a helpful list of links you can visit:

Volunteering

Another great way to spend a day in Chicago is volunteering. There are worthy charities who could benefit greatly from seniors’ time and effort all over the city. Seniors are in great demand within volunteer organizations like the Foster Grandparent Program and Chicago Cares, but any organization would be lucky to have the experience and wisdom seniors bring to the table. If you are interested in getting out and getting involved simply locate a charity and sign up. You will meet some amazing people and feel really good about what you are doing.

Groups like these and more are always looking for citizens to step up and aid their cause:

Special Events

As one of the nation’s largest cities, Chicago is blessed with countless festivals, market days, annual productions, and special events. These literally take place every weekend of the year and can be discovered by checking the Choose Chicago website. The calendar there is constantly updated with all of the great events scheduled across the city. It is the best resource available for locating neighborhood activities and special events. There are some real gems to be found if you take the time to peruse the calendar. “The Best of Serendipity” is a great example. This production is put on every year to showcase the best and brightest senior citizen talents in singing, music, comedy, dance, and more. The more you look through the calendar the more likely you are to find something that is right up your alley. Most of these events are great ways to get to know your neighbors and meet people with similar interests.

Here are just a few of the yearly events you can find:

Now Go Have Fun!

All of the different ways we discussed to spend a day in Chicago are excellent ways to get acquainted with your neighbors, your fellow Chicagoans, and others you never knew you would meet but are glad you did. It’s a grand city with limitless possibilities for adventure and discovery.So, take the time to get out and experience this wonderful city and get to know Chicago all over again.

Resources

The information provided below is intended to help you find additional information on a wide variety of topics including all of the areas we touched on in this article. We have included contact information on all of the major Chicago institutions you may be interested in visiting.

Volunteer

Chicago Cares, Inc. – 312-780-0800

Foster Grandparent Program – 312-744-3221

RSVP -Retired and Senior Volunteer Program North Cook and Northern DuPage Counties – 847-228-1327

Transportation

Chicago Transit Authority – 1-888-968-7282

Mayor Daley’s Senior Shuttle Service – 312-744-4016

Regional Transportation Authority – 312-913-3110

City of Chicago Senior Centers

Abbott Park Senior
Satellite Center 312-745-3493

Austin Satellite
Senior Center 312-743-1538

Central West
Senior Center 312-746-5300

Garfield Ridge Satellite
Senior Center (312) 745-4255

Mather’s More Than a Café
Norwood Park 773-774-4804
Chatham 773-488-2801
Portage Park 773-205-3300

Northeast (Levy)
Center 312-744-0784

Northwest (Copernicus)
Center 312-744-6681

Portage Park Satellite Senior
Center 312-744-9022

Renaissance Court (Cultural
Center) Chicago Department
on Aging 312-744-4551

Southeast (Atlas) Senior
Center 312-747-0189

Southeast Asia
Center 773-989-6927

Southwest Senior
Center 312-747-0440

Vincennes Senior
Center 773-483-6650

West Town / Logan Square Senior
Satellite 312-743-1016

Museums & Historical Sites

ABA Museum of Law 312-988-6222
Alder Planetarium & Astronomy Museum 312-922-7827
ARTIFACT Center at Spertus Museum 312-322-1747
Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture 773-582-6500
Chicago Historical Society 312-642-4600
City Gallery at the Historic Water Tower 312-744-2400
Clarke House Museum (Glessner House) 312-326-1480
Cuneo Museum and Gardens 847-362-3042
David and Alfred Smart Museum 773-702-0200
DuSable Museum of African American History 773-947-0600
Evanston Historical Society/Dawes House 847-475-3410
The Field Museum 312-922-9410
Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio 708-848-1976
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Frederick C. Robie House 708-848-1976
Frank Lloyd Wright’s Unity Temple 708-383-8873
Gallery 37, Center for the Arts 312-742-8497
Glessner House Museum 312-326-1480
Hellenic Museum and Cultural Center 312-655-1234
Historic Pleasant Home 708-383-2654
The International Museum of Surgical Science 312-642-6502
The Lizzadro Museum of Lapidary 630-833-1616
Jane Addams Hull House Museum 312-413-5353
Mexican Fine Arts Museum 312-738-1503
Museum of Contemporary Art 312-280-2660
Museum of Contemporary Photography 312-663-5554
Museum of Science and Industry 773-684-1414
Naper Settlement Museum Village 630-420-6010
National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame 312-226-5566
The Oriental Institute Museum 773-702-9514
Academy of Science 773-871-2668
Pullman Historic District 773-785-8901
Ridge Historical Society Museum 773-881-1675
The Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows 312-595-5024
Spertus Museum of Judaica 312-922-9012
Swedish American Museum 773-728-8111
Ukrainian National Museum 312-421-8020

Area Attractions

Chicago Indoor Racing 847-941-9400
Daley Civic Center 312-443-5500
Maxwell Street Market 312-922-3100
Navy Pier 312-595-7437
Sears Tower Skydeck 877-SKY-DECK
The Hancock Observatory 888-875-VIEW
Windy City Fieldhouse 773-486-7300

Cultural Attractions

The Art Institute of Chicago 312-443-3600
Broadway in Chicago 312-977-1710
Chicago Architecture Foundation/Archi Center 312-922-3432
Chicago Botanical Gardens 847-835-5440
Chicago Center for the Performing Arts 312-733-6000
Chicago Cultural Center 312-744-6630
Chicago Shakespeare Theatre on Navy Pier 312-595-5600
Chicago Symphony Orchestra 312-294-3000
Circle Theatre 708-771-3299
Evanston Art Center 847-475-5300
Lifeline Theatre 773-761-4477
Lookingglass Theatre Company 312-337-0665
Ticketmaster 312-902-1900

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