Nearby Attractions Guide for McCormick Place

By Guest Blogger Jamie Harrison

In a recent convention at McCormick Place I was left with a few hours to kill before having to return later that evening. It’s an all too familiar occurrence for the folks out there having to attend a few professional conferences per year.

Yes, Chicago is jam-packed with attractions, but when your only free time in the Windy City is a break between 11AM and 3PM, a dream visit to a game at Wrigley Field is not a viable option.

To further complicate things, McCormick Place is huge. Walking around during a break without a particular destination in mind is a sure way to waste some precious free time between conference events.

So with that in mind, here are some gems you can aim for to get a taste of Chicago during your next break at McCormick Place. The best part? They’re all under half an hour away by foot.


The Field Museum (walking time: under 25 mins)

A must for natural history buffs, the Field Museum boasts an impressive variety of permanent exhibits, making a visit worthwhile any time of year.

Shedd Aquarium (walking time: under 25 mins)

One of the largest aquariums in the world, Shedd is an impressive sight for families and young professionals alike.

Adler Planetarium (walking time: 25 mins)

Adler Planetarium offers dazzling shows and interesting exhibits. The recommended visit time of 1-2 hours is perfect for the conference goer, but make sure that your visit indeed coincides with a show time.

Chicago’s Chinatown (walking time: 17 mins)

Just minutes away from the convention center, Chinatown is always bustling – a refreshing change of scenery from Museum Campus. If shopping and authentic Chinese cuisine is your thing, Chinatown is for you.

Glessner House Museum (walking time: 10 mins)

Located in the Prairie Avenue Historic District, this nearby landmark was designed by the noted architect Henry Hobson Richardson. Together with the adjacent Clarke House museum, these two offer a great view into Chicago’s past.


Buddy Guy’s Legends (walking time: 30 mins)

If you’re lucky enough to spend the night, the blues legend’s famous blues bar is a must see. Come here for great blues seven days a week, but come early as this place gets packed fast.

M Lounge (walking time: 20 mins)

A great destination to relax after a long day, M Lounge serves a mean martini in a warm and intimate setting. If you’re lucky you might catch the occasional live performance, augmenting M Lounge’s usual house DJ repertoire.

Tommy Gun’s Garage (walking time: 10 mins)

Tommy Gun’s Garage puts a whole new spin on dinner and a show. The interactive entertainment will truly make you feel like you’re in the roaring 20’s.

Reggie’s Rock Club (walking time: 10 mins)

Reggie’s is a neighborhood favorite for rock shows, and the attached restaurant and music store are certainly worth a visit. On game days Reggie’s Rock Club offers a special rock bus service to the venue – worth a try if your visit permits.

So what are you waiting for? Get walkin’! Hopefully these spots give you a bit of direction during your next visit to McCormick Place. For those of you willing to venture farther, Chicago is a town that will not disappoint. You’re always a cab or bus ride away from world-class food, entertainment, and shopping.

Is this your first Chicago convention? Check out our handy new infographic for our top conference tips:

Chicago Business Conference Infographic - from Echo Limousine

Infographic by Echo Limousine

About the Author

Jamie Harrison is a writer and frequent conference-goer. She recently worked on writing Echo Limousine’s Chicago Conference Infographic.

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