Adler Planetarium


Space enthusiasts will get a big bang (pun!) out of the Adler. There are public telescopes to view the stars (10am to 1pm daily, by the Galileo Cafe), 3-D lectures to learn about supernovas (in the Space Visualization Lab), and the Planet Explorers exhibit where kids can 'launch' a rocket. The immersive digital films cost extra (from $13 per ticket). The Adler's front steps offer Chicago's best skyline view, so get your camera ready.

There's also much to see outside the Adler, and for free. Check out the 12 sides of the 1930s building, one for each sign of the zodiac. Sculptor Henry Moore's sundial keeps time by the main entrance, while the bronze Copernicus statue lords it over the front median.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Chicago attractions

1. Copernicus Statue

0.05 MILES

In the front median of the Adler Planetarium, the bronze Copernicus statue shows 16th-century Polish astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus holding a compass and…

2. Sundial

0.05 MILES

Henry Moore sculpted the 13ft bronze piece outside the Adler Planetarium in 1980. It does indeed mark the time of day by casting a shadow on the ground.

3. Shedd Aquarium

0.37 MILES

Top draws at the kiddie-mobbed Shedd Aquarium include the Wild Reef exhibit, where there's just 5in of Plexiglas between you and two-dozen fierce-looking…

4. Northerly Island


This hilly, prairie-grassed park has a walking and cycling trail, bird-watching, fishing and an outdoor venue for big-name concerts. It's actually a…

5. Olmec Head No 8

0.44 MILES

Staring out from the Field Museum's lawn, Olmec Head No 8 is a replica of one of many sculptures the Olmec people carved in Veracruz, Mexico, c 1300 BC…

6. Field Museum of Natural History

0.53 MILES

The Field Museum houses some 30 million artifacts and includes everything but the kitchen sink – beetles, mummies, gemstones, Bushman the stuffed ape –…

7. Battle of Fort Dearborn Park

0.88 MILES

The Fort Dearborn battle, in which a group of local Native Americans rebelled against the incursion of white settlers, is thought to have occurred on this…

8. Buckingham Fountain

0.91 MILES

Grant Park's centerpiece is one of the world's largest fountains, with a 1.5-million-gallon capacity and a 15-story-high spray. It lets loose on the hour…