Chicago is a great place to live, with legendary attractions such as Wrigley Field, Millennium Park, and the Magnificent Mile drawing thousands of tourists each year. Chicago is also an aging city with a growing senior population. This thriving metropolis isn’t just for young people; there’s plenty to do and learn here no matter how old you are. Whether you’re seeking an outing for the grandkids or looking to pick up a new hobby that’s all your own, here are our picks for the best things for active seniors to do near Chicago.

1. Go museum-hopping

Chicago is home to some of the nation’s greatest museums. Spend the morning touring the museum of your choice, then grab a bite to eat with a friend. Or if you’re feeling adventurous, plan a day-long museum extravaganza. Some of Chicago’s best museums include:

2. Visit the Sears Tower

The Sears Tower, now known as Willis Tower, is the site of iconic scenes in movies such as Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and for good reason. The view is truly breathtaking. For stunning views from the 103rd floor of Willis Tower, visit Skydeck Chicago. Willis Tower has undergone extensive renovations in recent years, so stroll around the surrounding park to view gorgeous flowers, lush greenery, and innovative architecture.

3. Spend time with animals

Chicago offers two great attractions for animal lovers. The first, the Lincoln Park Zoo, is free and open 365 days a year. Visit apes, monkeys, big cats, tiny insects, interesting reptiles, and lots of birds, then learn what you can do to help save them in the wild.

The Shedd Aquarium features massive waterscapes that include marine mammals, octopuses, brightly colored schooling fish, sharks, and more. Seniors are eligible for $3 off of the price of admission.

4. Visit Wrigley Field

Baseball fans can’t miss Wrigley Field, which is one of the nation’s oldest baseball stadiums. During baseball season, enjoy a Cubs game. If history is your jam, there’s plenty of it here. Take a tour of the field to learn about its rich history and its active role in Chicago’s cultural life.

5. Spend time in the great outdoors

Time outside can lower stress, which improves overall health. Spring in Chicago is the perfect time to tour the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Don’t forget to check out the gift shop for some useful items to take home to your own garden. Chicago’s public parks are among the best in the nation, featuring well-maintained grounds, picnic areas, safe hiking trails, and more. Consider taking your dog for a walk in one of the city’s many dog-friendly parks.

6. Go shopping

Shop ‘til you drop at upscale boutiques along Chicago’s Magnificent Mile. Want to save money instead? Head out of the city to Chicago Premium Outlets. If indoor shopping is more your thing, visit Water Tower Palace, which is conveniently located along the Magnificent Mile.

7. Meet other seniors

New friends can inject a sense of purpose and joy into any life. Make new friends and learn about the city through a Meetup group for active seniors. Chicago also offers a number of exceptional senior centers. These spaces offer activities, classes, community events, advertisements for local senior services, and more. Find your local senior center here.

8. Learn a new skill

You’re never too old to learn something new. In fact, your senior years may be the best time to pick up a new skill. You have more time and fewer obligations, and learning new skills may lower your risk of dementia. Check out these great options:

  • Join the YMCA of Metro Chicago, which offers a wide range of classes and programs for active seniors.

  • Visit Dabble Chicago, an activity search engine that allows you to find the perfect class for your schedule and educational goals.

  • Visit the Harold Washington Library Center. This massive complex makes it easy to find a great new read. But Harold Washington is more than just a typical library. It also offers a vast array of free events and classes.

Learn to play an instrument at the Old Town School of Folk Music. This school makes learning music easy and fun.

Feeling overwhelmed by your options? The right senior living community may be able to help. Arbor offers myriad events and classes under one roof. We also plan special outings into the community, so you can enjoy all that Chicago has to offer without planning, driving, or stress. To learn more, give us a call or attend one of our fun community events.