Typically I would say that a zoo is touristy, but a lot of locals go to Lincoln Park Zoo. I think the main reasons for this are (1) it’s a good zoo and (2) it’s free. Lincoln Park Zoo is in a great location – just off the lake, flanked by Lake Shore Drive and North Avenue Beach to the east and less than a mile from red, brown and purple line trains to the south and west.
The zoo has various events throughout the year with the popular one being the zoo lights event that takes place from November to January. This year, I attended Lincoln Park Zoo Beer Fest which had craft breweries from around the country. You could use your tickets to sample various beers, walk around and see the animals and even listen to live music.
It’s a great area to walk around because there are many other cool spots nearby – softball fields, various monuments, a cultural center, the Chicago History Museum, a yacht club, driving range and miniature golf, and of course, the lakefront trail. And of course, the animals. They have pretty much all the animals you’ll want to see – from lions, monkeys and rhinoceros to crocodiles, snakes and eagles.