Chicago is big, really big, and with its wide grasping expanse, there are quite a few things to do and see this summer. Exploring Chicago can be fun and rewarding with countless attractions, festivals, and museums to seek out. So we put together PPM’s top 5 explorations to enjoy this summer in Chicago. What’s even greater about our list is that all of these places listed below are easily assessable with Chicago's public transportation, the CTA. So if you live in Lakeview, Lincoln Park, the Gold Coast, or River North, our top 5 stops are just a hop, skip, and a jump away.

For our residents, we highly recommend taking the CTA Redline, as it drops you off fairly close to each destination. Chicago's public buses do the same trick. Just look up what number arrives nearby and which will drop you off closest to your destination. Finally, you can always grab an Uber or a cab for a quick ride downtown. But, enough about that, let’s take a look at some fun exploring you can do this summer!

Amphibians

Discover the amazing world of amphibians at Shedd Aquarium’s newest one-of-a-kind exhibit, with more than 40 species of salamanders, frogs, newts, and worm-like caecilians. Encounter frogs in all the colors of the rainbow, come face-to-face with a giant Japanese salamander, measuring more than four feet long, and learn how these cold-blooded creatures are threatened by habitat loss, climate change, and common chemicals like pesticides. Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr. | Hours and ticket options vary; check website for details | sheddaquarium.org

Numbers in Nature: a Mirror Maze

The Museum of Science and Industry’s new permanent exhibit reveals and explains the mathematical patterns found in nature, from the nested spirals of a sunflower’s seeds, to the ridges of a mountain range, to the layout of the universe. Navigate the seemingly infinite mirror maze, a fascinating yet challenging space that envelops guests within what appears to be an endless pattern. Produce digital animation with fractal branching. Stand before a mirror and discover the many patterns in the human body. And pluck a harp to understand how even music contains the same, familiar proportions found in nature. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. | Extended summer hours; check website for dates | Price included in museum entry; requires a free timed-entry ticket | msichicago.org

Vikings

(Through October 4, 2015) Go beyond the legend of brutal seafaring invaders and plunderers and learn the truth about the Vikings, that they were innovative explorers, traders, and craftsmen. The exhibit explores the power of mythology and the symbolism of Viking ships, and offers fascinating insights into their domestic life, death rituals, and the importance of travel and trade to their existence. The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. | 9a.m. – 5p.m. |$31 all-access pass, $25 seniors and students with ID, $21 kids | fieldmuseum.org

Robot Revolution

(Through January 3, 2016) Explore how robots will change how we play, live, and work. Interact with dozens of robots, each one specialized in one of four content areas: cooperation, smarts, skills, and locomotion. Hands-on elements, intriguing video, and thought-provoking questions enable guests to recognize the amazing ways that robotics can better society. Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr. | Extended summer hours; check website for dates | Prices vary; requires an additional, timed – entry ticket | msichicago.org

Randolph Street Market Festival

(May 24-24, June 27-28, July 25-26, August 29-30, & September 26-27) The West Loop’s indoor/outdoor market offers around-the-clock entertainment, a beer garden, fashion shows, artisan food vendors, activities for children, and more. The festival's Indie Designer Market boasts more than 250 select purveyors of high-quality vintage, salvaged, and re-imagined finds. Randolph & Ada St. (outdoor market) | Plumbers Hall, 1340 W. Washington St. (indoor market) | Sat-Sun 10 a.m.-5p.m.|$10, $5 student with ID; good for both days | Randolphstreetmarket.com

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