My first trip to Chicago is just around the corner and I wasn’t sure what to do but luckily I found some help from Dani & Jess from The Globetrottergirls and Katie Hammel from Chicagologue. They were kind enough to share with me why they love Chicago and after experiencing these places my self, I’m sure I’ll love Chi-town too. Here is what they have to say about the Windy City:
“One of my favorite free things to do is to head to Lincoln Park to wander around, visit the Lincoln Park Zoo, and (on Saturday mornings) sample treats from the Green City Farmer’s Market.” -Katie
“Each Chicago beach has it’s own personality. Want a party? Head to North Avenue Beach. If you’re looking for something more low key, head north. The Montrose Beach is great and is dog-friendly.” -Katie
“Chicago has several beaches and beach cafes which are well worth a visit. Our favorites are Oak Street Beach and North Ave Beach.” -Dani & Jess
“Chicago has much more to it than just the downtown area, especially to the North. Bucktown, Lakeview, Andersonville, Wrigleyville are all charming neighborhoods.” -Dani & Jess
“Don’t limit your time to the Loop and Magnificent Mile areas. There is so much to see in Chicago in the neighborhoods, where I think you get a much better feel for how most people in the city live. I live in Lakeview and love it, though I also like Andersonville and Bucktown. On the 2nd Friday of every month there is a great free art crawl with wine in Pilsen, a Latino neighborhood south of the Loop (also great BYOB Mexican restaurants there). It’s so easy to hop on the el and explore.” -Katie
“The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is one of the most popular tours. I love it, but it’s not the only worthwhile tour. The Film Tour takes to areas of the city you might not otherwise see, and the Vienna Beef sausage factory tour is surprisingly awesome and shows you a behind the scenes look at a Chicago food tradition.” -Katie
“The Chicago Architecture Boat Tour is not cheap ($25.00 Dollars if we remember it right) but it’s worth it. You get to see Chicago’s stunning architecture from the river, which is quite an unusual perspective, and you learn so much about the history and the buildings and other trivia” -Dani & Jess
“For dining and drinking – save money with a BYOB restaurant. My faves are Schwa, Bonsoiree, and HB for more foodie/classy places, though there are plenty of cheap and casual BYOBs that are fun and delicious. Bottomless mimosa brunches are also big here.” -Katie
“If you wanna see a movie, this is the only movie theater where you’re allowed to drink.” -Dani & Jess
“A baseball game at the original, old-fashioned Wrigley Stadium will give you a feel for the ‘real’ Chicago and the locals.” -Dani & Jess
“Unless you are set on walking out on the glass-bottomed ledges, skip the Willis Tower in favor of the John Hancock Building, where instead of paying for admission to the observation deck, you can just ride up to the lounge on the 96th floor and have a cocktail while you enjoy the view. I personally like the view from the Hancock better than the one from the Sears Tower anyway.” -Katie
“This place has a great breakfast and they have two more branches.” -Dani & Jess
“Check for free museum days to save money on your museum admission. Every museum offers several free days per year – the Art Institute is free every Thursday after 5pm and many other museums are even free every day.” -Katie
” There are often free events in Millennium and Grant Parks.” -Katie
“The famous ‘Bean’ cannot be missed! It’s located right downtown and it’s a great place to soak up some sun. Millenium Park is also home to the Art Institute and if you’re an art fan, you’ll enjoy it!” -Dani & Jess
“One of my favorite bars in Chicago is Violet Hour – a speakeasy style bar with amazing cocktails.” -Katie
13) Food, Food, and More Food!
Thank you Dani & Jess and Katie!
Need even more reasons to love Chicago? Check out Nomadic Notes’ guide to Chicago.