One of my favorite things about traveling is getting the opportunity to explore new cities. Although I’ve been to Chicago on more than one occasion, this Summer was the first time I actually got to see just how cool the “Windy City” really is. If you somehow find yourself here during the Summer months, these are the top 5 things you have to check out on your visit!
1. Architectural Tour
This 75-minute boat tour will provide you with interesting facts and an entertaining history into the buildings, architecture, and engineering that went into creating this beautiful skyline, located on the Chicago River. One thing I will note is that June and July are scorching here, so if you decide to take this tour during the day be sure to pack your sunscreen, shades, and cap because it will get HOT! Personally, I enjoyed the 7:30 tour because it begins while there’s still daylight, so you’ll be able to relax and check everything out right before the sun sets. Not only will you get to enjoy a cool breeze blowing through your hair, but close to the end of the tour it will be dark out so you’ll get the opportunity to see all the buildings lit up at night, which is definitely a sight to see. Oh, and did I mention there’s a bar on these boats?
Telephone: (312) 222-9328
2. Millennium Park
If you don’t have much time to venture out while here, one thing I do recommend doing is checking out Millennium Park, particularly “The Bean.” Yes, it’s a huge tourist attraction, but this iconic stainless steel structure is one of the coolest things I have seen and is the one thing I have to visit at this park every time I’m here. Plus, it’s free and there’s so much to see and do here.
Summer Workouts in the Park
Wednesday & Saturday mornings from June 4 – September 3, 2016 you can enjoy a free workout series from 7 – 11AM, which includes 45 minute classes in Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba®.
Summer Music Series
If working out isn’t your thing, check out Millennium Park’s Summer Music Series that runs from June 6 – August 25, 2016 every Monday & Thursday, beginning at 6:30PM and featuring a wide variety of music from rock, to pop, to jazz and much, much more.
Summer Film Series
Every Tuesday evening at 6:30PM from June 21 – August 30, 2016 visitors are treated to a free outdoor movie in the park on a 40-foot LED screen. If your ideal summer night is sitting on a blanket underneath the stars, overlooking the skyline, and watching a great film with your family or a date, then add this to your to-do list. Be sure to arrive early, as space is first come, first serve.
A few other attractions to check out are Millennium Park’s Crown Fountain, featuring two artsy, 50-foot water towers that you can splash around in. If you plan on attending a summer series event here, the park now has food trucks, and also features a beer garden.
Welcome Center located at 201 E. Randolph St.
Telephone: (312) 742-2963
3. Navy Pier
Aside from this breathtaking view, Navy Pier is filled with lots of fun and entertainment. Here you’ll find a ton of restaurants, bars, Navy Pier’s Centennial Wheel, an observation area to view the skyline and one of my favorite areas, the Miller Lite Beer Garden with live music every Wednesday through Sunday evenings. If you’re able to make it here on a Wednesday or Saturday evening be sure to stick around for the fireworks show on Lake Michigan that’s perfectly synchronized to live music.
600 E. Grand Avenue, Chicago, IL 60611
4. Field Museum
Okay, not going to lie this was a must on my to-do list when I arrived in Chicago. Mainly because I’m a huge nerd and had to see Sue, the T.Rex here, who is the most complete T.Rex ever discovered…..Let me just say, it was everything I expected and more. What I didn’t know until I arrived here was that this museum also features a number of really cool exhibits, including China’s First Emperor and his Terracotta Warriors, which was surreal to actually see in person. Other exhibits to view while you’re visiting are The Ancient Americas and Inside Ancient Egypt. Note: Pack your walking shoes because although this museum may not look that large from the outside it is HUGE and will take hours, upon hours to view everything here.
The Field Museum
1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605
Open 9AM to 5PM every day except Christmas
Telephone: (312) 922-9410
5. City Winery (West Loop)
Although there’s a second location right off the riverwalk, check out the location in the West Loop area, aka “Restaurant Row.” City Winery not only has it’s very own winery, it also has a garden courtyard, live entertainment, good eats, and my absolute favorite part about this place; it’s the only restaurant I’ve been to that serves wine on tap, out of the barrel. Yup, you heard me right; wine!
Not only is the food great here, but the wine selection is AMAZING! The cool thing about this location is that it’s full of everything from restaurants, to sports bars, sushi, bakeries, breweries, art galleries and even some great boutiques. It’s also off the beaten tourist path so you’ll actually be able to relax, unwind, and check out this hidden gem that locals flock to, which is starting to become one of the hottest neighborhoods in Chitown.
1200 W. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60607
Telephone: (312) 733-9463
Whether you’re traveling here on business or going for vacay, there are plenty of things to do here. I just wish I would have had more time to do everything I wanted, because this city is amazing and has become one of my favorite places to explore.