Guest blog by: Stephanie James
Whether you are a music festival fanatic, in search of the best pizza in town, or looking to enjoy stunning architecture and culture, Chicago is the city for you! The Midwest’s largest city truly is a sight to see during the summer months when the ice melts away, leaving the city with warm weather and calendars jam packed with exciting events happening all over the city. For those of you who are planning a visit to the Windy City in the near future, you are in luck! Here is your ultimate guide to tackling Chicago’s major attractions in the summer!
How to Prepare
First, before you even get there you have to pack and plan for your adventurous weekend! Do not waste your money on a crazy expensive taxi into the city, instead take the L train like a true Chicago native. With prices as low as $5 from O’Hare International Airport, it is a great asset to use. Take the Blue Line directly from the airport into downtown in less than an hour. If you are coming through O’Hare, it is best to be prepared for delays even in the summer months. This airport is notorious for canceling and changing flights because of bad weather.
To prepare for the extra hours you might have to spend in an airport, I would suggest bringing an extra pair of comfortable clothes to lounge in and a travel pillow. On top of packing for the journey getting there it is time to figure out your cute outfits that you will wear while rooftop bar hopping your way through the trip. Bring comfortable walking shoes and be prepared for your FitBit to shock you with how many steps you will take in this city! The other most important packing advice I will give you is to bring layers and a few warm outfits with you. Like I said before the Midwest is known for unpredictable weather and Chicago is no exception with night time getting pretty chilly. Lastly, skip out on the popular hotel chains. Instead, stay in one of the growing numbers of trendy and cool boutique hotels popping up all over the city. Two to consider are St.Jane or Hotel EMC2.
Attractions You Don’t Want to Miss
Lincoln Park Zoo: Planning your trip on a budget? We’ve got a great activity for you! The Lincoln Park Zoo is an award winning institution that is completely free to the public. Grab lunch and then stroll through the park to see some of your favorite animals.
Spend a Day at the Beach: Visit Lake Michigan for a fun beach day like no other. Imagine pristine waters, sandy shore, and a gorgeous city backdrop in one of the nicest areas in town. Catch a tan and relax at Oak Street Beach and enjoy one of the most unique lake-side experiences out there.
Go to Wrigley Field:No summer trip to Chicago is complete without a trip to see the Cubs play at famous Wrigley Field. There is a reason that this is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the city. Don’t forget to try out the famous stadium food, while you’re at it!
Take a Picture at the “Bean”: Did you even go to Chicago if you didn’t get an Instagram with the Bean? As one of the most recognized public art pieces in the world, this is a must do on your list of Chicago tourist attractions! No matter what your interests are there is truly something for everyone in Chicago to enjoy!
Food & Drinks
When visiting a new city, you can’t forget about the unique cuisine — and if you’re visiting Chicago, you’re in luck! Chicago isn’t only known for its hot dogs and deep dish pizza (both of which you should try), it’s home to some of the world’s most popular speakeasies, rooftop bars and beer gardens, and home to unparalleled Italian beef sandwiches, to name a few. With many places to choose from, I’ve listed some of the best below.
Superdawg Drive-in: I may be biased, but if you’re looking for a classic, chicago-styled hotdog, you can’t beat Superdawg’s. Since their birth in 1948, they’ve mastered the art of the hotdog, burger, and ice cream sundae. But if you really want to live like the locals do, make sure you don’t ask for ketchup on your hot dog!
Lou Malnatis Pizzeria: The general consensus for Chicageans is that Lou Malnatis is the best place to deep dive into deep dish pizza. With a pie, and its family atmosphere, you’ll be sure to enjoy every slice.
The Green Mill Lounge: This restaurant/bar is best known for serving Al Capone and his mobsters during the Prohibition Era — James Vincenzo (Gebardi) DeMora, also known as, Jack "Machine Gun" McGurn, even held partial ownership in the building. The lounge has a famous booth that was Al Capone’s favorite reserved spot, and even has a trap door behind the bar that leads to escape tunnels — in case the police or his enemies showed up. If only the walls could talk...
If Chicago is on your bucket list, you can’t go wrong. And while the city experiences harsh winters, it makes the summer all the more enjoyable. Whether you’re going for business or pleasure, I’m sure you’ll see why this city is one of America’s favorites!
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