Let's travel to: Chicago, IL
Rich in delicious food, beautiful architecture, and creative energy– this ‘Windy City’ is an amazing modern destination to be whisked away by.
- Attractions. Get a Chicago City Pass to get line skip and admission for five popular tourist attractions! It was $98 USD and includes: Shedd Aquarium, Skydeck Chicago, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry OR 360 Chicago, and Adler Planetarium OR Art Institute of Chicago.
- Around the City. Chicago Transit or Uber! (Transit: “L” Train - $2.25, Bus Far - $2)
- Airport. Use GO Airport Express! $60 USD for round trip to and from the hotel/airport. You can pay when you arrive at the airport and at their booth.
- Tipping. Airport: $1-3 per bag. Shuttles: $5-8. Cafes: $1. Restaurants: 15% for breakfast/lunch and 20% for dinner. Room Service: $2-3.
- Weather. Really fluctuates throughout the day! Be ready for warm days and chilly nights. Prepare to layer your clothing!
- Deep Dish Pizza
- Chicago Style Hot Dogs
Things to See: Museums
- The Art Institute of Chicago: This museum is huge with an extensive collection of artwork from all eras, from expressionism to contemporary art. It was a nice stroll in the Art Institute. I would recommend dedicating at least three hours if you really take the time to see each exhibit!
- Adler Planetarium: The planetarium is a great attraction for kids! It’s very educational and provides comprehensive information about space. It is great for families that are travelling, not really recommended for solo travelers unless you are interested in astronomy.
- The Field Museum: This is definitely a must-go! They are known for having the world’s most complete T-Rex fossil ever found. There are a lot of different collections (cultural, historical, etc.) and 3D movies you can watch.
Things to See: City Views
- 360 CHICAGO (Tilt): Awesome view of all perspectives of the city! I recommend going right before sun set! They also have Tilt ($7 extra), where you stand on a platform and it tilts outwards as you hold onto the bars.
- Skydeck: A beautiful view of the city from the tallest building in Chicago! They have glass floors, which are amazing for photos and for a rush of adrenaline. I definitely would prefer this for the better view of the city, but it is also the busier attraction.
Things to See: Parks/Outdoor Attractions
- Cloud Gate: This is the famous “bean”! Cloud Gate is located in Millennium Park and is a beautiful stroll. The bean is incredible in person and nice for views of the skyline.
- Buckingham Fountain: It’s an incredibly large fountain with light and water shows. There are usually events hosted nearby as well!
- Navy Pier (Aon Summer Fireworks): Enjoy dinner, drinks, and some amusement park rides at the Navy Pier! In the summer, they usually have fireworks every Wednesday and Saturday – get there early for the sunset and to get a good view of the fireworks.
Things to See: Other
- Shedd Aquarium: The aquarium is so big, so get ready to see a lot! I would watch one of the 4D movies, especially if you’re with kids (but not too little, since they seem to get frightened). They also have an aquatic show with beautiful dolphins and beluga whales.
Things to Do
- Segway tour: I did a Lakefront/Museum Campus Tour with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. It was a super fun way to explore the city. They teach you to properly ride the segway before you head out, so do not worry about having never been on one!
- Wrigley Field Tour: I toured Wrigley Field, where a lot of Major League Baseball games are held. For someone who does not follow sports, it was still incredibly interesting to learn about the history of the attraction and to tour the field.
What to eat: Day
- 312 Chicago: Good for breakfast or lunch if you’re in the area! Really beautiful, decadent spot.
- Hot Dog Stands: Chicago is known for their hot dogs, not just their deep-dish pizzas! There are a bunch of hot dog stands near the Museum Campus (Adler Planetarium, Shedd Aquarium, and Field Museum area). Enjoy a chicago-style hot dog (pickle, onions, peppers, mustard) in one of the many parks around the area. It was definitely the best hot dog I’ve had!
- bopNgrill: It is definitely a great stop before/after Wrigley Field. I recommend the kimchi burger! It was delicious, but be prepared to eat one of the messiest burgers you’ll have ever eaten.
- Giordano’s: Delicious deep dish pizza and great lunch specials!
What to eat: Night
- Lawry’s The Prime Rib: Amazing prime rib, mashed potatoes, and Yorkshire pudding. It is definitely a unique dining experience – starting from the spinning salad to the chefs who prepare your prime rib cut on the spot.
- Gilt Bar: Nice setting and good for small groups. I recommend the Ricotta Gnocchi and Carrot Cake for dessert!
- The Publican (chef’s menu): This was an incredible meal for its value. It was about ten courses (including dessert) – be ready for some unique flavours and amazing service! They bring out whatever the chef prepares, but they also like to hear what interested you on the menu so they can include it in the chef’s menu. Also, if you can’t finish anything, they let you pack it home!
- Au Cheval: Try the single cheeseburger with fried egg and the mille feuille for dessert!
List bY Jessica Chen
When not studying commerce at Queen’s University, Jessica Chen can be found wandering and getting lost – especially in her hometown of Toronto. She has discovered the beauty behind solo trips, having travelled alone to four cities across North America this summer. With a love for food and culture, she is excited to be studying abroad in France and travelling across Europe for the upcoming semester. Instagram: @jessifly