If you’ve never been to Chicago, I would highly recommend it! We went during this past weekend for the 4th of July and we had a blast with our new friends Roselyne and Fabian. They’ve never been, and Ryan and I have, so we decided to show them some of the sights! We were only there for about 2 days but we were able to smash in a good amount of places. We were also on a tight budget, and wanted to experience a good amount of Chicago for less than $500 a couple, which we all managed to do including hotel, food, transportation, and some excursions. We drove there, which was about a 4 hour drive, and we ate out a lot, so a good chunk of it was to food, which you can moderate by bringing your own meals/ snacks and Ryan and I decided to spend all of our entertainment budget on this trip so it’s up to you how you want to budget for it. We had a fantastic time walking around, checking things out but out of the million things to do there in the summer, I would say these would be my top 5!
1. Eat a Chicago Deep Dish Pizza
Oooooh MAMA!! We went to Pizano’s Pizza which was great! Not sure if they had the BEST pizza in all of Chicago but it is definitely better than some of the other places Ryan and I ate before, plus it was within the United Dining Network so we opted here. The quality of the pizza really has a lot to do with the crust, it should be buttery and delicious and this pizza was all of that. We ordered the Rudy’s Special, that had pretty much all the toppings. If you plan of going to order this, make sure you know what pizza you want FIRST and order that right away, because all deep dishes take about 20 mins, then order your appetizers. Your appetizers will come out first naturally, then the pizza so make sure you order in that order. Cost: $13/pp
2. Visit Millennium Park
Millennium Park is pretty massive. It’s very well known in downtown Chicago and it’s 100% free! There were a bunch of different things going on too for 4th of July, a food festival, small little expos, and during the winter they have an ice rink. The park is massive and you can see a lot of art and monuments, some of which are: Cloud Gate (AKA Silver Bean), Millennium Monument, Harris Theater, and Buckingham Fountain (Al Bundy Fountain). We had a great time here, one thing that we would’ve/ should’ve done was bring along our bikes! The park is pretty massive and we were on foot most of the day so it was quite a walk for us! So if you’re visiting a nice big city where a lot of points of interest are spread out, bringing your bike may be a great alternative AND a great exercise! Cost: $0
3. Take a Water Taxi
From where we were we went from the Sears Tower (now called the Willis Tower) back to where our hotel was which was at Michigan Ave. A water taxi is fairly inexpensive and we opted for this method of transportation to get a nice view of the buildings and the water ways. Although it was more expensive than taking an Uber, it was especially nice to see Chicago from this point of view. The water taxi is not a tour, which you can opt for if you’d like, but it wasn’t as necessary. Not to mention that most of the roads were a bit congested due to the fact it was the holiday weekend, but this was well worth it! Great views, and fun experience! Cost $8/pp
4. Visit the SkyDeck
The SkyDeck is located within the Sear Tower (Willis Tower) and offers amazing views of the downtown Chicago area. It has 4 box windows that offer each person who steps out, an out of body thrill walking 180 stories up, being held by plexi glass. As you can see it’s quite a long way down! The lines however rival most Disneyland rides at best. Do yourself a favor and meet in the middle by purchasing your tickets online before, or if lines aren’t your thing, then pay for the FastPass. Pre-Purchasing your tickets will get you to cut one major line inside the building but there’s still a few more lines after that follow, but if you’re crunched on time, then get that Fastpass baby and bypass that line! Cost: $21/pp
5. Visit Navy Pier
Navy Pier would be an equivalent to Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles, however you aren’t blessed with an amazing view of the city skyline in LA. Navy Pier I would say would be a great mix of family fun, but a great spot for adults to stomp around on. They have an indoor complex with lots of food and shops and outdoors during the summer, they have some amazing rides and a whole 18 hole miniature golf course, and they don’t take that word lightly, it really is a squeezed in 18 holes! But they have a beer garden towards the end of the pier where local bands will play and it’s quite nice. But the best part about it is at the very very end of the pier you get an amazing glorious view of the Chicago skyline. It’s quite impressive, so if you get a chance to go to Navy Pier make sure you go all the way to the end! Cost: $0/ without rides
Now I’ve gone to a Cubs game and visited Wrigley Park, which is also amazing, they even played a game while we were there, as well as had a traditional Chicago Hot Dog. I mean there are millions of things to do in the windy city, especially in the summertime! As for us these are the things that we favorited the most during our time there. I hope this finds you well and if you have any questions please let me know in the comments below!