A quick trip to the Windy City is sure to please as there are so many things to do in Chicago on weekends. Whether you're more of a city person who loves to eat, drink, shop and go to museums or someone who would rather watch and take part in sports, there's something for you in Chicago. Here are our picks for the top things to do in Chicago on a weekend trip.
- Take a tour if you've never been to Chicago to get acquainted with the city's layout and history. Located on the first floor of the Chicago Cultural Center is the Chicago Office of Tourism where you can get maps, advice and go on a free one-hour tour of North Michigan Avenue and the Loop led by a volunteer guide. The Cultural Center puts on many exhibitions and events for free so be sure check their calendar to see what's happening for the weekend you're there.
- One of the top things to do in Chicago is to go on an architectural tour to fully appreciate the city's Art Deco buildings. The Chicago Architecture Foundation offers walking, bike, boat and bus tours.
- Millennium Park and Grant Park You can spend a whole day exploring side-by-side the Millennium and Grant Park. The parks are home to famous sculptures, such as Cloud Gate (known as "the bean"), the Art Institute of Chicago, the Buckingham Fountain, John G. Shedd Aquarium and the Field Museum. Even the pedestrian bridge connecting the two parks is designed by a famous architect, in this case, Frank Gehry.
- Summer weekends at the parks are packed with free festivals. If the weather is nice, join the city dwellers that bike, roller blade, jog and walk along Lake Michigan.
- Eat and drink A weekend trip to Chicago is not complete without tasting its deep-dish pizza and Chicago-style hot dog. For a more upscale experience, head to one of Rick Bayless' restaurants. Bayless is the white guy you see on PBS cooking up a Mexican storm. He's been applauded by the James Beard Foundation, received countless accolades from magazines and most recently won Bravo's "Top Chef Masters." Frontera Grill and Topolobampo are his premier restaurants but there's also the quick-service cafes XOCO and Frontera Fresco.
- If your wallet is fat enough, treat yourself to the 21-course meal at Alinea. Alinea was recently named the top restaurant in the United States and sixth in the world, in S. Pellegrino's 50 Best Restaurants in the World list.
- After satisfying your belly, head to the Roof or Signature Room for drinks where you can see the city's skyline as the backdrop.
- Sports Baseball fans lucky enough to have tickets (plan far in advance) can usually be found at one of the Chicago Cubs' home game.
- A little easier to get are tickets to a Chicago Bulls (basketball), Chicago Bears (football) and Chicago Blackhawks (hockey) game.
- Navy Pier Topping many people's list of things to do in Chicago is Navy Pier. The 50-acre large Navy Pier is full of shops, restaurants, theaters, a golf course, free entertainment and amusement rides. A fireworks show set to live music light up the summer skies. Admittedly, Navy Pier is a little cheesy but at least there's a beer garden open on the weekends to keep you sane.
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