Hi! I am coming to Chicago next week to speak at the Travel and Adventure Show.
What should I do? See? Explore?
Hi Lisa, that's great to hear the Travel and Adventure Show is back this year in Chicago!
I've only been two Chicago twice — once was hosted by @global_gaz who showed me a nice restaurant area around Maple and State St (?). The second time was a layover, and I stayed at a motel near O'Hare Airport so I could do some plane spotting in the evening. I have never seen so many planes land simultaneously in my life!
Obviously, don't take your advice from a Tasmanian — hope you get some helpful tips from other members here.
Thanks Ian!! I am excited to speak and to see CHICAGO
Too much to see and do!!! Of course, deep dish pizza - I am partial to Gioradanos. Steak - I like to local steak house Gibsons. You can check out Greek Town and the restaurants there. Go up to the Hancock for the views at the Signature Lounge, I think on the 95th fl. Some world class museums as well.
Thanks Ric! Those are some great ideas. I do have a CityPASS so will check out the museums and attractions on there. THANK YOU
Chicago is my hometown. Do visit Navy Pier, Millennium Park, the Riverwalk, take a boat tour of downtown Chicago, get a taste of the Chicago blues off State St, go to Gino's for deep dish pizza, visit the Art Institute - Museum of Science and Industry, window shop on Michigan Avenue, artsy Belmont Area for coffee. Have in mind, Chicago is very very cold this time of year, so be prepared.
Hi Maria! You are right--it will seem VERY cold compared to Los Angeles! What a great list! Thanks so much! Lisa
Yes, indeed it is. Chicago has the so-called wind-chill factor which can add 20 degrees below the existing temperature. So be prepared. Have fun!
The architectural boat tour is the best tourist thing to do in Chicago. Even in January. Our museums are also top-notch. If you want to explore everyday Chicago a bit, you might want to take the Clark bus north from downtown and pass through the different neighborhoods. Then get off when something looks interesting! We're also a great food city; the far north side has a lot of great Thai, Vietnamese, Indian and Middle Eastern restaurants. People will also say deep dish pizza, but I think Chicago-style hot dogs are not to be missed. Superdawg makes the best, IMO.
hi Mike! I am interested in the architectural boat tour--but in JANUARY!? I think I have to come back and try it when it is warmer. THANKS for this great list! Lisa
I got you! www.travelandleisure.com/travel-guide/chicago
WOW MEENA!! I am reading your article and there is so so so much to do and see. I might have to MOVE to Chicago to have time to visit all these hotels, restaurants and activities. GREAT GUIDE! and congrats on being in T&L. Thank you!! Lisa
Welcome Lisa! I'm not local anymore otherwise I'd come see you at the T&A Show! (In Denver now). BUT I lived in Chicago/Chicagoland area my whole life before that, including 10 years downtown.
As others mentioned, don't skip the architecture tour. Unique perspective, history, culture, fun facts, the Chicago River - it's the quintessential experience.
Since the T&A show is out in Rosemont it's accessible via the Blue Line on the El. If you don't have a whole lot of time, another thing you could do would be to take the Blue Line to Oak Park and do the Frank Lloyd Wright home/studio tour. Also the Oak Park Conservatory is a great place to spend a January day in Chicago!
Murals in the West Loop! The West Loop was originally home to the meatpacking industry and many cultural groups. Now it's industrial-chic. Great restaurants. Also check out Little Italy, near to Greektown.
Our Chinatown is one of the biggest in the country - growing while many others are shrinking. You can take the water taxi from Union Station (or the Wrigley Building, or several other stops) and get a glimpse of the river, architecture, and also grab some yummy eats (Joy Yee and Hing Kee for their xi long bao - seriously the best I've had).
I have a bunch of other highlights here too if needed: colorandcuriosity.com/things-to-do-in-illinois/
Also, just be aware and use street smarts, like any big city. Chicago is one of the best cities in the world but is not immune to city-type issues. Public transportation is great but when in doubt (esp at night), you can Uber everywhere. And I never walk around with headphones in etc.
Have fun and break a leg!!
THANK YOU Megan! It seems like the boat tour is a highlight... and I love a good mural tour. This is so great and thank you for the guide from your site. #TEAMCHICAGO rocks! Thank you! Lisa
Also FWIW they do have enclosed options for the architecture tour with heated cabins! Shoreline, Wandella and Chicago's First Lady are all good options. I know Wandella and CFL have climate-controlled cabins, but just double check!
The Chicago City Pass is great value www.citypass.com/chicagoLets you see lots of the big attractions more affordably. Such a great city!
Take the Architectural Tour. It is a boat that goes up the Chicago river and gives a history of the city. Super worth it