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Wander Your Way Around the Windy City: 10 Must-Do Chicago Activities

Wander Your Way Around the Windy City: 10 Must-Do Chicago

Wander Your Way Around the Windy City: 10 Must-Do Chicago Activities

Chicago’s had record numbers of tourists in the Windy City over the last couple of years. It’s no surprise. The town is vibrant and fun with great food, a plethora of parks and lots of attractions.

Are you visiting Chicago soon?

Read on for 10 must-do Chicago activities.

Millenium Park and the Bean

It wouldn’t be a visit to Chicago if you didn’t make it to Millenium Park. Don’t forget to take your photo at the famous sculpture, Cloud Gate, known as the “Bean” to locals. 

Anish Kapoor created the famous sculpture. Spend some time walking in and around it. The mirrored surface makes for some great reflections of the surrounding city. 

Take your time walking around the park. Stop by the tower fountains. They feature giant faces looking down on the reflecting pool. The faces spurt water from their mouths at intervals. 

While you’re at the Bean, duck across the street to the Chicago Cultural Center and see the Tiffany Dome.

The Willis Tower SkyDeck Chicago

The SkyDeck is at the top of Willis Tower, formerly the Sears Tower. You’ll get an amazing 360-degree view of the city from the observatory.

Are you brave? Take a step onto the 1,353-foot high Ledge. It’s a glass floor extending over 4 feet from the edge of the building. The Ledge’s support system is invisible making the view unparalleled.

Tickets for the Ledge are $24 and include museum exhibits. 

Navy Pier

Some people avoid Navy Pier citing it as a tourist trap. But if you’ve never been to Chicago, you should take some time and explore this historic landmark. Navy Pier is on the shoreline of Lake Michigan. 

It’s over 3,000 feet long and includes parks, shops, restaurants, and attractions.

It first opened in 1916 and was built by Charles Sumner Frost, a well-known architect. It was the Municipal Pier but was renamed in 1927 in honor of WWII navy veterans. 

Navy Pier houses the Chicago Children’s Museum and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater. 

Architecture Cruise

Chicago is host to many famous buildings, and some of the world’s most famous architects are from the Windy City.

Sit back and relax on an architecture cruise. Let an expert point out the unique features and history of Chicago’s buildings. Chicago has over 50 skyscrapers gracing the skyline. 

The Art Institute of Chicago

Don’t miss the Art Institute of Chicago located on Michigan Avenue. You can’t miss the iconic lions flanking the entrance. They were sculpted by Edward Kenny. 

If you’re into the Impressionists, you’ll love the collection of Impressionist paintings. The unforgettable “Sunday on the Island of La Grande Jatte,” by George Seurat is there. 

The Institute is also home to paintings by Georgia O’Keefe, Chagall, and Matisse.

Eat, Eat, Eat

The Windy City is a foodie’s paradise! There are so many unforgettable dishes. Start your day early at one of USA Today’s 10 best coffee and breakfast shops, Cupitol Coffee & Eatery. Read more here. 

Chicago is synonymous with pizza. The locals favor the thin-crust pizza. But you’ve got to try the famous deep dish at least once while you’re there. Try Lou Malnati’s for a deep-dish treat. 

Try an Italian beef sandwich in Little Italy/University Village. Finish your meal with an Italian ice treat. And a visit to Chicago wouldn’t be the same without trying a Chicago dog. Superdawg is a fun retro place serving up great Chicago dogs. 

While you’re hitting up all these fun eateries, don’t forget to log your travels! You won’t want to forget all the great places you’ve visited. 

Wrigley Field

Chicago has some serious sports fans. A visit to Wrigley Field is a must for any sports fan. Even if you’re not a baseball buff, you’ll appreciate this historic baseball park. 

If you don’t have time for a game or you’re there in the off-season, take a tour. For about $25, you’ll get a guided tour lasting almost 90 minutes. The guides are knowledgeable, and you’ll learn lots of fun facts. 

Parking in Chicago is tough and the Wrigley Field area is no exception. Your best bet is public transportation. Take the “L” to the Addison stop. 

The 606

Have you ever been on an urban hiking trail?

Check out the 606. It’s an elevated recreational trail running for almost 3 miles. It’s open from 6 am to 11 pm. If you brought the dog on this trip. the 606 welcomes him too. 

It follows an old abandoned rail line and passes lots of fun bars and restaurants. The rail line was elevated in the late 1800s to eliminate the dangerous ground-level rail crossings.

The 606 trail opened in the early 2000s.  

Shedd Aquarium

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is one of the largest in the world. See penguins, sharks, and whales. Touch a stingray. For additional fees, the aquarium offers tours behind the scenes and animal encounters.

Admission runs about $40 for adults, $30 for children. Plan to spend at least half a day there to get the most bang for your buck. If you get a CityPASS or Go Chicago Card, you’ll get one free ticket to the aquarium. 

The Shedd Aquarium is in Grant Park near the Field Museum and Adler Planetarium. 

Grant Park

Grant Park is over 300 acres of green space starting at the eastern edge of the Loop. It runs down close to the South Side. The park is close to Millennium Park. 

Located in Grant Park is the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium. Don’t miss Buckingham Fountain. Every hour between May and October there’s a 20-minute water show at the fountain.

Buckingham Fountain is one of the world’s largest fountains. Jets shoot water as high as 150 feet into the air. Take note that the fountain closes for the winter. 

The Best Chicago Activities

Now you know what the 10 best Chicago activities are, what are you waiting for? It’s time for your visit to the famous Windy City.

Stand atop the Ledge at SkyDeck Chicago. Eat some of the most delicious food around. Stroll the Navy Pier, and take in a show or two. Visit the Shedd Aquarium and enjoy the city views from Grant Park. 

Looking for more interesting and informative articles? Take a look here.



Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do in the Mountains

Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do

Get Your Adventure On: 5 Awesome Outdoor Activities to Do in the Mountains

Taking a trip to the mountains may not be your idea of a vacation, but that’s because you haven’t thought of all the amazing activities you can do while you’re there. What if there was a slew of activities to choose from in the great outdoors that you weren’t aware of?

Whether you’re bringing the whole family or making it a romantic trip for two, we’ve laid out 5 awesome outdoor activities you need to do before you leave.

Continue reading below to see just how much fun you can have while visiting the mountains.

1. Hot Air Balloon Ride

Hiking a mountain can only get you so far with limited views of the surrounding area depending on where you are. The solution? Taking a hot air balloon ride.

This is the perfect activity to do in the summer when this outdoor activity is most popular. You’ll get a birds-eye view of the mountains and landscape for miles around. Make sure to take your ride at sunset for the most romantic experience.

Not a fan of heights but still want something just as exhilarating? Zip lining could be a great substitute. Take time to learn more about it.

2. River Rafting

River rafting is a great activity the whole family can enjoy. And nothing beats rafting through canyons and valleys, which make for great travel stories.

Depending on which mountain area you’re visiting will determine what kind of rafting you’ll do. While some rivers have half-day adventures, others give you an overnight experience.

Pigeon River, for example, is the third most rafted river in America. It has two sections of rivers to choose from -Lower Pigeon River and Upper Pigeon River.

Lower Pigeon offers Class 1 and Class 2 rapids which aren’t too hard to navigate, making it perfect for families. You’ll still experience some mild falls, though!

If you’re a more experienced rafter, Upper Pigeon River is for you. This section of river features Class 3 and Class 4 rapids.

3. Horseback Riding

Certain mountain ranges like the Smoky Mountains have a lot of ground to cover, making it almost impossible to see everything in a few short days. The solution?

Take to the trails on horseback with no prior riding experience needed. You’ll cover more surface area in a quicker amount of time, and do it in a more unique way!

Most mountain ranges offering this activity have horses who are well-trained and familiar with the trails. This makes it another outdoor activity perfect for the whole family to enjoy.

4. Golfing

Not every outdoor adventure has to be just that – an adventure. If you’re looking for a more relaxing activity, why not take a day to go golfing?

Some mountain ranges have beautiful golf courses overlooking the mountains and beyond, making it the ultimate relaxing golf experience. Not a professional (or even semi-good) golfer?

Don’t worry – there are plenty of mini golf options available, too! Plus, some of these have indoor blacklight courses on rooftops, making it more fun and unique!

5. Clingmans Dome

Let’s go back to basics for our last outdoor adventure with some good ol’ hiking. If you’re staying in the Smoky Mountains, you have to take a day to hike to Clingmans Dome.

After hiking 6,643 miles up, you’ll arrive at the observation tower. This gives you spectacular 360-degree views of the Smokies at the highest point in the state of Tennessee.

If you’re lucky and go on a clear day you can see for over 100 miles!

The hike to the observation tower does get steep, though. While the tower is open all year, the road leading to it closes at the beginning of December.

Keep this in mind when planning your Smoky Mountain trip!

Outdoor Activities You Need to Try

We know these outdoor activities already have you packing your bag. Make sure to keep them in mind for your next mountain trip and pick at least one to put on your mountain bucket list. 

Can’t decide? Do all five and pick which was your favorite!

Want to break into writing about your travel adventures and beyond? Make sure to check out our website. We have tips on everything from content strategy to digital marketing!