I don’t know if I have mentioned this to you guys yet but we TRAVEL …. a whole lot! If you are following us on Instagram you get to see our adventures in real time and I love it when people give us tips and suggestions on there it makes our trips even better!
Now if I am totally honest I actually have a love hate relationship with traveling. I don’t think I would ever leave my house if it wasn’t for my husband. I get super anxious about the unknown and even more about packing and getting out of the house and traveling and strangers and you know… everything… You can read all about that here.
But the great thing about being married to someone who is the opposite of you is that they push you out of your comfort zones. And sometimes that turns out to be really awesome. Actually MOST of the time it turns out to be AMAZING. Like this past weekend, we took an 8 hour drive to Chicago and I fell in love with another city. Chicago I love you! You are AWESOME! Want to our top things to do in Chicago?
if so keep reading…..
Things to Do in Chicago
(in one weekend with kids)
COST: Free (but it’s up to you how much you spend in stores)
DETAILS: Also known as The Magnificent Mile this road is packed full of any and every store you could possible imagine. From furniture stores to clothing to candy it has it all!
The Chicago Theatre
COST: FREE (to view the outside)
DETAILS: drive or walk by and snap some photos of this iconic architecture staple in downtown Chicago.
Architecture Boat Tours
COST: $125 for a family of 4
DETAILS: Take a 75 minute tour down the Chicago River and learn all about the architecture, the history of the River and the Great Chicago Fire. If you love history this tour is for you. Beverages and snacks are available to purchase below deck. This is a really nice tour that will give your feet a break from all the walking. Just remember to look behind you every few minutes and check out the view of the skyline.
Michael Jordan Statue at the United Center
COST: $5 for parking
DETAILS: If you are a basketball fan this statue is worth seeing. It’s located in the entrance of the United Center and is worth the $5 if you are a fan!
Holy Name Cathedral
DETAILS: A beautiful downtown landmark and a great place to take photos.
Willis Tower Skydeck
COST: $160 for fast passes
DETAILS: The Willis Tower previously known as the iconic Sears Tower is the tallest building in downtown Chicago. To get to the top observation deck can be quite the wait. We opted to shell out the extra bucks for a fast pass to skip the 3 hour wait in line. Was it Worth it? Absolutely ! I’d compare it to going to the top of the Eifel tower the views are like no other. And while your up there walk out on one of the glass sky decks and get a view of the city under your feet. It’s freaky but awesome!
DETAILS: Take a stroll down this super long concrete trail that borders the Lake. If you care to bike or run or swim laps this place is where most of Chicago seems to go and accomplish that. But who could blame them it’s gorgeous!
COST: FREE to walk the pier but riding the carousel or ferris wheel costs about $20 a person
DETAILS: If you decide to skip the line at the Willis Tower the Ferris Wheel is a nice alternative to get some great views of the Chicago skyline. I would have to say though I am afraid of heights that feel a little insecure and this kind of gave me that feeling. But that’s probably just me!
Art Institute of Chicago
COST: $20 per adult Kids are FREE
DETAILS: This museum is HUGE! I mean it’s like the Louvre in Paris in that you could spend days there. Since we are traveling with a 5 year old that has limited patience… ok I’ll just say it… he has no patience… we opted for the hour self guided tour. You can pick up a pamphlet and see the most renowned pieces in under an hour by following the guide. Fair waring the guide states you can see everything in 1 hour I would say 2 hours is more reasonable.
DETAILS: I’ve been to a lot of parks. I mean a TON and this park is hands down the best one I have ever been to. In fact I could probably write a whole entire article about Millennium Park .. it was that awesome. Within Millennium park there are several things to do.
Maggie Daily Park- This park/playground is absolutely the best I’ve ever been to in my life. From large climbing structures and huge slides to rolling hills that challenge little ones to use their muscles. You forget for a moment that you are in Downtown Chicago because of the amazing landscaping that has been so thoughtfully laid out. Did I mention that there are also several small water features for kids to cool off in. And if you want a great view of the city climb up one of the structures with your kids and snap a few shots you won’t regret it.
Kapoor Sculpture at SBC Plaza Cloud Gate (otherwise known as The Bean)- iconic place to have your photo taken and it really is quite a marvelous sculpture to look at.
Crown Fountains- Twin 5o foot fountains which display videos of various Chicagoans and lights. And every few minutes the mouth of a Chicagoan sprays an enormous burst of water. Standing water on the surrounding areas makes it a fun place for young ones to splash around while waiting for the main event!
DETAILS: You can walk from the Crown Fountains to the Buckingham fountain and it will take about 10 minutes but it’s not a bad walk. The Buckingham Fountain is huge and very impressive. It’s a beautiful site to see and definitely worth the walk.
FOOD AND DESSERTS
COST: expect to spend 2 to 3 hundred dollars at this high end steakhouse.
DETAILS: Located in the heart of the Magnificent Mile and Owned by the one and only Michael Jordan this high end steakhouse does not disappoint. Try the Garlic Bread with Blue Cheese with Blue Cheese Fondue it’s to die for. Splurge for an adult beverage the choices are endless… seriously they have a whole book dedicated to drinks. This restaurant is for the true MJ lover for sure but you won’t find yourself surrounded in a casual atmosphere or amongst memorabilia. If it weren’t for the name you would never know this restaurant was owned by the greatest basketball player who ever lived.
DRESS: Business Casual is fine Adults can get away with nice jeans (no holes) and a shirt with a collar, ladies this casual elegant. (dark jeans would be fine) For children shorts or jeans are also fine with a nice casual shirt. I wouldn’t recommend jerseys or sports attire for this atmosphere.
COST: Expect to spend at least $200 for a family of 4.
DETAILS: A casual yet high end dining experience for the sports fan. The atmosphere was nice and homey feeling. It felt like a high end sports club or bar. I wasn’t overly excited about the food or menu items but the boys in my family really enjoyed themselves. The wait staff was excellent and made the experience fun for the whole family.
DRESS: Casual, sports attire would be fine. Dress ranged from dressy to extremely casual.
Gino’s East Pizzeria
COST: Expect to pay about $100 for a family of 4
DETAILS: When in Chicago you must eat two things a Chicago Dog and a Deep Dish Chicago Style Pizza. Gino’s East has been around since 1966 and they know what they are doing. As we walked up to the building we noticed a line of about 20 people. We were a little concerned that the wait would take a long time but altogether it took about 45 minutes to have a fresh Chicago Style Pizza Placed on our table. Was it good? Yes and No. Ok I have to be honest. I loved the Pizza itself. It’s different because they use LOTS of sauce and really load on the toppings but my I was a tad bit underwhelmed with the crust. I love crust .. actually more than I love pizza and this crust just didn’t do it for me. But hey when in Rome.. right?
Dylan’s Candy Bar
COST: varies depending on what you get
DETAILS: Do you love Candy? We do! And this Candy Shop does not disappoint. This two level candy store owned by Ralph Lauren’s daughter, Dylan is a direct spinoff of Willy Wonka… it’s incredible to an adult I can only imagine what a child thinks. Even if you don’t want to buy candy I highly suggest just stopping by to take a look at all of the colors. It’s like walking in to a rainbow! (side note this store is located directly next to Michael Jordan’s Steakhouse)
COST: depends on your purchase
DETAILS: This two level chocolate wonderland is packed full of deliciousness. Head upstairs to the ice cream shop and order something delicious. Don’t worry anything you try will be incredible!
That’s my round up for now. The crazy thing is that I feel like we only saw a grain of the City of Chicago. We definitely packed a lot in to one weekend but I am sure there are other things to see and other adventures that need to be had in Chicago!