You’ve only got 48 hours? But this is one of the world’s most exciting cities. It’s pretty unique too. Like they say, there are things to do and then there are Chicago things to do. But if you can’t stretch your time here any further, we’ve put together a weekend’s itinerary for you. So here’s your whistle stop tour for the Windy City.
1) Checked in? Now check your bearings
You want to know where you’ll be adventuring tomorrow. Well the good news is that 360 Chicago at the John Hancock Center stays open till late, with the last admission at 10:30pm. So once you’ve settled in at your hotel, come on over to North Michigan Avenue and look out over the city. Magnificent Mile? Check. Navy Pier? Check. And you can’t miss Lake Michigan. That’s great, you’ll be visiting them all very soon.
2) A morning stroll
Now you’ve unpacked, have you found you’ve forgotten something? Don’t worry, we’re sure you’ll be able to buy some replacement sports gear in Chicago. Especially somewhere along the Magnificent Mile, one of the best shopping strips in the US, if not the world. There are 13 blocks, and around 460 world-class stores along this stretch of North Michigan Avenue.
3) Time for lunch
There are plenty of expensive eateries along the Magnificent Mile, and lots of fast food joints too. But why not aim for somewhere in the middle? The Purple Pig is a wine bar situated at 500 N Michigan Avenue that has lots of dishes and snacks featuring, you guessed it, the eponymous pig. It’s great fun, but don’t fill up too much. You’ve got a busy day ahead.
4) Lakefront Speedboat Tour
Now head east towards Lake Shore Drive. If you’re a culture vulture, why not stop off at the Museum of Contemporary Art on E Chicago Ave, with its up-to-the-minute art installations? But if you prefer something a bit faster paced, come over to Navy Pier and hop on the Seadog Chicago for a seabird’s eye view of Chicago. You’ll speed past the waterfront and see some of the tallest buildings in the world.
5) Navy Pier
Disembark at Navy Pier and wander through it, taking in its sights and sounds. Grab a seat on the huge Ferris wheel, or just take your time strolling the waterfront. And now it’s time for an evening bite. How about Riva, with glorious seafood and steaks, plus a superb view of the waterfront?
6) Have a laugh
After dinner, we recommend a visit to The Second City, where you can watch live improv and perhaps catch the next Steve Carell or Tina Fey making their comedy debut.
7) Millennium Park
Welcome to the start of day two. After breakfast, head on over to Millennium Park to experience one of the world’s most dynamic and vibrant public places. You’re sure to catch some live music or interactive art while you’re here. If you’re staying north of the river, swing by Michigan Avenue Bridge on your way. This double-decker bridge is one of the most photographed landmarks in America.
8) Chicago pizzazz and pizza
Time for lunch. Why not try Giordano’s Pizza in the Loop, near Willis Tower? You’ve got to try the deep dish 'Chicago-style' style while you’re here.
9) Take the Chicago Crime Tour
If you’d like to learn about the Windy City’s notorious criminal history, jump on the Chicago Crime Tour's luxury limousine bus to journey through River North, Gold Coast, Lincoln Park, Old Town, Loop and Magnificent Mile neighborhoods. You'll hear stories of Chicago's dramatic criminal history, see infamous crime scenes, and learn more about villainous gangsters like Al Capone and John Dillinger.
10) Planets or aquatics?
If there’s still time, we recommend a trip to the waterfront to visit Adler Planetarium, with its interactive space travel experiences. If possible, pay a visit to the Shedd Aquarium next door too — it's home to over 1500 different aquatic animal species
11) Final night out
Right, let’s go for it. If you want to dance to some big sounds, we recommend The Mid in the Fulton Market area of town – get here early to get your place in the line. But if you just want a final Chicago meal you’re going to remember, head over to Wicker Park and Trenchermen, a converted Turkish bathhouse with lots of atmosphere, cocktails and great tasting food. Are you sure you can’t stay just one more night?