While I really enjoy exploring the neighborhoods of Chicago with our friends, like getting to know Logan Square or just wandering around Wicker Park. There’s a couple of places that are worth putting on your touristing shoes, hoping on the CTA, and exploring while you’re in Chicago.
The cloud gate is worth a visit. Often called the bean, this centerpiece of Millenium Park always draws a crowd. Drop by, take your “bean pic” and then just wander around the parks.
While you’re there, check out what events are going on at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion; there may be some live music or movies on the lawn. Then meander into one of the other parks.
They all seem to flow into one another Millennium Park, Grant Park, and the new Maggie Daley Park, which has an outdoor climbing and bouldering wall, tennis courts, and a boardwalk that converts to an ice skating rink in the winter time. I think Maggie Daley was designed for kids, but it’s filled with a lot of fun things even for the big kid in you.
I love the Shedd Aquarium, though we didn’t make it there on this particular trip its worth checking out. On Wednesday nights throughout the summer, you can grab a cocktail and wander the Shedd to the sultry sounds of live jazz. Not a bad way to spend a summer evening.
Tigers in the city
Lincoln Park Zoo. First off, it’s free. Secondly, who doesn’t love zoos? Spend a free afternoon visiting the big cat house, the ape center, the seal pool, and the red pandas – whatever fits your fancy. Coming soon – polar bears and penguins!
A peaceful place
The Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool is a little sanctuary in the city. Just around the corner from the Lincoln Park Zoo, it is another free activity and is a great place to wander around and forget that you are in the middle of a major metropolitan area. If I lived in Chicago, I would certainly frequent this spot to take a peaceful reprieve.
On the hand – tourist mecca. There is a ferris wheel and bars and restaurants lining the pier. This is the main launching point for the fireworks. We popped down for a pitcher of margaritas to take a break from a long day of pounding the pavement.
Still on the wish list: The Architecture Boat Tour. I’ve heard this is fabulous and need to do this on my next pass through.