Chicago is a city you can't see all in one day, but me and some friends gave it a try. This is a guide to helping you navigate the City and keep you on your feet for a day in the Windy City.
Chicago has always been one of my favourite places, and even before I paid a visit Chicago was a place I dreamt of going. The music, the nightlight, and the magnificence that is the City as you move through it from the train station to Navy Pier. My approach to the way I did things in Chicago was different to that of next summer. Being only 20 years old, it limits to what you can do socially.
I stayed in a little town called Long Grove around 35 minutes’ drive from Chicago, a quaint little place. Slightly expensive, but you get that when you stay free in an area most associated with wealth. As you head straight along the main road in Long Grove you come to where I stayed, Twin Orchard Country Club. A fine establishment for members, 36 hole golf course, eloquently designed, with Swimming Pool, Tennis Courts, and a lovely restaurant serving meals from Turkey Sandwiches and Fillet Mignon to regular Burgers and Hot Dogs for the children. This club however is for Members only, which is expected being in roughly the same area as the Ryder Cup course, Medinah. Which is only 20 minutes drive away from Long Grove through the suburban roads.
The drive to Chicago is a pleasant one. That is until you start to see the City come into the skyline. As soon as you see the City a concertina effect takes place on the roads. We parked in a parking lot near Willis Tower, which was our first destination. For someone who is petrified of heights, I took it upon myself to buckle up and get over my prime fear. Short queues and not too expensive, only $14.95 for adults(Age 12-64). We got in a lift that took us up 3 floors, which fantastically goes through the Towers history and also comparisons of how big it actually is. Allowing people to see how tall they are next to famous people such as Shaquille O’Neal and Oprah Winfrey.
The Skydeck itself is astonishingly beautiful. On a hot, clear 28 degrees day, you could see for miles on all four sides. Boats passing along Lake Michigan, highways packed with cars, and nearly all of Chicago in such a view. Skydeck say visibility is 40-50 miles and you can see 4 states, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan from the top. Not knowing my US geography well, I couldn’t tell whether I was seeing a different state or not. I’m not afraid to tell people I saw 4 states standing in the same spot (Well nearly). Petrified of heights, I failed to conquer my fear of actually going on the Skydeck but with such incredible views, I felt it unnecessary to step on some glass poking out 103 floors up.
One of the best things in Chicago is Lincoln Park zoo, it shuts at 5pm on Weekdays and 6:30pm on Weekends. So get there early. Entry is free for everyone and i would go alone for the wonderful Polar Bear they have there.
After we took a stop off in Millenium park for some photos and some ice cream. Slightly expensive at $3 for a can of fizzy drink and around $5 for an ice cream. On a hot day though, it was worth every cent. Millenium Park itself is beautiful. As you walk through the city you have Sky scrapers galore, and you increasing look up in amazement at it all. Then, you just come into an opening, A large footpath goes along Lake Michigan from Navy Pier to the Aquarium, Museum and Planetarium, as well as Soldier Field just a little further on. When the lake is calm, (most days during the summer), you can save yourself the walk and either get a segway tour, or a lake boat to the opposite side. Lake boat tours cost anything from $36 - $130, depending on different circumstances.
We stopped off for a quick look in the Aquarium, before we headed to a Baseball game. As we walk up the stairs we see signs of prices from $8-$40. On entry i paid $37.50 for access to the majority of things, plus to see the Jellyfish, which i wouldn't recemmend spending any extra money to see. I would rather see one of the feeding shows they have on.
If you have yet to experience an American Baseball game i would highly advise you do so. We witnessed a fantastic game finishing Chicago White Sox 9 - 18 Minnesota Twins. A brilliant day of sport, topped with Chicago Style Pizza (It really is the best), Hot Dogs (Average, but not like the Sausage meat you get in the UK, so i'll let them off) and for a few others Old Style Beer, nicely cherped in a drowning, lifeless voice by one of the staff carrying them up and down the steps in the Ballpark. I don't blame him. In the stadium you can buy mechandise. I purchased a programme costing just $4 for a substantial read. Having bought the cheap programme, i had hoped the store would have also been as cheap, not quite. Being English i bought a 'Beckham' Jersey (A player for the White Sox) for over £100 dollars, i don't have the exact figure, but it was somewhere between $100-$125.
Chicago is a must see and a must do, you can't get it all done in one day, but I hope I may have helped you get around that little bit faster.