Each person’s bucket list is different, as is each person’s definition of a great vacation. Some might only need a weekend away to see a city, while others want to go on month long adventure. But one thing’s for sure, every city has amazing places you might have overlooked. That’s why we think staycations are the perfect way to see your city from a new point of view…there are hidden gems waiting to be discovered.
On that note, let’s take a tourist’s eye view of Chicago. The Windy City has always been one of the best staycation cities in the country, and here are 13 reasons why:
Perhaps most famous for its iconic Cloud, Millenium Park is nonetheless a perfect stop for Chicago natives. Like Central Park in Manhattan, Millenium Park most likely has a corner or two you haven’t seen. It’s a mecca of famous architecture and landscape design, and also offers hundreds of free programs throughout the year, including concerts, exhibitions, tours and family fun.
A famous Chicago landmark, the Navy Pier is one of the most important civic landmarks in the U.S. It’s gearing up for its 100th anniversary in 2016, and events are already in full swing. Each day, different activities are scheduled for the entire family, including, movies like Cinderella in IMAX, Pandas: The Journey Home 3D, and Tornado Alley 3D. Dunsinane from the National Theatre of Scotland and Royal Shakespeare Company is visiting, and the Chicago Flower & Garden Show is on offer. The Spirit of Chicago is also having a brunch cruise show.
John Hancock Observatory
The website name is 360chicago.com for a reason. The 1,000-foot observation deck gives visitors the best views at the best location. A recent addition is the Tilt attraction, which allows visitors to step onto an enclosed platform that extends from the building at a 30-degree angle.
Architecture River Cruise
Just as Boston is famous for its amphibious duck boats, Chicago is famous for its architectural cruises run by Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. These “90 Minutes of Amazing” cruises take visitors around the lake, where they learn about the architectural design of over 50 historic buildings.
With four locations near the water in downtown, Gino’s East has some of the most famous pizzas in town. Their legendary deep dish pizza is some of the best in the nation. They even have their own blog! What a hip, unpretentious pizza place.
Featuring 13 prime locations, catering, and a bake shop, Rosebud is one of the best-known diner-style chains in the Windy City. And easily one of the tastiest. Even better, you can order everything on their menu online (for pickup).
676 Restaurant & Bar
If you’re looking for a place to eat with unparalleled views of the Magnificent Mile, this American bistro is the perfect spot. Chef Anthony Herve is known for using the freshest ingredients from the Midwest and local farmers whenever possible. He even grows a lot of the organic produce on the rooftop gardens located on the sundeck at the Omni Chicago Hotel. This unique restaurant experience is one you won’t want to miss.
A fancy Italian restaurant with a grassroots bent, Eataly not only features famous food, it also loves contributing to local causes. Take their “Nose to Tail” initiative, in which they promise to buy animals from local farmers once a week, for example. Or their “The Many Shades of Truffles” bar, which will be America’s first truffle bar. Pretty cool stuff.
At the top of the John Hancock Center, the Signature Room offers a dazzling skyline view, warm wood and art deco, and 360 degree views of the city. It’s the perfect place for special occasions.
Called “The Magnificent Mile” by some, Michigan Ave. is a hotbed of boutique variety and touristy abundance. No matter who you are or what you’re looking for, you’re likely to find something you want on Michigan Ave. Check out its homepage for details.
Water Tower Place
Presenting $5 same day delivery on select products, Water Tower Place is ideally situated between the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) and the John Hancock Center for a full day’s adventure. With 758,000 sq ft and 74 floors of shops and restaurants, everyone will find something they love.
The Shops at North Bridge
For more conventional shoppers, North Bridge is an all-American shopping complex that includes over 50 stores as well as a Nordstrom’s and Eataly. Oh, and there are 20 other restaurants in fewer than 6 city blocks, for good measure.
One of the largest Nike stores in the world, Nike Town is a 5-story wonderland for sports apparel aficionados. The 1st floor is what’s in, the 2nd floor is devoted to football and soccer, the 3rd floor to crossfit, the 4th floor to women’s apparel and running shoes, and the 5th floor to kid’s apparel and a “design your own shoe” station.
Located in the heart of the city, the beloved Omni Chicago Hotel is right in the middle of all the local attractions. You’ll be within walking distance to all the parks, museums, shops, and music venues. Take a stroll along the beautiful lakefront, then come back to your hotel and have a nice glass of wine at the 676 Bar and Lounge. Which was recently named one of the Top 10 Hotel Bars in Chicago by Michigan Avenue Magazine. The Omni Chicago Hotel is celebrating its recent renovation and is proud of its newly appointed guest suites, including 10 specialty suites.