10 Reasons to Take a Summer Trip to the Windy City

It’s the town the Sunday Billy couldn’t shut down, where the wind off of the great lakes sometimes whips around the tall buildings and almost knocks you over, and where art, history and the heart of America combine. This Midwest hub of activity makes Chicago one of the top cities you should visit this Summer.

A Beach and City in One

Chicago is situated on the southwest shores of Lake Michigan. This means you can spend time in a metropolitan setting, but within minutes have your shoes off and toes in the sand at the beach. On warm summer days, the beach is filled with strolling couples and sunbathers. Boats dot the shoreline. Locals simply call it “the lake.” While here, you may want to:

  • Bike the paths
  • Take a boat for a sail
  • Cross the street for dinner or to visit some of the local parks

Amazing Architecture

Another reason many people visit Chicago, Illinois is to take in the varied and unique architecture. Not only has the overall level of Chicago been raised, which is an engineering marvel in itself, but above the ground is where the real building art begins.

The city boasts buildings by famous architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright. Some buildings were destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, but architects have made up for that with truly original pieces, such as the Aqua Tower, which looks like waves of water all around. Some other buildings to see while in town include:

  • Sears Tower
  • Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
  • Spertus Institute of Jewish Studies
  • Hancock Tower

Museums Galore

If the thought of spending the day learning a bit of history or science, or viewing art makes your heart flutter with the delight, Chicago is home to a wide variety of museums, from history to art to cultural museums.

Chicago Traveler recommends starting with the Field Museum of Natural History. The museum is home to the Tyrannosaurus Rex named Sue, which is the biggest and most complete dinosaur specimen ever discovered. You’ll also want to take in:

  • Museum of Science and Industry
  • Art Institute of Chicago
  • Lincoln Park Conservatory

Shop ‘til You Drop

Chicago offers shopping options that will call your name. The Navy Pier is one unique place to stop for souvenirs to take home. You’ll find a food court and shops. It sits on 50 acres and includes cruises off the pier, garden areas to walk through, live music and an Imax theater to pass some time. Restaurants include:

  • Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
  • Billy Goat Tavern
  • Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville

Deep Dish Pizza

When you think Chicago’s history, you likely think of deep dish Chicago pizza. You can’t get pizza like this anywhere else. Imagine a thick crust piled high with cheese and toppings, fresh and hot from a steaming oven.

Although many different Chicago pizzerias try to take credit for creating the first deep dish pizza pie, the truth is that no one knows for sure. The key is to find the best deep dish pie possible. Keep in mind:

  • The more toppings the better.
  • The sauce is all important.
  • Stuffed crust is a bonus.

Sports Catches Fire

The people of Chicago love their sports. Even if you don’t normally like sports all that much, try to attend at least one game while in the Windy city. Not only will you see a landmark building, such as that at Wrigley Field, but you’ll get a real feel for the heart and soul of the city. Professional teams include:

  • Blackhawks
  • Bulls
  • Cubs
  • White Sox

Designer Shopping

If you want to dress to impress, the Magnificent Mile is the place to head. The stores run along Michigan Avenue on the north side. Here, you’ll find:

  • Neiman Marcus
  • Tiffany & Co.
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Saks Fifth Avenue

Of course, there are many other stores in this area, as well as buildings like the Trump Hotel and Towers and Palmolive Building.

Theater Scene

Chicago has an excellent theater scene that includes everything from small independent theaters to Broadway shows. It is also home to musical theater festivals and a home theater festival. Chicagoans love theater and it shows in the many different options that will keep you entertained while visiting the city. A few theaters to check out:

  • Chicago Shakespeare Theater
  • Briar Street Theater
  • Apollo Theater Mainstage
  • Cadillac Palace Theater

Unique Hot Dogs

If you haven’t eaten a Chicago style hot dog, then you’ve not really lived. Sure, it is full of calories and other things not so healthy for you, but how many times do you get a chance to visit Chicago and eat whatever you want? What exactly tops a Chicago hot dog?

  • Green relish
  • Onions
  • Mustard
  • Tomato
  • Pickled peppers
  • Possibly a dill pickle
  • Never any ketchup

Grant Park

Grant Park sits on 319 acres and is known throughout the city as its “front yard.” During warm weather, it is a hub of activity and connects Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park and Museum Campus. There are festivals most weekends, including Lollapalooza and other music festivals. Other events include:

  • The Taste of Chicago
  • Grant Park Music Festival
  • Chicago Marathon

Whether visiting for one of the many business conventions held in Chicago or simply taking a quick vacation, Chicago is filled with enough attractions to suit nearly any taste. It is filled with people from many cultures and offers Chinatown, Little Italy and Greektown, to name a few. Your only problem when visiting this city will be fitting in everything you want to do.

Sarah Landrum

After graduating from Penn State with degrees in Marketing and PR, Sarah moved to Harrisburg to start her career as a Digital Media Specialist and a writer. She later founded Punched Clocks, a site dedicated to helping young professionals navigate the work world and find happiness and success in their careers.

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