Before You Go:
Public transportation will save you so much money. I suggest getting a day pass right away after your flight. Honestly it’s a pretty simple system to follow with info boards by every train. If you’re completely lost, Google maps-transit is a lifesaver that tells you exactly where to get on and off!
The people of Chicago call their public transportation system the “L”
Yes a lot of people think Chicago is the place to go for deep dish pizza, but that’s not what the locals like-they appreciate the thin crust just like the Italians.
1. Sip and wake up at Gaslight Coffee RoastersHonestly this place is the coolest . I arrived there at 7am right when they opened and I got my pick of the seats! They have a big picnic table in the back that was perfect for catching up on homework for a few hours as I sucked down their cold brew with soy. This place has chill music playing, has super nice staff, and has good vibes. I was here for hours and felt so at home. Perfect place to wake up if you have an early flight! Also easy to get there from airport-blue line outbound, get off at California, walk two blocks.
2. Check out Street Art (Logan Sq)Gaslight coffee is only a few blocks from Logan sq. which is host to some of the best street art. Chicago is famous for this art, it’s like the whole city is a museum! I personally love street art because it always makes a statement, it is meant to be seen, and it is usually political-as a government major I appreciate this!! I got to see some awesome pieces, I only wish I had more time to see all the famous pieces.
3. Chill at Millennium ParkYes this is a classic touristy thing to see, but honestly the sight of a giant mirrored bean blows my mind every time. This is a cool place to hang out when you’re tired like I was. I just grabbed a spot on a bench and people watched for an hour or so. So many funny bean photos to witness! Millennium park is also host to pretty flowers, and is right next to a bunch of art. Still a must see.
4. Take an Architecture TourThis tour is even adored by locals, hop on a boat and be led down all three Chicago river channels. You will get to see and hear about famous architecture within the city, and get some of the best skyline views of the city! What a way to spend a day- at least you don’t have to walk the canals! There are honestly so many interesting buildings in Chicago, filled with skyscrapers, this tour offers explanation to some of the stranger ones-like the building in the picture above. Looks like a beehive!
5. Have Lunch at Hampton SocialI got to have lunch here for the first time last week and I will tell you I could LIVE here. The vibe is amazing, super nautical and feminine. I could imagine having a sick birthday or girls day here! The frozen rose is so worth it on a warm day, and the food is delicious. They serve incredible seafood, and offer a few brunch items all day that are definitely worth trying. This spot is also the perfect place to get that Instagram pic you’ve been looking for. LOVE this place. Also don’t fear coming alone like I did, just grab a seat at the bar and drink rose all day.
6. Wander Adler PlanetariumThis place has SO much to see. Exhibits and shows galore! If you’re a fan of astrology, and astronomy this is the place for you! Learn about eclipses, star formations, planets and more! I hung out here just cause I needed something to do, but I was super impressed by everything. Make sure to catch a show while you’re here.
7. Dessert at BombobarThe best way to describe this place is YUM. The gelato here is incredible. And for only $5 you get your choice of gelato(I chose S’mores!) and two toppings! This cute little shop is off the main street and is totally Instagram worthy. Order from the windows, grab a seat on their cute little patio, and wait for your name to be called-then enjoy! I went a bit out of my way to check this place out and I’m so happy I did. DELISH.
8. Asado CoffeeThis coffee shop is magical. From the light up coffee sign (obviously got my attention) to the delish coffee choices served here, this place could be my new home. Sunlit with wifi + coffee, equals the perfect combination! Highly suggest making a stop here sometime during your day!
9. Eat pizza @ Pequod’s PizzaYes deep dish is super popular but every now and then a thin crust is great appreciated. This place Pequod’s Pizza has both, and is beloved by locals! Eating pizza in Chicago is kind of a must, so I highly suggest this place located on N. Clybourn Ave C. It’s legendary, and is also the place to go if you love Chicago sports!
10. Take pics in the Chicago Cultural CenterThis cultural center located near Millennium park is becoming one of the must see spots in Chicago because of the gorgeous (free!) interior. Most popular are the stained glass domes. The cultural center also hosts events like music, lectures, and theatre shows. I highly recommend checking what’s happening here during your travels and checking it out. It will not disappoint.
Those are my top 10 places to see in
Chicago! Comment below if you have any favorite places!