Where to stay
The Museum Campus, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, and Millennium Park are all located in a general vicinity generally labeled downtown; these are perhaps some of Chicago’s most popular tourist attractions. In many ways, it only makes sense to stay downtown. However, keep in mind that if you do stay near The Loop or River North, you’re going to pay downtown prices. You can alleviate some of these costs by booking early, but still expect to pay a pretty penny. To save money on your hotel stay while visiting Chicago, consider staying in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Located a few miles north, the area is less chaotic, less spendy, yet still trendy, full of restaurants, bars, and plenty of public transportation options. You can check out some Lincoln Park hotels here.
Where to shop
So you’re coming to Chicago and it only makes sense to shop on Michigan Avenue. As a resident of this wonderful city, I must tell you I would consider other options before browsing along the Mag Mile. Yes, it’s nice to take a stroll down, to view the river and the fantastic architecture, but if you’re looking to really shop and spend some serious dough, another area might suit you better. If you’re ready to put your shopping shoes on, head to State Street, about a mile from the popular shops on Michigan. You’ll find all the stores you would expect and hope for, including Akira, Nordstrom Rack, Macy’s, DSW, and much, much more.
Looking for a more unconventional twist on shopping? Head to the trendy Wicker Park neighborhood, the perfect destination to pick up unique and vintage items. Also consider the family friendly Lincoln Square.
Where to dine
Want to live the life of a Chicago foodie? One street will satisfy all of your culinary dreams: Randolph, more fondly known as Restaurant’s Row. This article will walk you through some of Chicago’s best restaurants and what to expect from them, including Little Goat Diner and Au Cheval. Get ready to get organized and make some reservations!
What to do
When you’re visiting Chicago, it would be a shame not to check out some of our infamous landmarks. The above mentioned Navy Pier or Museum Campus (including the always popular Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium) might make your list. Consider stepping onto the treacherous Sky Deck at Willis (Sears) Tower, have a drink at the Signature Lounge at the 95th (located atop the Hancock center), or float down the Chicago River on a Chicago Architecture tour to learn about the city’s history and growth.
Looking for good nightlife? Head out to upscale River North, sports-centric Wrigleyville, or charming Old Town.
To really do as the Chicagoans do, learn the public transit system, or the CTA. The subway is lovingly referred to as the “El” here, since most lines are elevated. The red and brown lines will take you downtown. An array of buses will take you to any point in the city you desire.
And, if you take none of this advice to heart, do only this. Eat some deep dish pizza.