Weekend Escape | Chicago | RTX Traveler Magazine

As the third biggest city in the country, Chicago has a lot going for it in terms of history, culture, sports, entertainment and dining. Perhaps it’s the Midwestern politeness of the people, the abundant green spaces throughout the city or maybe its proximity to the waters of Lake Michigan that bring a bit of laid-back charm to this bustling metropolis. Whatever it may be, Chicago has a certain pull that will keep you coming back for more.


Getting there:

Chicago is served by two international airports. O’Hare International Airport (ORD) is one of the world’s busiest, which makes it reachable from nearly everywhere but more crowded. Midway International Airport (MDW) is the smaller, less congested airport. If arriving by car, the city is accessible by several major highways from surrounding cities such as Milwaukee, Des Moines, Indianapolis and Detroit.

DSC_0129Day 1:

Start your visit to with a stroll through Millennium Park, where you can join other tourists for a snapshot in front of the Cloud Gate sculpture, locally known as “The Bean” due to its shape. A visit to the famed Art Institute of Chicago is a must, where you can see paintings like Woods’ “American Gothic,” Picasso’s “The Old Guitarist,” Monet’s “Water Lilies” and more. Stroll through Grant Park and rest in front of the Buckingham Fountain to take in the scenery before a visit to the Shedd Aquarium, where you can marvel at 32,000 different animals. Splurge at world-famous Alinea in Lincoln Park for dinner.

466204117Day 2:

Begin the day with Toast then burn the calories from their delicious eggs Benedict or mascarpone French toast with a bike ride. Divvy is Chicago’s bike sharing program where you simply purchase a 24-hour pass and then pick up and drop off a bike from any nearby station at your convenience. Pedal the path along Lakeshore Drive through Lincoln Park and Belmont Harbor to the Andersonville neighborhood. One of the new hot spots for thirty-somethings in the area has trendy shops and restaurants throughout the historic district of Clark Street and Ashland Avenue. Head to Lou Malnati’s for pizza, arguably the best pies in town.

187790366Day 3:

Have an affordable and tasty breakfast at GePaDe Caffe before a riverboat tour aboard Chicago’s First Lady. Presented by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, the tour guides discuss the history and architecture of more than 50 buildings along the Chicago River. After the tour, enjoy lunch at Eleven City Diner then stroll the Magnificent Mile for your shopping fix or discover The Loop’s Public Outdoor Art displays. In the evening, get your laughs with the famous improv-based sketch comedy revue, The Second City. Tip: Check out the E.T.C. stage as opposed to the Mainstage for shows that are more affordable, slightly edgier and every bit as funny.

Day 4:

Fuel up with coffee and pastries at the Lutz Café & Pastry Shop in Chicago’s German neighborhood Lincoln Square. Browse cozy used bookstores and charming shops like Timeless Toys, Quake Collectibles or Merz Apothecary. Grab lunch at the Brauhaus and a pint at Huettenbar, both with friendly Bavarian atmospheres. Stop in to the Dank Haus German American Cultural Center to explore the museum and art gallery. Catch a performance by The New Colony, a local theater company that has Chicago buzzing about their unique approach to creating smart, funny and touching shows. Venture outside of Lincoln Square for dinner at Honey Butter Fried Chicken, where locally sourced ingredients shine. Late night revelers can find plenty of hip spots in the Wicker Park neighborhood.

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