Chicago is one of the most visited cities in America. Set in the heart of the America’s mid-West region, Chicago is a vibrant and exciting city, full of history, culture, and grit. Leafcanoer, searchingforyourzen, recently posted a Leaf about Chicago titled, “Chicago’s Skyline Tour.” It’s full of great suggestions for exploring the city.
To really get to know Chicago, you need months, or better yet years of living there to fully understand the local character. But even if you only have a short time for a visit, there are still ways to get a taste of life in Chicago. For those with a limited amount of time, here’s a list of how to spend 24 hours in Chicago.
Get a morning workout at Millenium Park
Start your day off with a visit to Millenium Park. In the summer time, the park offers free workouts on Saturday and Sunday mornings. But even if you’re not there in the summer, Millenium Park and adjacent Maggie Daley Park, are great places to take a morning walk or jog. There are a few art installations worth seeing at Millenium Park, including the Cloud Gate, Crown Fountain, and Boeing Galleries. After your workout, head north to Randolph Street for pancakes at Wildberry Pancakes and Cafe, or try Caffe Rom on Stetson Avenue for Italian coffee and European pastries.
Explore art at the Art Institute
After breakfast, head back south through Millenium Park to the Art Institute of Chicago. Home to an extensive collection of classical and modern art, the Art Institute of Chicago is an excellent place to spend a relaxing morning in Chicago. The Art Institute has five wings, with art from all over the world and throughout history. Worth a look is the Modern Wing, which features 20th and 21st Century art.
Hang out with aquatic life at Shedd Aquarium
You could easily spend the day away at the Art Institute of Chicago, but instead, why not spend the afternoon with sea animals? First, head over to nearby Wabash Avenue for a bite to eat at any of the restaurants that line the street. Then head south through Grant Park to the Shedd Aquarium, located on the shores of Lake Michigan. Shedd Aquarium is the world’s largest indoor aquarium and boasts over 8,000 aquatic animals.
Ride the Loop
After a long morning and afternoon of sight-seeing, it’s good to have some down time. A fun and unique way to see the city is to ride the Loop. The Loop is a set of elevated railway circulating through downtown Chicago. From the Shedd Aquarium, head west on Roosevelt Road to the Roosevelt station. From there, catch the Orange Line north. The train will circulate around downtown starting from the Harold Washington Library-State/Van Buren station to the Adams/Wabash station, before heading back south to Roosevelt station. Be sure to get off at the Adams/Wabash station.
Go out on the ledge at Willis Tower
From the Adams/Wabash station, head west on Adams Street to visit Willis Tower, located on Franklin Street. Formerly called the Sears Tower, and built in the 1970’s, Willis Tower is considered the tallest building in America. Open 365 days a year, until 10pm from April to September, and 8pm from October to March, the Willis Tower is the perfect place to catch a sunset in Chicago.
Rest your head at a historic hotel
At the end of the day, the best thing to do is rest your head on a comfortable pillow and curl up under a warm blanket. There are a number of historic hotels located throughout Chicago, with most of them centralized around the downtown area.
Chicago is a fun and exciting place to visit, regardless of whether you only have 24 hours in Chicago, or years to explore. There are so many attractions to see in the city, much more than what’s described here. This list is just a starting off point, and can be a great source of inspiration for your own adventures in the windy city.
For more ideas of what to see in Chicago and in other cities, download the Leafcanoe app.