midwest, Money savers, Museums, outdoors, photography, Style, Travel, Uncategorized, Vacation

Culture and Fun in the Windy City

The Field Museum

Chicago is my kind of town. With it’s electric energy, close proximity to the scenic Lake Michigan, and plenty of green spaces, it’s a great place to visit. There is no shortage of amusements when staying in the Windy City, and I’ll share just a few of the ones we were able to do during our five-day adventure.

Chicago River Architecture tours- multiple vendors, $31 and up– A great way to hear about the history of the Second City and its interesting architecture is by taking a tour on the Chicago River.  We did this midway through our trip, and it was a lot of fun.  We went with Summer of George who we found on Groupon.  Our tour guide was really funny and presented the architectural history in a manner that was engaging. There are several different companies that offer the tours, some with different-themed events. If you’re looking for a basic tour at a decent price, I would look at Groupon and other discounted sites for ticket packages.  We purchased a two-ticket package for $58 on Groupon compared to $47 per person at the Riverwalk stand.   We didn’t seem to get more or less tour by being economical. One thing to note, there is an ‘amusement tax’ on activities such as ball tickets, boat tours, and other fun activities, to be sure to take that into account.

The Theater:


I can’t even begin to write about all the Broadway shows playing in Chicago theaters.  Our hotel was next to the Cadillac Palace, where they’re currently performing Les Miserables. On this trip, we finally saw Hamilton, which was the perfect way to celebrate the Independence Day week. It’s currently showing at CIBC theater, and tickets were quite reasonable, at least compared to when it was out here in Los Angeles. The theater was beautiful, and though we were quite high up, we had a pretty good view.  It was a night to remember, and if you love Broadway, I would recommend catching a show at one of Chicago’s many theaters.

Chicago Parks:


Lincoln Park is a great place to visit, though we went on a day that was rather hot and humid.  The Lincoln Park Zoo is free to visitors and has some nice exhibits.  Our issue was that it was too hot for the animals, so we didn’t see many the day we went.   There is plenty of green space, a pond, and gardens, and the park is beautiful all around.

Garfield Park located in Chicago’s West Side is also worth looking at.  There we visited the Garfield Park Conservatory, another free attraction.  The greenhouses were built in the early 1900s and opened in 1908. The Conservatory is said to be one of the largest and most beautiful conservatories in the nation. With 184 acres on garden space and thousands of plants on display in artful arrangement, I was not disappointed. It was not the Huntington, but it was still a very pleasant afternoon.

There are many other fun and educational options for all- kids, students, and adults. The City Pass is a way to save money if you plan on seeing the sites offered with the pass. We did not do this as we had a limited amount of time in the city, but we’ve purchased city passes when we visited San Francisco with the kids a few years ago.

In all, Chicago treated us well. And if my only complaint is some humidity and the fact that the Cubs were out of town, I’d call it a great trip. Thank you and I hope you enjoyed my ‘Chicago! 2019’ series. Happy trails!

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