Home to over 2,700,000 residents, Chicago is the third largest city in the United States. While it is full of all the hustle and bustle one would expect from a metropolis of its size, Chicago also has a Midwestern warmth that is absent in cities such as New York or Los Angeles – the only two more populated than itself. While residents stay busy with their day-to-day work lives, there is also no shortage of Windy City fun and leisure to be had for both locals and visitors alike. No matter the time of year that you plan on visiting the University of Chicago La Quinta Inn and Suites, you will find it easy to fill your itinerary with all types of activities. With 36 annual parades, 40 film festivals and over 70 music festivals, more than 250 live music venues, over 200 theatres, and well over 5,000 restaurants, there is no shortage of ways to fill your day. People spend their entire lives in Chicago and barely scratch the surface on what the city has to offer, but visiting just once will give you a great taste of how special this city truly is. If you have a week in town, be sure to check an events calendar to see what parades, festivals, concerts, or plays may be taking place during your stay. On top of those, read on for some of our recommendations for how to best spend one week in Chicago.
Explore one, or many, of the City’s Famous Museums
You will find a wide collection of museums in any large city across the country, but Chicago’s are undoubtedly some of the finest. The city has 56 individual museums, so no matter your interests there is sure to be one for you. The Art Institute of Chicago (the second largest art museum in the country) and the Museum of Contemporary Art have collections that will impress any art enthusiast. The Field Museum is undeniably one of the best and most comprehensive natural history museums in the world. The Museum of Science and Industry is a celebration of science past, present, and future and houses many interactive exhibits. The International Museum of Surgical Science is home to thousands of artifacts that help tell the history of surgery and the Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank has thousands of rare coins, a cube filled with one million dollars, and countless other money-related items that are sure to impress. One week may not be long enough to visit each of Chicago’s 56 museums but, with such a variety, you are sure to find at least a few that will cater to your interests perfectly.
Enjoy the Chicago Lakefront
For most people, going to the beach is likely not going to be on the top of their list when visiting Chicago. But that’s a mistake! While The Windy City is certainly not Miami, it does boast 26 miles of lakefront on the shores of beautiful Lake Michigan. An 18.5-mile lakefront path runs along the shore – creating the perfect avenue to walk, run, or ride a bike while exploring the city. Also along the 26 miles of shoreline are 26 individual beaches, each with its own unique character. Montrose Beach in Uptown is a great place to participate in water sports or enjoy the views and sun. North Avenue Beach in Lincoln Park (a favorite Chicago neighborhood) is a bustling city for young professionals and boasts some of the best skyline views of the city. Ohio Street Beach is located downtown and makes for the perfect addition to a visit to Navy Pier. Like Chicago museums, each beach has its own unique character and charm – it’s on you to find the perfect fit/s for your weeklong vacation.
Catch your Breathe in a Chicago Park
Chicago has over 8,000 acres of green space in the city and 580 individual parks. Like everything else in the Chicago, each park has something new and unique to offer. Whether you need to catch your breath after a long day of exploring museums or just want to spend an afternoon lounging and having a picnic, you are sure to find some nearby open green space. Grant Park is arguably the city’s most famous. This 319-acre park in the central business district is home to The Bean, Millenium Park, and hosts many festivals and celebrations throughout the year. “Chicago’s Front Yard” is the perfect place to escape the hustle and bustle if you have been spending the day downtown. Promontory Point in the Hyde Park neighborhood is a great destination for the entire family and has incredible views of the Chicago skyline. Washington Park is on the National Register of Historic Places and has an arboretum, lagoon, playground, and ample green space. The city also has green spaces that serve as bird sanctuaries and environmental study areas, a rooftop garden atop the 11-story City Hall, and small parks tucked between skyscrapers all over the city. Chicago has one of the biggest urban centers in the country and may be known as the epicenter of midwestern business, but city planners have certainly not neglected the importance of green space. During your one-week stay be sure to pencil in some time to explore the beauty of these parks in spring, summer, fall, or even winter.
Catch a Game in one of the Country’s Biggest Sports Markets
No matter the time of year you visit, there is almost guaranteed to be a large-scale sporting event being held in The Windy City. Chicago is home to eight professional sports franchises including two Major League Baseball teams, an NBA and WNBA basketball team, one NFL football team, one NHL hockey team, and both an MLS and NWSL soccer team. Many of these teams play in storied stadiums worth a visit all their own. Soldier Field was home to the nearly unstoppable 1980s Chicago Bears, Wrigley Field is widely considered one of the finest and most historic baseball stadiums in all the country, and the United Center was home to Michael Jordan’s legendary Bull’s teams of the 1990s. Chicago’s professional franchises always seem to remain competitive no matter the sport, and watching them compete live is a real treat. Whether you are in town hoping to see your favorite team get a win on the road, want to pay a visit to a historic stadium, or are just curious about local sports fandom and culture (that is a sight to behold all its own!), Chicago is the city for you. And those are just the professional franchises! The Chicago area is also home to many colleges and universities – most of which have teams all their own. If you’re lucky, the city could also be serving as a neutral site for a national or world championship competition during your stay. If you have a week in The Windy City, be sure to see who’s playing – game days in The Windy City are one-of-a-kind!
Chicago truly is a world-class city and serves as the perfect melting pot of culture, business, art, science, and all things in between. Millions of people have called Chicago home for their entire lives and after just a short visit it is easy to see why. The Windy City has everything that New York, Los Angeles, London, Paris, and other major cities have to offer, and it all comes with a strong dose of Midwestern hospitality. If you have never been, you are in for a treat during your one week stay with the University of Chicago La Quinta Inn and Suites. If you’ve been before, you know that one week is not nearly enough time to explore everything the city has to offer. But it’s a start! Give us a call today to reserve your room and start planning your weeklong dream getaway in The Windy City.