How To Spend A Weekend In Chicago

Lincoln Park | © Alanscottwalker/WikiCommons
Lincoln Park | © Alanscottwalker/WikiCommons
Photo of Elizabeth Newhart
18 December 2016

Chicago has something for everyone, but it can feel overwhelming. You could spend weeks exploring just the downtown area without even thinking about the surrounding neighborhoods. So it can be difficult to determine what to squeeze into your trip. If you’re just in town for a weekend, use this guide to help you make the most of the Windy City.

Friday Night

Start off your weekend downtown with dinner and a show. Try Hot Woks Cool Sushi for budget-friendly Asian cuisine, The Berghoff for authentic German, or McCormick & Schmick’s for upscale seafood and steak. And even if you can’t get seats at Hamilton, Broadway in Chicago always has a world-class array of performances in the Loop. Musicals, comedy, traveling shows, and originals make up their impressive repertoire.

Bank of America Theatre | © WikiCommons

For a nightcap, pop into one of Chicago’s best winter bars in the downtown area. Also, consider Potter’s Lounge for a classy vibe or Miller’s Pub for a more laid-back one.

Saturday Morning

Saturday is your biggest day to sightsee, so hop out of bed early and grab breakfast at the Bongo Room in the South Loop or one of Chicago’s five Yolk locations. Make it your daytime mission to see the city highlights, like a visit to the Willis Tower, the Bean, and a stroll up Michigan Avenue. Hit a museum (or several) and squeeze in tours of Chicago’s best architecture and most impressive public works of art along the way.

Cloud Gate | © Robert Lowe /Flickr

In between everything, try grabbing lunch somewhere with a bit of culture. Get a taste of Chicago’s ethnic food scene in Greektown, Chinatown, or Little Italy.

Saturday Night

It’s time to dust off your dancing shoes and dip your feet into Chicago’s nightlife scene. Consider snagging tickets to a killer concert, or just get ready to hit the bars. For all-night beats and plenty of fun, check out the State and Division area or head north to Wrigleyville. The Original Mother’s, McFadden’s, Sluggers, and Trader Todd’s are all crowd-pleasing favorites. For something more low-key, find yourself a welcoming dive bar, or belt your heart out at karaoke.

The Green Mill | © Flickr

Sunday Morning

Saturday was a marathon, so keep things more relaxed on Sunday. Get out of the city center and pick an outer neighborhood to explore. Wicker Park is one of the most popular off-Loop destinations for awesome cafés, boutique shopping, and general quirkiness. Check out Mojo Spa, The Wormhole Coffee and the 606. Lincoln Park has a free zoo, lake views, and all the food options you can handle. Stop at Oz Park, Sweet Mandy B’s, and Art Effect. And the Near West Side has a bit of everything, including intimate music venues, mind-blowing Italian food, and a thriving art scene. Hit the Bottom Lounge, Pompei, and the historic Maxwell Street Market.

Lincoln Park | © Alanscottwalker/WikiCommons

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