Visiting Chicago in 2 days

We love road trips.  There is nothing like visiting a new place and seeing all that it has to offer.  We decided to take a week long road trip through the mid-west to visit family.  Along the way we stopped for 42 hours (but hey–who’s counting) in Chicago.

There is SO MUCH to see and do in Chicago that I don’t think 42 days would do justice.  But we had a compressed schedule and 2 little guys.  So how to you spend 2 days in Chicago and feel like you’ve seen the city? Here are 4 fun, family oriented activities that highlight the Windy City.

First up is a visit to the John Hancock Observatory. Tickets are $12 for kids 3-11 and $18 for ages 12+.  I am terrified of heights and I loved it up there.  The views of the city and the lake are simply amazing.  If you are lucky enough to go on a clear day, you can see for miles.  We probably spent an hour walking from one end of the building to another.   

There are fantastic photo ops, a gift store, interactive technology, and a place to get some snacks.  And now they offer a new experience- The Tilt. This scaredy cat would NEVER consider tilting out 1000 feet above the Magnificent Mile, but it would be an amazing experience for thrill seekers out there. 

Once you’ve had your fill of breathtaking vistas, step outside and take some time to browse the stores along Michigan Avenue.

Next, head on down to the Navy Pier.  Located on 50 waterfront acres, the Navy Pier is a fun and festive destination.  There are museums, shops and restaurants, a ferris wheel and swings, and boats lining the dock to take visitors for rides on the lake. I highly recommend carving out an hour or two to take in all that the Pier has to offer.  

And that Ferris Wheel.  Oh my. Remember I mentioned I was afraid of heights…yeah.  At 150 feet in the air I had to look straight ahead and sing in my head so I didn’t have a full blown panic attack.  Of course it didn’t help that my 2 boys kept trying to hang over the sides to see better.  I lost a year of my life on that ride. But, it’s one of those must dos while visiting and only $7 per person to ride.

While there, take a boat ride to see the city skyline. There are numerous boat tours; ranging from yachts to speedboats and those in between.  Offered are architectural, skyline, dining and entertainment cruises.  We opted for the Chicago Lakefront Speedboat Tour with Seadog ($23 adults, $15 kids).  It was a 30 minute voyage complete with facts, music and fun! The boys had an absolute blast.  It was a great way to see the skyline and get a little history in a compressed amount of time.

Lastly, visit a museum.  There are SO MANY to choose from.  We spent a fantastic day at the Shedd Aquarium as our oldest is nuts about fish ($40 adult, $31 kids).  We were amazed at all this aquarium had to offer.  We got to visit the Amazon, the Caribbean, and the Arctic waters.  The exhibits are phenomenal and with 32,000 animals present, the learning never ends.  The kids loved seeing the whales and the sharks, and dressing like penguins.  

Chicago is a really fun town.  I hope that we can get back there to visit soon.  I want a whole week to immerse myself; watch a game, go shopping and eat a deep dish pie.  

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