How would you spend 24 hours in Chicago? Most people would say it depends on the season. I recently had the chance to visit on my way to a family wedding in nearby Indiana, and with sunny skies and perfect temperatures, had an amazing day in the city. What’s not to love about Chicago in the summer? In our case, it was a girls trip, and my daughter, sister and I had enough time to enjoy deep dish pizza, the skyline reflected in “the Bean,” and spectacular views from several unique vantage points. Follow along as I recap 24 hours in Chicago through pictures.
First stop, we checked into the Comfort Suites Michigan Avenue. Traveling with a family of five always has me searching for hotels with extra space, and this Comfort Suites did not disappoint. Since there were only 3 of us, the King Suite was plenty spacious, with room to spread out.
While I truly didn’t appreciate the full kitchen and washer/dryer for my overnight stay, I know that it's not easy to find affordable hotels with these amenities (plus free breakfast!) in the city. The location was perfect for seeing the downtown sights, with access to the River Walk a short block away, while an easy stroll in the other direction brought you to Millennium Park, with plenty of open space. Shout out to Chris at the hotel front desk for all his assistance with directions as I was driving aimlessly around lower Wacker drive and trying to find the valet parking. But once the car keys were out of my hands, I was ready to take on the city by foot. So step outside and check out the view from North Michigan Avenue in front of our hotel.
By then it was time for lunch and of course, deep dish pizza was on the menu! One could argue all day about the best pizza in Chicago, but Lou Malnati’s seemed to be a good choice based on everything I had read. With a thick crust, gooey cheese and and more sausage than I have ever seen on a pizza, it was delicious! Good thing we had lots of walking to do later that day! Hungry yet?
Next stop, to the top of the Willis Tower! Visiting the Skydeck on the 103rd floor and stepping out on the Ledge was definitely on my to do list. It did take almost an hour to get to the top, but there are diversions along the way like a movie as well as exhibits to help pass the time. Once there, choose to step into one of four glass boxes, where there is nothing but a thick piece of glass between your feet and the street roughly 1300 feet below. I decided to sit down and enjoy the view! The skyline of Lake Michigan on the east side and the skyscrapers on the north side of the Skydeck were stunning! What do you think?
Once safely back on the street, it was off to buy tickets for the Wendella Boat’s Signature Lake & River Tour, which was very close to our hotel. We had about an hour to pass before the tour, so as we strolled down the Magnificent Mile, we decided to pop into Dylan’s Candy Bar. If you’ve never been, it’s a must to visit this over the top candy store.
Finally, it was time to head back to the dock for our boat tour. I can’t think of a better way to get up close to the towering buildings that fill the Chicago skyline. Alex our guide was filled with facts about the history of each building and then some. This tour also travels through the locks onto Lake Michigan, and since we left at 7:15 in the evening, we had gorgeous views of the Navy Pier and the sun reflecting off the buildings as we returned.
Once back on shore, because of the late hour, we decided a quick dinner was the best idea. What better place than Billy Goat Tavern, which was a short two blocks from the Comfort Suites. If you don’t know the restaurant, its claim to fame is the iconic “Cheezborger Cheezborger Cheezborger” scene from Saturday Night Live. So of course we ordered cheeseburgers and chips!
The next morning we had time for one more stop - a quick walk to the Cloud Gate sculpture in Millenium Park, otherwise known as “the Bean.” This unique piece of art, which stands 66 feet long by 33 feet high, is definitely worth your time. The photo opportunities are cool, with the reflections of the neighboring buildings caught in the shiny steel. You be the judge.
After that, it was off to the family wedding in nearby Indiana. I'll close this post with a beautiful sunset picture taken from the wedding site, the Aquatorium on the shores of Lake Michigan in Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.
Disclaimer: I received a discounted hotel rate at the Comfort Suites; however, all opinions expressed here are my own.