What to Do During a Weekend in Chicago

So you’ve made a plan to take a quick weekend trip to Chicago. Or, perhaps you’re a Chicago resident who’s planning a “staycation” to see the things that you’ve always ignored while you went about your day-to-day life. 

So what’s there to do in Chicago, Illinois anyway? How can you spend your weekend in Chicago and make sure that you’re not missing anything important?

You can’t see the entire city in a weekend, but we have a few recommendations for how to make your time memorable. Read on for a few of our favorite things to do in Chicago for visitors and locals alike. 

Tourist Stop: Visit the Bean and Wrigley Field

We all know that you want to get your Instagram pictures on your trip. While you’re having your weekend adventure through the city, don’t forget to hit up two of the most popular tourist spots for out-of-towners: the Bean and Wrigley Field.

For people who aren’t into sports, a quick pass by Wrigley Field is often enough. Take your pictures, look at the crowds (if a game is going on), and move on.

If you love sports, you can take a tour of the field on select weekends. Reach out ahead of time to make sure that you can score tickets to the tour. 

The Bean, however, is a must-see for everyone. It’s a large mirrored art piece that’s actually named “Cloud Gate,” but because of its shape, “the Bean” is what most people know it by.

It’s a great place to snap a quick selfie, but keep in mind that there are sure to be crowds around taking their own photos. 

While you’re at Millennium Park to see the Bean, check out some other cool attractions, like Crown Fountain. If you’re there during the summer, it’s a great place to cool off.

Check Out Lincoln Park Zoo

Whether you’re by yourself, with friends, or with your family, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a great way to spend a few hours out in the sun. This 35-acre zoo has plenty to see.

This zoo is free to visit (though they would love a small donation so they can keep taking great care of their animals and providing more education to guests). 

There are over 200 species of animals at the zoo, and you may even spot an animal that you didn’t know existed. 

Try not to let the zoo monopolize all of your time, but even an hour or so at this free attraction will be a great addition to your weekend trip. 

Get a Great View

It can be hard to understand how large and impressive Chicago is without getting a true view of the city. There are several ways to go about this, and they’re all great for tourists.

First, consider taking a ride on a tour bus. You’ll be able to see all of the top attractions in record time.

If you’d rather see the skyline from a whole new angle, you can visit the Skydeck. The Skydeck gives you a full-window view of Chicago from the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower.

You can also pay extra to experience the Ledge unless you happen to be afraid of heights. It’s the highest observation deck in the country.

If you want a more intense experience, go up to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Building. There’s a 360-degree observation deck and you have the opportunity to pay extra for the TILT experience.

You lean up against one of the windows, hold onto bars at either side, and tilt forward for a scary, but a thrilling, view.

Visit The Navy Pier

The Navy Pier may not sound like an exciting place to go, but it’s one of the top attractions in Chicago (even for residents). If you go when the weather is nice, you’re sure to see huge groups of people having fun. 

Navy pier has a 200-foot tall Ferris wheel, a funhouse maze (it’s not just for kids!), and a food tour. You can spend all day at the Navy Pier and still miss out on a few activities. That’s okay, you’ll get to them on your next trip to Chicago!  

Get Real Chicago Hot Dogs and Pizza

Let’s talk about food. If you’re in Chicago and you don’t grab a slice of deep-dish pizza and a true Chicago hot dog, you didn’t really experience Chicago.

Chicago deep-dish pizza may look like more of a casserole to outsiders, but don’t be fooled: it’s just as good as the New York-style pizza that you’ve had in the past. 

There’s no one “best place” to get a pizza. Locals will argue for days about the best shop, so look at local reviews and trust your gut.

When it comes to Chicago hot dogs, you’re going to be getting your dog on a poppyseed bun with mustard, onions, relish, an entire pickle spear, tomatoes, and peppers. This hot dog is a meal on its own.

Vegans and vegetarians rejoice: there are options for you as long as you know where to look. 

Experience the Nightlife

Sure, you’ll be out in the sun during the day, but what are you supposed to do when it gets dark and a lot of attractions close?

Chicago has no shortage of bars and activities for people who want to spend all night out on the town. Go check out some live music, hit a local dive, or spend some time playing games at a bar arcade (or arcade bar). Emporium is waiting for you!

How Will You Spend Your Weekend in Chicago?

Whether you’re on a Chicago vacation or you’re checking out your own city, there’s no shortage of things to do. A weekend in Chicago isn’t enough time to experience the entire city, but with this brief list of ideas, you should never be bored!

Are you looking for something fun to do next time you’re out and about in Chicago? Emporium Arcade Bar might be your new favorite stop on your Chicago trip.

Check out our locations and visit us today!

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