It’s time to start planning your 2021 trips! And what better place to start than the culturally-rich and vibrant city of Chicago? If you’re looking for great food, art, culture, music, sporting events, or fun in the sun, you can get all of that and more in the Windy City.
Visit for the weekend or make it a full-length vacation. You’ll pack your time full of fun activities and find yourself wishing for more time to see it all. If you’re on the fence about where to plan your next trip, check out these six great excuses to travel to Chicago in the coming year:
Flights Are Cheap
One of the busiest airports in the nation, O’Hare International Airport offers affordable flights from many different commercial airlines. These include more popular ones like American Airlines or Delta, as well as plenty of international and small airline options. Since Chicago is centrally located in the U.S., almost any flight from within the country won’t be very long.
If you’re traveling on a tight budget, check out these Chicago Tribune tips for a cheap flight. Booking early can help you find an affordable flight that isn’t too inconvenient. Choosing flights on a Tuesday, Wednesday, or Saturday may offer you cheaper fairs than busier days of the week.
When it comes to food, there are few better gastronomic places in the nation than Chicago. Options abound for all different budgets and restaurants representing a plethora of cultures. A quick ride on the “L” will land you in a cultural hotspot with plenty of choices and authentic dishes.
If you want to stay in the heart of the city, you can find phenomenal restaurants right in Chicago’s Loop. Popular areas not far from downtown, like the former meatpacking district, have now become hubs for new trendy restaurants and instant classics.
Don’t forget about long-standing favorites! Restaurants like Schaller’s Pump and Daley’s Restaurant have been open for over a hundred years. These places set the foundation for cuisine in Chicago, and you’re sure to get a good meal.
It’s a Fun City for Hosting an Event
Whether you’re planning a bachelor party or a Chicago baby shower (Party Slate’s list has some good venue choices there), a milestone event is a great excuse for a Chicago-based getaway. Not only is travel easy with O’Hare or Midway International Airports on the edge of the city, but there are also venues for any kind of event and budget.
If you’re planning a wedding, check out some of the beautiful hotel event rooms with a view of Lake Michigan. If you’re visiting with a group of friends for a bachelor/bachelorette party or a milestone birthday, look into the clubs, pubs, and trendy restaurants. There’s something for everyone.
Enjoy the Natural Beauty of the City
One of the most popular ways to enjoy the natural beauty of the Chicago is to spend the day on one of the many Lake Michigan beaches. For a great view of the city, try out North Avenue Beach. A walkway extends from the beach and into the lake — it’s the perfect place for a photo!
Another way to enjoy the day outdoors is to go to a public park or a garden. Public parks like Millenium Park are great for having a picnic and enjoying the company of your loved ones. If you’re looking for some beautiful flora and fauna, then you should check out a gorgeous garden like the Lincoln Park Conservatory.
Visiting a museum may sound like a boring way to spend your vacation, but that couldn’t be further from the truth with the excellent museums right in the heart of Chicago. The Art Institute, The Field Museum, The Museum of Science and Industry, The Shedd Aquarium, The Adler Planetarium, The Museum of Contemporary Art… I could keep going!
These museums aren’t just quiet places full of old artifacts and replicas. Some are interactive. Most have famous historical items you can’t see anywhere else. The Field Museum has the largest, most complete T-Rex skeleton ever found! If that doesn’t get you excited, I don’t know what will.
You could choose just one place to visit or you can purchase a CityPASS and pack your trip full of museum visits. An adult CityPASS costs just over $108 and gives you access to the most popular locations in the city for nine days.
Public Transportation Makes it Easy to Get Around
Public transportation in Chicago is a great way to get around if you hate city driving or if parking prices make you not want to bring a car into the city at all.
One of the most convenient modes of transportation is the Metra rail system. These routes help you get to all the most popular areas of the city and can even take you to and from the airport. They are so widely used, that Chicago recently added additional Metra trains to lines for more frequent trips and more express service options.
CTA buses and trains also provide a convenient mode of transportation to hotspots around the city. Save yourself some money with a CTA pass for one day, three days, or seven days. These passes give you unlimited rides at a really affordable price. You’ll have no problem getting around the city with all of the public transportation options available.
For great food, gorgeous views, affordable travel, and unforgettable events, Chicago is the perfect place to plan your 2021 visit. It’s a great place for families, couples, or friends to gather. It doesn’t matter who you visit with, what your interests are, what your budget is, or what the occasion is — you can plan a truly memorable Chicago trip.