Chicago Travel: 11 Budget-Friendly Things To Do In Chicago IL

welcome back to wonderfully lost a travel Community for par...

welcome back to wonderfully lost a
travel Community for parents by parents
for today's video we're rounding up our
top seven picks for easy weekend
getaways from Chicago Illinois by the
time you're back you'll start seeing the
windy city in a new and Serene light
Starved Rock State Park Illinois picture
this cascading waterfalls towering lush
green trees and a breathtaking landscape
before you if you think this is too good
to be true try visiting Starved Rock
State Park located just an hour and a
half away from all the noise and Chaos
of Chicago there's no other places
perfect as Starved Rock State Park to
escape all the skyscrapers and the noise
here you won't just feel rejuvenated but
you'll see nature as you never have
before just remember to pack the right
gear since you'll be hiking or trekking
for most of the way with its 18 Canyons
Starved Rock State Park is a Haven for
adventure enthusiasts offering an array
of deep Sandstone Canyons for you to
hike on and explore there's a lot to do
at Starved Rock State Park even if
you're only there for a weekend getaway
we'd recommend that you bask in nature
as during Springtime the wonderful
waterfalls truly come to life during
fall you'll find yourself mesmerized by
the breathtaking display of orange red
and yellow foliage no matter what time
you decide to visit there's something
for everyone luckily you can maximize
your comfort and not worry about
accommodations since the Starved Rock
Lodge offers comfortable accommodations
with top-notch cabins however if you're
traveling with kids or seeking more
family-friendly options you'll find the
quirky Grizzly Jacks Grand Bear Resort
here you can find a massive Water Park
Indoor arcade and mini golf by the time
you leave your kids will be thanking you
for the great time they had is loving
the air for you consider staying at the
Romantic Camp arimony which is located
nearby here you'll find a luxurious
camping experience with Safari tents
equipped with hardwood floors Air
Conditioning Heating and full bathrooms
with showers it provides the Perfect
Blend of nature charm and luxury New
Glarus Wisconsin nestled in the Charming
state of Wisconsin new glaruses for all
weary City residents seeking a Serene
weekend Escape if you want to experience
small town charm and feel relaxed right
to your very bones then you need to add
New Glarus Wisconsin to your travel list
situated about three hours from Chicago
this quaint Swiss inspired Village
offers an array of absolutely
breathtaking picturesque Landscapes as
you wander through the town's
cobblestone streets and traditional
Swiss star buildings you'll feel
transported to a European Paradise
nothing beats New Glarus in that regard
since the quaint and cozy Village is
renowned for its deep-rooted Swiss
Heritage you'll find this Heritage
reflected around the entire Village and
if you've got children with you this can
be be a great learning opportunity for
them as well at New Glarus you can
immerse yourself in the culture by
visiting local cheese shops sampling
delectable Swiss chocolates and savoring
authentic Swiss Cuisine and if you're an
adventure lover don't fret at New Glarus
you'll find yourself transported to
heaven with breathtakingly beautiful
hiking trails each time you stop to
catch a breath you'll find yourself
gazing at panoramic views of the Rolling
Hills and Lush Countryside lastly while
they're in New Glarus make sure that you
don't miss the New Glarus Brewing
Company which is known for its
exceptional craft beers and Brewery
tours hey are you a Wanderer yet if not
head on over to our travel blog at
wonderfully like Geneva
Wisconsin Chicago is a beautiful city
but in order to live in a big city you
have to compromise on certain things one
of the things that you have to give up
living in Chicago is the beach luckily
located at a drive that takes less than
an hour and a half you'll find the
Ethereal Lake Geneva in Wisconsin
stunning to visit at any time of the
year here you'll find access to a
dazzling array of activities during the
Summers you can enjoy boating on the
lake and bask in the sun on the pristine
Shoreline if you love an adrenaline rush
you can zipline across the hiking trail
too if you visit in the winter pay a
visit to the ice castles and find
yourself absolutely Blown Away by
icicles that seem too beautiful to be
real even though Lake Geneva is frozen
over in the winter you can still stroll
through the Geneva Lake Shore path a
25-mile trail that allows you to explore
a vast gorgeous area
Galena Illinois if you're a history buff
then you need to head over to Galena
Illinois situated in the western corner
of Illinois at just a one tank trip away
you'll discover The Rustic and Charming
town of Galena as for the town's unique
name Galena derives its name from the
mineral Galena which sparked the first
major mineral rush in the United States
brimming with Rich history and culture
this gem is proudly listed on the
national register of historic places and
it's not difficult to see why boasting a
rich Heritage with wonderful 19th
century architecture Rolling Hills and a
plethora of delightful Resorts you'll
find Galena to be nothing short of
spectacular the town's quaint and
captivating atmosphere makes it an ideal
destination for a historic weekend
getaway where you can bask in nature
while being educated too if you plan
your visit accordingly you'll have the
chance to visit the exhilarating great
Galena balloon race an annual spectacle
that should not be missed Marvel at the
enchanting site of more than 20 hot air
balloons taking to the skies as the
event features three races a captivating
night glow Extravaganza bounce houses
live music and a host of other exciting
activities this three-day Extravaganza
promises a truly magical and
Unforgettable experience for all who
Saugatuck Michigan often referred to as
the art coast of Michigan Saugatuck is a
must-visit destination for all the
lovers of the Finer Things in life
located 130 miles away from Chicago
Saugatuck Michigan is brimming with art
galleries fine dining eateries and
restaurants and magnificent beaches
despite the fact that the town has a
population of less than a thousand
Saugatuck is also known for its
electrifying nightlife so you might want
to sit the kids out for this trip much
like Galena Saugatuck also has a rich
and deep history pay a visit to the 100
year old Saugatuck drugstore and you'll
get to experience the town's traditional
side we'd suggest that while you're here
get your hands on a classic molt or an
ice cream soda trust us your taste buds
will thank you later other sites that
you can visit include the chain Ferry
which might just be the last one of its
kind in the U.S for All You Adventure
lovers climb up to the top of Mount bald
head or Mount Baldy to enjoy a bird's
eye view of the surrounding area all
alternatively if you're someone who
loves the quiet and just wants to relax
check out the Oval Beach and feel your
spirit come back to life Indiana Dunes
National Park Indiana only a short drive
of less than an hour from Chicago lies
the enchanting Indiana Dunes National
Park and guess what even if you find
yourself pressed for time it's still an
achievable day trip thanks to the
convenience of the South Shoreline which
means you won't have to spend hours on
the road boasting an impressive 15-mile
stretch along the shoreline of Lake
Michigan the Indiana Dunes National Park
is every bit as beautiful as it is
convenient you can engage in a variety
of activities at this National Park
either lace up your hiking boots and
explore the stunning dunes or let the
wind carry your spirits high as you fly
a kite on the sandy beach for a touch of
Adventure saddle up for a memorable
horseback ride through the scenic
landscape and for all you history Buffs
make sure you check out the 1933 World
space Century of progress home times
where you can step back in time for a
little while Wisconsin Dells Wisconsin
just 190 miles away from Chicago
Wisconsin Dells is the go-to stop for
families looking for a bit of fun at
this vibrant and playful destination you
can stay at one of the water park
resorts to really pump up the fun for
everyone the Great Wolf Lodge stands out
as a top pick among visitors and it's
easy to see why with endless amenities
Northwoods decor and the feeling of
being in the Caribbean who wouldn't want
to stay here if you want to experience
all the thrill of Florida without
breaking your Bank Wisconsin Dells is
the place for you there's a dazzling
array of entertainment options to choose
from catch a show at The Palace Theater
or entertain yourself at the Rick Wilcox
Magic Theater if you're looking for
something quiet visit the Mirror Lake
State Park for access to a no Wake Lake
and Scenic hiking trails on that Serene
note happy relaxing Travelers thanks for
watching see you next time

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Welcome back to Wanderfully Lost, your home for all things family vacation and adventure travel!

In today’s travel blog, we’re listing our picks for the top 11 budget-friendly things to do in Chicago!

Chicago is a wonderful city, full of sights and attractions for everyone.

From the dazzling Navy Pier to the modern and majestic charm of the Willis Tower, Chicago is a city ripe with an array of budget-friendly attractions.

Before you get lost in our blog, be sure to browse our Wanderful Storefront for all our favourite travel products, gear and must haves!

So, let’s get right into it!

1- Enjoy Drinks at the Signature Lounge

If you’re looking to save some cash during your visit to Chicago, you might want to skip the luxurious Signature Room located on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building.

At this high-end restaurant, just ordering their surf and turf entree can set you back a hefty $90! Little did you know, there’s a better view and cheaper drinks upstairs!

As parents, we’re always looking to save a couple of bucks when we’re travelling. (If you’re interested in reading more about our journey as parents and travelers, click here!)

Head up just one floor above from the Signature Room to the Signature Lounge.

Here, you can relax and enjoy a refreshing drink for less than $20 while taking in one of the most breathtaking views of the city — all from a vantage point soaring more than 1,000 feet above ground!

By the end of the night, you’ll be slightly tipsy, but a whole lot of giddy as well!

2- Stroll through Millenium Park

Chicago is not all just stunning architecture and high-end bars and restaurants.

Nature thrives in the Windy City too, and there are an abundance of options to explore and relish in the beauty of the outdoors!

One such destination that you need to visit is Millennium Park — a true gem nestled in the heart of downtown Chicago.

At the center of Millennium Park lies the iconic Cloud Gate, affectionately known as “The Bean.” This magnificent sculpture has become a symbol of the city and a favourite spot for both locals and tourists alike.

The park itself is a vibrant and lively gathering place, teeming with lush flora and fauna. It offers a refreshing escape from the usual hustle and bustle of the city, creating a serene atmosphere for relaxation and exploration.

Just make sure that you pack your walking shoes with you because you’re going to be on your feet a lot. If you’re looking for a hassle-free way to pack, make sure to check out our hiking travel kits here.

With that said, you’ll be delighted to know that Millennium Park hosts several concerts and performances at the renowned Jay Pritzker Pavilion. Imagine sitting on the lawn, surrounded by the park’s natural beauty and striking architecture, while enjoying the rhythmic beats of live music.

Take it from us — the experience is nothing short of divine!

3- Visit the Museum of Contemporary Photography

If you find yourself in Chicago’s Loop and want to visit a museum, but prefer something smaller and more budget-friendly, we have just the recommendation for you — the Museum of Contemporary Photography!

This relatively unknown Museum offers a more intimate and accessible experience for art and photography enthusiasts.

Despite its compact size, the museum doesn’t compromise on the quality of its exhibits.

In fact, it regularly rotates its displays, ensuring that each visit brings a fresh and exciting collection of amazing photographs.

If you’ve got an hour or two to spare, The Museum of Contemporary Photography is the perfect place to drop by either by yourself or with your kids. And while you’re there, make sure to check out the ‘Camera Work’ exhibition for a glimpse into the history of photography.

4- Witness the Sunset at Navy Pier

Navy Pier, extending gracefully into the waters of Lake Michigan, is an iconic Chicago destination that offers visitors breathtaking views of the city’s majestic skyline and an array of cheap entertainment options.

The opportunities for fun and relaxation at Navy Pier are literally endless.

Whether you want to take a leisurely stroll along the pier or bask in the warm glow of sunsets over the lake, Navy Pier has got it all!

In our experience, the best part of visiting Navy Pier is the continuous lineup of cheap events throughout the year.

From dazzling fireworks shows lighting up the night sky to live music performances that infuse the air with melody, there’s always something captivating happening at the pier.

But that’s not all – Navy Pier is home to some remarkable cultural institutions. For theater enthusiasts, the prestigious Chicago Shakespeare Theater awaits, promising world-class performances and unforgettable storytelling.

For families with young ones, the Chicago Children’s Museum offers a wonderland of interactive exhibits and activities, sparking creativity and curiosity in kids of all ages.

5- Catch a Show at The Second City

Chicago, is hands-down, one of the best cities in the US.

Offering adventure, relaxation, and even laughter — it’s easy to see why we just had to include it in our picks for the best US cities (which you read here).

For those in the mood to bask in some infectious laughter, we’d suggest that you rush to the legendary Second City.

Known as much for its rich history as it is for its comedy, few stages hold as much significance as those at the legendary club.

The Second City is the birthing place of comedy icons such as Chris Farley, Jordan Peele, and Amy Poehler!

Although attending a Main stage show at Second City may be a little out of budget for most people, you can easily find a more budget-friendly alternative that still delivers plenty of laughs – the student shows.

At Second City, student shows are a hidden gem for comedy enthusiasts not wanting to break the bank. These shows typically only cost around $10 and are packed full of unforgettable jokes.

Before heading down to the club, make sure to check their online schedule for upcoming shows and plan your visit accordingly.

6- Iceskate at Maggie Daley Park

Chicago’s winter can indeed be harsh and brutal, causing many residents to prefer the warmth and comfort of their homes.

In fact, winter in Chicago can be surprisingly enjoyable, especially if you embrace the season’s charms and partake in delightful activities like ice skating at the Ice Skating Ribbon in Maggie Daley Park.

Located in the heart of downtown Chicago, the Ice Skating Ribbon is a popular and enchanting destination for all ice-skating enthusiasts.

Just remember to make your reservation beforehand. The good news is that while you can rent skates at a modest fee, admission is free when you bring your own equipment!

That way, you can both save money and have the time of your life gliding on ice!

7- Trek the 606 Trail

Chicago is full of scenic trails and paths. In our experience, Chicago’s natural beauty is often overlooked and ignored.

While we could probably do an entire YouTube video highlighting Chicago’s parks and natural reserves (keep an eye out for that here!), a budget-friendly option that we need to talk about is the 606 trail.

The 606, built on the former Bloomingdale Line railroad track, offers an exhilarating adventure for those seeking a rush.

This 2.7-mile elevated trail and park system is ideal for trekking, jogging, or biking, providing breathtaking views of Chicago’s neighbourhoods and green spaces.

With various access points and captivating art installations, the 606 offers a unique blend of serenity, adventure, and culture, making it a must-visit destination.

8- See the Buckingham Fountain

As one of the largest fountains in the world, Buckingham Fountain is truly a sight to behold.

Located in Grant Park, this iconic landmark features stunning water displays and light shows, which can be enjoyed free of any charge. Yes, you read that right — free of any charge!

If you want a magical experience, we’d suggest visiting during the evening as the fountain dances to the tune of music and colourful lights.

9- Soak up Culture at the Chicago Cultural Center

At the Chicago Cultural Center, you and your family can explore a world full of free events, exhibitions, and performances.

If that doesn’t sound like the stuff of dreams, we don’t know what will!

Here, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of this landmark building with guided tours, and learn more about Chicago’s history.

Once you’re done, you can go ahead and explore the interactive studios in the Learning Lab, and admire the artwork of local artists in the Public Media Institute’s shop.

Most of these experiences are free, but even with a paid exhibit, you won’t have to spend more than 20 dollars.

10- Ride the Centennial Wheel

Here’s a fun fact for you — Chicago is the birthplace of Ferris wheels!

As such, Chicago proudly showcases the dazzling Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier.

The modern counterpart to the original 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition wheel, this attraction offers breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and Chicago’s skyline.

Constructed in 2016, the Centennial Wheel contains enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas that operate year-round.

Lifting up to 200 feet into the air, the Centennial Wheel is an experience that you’ve just got to have for yourself!

11- Have a Fun Night at Trader Todd’s Karaoke!

Lastly, make sure to let loose and sing your heart out at Trader Todd’s, a lively karaoke bar in Lakeview with a tropical theme!

While Karaoke is free, customers are encouraged to tip the DJ.

To add some liquid courage to your (most likely, terrible) performance, delight your taste buds with tropical drinks that are priced between 9 and 12 dollars.

If you prefer beer, they’ve got a bunch of budget-friendly options for you to choose from, too!

On that musical, and rather tipsy note, we hope you’ve found this blog helpful!

With that said, happy travels!

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