Hit the beach
Chicago is a gorgeous city. Its beauty comes from its architecture and lakefront. A mix of quiet and bustling beaches dot the city’s lakefront—from north to south. You can swim, bike or walk the lakefront, capturing breathtaking views of the city at the same time. If you like a crowded beach with throngs of happy people, you should head to North Avenue or Oak Street beaches. For a quieter experience and a unique view of the city’s skyline, go to Ohio Street Beach. On a hot day, the buildings along Lake Shore Drive cast a shadow over a portion of the beach, offering a sweet respite from the hot sun.
Get spit on by a fountain at Millennium Park
It’s hard to imagine how much fun you and your family can have in less than an inch of water that lines the surface of Jaume Plensa's Crown Fountain at Millenium Park. On any given day, you can see kids – and adults—happily splashing in the water. But, the big draw are the two 50-foot, glass-block towers at each end that “spit” out water on happy families at regularly timed intervals. The towers are a sight to behold in and of themselves. They project video images of a diverse array of Chicagoan’s faces, culminating in a 'waterfall' that shoots out a steady stream of water. Those in the know anxiously wait for the towers to 'spit' again. Newcomers are often caught off guard by an unexpected, but refreshing, shower of water. When you’re dried off, be sure to head to 'the bean' (more formally known as Cloud Gate), which is one of the most photographed sites in downtown Chicago.
Explore Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a bustling 1.5 mile-long boardwalk that will please every member of your family. Attracting well over 8 million visitors per year, Navy Pier is lined with restaurants such as Bubba Gump, Billy Goat’s Tavern and Capi’s Italian Kitchen and studded with small shops selling everything from apparel to toys to Chicago souvenirs. While the shops alone can keep you occupied for hours, there are plenty of other activities at Navy Pier to fill your day. Beat the heat and the crowds with a water taxi ride on Lake Michigan. A great way to see the city and beat the traffic— is by boat. That's why tourists, residents and commuters alike flock to the city's water taxis, especially during the summer months. Grab one of the Shoreline Sightseeing taxis, which dock at Navy Pier.
Go on a Pizza Tour
Looking to try pizza while in Chicago? But who isn't? You are in the city of Deep Dish Pizza but the question is which one cranks out the best?! Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, Giordano's and Pizzeria Uno are the most sought after. But when in doubt, trust Chicago Pizza Tours. It is definitely the way to do it as you'll be able to indulge in pizza at several of the best Chicago pizzerias, all while being informed about inside information along the way.
Al Capone and other gangsters used to hang here in the 1920s, but these days it’s all about the music. Owner Dave Jemilo, who returned the club to its original luster in the 1980s, books smart bebop and free jazz with a discriminating ear. Come early, as it’s usually understandably busy.
Pictures: Rama Sreekant