When you're researching Chicago, getting ready to come here for the first time, looking for things to do, the best restaurants and events that will be happening while you're here, you might feel like you're not getting the whole story. Does it seem a little suspicious that everyone has the best food, the most comfortable beds, the most accommodating service according to their websites? A little.
The best way to get a feel for Chicago is to ask a local about the lay of the land and find out something things they like to do, or that they have done and recommend to people coming for a few days. Of course no local is going to tell you to avoid going sightseeing just because it's overrated and they do it every day, but they can definitely give you a good idea of what they've done and enjoyed as a tourist, or new kid in town, as well as telling you the some of the places in town you might want to avoid.
Chicago Traveler is a source of information helping guide travelers to the best things to do while you're here and the best hotels to stay in. But you don't have to just take it from us. Many Chicago Travelers that have been to the city before leave comments and reviews about their favorite (and not-so-favorite) places in town, so you don't just have to take it from us. Most of these reviews were written by travelers and tourists though, not locals.
Do It While You're Young is a travel site dedicated to travel, ideas and adventures for ambitious women, and a lot of their articles are great resources that can help guide travelers to the best things to do in cities all over the world. Even better, the site has a few articles on our favorite city, written by a few people who were born and raised in Chicago!
Patricia grew up in Chicago, and continues to make trips here regularly. She has some great tips for a trip to Chicago, including advice on getting here and getting around in the city. She also has some suggestions for where to stay, what to do and some miscellaneous advice to help out some first timers. Some things we definitely agree with Patricia about are Bobby's Bike Tour, the Chicago Food Planet tour, looking up events before you head to the city and going to the museums on their free days! The article is a great read for first timers looking to get a lot done while they're here, but also has some great money saving tips that are Chicago Traveler approved!
Jessica is another Chicago native, and contributor to diwyy.com. She focuses more on the best things to do, in the list form, which we love. Her 5 Fav Things to do in Chicago include:
- Heading to Millennium Park for food, free concerts, lounging and of course catching a glimpse of the Bean.
- Going to the Marshal Field building to admire the history of the building, which is now Macy's.
- The Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the only remaining free zoos in the world
- Heading to famous Chicago museums (don't forget's Patricia's tips for the free museum days, and if you're not there then, to find discounted admission with some of our Chicago coupons)
- Checking out to the beaches
Researching your trip before you head out is always exciting, and it's great to get insider, local perspectives on your destination so you're not heading straight into tourist traps. These are two articles about Chicago, but they've got destination guides for cities all over the world to check out for your next trip too, with tons of helpful tips on how to travel the world.