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The Best Things to do in Chicago -Travel Guide to 48 Hours in the City

Guide to Chicago - Things to do in Chicago in 48 hours

Chicago also known as 'The Windy City' is one of the largest cities in the USA, known for it's architecture, iconic skyline and deep dish pizza. There is loads to go in Chicago and you can fit most of it in within a couple of days.

I visited in early October and weather forecast seemed similar to the UK so I only packed a light jacket. When I got there though, it was absolutely freezing, so make sure you bring extra layers just in case.

I had heard Chicago is quite dangerous but whilst I was there I didn't feel unsafe at all. i walked most places and it seemed relatively safe but I made sure I got Ubers at night.

Chicago, Illinois
Chicago, Illinois

Here is a guide to Chicago including some of the best things to see and do over a couple of days:

1. See Cloud Gate ('The Bean') in Millennium Park

Situated in Millennium Park (in the centre of Chicago), Cloud Gate, known more famously as 'The Bean' is a mirrored outdoor sculpture that reflects the surrounding skyscrapers. Each angle you look at it from, you get a different reflection and it's also interesting to look at it during different times of the day.

Bear in mind that Cloud Gate is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Chicago and if you want to see it and get photos with nobody else, go at sunrise (which is when I went to get these photos).

Cloud Gate Chicago

2. Go to Oak Street Beach and Swim in Lake Michigan

Who knew Chicago had a beach, not me that's for sure. As Chicago is built on the edge of Lake Michigan the waves from the lake break over a lovely sandy beach. Go to Oak Street Beach to take in the city's skyline and if you dare, go swimming. I went in October and the weather was cold and so was the water, but it's refreshing and something fun to do, even if you just jump in and out.

Oak Street Beach Chicago

3. Do 'The Tilt' at Chicago 360

Take the lift to the 94th floor of the John Hancock Centre and take in the stunning views of Chicago. They then have the option to do The Tilt, which is an observatory where you hold on and it tilts you out of the building over the city. I am not one for heights, but it is a good experience even though it's terrifying.

Tickets cost around $10 to do The Tilt in addition to your admission ticket, so around $30 total.

Afterwards you can go for a drink at the Cloud Bar to calm your nerves you (which is on the same floor), before you head back down.

Chicago 360
Chicago 360

4. Take in the Sights of Downtown Chicago

Chicago is buzzing at any time (day or night) and there are a lot of sights to see and architecture to take in. 'The Loop' is in the very centre of Chicago and is full of attractions, shops, restaurants and parks.

Chicago theatre

5. Eat Cheese and Caramel Popcorn at Garrett Popcorn

Go and try the famous 'Garrett Mix' at Garrett Popcorn. It sounds like a bizarre combination, but having tried it, it's pretty good and something to tick off on your Chicago bucketlist.

Garrett Popcorn

6. Visit McDonald's Headquarters

McDonald's HQ is in Chicago and with that, they have a restaurant attached to their 'Hamburger University' building (that anyone can go to), where you can try McDonald's foods from across the world.

The address is 110 N Carpenter St, Chicago, IL 60607

Hamburger University McDonalds Chicago

7. Take a Stroll Around Lincoln Park

Based in one of the more affluent neighbourhood and located on the North Side of Chicago, Lincoln Park is one of Chicago's largest parks. It's a nice place to get some fresh air, go for a walk, run or cycle.

Lincoln Park, Chicago
Lincoln Park, Chicago

8. Do the Chicago Riverwalk

In the centre of Chicago lies a pedestrian only path that takes you through the city. As you're walking along this the picturesque river, take in Chicago's skyscrapers, restaurants and bars. There is loads to do on the Riverwalk including kayaking, boat trips and even museum and galleries on the riverfront.

Chicago Riverwalk

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