Simply put, I love Chicago. New York may be known as the Big Apple, but Chicago is definitely the Little Apple. It too is a city that never sleeps and gives much back to the residents and tourist that enjoy its history and beauty. If you are visiting this great city on a budget and don’t want to have to spend much money, then the places listed below are where you want to go.
Portillo’s: Rich or poor, famous or not, everyone who wants a good Chicago hot dog heads to Portillo’s. For under $3 dollars you get a loaded hot dog that makes your mouth say, “more!” If you are going to downtown Chicago head to the one located at 100 W. Ontario and ask for Mrs. Showtime She will give you a big welcome to Portillo’s with one of their famous hats and ask you to join her in a dance! The place offers a great Chicago feel with a full service bar upstairs. For other locations check out www.Portillos.Com
Water Tower: This was one of the first vertical malls in the country. Water Tower is a mall with detailed art throughout and stores for all tastes and budgets. It has eight levels and offers a great customer service station when you enter. This station not only gives information about Water Tower, but also about attractions and information of the downtown Chicago area. To find out more visit their website at www.Shopwatertower.com.
Navy Pier: This great attraction sits right on Lake Michigan and displays fireworks on Friday and Saturday nights. It offers boat ride around Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, hot air balloon and amusement rides, great tourist shops to look at, and picture perfect views of Chicago. Among the shops is a 3D Imax theater, a Children’s Museum, and more. You can check the website www.NavyPier.Com to view the events calender. Cost to participate in attractions start at under $10.
Garrett Popcorn Shops: This popcorn shop is a local tradition since 1949. You can’t imagine that popcorn could taste so good until you have tried the products at these shops. You will know when you have arrived, since you may be greeted with a line of people outside the shop trying to get in. I recommend the cheese popcorn, and locate a dark corner, where you can lick your fingers all you like. Expect to have your fingers “orange coated” for about a day, but it is well worth it. There are locations all throughout the Chicago area and you will find a great store at the Navy Pier, that displays the original popcorn equipment. Once you leave Chicago you can still continue to enjoy this treat by ordering through the website at www.Garrettpopcorn.Com . You can enjoy this treat for under $3 dollars for a small size.
Harry Caray’s Tavern: This landmark tavern is loaded with memorabilia from the Cubs announcer, who it was named after. The restaurant side features great food for a reasonable price. After dining head over to the bar for some free chips, great priced drinks and large HD TV’s that let you watch the sports of the day. The atmosphere is casual and friendly. You can check out the website at www.Harrycarrytavern.Com. The Tavern is located off of Michigan Ave at 3551 N. Sheffield Ave.
Millennium Park: This great park in the heart of Chicago offers free art exhibits, great landscaping,flower gardens, free concerts and festivals. You can visit the Welcome Center to get information about the park and the city itself. The website address is www.Millenniumpark.org. The park is open daily from 6am-11pm. Admission is free.
There are many different places to visit in Chicago and each offers its own flavor. Make sure to bring comfortable shoes and check the weather before coming. With the lake nearby, a good stiff breeze can make the difference between cool and freezing. Also, summers can bring unexpected heat waves that can make walking in the city unbearable. Enjoy your trip to the Windy City and don’t forget to taste and see all that Chicago has to offer.