6 Ways to be a Tourist in Your Own Town

6 Ways to be a Tourist in Your Own Town

Posted by Karina Bogan on Oct 14th 2016

When did we start believing that taking a vacation meant traveling as far away as possible from our front door? For Chicagoans, staycations are often the better option. They’re inherently more affordable, require less time en route, and leave more time for fun and relaxation. There’s no need to hire your neighbor’s kid to watch the pets or water the plants. No need to renew or keep track of a passport. No need to take off work. Simply hit the snooze button any given weekend and enjoy an instant sabbatical. If the idea of going nowhere intrigues you, form your own staycation itinerary with this list of famous and lesser-known local happenings.

A photo of Cloud Gate

McCormick Tribune Ice Ring

Just below Millennium Park’s well-known “bean” sculpture (technically named Cloud Gate), over 100,000 couples, friends, and families make their way to the ice each winter. Skating is free and open to all. Skate rentals are available for $10 a pair. Beware, however, that lines for rentals can grow quite long. If possible, bring your own skates– another benefit of staying close to home.

McCormick Tribune Ice Rink; 201 E. Randolph St., Chicago, IL 60601; www.ChooseChicago.com

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Art Institute of Chicago

Rated #1 museum in the world by TripAdvisor, the Art Institute is a national treasure situated neatly on our famed Michigan Avenue. Through renovations and expansions, the museum has remained a sought-after source for preserved works harvested worldwide. Today, it houses over 300,000 artifacts, photos, paintings, and sculptures from ancient to contemporary, spanning nearly 4,000 years. 

Art Institute of Chicago; 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, IL 60603; www.architecture.org

A photo of Navy Pier and the Chicago Skyline

Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier

For 30 years, the company behind the Chicago Shakespeare Theater has made it their mission to bring classic literature and performance art to the masses, a genuinely Shakespearean cause. The theater's setting is ideal, surrounded by the waters of Lake Michigan. Each year, tens of thousands of patrons make their way to Navy Pier for the bold, creative performances for which the company is known. Coming in 2017, a unique stage will be added — The Yard. With room for 850 guests, The Yard will be composed of moving towers able to accommodate a variety of shapes and sizes, another remarkable addition to the city’s booming theater scene.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater; 800 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611; www.architecture.org

image of Rooftop Dining

Rooftop Dining

The weather here is famously unpredictable, but our rooftop lounges are ready for anything year-round. Retractable glass ceilings, enclosed patios, and romantic fire pits create a comfortable atmosphere, rain or shine. Most are equipped with picturesque views of Lake Michigan and cabinets stocked with enough top-shelf liquors to make your favorite private club jealous. Thanks to the growing number of millennial-friendly hotels that opened in the last few years, Chicago is experiencing a bit of a rooftop boom. Here are a few we’re hooked on at the moment:

(Loop) London House; 85 E Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60601; 312-357-1200; www.londonhousechicago.com

(Loop) Cindy’s; 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603; 312-792-3502; www.cindysrooftop.com

(Lincoln Park) The J. Parker; 1816 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60614; 312-254-4747; http://www.jparkerchicago.com/

To see this article in full, including more great things to do in Chicago, please stop into your nearest Razny Jewelers to grab your FREE copy of our annual magazine! Available mid-December 2016!