Recently, I have really been getting into day trips.
One of the downsides of having travel privileges and having a different weekly schedule than the rest of the business world is that I can never really travel with my close friends or people I know I travel well with. So instead of waiting all year to do a couple of big trips, I have started investing time into day trips. This past weekend’s day trip was going back to Chicago!
If you read about my first visit to Chicago, you will know that it was jam-packed from the time I landed to the time I left. This time, my mom joined me to see her sister and niece (my aunt and cousin), so my cousin decided to do a similar approach since my mom hasn’t been back to Chicago in almost 10 years.
◊ Skydeck Ledge
I am actually glad I did the Skydeck Ledge last year because Saturdays are [as expected] a lot more crowded than Sundays. We got there at 9:00 a.m. and the lines were already crazy. I got some amazing pictures of the city as the day was absolutely BEAUTIFUL, but I did not opt to go back out on the ledge.
◊ Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. Hop On Hop Off Tour
I have never done a hop on hop off tour before, but I actually think the Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. one was well worth it. You get to see all the highlights of Chicago and they have 12 stops that line up with all of the major areas of attraction. We were picked up right outside Willis Tower (where the Skydeck is) and we hopped off at Navy Pier down the line. The buses come every 20 to 30 minutes so you can explore for as long as you like and then hop on the next one at your stop. Just remember not to get it confused with Big Bus Chicago!
The good thing about hop on hop off tours is that if the different companies for hop on hop off are all selling on the same street, they will try to bargain with you. The price online for Trolley & Double Decker for one person is around $40, but they gave it to us for $30 so that we would not go to Big Bus. They are also on Groupon so that is something to look into, but I would check their website first because sometimes the prices go down. Oh! Almost forgot to mention, the passes are 24 hours or you can buy a 48-hour pass if you are in Chicago for a weekend. So if you purchased a ticket at 11:00 a.m. today, it would be good through 11:00 a.m. tomorrow for the 24-hour pass. This allows you to continue using the buses during their operating hours as your main source of transportation since driving in Chicago is pretty much a wash.
◊ Navy Pier
As mentioned above, we stopped at the Navy Pier which is something I didn’t get to do last time. We were able to see all the yachts at Harborfest and we also rode the Centennial Wheel. The wheel isn’t really worth the price in my opinion, but if you are there, it’s something to do. Whatever you do though, do not go to Chango Loco. I hardly say food isn’t good, but it was not good. It’s smart on them though because they always have business due to people like us who were pretty hungry, but didn’t want to wait for Giordano’s. A true tourist trap.
Speaking of Giordano’s…if you know me, you know that I am not a huge pizza person because I don’t like tomato sauce, but what I like about deep dish is that the tomato sauce is just on the top and not throughout. Sure, I can only really stomach one slice, but I just really like their pizza. I would love to try more deep dish pizza staples in Chicago next time though!
♦ Transportation and Lodging:
Since this was a day trip, we didn’t stay anywhere, but our main source of transportation was the hop on hop off bus. My cousin did drive us in and out of the city to get us to and from the Midway airport, but there is also a train or of course rideshare services.
♦ Total costs:
Skydeck Ledge: $24/person (adults)
Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. Hop on Hop off Tour: $30/person
Centennial Wheel: $18/person
Total (excluding food and drink): $72/person
From these totals, you can see that despite only being the city for less than 12 hours, it was a pretty expensive day. But we chose to do the touristy things which is definitely not for everybody. Not to mention, we had a rare day of ridiculously perfect weather so we wanted to be outside all day. In my previous post about Chicago, I mentioned that I did a Segway tour and I still feel that was the best tourist attraction offered. If you have never been to Chicago, I would recommend doing that first to get an in-depth scope of the city and then picking things to do from there.
I think the last touristy thing on my list in Chicago is to do the mob tour. I am a mob/mafia fanatic so I feel like I need to do that. Other than that, I hope my next visit to Chicago will have a more local feel. At least I’m two for two on good weather! 🙂
As always, please make sure you are following me on Snapchat (@alexasdrawde) and Instagram (on the sidebar) to see what is happening live on my trips!!