A long weekend in Chicago can be packed full of excitement from beginning to end, a brilliant city in which to absorb some culture, learn some history, eat some great food and shop til you drop. Just a four-hour flight away on Cayman Airways, Chicago, located on the southwestern shore of Lake Michigan, appeals to anyone who loves big city life, and all the fun and excitement that goes with it.
How to get there
Cayman Airways operates two flights a week (Wednesday and Saturday) until 9th February 2019. From 14th February to 30th May 2019 the two flights a week change to Thursday and Sunday (perfect for a long weekend!). From 2nd June to 18th August 2019 they operate just a weekly flight on Sunday. Flights cost around US$600 return.
What to do
Hop-on hop-off bus tours are a bit clichéd, but they are helpful if you haven’t visited a city before and need to understand the layout. They are a great way to set your own agenda and see things at your own pace, such as Michigan Avenue, the Navy Pier and Millennium Park.
Chicago is famous for its towering and innovative architecture, a relatively new city following the Chicago great fire of 1871 that burnt down most of the city. Even if design isn’t your thing, a cruise down the Chicago River is a great way to spend an hour or so. Your guide will give you a running commentary of the history of all the fascinating buildings you will see along the way, including the Wrigley Building, a landmark building for the city created by the chewing gum magnate, and the John Hancock Building, with its 360 Chicago observation deck, 1,000 feet up. Most cruises run from Navy Pier and Michigan Avenue.
If you have a head for heights, the Skydeck, https://theskydeck.com/ located on the 103rd floor of the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) is a great way to enjoy panoramic views of the city. You can even walk out on a glass ledge balcony that’s 1,353 feet up, which let’s you see right out to Navy Pier and beyond.
Navy Pier https://navypier.org/ is a fun day out for the kids, a top attraction in Chicago, with tons of restaurants and shops, an IMAX theatre, lots of great museums, such as the Chicago Children’s Museum, a beer garden, Ferris wheel, outdoor art, a theatre, botanic gardens and a whole heap more attractions and fun things to see and do.
Lincoln Park Zoo https://www.lpzoo.org/ is thought to be one of the best zoos in the US and is another fun location for kids. There’s all the excitement associated with big cats at the lion house, as well as a primate house, antelope and zebra area and polar bear and penguin habitats. Set in beautiful surroundings, there’s plenty of places to eat and lots of other entertainment for kids.
The Museum of Science and Industry https://www.msichicago.org/ is another brilliant attraction, housed in the former Palace of Arts constructed for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition. It’s the largest museum in the western hemisphere and always has a ton of amazing exhibitions to enthrall and inform visitors.
It is always best to book tickets online ahead of your trip to avoid disappointment.
Where to stay
Chicago Marriott Downtown is located on Magnificent Mile in the heart of Chicago’s most famous shopping district. At this time of year prices are around a reasonable US$160 – US$180 per night for a double room. The Omni Chicago Suites, also on Magnificent Mile are another good option, again centrally located with double suites running at about US$130 per night. The Hilton Chicago on Michigan Avenue’s Cultural Mile is a lovely building and prices are at US$130 – US$140 a night.
At this time of year Chicago can be absolutely freezing. They don’t call it the windy city for nothing, so wrap up, as average temperatures in January and February are around low to mid 30s F. In March and April, the temperature climbs from the 40s to low 50s and by July/August it’s a pleasant late 70s/early 80s F.