This Chicago travel guide is Ferris Bueller inspired since my main research for the trip was rewatching this John Hughes classic. I didn't hijack a parade or watch a Cubs game, but I did see priceless pieces of art and felt peace (and fear) at 1,353 feet in the air.
If it's your first time in Chicago, Illinois like it was for me, this is how I'd recommend spending the day if you only have 24 hours.
Crown Fountain is right beside Cloud Gate. It's another interactive art installation making people happy. Kids love it, as you can see from my photos. Two glass block towers project faces of Chicago's diverse citizens. Sometimes they open their mouths to "spit" out water.
Nearby, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion holds free concerts and events. Frank Gehry designed, this is one of the world's most state-of-the-art outdoor music pavilions.
Visit The Art Institute of Chicago. A Ferris Bueller hangout, where I saw numerous priceless pieces of art. This museum is one of the best in the world. I could've easily spent the whole afternoon here. Below are some of the iconic pieces I was most enthusiastic to find.
Try Chicago's famous deep dish pizza for lunch. A local recommended Lou Malnati's, which is known for their buttery crusts. I got my pizza customized with spinach, cheese, and mushrooms. It's like a quiche. There's also Uno and Due, which are quite famous as well. Another friend recommended Giordano's, so you've got options.
Step onto the glass ledge of Skydeck. Another Ferris Bueller hangout. As Ferris famously said, "Anything is peaceful from 1,353 feet."
Not sure about that. This was kind of scary. The glass ledges were put in 8 years ago. I'm not super scared of heights, but I couldn't look down when I stepped onto it.
Skip the long lineups and buy the entrance ticket in advance. When I went to The Art Institute of Chicago, I bought a ticket that allowed me entry into both attractions.
Walk the Magnificent Mile, which is a good stretch of Michigan Avenue, ending at the Michigan Avenue Bridge. This is Chicago's Champs-Élysées or Fifth Avenue. You'll find upscale shops and department stores, as well as beautiful architecture to admire.
I thought the neo-Gothic Tribune Tower was neat. Its exterior walls are embedded with bricks and rocks from historically important sites around the world.
If you have time, the Lakefront Trail is a lovely walk too.
Take Chicago's Architecture Tour at Sunset.
Wendella's narrated boat tours are about 75 minutes. This is a must-do for tourists. Your tour guide will tell you about the history and architecture of Chicago's landmark buildings, and you'll see the city's beautiful skyline at sunset (sunset time varies during time of year).
Getting Around Chicago
I wouldn't recommend renting a car to get around Chicago. Traffic can get brutal. Take public transportation whenever possible. If you don't have a lot of luggage, do yourself a favour and take the subway from the airport. Locals are always complaining about rush hour traffic, and some of my friends did get stuck for hours in cabs coming from the airport.
Do you have recommendations for what to do in Chicago? Let us know in the comments below.