Gold Coast Best Chicago Neighborhood For Luxury Travelers
Just north of River North, Chicagos Gold Coast is the ritzy neighborhood where locals mingle with luxury travelers over lunch at Barneys. Chicagos Gold Coast includes the area just north of River North and south of Lincoln Park. Roughly speaking, the borders of the Gold Coast are North Avenue to the North, Lake Shore Drive to the East, Clark Street to the West, and Oak Street to the South. Just steps from Chicago Magnificent Mile, some of the best upscale shopping, and dining are found in Chicagos Gold Coast. High-rise condo buildings are mixed with designer boutiques, trendy bars, and fine dining. The bars of the Gold Coast are clustered in an area known as the Viagra Triangle if that gives you an idea of the clientele!
Some of the best attractions in the Gold Coast include Oak Street Beach and the John Hancock Tower, which has an observation deck and restaurant on the 95th floor. Staying in the Gold Coast allows the same access to the best of River North, just a bit quieter and more upscale.
Theater District Best Chicago Neighborhood For Theater Aficionados
The bustling hub of Chicagos Theater District is where some of Americas greatest actors and comedians have cut their teeth, and live theater thespians will no doubt want to take in a show at one of the milestone venues including:
- CIBC Theatre, opened in 1906 as a vaudeville club
- James M. Nederlander Theatre, a decadent cinema also dating back to the early 20th century
- Cadillac Palace Theatre, inspired by Versailles
- The Goodman Theatre, Chicagos largest and oldest Tony Award-winning non-profit theatre
With so many landmark sites and venues to see, you may want to consider booking a Theater District tour, which will take you through the heart of Chicagos performance past, as well as offer an insiders glimpse into some of the countrys most opulent venues and architectural masterpieces.
BEST PLACES TO STAY IN THE THEATER DISTRICT
Best Airbnb In Downtown/the Loop: Bright And Stylish Loft
When visiting a city for the first time, you should base yourself right in the heart of the busy streets. This cool loft is the perfect spot for a couple or solo travellers that want to explore Chicago as much as possible. Youll be in walking distance to public transport options and close to many of the cities best attractions. If you dont feel like going out during the day, just enjoy your stylish home its super welcoming, theres a TV and a fully equipped kitchen, and you can even use the buildings gym if you want.
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Is Chicago Safe To Travel For Families
Chicago is a fantastic city for a family break. There is so much packed into Chi Town that you and your children will surely never get bored and have an awesome time.
As an example of just how kid-friendly this city, Chicago even hosts Kidzapalooza, the child-friendly of music festival Lollapalooza!
However, being a city, Chicago could feel overwhelming, especially if you are not from a big city yourself. Therefore it is helpful to know a few things before you go.
If you are going on a boat trip on Lake Michigan or any one of the Great Lakes, make sure that the boat in question has child-sized life jackets and safety equipment available.
Depending on what season you travel to Chicago in, you will need to pack for the weather. In the winter, from November to March, the weather can bring freezing conditions, so layers and making sure everyones wrapped up warm is important as are the potential hazards of getting around a city thats so cold with children in tow.
On the other hand, summer months can mean sunny days with high humidity you will want to make sure that you prepare for that, too. Sunscreen, sun hats, and plenty of water to keep hydrated are all musts.
Since it is a busy city, it is a good idea to consider giving your children a meet-up point in case you do get separated on a day out. Maybe write down your contact details, and accommodation details, and give this information to your child especially if they are young.
Give Yourself Plenty Of Time To Get Where Youre Going
In a city of almost 3 million people, delays are almost bound to happen whether youre on the L or on the expressway . If youre trying to make an appointment with a rigid start timewhether its a meeting, a dinner reservation or a theater curtainallow more time than you think you need, just to be safe.
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Day 3 Explore Lincoln Park And Old Town
After breakfast on Day 3, hit the Lakefront Trail at the edge of Oak Street Beach and walk north up to North Avenue Beach. Here, you can walk out on the North Avenue Beach Pier and take beautiful photos of the downtown Chicago skyline behind Lake Michigans bright blue waters.
Next, take one of the short tunnels underneath the road or cross the overhead bridge to reach Lincoln Park. Spend the rest of your morning enjoying all that Lincoln Park has to offer. Wander the park and nature boardwalk to begin.
Then, head over to the Lincoln Park Zoo for a visit with the animals. The Regenstein Center for African Apes as well as Small Mammal and Reptile House are some of the best exhibits. There are also interactive exhibits for kids to enjoy.
If youre looking for other activities to do in Lincoln Park, check out the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool . The Chicago History Museum is also located in Lincoln Park and has ticketed entry.
After filling your morning with some nature and wildlife, head into the Lincoln Park neighborhood for shopping and lunch. Lincoln Park has a bunch of great dining options such as Galit, Summer House Santa Monica, and Blue Door Farm Stand.
Once youve refueled with a tasty meal, head back out into the neighborhood to shop at local boutiques and wander by some beautiful homes.
Best Neighborhoods & Areas
Chicagos different neighborhoods give the city a unique flair. Each of these neighborhoods offer a little something different from the main, touristy downtown scene. Read our guide on the best Chicago neighborhoods for more information.
- Neighborhood 1 An overall lovely neighborhood with tons of green space, attractions, and free things to do. Great options for dining and shopping, and good for families.
- Neighborhood 2 Close to downtown and the Chicago River. Lots of galleries, restaurants, and options for nightlife.
- Neighborhood 3 Foodie central with incredible dining options. The area is industrial turned upscale and popular for those in their 20s and 30s.
- Neighborhood 4 Artsy neighborhood with great coffee shops, local shopping and dining, and music venues.
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Where To Stay In Chicago: 10 Best Areas
Wondering where to stay in Chicago? From Chicago Loop to the Magnificent Mile, discover the neighborhoods with the best restaurants, hotels, bars and attractions in the entire city.
Chicago is a city of irresistible contrasts, with a vibrant pulse to match that of any major American metropolis. Whether youre a history and art lover, foodie, expert on architecture, sports enthusiast, or shopaholic, Chicago is truly a city that offers an abundance of options for every traveler.
Even the citys many nicknames, from its earliest origin meaning onion field to The White City, Windy City, and Second City, speak volumes about Chicagos ever-evolving identity.
Set against the backdrop of Lake Michigan, one of Americas 5 Great Lakes, Chicago is a place where old world charm meets the modern worlds marvels.
With first-class museums and eateries, a bustling nightlife culture, and all the outdoor festivals and activities one could ask for, its safe to say yourstay in Chicago will be anything but dull.
From the many sites around Grant Park, such as the Art Institute of Chicago and Field Museum, to the enticing shops of The Magnificent Mile, here are the 10 best places to explore and stay in Chicago.
Is Uber Safe In Chicago
Uber is available in Chicago as are other popular ride-hailing apps, such as Lyft.
Drivers are plentiful and the apps themselves are easy to use. It is advised for people to use things like Lyft or Uber if they are out late in the city and need to get home when they are by themselves. However, there are some safety concerns regarding ride-hailing apps in Chicago.
There have been several instances in Chicago of people being assaulted by fake drivers. Though the apps are particularly useful to use late at night, it is crucial if you do use decide to use Uber that you make 100% sure that the car you are getting into is the one for you.
While official Uber is safe in Chicago , it is a good tip to make sure that you get into a legitimate car when you do use it much like licensed and unlicensed taxis.
Sleep safe! Choose your hotel, hostel or Airbnb ahead of time so youre not last-minute booking a less-secure place.
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The Perfect 3 Days In Chicago Itinerary
If youre planning a long weekend trip to the Windy City and arent quite sure what to do, keep reading for our epic 3 days in Chicago itinerary!
While Chicago is the 3rd-largest city in the US, its often overlooked by travellers who jet for one of the coasts.
In my opinion, Chicago is the best city in the country. New York and LA are great and all, but Ill gladly take the friendly Midwestern vibe of Chicago instead.
Situated on Lake Michigan, the Chicago skyline is one of the most beautiful in the world. After all, it was here that the first skyscraper was built in 1885!
Theres so much going on here that you could spend a lifetime there and never run out of things to do.
With a solid Chicago itinerary, you can definitely check out the best of the city in 3 days. Lets get to it!
- Magnificent Mile
- Lincoln Park
Looking for more awesome things to add to your Chicago itinerary? Be sure to read our guide to the best things to do in Chicago!
South Loop Best Chicago Neighborhood For Museums
Just south of the Loop is another Chicago neighborhood that has been totally overhauled in recent years. As high-rise apartments pop up south of Roosevelt, more restaurants and other attractions move into the South Loop. This is the area closest to some of Chicagos best museums. From the South Loop, you can walk to the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium. The Museum of Science and Industry is not far, either. I think this may be the second-best place to stay in Chicago with kids, as there is a ton of green space around Grant Park, perfect to let kids run around and play.
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Best Neighborhoods & Places To Stay In Chicago
In total, there are 77 neighborhoods in Chicago each with its own distinct atmosphere and feel. Situated on the western shore of Lake Michigan, the city is organized by a grid layout with the Chicago River further geographically dividing it into the North Side, South Side, and West Side. Meanwhile, the central downtown area of the city is called The Loop.
Lets take a look at the best places to stay in the third most populated city in the US.
You Can Skip The Magnificent Mile
We mentioned the chain restaurants around Michigan Avenue. Well, these days most of the shops lining the pedestrian-packed sidewalks of the Mag Mile are also outposts of department stores and brands you can find elsewhere in the country . For more unique retail, look where the locals do: great shopping neighborhoods like Wicker Park and Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Lakeview, Logan Square or Andersonville.
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Bonus : Is It Chicago Dangerous To Visit Where Not To Stay In Chicago
Chicago has quite a reputation and its considered to be a bit dangerous due to violence and conflict, but I really believe thats not the case if you choose to visit and stay in any of the neighborhoods Ive talked above! Just like in any other city, if youre mindful of your belongings and surroundings and if you practice some common safety procedures, Chicago will be more than safe for you.
Usually, the most dangerous areas are also the poorest and are located off the tourist path. Here are some zones that are best avoided during your time here:
South Loop Best Area To Stay In Chicago For Museums
South Loop is the area immediately south of the Chicago Loop. It is a popular hospitality and entertainment district, with tons of long-established bars and restaurants.
South Loop is best known for the Lakefront Museum Campus park that runs along the east of the neighborhood. The museum campus is home to the Shedd Aquarium, the Soldier Field Stadium ), and the Field Museum.
The Field Museum is a fantastic museum of natural history and science. Just a short walk away is the Adler Planetarium and Doane Observatory. Along with the aquarium, this area is a great place for an educational family day out.
The park overlooks a beautiful marina. Various street-food stalls around the park make this a lovely place for a picnic lunch with a view.
If you are planning to stay in Chicago for an event at The McCormick Place convention center, South Loop is where you should look at staying. The convention center is located in the south end of the district, close to the waterfront.
This end of the South Loop is also where you will find Chicagos Chinatown. Aside from being home to some of Chicagos best Chinese restaurants, this is where you can find the Chinese American Museum of Chicago and the beautiful Nine-Dragon Wall.
Stay in South Loop if you want to stay close to the city center but outside of crowded downtown you are attending an event at the McCormick Place Convention Centre you are attending an event at the Soldier Field Stadium.
Best places to stay in Chicago South Loop:
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Best Hostel In Wicker Park: Holiday Jones
Located in trendy Wicker Park, Holiday Jones gives guests the opportunity to experience Chicago like a local. There are plenty of bars, restaurants and shops nearby, and Downtown is just a short train ride away. Beds come with fresh linens and towels, and luggage storage. Theres also a fantastic restaurant on-site.
Where To Stay For Culture
Chicago is filled with museums, galleries, theaters and other cultural venues. Hotels in the South Loop and Near South Side neighborhoods are among the best to access the attractions of the huge lakeside Museum Campus, including the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, the Shedd Aquarium and the Lakeside Center of McCormick Place. See the Chicago Bears play football here at Soldier Field. Stay in Streeterville to visit the Museum of Contemporary Art, or reserve a room in the neighborhood of Bronzeville, where public art and African American music mix with mansions from Chicago’s Victorian era. Book accommodations in the Loop to be in the heart of Chicago’s Theater District and near the Art Institute of Chicago as well as Cloud Gate, the city’s beloved Bean sculpture.
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Get The Gist Of The Grid System
Unlike a lot of cities, Chicagos streets are laid out on a generally reliable grid system. Heres the quick-and-dirty version: The intersection of State and Madison Streets, smack in the middle of the Loop, is the zero point of the grid. Street numbers fan out from there on north-south and east-west axes, and every eight blocks equals a mile. There are angle streets and river branches and historical quirks here and there to create confusion and six-corner intersections, but the grid is a solid foundation for getting around. Also, if you remember nothing else, east is always towards the Lake.
Lincoln Park Best Chicago Neighborhood For Families
When I was a youngin in Chicago, the Lincoln Park neighborhood was THE place to be. Today, my favorite dive bars have been replaced by Pilates studios and juice bars, making it the best place to stay in Chicago with kids. Just north of the Gold Coast, and centered on the park of the same name, Lincoln Park is still a trendy residential neighborhood with leafy streets lined with a few mansions and a lot of brownstones. Staying in Lincoln Park will give you a much more local feel and is my recommendation for travelers wanting to avoid the touristy parts of Chicago. For families, the Lincoln Park Zoo is a wonderful place to spend an afternoon, and some of the best summer festivals in Chicago take place in Lincoln Park and adjacent Old Town.
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Day 2 Wander Museums Or Head To Wrigley Field
For breakfast or brunch, make reservations at Beatrix in the West Loop. Here, youll enjoy a hearty and delicious meal, and fuel up for a day of more walking and wandering.
Afternoon & Evening Option 1: Museums
If youre a lover of arts & culture, then spend the majority of day 2 of your Chicago itinerary at either the Art Institute of Chicago or at Museum Campus.
For a world-class collection of art, head over to the Art Institute of Chicago . Located in Grant Park just below Millennium Park, the Art Institute houses nearly 300,000 works of art from around the world and throughout history.
If art isnt your thing or youre looking for something more interactive, opt for a fun-filled, educational afternoon at Museum Campus . For families with kids, an afternoon spent here is the way to go.
Museum Campus is a 57-acre park that houses three of Chicagos largest museums: Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History. Itd be hard to hit all three in one afternoon, so Id recommend sticking to one or two.
After spending the afternoon at the museum/s of your choosing, head to Cindys Bar in the Loop for happy hour . Cindys has one of the best rooftops in the city and will provide you with breathtaking views of the Chicago skyline, Millennium Park, and Lake Michigan.
Afternoon & Evening Option 2: Wrigley Field
Looking for more museums? Read all about the 20 best museums in Chicago.