While we wouldn’t trade sunny Los Angeles for anything, it is nice to broaden your horizons every once in a while. And although there are so many destinations on the West Coast, why not take the leap by venturing out to other regions of the U.S.?
As the name implies, cities in the Midwest are a perfect middle-ground if you want the cosmopolitan feel of many East Coast cities without having to trek cross-country. Only four hours by plane from LAX, Chicago happens to be an amazing choice for a quick Midwest getaway!
From historic architecture to a hefty roster of museums and cultural institutions, the Windy City shares many features with its East Coast counterparts. However, it’s more affordable than most and closer in proximity to L.A., which means total bang for your buck.
If you still aren’t sold, keep reading for 5 reasons to visit America’s Second City, along with insider tips on where to stay to make the most of your eventual trip.
1. It’s home to dozens of world-class museums
If your ideal trip involves scoping out a city’s museum scene, stop what you’re doing and book a flight to Chicago ASAP.
Chicago has a massive and diverse array of museums and cultural institutions, with both the Art Institute of Chicago and the Field Museum ranking in the top five for their respective categories. For a more interactive museum experience, get up close and personal with a beluga whale at Shedd Aquarium, then come face-to-face with the cosmos at Adler Planetarium – both on Chicago’s Museum Campus! The man-made island occupies a scenic urban oasis with breathtaking views of Lake Michigan and is definitely a must-see during your Windy City visit.
You can’t go wrong planning a trip to Chicago solely to experience these cultural attractions, along with countless others like them.
🏨Where to stay: Palmer House, a Hilton Hotel’s Adler Planetarium Package is the perfect way to make the most of your visit to Chicago’s many museums. Just two blocks from the Art Institute of Chicago, enjoy overnight accommodations and up to four general admission digital passes to Adler Planetarium.
2. There’s an incredible food scene
Even more so than L.A., the Chicago food scene is wide-reaching and diverse. Spend one weekend in Chicago and you can try everything from cozy Eastern European pierogis to amazingly fresh sushi, authentic Italian beef sandwiches to some of the best soul food you’ve ever tasted…the list goes on.
Another draw is that you’ll find no shortage of mom-and-pop shops in Chicago’s many ethnic neighborhoods, which are a true reflection of the city’s rich multicultural heritage.
Now you might be wondering, “Why would I take a trip to Chicago when I can basically eat any food I want in L.A.?” To which we say, it’s good to branch out!
Every city’s food scene is different from the next due to unique, regional spins on traditional recipes, which means you have the potential to fall in love with a classic dish all over again. And remember: Chicago is more affordable, so you can try more food for less money than you would on the West Coast.
🏨Where to stay: For easy access to some of the best dining in Chicago, book your stay at LondonHouse Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton. You’ll be right on the Magnificent Mile and within easy travel distance from major downtown foodie hubs.
3. You can experience its robust theater district
When you think of theater, NYC’s Broadway most likely comes to mind. But that doesn’t mean you should sleep on the Second City’s theater district!
The Chicago Theatre District is a hub for both world-class shows and novelty productions. Visitors have access to anything from large-scale musicals to tiny, avant garde comedy works, giving theatergoers an opportunity to enjoy either big-budget productions or something more intimate in the bustling city center.
So no need to make the trip to NYC for incredible live productions, because Chicago’s scene is arguably just as impressive. It’s definitely worth the trip if you want to experience up-and-coming productions you can’t find anywhere else.
🏨Where to stay: Positioned right on the lake and only a 10 minute drive from The Chicago Theatre, Sable at Navy Pier Chicago, Curio Collection by Hilton boasts unbeatable views of Lake Michigan along with the world’s largest rooftop bar according to Guinness World Records. Just picture yourself unwinding after a show with amazing drinks in hand and a view to match.
4. The city’s architecture is extremely historic
The Windy City is known globally for its significant contributions to building design, making it one of the U.S.’s top architectural hubs.
Chicago is home to an architectural landscape you simply can not find anywhere. The most renowned architects of the 19th and 20th centuries left their stamp on Chicago’s skyline through early modern skyscrapers, Gothic towers, and so much more.
Feast your eyes upon downtown’s famed skyscrapers, or enjoy a stroll amongst the Romanesque and art deco mansions found in the Gold Coast Historic District. You can even take your architectural adventure a step further with an architectural boat tour, immersing you in 200-plus years of history with views of the city’s extraordinary 26-mile skyline.
🏨Where to stay: It doesn’t get more luxurious than The Drake Hotel. An excellent, centrally located choice for exploring the city’s architecture, you’ll have easy access to legendary Chicago landmarks and the picturesque Gold Coast Historic District.
5. It has a top-ranking symphony orchestra
Since its conception in 1891, the Chicago Symphony Orchestra has consistently been hailed one of the finest orchestras in the world. For the classical music experience of a lifetime, we’d highly recommend visiting Chicago’s Symphony Center to see the CSO perform on its own stomping grounds.
Symphony Center’s Orchestra Hall is a premiere venue for live classical performances. Plus, despite housing an orchestra with such an esteemed reputation, the venue’s main floor is surprisingly intimate and close to the stage, giving guests a mesmerizing listening experience.
🏨Where to stay: Overlooking Grant Park and Lake Michigan is Hilton Chicago, a classic South Loop hotel within a 10 minutes walk from Orchestra Hall. It’s the perfect hotel for an evening at the symphony, with plenty of dining options at its doorstep.
Now it’s time to take the leap to the Midwest! See for yourself all the amazing attractions Chicago has to offer by planning your trip today.