If you’re planning on heading to the Windy City anytime soon you may want to stop and give this quick article a good read.
Chicago can be a little bit pricey, and all the fun of seeing the sights in the city can add up reasonably quickly once there. Our staff writer went to test the price of some of the best this city has to offer up close and personal for herself and found out several things she could do while in the city to save some serious cash.
- Use the Chicago Transit Authority. Paying $2.50 for a fun ride on the L train across the heart of the city is going to hurt your wallet a lot less than paying $30 to park in a parking garage for an hour and a half. If the train isn’t your thing, take any of the Transit Buses or Pace Buses throughout the city. There are bus stops and train stations about every 3 to 5 blocks.
- Pack your own food. Of course, you are going to want to splurge a little and eat out once in the city, especially when the city has such amazing deep dish pizza and downtown dive burgers, but packing a meal for the road, for lunch at Millennium Park, or for dinner at your hotel is a great way to save a ton of money and still enjoy the city.
- Be a tourist. Opt-in for all the free landmarks and attractions in the city you can. If you love photography as I do, spend some extra time just wandering around the city, taking photos of the locals and the local structures, or just gawking at the amazing skyline surrounding you. This past weekend we made it to the Navy Pier, Arlington Heights Historic District, and Millennium Park all without paying a dime on attractions.
- Book ahead of time and don’t be afraid of hostels. This is a big one for me because we have always taken advantage of the early booking at the same Chicago hostel during our stays. Hostels aren’t deserving of their suspicious stereotypical public reputation but are really cheap alternatives to pricey city hotels. The main difference is the lack of TVs and the presence of bunk beds, but come on, you didn’t come to Chicago to watch TV!
- Get active. In Chicago, there are plenty of opportunities to burn some calories and take in the city all at the same time, no matter the season. In the summer head over to any of the amazing Lake Michigan beaches or stroll across any of the popular urban city parks. In the winter take to the ice and get some skating in next to "the bean" or put in some serious steps at the Navy Pier’s indoor facilities.