Drop-off your bags at the hotel and head to downtown Arlington Heights, one of the most vibrant, walkable suburban downtowns in Chicagoland. Enjoy a leisurely walk where you can explore one of the many local boutique shops and find that hard to buy for person a unique gift. While you are exploring, we suggest turning the day into a dine-around Arlington Heights. There are dozens of options to choose a drink and appetizer, then over to another restaurant for an entree and then hit another spot for dessert. Make plans to attend a live theater performance at the beautiful Metropolis Performing Arts Centre or Hey Nonny for local live entertainment.
Rise and shine and head straight down Highway 90 for an easy drive into downtown Chicago. Board any one of several architectural tour boat cruises either down the river or along lakeshore. Many depart from historical Navy Pier. Walk the half-mile peninsula that juts out into Lake Michigan and hoist a few at the Beer Garden while catching a local band performing.
Several Loop walking tours of the Cities Financial and Theatre district are available. But you don’t need a guide to experience the contemporary architecture of Millennium Park. This park is like no other in the world. It begs for interaction. This should not be a passive experience. There’s the Jay Pritzker Pavilion where concerts are ubiquitous. Stroll through the Lurie Garden, take off your shoes and splash in the Crown Fountain in the summer or strap on some skates for the ice rink in winter. And then there’s The Bean.
Properly known as Cloud Gate, The Bean, is a mesmerizing piece of sculpture that begs for introspection. The Bean or Cloud Gate is forged of a seamless series of highly polished stainless steel plates, which reflect Chicago’s famous skyline and the clouds above. A 12 foot high arch provides a “gate” to the concave chamber beneath the sculpture, inviting visitors to touch its mirror like surface and see their image reflected back form a variety of perspectives.
There are multiple restaurants in the Loop area of Chicago on the South side of the River. Let us suggest the following Chicago institutions:
The Berghoff restaurant opened in 1898 serving Dortmunder-style beer exclusively, which was served with free sandwiches. During Prohibition, the Berghoff remained in business by expanding as a restaurant, and in 1933, it received the first liquor license in Chicago following the end of Prohibition. Today, it is a Chicago Landmark, and it continues to serve its signature beer and hearty German fare.
Miller’s Pub was established in 1935. It was purchased by four brothers in 1950, who kept the original name. Over the years, celebrities like Frank Sinatra and Harry Caray have visited the cozy wood-paneled space. Stop in for a meal, choosing from an extensive menu, or a drink at the bar, which has served as the backdrop for numerous movies.
Spend your remaining hours shopping at Woodfield Mall, one of the top ten largest malls in the nation. But don’t leave town without enjoying one of the original Chicago style deep dish pizza purveryor, Lou Malnati’s in nearby Elk Grove Village. No trip to Chicago is complete without a taste of this classic.