Chicago Neighborhood

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Chicago is a beautiful city with a plethora of attractions. However, there are also many popular tourist locations in its vicinity that are worth visiting during your trip. We have selected the most interesting and unusual ones for you.

Milwaukee

The journey from Chicago to Milwaukee by public transport takes about one and a half hours. But it is worth spending this time to visit Brew City, the City of Brewing. Milwaukee has been producing frothy and hoppy beverages since 1840. Currently, there are over 170 establishments in the city dedicated to this industry. Tourists can take guided tours of the most significant breweries and taste famous beer varieties in local pubs and taverns.

Another nickname for Milwaukee is Cream City, derived from its architecture. The buildings constructed here during the 19th century were made of a cream-colored brick. Most of them are located along the shores of Lake Michigan. The must-visit attractions include the Milwaukee Public Market (the city's most popular culinary scene), Lake Shore State Park, the Harley-Davidson Museum, and the Milwaukee Art Museum, which houses over 30,000 exhibits.

Milwaukee

How to get to Milwaukee

The easiest way is to take an Amtrak train from Chicago Union Station to Milwaukee.

Six Flags Great America Amusement Park

Six Flags Great America is located in Gurnee, a suburb of Chicago. Opened in 1976, it is now among the top twenty amusement parks in North America. The park is divided into several themed areas and offers numerous thrilling and fun adventures, spectacular shows, and parades. In the Carousel Plaza area, you can find the famous two-tiered Columbia Carousel, the second tallest in the world at 30 meters. Adrenaline enthusiasts must try the Mardi Gras Hangover, Batman: The Ride, Demon, and The Joker rides. The whole family can experience exciting sensations on Logger's Run, Sky Trek Tower, Buccaneer Battle, Whizzer, and River Rocker.

And for the youngest visitors, there are fun and safe attractions like Krazy Kups, Lady Bugs, Bouncer, Red Baron, Sprocket Rockets, and Crazy Bus. Previously, Six Flags Great America also included the Hurricane Harbor Chicago water park. However, it has now become a separate entity, requiring visitors to purchase a separate ticket. Both parks are so close to each other that they can easily be visited in a single day.

Six Flags Great America Amusement Park

How to get to Six Flags Great America Amusement Park

The easiest way to reach the amusement park is by renting a car and taking either I-94 or I-294 West highways. The journey takes approximately 45 minutes.

Holland

The road from Chicago to a city called Holland may seem long (2.5 hours), but it's a small price to pay for suddenly finding yourself in Europe without leaving America. In 1847, Dutch immigrants founded a settlement on the shore of Lake Macatawa and named it after their homeland. Today, Holland is the largest city in Ottawa County and a popular tourist center. The Dutch heritage is carefully preserved here. Every year in May, the residents celebrate the Tulip Time Festival. The city is adorned with approximately six million vibrant tulips. The Veldheer Tulip Gardens farm attracts many visitors during the tulip blooming season. Another popular attraction is the authentic Dutch windmill, De Zwaan, which is over 250 years old. It is located within the municipal park called Windmill Island Gardens.

Families can have a great time at Nelis' Dutch Village. And for those who love swimming and sunbathing, there are many nice public beaches along the shores of Lake Macatawa.

Holland

How to get to Holland

You can take an evening Amtrak train from Chicago Union Station, but that would require finding accommodation in the city. Therefore, it's much more convenient to rent a car and use a navigation system.

Lemont

The charming village of Lemont is just a 30-minute drive from Chicago, located on the southern bank of the Illinois and Michigan (I&M) Canal. It is perfect for a family getaway with plenty of activities to enjoy. A must-visit is the Heritage Quarries Recreation Area, where you can go boating, fishing, bike along the scenic canal, and observe birds. Real adventures await guests at The Forge: Lemont Quarries. Here, you can test your agility and courage at the ropes course or zip-line through the treetops. You can also engage in sword duels while playing Maceball, showcase your accuracy in team laser tag competitions, participate in orienteering or treasure hunting.

After a day filled with excitement at the park, it's nice to relax in downtown Lemont, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. For example, you can enjoy a pint of the signature ale at the renowned Pollyanna Brewing and Taproom, sample local cuisine, or browse for souvenirs in one of the small shops.

Chicago Lemont

How to get to Lemont

Lemont and Chicago are connected by the Metra suburban railway. You need to board the Heritage Corridor line train at Chicago Union Station.

The Wine Trail on the shores of Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan Shore Wine Trail stretches along the southern tip of the lake and extends inland towards the city of Kalamazoo. This region is an American Viticultural Area (AVA) with 90% of the region's vineyards located here. The wine trail features 15 wineries and 4 tasting rooms, situated in charming coastal towns. It is divided into 4 districts - North, East, Central, and South. Visiting all the wineries on the trail in a single day is unlikely, so it's better to select a few establishments in one region and start from there.

How to get there

Most wineries on the Wine Trail can be reached by car in under two hours. You can download a map from their website that highlights all the locations and provides a marked route.

Oak Park

Oak Park is a tranquil western suburb of Chicago, free from the hustle and bustle of the metropolis. It is renowned for being the location of the home and studio of one of America's most famous architects, Frank Lloyd Wright, which are open to visitors. Taking a stroll through the village streets, one can see numerous prairie-style buildings designed by Wright. Architecture enthusiasts should not miss the unique George W. Maher House, which is a designated national historic landmark and the only Maher-designed building accessible to the general public.

Oak Park is also the birthplace and childhood home of Ernest Hemingway. The house where he spent his early years has been carefully restored and transformed into a museum, which is also worth visiting.

Oak Park

This suburb is also famous for its culinary scene, Kinslahger Brewing Company, independent boutiques, art galleries, and a Saturday farmers market.

How to get to Oak Park

You can take the Metra suburban train (Union Pacific West line) to Oak Park. Another option is to reach Oak Park via the Green Line of the metro system.

Brookfield Zoo

The Brookfield Zoo, also known as the Chicago Zoological Park, is located in the suburb of Brookfield. It opened its doors in 1934 and quickly gained international recognition for its innovative approach to animal habitats, eschewing traditional cages in favor of moats, ditches, and glass partitions. The zoo covers an area of 95 hectares and houses 2,400 animals from 400 species, representing various corners of the planet. Families traveling with children should include the Dolphins in Action show and a visit to the Hamill Family Zoo in their itinerary.

Young guests will also be delighted by the opportunity to ride one of the largest wooden carousels in America, located near the North Gate. The zoo offers visitors a rich cultural program, including exhibitions, concerts, tastings, festive themed events, sports competitions, and much more.

Brookfield Zoo

How to get to Brookfield Zoo

The South Gate of Brookfield Zoo can be reached by taking the Pace Bus Route 331 suburban bus. An alternative option is to take the BNSF line of the Metra train.

Lake Geneva

The resort town of Lake Geneva derived its name from the body of water on which it is situated. In the early 20th century, wealthy families from Chicago flocked here to indulge in luxurious getaways reminiscent of the Great Gatsby era. The best way to admire the magnificent mansions built during that period is by taking a leisurely walk or bike ride along the shores of Lake Geneva. The resort is renowned for its beaches, where visitors can swim, sunbathe, kayak, canoe, and even try their hand at wake surfing. In the town center, travelers can enjoy excellent cafes, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs.

Those seeking unique souvenirs will delight in visiting the indoor craft market located in the Fancy Fair shopping center. For breathtaking views of the city, a hot air balloon ride is a must.

Lake Geneva

How to get to Lake Geneva

The easiest way is to rent a car and follow the directions provided by the navigation system. The drive takes approximately one and a half hours. Alternatively, you can take the Metra train (Milwaukee District/North Line) from Chicago Union Station to Fox Lake station and then take a taxi.

Indiana Dunes National Park

This beautiful destination is just a 50-minute drive from Chicago. Indiana Dunes National Park is one of the best places to connect with nature in the Midwest. It spans 32 kilometers along the southern shoreline of Lake Michigan, making it a perfect destination year-round. In the summer, visitors can enjoy the lovely beach, hike through sand dunes and marshy landscapes, go biking or horseback riding, and partake in canoeing or kayaking. Camping and fishing are also available for those seeking an overnight stay. In September and October, people flock here to witness the incredible colors of nature and observe bird migrations.

Indiana Dunes National Park

Winter is perfect for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. In April and May, vibrant wildflower fields can be seen along the banks of the Little Calumet River. A unique attraction within Indiana Dunes National Park is the Pinhook Bog, home to rare flora and fauna.

How to get to Indiana Dunes National Park

The easiest and most affordable way is to take the South Shore Line suburban train from Millennium Station in downtown Chicago and get off at the Dune Park stop. The journey takes approximately 1 hour and 20 minutes.

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