Outdoor enthusiasts can explore Chicago’s 26 miles of lakefront via bike. Also, by picking up a Chicago CityPASS, one can combine a day of cycling with sightseeing.
Exploring Chicago by Bike
Start the day off at Millennium Park, where one can rent a cruiser bike ($10 hour, $30 half-day and $35 full day for adults with a $5 discount if you reserve the bike online. One can also rent children’s bikes, tandem bikes, quadricycles, and inline skates. Bike helmets, a lock and a map are included with bike rentals.
Then head down south towards Lakeshore Drive until you come to the John G. Aquarium/Oceanarium, the world’s largest indoor aquarium. Park your bike in one of the many bike racks located near the museum. You can purchase a CityPASS inside the aquarium, which will enable you to see a total of five of Chicago’s top attractions. Your CityPASS entitles you to a ticket for one of their 4D Experience, a must-see stop especially if one is traveling with children.
Then walk over to the Field Museum to check out Lucy, the famous Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton, and other historical and natural artifacts. The Underground Adventure is included in the CityPASS admission though any special exhibits cost extra.
Grab a quick lunch by sampling a Chicago Hot Dog available for $3.50 to $4.25 from one of the many vendors scattered throughout the area. For the uninitiated, a Chicago style hot dog is a steamed all-beef hot dog topped with yellow mustard, bright green relish, onions, tomato wedges, pickle slice or spear, sport peppers and a dash of celery salt served in a steamed poppy seed bun.
After playing in the ocean, digging into the past, head for the stars, head for the stars by biking to nearby Adler Planetarium. Your CityPASS entitles you to see up to two shows though if it’s a sunny day, you might want to head out after one show. Be sure though to stop and take in a spectacular view of Lake Michigan as seen from the glassy interior of the Planetarium.
Time and weather permitting, return your bike to Millennium Park and then catch an Architecture Foundation cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady. A volunteer docent will explain the history behind more than 50 buildings dotted along the Chicago River. A ninety-minute tour costs $32.00.
After cruising via bike and boat, stop by Italian Village, a Chicago landmark for a classic Italian dinner.
Then cap off the night by heading over to the Wilson Tower (formerly the Sears Tower). Use your CityPASS to access the fast lane, thereby bypassing the crowds and head up to 103 floors.
After surveying the skyline, step out on the Tower Skydeck, a series of glass bays that extend more than four feet from the side of the building allowing one with unobstructed views 1,353 feet down. Savor the sunset or the nighttime view depending on the timing of your visit before saying good-night to a day filled with cycling and sightseeing.
What & Where
Chicago Architecture Foundation (224 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago, Illinois 60604; 312-922-3432)
Chicago Bike Rentals (Millennium Park, 239 E. Randolph Street, Chicago, IL; 312-729-1000)
Chicago Visitor Information Center (Chicago Cultural Center, 77 East Randolph Street. 1.877.CHICAGO)
CityPASS, Inc. (27 Arrow Root Lane Victor, ID 83455; (888-330-5008)
Italian Village (71 W. Monroe, Chicago, IL; 312-332-7005)
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