If you are spending 24 hours in Chicago, I’ve created the perfect guide of things to do while you’re in the city. Although, during my trip to Chicago I was there from February 6-9, 2020 here is a list of things I did during my second day of exploring.
Cloud Gate Chicago
One of Chicago’s famous tourist attractions is their bean, which is known as Cloud Gate. I woke up early just to avoid the crowd and snag some cool photos next to the bean. I was so surprised that there weren’t many people there by the time I arrived, but when I was leaving the crowd around the bean began to fill up. I arrived maybe a quarter after 10am and only a hand full of tourist were there taking pictures. I also heard since it was the winter season, not many tourist were in town, which was a double score for me. Cloud Gate is a sculpture that was put together by an Indian-born British artist named Sir Anish Kapoor. The famous sculpture is located in Chicago’s Millennium Park and it is a free tourist attraction. Just below the bean, there’s a public ice skating rink that is free to the public but if you do not have ice skates you do have to pay to rent a pair for $13 during the week and $15 on weekends.
Next, I made my way to the famous Garrett Popcorn. This popcorn shop is a must visit if you are traveling to Chicago. I recommend the Garrett mix, which is their caramel and cheddar popcorn mixed together. My second favorite was their pecan popcorn because I couldn’t stop eating it once I got back home. I paid around $10 for two bags of the Garrett mix and it was well worth it. Also, you are free to sample all of their popcorn flavors to see which one you like the most before you commit to buying. Garrett Popcorn has been around since 1949, it was created by the Garrett family who actually lived in Milwaukee and decided to open up their first popcorn shop in Chicago. There are tons around the city so where ever you are exploring in the city, if you come across a Garrett Popcorn do not pass it by.
The Chicago Theatre
It wouldn’t be right if you came to Chicago and not snagged a pic in front of the prominent Chicago Theatre. I was so surprised that there weren’t any tourist around this place taking pictures. Me and my family were the only ones there and the security guard that was on duty even captured this cool photo for me. The Chicago Theatre is also another one of Chicago’s popular landmarks. The theatre has been around since 1921 and has held some of your favorite artists, comedians, musicians, amongst others shows. The day I took this photo, comedian Chris Tucker who is know for his roles in the classic films Friday and Rush Hour was having a standup comedy show there that night.
If you’re looking for something more family friendly then I would definitely recommend the Shedd Aquarium. It is something both parents and kids can enjoy. During the time of my visit it was a bit crowded, but I still had the chance to enjoy it. So, sit back grab a map and make your way around the aquarium. There you will spot jellyfish, seals, penguins and a large variety of different animals. They even host dolphin shows if I’m not mistaken, you just have to make sure you’re aware of the show times so you won’t miss out. This aquarium is one of the biggest aquariums in the world storing 5,000,000 US gallons of water in its facility. Plus, it holds around 32,000 animals and counting. Also, when you’re exiting, there’s an awesome city view that you can snap some great photos in front of. This is the perfect place to capture a full view and picture in front of the city skyline.
Feeling a little hungry after a bit of exploring? If you’re a fan of ramen and dumplings, Ramen-San is the place to be. Before I went to Chicago, I looked up a list of restaurants in the area and this place was a few minutes away from my hotel. I ordered the spicy pork ramen along with the fried chicken ramen, pork and shrimp dumplings then I topped it off with their cinnamon toast crunch soft serve. I love ramen and it’s either you can perfect the dish or you can’t. I have to say this place lived up to their ratings online. Although, I’m not a huge fan of pork or spice I wanted to test out that spicy ramen anyway. Yes, the ramen was a bit spicy, but not spicy to the point where you couldn’t enjoy it. I would say there was a tad bit of spice added to it. The dumplings were cooked to perfection according to my guests because I cannot eat shrimp and were served with some sort of sweet and sour sauce. Next came the fried chicken ramen, I’m not sure how they preserve the crispiness of the chicken in ramen but I thoroughly enjoyed it.
As for the soft serve, it was about 28 degrees in Chicago but when the waitress made the offer I couldn’t refuse and I’m glad I didn’t. It tasted like cinnamon toast crunch in an ice cream form, but way better. Plus, it was topped with cinnamon toast crunch cereal and cereal crumbles. I absolutely enjoyed this place and this is somewhere that I would visit again while I’m in Chicago. The vibe was exceptional as well, they played all of the classic throwback hip hop jams. If you plan to visit, be sure to expect to wait a bit because there was a bit of a crowd when I went .Our wait time was around 15 minutes.
360 Chicago Observation Deck
As for activities, if you’re a thrill seeker unlike myself, be 1000% sure that you want to participate in the activity. The Chicago 360 Observation Deck offers the ride of a lifetime for people who aren’t afraid, even those that are afraid, of heights. They provide a ride called the Tilt, which is just what it sounds like. Even though you’re looking over the beautiful city of Chicago, you’re being tiled over the 94th floor. Now, I did not know that the floor under you tilts as well until I actually got there. So, I said to myself “I’m already here I have to face my fear of heights.” As the floor began to tilt in the beginning I was okay, but it was once the floor tilted for the third time and my feet began to slide down was when I freaked out. I didn’t get the chance to complete the entire thing because I backed out during the end, but I almost completed the full experience it if that counts.
Texas de Brazil
If you have time to wind down a bit I’d suggest heading back to your hotel room and reserving a nice dinner for later on that night, which is exactly what I did. To end the day, later on that night after roaming around the town for the day I made my way to Texas de Brazil, it was exactly 3-minutes away from my hotel. My reservation was set for 8:15pm and once I arrived the restaurant was filled, but they allowed me and my guests to sit at the bar until our table became available. Once we sat down at our table, me and my guest were immediately greeted by our waiter and although this was not my first time at a Texas de Brazil restaurant it was my guests first time. So, the waiter was kind enough to explain the process at the restaurant then offered us some cocktails. I’m not one to turn down cocktails so I took him up on his offer. I’m also not sure of the cocktails that were ordered, but they were suggestions from our waiter. There was one infused with coconut and the other was infused with mango. Once the drinks arrived I then made my way to the cold bar to grab some of their bread and salad until the meat arrived. Once I lightly packed my stomach with those tasting, the meat than began to make its way around the restaurant. Now, if you’re new to the restaurant they give you what looks to be a coaster for each person in your party.
One side is green and one side is red, the green side means you want more meat to be served to you and red means you’ve had enough for the time being. The employees walk around while slicing you pieces of perfectly cooked bacon wrapped chicken, pork, lamb, steak and so many more choices that I had the chance taste for the first time. They even give you the option to choose how you want your meat cooked. I’m a medium rare or well girl, but I also enjoy well done if those options are not available. Texas de Brazil is basically an upscale, all you can eat meat restaurant and trust me I ate all I could eat. I finally informed our waiter that we were done for the night and he offered us some dessert of our choosing to take home. Now, if you know me you know I over love carrot cake. Once he mentioned that as an option I couldn’t turn it down. They also offered key lime pie and chocolate cake just to name a few. To top the night off we were even greeted by the restaurant manager on our way back to our hotel and he made sure to ask us how our dining experience was at the restaurant.
In conclusion, there is so much to do in Chicago even if you’re in the city for only 24-hours. I have nothing but great things to say about all of the places I visited during my time there and Chicago is certainly a place I can see myself visiting again. Maybe during the summer perhaps? Until we meet again Chicago, it’s been amazing touring your beautiful city!