Our bicycling adventures around Chicago continue and this time we’re taking on some of the windy city’s biggest attractions. Why? Because some touristy things are popular for a good reason!
We’re always on a mission to get away from the crowds and experience a city like a local, but every once in a while it’s extremely worthwhile to go with the crowd. This past summer (August 2014) we spent two incredible weeks urban camping in the middle of the city, utilizing public transportation and cycling to soak in as much as we could.
It’s a beautiful city isn’t it?!? It blows me away how inviting that water looks on a sunny day. We especially liked this artsy city-park pocket of the windy city and it reminded us of how much we love exploring a big city. We get so caught up in our love affair with nature that we sometimes forget to enjoy the amazing human side of art and culture. Plus, there is something wildly energizing about the buzz of a big city.
Why City Bikes?
Within all of our days of exploring Chicago and festival going we only used our car twice. The summer weather was so perfect we had absolutely no desire to be stuck in a car much less traffic, expensive parking lots and so on! The Metra and DIVVY bikes proved to be a great way to get around the city, however we found that we much preferred the bikes because of the beautiful weather and the leisurely pace at wich it allowed us to explore.
Plus, these city bikes are cheap and convenient with no hassle or worry of having to find secure places to park our personal bikes. For a more detailed answer to this question and a few tips on using the DIVVY Bikes, you’ll find that in Bike Chicago Part 1.
The Route and Itinerary
10 am – Millennium Park has quickly become a Chicago icon with its impressive collection of public art. We stroll through the Cloud Gate (aka “the bean”), Laurie gardens and check out the very modern Jay Pritzker pavilion. It was happenstance we were treated to an “open rehearsal” concert while wondering about, it really made the beauty of the gardens seem almost surreal.
11:30 am – We take a walkabout through the massive collection at the Art Institute of Chicago. It’s overwhelming how much art is housed in this building but what we really found the neatest was walking in the historic entrance and exiting through the new modern wing, its like the ying-and-yang of architecture and yet it totally flows.
2 pm – Soaking up all that art really works up an appetite! We head up to the top floor of the Art Institute to the Terzo Piano for some much needed modern noshing. Literally every item we ordered was fantastic, they were even kind enough to give us a coffee refill in our travel mug to get us through the afternoon “food coma” slump we knew we’d hit!
4 pm – Navy Pier is a family friendly hot spot but we’re here to catch a ride on the Sea Dog for a sunset Architecture Cruise along the river. The speed boat seemed ridiculous at first but the boat was surprisingly quiet on the river while the finish out in the lake made for a unique way to end the tour, especially since we timed it perfectly for sunset 🙂
Have you ever used city bikes or have a favorite bike friendly city? Do you have some Chicago faves we should know about? Share your thoughts and recommendations in the comments below!
Thanks to Choose Chicago for hosting us and helping plan a realistic daily itinerary.