One of the largest cities in the USA, known for its bold architecture and decadent food, Chicago is the most populous city in Illinois, and the third most populous city in the country. Chicago is considered to be the second best city in the entire world, according to the choice made by city dwellers based on various criteria. The Mud City provides experiences varying from expensive world class dining to enjoying a deep dish pizza; from expensive cocktails to cheap bars; lush, green parks and lake views to artistic museums and galleries – Chicago has it all. Art lovers, foodies, history buffs and nomadic hearts, today we tell you how to spend the perfect weekend in Chicago Under $100, that is, without poking a giant hole in your pocket! Get a pen and a notebook, scan through, take notes and have the most memorable time in the Windy City!
Where can you live in Chicago under $100?
If you, by any means, went to Chicago in your car, congratulations! Sleeping in your car over the weekend in Chicago would be your best bet. But if you’re not going to do that, choose an AirBnB stay, instead of hotels and motels. A decent AirBnB would cost you around $32-38 a night. Student housing, on-campus or off-campus is another reasonable option, especially if pre-booked.
Are You an adventurer? The Illinois Beach State Park offers on-site camping at around $20 per night.
Transportation options in Chicago under $100
For travelers, it’s best to rely on public transport like the city train, bus and ride sharing services. Cycling is also an advised mode of transport if you’re traveling alone. Chicago’s bike-sharing program called Divvy Bike lets you rent a bike for $9.95 for a day. There are around 580 Divvy stations spread across the city. You must dock and change your Divvy bike every half hour from any station.
Use of public transport simply reduces the money spent on rental cars and parking. The schedule for public transport like metro and local buses can be checked on the official websites.
What can you eat in Chicago for under $100?
Chicago holds a fat, juicy history of food, just like its fried chicken. A variety of cuisines are promised for people all over from the globe, but the city of food never fails its own delicious charm in the food industry. Over your weekend in Chicago, you are in for a great place for field day for food, and most importantly, the flavors and taste are not compromised for their price.
From the signature deep dish pizzas and fried chicken to the Chicago style hot dogs and pork dumplings, all are promised to be under $10.
Be it the BBQ pork bun from Chiu Quon, or Vietnamese sandwiches from Nhu Lan Bakery, assorted sushi at the Lawrence Fish market or Fixin’ Franks inside Home Depot, all offer a delectable variety of food that’ll take your taste for a ride.
Let us not forget our loyal fast food chains like KFC and McDonald’s. Knowing the prices already, we can fill our rumbling bellies with some humble familiars from these joints.
Things to do in Chicago – Free museums, cultural activities
Are you a history buff? Chicago has a lot to cater to history and heritage lovers, and the bonus here is most of them are free!
The Chicago Cultural Center
The Chicago Cultural Center conducts hundreds of free programs all year. You can pay a visit to the famed Tiffany dome. For a gleeful time, you can check their schedule for free dance performances, jazz music concerts, film screenings and theatrical performances and seminars.
The Ed Paschke Art Center
The Ed Paschke Art Center preserves and provides the public the works of the legendary Chicago artist Ed Paschke, but that’s not all. Discover budding artists brimming with talent, for this center is a platform where they showcase their works.
City Gallery, in the Historic Water Tower, is a significant landmark that has been turned into a few art galleries, showcasing works of local artists and photographers.
Hyde Park Art Center
Looking for gallery talks, poetry reading and musical performances? The best place for you to go is the Hyde Park Art Center. The center seeks to engage diverse visitors with Chicago’s artists and art lovers.
Henry B. Clarke House
To get a little insight on what a family house looked like and how a family lived in Chicago’s early years, you can visit the Clarke House Museum, Chicago’s oldest house, constructed for Henry B. Clarke in 1836.
Jane Addams Hull-House Museum
Jane Addams, a Nobel Prize laureate, founded a settlement house which now functions as the Jane Addams Hull-House, a free museum that is dedicated to providing free exhibits and programs that focus on under-served communities.
Museum of Contemporary Photography
The photographer in you is waking up? No worries, we got you covered, the Columbia College’s Museum of Contemporary Photography, is one of a kind, aims to communicate the value of still images, artistic expression, and human thought, exclusively through photos only.
There are many more to provide enough food for your history and art hunger like the National Museum Of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture, National Veterans Art Museum, National Museum Of Mexican Art, The Oriental Institute Museum and a lot more.
Parks, trails and beaches
Museums, libraries and art sound boring to you? Is getting on that bicycle and speeding through the city your style? Chicago has tricks up its sleeve for you too.
The Lakefront Trail promises stunning scenery with blue hues of the Michigan lake to one side and beautiful, verdant parks on the other. There are a number of gardens, parks, beaches and public arts along the trail.
Let Chicago’s scenic esplanade, the Chicago Riverwalk that stretches through the heart of the city take your breath away.
Visit the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum, which is free on Sundays, (perfect for the weekend!) to be fascinated by the bridge lift from inside the bridge house.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Want to be surrounded by green? You have a garden under the glass roof. The Garfield Park Conservatory houses an exotic half dozen greenhouses of rare and native species of plants.
Lincoln Park Zoo
House to about 230 species and one of the only free zoos in the country, the Lincoln Park Zoo has it all – reptiles, birds, mammals and more. The zoo is placed inside the scenic and lush Lincoln Park which is also free. This is a go to place, highly recommended!
One of the biggest flexes of Chicago would be its unique charm of the public parks, which cover about 8000 acres of the city. They are wildlife havens, and landscape designs. Northerly Island, North Pond Nature Sanctuary,Alfred Caldwell Lily Pool and Humboldt Park, Ping Tom Memorial Park are some of the notable ones. You can also spend a day lounging on one of the public beaches.
Besides all these wondrous activities, walking around the city is a throbbing experience in itself. To step foot in what the world calls one of its greatest cities, go to the streets, get engulfed in the vibe and taste local delicacies from carts and food trucks is what you need to do here, and we promise you that your weekend trip to Chicago under $100 will be a bubbling success!
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