Thank you to Gail Hendler, Chair, Publicity and Promotion Committee and Associate Provost and Library director of Loyola University Health Sciences Library, for contributing this great post!
Chicago on a Shoestring
Chicago is a beautiful, diverse, and exciting city with world- class shopping, music, dance, and theater for every taste and every budget. The frugal librarian’s guide to experiencing the best for less offers recommendations for visiting must-see attractions a budget.
Theater and Entertainment
The Second City offers first-rate theater downtown (the Loop) and in various locations around the Chicagoland area. The League of Chicago Theaters offers half-price tickets for same-day performance at three locations in town and online via Hot Tix www.hottix.org . For those who prefer advance planning, Goldstar www.goldstar.com offers deep discounts on plays and other attractions including dance, concerts, comedy clubs, and walking and architecture tours. Check Goldstar for tickets to the Joffrey Ballet’s performance of Romeo and Juliet. Other hot ticket recommendations for May include a visit to Chicago’s most famous and oldest theater, the Goodman, to see White Snake, and a trip uptown to catch Russian Transport at the Steppenwolf. If you’ve never attended a staged reading, come to Shaw Chicago to see it done right. The superb cast will read Man and Superman from April 26 – May 19, 2014. Round out your theater experience with a trip to Chicago’s waterside entertainment hub, Navy Pier. After taking in the Ferris wheel and free admission to the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows be sure to catch Henry V at the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.
Chicago’s Miracle Mile offers some of the best shopping in the city world, but bargain hunters will appreciate a trip to State and Lake in the heart of the Loop to spy sales in the stores where natives go to shop. State Street is lined with historic buildings, vibrant art installations, and hosts the annual Spring Flower Show. Macy’s on State Street is the former home of Marshall Fields and is the second largest department store in the world and offers a 10% discount pass to visitors that can be applied to a purchase of Frangos mints – a must-have souvenir and a tradition continued from the Marshall Field days
Lincoln Park Zoo is always free and is a quick bus or subway (“L”) ride uptown from the Hotel. Meet hundreds of species from around the world, visit the beautiful gardens, and enjoy beer or wine while taking in spectacular views of the Chicago skyline.
Back downtown, Millennium Park and nearby Grant Park offer visitors an urban sanctuary that combines green space with art and architecture. You must see and be photographed in front of the “Bean” or Cloud Gate.
For librarians that love to discover new neighborhoods on foot, the Chicago Greeter Program offers free walking tours by knowledgeable, native guides: http://chicagogreeter.com/ Tours are scheduled by location or by interest. Walkers can explore Chicago’s incredible art and architecture in Wicker Park, Hyde Park or Ukrainian Village. Foodies can tour the Logan Square, West Loop, Albany Park or Lincoln Square neighborhoods. History buffs can learn about Bronzeville, Lincoln Park, and Old Town. All this and more and for free!
Chicago beaches are staffed with lifeguards from Memorial Day to Labor Day, but open all year round. Jog, walk or stroll up to Oak Street Beach (Lakeshore Drive and Oak) to visit the Lake that resembles an ocean.
Some of Chicago’s museums offer free admission days. The Art Institute of Chicago is free on Thursday evenings and the Museum of Contemporary Art is free on Tuesdays. The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art charges no admission to view works of visionary art by self-taught artists and the National Museum of Mexican Art is also free. The Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, and the Adler Planetarium do offer resident discounts and free admission to select exhibits. If you’d like to visit many of Chicago’s world-famous museums, then the official City Pass will provide significant savings: www.citypass.com.
Explore, enjoy and save. Chicago offers visitors substantial savings on so many attractions you will have to return again and again. Welcome to the Windy City, home of great art, architecture, entertainment and hospitable Chicagoans.