5 New Year’s Resolutions for the Chicago Traveler

Hey, anyone can pledge to get in shape, give up a bad habit, or spend more quality time with friends and family. But WHERE are you doing all those things? Don’t just limit yourself to the ordinary setting and resolutions.

Branch out a bit! Challenge yourself! And explore a world-class city. ‘Where can I do all those things?’ your self-improving brain asks. Oh, maybe just one of America’s greatest cities – enter Chicago.

Here are 5 resolutions any visitor to Chicago can feel good about:

New Year's Eve Chicago1. Visit a Lesser-Known Museum. Don’t get me wrong, Chicago has world-class museums that deserve to be visited. But there are plenty of lesser-known places that will meet other interests and make the visit more personal to you. Try a smaller art museum for a change or that off-the-wall museum devoted to knick-knacks that few people remember. They’re all interesting!

2. Take a Unique Tour. It’s possible to rent a helicopter or yacht to see Chicago but who wants all that attention? Endear yourself to the common folk by keeping it simple, yet unique. What do you like to do? What interests you? You can find tours in Chicago that deal with ghosts, history, ethnic heritage, specific foods, and more. Like to run? Guess what, there are running tours. And also riding tours for people who are exercise-challenged. Point is, find one that’s right for you and special. The city will even customize one for you, free of charge through the Chicago Greeter Program.

3. Spend a Whole Day Exploring One of the Neighborhoods. Chicago is full of neighborhoods with different flavors. Sure, not all of them are created equal. But ask a friend or Google and you’ll quickly get a feel for which ones might be worth exploring. You can find shopping areas, ethnic neighborhoods like Chinatown, or ones with a historical or cultural flare. These are what give Chicago its flavor, so let your buds taste Chicago! Metaphorically, of course.

4. Eat! Yes, everyone eats in Chicago. There’s nothing wrong with chain restaurants – after all they’re successful for a reason – but you should at least eat a couple meals at a local place. Get a recommendation or just stop into one randomly (though we’d recommend at least some Zagat backing). Being intentional about where you dine while in Chicago is the only way to find amazing deep-dish, world-class cupcakes, Italian cuisine that would make your Tuscan grandmother smile, and the best BBQ north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Trust us, it will be one of the most enjoyable parts of your trip.

5. Take Advantage of the Midwest Friendliness and Make a Friend. Look, you’re a confident, savvy traveler with an interesting story so why not meet others who are equally interesting? No one’s asking you to make a best friend or stay in touch, but heck, in this city people actually make eye-contact and smile, and that means something, dangit! Strike up a conversation with someone else on your tour or chat it up with other guests in your hotel. It might be fun to grab dinner & a show together. Even if you go your separate ways after 5 minutes, you’ll still be glad you had a pleasant interaction. Chicago is one of the rare big cities where this kind of thing is possible, so go for it!

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