The Famous Tourist Attractions at Atlanta

The Famous Tourist Attractions at Atlanta

Atlanta. A center of creation and innovation in music, sport, dance, film, medicine, science, flight and beyond, this Southern Mecca is a giant of the nation. With a leading presence in these fields producing the likes of Coca Cola, Delta Airlines, Ray Charles and the recent explosion of cinema around the metro, Atlanta is quickly becoming a premier destination. No matter your interest or background, everyone is sure to find something for them here around the A. Read on for an overview of some of the most famous tourist attractions here around the city in a forest. 

Georgia Aquarium

Not just the largest aquarium in Georgia, nor in the South, nor in the country, but in the Western Hemisphere! The Georgia Aquarium with over 100,000 animals from over 500 species amid some 11 million US Gallons of exhibits is quite literally one of Atlanta’s biggest and baddest tourist attractions. A sight to behold for not only fans of aquatic wildlife but also a marvel of engineering and organization in its own right, the alternative option to tour the many inner workings of this behemoth is also an option to consider. Whatever the itinerary, leaving a spot open for the mighty Georgia Aquarium is highly recommended. 

World of Coca Cola

One of Atlanta’s most famous exports is the fizzy dark brown beverage beloved around the world – Coca Cola! Invented in 1886 in this same city by legendary pharmacist John Stith Pemberton, visitors can tour the lengthy journey of this drink from its medicinal origins to its presence in nearly every edge of the globe. Aside from the history and expansion of Coca Cola, another very famous attraction is the tasting room, where visitors can try sixty different Coca Cola products from around the world! (Fair Warning : the Italian “Beverly”’ is best used as a palate cleanser with caution – the intense taste is a common complaint for visitors).

Zoo Atlanta

Zoo Atlanta, with over a thousand animals from over 220 species is another great attraction of the Atlanta area! Featuring famous faces such as the Komodo dragon, giant otter, Bornean orangutan, red panda, Sumatran tiger, sun bear, Chilean flamingos, western lowland gorillas, African elephants and most famously, the giant panda – visitors will delight in the sheer variety of iconic species. Whether to come observe these famous residents of the zoo, watch a feeding or cleaning session, or to book a closer experience in the Animal hospital or touring the behind-the-scenes operations of the zoo, Zoo Atlanta is a great choice for all visiting the city. 

Centennial Olympic Park

Commemorating the heyday of the exciting 1996 Summer Olympics, Centennial Olympic Park today is not only a historic site of both American and Georgia sporting history, but continues to be a center for song, performance and exhibition for the city! It is centrally located between many of Atlanta’s biggest attractions right in the heart of downtown, and also makes for a terrific photo opportunity to take in some of the major sights. During holidays, it is a hotspot for concerts and fireworks shows, and is especially vibrant in the summers with the Wednesday WindDown series. 

Atlanta Botanical Garden

One of the most beautiful sights without needing to leave the city is the location of the Atlanta Botanical Garden, with an esteemed collection of trails, gardens and flowerbeds. Whether to enjoy the Georgia sunshine, pick out the perfect backdrop for your vacation photos or just to enjoy some of the finest in procured gardens and fresh air here in a city that really appreciates its canopy of green – Atlanta Botanical Garden is well worth a spot in your itinerary.

Ponce City Market

While Atlanta is blessed with a rich (and delicious) tradition of Southern Cuisine, Georgia-style barbecue, fried green tomatoes, and a more recent cosmopolitan profile of talented Korean, Vietnamese and Jamaican, it might be challenging to venture through the sprawling metro on a hungry stomach. This is especially pressing if you’re with a party who just can’t agree on what to eat! Thankfully, the Ponce City Market has us covered – with an esteemed collection of local craftsmen, artists, boutiques and kitchens, visitors can enjoy the most delicious of Atlanta all in one place!

Stone Mountain Park

Boasting a view over Atlanta and the Georgia countryside, as well as a festive park and village themed for the South, Stone Mountain is a local staple and a trip into the history of the region. Ride the cables up to the top of Stone Mountain and its expansive views, or venture through the exhibits and attractions suitable for families, large groups or couples alike. With an array of live music, historic reenactments, light shows, games, and southern food all set amid this towering rock and Georgia forest, make Stone Mountain Park your getaway while here in Atlanta.

Mercedes Benz Stadium

One of the marvels of American architecture in the 21st Century, this new addition to the Atlanta area has quickly become one of its most recognised faces. Apart from being a solidly iconic venue in its own right, this is also one of the most important homes for sport and performance here in the Atlanta area. Whether wanting to watch a Falcons game or a MLS home game or just witness one of the most striking sights you’ll see flying into Hartsfield-Jackson, Mercedes Benz Stadium should definitely be on every visitor’s radar. Just look out your plane’s window for the iconic stadium that looks a lot like a shutter almost closing from above. 

Delta Museum

Also related to the major presence in air travel are Delta’s operations in the city. Atlanta, being a hub of operations for the second largest airline in the world, one of the oldest in the nation and also home to the revered Hartsfield-Jackson airport, one of the busiest in the hemisphere in multiple categories. These are all celebrated and thoroughly documented at the Delta Museum, where visitors can walk through vintage aircraft and tour the history of this airline and of air travel in North America. Of particular note are the rare items from a more lavish era of air travel, as well as rare memoirs from discontinued routes and airlines. Take a picture next to a massive jet engine, walk through a double-decker plane and take home a souvenir from another time here at the Delta Museum. 

Piedmont Park

For those just looking for a calm, green spot to enjoy the sunshine and Georgia air, Piedmont Park is your go-to for community and to catch something happening. While Atlanta is renowned for its commitment to green spaces, tree coverage and parks, Piedmont Park is of particular note due to its central location and favor for performances, shows, walks and other community events. Looking for a picnic spot, a photoshoot or just somewhere to unwind for those longer visits, Piedmont Park is a sure addition to your bookmarks for those researching Atlanta before your trip. Just be sure to keep track of the weather and pack accordingly – whether it’s comfortable shorts and plenty of water, or a hot beverage and a good winter coat. Atlanta’s location both in the South and also not too far from the mountains of North Georgia make it susceptible to drastic weather changes.

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15 Coffee Shops in San Francisco You Need to Visit this Winter

15 Coffee Shops in San Francisco You Need to Visit this Winter

San Francisco. Amid cool weather, stunning scenery nearby, and a city comprising an eclectic mix of buildings, sights, and activities, one of the most well-known and celebrated traits of this city is the gourmet and artisan movement. This is no exception to coffee, a favored drink around these parts. Away from the more familiar sights such as Dutch Bros or Starbucks, San Francisco is home to a vibrant and competitive coffee scene that spoils visitors and locals alike for choice. Whether you’re a coffee-lover, really need that first cup to start your day or just want to try all the joe but don’t know where to start – we’ve got you covered. Read on for our guide and introduction to 15 Coffee Shops in San Francisco you need to visit this Winter. 

Andytown

One of San Francisco’s rising stars, Andytown is renowned for the care in each cup, as well as their collection of made-in-house pastries that will have even the most carefree visitors feeling a tad guilty with how good they taste. Add in their recent expansion to Ocean Beach with amazing views over the local landscape, and it’s easy to see why Andytown pops up so frequently with the word “coffee” here in San Francisco.

Eritrean Coffee

San Francisco is also home to a small but proud East African community, a great opportunity to try Coffee much as it has been consumed for thousands of years in the highlands of Ethiopia and Eritrea. Coffee from this region is processed and procured quite uniquely, and is known for its strong flavors. Whether as a delicious accompaniment to a large serving of Doro Wat and Injera, or to zap even the sleepiest of visitors awake, don’t pass up the chance to step into an Ethiopian or Eritrean establishment this winter. We recommend the sleepy New Eritrea Restaurant for their cozy interior and large portions. 

El Porteno in the Ferry Building

While this might seem a strange option for those in the city, El Porteno makes itself known for its collection of Argentinean coffees, large chocolates and Mate beverages served fresh in the bustling Ferry Building, but stands out with three words: Empanada. De. Cordero. With a delicious array of warming and mouth watering empanadas that complete any hot beverage, those who make the trip out to the ferry building will delight in this amazing combination.

Turkish Coffee at Lokma

Another heavy hitter is the Turkish style of coffee, and visitors can pick up their incredibly strong cup at Lokma, a treasure trove of Turkish cuisine. Whether just to pick up a cup, sit down for a breakfast of Menemen and Simit, or enjoy a nice long lunch, Lokma is a great addition to your itineraries.

Tu Lan

This being the Bay Area, we couldn’t mention coffee without mentioning the sweet, strong and sugary goodness that is Vietnamese Iced Coffee. For the unfamiliar, this is a simple but delicious combination of strong Vietnamese coffee brewed in a Phin filter over a small amount of sweetened condensed milk, which is then mixed and poured over a glass of ice. The result is a cool but energizing and amazingly delicious drink. If you can’t make the trip out to San Jose or East Bay, Tu Lan is a great spot for light and delicious Vietnamese fare. 

Haus Coffee

Those looking for coffee and a hard to beat atmosphere will love Haus Coffee, a great place to take notes, send emails, tuck into a book or just unwind in this very relaxed cafe. Come for the straightforward and solid cups but stay for the atmosphere – a favored study and workplace for many of those who come with their trusty laptop and a task to conquer. 

Sightglass

Sightglass is known for its painstakingly detailed care in sourcing, selecting and roasting their own coffee, as well as their openness to introducing others to the joy of pour-over coffee. With water just at the right temperature, beans prepared to perfection and baristas truly knowledgeable and caring of their craft, Sightglass is where coffee-fanatics will feel right at home.

Henry’s House of Coffee

A family owned favorite known for their high quality and generous (some would say accurate!) portions – what more could one ask for? If you’re in the area and really want to support a local, family-owned business, Henry’s House of Coffee is a sure stop. We recommend their “Gypsy” brew for an especially rich and strong cup, and keep your eyes open for the availability of their Armenian sujuk sandwich.

Four Barrel

Another sanctuary for those who are fans of all things coffee is Four Barrel Coffee, another institution with a huge emphasis on doing their own scouting, sourcing and roasting, as well as holding weekly and regular demonstrations and seminars on making coffee. Four Barrel is one of those roasters that are just as interested in bringing you a great cup of coffee as they are in helping you learn how to become your very own barista. And with one of their locations being just down the street from the iconic Painted Ladies, this is also incredibly accessible for most travel itineraries.

Coffee Movement

Coffee Movement is known for its perfected menu, offering amazing, simple coffee at a remarkably affordable price and their high quality beans. Remarked as very literally expensively sourced coffee at a price for all, this is truly a hidden gem of the city.

Tartine Manufactory

King of all things pastry and breakfast, Tartine Manufactory provides a solid cup of coffee and a dazzling array of pastries for all to enjoy, whether to tuck in right then and there or on the way to your next destination in the city. 

Flywheel

Those who enjoy a cup of coffee and a tour through the inner workings of a barista’s heaven will love the paradise that is Flywheel coffee. Another independent roaster just next to gorgeous Golden Gate Park, this is a great stop to either get out of the cool and warm up, or pick up a quality cup of joe for a walk through the park.

Wrecking Ball

A cute addition to the city, their cappuccinos, cortados, and almond milk lattes are of most acclaim and are only growing in popularity – but truth be told, anything these guys make is sure to be delicious. Baristas here take their craft super seriously, but all with a charm and friendliness that is growing a local following. 

Pinhole

Enjoy the artsy and creative spirit of Bernal Heights with the community and coffee on display at Pinhole! Here, local artists and local bakeries complete the picture with a true, local, community cafe with amazing pour-over blends. This laid-back spot is as talented as it is welcoming, a great choice for those visitors who really want an emphasis on family friendly and community at their cafe spot while in the city. 

Blue Bottle Coffee

We’ve purposely waited until the end to mention this giant – Blue Bottle Coffee offers and stocks a notably wider range of coffees in the area compared to other markets around the nation. We recommend Cafe Creme/Cafe Au Lait for a delicious cup. 

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Las Vegas Vacations – Top Las Vegas Hotels

Las Vegas Vacations – Top Las Vegas Hotels 

Las Vegas. Since its inception and modern state as a center for getaways, casinos, concerts and now a bustling and growing metropolis, there is more than meets the eye. If you’ll be staying in Las Vegas (namely the Strip) there are so many iconic hotels to choose from – it’s hard to know which one to pick! Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our run down on some of the biggest names on the strip so you can pick out the perfect hotel for your stay in Vegas. 

Cosmo

Those visitors to Vegas who really want to stay somewhere with the full resort experience and amid a younger crowd. While there are plenty of opportunities to party until you wake up with no memories, this is actually more suited for those who want to spend some time in the hotel room itself and on the resort properties. Esteemed balconies provide great views over Vegas and with an esteemed collection of bars and restaurants. 

Wynn

Wynn boasts another enviable resort experience, with a number of suites sporting notably large windows and views, and esteemed sporting grounds. Chiefly, the pool being one of the hotspots of this hotel and commonly acclaimed as one of the best on the strip. The Wynn also has a slightly quieter location compared to some of the other hotels on the strip, perfect for those who don’t want to be too far from all the excitement but would like a bit more quiet. 

Venetian

It does what it says on the tin – but that doesn’t make the sight of it any less spectacular. Faithful to the wonder of its namesake, the Venetian hotel’s most iconic feature is its very own canal system complete with bridges and gondolas… in the middle of the Mojave Desert! An ornate interior meets the eye in every direction here at the venetian, as well as roomy interiors and massive, generous rooms. This hotel is sure to feel simultaneously like a removal from Las Vegas and very much Vegas at the same time, offering both that much needed pause from the action and also the thrilling Vegas vibe when needed.

Bellagio

The Bellagio’s rare displays, larger rooms and quieter vibe is great for those coming to Vegas but maybe wanting to leave the party at the lobby. For some visitors, the party doesn’t stop until you’re at baggage claim back home, but for others, that recharging period is essential. If you’re a part of the latter category, the Bellagio is a great fit for you. Those travellers also wanting to revel in classic, heyday Vegas will also enjoy the Bellagio, not to mention the iconic fountains that are even a draw for guests at other hotels! Be sure not to miss those waterworks shows put on by the hotel, and enjoy touring the interior of the Bellagio to its fullest. 

Caesar’s Palace

For those not seeing themselves coming back to Vegas, Caesars Palace’s central location makes it a prime hotspot for being center to the action and for any hotel-hopping plans your party might have for Vegas. Sports betting fans will also enjoy the historical background of this venue, home to many major events including the likes of Holmes vs. Ali, Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Marvin Hagler, and Evander Holyfield vs. Riddick Bowe. 

New York New York

Yes, your eyes do not deceive you – for those visitors to America wanting a taste of two completely different sides of the country, you’ll be pleased to know a slice of New York City is right here in Las Vegas! (among other worldly sights…) Stay and enjoy the thrill of the Las Vegas Strip among landmarks such as the Statue of Liberty and the Empire State Building, just minutes away from all the other shows, concerts and action right here on the strip. Their late night restaurants and acclaimed casinos make for fun well into the next afternoon.

MGM 

Are you looking to experience Vegas, but also would like to do it all in one place? Truly one place? Then the MGM might be a great option for you! Aside from the striking and unique exterior, MGM is packed full of attractions, amenities and things to do and see. From a massive Casino to huge sports betting facilities, plenty of dinings options, acclaimed shows, the massive Wet Republic pool, a Top Golf and even a rare Hakkasan, MGM will have you spoiled all in one location. 

Aria

For those wanting to stay at a sporty, chic and modern hotel well connected to many of the highlights of Vegas, the Aria is a great option! While some want Vegas for the mythology and awe of the classic venues, the Aria provides a straightforward, usually more affordable and highly accessible option for those visitors who want to explore all of Vegas all while staying somewhere nice. Check-in and many services are very streamlined and modern, and the pools, bars, restaurants, fitness centers, convention centers are all state of the art. However, aside from the new, modern and hip design to everything, one of the biggest draws to the Aria is its accessibility. This is a hotel-hopper’s dream, or for anyone who wants to get out and explore the larger Las Vegas metro area, with the Aria Express conveniently taking guests to two major landmark resorts. 

Mandalay Bay

The Mandalay Bay is a lavish, towering project themed in the South Seas, renowned for its collection of noted restaurants, beach clubs, lazy river and again, great efforts in smart technology, streamlined check-in and accessibility! This is yet another great option to consider for those wanting to explore much of Las Vegas, with not only its own peoplemover but also access to the Las Vegas Monorail! While Las Vegas is the city to splurge, having handy and convenient transportation that reaches to all of the great attractions across the city certainly frees up some money to use at the Blackjack tables and not in an Uber.

The Mirage

For those who want to stay somewhere with a lively pool and bar, the Mirage and its big bustling Volcano are of good interest. Also of note are again a large number of acclaimed restaurants, the LOVE by Cirque du Soleil and place in boxing history, another famous Las Vegas backdrop to the likes of Tyson vs. Ruddock, Buster Douglas vs. Evander Holyfield and Sugar Ray Leonar vs Duran.

Luxor

At the southern end of the strip lies one of Las Vegas’ most striking yet not-so-out-of-place sights : the Luxor! Sporting a massive pyramid, Sphinx and decor imagined much in the style of Ancient Egypt, this massive installation is a series of immersive shows from the likes of the Blue Man Group, America’s Got Talent, unique dining and shopping experiences and large swimming pools. The Pyramid itself is a marvel of engineering, boasting the largest Atrium in the world as well as the strongest beam of light in the world, visible from aircraft as far away as Los Angeles! The Luxor whether as a performance venue, a place to party or just a wonder of architecture and ambition to check out in its own right, do be sure to save a spot for it on your visit to Vegas. 

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17 Places to Visit in Chicago this Winter – 2023

17 Places to Visit in Chicago this Winter – 2023

Chicago. The Windy City. If you’ll be braving the Illinois winter and celebrating this holiday season amid Chicago’s famed skyline and eclectic mix of music, tastes, and sights – you’ll be pleased to know you couldn’t have picked a better place. And with so much going on, it can be hard to navigate this city. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered – read on for seventeen of our favorite places to visit in Chicago this winter.

Christkindlmarket

Enjoy the beauty and charm of a continental European-style Christmas Market at Chicago Christkindlmarket! Here, visitors can stroll amid rows of cozy wooden stalls and enjoy fresh baked goods, hot beverages from hot chocolate to mulled wine, and shop gifts, play games and enjoy live music. Whether a festive family occasion or a great date night, Christkindlmarket is a Chicago favorite for good reason.

Millennium Park Ice Skating

Another fun tradition to the city is ice skating with friends and family in one of the city’s most famous venues – Millenium Park! Here in Chicago’s favored spot for community and home of the iconic “Bean,” you can skate the night away to holiday tunes and spend a good few hours with pictures on the ice. A great bit of active holiday fun and also a solid photo opportunity.

Navy Pier

Featuring a festive Christmas Village, a Ferris Wheel, a number of firework shows, shopping centers, games and other rides, Navy Pier’s appeal extends well into Winter with its many attractions. This is especially good for families or larger groups visiting Chicago this winter.

Blackhawks Games

One of the more electrifying and exciting events happening around Chicago during the Winter Season is the rare Blackhawks home game! Come don the Red, Black and White and join in on of Chicago’s most storied and esteemed sporting traditions as the Blackhawks defend their home turf of United Centre.

Northerly Island Winter Sports

Amid ice skiing, snowboarding, ice skating, sledding and many other activities, visitors will be pleasantly delighted in the range of Winter Sports options at Northerly Island! No need to travel as far as Aspen or the ranges of California when you can enjoy the thrill of Winter Sports here at nearby Northerly Island!

Lincoln Park Zoo Lights

A more calm alternative is a walk amid the Zoo Lights at the famous Lincoln Park Zoo. While many of the Zoo’s residents might have turned in for the Winter, the acclaimed light show and footpaths of the Lincoln Park Zoo come to life at this time of year. This is a great photo opportunity and experience for families as it is for date night and couples alike. 

Lakefront Trail Walks

Yet another beautiful walk to take on this winter are the series of trails along the Lakefront. With such a variety of sculptures, lights and artwork installations regularly joining the sights and events of this area of Chicago, this is another great addition to consider. (However, those who prefer the warmth of their car might also consider the many drive-through trails also available).

Chicago Symphony Orchestra

While you may hear the same holiday tunes at this time of year, every year, (nonstop, namely Mariah Carey) what you may not hear as often is the Chicago Symphony Orchestra! Superbly talented and putting on performances and concerts of holiday season classics – a trip to a CSO concert is an amazing experience for all who can make it.

Order in With Holiday Sales

While this might seem an odd one, with Chicago’s connection as a hub and many delivery and at-home services, sometimes the best winter nights are the ones spent at home. Sleep in and stay comfortable on the worst of winter nights and relish in the joy of hearty Chicago cuisine delivered to your doorstep. Enjoying a snow-in can be a great way to add a breather to your trip, as well as the extra comfort of those sleepy winter mornings. After all, who doesn’t sleep better under a warm cover when it’s a cold night?

Garfield Park Conservatory

Stroll amid the winter incarnation of this Chicago institution, amid seasonal foliage, ornaments, miniature Christmas villages and lights at the gorgeous Garfield Park Conservatory. Perfect for a date night or postcard photos from the trip.

Electric Garden

Enjoy the warmth and delights of a beer garden at this revamped Chicago venue, warming up on hearty ales and local fare. We recommend items such as the seasonal burgers or chimichurri nachos to sample some of the best in Midwestern produce, namely beef and dairy. 

Wrigley Field Gallagher Way Winterland

Come celebrate the Winter season at this iconic venue – Wrigley Field! Enjoy festive games, fresh and gourmet food, music, dance and plenty of vendors for gifts all at this one-of-a-kind location. Here, visitors can visit and tour a piece of Chicago history, as well as relish in the fun of a winter market. Come take pictures next to this giant of sporting history, grab a gift for the loved ones at home and enjoy plenty of games, music and fun here at the iconic Wrigley Field’s Gallagher Way Winterland. 

Magnificent Mile Lights

Another noteworthy light show installation are the Magnificent Mile Lights, a great attraction for those from outside of the country to get a taste of Chicago style winter lights and pageantry. During the eponymous festival, a great series of dance, song and captivating floats take the streets, while for the rest of the season, visitors can walk underneath illuminated trees and the romantic riverside.

Aire Baths

If you’re wanting to enjoy the Chicago Winter in style, why bother fighting the high winds, heavy snow and freezing temperatures when you could unwind in a warm bath? Come out of the Winter looking a bit younger and a lot less stressed when you relax at the Aire Baths, a growing favorite in Chicagoland. Here, an intricate system of different baths at differing temperatures and salinities will treat you right, all in the restored location of a former factory, now a ritzy spa. This is something uniquely Great Lakes, and you’ll thank yourself for every second you spend in the warm waters as opposed to battling the elements outside.

Drive-In Movie

Another warm alternative to duking it out with the infamous Illinois winters is attending a drive-in cinema! Bring your comfiest pajamas, thick blankets, and snacks with you to the drive in cinema and enjoy movies on the big screen, right from the comfort of your car! This is great for families to cozy up inside the van or suv, or as a uniquely comfy and down to earth date night idea.

Chinese New Year in Chinatown

Featuring an exciting mix of lion and dragon dances, massive drums, firecrackers, delicious Chinese fare and the color red galore, Chinese New Year in Chicagoland is something to witness! Frequently falling in late January or early February, this is a great way to engage with the Chicago community in a collection of festivals featuring daring physical stunts, martial arts, craftsmanship and last but not least, absolutely delicious Chinese dishes. Chicago’s Chinese-American community comes to life during this important holiday, and is a great way to enjoy pageantry, performance and community all out on the streets and squares of the Windy City. 

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Here’s What You Need to Plan Your Trip to Chicago

Here’s What You Need to Plan Your Trip to Chicago

Chicago. The Windy City. If you’ll be visiting these historic crossroads of the Midwest, you’ll find so much here – from the (in)famous deep dish pizzas to the dynasties of the local Bulls and Blackhawks, to a thriving local music scene and one of the nation’s most formidable skylines. With so much to see and do, it can be easy to overlook other parts of your itinerary. Thankfully, we’ve got you covered. Read on and check with us as we go over everything you’ll need to plan your trip to Chicago.

Method of transport

Specifically, this is referring to how you will get into Chicago – whether it is driving in, riding a bus in, taking a train in or flying into one of the many airports of the Chicago area. This is important to note for multiple reasons – this will determine which conditions to monitor prior to your trip whether it is weather or freeway traffic, what to expect while traveling between having wi-fi, available bathrooms or not, and most importantly – point of arrival. Yes, there are public transport and taxi services around the city, but your exact arrival point can make a big difference for those who are traveling and a bit more conscious about time or distance traveled. 

Which Airline Will You Be Taking?

This is especially relevant for those flying with a United States based airline, what with the recent spike in cancellations, delays and disarray impacting American airline operators. (Not to be confused with the specific airline of the same name, this impacts all US Carriers from Spirit to United.) It is an important choice to weigh to have a better idea of where in O’Hare you’ll be arriving, to gauge what kind of service you’ll expect, as well as the customer service options you should expect should the worst come to happen (delay, overbooking, lost luggage, etc). 

Lodging

This is another very important option that will significantly impact your trip. Both the accommodations themselves will change a lot about how you rest and sleep in between journeys, as well as most importantly – impact the logistics! That is, how you will be getting to and from airports, attractions, etc. Whether it is staying with family, through airbnb or at a hotel, this is another super important detail to consider to also help budget properly, understand any constraints on your living situation while in Chicago, or even other smaller details such as what can you bring, when is check out time?

Lodging for Your Car… (Parking)

If you’ll be getting around primarily via car or private vehicle, this is definitely a step worth looking into before your trip! Parking can be very rare and expensive if you decide to wing it on this step, and can eat up a lot of your wallet and your limited time in Chicago – especially in places like downtown. To beat the hassle, knowing where you’ll park ahead of time can not only help with navigation and be a huge boost in planning – but also genuinely save tons of money! Garages and lots favor booking in advance, and the stressful holiday practice of circling the city, scanning for an empty spot (and then figuring out how to pay!), complicated city parking signs… it’s all irrelevant when you secure parking for your car ahead of time. We recommend sites such as Onairparking or Spothero for the most flexible, easy to use services and best customer service support. The latter being huge when traveling to a large, unfamiliar city for the first time. 

Transport Around the City

Of course, this might be precluded altogether if you decide on not driving at all! With a decent commuter rail service, availability of taxis, buses and scooter/bike rental services, if you’re visiting in a warmer season or fancy yourself to public transport/biking it, you could potentially save a lot of trouble and money normally associated with having to maintain a vehicle during your stay in Chicago. If not to save money on a car altogether, it is also good to be aware of other transport options around the city also in case of emergency, or to just economize on your vehicle in the best way possible. In a city as large as Chicago, you’ll find more than one way to get around the largest attractions, and in some instances, parking farther out at a cheaper garage can make all the difference. 

Weather

This one cannot be overstated – check the weather! The Windy City is famed for experiencing all four seasons. What might not be as commonly known is the severity of some of these seasons! A combination of an extreme continental location combined with a lakeside effect makes for some absolutely insane weather phenomena – very, very important to consider in all plans. Winter snow and blizzards can reach a bone-chilling cold for even the most frosty visitors, and may even impact indoor plans or getting around the city if conditions are severe enough. Summer heat also should not be discounted – despite the relative northerly location of Chicago, the location in the Midwest can still provide for unexpectedly hot temperatures – sometimes dangerously so. This is also of note for those with outdoor activities or even just for seemingly short trips around the city. In the right (or wrong) weather conditions, even the smallest trips outside of a well heated/air-conditioned home/car can feel like a difficult eternity.

Wardrobe

Also related to this is to pack accordingly! And for those visiting from outside of the region – do invest in proper winter clothing and equipment before you come! The scramble to get cold weather clothing can be difficult, stressful, maybe not even possible in the worst conditions, and is also generally not advisable as the thing to do immediately after a long plane flight. Pack warm and comfortable, or light and cool for the appropriate season and weather of your trip – future you will thank you. 

Tickets/Reservations

And finally, tickets and reservations. Not just at restaurants, but at many of Chicago’s biggest and baddest attractions, tickets and reservations are either increasingly necessary, or also huge money savers. Not to mention, the heartache and pressure saved when traveling during peak tourist season – no need to worry if you’ll get in on time or if it will fill up before you arrive when you’ve already saved yourselves a spot. 

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