What Are the Top Chicago Weekend Trips?

Chicago is a terrific city for both visitors and locals to visit and live in, since it is home to many interesting buildings, excellent museums, and delectable restaurants (deep dish pizza, anyone?). But every once in a while, it’s nice to get away from the hectic pace of life in the Windy City, so we’ve compiled a list of the top weekend trip destinations within driving distance of Chicago. These short travels provide something for every kind of tourist, whether you’re in the mood for breathtaking scenery or quaint tiny towns.

Starved Rock State Park is a great place to see waterfalls and a variety of species as you wander through the park’s tall woods. This park on the Illinois River conveniently positioned about an hour and a half from Chicago, making it an attractive option for weekenders who prefer the great outdoors to the city. In the autumn, the foliage turn brilliant colours of orange, red, and yellow, and the waterfalls are at their most powerful after a spring of heavy rainfall. You may spend the night at Starved Rock Lodge, located within the state park, or you can go to neighboring Ottawa, a quaint town with hotels, restaurants, shopping, and more.

Located in Indiana, Indianapolis

Indianapolis, or “Indy” as the locals call it, is just a three-hour trip from Chicago and has a plethora of attractions. The Indianapolis Zoo and Children’s Museum are must-sees for families, while the Indianapolis Motor Speedway is a must-visit for sports lovers. The Massachusetts dordle Avenue Arts District is home to theaters, galleries, and unique shops, while the neighboring Broad Ripple area has restaurants, bars, and shops. At the Crowne Plaza Indianapolis Downtown-Union Station, you may stay in a room styled like a Pullman train car from the 1920s, which is perfect for history buffs.

This lakeside village is just around 2.5 hours from Chicago, making the summer months ideal for a visit. In your free time, you may relax on the sands of Oval Beach or Saugatuck Dunes State Park, hire a boat and cruise the lake, peruse the art galleries, or sample the local beers at one of the pubs. Enjoy the best of Lake Michigan’s beaches and then retire to one of the charming inns or bed and breakfasts in town.

A trip to picturesque Lake Geneva, about 1.5 hours from Chicago, is another option for a relaxing day by the lake. Activities such as zip lining, swimming, and lounging on the beach are just some of the summertime highlights at the lake. When winter comes, don’t miss the incredible Ice Castles.

Wisconsin’s Milwaukee

Milwaukee, a city on the shores of Lake Michigan about two hours north of Chicago, is known for its excellent beer and fascinating museums. Both the Pabst Brewing Company and the Miller Brewing Company have called Milwaukee, Wisconsin, home, making it an important hub in the history of American beer production. You may raise a glass to the city’s long history of brewing beer by sampling one of these timeless brews or paying a visit to one of the many excellent craft breweries in the area. The Milwaukee Public Museum has everything from fossils to a European hamlet to a life-size replica of Milwaukee’s streets in the late 19th and early 20th centuries to a butterfly garden. The Harley-Davidson Museum, the Milwaukee Art Museum, and the Mitchell Park Horticultural Conservatory, better known as The Domes, are additional must-sees in the city.

Indiana Dunes National Park, located less than an hour from Chicago, is a great place to spend a weekend away. If you’re really pressed for time, you may visit on the South Shore Line and still make it a day excursion. This national park stretches along the shores of Lake Michigan for 15 miles, making it a wonderful destination for a weekend getaway. Visit the historic Century of Progress Homes from the 1933 World’s Fair, go kite-flying on the beach, ride horses, and more!

Where: In or Near Madison, Wisconsin

The capitol of Wisconsin may be reached in a little over 2.5 hours from the Windy City. The National Mustard Museum and the Sassy Cow Creamery, both 20 miles from Madison, are two places that foodies should definitely check out. In the meanwhile, nature lovers may enjoy the lake year-round by going on a cruise or out on a kayak in the summer or a pair of snowshoes in the winter. For family fun, consider visiting the Madison Children’s Museum or the Children’s Theater of Madison.

Under three hours from Chicago, you may reach Holland, Michigan, a unique weekend vacation location. Named after a province in the Netherlands, this community proudly displays its Dutch roots at the Windmill Island Gardens, De Klomp Wooden Shoe and Delft Factory, and Nelis’ Dutch Village. Millions of tulips planted throughout Holland each year for the annual Tulip Time Festival, so if you want to see the country at its most gorgeous, plan your trip around spring.

Wisconsin Dells, approximately three hours’ drive from Chicago, is a great destination for a family-friendly weekend vacation. The biggest water park in the United States, Noah’s Ark, is located in this neighborhood, which is why it is sometimes referred to as the “water park capital of the world.” If you’re looking for a way to unwind, the Dells are home to a number of wineries and breweries that are well worth a visit. Geneva, Illinois, is about an hour west of Chicago and is the ideal small-town retreat. Take a walk around the Fabyan Forest Preserve, see the city’s murals and public sculptures, and stop at one of the many locally owned businesses to stock up on a variety of tasty treats, including coffee, tea, chocolate, gelato, ice cream, popcorn, baked goods, and more.