How to overcome the 2 worst things about visiting Chicago

The Adler Planetarium - 2 worst things about visiting Chicago
View from Adler Planetarium

the Visit Neighboring States Series


Our family took a winter trip to Chicago in late February. Chicago is full of famous museums and indoor entertainment – it was very fun to visit, even in the winter and worth overcoming the 2 worst things about visiting Chicago!

The-Skydeck-Chicago-street - 2 worst things about visiting Chicago

The very first stop was at the top! Even though it was foggy, we made a trip to The SkyDeck and went out on The Ledge at The Willis Tower.

Print off some of their quizzes or coloring sheets for kids to make that long car ride into the city more fun!


chicago essex inn - 2 worst things about visiting Chicago
Snowy Morning View of Grant Park from Chicago Essex Inn

The 1st worse thing about traveling to Chicago is the expense: parking, hotels and other things in Chicago are a little more pricey than central Iowa.

  • However, we found a wonderful affordable hotel right near all the museums we wanted to visit. Chicago’s Essex Inn was just what we were needing for our family.
  • We followed the suggestions on TripAdvisor and parked in the parking garage just north of the hotel and did not use the hotel parking. This helped save us money, along with parking apps like SpotHero. We were planning to take the L-Train but due to the snowstorm that came up, we opted instead to just pay parking and have our own car.
  • We saved hundreds of dollars by getting into The Field Museum, The Adler Planetarium and The Museum of Science and Industry for FREE using our SCI membership with the  reciprocity program.

The 2nd worse thing about traveling to Chicago is the Traffic getting into the city!

WHY in the world is it stop-and-go traffic on the interstate at 1pm on a Wednesday afternoon in February???…makes no sense!

Basically it took us an hour to travel just a few miles into the heart of the city…and an hour back out in the middle of a Friday afternoon.

Once we got to the downtown area, traffic wasn’t bad. It wasn’t hard getting from the hotel to the museums or to restaurants or even back to the interstate, but gosh, that interstate is insane!

So, plan to:

  1. Make a rest stop just before getting to the edge of the city. That way you don’t have to try to pull off and get back on. (*this was a bad idea!)
  2. Know it’s going to be a long slow drive and be mentally ready.
  3. Bring an extra fun surprise for the kids to help keep that last hour moving!
  4. Be Patient.
  5. and be PATIENT.

What are your Chicago Travel Tips? Please share in the comments below!!!

Check out these two helpful blogs from other family’s who traveled Chicago with kids and overcame the 2 worst things about visiting Chicago

O the Places We Go & Kids are a Trip with great articles like 15 Best Kid Friendly Restaurants in Chicago and More! I wish I had seen this article before our visit.


Bringing Kids to Chicago? How to overcome the 2 worst things about visiting Chicago and have a GREAT time. Find out how we managed traffic and prices!

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