Visiting the Christkindlmarket in Chicago IL, has been on my bucket list for a while now and finally I managed to tick it off when I visited for my 30th birthday! For those that haven’t heard of the Christkindlmarket, it’s a German Christmas Market, similar to the Christmas markets that are popular in Europe! It runs from the middle of November until Christmas Eve and is held in Daley Plaza in the Loop District of Downtown Chicago! 2018 was Christkindlmarket Chicago’s 23rd year!
So you’re in Chicago, yay! What better way to see the city than from a bird’s eye view from up one of the two observation decks!? (If you’ve flown into Chicago O’Hare over Lake Michigan, you’ll probably agree it’s a pretty impressive approach!) You may be a little pushed for time and only want to go up one, but which observation deck is better? Skydeck or 360 Chicago? I’ve now been to both and hopefully can provide you with a little insight which may help you in your decision making!
Since living in the Midwest, I’ve discovered the joy of State Parks. Think of National Parks (such as the Grand Canyon, Yosemite, Yellowstone etc) only on a much smaller scale and they are usually free to enter! The state DNR (Department of Natural Resources) are in charge of maintaining the state parks and their websites will have handy information about visiting and any current park closures etc. Some may have a bit of a lakefront, a camp ground, walking trails or just simply be a woodland area that offers a means to escape and find some people. I’ve come across some state parks though that have had something a little extra about them, making them a little more unique compared to some of the others! So in this post I share my top Midwest State Parks that are perfect for adventurous travellers!
I still find it hard to believe that a lake has beaches…and waves! Growing up by the English coast, it’s a given that the sea comes with sand and a tide, lakes are usually surrounded by mud and grass, but not Lake Michigan! The sheer size of it is crazy, it’s 307 miles long and 118 miles wide, it has a total shoreline of 1640 MILES. Putting this into perspective, the whole coastline of the UK is 7723 miles! Lake Michigan borders 4 US states: Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana and Michigan and each state is home to various Lake Michigan beaches and beach towns that you should visit!
Once a year in Rockford Illinois, the Midway Village Museum hosts the Sock Monkey Madness Festival celebrating all things sock monkey in its official home! The Sock Monkey is recognised around the world and started right here in the Midwest, and yes they are made completely from a pair of socks!
Freak Shakes. I’m sure you’ve seen them all over the internet too. Giant milkshakes topped with literally EVERYTHING. I had become obsessed with trying to find somewhere that creates these masterpieces and was rather excited when I stumbled across Dylan’s Candy Bar in Chicago!
I was AMAZED to find out that Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago is completely free to visit! It’s not unusual for city attractions to have a free day every now and then but Lincoln Park Zoo does it one better by being free 365 days a year!
Chestnut Mountain in Galena Illinois has you covered for year round fun! In the winter months it is a ski resort with 19 runs of different difficulties. But the Chestnut Mountain adrenaline rush isn’t just confined to winter, nope, during the summer there are a whole range of other activities to keep you entertained while enjoying views of the Mississippi River!