Four Places to Spend a Day Away From Chicago

by Scott Wagner

Take a break from the “Windy City”

There’s more than one way to spend a day away from the “Windy City.” Whether you’re a local in need of a break from the grind or a visitor looking to take in some sights beyond Michigan Ave., we’ve rounded up four of our preferred spots to do so below. Think architecture, scenic drives, and wide open spaces that clear the mind. 

The Place: Oak Park, Illinois 

Take a fifteen minute drive west and you’ll find a slower paced way of life in Oak Park. Independent galleries, shops, and restaurants line streets dotted with Tudor-style buildings, which makes for a place where you can spend a few hours strolling with a coffee and window shopping to your heart’s content. But the real reason people venture to Oak Park is for its ties to Frank Llyod Wright—it’s where he lived, worked, and built some of his most revered commissions. 

The Place: Lake Geneva, Wisconsin 

Located just over an hour north of the city is the undeniably picturesque resort city of Lake Geneva. Historically, it’s where Chicago’s monied set spent summers in grand estates built for leisure, but you don’t have to maintain an address there to take advantage of all its got to offer. Rent a boat and spend a day cruising Lake Geneva’s crystal clear water or make the most of your time in fresh air with an afternoon walking the trails of Big Foot Beach State Park. 

The Place: Lake Forest, Illinois 

If you’re into fine architecture, you’ll want to pay Lake Forest a visit. Map out places like the town library designed by Edwin Clark, the A.B Dick House on Lake Road, and the 15th-century style Deerpath Inn. Everything here is well-designed and well-kept—it’s a town where the signs are hand painted and the grass is kept dandelion free. A treat to visit, especially if you’ve been confined to a small apartment for months at a time. 

The Place: Evanston, Illinois

Home to Northwestern University, Evanston has a collegiate vibe that’ll make you want to wander without checking your watch. Enjoy the ride out of the city along Lakeshore Drive, then spend a while getting lost in neighborhoods packed with colorful Victorians and Georgian giants. Pack your camera and take yourself on a photo tour of Northwestern’s campus. Gothic Revival buildings covered in vines, giant trees, and plenty of greenspace will have you snapping shots left and right. 

It’s Your Turn

Those are our ideas for a good Chicago getaway. What destinations would you add? Tell us in the comments, or find us on Instagram or Facebook.

Editor’s Note: Top photo by Adrien Casanova on Unsplash

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