Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Cities Less Traveled: Beat a New Path in Chicago

If you are the type of person who delights in discovering the not-so-well-known attractions in a city, you might be surprised to know that Chicago, with all of its famous attractions, actually has several frequently overlooked attractions. Take a different path, and you will discover something new, avoid crowds, and save money by visiting these lesser known attractions (which are also less expensive or even free). Just don’t tell too many people if you want them to stay the way they are.

Photo by Greg Sims via

McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum

The city of Chicago has more movable bridges than any other city in the world. At the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum not only do you get to explore a historic bridgehouse, you also get to learn about the history of Chicago’s movable bridges through exhibits on each of the floors of the five story building. See the enormous gears that lift the bridge at river level, and on bridge lift days, Watch the gears in action for a small fee. Admission is free to all on Sundays at this seasonal museum.

Photo by Moshiur Raman via

The Dining Room at Kendall College

Because Chicago is a world-famous dining destination with highly recognized chefs, the restaurants can be very pricey. The Dining Room at Kendall College offers you an opportunity to experience delicious and creative three-course meals prepared by culinary arts students at very reasonable fixed prices. If you don’t feel like having a large meal, you can also order individual courses. The lunch and dinner menus include fresh ingredients from the college’s herb and vegetable garden and from a local market. The chic, modern dining room has amazing views of Chicago’s skyline. To find more reasonably priced restaurants in the area, check out Weotta's recommendations.

InterContinental Chicago Historical Hotel Tour

You don’t have to be a guest at the InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile to take a free tour of one of the most wonderful Chicago hotels on the Magnificent Mile. The building, built in 1929, originally housed an athletic club. In 1988, with an old yearbook from the club, the InterContinental Hotels group renovated the building to its former Art Deco glory. The tour is a well-kept secret that is not advertised. If you ask the hotel concierge and leave something of value at the desk, you will be given headphones for an audio tour that guides your through the hotel, its history, and its artwork.
Photo by  Jan - Dabble in Travel via

Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago Money Museum

This museum will not drain your finances because it is free year-round. It does, however, contain a money pit. There is a former elevator shaft containing over $50,000 in coins that you can view from above by standing on a glass floor when you visit. There is also a historical currency collection and an exhibit that explains the difference between real and counterfeit bills. On weekdays at 1 p.m., guided tours are available to everyone so you can learn more about the Chicago Fed and the Federal Reserve System.

This post was written as part of the #HipmunkCityLove project.

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