Marvelous moments are so easy to find when you are far away from what you recognize. Sometimes, though, “far away” isn’t possible. With hectic careers, bloated schedules, springtime social calendars and never-ending to-do lists, finding time away from home is often the first thing to land on the back burner. (In a culture, food, and people dense city like Chicago, it is also hard to find a place that lives up to, well, home!)
From a coaching perspective, though, leaving home is imperative. Whichever type of trip suits you (bright lights, beach days, cityscapes, culture tours) matters not. It is in the perspective change alone that helps to renew a part of us that tends to go missing sometime in the middle of February in Illinois. We leave Chicago with a bad migraine and pounds of work-related stress, and returned feeling well-rested, well-fed and perfectly pleasant. Somewhere between home and our home-away-from home, we might even find ourselves again…!
Too busy to consider a long trek? Take on this springtime challenge: If you're looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the Windy City for a day this spring, you're in luck. The surrounding area is teeming with appealing day trip destinations that offer a diverse range of experiences – from charming small towns to breathtaking natural wonders.
Just a short drive north of Chicago, Milwaukee beckons with its captivating blend of history, art, and beer culture. Explore the Milwaukee Art Museum (known for its stunning architecture and impressive collection), or dive into history at the Harley-Davidson Museum. Don't forget to savor a brewery tour and sample some delicious craft beers from the city's renowned breweries.
*Pro tip! If you want to stay the night, one of the best hotels in Milwaukee is The Pfister Hotel. With its rich history, exceptional service, and luxurious amenities, The Pfister stands as a beacon of elegance and comfort in the heart of the city. From the moment you step into the grand lobby, adorned with exquisite Victorian architecture and stunning chandeliers, you'll be captivated by the hotel's timeless charm. The rooms and suites are tastefully designed, offering a blend of classic sophistication and modern comforts. Indulge in delectable culinary experiences at their renowned dining establishments, such as Mason Street Grill, where you can savor mouthwatering steaks and seafood.
Starved Rock State Park:
For nature lovers, Starved Rock State Park is an absolute must-visit. Situated around 90 miles southwest of Chicago, this picturesque park boasts breathtaking canyons, waterfalls, and over 13 miles of hiking trails. Whether you choose to hike to the top of Starved Rock for stunning views of the Illinois River or discover the beauty of the park's seasonal waterfalls, a day spent here will rejuvenate your mind, body, and spirit.
Step back in time and immerse yourself in the historic charm of Galena. Located approximately three hours northwest of Chicago, this small town is renowned for its 19th-century architecture, quaint shops, and scenic beauty. Stroll along Main Street, browse unique boutiques, and visit the Ulysses S. Grant Home State Historic Site, the former residence of the Civil War general and 18th U.S. president.
*Pro tip! Fritz and Frites Bistro specializes in serving authentic German and French cuisine, offering a delightful blend of flavors and culinary traditions. From classic schnitzels and sausages to escargot and coq au vin, the menu is thoughtfully curated to transport diners to the heart of Europe.
Indiana Dunes National Park:
A mere hour's drive east of Chicago lies the stunning Indiana Dunes National Park. With its sprawling sand dunes, pristine beaches, and lush forests, this natural gem offers a tranquil escape from city life. Enjoy a leisurely hike along the trails, relax on the shores of Lake Michigan, or indulge in birdwatching at one of the many observation points.
Door County, Wisconsin:
Venture north across Lake Michigan to discover the enchanting beauty of Door County. Known for its charming coastal towns, cherry orchards, and scenic landscapes, this peninsula is a delightful escape from the city. Explore picturesque lighthouses, indulge in fresh cherry pie, or embark on a leisurely bike ride along the coastline. Don't miss the breathtaking views from Cave Point County Park, where limestone cliffs meet crystal-clear waters.
Get away to come back again
Whether you seek cultural immersion, outdoor adventures, or a step back in time, the best day trips from Chicago offer something for every curious traveler. Make it your mission this spring to pack your bags, hit the road, and embark on unforgettable – and maybe even unpredictable – adventures as a couple, with your family, or solo.
Sometimes, leaving makes you appreciate where you come from. Sometimes, time spent away from family and friends can shine light on their incredible importance in your life. Sometimes, experiencing something other than home can give home its value. And sometimes, life just feels better when you allow yourself to see it from another point of view.
Catch us back here bi-weekly as we bring you curated and Chicago-based real estate content (with a life coach’s twist). Next up: (Enter June’s topic here)