Though being invited to an out-of-town wedding can be a strain on scheduling and finances, it also offers the perfect chance to explore a new city. Whether you are the out-of-town guest at someone’s nuptials, or you are getting married in Chicago and know that a lot of your loved ones aren’t from the area, this guide offers suggestions for how to spend the weekend outside of the celebration. To get yourself in the mood, throw on some Kanye West, Fall Out Boy, or The Smashing Pumpkins and start planning that itinerary!
Where to Stay
- Most hotels in Chicago are located in “The Loop,” an area of downtown encircled by "L" lines, also referred to as "El." Staying in this region also means you’ll have easy access to the "L" – Chicago’s mass transit system, and thus will be able to go almost anywhere in the city without a car.
- Typically the only reason you should consider staying somewhere other than “The Loop” is if the wedding is in Hyde Park, the neighborhood where The University of Chicago is located.
Where to Play
- Baseball fans will be dying to go to Wrigley Field, one of the true classic American ballparks. If it’s not baseball season, you can still catch a tour of the historic park.
- After the game, explore surrounding Wrigleyville, which is home to great bars and a hot nightlife scene.
- Chicago is famous for its comedy scene, so be sure to catch a show at a comedy theater, such as the famed Second City.
- Though New Orleans may come to mind when people think of jazz, the “Windy City” has a rather vibrant jazz and blues scene as well – Chicago even has it’s own jazz style and an annual jazz festival. Music lovers should definitely check out a jazz and blues club, like the popular Kingston Mines, which is almost 50 years old!
- Further embracing arts and culture; there are several top-tier museums in Chicago, covering a variety of interests. Fans of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will recognize the Art Institute of Chicago, and the Field Museum of Natural History is full of diverse exhibits and interactive programming. As one of the largest science museums in the western hemisphere, the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago has over 2,000 exhibits and is sure to thrill those fascinated by science and technology.
Where to Eat
- If you’re a fan of steak, you’ve come to the right city. Chicago is a big meat-eating town, with plenty of excellent steakhouses. The original Gibsons Bar & Steakhouse is a popular choice, and basketball fans will be dying to go to Michael Jordan’s Steak House.
- For something more ethnic, plenty of cuisine from around the world is available in Chicago, from Ethiopian to Italian to Korean.
- There’s perhaps a surprising amount of themed restaurants in the “Windy City,” most notably, Kuma’s Corner – a heavy metal-themed eatery that also happens to have some of the best specialty burgers in town.
For more travel guides, read our tips for out-of-town guests in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Be sure to also check out our collection of real weddings and filter hundreds of events by the location of your ceremony and reception!
Opening photo by Dalal Photography