Vacationing to Chicago on a budget with the family does not have to be a huge expense, especially when there are so many deals and free activities to take advantage of. Chicago is a huge city, and there is tons of stuff to do, but the costs that come with family travel really add up when you try to do it all.
For a family vacation, it is important that you spend time together while also being able to see what the city of Chicago has to offer you. Instead of trying to see it all on your next Chicago family vacation, create an itinerary based on the top must-do places for family members and group activities that will create fun memories for the entire family.
Flying Into Chicago
Flights for your Chicago family vacation are a huge chunk of the budget, but there are plenty of ways to save money and shave dollars off every ticket price.
Chicago is home to two airports, and another two nearby in Milwaukee and Rockford. Shopping between these options, with Midway as a budget carrier, brings back very good results when you plan well ahead of time. If you don’t want to fly? You can totally take a road trip!
Booking Chicago Hotels
Chicago hotels are a lot pricier than most other cities, especially when you choose one that is located in the heart of downtown and then prices really jumps. The city of Chicago is made up of a lot of different neighborhoods, and each neighborhood has its own hotels, even the big chains have hotels located in them. If there is a part of the city that the family is excited to see, look for hotels that are outside of the downtown district and save up to 50% on hotel bills.
Getting Around, Vacationing to Chicago on a Budget
Chicago is very commuter-friendly, so even if you need to book a hotel outside of the downtown area for your family vacation, you can still get everyone around with ease. Purchase weekly or weekend passes for the CTA, which will let you use the elevated train system and the buses. For late-night rides around town, or to get to harder to reach areas that public transportation does not reach, there are hundreds of taxis available to you. Chicago is even home to a few rideshare programs that can save money, or shared car programs that let you rent by the hour.
Chicago Dining On a Budget
Dining out in Chicago only gets expensive when you don’t look at your options. Chicago has dining options in every budget, in every part of the city. Use Yelp to help narrow down dining options according to neighborhood and price, and then go for what the family wants to try.
As you explore the neighborhood, try out the different types of cuisine that make every neighborhood distinct– from Italian to Mexican to Ethiopian there is something new to try on every street. There are fresh grocers and farmer’s markets all over the city as well, so put together a picnic after a day at the beach or zoo to save cash on lunch.
Seeing Chicago For Less
Getting out and around the city of Chicago can get expensive when you have to purchase tickets and admission times four. Mix up visits to attractions, museums, and tours with time spent outside. Chicago has a bike-share program and one of the best biking paths in the Midwest–Lake Shore bike path.
Watch for free and packaged deals like a day at Lincoln Park Zoo which is free every day of the year and City Pass which will get you into several attractions for 40% less than purchasing each ticket. Take advantage of Groupon for discounted and two for one deal that will get you into more activities that you might not have even known about.