Daytrip from Chicago
December 26, 2006 7:28 PM   Subscribe

Fun touristy things to do just outside Chicago?

I have a friend in from Germany, and a rental car that I don't have to return until Thursday morning. What fun, odd, interesting things are there to do within a reasonable drive from Chicago? I'd prefer not to drive more than an hour or two each way. I checked, and came up empty. Help!
posted by monkey!knife!fight! to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Very close to Chicago is Evanston, which is a lovely little town (or was). If you're into health food (and even if you're not) check out the Blind Faith Cafe which is probably one of the country's oldest healthfood restaurants. I remember going there 22 years ago. Their menu has changed a lot since I was last there, but the Peanut Butter Shake is still on the menu, and it's a must-drink if it's still as delicious as I remember it.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:43 PM on December 26, 2006

Oh, and if you haven't been down to Lake Michigan, you should go straight down to the beach. When it gets cold enough, the lake freezes, which is very cool looking.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:44 PM on December 26, 2006

Go see the cars impaled on a spike in Berwyn?
posted by thejoshu at 7:49 PM on December 26, 2006

Best answer: Did you check out the previous Chicago threads? Here, here, here, and here. Many of them focus on the Loop and downtown attractions but some have good suggestions, like the Frank Lloyd Wright homes in Oak Park. Milwaukee can be a fun trip and you can check out the brewery. It's been awhile since I drove there from downtown but I remember it being pretty quick; definitley not more than 2 hours.
posted by MeetMegan at 7:56 PM on December 26, 2006

Hmmm...define empty. There are plenty of odd things on this page. I know some of them are far away, but Forest Park (with its Mass Grave of Circus Perfomers) is a mere 20 minutes away from central Chicago.
posted by Deathalicious at 7:57 PM on December 26, 2006

This map should come in handy too, as it shows you oddities by location on a map.

What might have thrown you is the search engine on the front page; the text box is for the attraction, not the city, so punching in Chicago returns Something very stupid. But on the "results not found" page, they include a box for Town. Punching in Chicago returns oddities in Chicago, just searching for IL pulls up all the oddities in Chicago.
posted by Deathalicious at 8:02 PM on December 26, 2006

Response by poster: "Empty" is my German friend won't be enthralled by muffler men the way you or I may be. Ideally, I'd like to go somewhere where we can hang out for a bit and see a bunch of interesting things (ala the just too far "house on the rock") or experience something I wouldn't normally go do outside the city and someone from another country would enjoy. I'm trying to avoid the "hey look at that, let's go" thing. I also did check out the other threads, but most of them are about Chicago things, and once I return the rental, we'll have plenty of time for running up to Lincoln Square, going to Chinatown and the like. Took her to the bean today. Thanks!
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 8:04 PM on December 26, 2006

Northern Indiana Amish country (Shipshewana) is about 100 miles away.
posted by rfs at 8:20 PM on December 26, 2006

I second Shipshewana. On wednesday mornings they have a huge antique auction. Four or five amish auctioneers selling amazing crapola at the same time. It's quite a scene.

(Remember that you lose an hour when you cross into indiana.)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 8:54 PM on December 26, 2006

Walter Payton's Roundhouse in Aurora. You can drive there or take Metra. (the Aurora train station is right there)
posted by SisterHavana at 9:14 PM on December 26, 2006

The Bahai temple (second from bottom here, visitor info here) in Wilmette is an easy drive from the city.

Maybe while you're up there there's something going on at Northwestern, which is within a couple miles of the temple (the school's arena is even closer, but their basketball team is not good at basketball).
posted by ibmcginty at 10:20 PM on December 26, 2006

I'm not so sure how good it is in the winter, but I was at the Morton Arboretum last fall and it was beautiful.
posted by twiggy at 10:26 PM on December 26, 2006

The Morton Arboretum is lovely in the fall, but alas, in the winter, it's largely dead sticks and mud. If it should snow, it would be lovely again in this season.
posted by unrepentanthippie at 2:09 AM on December 27, 2006

The Baha'i temple is definitely worth checking out. I went to Northwestern and drove past it many many times but never visited it until my parents came out for my graduation (in 1985) -- in the warn weather the grounds are very nice, but the inside is quite beautiful all year 'round.
posted by briank at 5:36 AM on December 27, 2006

BigHappyFunHouse, the northwest portion of Indiana is on Chicago time, including Lake, Porter, and LaPorte counties. Shipshewana, however, is pretty far, and it is on Eastern time.

The Indiana Dunes are nice if you're into hiking/outdoorsy stuff, and it's not snowed here.
posted by IndigoRain at 7:10 AM on December 27, 2006

Response by poster: Miller Brewing Co. it is! Thanks so much for all your answers. Amish country also looks good...and something I didn't even know was anywhere near here.
posted by monkey!knife!fight! at 7:38 AM on December 27, 2006

« Older Solve THIS, Algebraist!   |   My jeans NEED to have rhinestones on them Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.