Chicaogland Excursions

There is no simple answer to the question
"what should I do if I only have a day to see Chicago?"...

Chicago is renowned for its

Both USA Today and Go Chicago Card offer a wide list of attractions (below), both by day and by night.

The weather in early May is completely unpredictable far in advance, although local forecasts are generally very accurate for the following week. Be forewarned that Lake Michigan is very large body of water that significantly affects the temperature. It will be cooler near the lake and can be quite chilly on the lake. Chicago is not inherently windier than anywhere else; it's known at the Windy City because of blustery politics, not weather.

Half-Day Itineraries

Pick a few items; adjust plans according to the weather and your abilities and interests, accordingly.

One Day Itineraries

One can easily spend days exploring Chicago. In addition to the above, consider adding one or more of:

These are personal favorites. However, there are serveral (respectable :-) web sites which suggest "one day" excursions into the city. Here are a two sites, summarized on this webpage (below):

For even more ideas, try the Virtual Tourist, and for the daring, take a look at their Off the Beaten Path web page, for destinations and member reviews. And The Local Tourist has an impressive collection of both conventional and unusal tour links, from hot air ballons to haunted houses!

Or, if you would prefer something more conventional, the Go Chicago Card has both bus and trolley-based tour offerings, via Grayline.

Good luck; Enjoy!

Fermilab Google Map


To get downtown:

The Lisle Metra Rail train station waiting room is also open from 5am to 8:30pm; a ticket agent is available from 5:30am to 1:30pm, Monday-Friday. The Route 59 Metra Rail train station waiting room is also open from 5am to 8:30pm; a ticket agent is available from 5:25am to 1:25pm, Monday-Friday. Check the System Map for other stations and times. Tickets should be purchased from the agent in the station if possible; tickets can also be purchased from the conductor on the train, when the ticket window is closed.

Weekday train fare from Route 59 to Chicago Union Station (downtown) is approximately $5; a weekend pass is available for unlimited travel on Saturday and Sunday, for $5.

Some Resources

The following lists have been lifted from a number of web resources, with some degree of fidelity, i.e. what they offered, for better or worse, is offered here without comment. Some are well suited for visitors; some (e.g. the Metra Day Trips) may offer ideas to people who already know something about the city.

Around Fermilab

If you would like to remain in the area around the lab, Warrenvilleweb provides many local links and a active agenda of current and near-term events.

Chicago.Com has a nice interactive map under "Things to Do"


Downtown Chicago in One Day recommends that you start at the John Hancock Observatory or the Sears Tower Skydeck to get a sense of the adventure before you!

It continues with:

with lunch at the Billy Goat Tavern.


Frommer's Chicago has several Suggested Itineraries; the One Day list is:

Frommer's Interactive Map

Go Chicago Card

The purchase of a Go Chicago Card allows free general admission to several tours, attractions, and museums listed below (see Attractions for details). The card is valid from 9am to 5:30 pm. $55/day for an adult (13+)


Must See Attractions



Metra Day Trips offers some suggestions. Admittedly, these are oriented toward people who live here. But if you have "seen" Chicago, you might look here to see some more:

USA Today

USA Today's Chicago lists several Attractions

and Nightlife ideas

USA Today's Map