From places to stay at, through museums you can check out, to other activities you can check out, here is a local guide to things to do in Chicago walking near the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
In Chicago for the tenth Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo?
An all-round exciting event!
Want to make your Chicago sojourn even more exciting? Then you should really get to know The Windy City!
Here’s an insider guide to the Chicago attractions you must check out, all of which are within walking distance of McCormick Place, where the Comic and Entertainment Expo is being held.
Grant Park in Chicago. Image courtesy https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/.
Spread out over more than 300 acres, Grant Park is one of the greatest spaces in Chicago to spend your day in.
From long walking paths to gardens, and quite a few statues, Grant Park should definitely be on your list of things to do in Chicago.
The Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park
A view of Buckingham Fountain. Image courtesy https://www.choosechicago.com/.
Dedicated to Chicago in 1927, the Buckingham Fountain is one of the largest fountains in the world.
At this time of the year, you may not be able to see the magnificent water display it’s famous for, it’s still worth snapping a selfie here, especially if you’re visiting Chicago from elsewhere.
The Art Institute of Chicago in Grant Park
Home to everything from paintings to photographs to even architectural drawings, the Art Institute of Chicago has a collection spanning thousands of years.
It’s open every day from 10:30am to 5pm or to 8pm, depending on the day of the week.
Entry is free for children under 14.
You can consult their website for more details.
The Museum Campus in Grant Park
You can think of this as a package deal. Major institutions like
The Shedd Aquarium
The Field Museum
are within minutes of each other, on this campus.
In addition to those, you can also check out Soldier Field, and admire sculptures of various important figures like Copernicus.
Maggie Daley Park in Grant Park
From places for toddlers to play to various activities for younger children to climbing walls, a skating rink and so on, Maggie Daley Park has something for everybody.
It’s in the northeastern part of Grant Park.
General entry is free, however you may have to pay a fee to take part in some of the activities.
Apart from these, Grant Park has a walking trail (Chicago Lakefront Trail), various gardens, vast open spaces, a dog park, and various other features you may want to check out.
Address: 337 E Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60601, United States.
Open Hours: Every day of the week, 6am to 11pm.
How to reach from McCormick Place: The best way (balancing cost and time) may be to get on the line 3 bus from King Drive & 25th Street and get off at Michigan and Balbo - the total journey shouldn’t take more than 45 minutes.
The Bean, in downtown Chicago. Image courtesy https://www.choosechicago.com/.
Also known as The Cloud Gate, this stainless steel sculpture is a symbol of Chicago, and a must-click, if you’re a selfie person.
Technically, The Bean is located within Grant Park, near Maggie Daley Park, however it deserves a mention on its own - it’s that famous.
How to reach from McCormick Place: It’s an hour’s walk from McCormick Place - and quite a pleasant walk, at that. Or, you can take the line 3 bus from King Drive & 25th Street and get off at Michigan and Madison - a half hour journey.
Northerly Island Park
Saunter through raw nature, right at Northerly Island. Image courtesy https://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/.
If you’re in the mood for a quiet walk, or a peaceful afternoon among nature’s splendor, you can check out Northerly Island Park.
It’s a first rate example of planned biodiversity management, with huge numbers of trees planted, and other work done to attract wildlife, and recreate the natural space that existed before the area was developed (it used to be an airport).
It’s got a concrete walking path, a lagoon, and wildlife habitats.
Address: 1521 S Linn White Dr, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Every day of the week, 6am to 11pm.
How to reach from McCormick Place: It’s a half-hour walk via Mines Drive. Or, you can take the train from McCormick Station to Museum Campus/11th Street, and walk down Solidarity Drive.
31st Street Beach
People enjoying themselves at 31st Street Beach. Image courtesy https://chicago.suntimes.com/.
Not lagoons, but a beach experience what you’re looking for?
Yep, Chicago has that too!
It’s called the Margaret T. Burroughs Beach, a.k.a. 31st Street Beach.
Open Hours: Swimming is permitted from 11:00am to 7:00pm daily.
How to reach from McCormick Place: Walk down Moe Drive till you hit East 31st Street, and then turn left.
Fox in a Box
Can you beat Mr. Fox and find your way out within one hour?
Follow up your adventure through fantasyland at the Comic and Entertainment Expo with another adventure through fantasyland at Chicago’s #1 escape room.
Take your pick from
Breaking out of a prison
Executing a bank heist
Stopping a world war
Escaping a serial killer
And spend one exhilarating hour with your friends as you try to figure your way out!
Address: 47 W Polk St suite l5 basement, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Sunday through to Friday, 12 noon to 10:30pm. Saturday, 10:30am to 10:30pm.
Entry: $105 for up to 3 players; $35 for every additional player.
How to reach from McCormick Place: It’s in the historic Dearborn Station.
A cab ride will take less than 15 minutes; if you want to take the train, head for the Cermak-Chinatown station, and get off at Harrison, after which it’s a short walk to Fox in a Box.
The Jazz Showcase
A view inside Chicago's oldest jazz club. Image courtesy https://www.jazzshowcase.com/.
Also located in the Dearborn Station, the Jazz Showcase is Chicago’s oldest jazz club, and a pilgrimage of sorts for jazz fans.
Address: 806 S Plymouth Ct, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Sunday, 4pm to 2am. Monday through to Saturday, 8pm to 2am.
Entry: $20 for general admission. A VIP ticket with preferred seating will set you back by $35.
How to reach from McCormick Place: Take a line 3 bus from King Drive & 25th Street to Michigan & 9th Street, from where it’s a short walk.
Buddy Guy’s Legends
Image courtesy https://buddyguy.com/.
If an evening of blues, brews, and classic Cajun and Soul cuisine is to your liking, you should check out Buddy Guy’s Legends.
If you can extend your Chicago trip by a few days after C2E2, you might be able to grab a place for Jimmy Burns and Luca Kiella, both of whom will be performing at Buddy Guy’s in the first week of March.
Address: 700 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Monday through to Thursday they open at 5pm, Friday at 11am, and on weekends at 12 noon; and they remain open till 2 in the morning on all days of the week.
Entry: You may need to pay a charge at the door to enter.
How to reach from McCormick Place: You can take a line 4 bus from Michigan & 25th Street to Michigan & Balbo, from where it’s a 5 minute walk.
Lou Malnati’s Pizza
Fancy sinking your teeth into Chicago’s finest deep dish pizza? Then you need to check out Lou Malnati’s Pizza.
There’s a Malnati’s on South State Street, a 15 minute walk from Grant Park.
Address: 805 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Sunday through to Thursday, 11am to 11pm. Fridays and Saturdays, 11am to 12 midnight.
How to reach from McCormick Place: Take the line 3 bus from King Drive & 25th Street to Michigan & 8th Street, walk across East 8th Street till you get to the South State Street intersection, then turn left.
On the other hand, if you want to walk the distance, go through Grant Park, past the Museum Campus, and exit through the East Balbo Drive exit. Walk down East Balbo Drive, past Buddy Guy’s Legends, till you hit South State Street; turn left and keep walking till you arrive.
Get an all-round Chicago experience at Devil Dawgs. Image courtesy https://www.tripadvisor.com/.
This is the place where you can grab your hot dogs, burgers and milk shake meal.
Jaw-dropping prices, mouth-watering flavors, and a wholesome Chicago ambience are what make this a must-drop in.
Address: 767 S State St, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Sunday through to Wednesday, 10:30am to 12 midnight. Thursday through to Saturday, 10:30am to 3am.
How to reach from McCormick Place: It’s just like with Malnati’s, only this time, when you get to the South State Street intersection, head right.
The walking route - Go through Grant Park as with Malnati’s, only this time, look for the East 9th Street exit. Head down East 9th Street, past 2 intersections, till you get to the South State Street intersection, then head right and keep walking till you’re at Devil Dawgs.
Eleven City Diner
A view of Eleven City Diner from across the street. Image courtesy https://chicago.seriouseats.com/.
What would a Chicago trip be without dinner at the deli?
And, hey presto, there’s one, a 5 minute walk from Malnati’s.
Here’s a warning though, be really hungry if you turn up there; their portions are huge.
Address: 1112 S Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Monday through to Thursday, 8am to 9pm. Fridays, 8am to 9:30pm. Saturdays, 8:30am to 9:30pm. Sundays, 8:30am to 9pm.
How to reach from McCormick Place: Take the line 3 bus from King Drive & 25th Street to Michigan & 11th Street. Head for Wabash Avenue down East 11th Street; turn left on Wabash.
The walking route - Walk through Grant Park aiming for the East 11th Street exit. It’s just after the skate park. Once you’re on East 11th Street, you know the rest.
Till now, we’ve seen the deep dish pizza scene, we’ve seen the chicago ambience place, we’ve done dinner at the deli.
Bar Louie on Printers Row. Image courtesy https://www.totalhappyhour.com/.
A gastropub, complete with top-notch fare, martinis, and microbrews.
Turn up with the post-office crowd on a Tuesday, and you’ll be biting into one of their well-known $5 burgers.
And, if you’ll be in Chicago till mid-March, remember to visit Bar Louie on Saturday the 14th and Tuesday the 17th, for their St. Patrick’s Day specials.
Address: 47 W Polk St, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
Open Hours: Sundays, 10am to 2am, Monday through to Friday 11am to 2am, Saturdays 10am to 3am.
How to reach from McCormick Place: It’s right next to Fox in a Box. So, head for the Cermak-Chinatown station, and get off at Harrison, after which it’s a short walk to Bar Louie. A cab ride will take less than 15 minutes.
The walking route - Ditto as for Devil Dawgs, only this time, once you reach Devil Dawgs, turn left to get to West Polk Street, which is where Bar Louie is.
This is a PSA from Vincent Rubino, the franchise owner of Fox in a Box Chicago.
You must have noticed that all the places to eat - Malnati’s, Devil Dawgs, Eleven City Diner, and Bar Louie - include detailed walking instructions, through Grant Park.
Such a walk would be an hour long, but would give you a chance to enjoy the stunning views of Grant Park, while whetting your appetite for your gastronomic exploits.
That is why, provided you’re medically fit for an hour long walk, the walk-through-Grant-Park route to get to the eateries is highly recommended.
Places to stay in during your Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
The Hilton Chicago
Within walking distance from Buddy Guy’s Legends and the Jazz Showcase, and with stunning views of Grant Park, The Hilton Chicago is an excellent lodging option for your Chicago stay.
Address: 720 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
The Congress Plaza Hotel
If staying in a hotel which may be haunted, and where both the Roosevelts put up is your thing, check out The Congress Plaza Hotel.
Address: 520 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60605, United States.
The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
If ‘rooftop yoga’ and a variety of places to ‘dine and libate’ is more to your liking, you should go for The Chicago Athletic Association Hotel.
Address: 12 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603, United States.
I hope you enjoy your Chicago trip, and that you’ll visit us again!