Chicago is a popular city for tourists and business travelers alike, but how can you escape the mainstream tourists and visit some more obscure places? This list of five unusual things to do should get you thinking outside the box, away from the usual top sights and sports venues in Chicago. You should stay a few nights here, look at the best Chicago hotels and once you are checked in, get off the beaten track.
Photo by Yelena Galstyan via Trover
1. Chicago Ghost Tour
You might not have considered a ghost tour of Chicago, but this is a crazy experience brought to you by Weird Chicago. This is not another boring generic ghost tour but one that includes not just ghosts, but gangsters and history lessons. You will get access to buildings and rooms with an eerie and spooky history, and this is the best tour of its kind in Illinois.
2. Bookman’s Corner
If you are looking for an old school bookshop, then Bookman’s Corner is the place to go. The shop is run by local lad John Chandler, who has been selling used books at this Lakeview shop since 1984. The range of books here is crazy, and the place can also be a bit of a hazard. Books are everywhere, so watch your step and be aware that by pulling one book out, a load of books might just fall down on you. Prices are good, and you never know quite what to expect in here.
3. Navy Pier Lighthouse
This fantastic lighthouse is at the end of Navy Pier and is a bit of an unventured gem for the intrepid traveler. Marvel at the views from the lighthouse and the views of the lighthouse from the other side of the water. It is tricky to get to, so go on an organized tour, or at the very least get a boat trip to take you past it to admire.
Photo by Richard Remington via Trover
4. Green City Market
Markets and shops are common in Chicago, but it can be hard not to get sucked into the touristic places. The Green City Market is slightly more local and attracts fewer tourists than the others. The Green City Market, which opened in 1998, is in Lincoln Park. It is a traditional food market that is in operation all year-round. It’s often regarded as the best farmers’ market in the city.
5. Noble-Seymour-Crippen House
The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House is the oldest house in Chicago; it dates back to 1833. For some reason, another house in the Windy City, The Clarke House, is commonly referred to as the oldest. But this is incorrect – it only dates back to 1836. The Noble-Seymour-Crippen House used to be a farmhouse, and it has since been converted into a cool community center and a museum. In 2000, it was added to the National Register of Historic Places in the U.S.A. You should organize a tour of the house; while inside you can read from the diary of one of the young ladies who once lived there.