From Ballparks to the Magnificent Mile: Best Places to Visit in Chicago This Spring

From+Ballparks+to+the+Magnificent+Mile%3A+Best+Places+to+Visit+in+Chicago+This+Spring

Katie Popp, Co-Editor In Chief

With over eight million Illinois residents receiving vaccinations, restrictions are finally starting to lift and a sense of normalcy is returning to our lives. That being said, there are still a lot of safety precautions in place to keep members of the community safe. Since restrictions are lifting, safety is still a top priority, and warm weather is ahead, now is the perfect time to take a trip to Chicago.

Honestly, the last time I was in Chicago up until recently was December 2019. With everything that happened in the world within the past year, a fun trip into the city was in the back of my mind, which is disappointing since it is one of the best ways to spend the weekends with friends and family. However, with the restrictions rising, there are still a lot of fun (and safe!) activities  and places to go in the city.

If you are a FRIENDS fan, the FRIENDS Experience in downtown Chicago is a must-see. About two weeks ago, I was lucky enough to go with my best friend and it was probably the best experience ever (as a fan of the TV show, that is). Each exhibit is set up perfectly to make you feel as if you were in the show. From apartments 19 and 20 and Central Perk, not to mention real props and two of the iconic couches, there is no doubt your camera roll will be filled with pictures. The entire experience is committed to being distanced and clean (not just clean…Monica clean) so hand sanitizer is required after each exhibit for the safety of all guests. Honestly I don’t want to give away too much…if you have the chance to go, you should definitely go with your friends. 

One of the best parts of the lifting restrictions is the number of fans returning to stadiums. Although football is in between seasons and hockey and basketball seasons are coming to a close, the baseball season is in full swing (no pun intended). For Cubs fans, the friendly confines are allowed to welcome just about 9,000 fans over the age of two back to the field. For Sox fans, the park is open to approximately 8,122 fans, nearly 20% of the normal capacity (all information regarding the fan capacity at Wrigley and Guaranteed Rate is from the official websites of the teams). For more information about tickets and fan capacity/expectations for each team, go to mlb.com or directly visit the team’s website. Although I have not been able to make it to a game yet, I have heard from those who have that both Chicago teams do a great job at keeping people distanced and safe and overall it is great to be back in the ballpark. Although the season ends in May, NBA teams are also allowing about 25% capacity (roughly 4,000 based on the team) back into stadiums. If you are a basketball fan, that is definitely something to look into. 

Another great part of returning to somewhat normalcy are the reopening of small businesses and restaurants. If you do go into the city, I recommend taking some time checking out the small businesses and unique restaurants that line the streets. Each one is different in their own ways and after the year we’ve had, they could use your support. Overall, many places in Chicago are open- stores on the Magnificent Mile are open to shoppers, Navy Pier restaurants and tours are starting back up, and museums and the Shedd Aquarium are also reopening doors to guests (see Lilly Hoy’s story for more details). The city has something to offer for everyone- with summer just around the corner, definitely plan your trip soon.