So you’ve been planning a trip for weeks now looking at pictures on Instagram and Pinterest for inspiration and checking out TripAdvisor for top things to do in Chicago. There is absolutely nothing worse than getting hyped for a vacation and being thoroughly disappointed with your actual visit. To ensure you don’t go through the same feeling of frustration as me, here are top 6 Chicago tourist traps to avoid.
Before I get all you haters and Internet trolls telling me how great Chicago is… I THOUGHT SO TOO!
After seeing stunning photos from my IG friends @world.of.lina and @fromheretosunday, I was compelled to pay a visit. Now I did drop in during a November long weekend. Not exactly the warmest time of year for exploring Windy City. That’s on me. As much as I wanted to love my stay, I was completely underwhelmed. Maybe that’s just it with big cities during winter. It gets so cold and rainy that there’s not much to see. Although my trip this time didn’t leave me with fond memories of Chicago, I’m open to revisiting during the warmer months and exploring beyond just the popular touristy areas. If you are heading to Windy City any time soon though, watch out for these following Chicago tourist traps.
1. The Tilt at 360 Chicago
Any online website (TripAdvisor, Time Out) or guidebook will tell you to check out John Hancock Center’s 360 Chicago observation deck. Tickets to the deck alone are $20.50 for adults 12+ but the real “fun” is at the Tilt.
It’s a supposedly thrilling experience where you step on a platform that will physically extend 45 degrees-ish out the building over the Magnificent Mile. You get a nice downward facing view of Chicago from 1,030 feet up and tickets are an additional $7 (on top of that $20.50).
The Tilt as seen from outside the building.
If you are afraid of heights, this could be a challenge for you. But as someone who’s lived on the 12th floor her entire life and enjoys epic views from building rooftops, this was a let down for me. I also haven’t been to the gym much since my car accidents and it honestly felt like a workout trying to push myself up against the window. The whole time I was supposed to be focused on enjoying the panoramic views, I was really thinking to myself damn I needa do more of ’em push ups! Lol!
View from 360 Chicago.
Although photos are not allowed during, the Tilt’s “professional” cameraman will help capture your special memories for you. I put professional in quotation marks because never once in my life have I seen a more expert photographer who has managed to click the shutter button at the exact moment when all his subjects have their eyes shut closed. One couple actually purchased their photo too. Not sure if they found it worth framing as a funny moment or if they are that lacking in the couple portraits department. Overall the entire experience was just an absolute rip off period.
Yet another observatory type trap. Prior to my trip, Skydeck was the number one thing on my Chicago bucket list. Having been to Toronto’s CN Tower and Calgary Tower’s glass floor observatories, I was ready to challenge myself to Willis Tower’s 103rd floor glass balcony. And of course, my Instagram profile could use some aesthetically pleasing window shot.
Elevator line to get up to the observatory.
Lineup for the Skydeck glass balcony.
Their website suggests getting there right at opening around 10AM to avoid crowds. Boy let me tell you………….. We arrived around 9:45AM and people were lining up already. This was a MONDAY! Again, yes, I visited during a November long weekend – Remembrance Day (Canadian)/Veterans Day (American) to be exact. Although it was a long weekend for us Canadians, last time I checked, Monday was not a stat holiday in the States. I doubt November is peak season either. Where the hell did all these people come from!?!??!?!??!?!?!??!?! I had all these cool photography ideas planned in my head but nope, dreams shattered.
View overlooking the other balconies.
The Process & Experience:
When we first lined up, it was one line per glass balcony (there are four in total). When it was almost our turn, the line got split into two. Now we lined up twice to take pictures since you obviously don’t get enough time. The first time round was cool. We got to enjoy the entire balcony to ourselves regardless. The second time round we went to a different balcony and it was shared between the two lines i.e. you really only got a tiny corner. Don’t forget, tickets are $23.00 for ages 12+. Whereas CN Tower or Calgary Tower grant you unlimited time to enjoy your experience, Skydeck literally only gives you a few seconds for pictures and that’s it. No time to actually enjoy the view or take in the fact that you are 103 stories above ground and you’re standing on a floor made of glass whatsoever.
Frankly speaking, I didn’t want to include this on this list. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’ve never been to these glass-bottom type observatories, but after comparing it to my previous experiences, I say you could spend that money elsewhere and have more fun with it.
The above four photos are views from different angles of the observatory – not the glass balcony.
3. Deep Dish Pizza
Pizza? Really????? But you could never go wrong with pizza! Or so I thought…
I took to Instagram in asking what I should do in Chicago and the lovely Miranda and a couple other ladies all suggested trying deep dish pizza. And what’s more iconic of this Chicagoan dish than Giordano’s Pizzeria established in 1974.
The pizza looked a lot taller/higher in photos I’d previously seen online.
Okay, I have a confession… When asked how my experience was from friends who’d recommended Giordano’s, I was a little reserved and said the first bite was amazing but the rest was too heavy for me. The truth is, from the very first bite of that extremely overfilled cheese stuffing, I was… well… a little disgusted? It was intensely rich (in a bad way) and I could feel my arteries clogging up. Who knew too much cheese could be a bad thing!? I didn’t want to say this to them because I felt bad they took the time to suggest something nice. I couldn’t bear to bash on this dish that really isn’t even their fault it didn’t taste good. So here I am, a hypocrite caught in my own white lie. If y’all are reading this, I’m sorryyyyyyyyyyyy girls. Maybe I’m just a weirdo who doesn’t like extra cheese.
~20 minutes since the waitress brought the pizza and it was still sizzling hot. Would you look at that cheese go!?
Pretty much everyone who dined here left with a bag of leftovers in hand.
My friend and I ordered the small size which came with 6 slices. We barely finished the one slice the waitress cut and served us and got the rest packed to go. The branch we went to was in the Loop/Millennium Park area and the place was packed! We were told the wait would take an hour and we would be contacted via text. Great thing about dining here is we got to stroll the Millennium Park to kill time. The wait ended up only taking 45 minutes. Even though we pre-ordered when we reserved seats, we still waited a good 10-15 minutes after we were seated before getting our food.
If you’re a mad cheese lover, this might be your jam. (Although don’t expect to be tasting some high quality, finely aged cheese.) If not but you still want to try one of Chicago’s most iconic dishes, either order the individual 6″ one and share with a friend or don’t bother because you will feel like crap after. Would I try deep pizza again? Never. Not even if I were wasted and craving super duper heavy, greasy food would I ever put myself through this.
4. Portillo’s Hot Dog
While we’re on the subject of food, let’s talk about another one of Chicago’s famous foods – hot dog.
I first heard about Portillo’s from Buzzfeed’s Worth It series where they tried three different hot dogs at three drastically different prices. They also have a whole separate article on it over here – “If You Haven’t Had Portillo’s Yet You’re Missing Out.”
The restaurant kinda reminded me of a market type food court scene. You line up, order, pick up your food in a separate line, and find a table yourself. Not really a restaurant even but you gotta remember, this 1963 legend first started its business in a trailer.
I wouldn’t say their hot dog tasted terrible. My friend tried the chilly dog and she said it was great. Me, I went with the original. Just a plain poppy seed bun with mustard, relish, celery salt, freshly chopped onions, sliced red ripe tomatoes, kosher pickle, and sport peppers. The pickle is what makes it special. Classic Chicago style hotdog and the Chicagoans actually call this “dragging the dog through the garden.”
Why It’s A No:
From where we were staying, Portillo’s was a little awkward to get to. It was far to walk to in the cold, but bussing essentially took the exactly same time too. I feel like when something gets hyped up so much, you start creating this augmented illusion in your mind about how great it would be. You become blinded to what it really is and truth is, a hot dog will always be just a hot dog no matter what. Sure it’d be a nice snack for a baseball game. Heck it’s a hot dog! Not worth the trek to get to.
5. Magnificent Mile
Call me a hater, but I don’t believe in wasting time shopping when abroad on trips. Europe is a whole other situation because buying luxury goods, for example, would obviously be cheaper there. Chicago, however, I don’t see what people are raving about for Magnificent Mile.
Sure, you got your Canada Goose. Even here in Vancouver we don’t have a Canada Goose store. Although Magnificent Mile is more of a luxury shopping street, you still have your typical Forever 21, H&M, and Victoria Secret, etc. If you are spending say $500 on airfare, you are not going shopping at some ordinary shop you can find back home. Skip it!
6. Buckingham Fountain
This last one is a more or less a winter’s edition only.
Like I said, my visit was in November. I got so many suggestions for hitting up Buckingham Fountain but we all seemed to neglect the fact that Chicago is cold AF in the winter. Ain’t no fountain gonna be running in the butt freezing weather. Oh and the trees are also all dead in the park. It’s close to the waters as well so the wind is especially chilling to the bones. Visiting in the summer? Yes, definitely visit. Have a picnic in the park, play frisbee with your friends, hell yes. Visiting in the winter? Skip!
That’s it for this week!
There you have it, top 6 Chicago tourist traps to avoid. This is probably the first post where I’ve given so much honest and humble opinion (ahem hate) on a subject. Every traveller is different. Even though I didn’t necessarily enjoy all of the places listed above, you may beg to differ. Again, weather played a big part too. If it wasn’t so gloomy, I might’ve enjoyed Chicago 360 more for instance. You never know! Take everything you read on the Internet with a grain of salt.
For more tips on Chicago sightseeing and a complete 48-hour Chicago itinerary, be sure to read up on my post for “How to Spend the Perfect Weekend in Chicago“.
Last but not least, my apologies for the grainy photos. I’ve only noticed now that my mirrorless camera performs extremely poorly under low light situations. Biggest regret of mine switching from Nikon to Fujifilm. If you have any recommendations for a nice intermediate to expert-level camera, comment away!
Ah, I’m so sad that you didn’t enjoy deep dish pizza! I love eating that every time I go to Chicago. Yes, it’s way over the top, but it’s such a unique experience in itself! I hate tourist traps, so this really resonated with me. Thanks!
Do you frequent Giordano’s!??!?!??!?!! I heard Gino’s East is another popular one and I’m thinking if maybe I just didn’t like Giordano’s recipe hmmmmmmmmmmm.
As someone who loves to explore the outdoors I often find city breaks quite boring – but when I DO visit new cities, I like to soak up its vibe. Chicago is one of those cities that is known for being great if you have a local show you around. It doesn’t look like Chicago ever stood a chance with you lol. Hopefully your next city will have better luck.
Couldn’t agree more!!! Nature never disappoints and there’s just never a dull moment. And seriously!??!?!?! I definitely didn’t know that! Will have to befriend some Chicagoans now hahaa.
Thanks to your post, guess I’ll do a bit of pushups before venturing to Chicago! Lolz..
Too bad you didn’t have time to enjoy your ‘unlimited’ time from 103rd floor…
I’m yet to visit USA, and this post is so damn eye opening!
You technically still get unlimited time to the entire observatory floor and you could keep relining up for the balcony too – if you want. Hopefully if and when you decide to visit Chicago, you can avoid some of these traps!
I avoid the tourist traps… Although some you cannot ignore. I can imagine the 360 tilt is something you have to try when visiting the city, you got some great photo’s there! The pizza looks good too..
I’m actually very open to visiting touristy places just because I feel like those attractions are popular for a reason. In the case of Chicago, it’s definitely wise to avoid them. The Tilt is most certainly a unique thing to do in Chicago as I don’t think any other places have an observatory like that. I just feel that it wasn’t as exciting as it’s advertised to be plus it was a little pricey having to pay extra for it too.
Chicago is a city that for some reason never peaked my curiosity and these tourist traps haven’t made it any better 🙂
As a European, most American cities just don’t resonate with me. New York being the exception.I loved New York and even stayed there for 3 months. Yes I found San Francisco and Boston fun, but they also remind me of European cties so there’s that… but spending more than a weekend in those cities would drive me insane… I found there was simply not so much that interested me. Like you, I just don’t like shopping when traveling!
Awww well I guess you could save that airfare to Chicago and spend it on something else better hahaa 😉 And wow! 3 months s a very long time!!!!! You must really really love New York!
Ah yes, the old overhyped tourist traps. The trouble with panoramic view spots is that, by and large, all visitors want to see them, and that’s why you get the long queues and the cheesy, rip-off photo documentation. The pizza I am surprised at, though. Never thought I would dislike that, but I can kinda see why…too much cheese is possible after all!
I’ve been to a LOT of observatories tho and it was my first time having to wait in line like this. I guess the photo op does play a role in this since they did set up cameras on the balconies so makes sense that people had to line up. The pizza I was surprised at too! I was looking forward to it but it really was just way too heavy.
I return to Chicago frequently as I have family living there, so have done most of these things. I actually like the Giordanos and deep dish pizza, as it’s something we don’t have in Europe! A great city, but I’ll watch out for these things the next time I go back.
Really!? Hmm I guess I am a weirdo who doesn’t like too much cheese after all hahaa.
So nice to read an honest review of these touristy things to do in Chicago! I must say the Skydeck was on our list to do, some people have such great images in their feed but if they only allow you a few seconds – I’ll save my money. Thanks for sharing!
No problem, Cat! And tell me about it!!!!! I was looking on IG and everyone had all these beautiful photos like whaaaaa??????? How??????? Photoshop??????? Hahahhahahaa.
Why do people want to feel like they are falling out of tall buildings?? And for that price?! I’m with you on the sky deck and the deep dish pizza. We had deep dish once on our trip to Chicago, and I was definitely underwhelmed, and had tons of heartburn afterward. I much preferred enjoying all the ethnic food in Chicago that I can’t get at home.
Hahhaa when I saw The Tilt for the first time on my Facebook feed, I was definitely intrigued! It looked fun!!!!! And yikes! Can’t believe you had a heartburn… You’re right though. I need to make it back to try their other food!
I so agree with you about the deep dish pizza. It’s so gross, and I don’t get it. I also wasn’t thrilled by the beef sandwich I had a Portillo’s either.
I’m so glad to hear you weren’t thrilled by the beef sandwich. That was actually what I wanted to order but I figured I should give classic Chicagoan hot dog a try. Now I know!
It’s a bummer that the Tilt at 360 Chicago is a disappointment. And if it feels like a workout to actually push against the glass then where’s the fun in that! The Skydeck looks cool but again, I hate crowds too. Would never find something like this worth visiting if I had to wait in a queue for a couple of hours! Thanks for these tips.
You are welcome, Medha! I’m not a fan of crowds but then again, if you’ve never been to a glass-bottom observatory, Skydeck is definitely worth checking out despite the long lines 🙂
Thanks for your honesty! I feel like most of the places you mentioned are the typical “IG-famous” places that I would probably rush to. It’s good to know what I should really expect.
Skydeck was defs an IG-famous place that I myself leaped into. I mean it’s great to find inspiration on these platforms but then again, it’s really quite a letdown when you visit and realize things aren’t like in the pictures :/
I love the way you wrote this – so honest and fun! Good to know that you don’t get unlimited time at the sky deck. If I’m going to pay to see a view, I want time to enjoy and photograph it. Yeah, I’m with you on the deep dish and hot dogs – sometimes the hype isn’t worth the effort or clogged arteries 🙂
You technically do still get unlimited time for the entire Skydeck floor. It’s just that the line for the balcony that limits you. By all means, you could always keep relining up if you want tho!
I went to Chicago earlier this year, and I totally agree that Portillo’s was just not worth it. The hot dogs were pretty gross, IMO. But the deep dish pizza, man!!! That was one of my favorite memories! Best pizza I’ve ever had. I mean, I did feel like I needed a salad and a bath after I ate it, but it was such a great experience.
Hahahahahhahaa did you go to Giordano’s or elsewhere? I hear there are other deep dish pizza restaurants too that are pretty good so I’m a little intrigued still.
From the Tilt to the Pizza and Chicago dog, this is one great guide for tourist traps to skip, better than anything I can write and I am originally from Chicago. Amazing Pictures!
Thanks Arvin, glad you enjoyed the post!
I had seen a lot of videos about the tilt and it was one of the things on my Chicago bucket list. I need to reconsider it after I read your blog.
The Sky Deck seems worth a visit, even if I have to stand in queues for it.
I saw a bunch of videos on FB about The Tilt too and honestly it’s just not worth it. Skydeck is nice though, even better without the lines. Hope you’ll get to see it someday 🙂
Love your honest opinions in this post – This will really come in handy for my eventual trip to America – Chicago has always been one of the first places I want to go to, so much about the city from the gangster history, to the music to the modernization I want to experience. However in saying that I’m glad I’ve read this post, I’ve the same kind of experiences with ‘tourist traps’ over the years and some have just been complete let downs.
If and when you visit, I recommend maybe completely skipping the touristy activities and just focus on exploring the city itself. Like you said, there’s a lot of history here and I think it’d be fun and informational if you maybe did a city walk tour on your own!
The first two places are definitely sites I would avoid. I honestly want to go to Chicago during St. Patty’s Day because they turn the river green. Yup, that’s what I’ve been dying to see haha!
Wait what!??!?!?!?! NO WAY! I didn’t even know they did that! Guess I’ll be revisiting for St. Patty’s then!
Haha, these were funny. I’d probably also prefer some kale and other veggies, although I do love a good pizza now and then! I remember Buckingham fountain from the opening scenes of “Married with Children.” It looks a little sad when it’s not running though! Oh, and since I have this weird fear about plummeting to my death, I don’t think I’ll be going up the tilt thing! Having said all that, I’m dying to get back to Chicago. I’ve only been once when I had a twelve-hour layover at O’hare, an insanely long time ago. Basically, it was back in the days when they still had lockers at airports, so I stowed my bags and hit the city. The weather was fantastic and I really enjoyed the city. Better luck to you on your next trip to Chicago! 🙂
They still have those lockers!!!!!!!!! I remember seeing them at the airport and thinking to myself wow, didn’t know those were still safe to put at airports hahaa. The fountain really was a little depressing (especially with the dead trees around) but I’m sure in the spring or summer it looks beautiful. Fingers crossed my next visit will be much warmer and sunnier!
So glad to see the blogs on other side of the travel .. I luved ur sky deck picture though but absolutely right insta portrays a different pic in our mind all together and when we arrive it’s different story altogether
Right!? On IG I saw so many pictures of people posing on one balcony and their photos are taken from another balcony. Very cool perspective but not realistic at all. I’m actually super curious as to how they even got those shots considering how busy Skydeck is!
So I’ve been expecting a more exciting review of the ‘The Tilt at 360 Chicago’ as I’ve been seeing a lot of it on FB. LOL..Glad that you were honest about the entire experience! Would definitely reconsider (and read like lot of reviews) before visiting a well-advertised attractions like this.. 🙂 I’ll be watching out for another post from you should you head back to Chicago on a more warmer season! 😉 That’d be a cool comparison.. Cheers!
Omg yessssss I found out about The Tilt from Facebook as well. It’s just been trending everywhere lately so definitely bummer that it wasn’t as fun as it was advertised to be. A comparison would be cool for sure. Will keep that in mind for the next time I revisit 😀
I’m so glad to see a post like this! You’re so honest. I’m glad I know which traps to skip when going to Chicago.
Aww glad to have helped!
I like that you were brutally honest in this post. I’ve been contemplating a trip to Chicago, as tickets from Salt Lake City are always super cheap and I’d be an idiot NOT to go. I was on the fence with the whole tilt thing, and I’m pretty sure I’ll avoid it now. I love the quotes around “professional,” because let’s face it…even my grandma knows not to click the shutter while our eyes are closed! I think I’d still like to try deep dish pizza, just to say that I’ve tried it. Even if I also think it’s too much!
Hahhaaa I know right!? Grandma could take wayyyyyyyyy better pictures! If the flight is cheap, defs pay a visit – although maybe during the warmer months. And I know Chicago has a lot of beautiful murals and interesting architecture around the city as well so don’t necessarily spend all your time checking things off guidebooks.
I live and Chicago and love this city! Whenever friends and family visit I always show them around the tourist landmarks then I show them the real Chicago the local way.
That’s awesome!!!!! I hear Chicago is much more fun if you have a local to guide you so I’ll for sure have to revisit and find a local friend!
Deep dish pizza? Seriously? The inventor was clearly not able to cook a delicious, simple pizza 🙂 How can they write “Italian” on the bag? (But maybe I’m not objective, being Italian) 🙂 Anyway, I really enjoyed the entire post, it’s very helpful 🙂
Hahahhahahhhahahhahahaa! Oh gosh Clara you crack me up! I guess deep dish is just the Americanized, fatty version. I definitely still prefer a simple, traditional pizza though 🙂
Chicago is on my bucket list for a while now and I really hope to cross it off soon. I’ve learned a lot from your post and tips. This is a very enlightening post, Jasmine.
Glad to hear, Agness! Chicago was on my bucket list for quite some time so I was for sure a little disappointed when it didn’t live up to my expectations. I highly recommend exploring beyond the touristy areas tho. There are quite a few murals around the city and interesting architecture as well. A city walk might be fun! 😀
Never have I seen many bloggers talk about the cons of a city. And you have surprised me by putting across a list of not 1 or 2 but 6 traps or rather experiences that aren’t worth it. Will remember/bookmark for later plans to Chicago.
I honestly didn’t expect for this list to be so long but I definitely would’ve much rather explored Chicago with a local than done these touristy things. Hopefully you’ll get to plan a much more memorable trip!
I loved the look of the Tilt! Disappointing to hear that it didn’t live up to the hype! That said, I’ll be sure to check it out if I visit Chicago
Try to go on a sunnier day if you can. Might. be a much more pleasant experience hahaa.
This is a very candid post that has a fresh perspective about Chicago. So nice to see an honest appraisal rather than glossy and gloating articles. I wish that we could have a section about tourist traps in all the city guides that we see floating around on the internet. It would be really useful and authentic.
So glad to hear you’ve enjoyed my post, Sandy! And yes, that’d be super helpful! Although with Internet being so readily available, I’m sure you could find all that info on the web too 🙂
Fantastic post! I’m used to reading the best things to do but its so refreshing to hear what touristy things should be avoided. The tilt deck is so expensive!
I’m glad you enjoyed, Anita! And tell me about it. Touristy places are always so overpriced ughhh!
It’s refreshing to read an honest travel blog but I think I would still have to try the pizza, just once
Thank you dear! Glad you enjoyed it!!
I think everyone is entitled to express that some places the rest of the world loves just don’t wow them! And as you said, you’ve kept an open mind to visit the city again at a sunnier time of year and see if you can turn that opinion around.
Yes! For sure! I’m definitely excited to return during the warmer months 😀
Chicago is one of our favorite cities! Thanks for your honesty. I’ve never been to the observation decks (guess I wasn’t missing much) or Portillos, but we do make sure to eat deep dish whenever we are in town. We go to Lou Malnati’s, but it’s also a heavy pizza, so you might not like it, either.
You’re definitely not missing anything with them observation decks hahaa. I just looked up Lou Malnati’s and their pizza looks bomb!!! But then again that’s what I thought when I saw pictures of Giordano’s deep dish pizza hmmm.
Sorry Chicago was such a let down, but it happens. Not every city is to everyones liking. I myself am not into the skyscraper tours. History, old architecture is more my thing 🙂
Ahhh yesss!!!! Architecture!!!!! I’m so upset I didn’t do a self-guided city walk tour of some sort. The last day I was there, I remember walking out the main touristy area in The Loop and seeing all these beautiful, historic buildings and ughhhh! Next time for sure 😀
Different experiences for different tastes. It sounds like some of the Chicago experiences were not to your taste.
At least you took a shot at some of them. We always advise reserving judgment until you try it yourself…. Not sure why the Pizza didn’t float your boat…
Thanks for sharing. Keep traveling blogging. Adventure is better when shared with friends!
I think the pizza was just too oily and rich. And agreed. We all have different preferences but it’s always good to try new things before you make your final judgement!
I love Chicago, but have to agree that the Tilt you can skip. Deep dish pizza and hot dogs, however, are iconic Chitown. But if you’re on a diet or eat healthy, then def skip ’em too. Otherwise, everyone’s got to try it once before they knock it. Personally, I love Chicago deep dish and order it every time I’m in town, but I know I can only accommodate a slice or possibly two (if I’m super hungry). Coz yeah, those things are hella rich.
I seriously wish someone would’ve told me to skip The Tilt! I’d been seeing it all over my Facebook newsfeed and it for real looked like THE funnest thing to do. And gosh those deep dish pizzas are hella rich but all this talk about food is actually making me crave some regular pizza right now hahaa.
This post got me thinking about the concept of’ tourist trap’ in itself 🙂 What is a tourist trap for one, is an unforgettable experience for another. That said, I will certainly like to steer clear of each one of these.
Oh for sure! I’ve been to plenty of places where other people enjoyed, but I didn’t and vice versa. I truly think we’re all travellers unique in our own ways so just because someone enjoys something, doesn’t mean you necessarily will as well XDD
YES! The internet needs more posts like this. I can’t believe the price of the Skydeck and the The Tilt! Being crammed in with lots of people too can easily make you feel like you’re just a number being pushed through for money, which is never nice. I think there’s a pressure in blogging to rave about places that people will love, and only blog about those that are deemed Instaworthy. But we are all human, and travel is sometimes disappointing. Thanks for sharing this post, your honesty was a breath of fresh air to read 🙂
Aww thanks Chesca! I’m so glad you enjoyed my little rant hahahahhahaaa. And ughhh I seriously couldn’t agree with you more! I honestly felt like a victim of some marketing scam – especially since I’d been seeing The Tilt everywhere all over my Facebook newsfeed. If only the Internet were full of more honest reviews!
Like you, I don’t tend to shop when I’m traveling, especially at stores I can find anywhere. I’m also afraid of heights, so I would skip the towers. I would however send my professional photographers (teenagers) up to get me a few good shots.
Hahaa good idea! I’m sure the little ones would have more fun at The Tilt (with their creative imagination) than I did XDD
I like the way how honestly you have written about something that you didn’t like. It is quite useful for readers. I always thought Chicago is one of the beautiful cities , but this looks an eye opener. Never been there yet, but wondering if we should be even considering going.
It definitely depends on what kind of a traveler you are. I didn’t discover I was more into nature until this trip hence why I didn’t enjoy the big city vibes. I also hear Chicago is more fun if you have a local show you around so don’t let my opinion hinder your desire to visit if it’s truly somewhere you’d like to see! 🙂
I’m all about seeing places that don’t cost a penny so tourist traps are the worst. Thanks for pointing out these ones. But….deep dish pizza! I would definitely have to eat that when going to Chicago! lol
Hahahaa ok try it and let me know if you like it! I definitely still think you should share it with friends though otherwise it gets too heavy too fast.
I have never been to Chicago and don’t have any plans to go soon but I really enjoyed reading your posts. It’s always good to be clued up to these things. However, the pizza does look so Yummy and as I’m a big cheese lover would definitely pay the price for it.
I’m a hugeeeee cheese gal too but ehh idk the pizza was just wayyy too heavy for me. Do try it if you’re ever in Chicago and let me know how you like it though!
I haven’t been to Chicago yet, but I would still go there, even though your experience seems not to have been a too pleasant one. I think everyone should make
his or her own experience and – as you said – spring or summer might be a better season to visit. However, I like that you also write about negative things, even though this is sometimes risky and might easily end up in a shitstorm created by “Chicago-lovers”. It gives your opinion credibility, I like that – keep it up.
Thanks Dennis, I’m so glad you enjoyed reading this! It’s crazy how easily offended people get nowadays, but I stand by the fact that I am entitled to my own opinion and do wish that these thoughts can help other fellow travellers as well. But you’re definitely right too in that everyone should make their own experience! 🙂
I have heard about Chicago a lot. I even made my mind to make a visit some day. But after reading about your experience, I will surely rethink. I too love pizza and cheese but obviously I don’t like overstuffed one.
Oh no I feel terrible now that I made you question about visiting! Chicago definitely does have its charms. I just wouldn’t recommend visiting during the gloomy months in winter and would try to avoid some of these tourist traps 😀
Great to get such an honest post! I’ve not been to Chicago but I can understand why some of these would be underwhelming. That deep dish pizza sounds like it’s best to share amongst a large group of cheese lovers! I love cheese but I felt a little sick reading about it! I’m with you about shopping too – I don’t like spending heaps of time in shops when there are so many other things to explore!
Right! I love cheese and that was just way too overwhelming for me. Definitely share with friends and it’s cheaper too if everyone chips in hahaa 😉
Shame you were underwhelmed, but understandable with the timing. We went in September and enjoyed it and one of us had been a few times before in the Summer. As far as deep dish, we really liked Lou Malnati’s. A smaller one was perfect for two of us. Portillo’s Italian beef was superior to the hot dog, personally.
Those sky decks and high buildings always have a long wait, whether its Dubai, Toronto or Chicago. Understandable that they are real tourist traps, but the views are often the main reason to go.
If you go back again, go in Summer and check out the river cruise and some more local food – there’s a lot off the beaten path! We had some amazing Mexican stewed goat tacos, smoked seafood and some good thin crust pizza at some spots much further south closer to Midway Airport.
For Toronto, I actually visited CN Tower and there weren’t lines or anything. I guess Chicago is maybe just more popular hmm. But yum! I’m totally drooling just thinking about those tacos. I definitely agree that summer is probably way better for visiting and am open to going back again despite my unsuccessful trip this time. Especially open to venturing off the beaten path as well!