Day 4: Navy Pier

A day in Chicago is a must if you’re staying close to home on spring break. At Navy Pier, you can experience the city like the tourists do. Unfortunately, the iconic Ferris Wheel has been taken down in anticipation of the new state-of-the-art DW60 that will open this summer, but there’s still lots to do at the pier. The Chicago Children’s Museum is a great first stop. Get in before it gets too crowded then break for lunch. There are classic touristy options - Bubba Gump Shrimp Co., Billy Goat Tavern & Grill, Harry Caray’s and Giordano’s - and you can go as upscale as the Riva Crab House or as casual as grab-and-go quick bites in the food court and in-between with fresh Thai and Chinese Dishes at Big Bowl Chinese Express or down-home Southern finger-lickin’ barbecue from PorkChop.

Take in a movie at the Imax Theatre or a Shakespeare production at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. Cap off your day with a sightseeing tour on the lake and don’t forget your camera for some stunning shots of the country’s most beautiful skyline.