Chicago Spring Break 2012: Top Ten Reasons to Spend Spring Break in Chicago.

Chicago Spring Break 2012:  Top Ten Reasons to Spend Spring Break in Chicago.
Humboldt Park, one of Chicago's 77 unique neighborhoods.

Chicago, Thursday, March 22, 2012. It's that time again...time to "brake" for spring.  The majority of spring breaks are just ahead with the last week in March and the week that Easter occurs being the most popular weeks. (Chicago Public Schools will be off  from April 2 through April 6).

Forget those Mickey Mouse ears and long lines at Disney World--the number one spring break destination-- and try Chicago for a change. With the last nine days providing the Windy City with balmy temperatures in the upper 70's and 80's--(higher then Phoenix and San Diego)--and more of the same predicted for the near future--why would you want to be anywhere else?

Here are the top ten reasons to make Chicago your choice for this season.

Number 10: You can enjoy a break in Chicago without going broke.

Check out Chicago's unbelievable list of free activities and events from Lincoln Park Zoo to the Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park's free events.  Find more at Free Things to do in Chicago.

Number 9: Awaken your Chicago side.

We have sandy beaches, beautiful sunrises over Lake Michigan along with all the culture and excitement that a World-class city can offer.

Number 8: Exercise your prerogatives.

Walk or bike--part or all--of Chicago's magnificent 18.5 mile lakefront path from Rogers Park south to 75th Street (South Shore Cultural Center).

Number 7: Take your kids on a Chicagoland/Legoland adventure.

30,000 square feet and three stories of LEGOS  plus exhibits, rides, construction challenges and more, will greet you at the end of your journey.  Instead of hoping in the car, just climb aboard the CTA.  Take the CTA Blue Line train to the Rosemont Station. Transfer to the Route 606 Pace Bus to Woodfield Mall. Then take the free Schaumburg Woodfield Trolley to the Streets of Woodfield stop.

Number 6: Make it a girls day out.

While dad takes the boys on a Legoland adventure, mom and the girls can head to the Mag Mile and stop by The American Girl store. Have  lunch at the AG store (make reservations) or at the Mity Nice Grill or Foodease Market--in Water Tower Place.  Fans of the Pinkalicious book, may want to check out times for the Pinkalicious: The Musical at the adjoining Broadway Playhouse.

Number 5: Take a pass.

Visit the Museum of Science and Industry, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute of Chicago, Field Museum and Skydeck Chicago at discount rates with the Chicago CityPass.

Number 4: Discover a park.

What you may not know is that The Chicago Park District is the largest park district in the United States. The CPD oversees 552 parks on over 7,300 acres that include neighborhood parks, large parks and golf courses.  From Millennium Park to Lincoln Park to Northerly Island or any of the smaller parks and beaches adventure awaits. Check them out on the Chicago Park District website.

Number 3: Take a Tour.

Explore Chicago with the experts. From food tours, to boat tours, to Trolley Tours to walking tours, to Segway tours--go wherever your interests lead you.

Number 2: Discover a neighborhood.

There's more to Chicago than downtown and the Mag Mile. Pick a neighborhood from one of Chicago's 77 unique neighborhoods and make it yours for a day.  Taste the local foods, explore the shops, discover the architecture, the landmarks and more. Each neighborhood has its own personality.  For example, take Humboldt Park, a predominately Puerto Rican neighborhood on the west side of Chicago.  The area is marked by huge, arching, steel Puerto Rican flags at each end of the district known as Paseo Boricua (on Division Street, from North Western Avenue to North California Avenue). Get a taste of Puerto Rican fare with  a guava-cheese pastry from Cafe Colao; 2638 West Division Street, (773-276-1780) or sit down for a full-course meal at the Coco Restaurant, 2723 West Division Street,  (773-384-4811). Also, make sure to check out, the park, aptly named Humboldt Park (entrance on California between Augusta and Division).  The park, designed by Chicago planner Daniel Burnham includes gardens, playgrounds, fields, lagoons (even one that's chlorinated for swimming), and a Germanic-style stable.   You may even see some of the locals showcasing their custom cars and cruisers.

PLEASE NOTE: To learn more about Chicago Neighborhoods, go to the Explore Chicago website for a free download of Eat, Play, Love by Chicago journalist Alan Solomon. The book explores 75 Chicago neighborhoods. You can also purchase a hard copy of the book for $58 at

Number 1:   Rise above it all.

The Willis Tower Skydeck, offers you a birds-eye view of not just Chicago but the three surrounding states of  Michigan, Indiana and Wisconsin.  If you are feeling really brave, step out on the Ledge--at 1,353 feet in the air, the Ledge’s glass boxes extend out 4.3 feet from the Skydeck with only that clear glass between you and the ground below.  As you can see, it's hard to beat Chicago for spring break or anytime. Just don't break that glass.

For more information and ideas stop by the Chicago Visitor Information Centers  Water Works, 163 E. Pearson St. or the Chicago Cultural Center at  77 E. Randolph St.

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  • Carole, due to conflicting spring breaks, sports schedules and finances, we are in fact going to be in Chicago for spring break. Since that can actually be expensive I'm psyched about some of your less expensive and off-the-beaten-path ideas. Thanks!

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