Saturday, August 24, 2013

What's In a Staycation?

A friend of mine recently stated on her Facebook page that she was off work for the next 3 days.  Of course, I got excited and asked “Where Are You Going?” and to that she responded “No where.  It’s a Staycation.”  OHHHHHHH….a Staycation?!  I got REALLY EXCITED.  Why?  Cause Staycations can be fun too!

Staycations give you a chance to do things in your own city that you never get to do or never think about doing.  A Staycation allows you to see your city the way others do.  It gives you an opportunity to slow down and smell the streets of unknown neighborhoods, walk around an empty shopping center, or have a leisurely lunch at a restaurant that usually has a 30 minute wait just to be seated.  It gives you a chance to fall in love with your city - all over again.

Recently, I’ve been on a self imposed “no travel” restriction.  Unable to leave town, I have been exploring Chicago in ways that I haven’t in a long time.  And while I will be the first to admit, I love hopping on planes and heading to new places; it's been fun to explore my own streets.

Here are just a few things I have been doing on my weekends while playing tourist in my own home town.
  • I spent some time at Navy Pier where I sat by the water and watched the boats while eating Funnel Cake. I found a deal on for a downtown hotel I wanted to experience. 
  • I booked a room for July 3rd (yes, I was surprised that date wasn’t blacked out), sent the deal to some friends and we spent the night hanging out enjoying the start of summer.
  •  I walked up and down Michigan Ave., not shopping (that’s new), but taking in the sites, listening to all of the different languages being spoken and snapping pictures of “Planter Heads” that were installed by Plant Green Ideas in an effort to promote sustainability.
  • I got up early one Saturday morning, headed to the closest beach and spent the day laying around, catching up on some reading and watching people on the bike path.
  • Some friends and I snagged a Groupon deal and hopped on an architectural boat tour where I learned that the natural flow of the Chicago River has been reversed.  WOW – that’s interesting!  I actually did some research when I got home about how they did that.
  • I’ve been to Millennium Park at least twice.  On one trip, I simply sat by Crown Fountain eating ice cream and watching children play freely in the water. On my most recent trip to Millennium Park, I discovered a series of sculptures in an outdoor gallery.  Turns out, this gallery is named Boing Gallery and the collection is titled Dangos by Jun Kaneko, who is known for his work in the field of monumental ceramic sculpture.  I found these sculptures uninteresting, yet interesting.  It was odd.  I read the information card and learned that the pieces were “representative of his past and present artistic practices” and that the ceramic steels are “covered in a variety of vibrant shapes and patterns which allow viewers to examine their environment and focus in a sense of scale and place.”  *Blank Stare*

I will say that my self imposed travel restriction has been frustrating, but rewarding.  Yesterday, I spent some time at a beach close to my house watching boats sail by.  I whispered to my friend, "Chicago is a beautiful city" and he whispered back "Yes, it certainly is".  

31st Street Beach. Chicago, IL

For more photos of my weekends out, click here.


  1. How romantic watching the boats sail by on the beachfront with your guy..that's something me and my guy can do together today

    1. Anonymous - thanks for reading the blog. Yes, it was nice to just sit there and "be". Neither of us spoke for a while, we were simply lost in our own thoughts.

      I hope you got the chance to watch the boats together today. If so, feel free to post pictures on the Facebook page:

      Keep Reading!

  2. That's great. Glad that I could be an inspiration.... lol. I was actually on vacation for 10 days and fortunately, I received a SURPRISE monetary gift from my mom because she saw my post. When I said I didn't have any money, I meant NONE. Needlesstosay, I had a great STAYCATION. We rented a Jet-ski at North Ave beach. I was inspired to do this because of a Groupon that I saw, but it was sold out. We did it anyway and had a ball. Then we did the Seadog Boat Cruise at Navy Pier and watched the fireworks. On Saturday, I used a Groupon to take the kids to the Duneland Waterpark.

    1. AWESOME Kim. So happy you enjoyed your time here in the city. There is SO MUCH to do. I was lucky enough to purchase that Groupon for Jet Skiing, but have yet to use it. I'm going to get that done this week.

      Let me know if you plan any weekend outings before the end of the summer. I would love to take the boys for a ride in my car! :)

  3. This is so true! Staycations keep me sane in-between vacations! LOL. They have also been a great way to become a resident tourist and explore my local areas. I haven't taken more than 1 day off work for a staycation though. I usually tack them before or after the weekend.

    1. Michaela, I agree. Staycations also help me get over the "hump" in-between actual vacations AND I've learned a lot about my own city.

      Thanks for reading!

  4. Chicago is a wonderful city that people travel all over the world to visit but residents sometimes forget! I love my city and take advantage of the many things offered whenever I'm here. Even the beaches, which I admit, I'm pretty snobby about (nasty Lake Michigan) but I actually got into the water last month!

    1. You got into the water? You are a brave soul. LOL

  5. I love a good staycation!

    If you don't mind a link to my own thoughts on the subject ...

    There are times when you just can't take a gap or a snap year abroad, and a good day out or a weekend away relatively close to home can help fill the gaps between longer journeys and let you explore some of the amazing sites in your own back garden, which at the end of the day other tourists from all over the world come to visit, so why shouldn't you?