Culture The Best Day Trips from Chicago  

Ranker Travel
564 votes 89 voters 3.7k views 38 items

List Rules Best day trips from Chicago

List of the best day trips from Chicago. You’ve seen the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower), eaten a burger at P.J. Clarke’s and ridden the Ferris wheel at Navy Pier. Now it’s time to explore the best day trip locations around Chicago. From Chicagoland to Wisconsin to Michigan, you can shop, eat, play or get close to nature with these top Chicago day trips.

Although Chicago is a major metropolitan area, did you know that you can find natural beauty just outside the city? The greater Chicagoland area contains thousands of acres of protected forest area, but for a real treat, a day trip to Starved Rock State Park might be in order. Hiking trails of all difficulties take visitors to canyons, picturesque vistas, waterfalls and more, but a range of activities are available nearby, including horseback riding, kayaking, cross-country skiing and camping.

And if exploring nature isn’t exciting enough, there’s always a Chicago day trip to Six Flags Great America. Located in Gurnee, not too far from the mega Gurnee Mills mall, the theme park is a destination for Chicagoans and tourists thanks to its thrill rides, entertainment and water park. The adventurous might take a ride on Goliath, which hits speeds of 72 miles per hour.

Read this list to find the greatest day trips from Chicago, including those in the state of Illinois and in neighboring states. With so many good, easy, and cheap Chicago trips to choose from, the most difficult part will be choosing just one.
list ordered by

1
23 4
Warren Dunes State Park is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Warren Dunes State Park Michigan, USA

2
20 4
Starved Rock State Park is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Starved Rock State Park Illinois, USA

3
22 10
Milwaukee is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Wisconsin, USA

4
15 4
Galena is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Illinois, USA

5
6 0
Michigan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Michigan

12E from Michigan City. Michigan wine/antique/beach country ends in St. Joseph's quaint brick-paved shopping district. Watch the sun set over historic St. Joseph lighthouse from the train station/pizza shop to end your day!

6
15 6
Evanston is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Evanston Illinois, USA

7
15 6
South Bend is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Indiana, USA

8
11 3
Brookfield Zoo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Brookfield, Illinois, USA

9
12 4
Chicago Botanic Garden is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Illinois, USA

10
16 8
Naperville is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Illinois, USA

11
15 9
Madison is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Wisconsin, USA

12
5 2
Ulysses S. Grant Home is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Galena, Illinois, USA

A history-rich home in a lovely historical town!

13
4 1
Lincoln Tomb is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Lincoln Tomb Springfield, Illinois, USA

Somber but beautiful architecture both inside and outside the tomb itself.....

14
4 1
Indiana Dunes National Lakesho... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Indiana, USA

Beautiful beaches with Chicago's skyline hovering over Lake Michigan like a dream in the distance! 

15
11 9
Lake Geneva is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Wisconsin, USA

16
11 9
Oakbrook Center is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Oakbrook Center Illinois, USA

17
10 8
Indiana Dunes State Park is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
United States of America

18
7 5
Goose Lake Prairie State Natur... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Goose Lake Prairie State Natural Area Illinois, USA

19
5 3
Abraham Lincoln Home Historic ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Abraham Lincoln Home Historic Site Springfield IL

The only home Lincoln ever owned before moving to the White House! Nice tour with rooms authentically preserved from Lincoln's time here. He gave his Presidential acceptance speech from the front doorway!

20
3 1
Dana-Thomas House State Histor... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Samurai Mike added Dana-Thomas House State Historic Site Illinois, USA

A Frank Lloyd Wright classic, in Springfield, IL. Nice tour just down the street from the State Capitol. 

21
8 7
Illinois Railway Museum is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Illinois Railway Museum Illinois, USA

22
4 3
Indianapolis is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Sportsfan2 added Indiana, USA

23
9 9
Mars Cheese Castle is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Mars Cheese Castle

24
7 7
Gurnee Mills is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Gurnee Mills Illinois, USA

25
5 5
St. Louis is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Day Trips from Chicago
Sportsfan2 added Missouri, USA