Chicago O'Hare

If you’ve traveled for study abroad programs, have a large family who needs to vacation on a budget or are taking time off to travel after your college graduation, you may relate to having a desire to explore that isn’t always matched by your bank balance. I’ve passed on a few travel opportunities simply because my funds were low. But travel needn’t be expensive; it’s all about the experience.

Which is why I want to talk about how to get the most out of a destination like Rosemont on a budget. With sunny summer days on the horizon, I’ve got a few options for low-cost entertainment with a high-value return — where value means great memories you’ll remember long after the trip is done.

First, let’s take it back ten years, to when most of the area surrounding what is now Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel was airfields, runways, rail yards and highways — with a fast food joint every few blocks. There wasn’t much here in terms of entertainment. (I used to joke that all we did was watch airplanes land for fun. Like in Wayne’s World, when Wayne and his friend Garth make a whole evening about watching air traffic control navigate planes landing. The best part is it was free!)

Over time, though, Rosemont began to create an entertainment infrastructure that would soon rival some of the most popular attractions here in Chicago. From a movie theatre that serves dinner while you watch to the Rivers Casino and a sprawling park, the area’s development means travelers don’t need to go far to have some fun without breaking the bank.

Today, in the summer of 2018, Rosemont has flourished as a destination in itself with dozens of dining options, walkable paths, kid-friendly activities, and so much more in the area known now as Parkway Bank Park.

Photo credit: estiloygracia

Free Activities

Stretch out those travel kinks with Free Yoga in the Park presented by Core Power Yoga. Bring your yoga mat and join other yogis for free all-level yoga classes every Sunday morning from June 24–August 26 at 10 AM. Click here for class schedules and instructors.

There’s also free Zumba in the Park and Fitness in the Park.

Photo credit: @dasher_1977

Chicagoland Forest Preserves

If finding your center on a yoga mat isn’t your thing, but walking and enjoying nature is, Rosemont has that, too. Catherine Chevalier Forest Preserve, just across the street from Loews Chicago O’Hare Hotel, is a great way to experience Mother Nature in an otherwise urban setting. With over 300 miles of trails and paths to explore, the local forest preserves provide a place where you can stay active, enjoy the local area maybe even have a picnic, all free to the public.

Click here for more information on the preserves and paths.

For a more immersive experience, check out this interactive live map of all the walking trails the Chicago area has to offer.

Photo credit: Parkway Bank Park Website

Rockin’ in the Park

Now you’re fit, it’s time to rock out! Parkway Bank Park hosts concerts for all ages with their weekly Rockin’ in the Park series of free concerts, held on Thursday evenings through August 30. The series features music by classic cover bands, food and beverage tents on the park’s great lawn and a musical fireworks display after every show. Grab a blanket, slip on your coolest shades and join your fellow concertgoers on the green at Parkway Bank Park for a free toe-tapping experience.

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