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Laura aka Up4Travel
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Winter Roadtrip Chicago..Stuck!!

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  • Winter Roadtrip Chicago..Stuck!!

    i am new to this forum. we just moved to chicago and my parents are visiting us during christmas. They have never been to america before and i wanna show them some good places. i have been warned not to go to niagara falls during winter, due to severe snow conditions on the road. i am not a snow driver by any chance. i am from california. i have 9 days with me and a van. I was wondering if there is any fun places to take them to during last week of december. i am willing to travel around 700-800 miles one way. Please suggest. Thank you

  • #2
    Re: Winter Roadtrip Chicago..Stuck!!

    Hi there,

    If you're worried about snow, what about heading south? Looks like Nashville is less than 500 miles from Chicago (according to Mapquest). I don't know that part of the country well at all, but I bet with a little research you could find some fun things to see on a swing through the Midwest/Southeast.

    Or you could head east to Washington D.C. (~700 miles), passing through places like Gettysburg and Baltimore. It would be a long haul, but you'd be on major roads at all times so hopefully your itinerary wouldn't be as vulnerable to bad weather. (You could ditch the car and hop on public transportation while you're actually in DC too.)

    Hope that helps a little! Let us know what you decide.
    "I haven't been everywhere yet, but it's on my list." -- Susan Sontag

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    • #3
      Re: Winter Roadtrip Chicago..Stuck!!

      Need more information to give you a good answer...

      Where are your parents from?
      What type of trip are they looking for? (sometimes people want busy jam-packed trips / sometimes they want downtime / I prefer a mix of both)
      Do they need downtime / relaxing?
      Do they want to do city stuff?
      Is cold weather ok? Or could they use some warmer weather?
      Are they looking natural wonders / scenery? History, culture, technology?

      If history is their thing -- then DC is a great idea. NYC and Boston are also options -- tons to do there. Boston is smaller / more walkable / with more of a focus on history. NYC -- so many things to do. You could also take them on a Circle Line trip around lower Manhattan, or a lunch cruise. Or you could hop on the Staten Island Ferry and go right past the St of Liberty (NY and Boston hotels are $$$ but you might be able to find a reasonable rate on Trip Advisor)

      *If they REALLY want to see Niagara Falls - that's about 1/2 way to the East Coast from Chicago. I wouldn't rule it out just because it's winter. Niagara Falls is something you can stop at for an hour and then be on your way. You could check the extended weather report the week before they arrive. The NE is pretty experienced in keeping the roads clear.

      If it looks like bad weather is headed in, then you'd probably want to head south. (although heading south in Winter from Chicago does not guarantee you better weather. Sometimes when Chicago is getting SNOW, south of there (St. Louis, Nashville etc) -- they may be having an ICE storm, and that's a lot more dangerous to drive in. So check your forecasts!

      St. Louis is about 300 miles directly south, and would be a good place to take a short break. There's an interesting museum under the the Gateway Arch. The City Museum in STL is a great place to visit also.

      A few hours more than your preferred mileage -- but you could drive to the Florida gulf coast (Panama City area) or to Charleston/Savannah area. But if your parents live near the ocean, this probably wouldn't be a good choice.

      In Chicago, they might like the Aquarium, Natural History Museum, or the Technology Museum. You could also drive 1.5 north and visit Milwaukee -- beautiful lakefront and lots of great restaurants, and different shows at the Pabst Theater and Riverside Theater. Sort of like Chicago but you can drive across town in 10 min, and lots of parking.

      Hope that helps -----

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