Day 1 - Welcome to the Chicago Southland
After checking in to your hotel, start your Chicago Southland adventure at Big Marsh Bike Park! Big Marsh Bike Park, located just east of Lake Calumet, is 278 acres of open space. Big Marsh is a brand-new playground for cycling and nature lovers alike. Big Marsh is home to family-friendly bike trails as well as world-class venues for mountain biking, cyclocross racing and trail riding. Big Marsh also features facilities for students of all ages, including a tot track for the youngest riders, small pump track, large pump track, jump lines, flow trail and single-track trails. Rent a bike or just enjoy the view at Big Marsh Bike Park!
After working up an appetite biking in the great outdoors, it’s time for dining at Portillo’s, home to America’s favorite Italian beef, burgers, salads, Chicago-style hot dogs and chocolate cake. The first Portillo’s hot dog stand, known as “The Dog House,” opened in 1963 in Villa Park. Now with over 30 locations, you can experience Portillo’s famous food for yourself!
Day 2 – Take me out to the ball game!
Start the day Homewood Bat Co. in Homewood. The Chicago Southland loves baseball and all that goes along with the game. The only wood bat manufacturer in Illinois and approved by Major League Baseball, Homewood Bat is an experience you don’t want to miss. See how bats are made for the professionals and get a personalized souvenir bat with your name engraved. Visit Homewood Bat Co. for yourself and experience “The Sweet Sound of a Homewood Bat!” This tour is only $5.00 per person. Please note, you will need to show your $5.00 ticket to receive a souvenir bat (not engraved). To have the bat personally engraved, an additional fee of $5.00 applies.
Now that you’ve experienced the only wood bat manufacturer in Illinois, it’s time to experience the World’s Largest Pizzeria! Enjoy lunch at “The Original” Aurelio’s Pizza in Homewood, and don’t forget to have your pizza cooked in the old oven – trust us!
After lunch, travel to Chicago’s south side and take a tour of Guaranteed Rate Field, home of the Chicago White Sox. Group tours (10 or more) are available on weekdays (Tuesdays and Fridays at 10:30 a.m. on game days and 10:30 a.m. or 1:30 p.m. on non-game days). Tours include viewing the home dugout, press box, field suites and Stadium Club. Advanced reservations are required. After the tour of Guaranteed Rate Field, enjoy a game of White Sox baseball. While at the game, make certain to try the bacon-on-a-stick, banana split sundae helmet and corn off the cob: fresh corn topped with an assortment of ingredients including butter, salt and pepper. It’s not typical, but it’s quite possibly the best snack item at Guaranteed Rate Field. Go! Go! White Sox!
Optional: If you prefer a more intimate baseball experience, enjoy a Windy City ThunderBolts game. The Windy City ThunderBolts are the Chicago Southland’s professional minor league baseball team and call Ozinga Field in Crestwood home. The Bolts have been a member of the Frontier League for over 18 years and are only the second team in league history to win back-to-back championships. Nothing is more American than baseball, America’s pastime, and you can’t find a better value than a Windy City ThunderBolts game! Go Bolts!
Day 3 – A day of champions with Chicago Southland’s bests
Start day your third and final day in the Chicago Southland off with a tour of the Method Soap Factory, located on the south side of Chicago’s historic Pullman Park district. Method is the industry’s first LEED platinum-certified soap factory in Chicago, setting new standards for making soap. Your group will learn about renewable energy, hydroponic farming and green manufacturing. Upon arrival, you’ll be greeted by an enormous wind turbine. In fact, this 230-foot wind turbine works the opposite of a fan: instead of using electricity to make it, it uses wind to make electricity. The wind turbine helps generate half of the building’s annual electrical consumption. The factory also has a “greenroof” — the urban agriculture company Gotham Greens has taken over 75,000 square feet of the roof to create a commercial-scale greenhouse, which produces about 500 tons of fresh, premium quality, pesticide-free produce annually for the local community and surrounding retail and restaurants.
Next, travel to the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), located in the Hyde Park neighborhood. MSI is the largest science museum in the western hemisphere. Among its diverse and expansive exhibits, the museum features a full-size replica coal mine, German submarine U-505 captured during World War II, a 3,500-square-foot model railroad, the first diesel-powered streamlined stainless steel passenger train (Pioneer Zephyr) and the Apollo 8 spacecraft that carried the first humans to orbit the Moon. Explore MSI, where science comes to life!
Now it’s time to return to the Chicago Southland region to enjoy an early dinner at Chuck’s Southern Comforts Café in Burbank. Featured on shows like Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and Windy City Live, Chuck’s is famous for their slow cooked barbecue that has Mexican and Cajun-Creole inspired flavor palates.
After filling up on BBQ, cheer on the Chicago Red Stars at SeatGeek Stadium, located just five minutes away from Chuck’s. The Chicago Red Stars is a women’s professional soccer club who compete in the National Women’s Soccer League. The Red Stars helped found the Women’s Professional Soccer league and later co-founded and competed in the Women’s Premier Soccer League Elite. Every year since 2015, the Red Stars have made the playoffs in the NWSL and are the first and only team to do so for five consecutive years! Go Red Stars!
We look forward to welcoming you to the Chicago Southland!
Student performance opportunities are available while touring the Chicago Southland including the following locations: SeatGeek Stadium (Chicago Red Stars & Chicago House AC), Guaranteed Rate Field (Chicago White Sox), Ozinga Field (Windy City ThunderBolts), The Shrine of Christ’s Passion, parades and various performing arts venues.
*Please note, itinerary may be modified to meet your group’s specific needs. Locations and selections are subject to availability. Please contact Tobie Fitzpatrick at Tobie@VisitChicagoSouthland.com or 708-895-8200 to obtain current pricing and confirmation of dates and locations.
Big Marsh Bike Park
Homewood Bat Co
Chicago White Sox (Guaranteed Rate Field)
Method Soap Factory
Museum of Science and Industry
Chuck's Southern Comforts Café
Chicago Red Stars (SeatGeek Stadium)
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