Your Personality Will Swipe Right On 1 Of These 8 Chicago Day Trips. (Which Will It Be?)
Summertime means road trips. And in the Chicago area, there are tons of destinations to choose from, which is why we took a note from science and put together a list of eight different destinations—one for each personality type, based on the popular theory of multiple intelligences.
No matter your style, there are desirable destinations for everyone—from the active to the academic—all within 180 miles each day, making them perfect for a Zipcar getaway. Take the test and discover your personality type. Then find the Chicagoland day trip that’s basically custom-built for you.
1) LOGICAL-MATHEMATICAL: LAKE GENEVA (80 MILES)
Lake Geneva has long been a draw for city dwellers looking for relaxation, but a number of spots make the area especially attractive to the logical-mathematical minded (meaning, those interested in critical thinking, reasoning, and experimenting). The Yerkes Observatory—a research facility where astronomers Edwin Hubble and Carl Sagan once worked, and home to the world's largest refracting telescope—opens its doors to the public several times each month for stargazing. Plan ahead by checking out their online event calendar. During the daytime, use your critical thinking skills to get a hole-in-one on the Hawk’s View Golf Club’s meticulously manicured fairways.
2) VISUAL-SPATIAL: MILWAUKEE (90 MILES)
Milwaukee may be best known for beer, but it also has a burgeoning art scene, perfect for those with an inclination to see, draw, and visualize. (Can you picture yourself there already?) Start at the Milwaukee Art Museum, where the building is just as much a piece of art as the 30,000 works found inside it. (Pro tip: Check out the Quadracci Pavilion, which has 217-foot exterior wings that open twice a day.) Next, head to the Historic Third Ward, a 12-square-block neighborhood of renovated warehouses that is now home to cafés and more than three dozen art galleries. If you’re feeling inspired, visit Splash Studio, a painting bar where you can grab a drink and work on a canvas. If you’re looking for a little guidance, Splash also offers teacher-led classes.
3) BODILY-KINESTHETIC: STARVED ROCK STATE PARK (90 MILES)
Starved Rock is an ideal getaway for bodily-kinesthetic types, who are always on the move, building, and touching. Lace up your hiking boots, pack some sunscreen, and zip here for 13 miles of hiking trails. The park has 18 canyons, 14 of which have waterfalls, meaning you’ll definitely want to bring your camera. Opt for a guide-led hike, or go it alone. (Experienced hikers should check out the Tonty and LaSalle Canyon trails, which have less foot traffic and more rugged terrain.) Refuel at the Starved Rock Lodge, which serves up sandwiches, salads, and standard comfort food in a rustic setting.
4) MUSICAL: WOODSTOCK, IL (60 MILES)
The name Woodstock conjures images of music festivals, which works well for Woodstock, IL, and for those who identify with the musical intelligence type. The town was the picturesque setting for the 1993 Bill Murray classic, “Groundhog Day,” but these days it’s the summer music fests that draw visitors. This July 19 marks the 30th annual Woodstock Folk Festival. For those with more classical tastes, check out the town's Mozart Festival, which runs on three consecutive weekends in July and August.
5) LINGUISTIC: BLOOMINGTON-NORMAL, IL (130 MILES)
May through mid-August, this town celebrates the Bard with the Illinois Shakespeare Festival. Linguistic personalities (those focused on reading, writing, talking, and listening) should head here to see classics, like “Love's Labour's Lost” or “Richard II,” as well as more contemporary offerings (like Q Brothers' show, “Q Gents,” a hip-hop adaptation of “The Two Gentlemen of Verona”) and improv. Fuel up ahead of time (or opt to pre-order your meal to picnic while you take in a show) at Kelly’s Bakery & Cafe, a European-style bistro. Make a night of it by booking a room at the Vrooman Mansion, a historic hotel that was once a private home that regularly hosted playwrights and poets.
6) INTERPERSONAL: ROCKFORD, IL (90 MILES)
The interpersonal intelligence is concerned with sharing, teaching, collaborating, and interacting. For you guys, we suggest time traveling back to the 1890s at Midway Village, a living museum with costumed guides. Plan ahead to visit during one of their interactive events, when you can learn everything from how to hammer like a blacksmith (during their Victorian crafts day) to how to churn butter (as part of their Victorian food event). Later, take a teamwork approach to dinner with a cooking class at Tasty Tidbits. Choose from classes such as “Summer Tapas from the Market” and “Loving Local Artisan Cheeses.” (Who knew loving cheese needed to be taught? There really is something for everyone.)
7) INTRAPERSONAL: FOX RIVER VALLEY (60 MILES)
An hour west of downtown Chicago, the Fox River Valley is a serene escape, perfect for those focused on connecting to self and reflecting. Load up your bike (or rent one at one of the many bike shops found in the valley) and start by exploring the Fox River Trail, a 40-mile paved path that runs along the river and passes through charming villages and nature preserves. Start at the south end, in Aurora, and head north towards St. Charles (there's no need to tackle the entire route). Take a break to reflect and find serenity at the Fabyan Japanese Garden in Geneva before heading to the Herrington Inn and Spa for a signature massage.
8) NATURALIST: INDIANA DUNES (50 MILES)
Reconnect with nature along 15 miles of coastline at the Indiana Dunes. Here, you can walk along wide sandy beaches, scale challenging sand dunes, or even hike inland marsh trails, ideal for the naturalist intelligence, who likes to experience, connect to living things, and explore. If you're up for it, take the 3 Dune Challenge, a self-guided 1.5-mile trail that has you climb 550 vertical feet (for reference, that’s nearly as tall as Chicago’s Marina Towers), with some parts of the trail at a challenging 40-degree slope. Next, explore the Taltree Arboretum & Gardens, and join an outdoor yoga class. Wind down at Miller Woods, a 75-acre oasis considered one of the best birding spots around.
See anything that catches your eye? Let us know which trips are calling to you, and if you have any additional local spots to suggest.