The Bank of America Chicago Marathon; what to do, where to eat, things to do

Skyline shot of Chicago during the Chicago Marathon

After a fantastic Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2023, in which the Men’s Marathon World Record time was broken, attention now turns to the 2024 edition! Chicago is one of the United States’ most impressive and beautiful cities, offering a large amount of culture, cuisine and memories to authenticate your time in the Windy City.

With the race taking place in October, you’ll get to experience Chicago as it enters its cosy autumnal season, with a number of its locations providing an authentic welcoming feel as the colder months approach. If you’ve never been to Chicago before or want to experience more of what it has to offer whilst you’re there, this guide breaks down the places you cannot miss…

Explore the delights of Downtown

Marathon Tours & Travel’s package for the 2024 Bank of America Chicago Marathon offers stays in Downtown, right in the centre of all the action. Downtown offers renowned architecture, lively culture hotspots and plenty of beautiful places to eat and drink.

Set on the banks of the Chicago River, Downtown can be truly appreciated with a river tour allowing you to take in the mesmerising architecture of the city from an immersive vantage point. With tours setting off every hour, the city’s most famous landmarks that helped shape this incredible city can be viewed, including the John Hancock Center, Willis Tower and the Harbor Locks.

Chicago is world-renowned for its rich and homely food and is offers the perfect place to fuel up before or after your race. Downtown is a great place to explore this diverse region, with a great mix of fine dining options, cheap eats and food markets if you can’t settle on one cuisine! Green Street Smoked Meats and Purple Pig are particular highlights to check out.

If you’re an art-lover, Downtown Chicago is not just one of the top locations in Chicago, but also in the United States. Home to The Art Institute of Chicago, showcasing over 300,000 works of art as well as the Museum of Contemporary Art and the Museum of Contemporary Photography – so there’s something to satisfy everybody.

Runners ahead of the Chicago Marathon
Chicago is home to stunning architecture, that can be experienced on sightseeing runs or at your own leisure ahead of the Chicago Marathon [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]

Have a look around Hyde Park

One of the most historic areas of Chicago, Hyde Park offers further opportunity to sample the city’s great views as well as experiencing leafy tranquillity in the Autumn sunshine. The area is the location of the University of Chicago and also allows culture buffs to explore more of Chicago’s museums, with the Museum of Science and Industry situated in Hyde Park as well.

Hyde Park offers a beautiful place to relax pre- or post-race, with the area’s stunning Osaka Garden offering stunning waterfalls, greenery and ponds. Located next to 57th beach, this incredible setting has a variety of different views that make a visit well worth it and can be reached by hopping on the metro making it even easier for visitors.

The luxurious setting that Hyde Park sits in also makes it a great destination for food and drink. Home to a variety of different cuisines that cater to all appetites, you can experience traditional American fare or something from further afield, Hyde Park has it all. Make sure to check out Mesler Kitchen for American classics or Chant Restaurant, Asian Fusion specialists.

Wander around West Loop

There are few places in the world that offer the bustling metropolis of a city like Chicago next to beautiful beaches with views across Lake Michigan. From West Loop through to Streeterville, there is so much to take in with such a mix of views.

There is nothing more synonymous with Chicago than theatres and Eastside to West Loop is awash with theatres showcasing shows daily and nightly in beautiful settings. Theatres such as the Goodman Theatre put on large and diverse productions across a range of different genres, all not-for-profit and in a setting that is now over 100 years old, having been founded in 1922.

West Loop is also renowned for its dining and bar scene, with some of the city’s most distinguished restaurants located in the area. The Fulton Market area has taken former historic warehouses which helped establish the city’s trade in to one of the coolest dining destinations in the city, with a range of food options available. If you fancy a more traditional restaurant setting, Randolph Street is the place to head to.

Our top three tips for your trip to Chicago

Runners taking part in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of the most popular marathons in the world and sells out every year. [Source: Marathon Tours & Travel]
  • Make the most of Chicago’s transport system. Chicago is relatively easy to navigate, with its road network set out in a grid system. However the transport options available to visitors allow you to get anywhere in the city in plenty of time and for a cheap price.
  • Be prepared for Chicago conditions. It’s called the Windy City for a reason! Prepare well, bring plenty of layers if the weather is looking variable.