The Out-of-Town Marathoner’s Guide to Chicago


You can handle a 26.2-mile tour around Chicago, but you’re lost when it comes to filling in the rest of your marathon weekend. We’ve got your back.


Sifting your way through Chicago’s highlights, especially when you don’t have as much time for sightseeing as you usually would, may seem a little daunting. Where do I eat? What should I see? Where can I celebrate?

You’ve got restaurants with options for whatever your palate craves. You’ve got the nightlife—for celebrating after you’ve run your marathon, of course. You’ve got the attractions from the historic buildings and museums to Navy Pier and the Magnificent Mile, where crowds flock regardless of the season.

Have no fear. We’ll help take the guesswork out of everything to do in Chicago.


Carb On

Fueling up on starches before race day easily tops your must-do list. It’s easy in Chicago with perennial pasta favorites like Rosebud and Maggiano’s. Cross off two goals you might have marathon weekend—carbo-loading and hitting the city’s hottest restaurants—by snagging a reservation at RPM Italian, Nico Osteria, Piccolo Sogno or the recently renovated Spiaggia.

As for after the race, when pasta and quinoa are the last foods you want to stuff into your stomach, go for a slice of Chicago-style pizza at Giordano’s or head over to Randolph Street’s restaurant row where you’ll find some of the city’s top tables. Or try River North’s Three Dots and a Dash, the tiki lounge serving tropical cocktails that make it easy to forget about those sore legs.



The Bank of America Chicago Marathon technically ends once you cross the finish line, but the partying has only just begun. The 27th Mile Post-Race Party in Butler Field at Grant Park is not only the area to reunite with your family and friends, but it’s also where you can start celebrating your marathon accomplishment with beer, music and a soft spot to rest your tired legs.

If you want to celebrate after you’ve had a chance to shower, stretch and maybe even snack, you don’t have to venture too far from the marathon’s start line. From a pre-race pep rally that typically happens the Thursday before to selling the official marathon merchandise including finisher gear, you can’t go wrong stopping at Nike Chicago.


Play Tourist

Moving the body after an endurance event helps with recovery—it gets the blood flowing and kick-starts tissue repair—so if you’re not in rough shape, you may as well hobble around the city to see some of Chicago’s famous sights. Favorites include the Skydeck at Willis Tower; 360 Chicago, formerly known as the John Hancock Observatory, which recently opened the Tilt experience unlike any other city view; the Art Institute and the Field Museum; the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise, which highlights several Chicago buildings; and Cloud Gate, the kidney-bean sculpture anchoring Millennium Park. And who wouldn’t want a medal-holding selfie by “The Bean”? You can’t get more Chicago than that.


Sidebar: Where to find…

We’ve named the places, now here’s where you can learn more about them:

For attractions:

For restaurants:

For transportation: