Explore the Outdoors: 5 Activities to Get You Out of the City

June 29, 2018

It’s summer in Chicago, and you’re a little tired of staying in the city. You want to be out and about, taking in the natural wonders of the world, but don’t know where to start.

Why not start close by? We at Vimbly hear you, and have compiled a list of 5 outdoor activities that will help you explore the outdoors, while not taking you too far away from Windy City.

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    Architectural Tour

    (28)
    Part adventure, part history lesson. If only school had been this fun! This tour will have you paddling through the heart of Chicago as you take on the urban canyon that is the downtown Chicago River. Along the way, your guide will fill you in on the history of the area, pointing out architectural points of interest and other oddities that will make this journey almost as intellectually satisfying as it is visually riveting. All told, you'll spend several leisurely hours on the water, getting a light upper body workout that will leave you feeling rejuvenated and limber. Whether you've never kayaked before or you're an experienced pro, you'll love this intimate introduction to the city's history.
    Architectural Tour

    1220 W LeMoyne Ave, Chicago

    • Kayak across the city on the Chicago River during this energizing adventure tour
    • Learn about the history and architecture of Chicago as you paddle by several famous sites
    • Let a certified instructor show you the ropes during a safe row
    • Feel adrenaline of adventure consume your senses and fuel your sense of wonder
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    28 positive reviews
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    Sunset Paddle

    (28)
    If you seek a titillating twilight tour, look no further. This kayaking journey will give you a whole new perspective of city of Chicago. You'll be making your way along the Chicago River, surrounded on all sides by reflections of gold as the sun drops below the horizon. You'll paddle for six miles with a licensed guide who will point out some of the unique sites as you pass by, offering up nuggets of architectural fact and history. Whether you have years of experience kayaking, or are picking up the paddle for the first time, you'll find plenty to enjoy during this adventure. That is, if you're not too busy being titillated by the views.
    Sunset Paddle

    1220 W LeMoyne Ave, Chicago

    • Kayak across the city on the Chicago River during this energizing twilight adventure tour
    • Learn about the history and architecture of Chicago as you paddle by several famous sites
    • Let a certified instructor show you the ropes during a safe row
    • Feel the adrenaline of adventure consume your senses and fuel your sense of wonder
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    28 positive reviews
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    Learn to Kayak

    (28)
    Escape from the bustle of the Chicago sprawl with an adventure right in its midst! Designed for those who are a little wet behind the ears, this introductory class will get you started by building a strong foundation of kayaking know-how. You'll be taking to the water on the Chicago River, launching right from Downtown Chicago. Once on the water, you'll focus solely on your paddling technique during a safe, leisurely row. This class is designed for those who aren't quite ready to take on capsizing and rescue drills, making it the perfect first step into a new life of on-the-water adventure. Learn while exploring the the river, with Chicago buildings rising up on either side, and discover a life of adventure that will never sink your expectations!
    Learn to Kayak

    1220 W LeMoyne Ave, Chicago

    • Work with a certified instructor to develop basic kayak skills in an introductory class
    • Learn while having a blast exploring the Chicago River from the heart of the city
    • Get a great upper body workout while working on paddling techniques
    • Discover an all-new outdoor hobby that you can enjoy without having to leave Chicago
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    28 positive reviews
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    Trapped in a Room with A Zombie

    (17)
    So you think you're smarter than a brain-dead zombie? Well, here's your ultimate chance to prove it. You'll enjoy this Room Escape Adventure, a live interactive theater production/team building activity, that places you right in the center of all the action. Trapped inside a room with a team of 12, you must rely on your wits, your teammates, and your ability to communicate with each other in order to escape in 60 minutes or less, or else. Or else what? Or else the zombie gets you. Bring your A-game, as the zombie's chain is loosened a foot every five minutes... And he's hungry for one thing only: BRAAAAAIIINS.
    Trapped in a Room with A Zombie

    410 South Michigan Avenue, Chicago

    • Prepare for interactive theater at its finest! Use your wits to gather clues and solve puzzles in order to escape a locked room in 60 minutes or less
    • Get a taste of what it would be like to be on reality TV shows likes Fear Factor, Minute To Win It, Survivor & The Amazing Race
    • Create amazing memories and strengthen your communication and team-working skills
    • Practice survival techniques for the zombie apocalypse
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    17 positive reviews
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    Laser Tag for 12-16 missions 3 hrs

    (8)
    Pew! Pew! Relive your childhood games of imaginary mayhem during an adrenaline-inducing laser game with CMP Tactical Lazer Tag! Rather than cheap plastic gear, CMP uses high-end, realistic looking simulated weaponry to make you feel like you're really in the thick of things. You can elect to gear up with a SMG, or perhaps use an M4, AK-47, or even a sniper rifle! Better yet, CMP offers incredible arenas to help you get in the spirit of things, which are built out across nine 2-story buildings rife with tricky obstacles and fear-inducing corridors. Games aren't just designed around kill-or-be-killed, but include fun tactical objectives to make you feel like you're inside of a video game, such as taking out bombs or capturing med-boxes. This 3-hour session includes time for approximately 12-16 missions. When it comes to laser games, CMP offers plenty of "pew" for your buck!
    Laser Tag for 12-16 missions 3 hrs

    10315 Vans Dr, Frankfort

    • Indulge your whimsical side during a realistic, heart-thumping, lazer tag game
    • Use high-end simulated weaponry such as SMGs, AK-47s, and sniper rifles
    • Find yourself immersed in an incredible arena built out across multi-level buildings
    • Compete to win fun tactical challenges such as capturing objects
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    8 positive reviews
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    Architecture of the Loop Walking Tour

    Get an in-depth look at Chicago Loop architecture on a walking tour that takes you inside landmark buildings in the design-rich city. Appreciate the interiors of the Marshall Fields Building, Chase Tower, Chicago Cultural Center and more, plus see public art by Chagall and Picasso. Stroll through elegant lobbies, under glittering domes and into the sprawling network of Chicago Pedway tunnels. Your expert guide shares insights about the city's diverse architectural styles and history, bringing the details of the Windy City into vivid focus. Your tour starts out as you meet your guide at Chase Tower to start your exploration of the Loop's interior architecture. Expect to walk a half mile (0.8 km) during an easy 2-hour walking tour with plenty of stops. Your guide shares expertise in architecture, design, art history and history, and provides participants with iPads that show archival images such as maps, historic photos and documentary video clips. Walk through the Marshall Field's Building, where you'll see famous elements of this iconic edifice, including its beautiful atrium and a Tiffany & Co-designed mosaic ceiling. Ponder the design of the very modern Block 37 complex, situated in the heart of the Loop at a trend-setting location where the city's first skyscrapers and supermarkets were built. See the extensive public plaza, which sits at the geographic center of the Chicago Loop and features Marc Chagall's Four Seasons mural. Admire another famous piece at Daley Plaza: the untitled Chicago Picasso sculpture, which stands 50 feet (15 meters) tall and was the Windy City's first piece of public art. Look at the city through the lens of the Chicago Pedway system -- a network of ground-level concourses, tunnels and bridges that connects buildings throughout Chicago's central business district. Discover how to maneuver through the Pedway and find your way from underneath the downtown. Your tour concludes at the Chicago Cultural Center, a landmark building where you see a magnificent stained glass dome. It was completed in 1897 and originally was Chicago's first central public library. Afterward, say farewell to your guide and make your way to your next destination.
    Architecture of the Loop Walking Tour

    10 S Dearborn St, Chicago

    • Enjoy a guided tour of Chicago's breathtaking architecture
    • Visit the trend-setting Block 37 complex, home of the city's first skyscrapers
    • See the stunning mosaic ceiling of the Marshall Field's building
    • Explore the Pedway system, a network of tunnels and concourses between buildings
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    Lake Paddling (North Avenue Beach)

    (8)
    Chicago life has its conveniences. Deep dish pizza, for one. But let's face it: concrete gets tiresome. So how about leaving the city behind for a spell during this kayak paddle along the shore of the Lake! You'll start off the trip with an introduction to the basics of paddling, so even if you have zero experience manning a kayak, you'll be able to take part in this rousing open-water exploration. Out on the Lake, you'll be treated to perfect views of the urban skyline, attaining an appreciation for its immense scope. In addition to this eye-opening perspective, you'll be getting a light upper body workout, and introducing yourself to what very well might be a lifelong hobby! Besides, doesn't absence makes the heart grow fonder? That's gonna be some really delicious pizza when you get back!
    Lake Paddling (North Avenue Beach)

    1600 N Lake Shore Dr, Chicago

    • Escape the city and embark on an open water kayak exploration of Lake Michigan
    • Enjoy water-level views of Chicago from afar that will alter your perspective of the city
    • Let a certified instructor show you the ropes during a safe row
    • Allow an energizing adventure to consume your senses and fuel your sense of wonder
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    8 positive reviews
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    Chicago River Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour

    Everybody knows that if you're looking for ghosts and gangsters, there's a few obvious places to look. Ghosts: old houses on hills, cemeteries. Gangsters: Gentleman's clubs and speakeasies. But HERE'S a place you might not think of where you can find stories of both: The Chicago River! Follow your guide through the downtown segment of the Chicago River, which borders city skyscrapers like Willis Tower. As you paddle, you'll listen to sordid tales about the Windy City, including how its explosive boom in the mid-1800s (following the construction of railroads) led to Chicago's gritty side coming out. You'll hear about crime lords, from Big Jim Colosimo, Papa Johnny Torrio, to the kingpin himself, Al Capone. This is a great way to learn about Chicago's darker side!
    Chicago River Ghosts and Gangsters Kayak Tour

    950 N Kingsbury St, Chicago

    • Paddle down the Chicago river while listening to stories about Chicago's seedier side
    • Learn how the railroad boom led to the emergence of a seamy underbelly
    • Get in a great workout while listening to riveting stories
    • Hear about the colorful cast of characters in Chicago's past, including Big Jim Colosimo and Al Capone.
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    Extreme Tandem Skydiving (18,000 feet)

    (25)
    Act on your bucket list and go skydiving. Seriously, the opportunity's directly in front of you! Whether your goal is to become a certified skydiver or simply overcome a fear of heights, you can arrive and dive at Chicagoland Skydiving Center. Upon arrival, you'll be greeted with a brief orientation before taking to the skies. From there, you'll aboard an aircraft to 9,000 feet and free fall for approximately one minute on a tandem skydive. Falling. Falling. Pull the parachute and float to safety. Get your knees in the breeze and experience the ultimate thrill of skydiving!
    Extreme Tandem Skydiving (18,000 feet)

    1207 W Gurler Rd, Rochelle

    • Free fall from 18,000 feet in the air with a licensed and experienced instructor
    • Learn the fundamentals of skydiving, safety, and preparing for landing
    • Experience the knees in the breeze of this ultimate thrill
    • Optional video and multimedia packages are available to share your experience
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    25 positive reviews
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    Shady Chicago: Ghosts and Gangsters of Hustlertown (PG13)

    (4)
    Get ready to wet yourself...Not because you'll be falling into the Chicago River (hopefully) during this kayaking adventure, but because of the terrifying tales that you'll hear along the way. This evening excursion will have you paddling through downtown, where on either side of you dark buildings and notorious legends loom large. Get a unique perspective at the urban environment that crafted by the likes of Johnny Torrio, Jim Colosimo, and Al Capone. You'll also learn about many of the reportedly haunted spots along the way - relics of the city's bloody past. Whether you're first time kayaker, or have some experience, you'll be in good hands thanks to the trained and experienced adventurist that'll serve as your guide. However, if a semi-transparent Al Capone pokes his head out of the water ... paddle faster.
    Shady Chicago: Ghosts and Gangsters of Hustlertown (PG13)

    500 N Kingsbury St, Chicago

    • Embark on an evening kayaking adventure through the heart of Downtown Chicago
    • Learn about the city's mob-filled past and several supposedly haunted sites along the river
    • Get some light physical exercise while feeding your need for adventure
    • Indulge your sense of adventure without having to leave Chicago
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    4 positive reviews

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