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Your visit to the Windy City can be done on a budget.

Jennifer Billock
November 13, 2015

Spending the weekend in Chicago but on a strict budget? We've put together a two-day itinerary to enjoy the best of the city for $25 a day or less.

Saturday: The Loop

Spend a leisurely morning people-watching from inside Bow Truss Coffee Roasters on Michigan and Jackson, sipping one of the specialty fair-trade blends that make the chain famous in the city. One cup of coffee is $3.50.

Afterwards, cross Michigan Avenue and explore Grant Park and Millennium Park. Take a design tour through Chicago's most well-known green spaces, seeing the Art Deco opulence of Buckingham Fountain, and the modern sleek lines of the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion and BP Bridge. Have a quick lunch at The Artists Café, where a chicken pita sandwich will only set you back $7.

Head north to the Magnificent Mile and window shop through the brightly lit displays of Chicago's poshest boutiques. At the far northern end of Michigan Avenue, step into the old water tower for the hidden City Gallery art exhibit (free). For dinner, head to The Purple Pig, one of Chicago's premier restaurants. Don't miss the JLT, a mix of pork jowl, tomato, frisee, pesto aioli and duck confit, served a la plancha ($13).

Sunday: The Neighborhoods

Take a ride on The 606, Chicago's newest multi-use trail. What used to be 2.7 miles of abandoned rail line is now a haven for bikers, skaters, runners, and artists—the entire length is a living art exhibit as well. Refuel at Green Corner in Wicker Park with an organic smoothie ($8).

Stop by the farmer's market in Wicker Park, open on Sundays, and grab a picnic lunch to enjoy while sitting by the fountain in the neighborhood's namesake, Wicker Park, where you can take your time savoring your fresh finds.

That evening, alk over to Logan Square and indulge in some local art. Comfort Station and Gallery F are two community favorites, and entrance to both is free. Have dinner on the patio at locally sourced Lula Café, and order the famous Lula '99 Turkey Sandwich ($11). Drinks start at $8, but there's a good chance you have enough left—use it to toast a weekend well spent.

Jennifer Billock lives in Chicago and covers the city for Travel + Leisure.

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