Weekend Getaway Chicago Road Trip | Rt. 66, Museums, Mummies and More

My weekend getaway to Chicago,

plus some money-saving Chicago travel tips

My daughter and I have been planning a weekend getaway for months.

She graduated from college last May, and rather than buy her a gift, I wanted to give her a weekend getaway instead so we could relax and make memories together.  I just didn’t realize at the time that it would take us over ten months to actually get away.

She’s a 911 call center dispatcher with an erratic schedule, so we’ve been waiting for a weekend when she didn’t have to work and other things weren’t going on.

We finally worked it out to go last weekend.

I told her she could plan where we went and what we would would do.

She decided she wanted to go back to Chicago.  We’d been there several years ago (see that trip HERE), but she wanted to visit places we didn’t go last time.

We took took our time on the way there and stopped whenever we saw something that interested us.

Our favorite stop along the way was in the small city of Pontiac, Illinois, that’s on part of the historical Rt. 66.

Route 66 the Mother Road painted brick building sign | photo by www.knickoftime.net

Even though it’s a small city, there was so much to see.  My favorite sights were the amazing painted wall murals.

There’s a fascinating exhibit called the Walldogs Mural Exhibit.  The displays tell the history of the sign painters who painted their art on brick buildings, barns, and fences before the advent of mass media advertising.  The painters were given the nickname “walldogs.”

Of course we had to get a photo of ourselves in front of this big beautiful sign painted by more recent walldogs.  It’s just one of many throughout the city.

weekend getaway road trip to Chicago on Rt. 66 in Pontiac, IL | www.knickoftime.net

The front of this old soda fountain mural was so realistic looking, you would have thought you could walk right in.

Weekend getaway road trip to Chicago with stops along historic Rt. 66 | www.knickoftime.net

I remember when gas station attendants would pump your gas for you and check your oil.  But no one came out, so I figured I’d better do it myself. 🙂

Weekend getaway Chicago road trip along Rt. 66 gas station painted sign | www.knickoftime.net

Here’s another mural of a mechanic at an auto repair shop.

Weekend getaway road trip to Chicago brick building painted auto shop sign along historic Rt. 66 | www.knicioftime.net

Housed in the same building is the Livingston County War Museum.

It isn’t a big museum, but it is packed full of rows of mannequins wearing military uniforms with insignia from soldiers who served in WWI, WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan, and Operation Desert Storm.

The most touching displays had photos of  the soldiers who wore each uniform.

Livingston County War Museum Pontiac, Illinois | Rt. 66 road trip | www.knickoftime.net

The museum also had many displays and cases full of war memorabilia.

Livingston County War Museum Rt. 66 weekend getaway road trip | www.knickoftime.net

World War II memorabilia at Livingston County War Museum | www.knickoftime.net

There were also gorgeous old churches that I wish I would have had more time to photograph.

Weekend getaway road trip to Chicago with stops along historic Rt. 66 | www.knickoftime.net

The courthouse was built in 1875 and is on the National Historic Register.  It’s a beauty!

Rt. 66 Pontiac, IL national historic register courthouse | www.knickoftime.net

Our first destination in Chicago was The Field Museum.

Weekend getaway to Chicago's Field Museum | www.knickoftime.net

Day trip to The Field Museum in Chicago | www.knickoftime.net

Our favorite exhibit was “Inside Ancient Egypt.”  It was filled with mummies, artifacts, and even a pharaoh’s wooden boat.

The Field Museum Inside Ancient Egypt exhibit | www.knickoftime.net

We spent half the day there and still didn’t see all of the exhibits, so we’d love to go back again.

We spent the remainder of the day at Shedd Aquarium.  My daughter is the one who loves fish and sea life.  I found it all beautiful and fascinating, but this little guy was my favorite creature of all.  He may be poisonous, but he’s adorable.


Weekend getaway to Chicago Shedd Aquarium | www.knickoftime.net

A few money-saving tips if you plan to visit Chicago.

  • Buy the City Pass.  It includes VIP admission into five of Chicago’s top attractions, including The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium.  It’s less expensive than buying tickets to each attraction individually.
  • Pay to park at The Field Museum and leave your car there all day.  The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium, and lake front are very close together, so you can walk from one to the other.

If you plan to visit other sites nearby but don’t want to walk, pay an Uber driver to get you there.  Most parking garages cost a minimum of $15, but if you aren’t traveling very far, Uber may cost you much less.  We didn’t realize that until we’d already left the parking lot, then realized there wasn’t a single parking meter near Millennium Park.  We just wanted to take a selfie in front of The Bean, but since there weren’t any meters and we didn’t want to pay that much to park in a garage, we decided to skip it this time.

I would have loved to go to the Adler Planetarium, but it was getting late and we had a five-hour trip back home, so we’ll have to do that next time.

My daughter is already planning for us to go on another weekend getaway back to Chicago, so we can explore more that we didn’t see, and do some shopping too.  I’m looking forward to it and hope we don’t have to wait another ten months to go!

Vaya con Dios,

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  1. Sandy McElroy says

    So glad you had a good time, so much to see in Chicago.

  2. What a fun trip Angie. Those wall murals are incredible. I thought you were actually standing in front of a soda fountain till I read the caption. Hope you can make it back soon!

  3. So cool to see a blogger that has come to my hometown. I have lived in or near Pontiac my entire life. My country store was in the buildind the soda fountain mural is on I was on the corner. I watched them paint the route 66 mural. It was actually painted by a local sign business called Diaz painting and sign.
    The murals are amazing. It was a big deal when the wall dogs came to town. We walked around and watched them do their magic. Pretty amazing and talented people.

    • Sherri, my cousin used to live in Pontiac, so I’d briefly been there before, but my daughter and I both want to go back again. For such a small town, it really has a lot to offer. I would have loved to have seen the wall dogs paint those amazing signs. My son is a graphic design major, so next time he comes home to visit, I want to take him to see them.

  4. What a fun trip! It’s so great to get to explore other cities and see what they have to offer. We have bought a CityPass for several other cities and they are an excellent way to see attractions and save a little money.

  5. Kudos for braving our wild Chicago weather. You must have caught the 1/30 days it was bearable this year. We have lived here since 1976 and still haven’t seen all of the Field Museum, I swear. Glad you had a fun weekend, we need the good publicity, Thanks for sharing, Angie

  6. My husband and I took a motorcycle trip down Route 66 a couple of years ago. Pontiac was one of our favorite stops! The murals were amazing and you can pick up a brochure from many of the local businesses to help you locate them all! It was so much fun to ride around town an take pictures of them all! The Pontiac Museum was also a lot of fun to visit! Well worth the stop if you’re ever in the area!

  7. What a great trip! I love those “stop at what looks interesting” wanders. And those murals are amazing! Must check them out someday…..when I’m in Illinois…..(it may be a while)

  8. In addition, you have the world-famous Bronx Zoo, the American Museum of Natural History, the
    New York Botanical Garden, and the breath-taking New York Aquarium.

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