The city of Chicago seems to have been made for hot air balloon rides. After all, its nickname, the Windy City, is synonymous with the element that serves to push the hot air balloon across the sky. This, amongst numerous other interesting characteristics, makes Chicago an ideal location for a hot air balloon flight. If you were to take a look at the skyline of Chicago it would appear that there may not be an opportunity for a hot air balloon to sweep across the horizon given that there are so many obstacles to consider overcoming. Obviously, there aren’t any flights in hot air balloons carried out downtown, but hot air balloons can sufficiently fly above the outlying areas and across Lake Michigan without any difficulty.
Chicago is well known for the skyscrapers that fill the downtown areas as well as numerous museums. Some of these buildings are amongst the tallest in the world and appear to rise up into the clouds practically reaching into the stratosphere. These architectural marvels also serve as an impressive backdrop for selfies and photos taken while engaged in hot air balloon rides. Even after the sun goes down, the structures make for an imposing sight evoking admiration and awe from ballooning passengers. Many tourists and residents alike flock to downtown Chicago to experience walks along Lake Shore drive or to get impressive views of the ships tooling about in Lake Michigan’s harbor.
Outside the city, the rural landscape of Illinois is lovely. Smaller cities like Galena and Springfield provide an idyllic setting for hot air balloon travelers to see the Illinois countryside. Ballooning enthusiasts can partake in more than just simply hot air ballooning in and around Chicago too. In late summer, specifically at the end of June into July, the annual Lisle Eyes to the Skies Hot Air Balloon Festival kicks off. The balloon festival incorporates hot air balloon launches as well as magic shows, live music, and fireworks.
Balloon flights offer up Champagne and other refreshments and snacks to nosh on while skirting the horizon above the countryside. Ballooners may see the Fox River Valley or closer to the city itself passengers may spot the Chicago Art Institute or Navy Pier. Some operators may offer B&B flights wherein you can visit quaint communities, like Spring Green, stay in local bed and breakfasts, see the sites and attractions, even perhaps schedule your journey for a time of year when festivals are prevalent and then take a scenic balloon ride nearer to the Windy City itself.
Travelers will have a chance to enjoy snacks and beverages and to observe the natural surroundings as they fly over forests and waterways throughout the back country. The pilot may embark on journeys closer to the city of Chicago upon which the hot air balloon passengers will be treated to views of lakeside attractions and jutting skyscrapers. After landing, hot air balloon passengers will participate in celebratory toasts and will even receive flight certificates. The balloon will be followed by a chase crew, so, upon touchdown, participants can climb into the vans for their trip back to their vehicles. The fun doesn’t have to stop there though. Make a trip back into the city following your ballooning excursions to visit the Shedd Aquarium or the Lincoln Park Zoo.