From axe-throwing to skydiving, these thrill-seeking activities will certainly have your pulse racing.
With the restrictions and long-term closures brought about by the global pandemic, along with everything else there has been a short supply of adventurous activities this past year.
With Chicago now fully reopen, and life headed back to relative normalcy, this summer is most certainly one to be filled with activities, events, and experiences of all kinds. Whether you’re a thrill-seeker who’s been denied your fill of adrenaline or you’re keen to get out there and make up for all the moments you’ve missed out on, here are our top 10 adventurous adrenaline activities for thrill-seekers to do in and around Chicago.
Of all the popular do-before-you-die activities and extreme sports, there can be few that rival the adrenaline you get from jumping out of a plane. Now, this isn’t a nonchalant push to plummet thousands of feet towards the planet’s surface, but Chicago is in fact home to two state-of-the-art centers that can give you a good taste of what it is like. With both an iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Lincoln Park and a second iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Rosemont, there are two conveniently-located cutting-edge centers here in Chicago where kids and adults can get a taste of being 12,000+ feet up in the sky.
If the experience has you wanting more you can test your vertigo above Chicago’s iconic skyline at Skydive Chicago, one of the world’s largest skydiving resorts
Another way to test your vertigo can be found 1,000 feet up on the 94th floor of the John Hancock Center above the famed Magnificent Mile. Breathtaking 360-degree views of Lake Michigan and the city skyline are far from the only thing on offer here. The 360 Chicago Observation Deck is also the home of TILT, dubbed Chicago’s highest thrill ride and the first of its kind in the world. Buckle into an enclosed moving platform that literally TILTS you out over Michigan Avenue from the 94th floor and brave the 1000+ ft drop staring back up at you.
Back down at a non-nauseating height, a new exhilarating experience offers the opportunity to travel back in time rather than up among the clouds. Chicago’s newest Axe Throwing Experience offers five lanes for you to test your inner lumberjack and feel what it was like with a lot more primitive form of combat. Blow off some steam and enjoy a signature cocktail or a bucket of beers in the bar and lounge area after.
With the weather warming up by the day more and more people will begin taking to the water and, though it might not take the same bravery as jumping out of a plane, kayaking offers a unique and exhilarating way to see the city from a different angle. Kayaks and paddleboards can be rented from various operators at both Monroe Harbor and Chicago Riverwalk locations but it is the river the most unique experience can be found. Flanked either side by Chicago’s famous highrise architecture, you can venture through the city’s heart via skyscraper canyons and under its historic bridges.
An evening kayak makes for a truly memorable night navigating the waters while the sun sets and the hustle and bustle of the riverwalk activity takes off around you. Single kayaks, tandem kayaks, and kayaking tours are all available, allowing you to navigate Chicago’s winding river at whichever pace you desire. Learn about the sights with a tour guide or explore the river independently and see where it takes you
While kayaking the Chicago River provides a great way to see the city and enjoy a thrilling water sport, river tubing offers the chance to escape the urban jungle and enjoy the natural beauty close to Chicago. On a River Tubing Day Trip, you’ll be picked up in the city at 100 W Randolph Street before embarking on an adventurous expedition courtesy of Sourced Adventures Guide. From Chicago you’ll travel to the Tippecanoe River and commence on a two-hour relaxing river tubing session. You can assemble your accomplices, pack beers and lunch, and float merrily down the river experiencing the natural beauty around you in the company of your friends.
Purge Rage Rooms at Kanya Lounge offers an exclusive 2 story adult playground with 3 unique custom-made rage rooms where you can let out any pent-up stress that has built up over the last year. The exhilarating experience and ultimate stress reliever has been designed for the ultimate destruction! After your Rage Room Experience cocktails and beers await so you can enjoy a room designed for destruction and then kick back with a drink after you’re done.
Chicago is a fantastic place for both climbing enthusiasts and complete beginners who want to test themselves at climbing for the first
time. Within Maggie Daley Park sits a stunning outdoor climbing wall spread out across nearly 20,000 square feet with
walls reaching 40ft high. A stone’s throw from here, however, the company that operates the Maggie Daley Park wall also operates North America’s tallest indoor climbing wall found at Lakeshore Sports & Fitness’ Illinois Center.
Recently reopened, stairs spiral up around this monolithic wall that towers over the center’s atrium. Either hire an instructor to show you the ropes or take a safety test for experienced climbers and immediately attempt scaling the wall. Shoes, harnesses, and equipment are all available to rent.
A stone’s throw from North America’s tallest indoor climbing wall and a wealth of possibilities for thrill-seekers can be found at Monroe Harbour. Speedboats, sailboats, paddleboards, Jet skis, and all kinds of water sports can be enjoyed here. A completely incomparable experience, however, that is sure to please the most excitable of extreme sports enthusiasts, can be had on a FlyBoard.
What might appear to be some kind of futuristic concept only seen in the movies, is in fact, very easily experienced down on Chicago’s
lakefront. At Chicago Water Sport Rentals you can arrange lessons with a knowledgeable instructor, kit yourself out with a helmet and a GoPro camera before trying your best to operate this future-forward revolutionary means of travel. There are both FlyBoards and JetPacks now rentable at Monroe Harbour.
Of course, as you probably guessed, you’ll have to dip into your pockets a little deeper for this experience but there’s absolutely no denying the memories and adrenaline a helicopter ride above Chicago offers. Gliding over the sensational skyscrapers that make up Chicago’s iconic skyline and seeing the city from above might cost a little more than the others, but it will live in the memory forever.
A short drive down to Lemont and you’ll The Forge: Lemont Quarries. While it might not be in the center of Chicago, after opening just last year the 300-acre park is now touted as North America’s largest outdoor adventure park and so rightly deserves a spot on this list. Featuring nearly 300 aerial elements for daredevils of all ages the most exciting experience is offered by Eight Towers Adventure — the largest aerial challenge in the country. Over two miles of zip lines, climbing walls with numerous routes that vary in difficulty — including a bouldering zone, a mountain biking skills course, and a pump track means that there is something for everybody.
[Featured image from Unsplash / @morteza_fsh]