Six Flags Great America
Although summer has peaked and is slowly drawing to a close, Chicagoans have yet to catch a break from the sweltering heat. With torrential thunderstorms and record-breaking hot days behind us, we Chicagoans look for something, anything to give us relief from the day in and day out of going to the office and hanging out on the lakefront. It gets boring, okay? Sometimes, we just need a summer getaway.
And that getaway could very well be Six Flags Great America.
Located just an hour outside of Chicago in the northern suburb of Gurnee, Six Flags Great America is the perfect day trip for Chicagoans who need to beat the heat, relax, and let loose. With sixty-three rides — coasters, family-friendly rides, waterslides and activities — and plenty of games and other fun — including a summer concert series — Six Flags is one of the top amusement parks in the United States.
For the thrill seeker:
Check out the twelve thrill rides at Six Flags Great America. Go for the classics, like Demon and American Eagle — both have been around for over twenty years — or try something newer like The Dark Knight coaster.
If you’re really looking for something to make you scream, hop in line for the Raging Bull. It’s the tallest and fastest coaster at Six Flags Great America. The first hill is a whopping 20 stories tall, and the first drop propels you at 70 mph into complete darkness. This ride is definitely for the adrenaline junkies out there.
If you hate lines, or you just want an excuse to ride the coasters of your choice over and over again, you may want to consider purchasing a Flash Pass, which reserves you a spot in line at all the coasters without having to stand in line. The wait is the same, but you don’t have to do your waiting in a line. Passes start at $35.
For the waterslide lover: Six Flags Hurricane Harbor is open to the public May 28 to September 5. They have plenty of new rides at this large water park, including some high-thrill attractions like the Surf Rider (try to surf in place!), Wipeout, and Mega Wedgie.
You could easily spend your whole day at the park, but we suggest you shimmy into your swim trunks midday (maybe before lunch, though). After a couple hours on the water slides and you’re completely soaked, head back to the coasters to dry off the old-fashioned way — at high velocities with the wind whipping in your hair.
For the family: Six Flags Great America has plenty of family-and kid-friendly rides. Take your time and scout out the Park Map to choose the rides best suited to your family’s tastes. Do your kids love coasters, but they aren’t quite tall enough to get on the big ones yet? Try the Whizzer, Revolution, Logger’s Run, or the Condor. Someone in your family uncomfortable with heights or fast rides? Try going to Hurricane Harbor to play in the water at Skull Island, take a ride on the Scenic Railway, or try the bumper cars at Rue Le Dodge.
Why not cross one more thing off of your Chicago Summer Bucket List? Pack a car full of family and/or friends and head over to Six Flags for the day. You’ll return to the city you love refreshed, with windswept hair, a slight sunburn, and a cramp in your stomach from laughing so hard all day long.
Location: 1 Great America Parkway, Gurnee
Price: Day passes begin at $39.99 for children under 12 and $59.99 for adults. Check the ticketing page for more information on discounts, group passes, and season passes.
Driving: Take I-94 W towards Wisconsin, then continue onto US 41 N. Take the exit toward Washington St, and merge onto Old Skokie Hwy. Turn left on Washington St. Turn right on N Milwaukee Ave. Six Flags Great America will be on your left. One-day parking is $20.