The Best Experience Gifts Chicago Has to Offer

Last Updated on February 22, 2024 | 0 Comments
experience gifts in Chicago

Searching for personalized and distinctive Chicago experience gifts? Chicago is a city rich with all manner of activities and experiences that are perfect for giving. You can find experiences encompassing hobbies, physical activities, interests and educational opportunities in everything from food and the arts to adventure activities and tiny luxuries.

We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite experience gifts in Chicago that cater to almost everyone who may be on your list. Each provides a great way to learn and experience new aspects of the city. These are great experiences for Chicago natives, newcomers and visitors, all of which capture the essence of the Windy City.


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Best Chicago Experience Gifts for Foodies

1. Cooking Class

Cooking classes are a fun and interactive way for both new and experienced chefs to gather more skills, try new recipes and have fun learning their way around the kitchen tools. Enrollment in classes, which offer everything from baking French pastries and rolling sushi to making Chicago favorites like deep-dish pizza, makes a great Chicago experience gift. Check out cooking classes in Chicago or, if you’re a little further out from the Windy City, cooking classes in Naperville.

Cooking classes are a great experience gift in Chicago.
via Cozymeal

2. Private Chef Meal

Private chefs offer a distinctive and personalized experience by bringing a professional chef into your home to cook for small and large gatherings alike. Available in a large variety of cuisine specialties and techniques, private chefs in Chicago make a great addition to holiday parties and a great Chicago experience gift to give. 

3. Food Tour

Chicago is a city known for its world-class cuisine, including Chicago classic foods like pizza and hot dogs, as well as international cuisine littered throughout the city’s various neighborhoods and communities. Food tours in Chicago are a perfect Chicago experience gift and a fun outing for all, offering the chance to sample a variety of flavors and cultures, including Chicago pizza tours and tours of some of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Food tours in Chicago are the perfect experience gift.
via Cozymeal

4. Online Culinary Experience

Wherever you or your giftee are located, there are a variety of online culinary experiences that are perfect for capturing Chicago experiences, including local cocktail favorites, local wineries and food favorites. Consider gifting enrollment in an online cooking class, online mixology class or virtual wine tasting to bring a taste of Chicago wherever you are. 

5. Foodie Gift Card

If you’re not quite sure what to get a foodie, a foodie gift card may be the perfect option. The Cozymeal gift card, available for any amount over $10, can be used for food-related experiences like cooking classes or food tours, as well as cookware and cutlery in the Cozymeal Shop. Gift cards make perfect Chicago experience gifts and stocking stuffers. 

a chef pouring chocolate onto a souffle
via Cozymeal

6. Brewery Tours and Tastings

Chicago is home to a number of small craft breweries producing a variety of libations. A great Chicago experience gift is a tour or tasting with Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tours. Enjoy Chicago’s best breweries like Revolution Brewing or Goose Island, which make fun and engaging outings with tours that include the ins and outs of brewing, tastings and usually, a chance to take home your favorite concoction.

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Best Chicago Experience Gifts for Adventurous Spirits

7. Skydiving Classes

Not for the faint of heart, skydiving is the best Chicago experience gift for the more adventurous and lovers of leaping from great heights. Skydive Chicago, located in Ottawa, gives you a chance to take the plunge in a safe way. 

two people doing tandem skydiving
via Canva

8. Ghost Hunting

Chicago is a city of rich history and quite a few ghostly legends. Its residents often love the city so much, they refuse to leave. Ever. Learn about the city and its most haunted locations through a number of local ghost tours, offered on foot or by bus, that take you to some of Chicago’s most haunted locales. A ghost tour makes a perfect Chicago experience gift for the amateur ghost hunter and creepy history aficionado.

9. Scavenger Hunts & Games

A perfect Chicago experience gift for those who love mysteries, games and other kinds of challenges is embarking on a local scavenger hunt, which allows you to compete against others and explore different parts of the city. Fun scavenger hunts with a variety of different themes are plenty and will take you everywhere across Chicago in an engaging and interactive way. 

A scavenger hunt is a fun experience gift in Chicago.
via Canva

10.  Rock Climbing

Rock climbing is a great activity to work off stress, calm your mind and get in a workout. Consider gifting a membership at one of the city’s many climbing gyms as a perfect Chicago experience gift for those who love a challenge and don’t mind great heights.

Best Chicago Experience Gifts for Creatives

11. Art Museum Memberships

Chicago is home to world-class art museums like the Art Institute of Chicago, The Museum of Contemporary Art and Intuit: Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art. The best Chicago experience gift for artists and art lovers is a day pass or membership to one of these great institutions, offering a chance to see classic paintings and emerging artists alike. 

Art museum membership is a great Chicago experience gift.
via The Art Institute of Chicago

12. Art and Craft Classes

Art or craft classes make a perfect Chicago experience gift for both experienced artists and hobbyists. Several Chicago educational institutions, community centers, and the Chicago Park District offer classes in everything from painting and pottery to woodcarving and glassmaking. Galleries and arts organizations, like Lillstreet, are perfect for finding great learning opportunities to give. 

13. FACETS Membership

If you are looking for a great experience in Chicago to gift for the budding auteur or the classic film lover, consider gifting an annual membership to FACETS, which rents out its extensive film library to the public and features events and special screenings that celebrate the art of film. 

FACETS is a Chicago experience gift for film lovers.

14. Writing Workshops

For writers and introspective types, a perfect Chicago experience gift may be enrollment in a writing workshop. Chicago’s rich literary history stretches into the present through a variety of great institutions offering classes at all levels of writing experience, including Story Studio Chicago and The Writer’s Studio. Offerings include poetry, fiction, memoir and screenwriting classes. 

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15. Performing Arts Tickets

Whether you love Greek tragedies or huge Broadway musicals, Chicago’s theater scene does not disappoint. For the theater lover, tickets or season passes to one of Chicago’s many performing arts venues are a perfect Chicago experience gift. Check out Broadway in Chicago, which brings touring productions of the most popular productions, or seek out one of Chicago’s local small theaters.

Broadway in Chicago is a fantastic experience gift in Chicago.
via Broadway in Chicago

16. Improv Classes

Improv classes are a great way to increase creativity and public speaking skills even if you aren’t a comedian or performer by trade. Chicago is home to some of the most famous improv clubs and classes like Second City and IO (Improve Olympics.) Enrollment in a beginner improv class can be an immensely fun Chicago experience gift. 

Best Chicago Experience Gifts for Small Luxury Lovers

17. Spa Day

If you’re looking for a relaxing experience in Chicago to gift, look no further than the large number of luxurious spas and retreats in and around the city that offer all manner of massages, skin treatments, hair care and yoga classes to calm the spirit and refresh the body. Most offer gift cards or memberships to use their services and facilities. 

two women enjoying a massage at a spa
via Canva

18. Perfumery Mixing

The art of perfume-making can be a beautiful way to spend some time learning the intricacies and complexities of scents. Perfume classes give you an opportunity to learn about the history and creation of some of the most famous scents, as well as a chance to make your own custom fragrance. Several venues offer classes in this art, which make perfect Chicago experience gifts for those who love perfumes, including the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Natural Perfume Workshop.  

19. Candle-Making

If you prefer your scent in a container rather than on your body, candle-making is a great alternative Chicago experience gift, with many of Chicago’s best candle stores offering classes to design your perfect scented candle by mixing waxes and oils to create a custom object. 

Candle-making is a fantastic experience gift in Chicago.
via Canva

Best Chicago Experience Gifts for Sports Fans

20. Season or Individual Tickets

Whatever your sport of choice, Chicago teams shine for their rich history and enthusiastic fans, no matter their annual performance stats, making season passes or single tickets to a game a great Chicago experience gift. Everyone has their favorites, be it hockey, baseball, football or soccer. 

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21. Golf Experiences

Chicago is host to a number of courses and driving ranges, even within the tight confines of the city itself, making membership or day passes to one of them a perfect Chicago experience gift for your favorite golfer, whatever their level of experience. 

a golf ball and tee
via Canva

22. Bowling

Bowling is a fun, competitive and engaging activity for all ages, making a few rounds or enrollment in a league a great Chicago experience gift for experienced bowlers and newcomers alike. Check out some of Chicago's most renowned bowling alleys sprinkled all across the city and suburbs to find the perfect venue to knock over some pins and knock back some beers. 

23. Archery Lessons

Numerous archery ranges can be found tucked amid the city, both indoors and outdoors, all of which provide a fun experience with bow and arrow. Most Chicago archery ranges offer classes and personalized lessons in perfecting your aim, making them a great Chicago experience gift. 

two young people practicing archery
via Canva

Whoever you are buying for, Chicago experience gifts offer a wealth of opportunities for fun and engaging outings of things to do in Chicago. From world-class art museums to throwing yourself from great heights, Chicago has a bit of everything for everyone on your list.

For even more ways to explore Chicago and beyond, check out other experiences happening on Cozymeal.