Image: Chicago Botanic Garden
Cnscvb.com
The Chicago Botanic Garden features 23 beautiful gardens and three native habitats set on 385 acres of rolling hills and tranquil lakes.
updated 5/29/2008 10:59:34 AM ET 2008-05-29T14:59:34

Take advantage of an air/hotel deal from Southwest Vacations or hotel packages that emphasize the city's shopping and iconic architecture.

Taste of Chicago, airfare and three nights from $439 per person
Book this air/hotel package from Southwest Airlines Vacations, and you'll receive three nights at the Palmer House Hilton, which earned a Historic Hotels of America designation for preserving its landmark beaux arts architecture and two-story, gold-tinged lobby. Pause on your way in to admire the ceiling's opulent scenes from Greek mythology. You'll also receive round-trip airfare on Southwest and $50 off a two-day or more Go Chicago Card, which covers tours of the city, entrance to museums, and discounted dining. Note that the package is timed to Taste of Chicago, a 10-day annual food festival, held June 27-July 6 this year. Upgrade to the Westin Michigan Avenue for $75.

When: June 26-July 6, 2008.

Book by: June 21.

Gateways: Nashville; add $12 for Columbus; $123 for Birmingham; $140 for Tampa Bay; additional cities available.

Details: Hotel taxes included. Does not include airport taxes and fees of about $32 per person. Package prices are per person for three nights, Thursday or Sunday departures. Use promotion code TASTE50. Based on double occupancy; single supplement is $295.

Contact: 800/423-5683, southwestvacations.com.

W Chicago-Lakeshore, from $279 per room per night
If shopping is a priority, the Escape to Michigan Avenue package is for you. Stay in the luxe W Chicago-Lakeshore and receive a $50 Magnificent Mile gift certificate per room reservation, valid at any business that's a member of the Greater North Michigan Avenue Association (including the Hard Rock Cafe and H&M). Also included in your package is a 30-minute carriage ride for up to four people (booked at your convenience by the hotel) and two cocktails at Whiskey Sky or the Living Room Bar, two of the W's hot spots. Whiskey Sky even has a panoramic view of the city. Rates begin at $279 per room per night.

When: Through Sept. 1, 2008.

Details: Does not include taxes of 15 percent. Use OWT promo code. Double or single occupancy bookings.

Contact: 312/943-9200, starwoodhotels.com/whotels.

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InterContinental Chicago, from $289 per room per night
Calling all architecture buffs: Book the Chicago Architecture Adventure and receive a one-night stay at the InterContinental, a private iPod audio tour of the landmark hotel, and two Chicago architecture tours for two. Choose from the Architecture River Cruise, Downtown Deco, Modern Skyscrapers, and others led by the Chicago Architecture Foundation. A concierge will call you to set up your personal adventure, saving you the time and money (up to $60) of doing it yourself. Rates start at $289 per room per night, or $578 for the two-night minimum stay.

When: Through Sept. 1, 2008.

Details: Does not include taxes of 15 percent. Use code Insider City. Double occupancy bookings only. Allow three days advance booking; two-night minimum stay required.

Contact: 866/210-8811, icchicagohotel.com.

For more tips on what to do, visit the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau's Web site, which also has a few hotel room deals, including a chance to see the Broadway musical "Wicked".

Read these guidelines before you book any Real Deal.

Getting there: If you opt for one of the hotel packages, you'll need to book your own transportation. A recent Kayak search for round-trip flights to Chicago in late June yielded fares of $243 from Boston (AirTran), $246 from Miami (American), $299 from New York City (JetBlue), $431 from L.A. (Continental), and $527 from Seattle (Delta).

Copyright © 2012 Newsweek Budget Travel, Inc.

Photos: Chicago style

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  1. Windy City high

    A view of the Chicago skyline with Lake Michigan in the background from atop the Sears Tower Skydeck observation tower. Completed in 1973, the Sears Tower is the tallest building in the U.S. and a popular location for tourists. (Tim Boyle / Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  2. Artsy avenue

    Two lions guard the entrance to The Art Institute of Chicago along Michigan Avenue. The institute was founded in 1879 as both a museum and school. (Jeff Haynes / AFP - Getty Images) Back to slideshow navigation
  3. Rinse and spit

    Austin Hilsmier, then 3, from Chicago, looks back at his mom as he plays in Crown Fountain at Millennium Park. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  4. Monumental view

    Visitors to Chicago's Millennium Park pass by the Millennium Monument. (M. Spencer Green / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  5. A cloud's reflection

    Tourists gather under Anish Kapoor's "Cloud Gate" sculpture in Millennium Park. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  6. Running the shore

    A man jogs along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Chicago. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  7. Great day for a stroll

    A woman pushes a baby buggy through a small playground nestled in downtown Chicago's Grant Park. (M. Spencer Green / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  8. Bonding time

    A male trumpeter swan at Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo takes his newly hatched offspring into the swan pond for a swim. (Greg Neise / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  9. Botanic Garden

    The Chicago Botanic Garden features 23 beautiful gardens and three native habitats set on 385 acres of rolling hills and tranquil lakes. The garden is open year-round. (CNSCVB.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  10. Aquamarine awe

    Visitors check out the three-million gallon Oceanarium exhibit at the Shedd Aquarium. The Oceanarium is the largest indoor marine mammal facility in the world and one of the few aquariums in North America to display Pacific white-sided dolphins and beluga whales. Cutting edge innovations introduced by the Shedd over the years has helped change the experience for visitors at aquariums around the country. (Nam Y. Huh / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
  11. Preserving history

    The Evanston Historical Society, at the Charles Gates Dawes House in Evanston, Illinois. The chateauesque mansion of former U.S. vice-president Charles Gates Dawes, is three-and-a- half stories, has 25 rooms, six bedrooms, seven bathrooms and 11 fireplaces. This national historic landmark's exhibits focus on Evanston history. (CNSCVB.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  12. Academic aerial

    Northwestern University, in Evanston, Illinois. Founded in 1851, this renowned educational institution is rich in history and architecture. (CNSCVB.com) Back to slideshow navigation
  13. Cycling heaven

    Two cyclists pedal along Lake Michigan in Chicago, during the early morning hours. Chicago has earned the reputation as a bike friendly city. (Charles Rex Arbogast / AP) Back to slideshow navigation
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