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Old 01-31-2010, 10:04 AM   Topic Starter
BigRedChief BigRedChief is online now
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Going to Chicago. What do I need to do? Avoid?

Going to Chicago for a little 4 day vacation(Thrusday - Sunday) on spring break. Going to the Bulls vs. Cleveland NBA game and see Lebron, Derrick Rose, Shaq etc on Friday night. What is the can't miss "stuff" in Chicago? Avoid? opinions welcome...

Staying downtown at the Allerton hotel.

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03/22/2010 edit to pay it forward for future chicago visitors:
Transportation:
Definitely take the trains and bus’s if you are planning to spend a lot of time downtown. We saved a fortune in cabs. Get the CTA pass and you can get on how ever many buses, trains, transfers etc that you want for how many days you purchase. http://faremedia.chicago-card.com/store/main.aspx?DepartmentId=34 Check the schedule and plan your route out:
http://www.transitchicago.com/travel_information/maps/default.aspxhttp://www.transitchicago.com/riding_cta/populardestinations.aspx

We arrived at 8:00 at the O’Hara airport and not taking the train would have been a disaster. They highways are parking lots that time of the day. We flew out of Midway on the way out and took a cab out there to the airport.
We really enjoyed riding the bus’s and talking to the locals. They gave us great tips on where to eat etc.

You don’t need a car. If you are driving, there is no where to park and where there is parking is very expensive and driving downtown is dangerous trying to navigate all those cabs and buses? Not for the weak of heart.

Attractions:
Get the Go Chicago card: Saved us a ton of money on admission fees but more importantly we avoided the lines at the attractions to get tickets. It was snowing and the line to get into the Field museum was over an hour and a half to just get tickets to get into the museum. The lines to get tickets are long. Get your tickets in advance.
http://www.smartdestinations.com/chicago-attractions-and-tours/_d_Chi-p1.html?pass=Chi_Prod_Go

Sears Tower: Was cool but if you have to wait an hour or two? Question the value. The ledge is really cool. Nothing between you and the street 103 stories up but some Plexiglas. It’s an experience you can’t get anywhere else in the world.

John Hancock observatory: We actually liked it better than the Sears tower because of the better ocean and beach views. They have something cool there, a skywalk 93 stories up that you can walk along that is exposed to the wind, temperatures etc 93 floors up. Just some mesh screen between you and the sky.

Science and Industry museum: We all felt that this was the best of all the museums. You have to see the U-Boat. It’s another one of those you can only experience in Chicago things.

Millennium Park: The silver bean was really cool. Seems like a real simple thing but once you get there and see it up close you understand the draw the bean has for people. Make sure you go underneath the bean and check it out. Looks like a wonderful place to watch a concert.

Shedd Aquarium: We were disappointed in this one. Maybe we are just spoiled but we thought the Aquarium in Omaha was much better.

The Field museum: Another disappointment. Sue the T-Rex was really cool but the rest of the museum left us flat. Seemed really educational for kids but for us adults we would like to have seen more exhibits than some pottery.

Chicago Bulls game: We decided to take the bus out there. Straight shot to and from downtown. Not really a bad seat in the house. The mascot seems to be pretty athletic and entertaining. Highly recommend getting one of the monster dogs.

Navy Pier: We went there and it was cold. Looks like a great place to visit in the warm weather.

Second City: We saw “Rush Limbaugh, the musical”. Barney Frank, Hillary, Dancing Ronald Reagan’s…Very funny stuff. Had a bit in there when Rush with the Royals and George Brett on a toilet with hemorrhoids. Highly recommend checking out a show there.

The Art Institute: A wonderful place to see art. So many Picasso’s, Monet’s and Van Gough’s you can’t really appreciate them fully like if some were here in KC just because of the sheer volume of masterpieces in one place. Very impressive collection. We also enjoyed seeing the American Gothic and some American art.
http://www.artic.edu/aic/

Eats:
Ginos East: Great pizza. Love the crust. We went to the one on Shapiro and it has all the walls filled with customer graffiti. Not living off its past reputation. My son thought it was the best pizza ever.

Giordanos: on Shapiro, Excellent deep dish pizza here also. Better than anything you can get in KC. Try sprinkling a little Italian herb seasoning on the pizza here.
http://www.giordanos.com/locations.html

West Egg: Breakfast by the doubletree. Reasonable prices and great food. Everything we had was good.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/west-egg-cafe-chicago-2

Yokes: Breakfast on Lake Shore drive. Best crepes we have ever had. Very good food.
http://www.yelp.com/biz/yolk-chicago-2

Quaritinos: Best meal in Chicago. Very trendy and hip place but don’t let that push you away. You order 5-6 things and share them. Ravioli, Brusheta and the Bananas foster desert were our favorites but everything we had was real flavorful and well prepared. http://www.quartinochicago.com/


Lodging:
We stayed at the Allerton hotel downtown. I would highly recommend if you are coming to Chicago and you are going to do these things listed above to stay downtown. This was a great hotel. If you can’t afford the downtown rates just take the train into the city and go from there.

Last edited by BigRedChief; 03-22-2010 at 10:07 AM..
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:05 AM   #2
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Art Institute.

Fantastic.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:07 AM   #3
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I would like to check out the new glass balcony thingy on the Sears Tower, too.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:09 AM   #4
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I would like to check out the new glass balcony thingy on the Sears Tower, too.
Can I get arrested for taking a leak on Wrigley field?
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:11 AM   #5
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Can I get arrested for taking a leak on Wrigley field?
It's encouraged, actually. The team pisses all over themselves every year, so...
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:09 AM   #6
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:11 AM   #7
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Navy Pier
Sears Tower
All of the different museums along Lakeshore Drive
Ed Debevic's
Giordano's Pizza
Wrigley Field tour
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:34 AM   #8
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Originally Posted by luv View Post
Navy Pier
Sears Tower
All of the different museums along Lakeshore Drive
Ed Debevic's
Giordano's Pizza
Wrigley Field tour
Great advice, but you can leave out the Sears Tower ... i got/get the willies being up that high in something man made & that glass balcony can definitely kiss my ass lol.
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:09 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by luv View Post
Navy Pier
Sears Tower
All of the different museums along Lakeshore Drive
Ed Debevic's
Giordano's Pizza
Wrigley Field tour
Ditto ... lots to do and see, great place to visit!
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Old 02-01-2010, 11:32 AM   #10
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Sears Tower
Ed Debevic's
Giordano's Pizza
Yes. Or Gino's East Pizza.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:17 AM   #11
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If you're driving, stay the **** away from the airport.

I've only been there once for business, and the gal I had to travel with was a ****ing scaredy cat and didn't want to go do anything.

There is some damn good food there though. Damn good. I can't remember the Italian restaurant we ate at there (The best I've had), but I can tell you what town it was in. There is also a fast food place called Buena (I think) Beef. They have some damn good roast beef sandwiches.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:22 AM   #12
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If you're driving, stay the **** away from the airport.

I've only been there once for business, and the gal I had to travel with was a ****ing scaredy cat and didn't want to go do anything.

There is some damn good food there though. Damn good. I can't remember the Italian restaurant we ate at there (The best I've had), but I can tell you what town it was in. There is also a fast food place called Buena (I think) Beef. They have some damn good roast beef sandwiches.
Flying in and out, figured we'd take cabs etc while there. Don't want to drive up there and back for a little 4 day vacation and don't want to screw around with a rental and finding parking spots all the time.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:26 AM   #13
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Flying in and out, figured we'd take cabs etc while there. Don't want to drive up there and back for a little 4 day vacation and don't want to screw around with a rental and finding parking spots all the time.
chicago's public transit system is one of the best in the country. you can take the train (isn't it the 'L'? can't recall) almost literally anywhere in the city.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:27 AM   #14
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chicago's public transit system is one of the best in the country. you can take the train (isn't it the 'L'? can't recall) almost literally anywhere in the city.
Yep. It's the L.
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Old 01-31-2010, 10:50 AM   #15
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chicago's public transit system is one of the best in the country. you can take the train (isn't it the 'L'? can't recall) almost literally anywhere in the city.
Especially from the airports. Taxis are nice right now because of the brutal cold, but you can get from the airport to your hotel with only one transfer for $2.25 as opposed to $40-$50 for a taxi.

Like someone already said, Giordanos is the famous Chicago style pizza place. There's one literally right across from where you are staying. Gino's East is right there too.

Everyone raves about Science and Industry, but I was underwhelmed last time. Be prepared for kids everywhere, most who seem more interested in running around then seeing anything. They offer adult days though, so that could be worth it.

Really depends on what your interests are. Museums? Restaurants? Shops?

Also, if your into it, I'd recommend hopping on the El and getting away from Michigan Ave area and seeing one of the neighborhoods. If you head south, Hyde Park is beautiful with some fun restaurants. The University of Chicago is fun to walk around. Probably easier to take a bus from where you are then to take the El, as its a bit of a walk through whats not the prettiest part of town.

If you head north, Wrigleyville can be fun, especially if you like yuppy 20 year olds. But some real fun bars and restaurants in the Lakeshore and Lincoln Park areas. Still fairly touristy, but not crazy crowds everywhere.

If you are into any type of food too, there are some fun ethnic neighborhoods. Right around Loyola off Devon there are some great Indian food places.

Anyway, like I said, depends what your into. You're in a great area for seeing all the big tourist places. Grab a drink at the top of the Hancock building on a clear night. Go to a nice restaurant on Rush st.

Last edited by WoodDraw; 01-31-2010 at 10:57 AM..
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