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Old 01-31-2010, 10:04 AM  
BigRedChief BigRedChief is offline
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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.

Any Planeteers want to get together?
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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 02-05-2010, 10:35 PM   #151
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What's the dress code there? Am I good with nice jeans, sweater and brown shoes? Trying to to limit my packing as much as possible.
Yeah, no problem. The dress code is probably business casual, but it runs from both ends. A lot of people head there for drinks before going out, or at the end of a day of shopping, so you get a good mix of people. You don't want to show up with a Chiefs sweatshirt on, but nice jeans, nice shoes, and a sweater would be appropriate.
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:11 PM   #152
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Thanks for the reply. The problem is I really don't know anything about where things are or what to do about it. Here's what we want to do for sure...The Field Museum, Shedd's, the best pizza place and the best Hot Dog/Italian Beef place. I've taken notes on these from the rest of the thread but unfortunately I'm not sure what would be the best way to go about it. I don't have to stay in the museum district, I just noticed that there were, what looked like, decent hotels really close. If there is an area to stay in that would be better I'm all ears.
Okay. The Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium are right next to each other off Lake Shore Dr., just North of Soldier field.

For Chicago Pizza, most people will tell you (as you've read) Giordanos or Gino's East. Giordanos has several locations all around. I don't know Gino's as well, but the one location I know is just north of the loop.

Here's what I'd think about:

Your trips to Field and Shedd will be a day trip. They are right next to each other, so you could easily do both in one day really. So I wouldn't plan my trip around being close to them. And, the transportation from anywhere along Lake Shore or Michigan Ave. down to there is so good, whether that's buses or taxis for you, it doesn't matter being close. It's one trip.

So a lot of it depends on what else you want to do. The benefit of staying further north is that you'll be right in the heart of the dining and shopping areas. So walking distance vs. taking cabs/buses. If you're spending one day at Shedd and Field, and every other day somewhere else, that's worth remembering...

But, if the exact area you stay in isn't important, I'd focus on hotels. To be honest, I don't know the hotels around there that much, so I can't make much of a recommendation. Your real touristy, typical hotel section run along N. Michigan, probably from around Illinois St. and north. There are other great hotels though, but just different surroundings. Like I said, I'm not very good at answering these types of questions... Read some TripAdvisor reviews and see what they say.

Last edited by WoodDraw; 02-06-2010 at 12:14 AM..
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Old 02-05-2010, 11:23 PM   #153
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Gotcha. I was going to suggest a couple "local" team bars in the area if you were inclined to watch some of March Madness. Unfortunately, a Missouri State bar in Chicago escapes my knowledge.
If anyone is there over March Madness, this is a great idea. There's a great Mizzou bar there call "The Spread". There are bars for pretty much all major colleges.
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Old 02-06-2010, 04:46 AM   #154
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Rick Bayless has one of the best mexican restaurants in the country in Chicago. I've always wanted to eat there.

http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/grill.html

might be a bit pricy, but they do lunch....he won Top Chef masters, and had a long running cooking show on mexico

looking at the site, it seems he has a new sort of take out place called XOCO...i'd bet anything he does is tasty
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:16 AM   #155
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There are 3 things I do everytime I'm in Chicago (which is usually twice per year).
1.) Frantically call to try and get a table at Burt's Place in Morton Grove for the best pizza in Chicago. Failing that, my second favorite pizza in Chicago is Pequod's.

2.) Hot Doug's. 'Nuff said.

3.) See a show from the Neo-Futurist theater company. "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" is a Chicago theater must-see.
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Old 02-06-2010, 09:48 AM   #156
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:38 PM   #157
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So here's what we're thinking :

We get in Saturday around lunchtime. Fly into Midway, take the Orange line then red line to get to our hotel around Erie and Mich Ave. We'll walk around see what's around us and grab a bite to eat somewhere close by. Wife wants to go to the American Girl store, so I'm sure there's places to eat close by. We're headed to the Bulls game Saturday night (can't wait). I'm assuming we'll take a cab to and from.

Sunday, we're open all day. I'm thinking the Signature Lounge at night in the John Hancock Building to see the view of the skyline (link far below). Hopefully not much of a crowd because people will be watching the Super Bowl. I'm taking one for the team here and missing the Super Bowl so we can get to everything we'd like to do. During the day, I'm considering the Art Institute, Blue Man Group (expensive, but we've never seen them), Museum of Science and Industry or even a show at Second City. I can probably only really get to two of those I'd guess. We'll probably work lunch in at Gino's East or Giordano's.

Monday, we're probably going to Shedd Aquarium and maybe Field Museum. They're free that day, so if we get through them quickly or decide not to spend a lot of time due to crowds, we can leave without guilt. We fly home that afternoon, most likely very tired and content.
So, how did it go?
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:43 PM   #158
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Old 02-19-2010, 03:02 PM   #159
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:01 PM   #160
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I went to Chicago about a year ago to see the Fray / Vedera concert at the Metro. Stayed at the Hyatt by the river. The weidest part was a huge protest by what appeared to be a large group of Muslims in front of our hotel. I never figured out why. I was going to ask one of the rabbi's who were in our hotel for some sort of Jewsh convention but they all looked busy.
Who was that crooning on the wonderful flat screens showing 'The Hardee's Channel' at my local Hardees.
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Old 02-24-2010, 03:06 PM   #161
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Avoid the planetarium. BORING. Which is a shame because we are family of space lovers.

Must see the Field Museum and the Museum of Science and Industry. We stayed outside of Chicago and took the train in every day. It was really one of the highlights of our trip.

I can't wait to go back. Chicago ranks as one of my kids favorite vacations that we've ever taken.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:17 PM   #162
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Any last mintue tips?
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I believe Hitler hated Jews and had a lot of them killed. I dont believe it was anywhere close to 6 million though. I'm not an anti-semite; I just think that number has been severely inflated and there is a lot of evidence that supports this belief.
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Old 03-14-2010, 02:50 PM   #163
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Any last mintue tips?
Yes, read the following post again:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Reaper16 View Post
There are 3 things I do everytime I'm in Chicago (which is usually twice per year).
1.) Frantically call to try and get a table at Burt's Place in Morton Grove for the best pizza in Chicago. Failing that, my second favorite pizza in Chicago is Pequod's.

2.) Hot Doug's. 'Nuff said.

3.) See a show from the Neo-Futurist theater company. "Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind" is a Chicago theater must-see.
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Old 03-14-2010, 04:54 PM   #164
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I suggest you tour the Englewood/W. Englewood, Calumet Heights, South Deering, West Garfield Park and North Lawndale.
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Old 03-19-2010, 10:38 PM   #165
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This is a great thread!
My youngest got accepted to the School of the Art Institute in Chicago and we'll be there next week for a campus visit and some sightseeing.
We have the City Pass that will get us into the Aquarium, Planetarium, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry and either Hancock or Sears Tower. From the comments on here we will definitely be doing the aquarium, Field Museum and probably Hancock. If we have time which would you choose betweeen the planetarium and the science and industry museum?.
One question I have concerns the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Zoo vs Garfield Park Conservatory. They are both free but which is the "better" of the 2? Really need to see some greenery after the 3" of snow that has already fallen so one is on the to do list for sure just not sure which is best.
Thanks for the input.
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