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Old 01-31-2010, 11:04 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 11:07 AM..
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:00 PM   #31
mikeyis4dcats. mikeyis4dcats. is offline
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I've never been in the Billy Goat, but from what i know its not a stretch to envision some rude sh*t.

But you're supposed to expect that treatment at Debevics, definitely a unique concept 'come eat here, our wait staff will be a royal smartass to you'
oh, I know that. It just isn't worth the shitty food and premium prices to me. I'd rather eat good food than crap. It's right up there with Bubba Gump Shrimp or Rainforest Cafe to me.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:03 PM   #32
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oh, I know that. It just isn't worth the shitty food and premium prices to me. I'd rather eat good food than crap. It's right up there with Bubba Gump Shrimp or Rainforest Cafe to me.
... , Rainforest Cafe... home of the $15 sorry ass cheeseburger.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:04 PM   #33
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I would avoid those big gang-infested public housing projects where the mid-day gunfire sounds like popcorn.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:07 PM   #34
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I would avoid those big gang-infested public housing projects where the mid-day gunfire sounds like popcorn.
He's probably hoping someone mentions a good escort service but is too afraid to ask.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:10 PM   #35
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... , Rainforest Cafe... home of the $15 sorry ass cheeseburger.

We had a Rainforest Cafe in Denver for a couple of years. They sank a ton of money into the decor of that place, and then I think it was hard for the mall to find a new renter because the space was full of jungle and robot elephants and giant aquariums. I think I ate there once, but don't remember anything about the food or the pricing. I do remember being kind of annoyed because we were in the robot elephant section and every fifteen minutes or so they would start tumpeting and you couldn't talk until they were done. It was so bad that I considered asking to be moved to the "Savannah Thunderstorm" section where the lights dimmed every 15 minutes as the thunderstorm rolled in and thunder boomed.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:12 PM   #36
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He's probably hoping someone mentions a good escort service but is too afraid to ask.
I bet the key is to google around a little bit and find out which one the mayor uses.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:17 PM   #37
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We had a Rainforest Cafe in Denver for a couple of years. They sank a ton of money into the decor of that place, and then I think it was hard for the mall to find a new renter because the space was full of jungle and robot elephants and giant aquariums. I think I ate there once, but don't remember anything about the food or the pricing. I do remember being kind of annoyed because we were in the robot elephant section and every fifteen minutes or so they would start tumpeting and you couldn't talk until they were done. It was so bad that I considered asking to be moved to the "Savannah Thunderstorm" section where the lights dimmed every 15 minutes as the thunderstorm rolled in and thunder boomed.
They are definitely more interested in the decor, than they are the quality of their food.

The ex & i took the kids there one year while on vacation... never been back.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:27 PM   #38
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If you're driving, keep in mind that Daley sold the parking meters to an independent company that decided placing only one pay station per city block was a good idea. Also as a result, a lot of the places I used to be able to park overnight at I can no longer do so since they require being fed every two hours or so.

A plus is that you can basically get anywhere you really need to go via the "L", Metra, bus or cab.

I echo the calls for an Art Institute visit. The Field Museum is great if you haven't been before too. Gino's or Due's is good for pizza. If you want a steak/seafood I might hit Hugo's Frog Bar although it is a bit more $$$.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:27 PM   #39
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I would avoid those big gang-infested public housing projects where the mid-day gunfire sounds like popcorn.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:35 PM   #40
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I'm sure you're aware, but they're mostly gone. It's weird that the remnants are right down the street from a Whole Foods now.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:35 PM   #41
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The Allerton is a good location. You're close to both Gino's East as well as a Giordano's, so finding good pizza will be easy. The Hancock is only a couple of blocks away and they have a good observation deck if you want to see the city and surroundings from way up high. You're also close to the Tribune Building, which you might pass on a walk down Michigan Avenue. (It's at the north side of the bridge over the river, on the east side of the street.) If you pass it, take a few minutes to check out the exterior wall of that building, which is embedded with stones and ornaments from famous buildings all over the world. One of the Billy Goat Taverns (the most famous location) is right across the street from there, but on the lower level. That's a good place to get a burger. Reza's has good Persian food. The Clark street location was mentioned earlier in this thread, but that's way up on the Northside. The Ontario street location in River North is a short cab ride (or stroll) from your hotel, so that might be more feasible.

You should definitely try to take walks around the area where you're staying and into the Loop, just to enjoy the architecture.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:38 PM   #42
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I'm sure you're aware, but they're mostly gone. It's weird that the remnants are right down the street from a Whole Foods now.
Yeah, I know. But when given the chance to post that pic, I'm going to.

That place may have been the scariest ****ing place on Earth in its heyday.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:39 PM   #43
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:42 PM   #44
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I enjoy the original Maggianos, I eat upstairs and look at the town out the window. Good pricing on food compared to other places in town. Oh, and UNO's sucks.
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Old 01-31-2010, 12:43 PM   #45
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