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Old 09-09-2014, 11:43 AM   #1
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Default Headed to Chicago, tell me what to do

You guys have been full of good suggestions when I've asked in the past about other areas, so in this volume of the MT.net Travel Guide, tell me what and where about Chicago.

Taking my gf there for her birthday the first weekend of October, staying downtown, not renting a car. We plan on biking around as much as possible with the Divvy bike rental system and using public transit the rest of the time. We typically like to get a feel for the city when we go some place new, not just hit all the touristy crap in our stars-and-stripes jumpers. I'm a Frank Lloyd Wright fanboi so we'll be seeing as much of his work as possible, we'll hit a couple of museums because culture, etc.

What else?
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:14 PM   #2
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So I do not know the laws on booze in Colorado, but boy was I shocked when I walked into a CVS in Chicago to buy my bus pass and they sold liqueur there.
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Old 09-09-2014, 01:59 PM   #3
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hit up the bean.. Always a good spot to see. then head down to navy pier. lots of cool little shops. you can take a taxi between the two. after that head over to soldier field and walk down to the planetarium. even if it's closed. the view from the planetarium of the skyline is epic.
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Old 09-09-2014, 02:12 PM   #4
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Art Institute has a Magritte special exhibit until 10/13 if that overlaps for you. Otherwise I don't tend to do anything in the city... work and get out
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:36 PM   #5
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Cafe Baba Reba near DePaul Uni for great tapas and paias (sp?), fresh made sangria.
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Old 09-09-2014, 03:37 PM   #6
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Walking around by the planetarium and aquarium around dusk is great. City skyline is very nice at night time. The museum and solider field are all within walk-able distance as well.

You absolutely need to bike-ride around wacker and if your feeling frisky, lower wacker. Such cool architecture. Key streets to remember with interesting stuff, roosevelt, congress, michigan, lakeshore, and randolph. Kinda the bigger surrounding streets for downtown.

Food. Chicago has the best food variety in the country. You need to go everywhere. Key things, points of interest. People will say get deepdish pizza from Giordanos. This is wrong, you need to go Lou Malnati's up in River north off well st. Best pizza you will eat ever.

Jim's Original Maxwell st. it's not amazing food, but you need to experience it. Go at 2 in the morning when people get out of the bars. It's right near the UIC college campus right off Roosevelt. Classic cheap polish with good fries and 24 hour service.

Same style of chicago hotdog and fries place, The Weiner's Circle. This is that place where they cuss out their customers and insult you as you order. Go in the evening, there will be a line out the door. It's in lincoln park.

Bars, ummm pretty much anything in the Gold Coast and check out breweries. Lots of cool breweries to look.

http://www.yelp.com/search?find_desc...cflt=breweries
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Old 09-09-2014, 04:07 PM   #7
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2x on Lou Malnati's being better option. It is one of many argued 'best' Chicago deep dish, but definitely the one I prefer above all others (Ginos/Unos/Giordanos and others).
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:02 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazduh View Post
Walking around by the planetarium and aquarium around dusk is great. City skyline is very nice at night time. The museum and solider field are all within walk-able distance as well.

You absolutely need to bike-ride around wacker and if your feeling frisky, lower wacker. Such cool architecture. Key streets to remember with interesting stuff, roosevelt, congress, michigan, lakeshore, and randolph. Kinda the bigger surrounding streets for downtown.

Food. Chicago has the best food variety in the country. You need to go everywhere. Key things, points of interest. People will say get deepdish pizza from Giordanos. This is wrong, you need to go Lou Malnati's up in River north off well st. Best pizza you will eat ever.

Jim's Original Maxwell st. it's not amazing food, but you need to experience it. Go at 2 in the morning when people get out of the bars. It's right near the UIC college campus right off Roosevelt. Classic cheap polish with good fries and 24 hour service.

Same style of chicago hotdog and fries place, The Weiner's Circle. This is that place where they cuss out their customers and insult you as you order. Go in the evening, there will be a line out the door. It's in lincoln park.

Bars, ummm pretty much anything in the Gold Coast and check out breweries. Lots of cool breweries to look.

Brewery Chicago, IL
100% yes
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Old 09-09-2014, 05:43 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazduh View Post
Walking around by the planetarium and aquarium around dusk is great. City skyline is very nice at night time. The museum and solider field are all within walk-able distance as well.

You absolutely need to bike-ride around wacker and if your feeling frisky, lower wacker. Such cool architecture. Key streets to remember with interesting stuff, roosevelt, congress, michigan, lakeshore, and randolph. Kinda the bigger surrounding streets for downtown.

Food. Chicago has the best food variety in the country. You need to go everywhere. Key things, points of interest. People will say get deepdish pizza from Giordanos. This is wrong, you need to go Lou Malnati's up in River north off well st. Best pizza you will eat ever.

Jim's Original Maxwell st. it's not amazing food, but you need to experience it. Go at 2 in the morning when people get out of the bars. It's right near the UIC college campus right off Roosevelt. Classic cheap polish with good fries and 24 hour service.

Same style of chicago hotdog and fries place, The Weiner's Circle. This is that place where they cuss out their customers and insult you as you order. Go in the evening, there will be a line out the door. It's in lincoln park.

Bars, ummm pretty much anything in the Gold Coast and check out breweries. Lots of cool breweries to look.

Brewery Chicago, IL
Having been to Chicago many times. This guy is right...

I have a different take on food though... Normally the plan is to just walk around until something that looks like a tiny little hole in the wall and eat there. Eat at the little not well labeled place next to the place that has all the people in it. Shockingly this has always brought me luck. I found the worlds greatest Italian restaurant this way. I would never be able to find it again if i tried.

Oh, and stay off the Mile unless you have an unlimited credit card.
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Old 09-10-2014, 12:13 AM   #10
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If you're feeling fancy, have a cocktail at the bar on the observation level of the Hancock Building. Especially cool if there's a thunderstorm.
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Old 09-10-2014, 08:58 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingPie View Post
If you're feeling fancy, have a cocktail at the bar on the observation level of the Hancock Building. Especially cool if there's a thunderstorm.
+1
I recommend this. The 95th at the John Hancock building. Try to time it about a half hour before sunset. Get a seat near the window, order a couple of drinks and enjoy the sunset over the city by the lake.
Cheers,
-JB
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Old 09-10-2014, 10:30 PM   #12
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Thanks for all the responses so far!

Quote:
Originally Posted by OGRacing View Post
hit up the bean...
This is the reflective sculpture, yes? That's on the list for sure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Art Institute has a Magritte special exhibit until 10/13 if that overlaps for you. Otherwise I don't tend to do anything in the city... work and get out
Yep, gonna be there Oct2-7. Never seen any of his work in person, sounds like a plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mazduh View Post
Walking around by the planetarium and aquarium around dusk is great. City skyline is very nice at night time. The museum and solider field are all within walk-able distance as well.

You absolutely need to bike-ride around wacker and if your feeling frisky, lower wacker. Such cool architecture. Key streets to remember with interesting stuff, roosevelt, congress, michigan, lakeshore, and randolph. Kinda the bigger surrounding streets for downtown.

Food. Chicago has the best food variety in the country. You need to go everywhere. Key things, points of interest. People will say get deepdish pizza from Giordanos. This is wrong, you need to go Lou Malnati's up in River north off well st. Best pizza you will eat ever.

Jim's Original Maxwell st. it's not amazing food, but you need to experience it. Go at 2 in the morning when people get out of the bars. It's right near the UIC college campus right off Roosevelt. Classic cheap polish with good fries and 24 hour service.

Same style of chicago hotdog and fries place, The Weiner's Circle. This is that place where they cuss out their customers and insult you as you order. Go in the evening, there will be a line out the door. It's in lincoln park.

Bars, ummm pretty much anything in the Gold Coast and check out breweries. Lots of cool breweries to look.

Brewery Chicago, IL
Thanks for taking the time to spell that all out! Everything sounds great. We are staying at Wacker and Michigan, so that bike ride will be close by. Not sure 4 days is going to be enough time though lol.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Erat
Oh, and stay off the Mile unless you have an unlimited credit card.
Nope, so good to know.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkingPie View Post
If you're feeling fancy, have a cocktail at the bar on the observation level of the Hancock Building. Especially cool if there's a thunderstorm.
Perfect, sounds like a great place to have a birthday drink with the gf at sunset.

More questions:
Somebody had mentioned doing a boat tour, is that worthwhile? Seems kinda meh on paper.

Also, how's the downtown area/Loop for being out on foot at night? We've been to NYC and stayed out till the early hours walking around lower Manhattan and the East Village with no problem finding plenty to do. Is Chicago as "night friendly" downtown, or is most of the nightlife in the outlying 'hoods?
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:22 PM   #13
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If you like ice cream, even a little bit you must go here:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
3404 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Seriously, one of the best ice cream places in the country.

Will

blow

your

mind
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Old 09-10-2014, 11:53 PM   #14
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At night it depends on the neighborhood. If your like downtown/downtown theres not a whole bunch to do that's not super expensive. You have to hit up like goldcoast or oldtown. But those are north of where you'll be staying. Only like a mile or so, you could walk there pretty easy. Or just ask someone how to get to oldtown/goldcoast. You pretty much can just walk north on michigan and you'll end up in goldcoast. You'll be able to tell when you get there because the streets will be lined with bars etc.



Also, because this is a miata forum. Over by Wrigley field is boys town, which honestly has some awesome bars over there too. But that's more then likely out of walking distance.

The only thing to remember is anything south of Roosevelt is considered southside, north of it is downtown. In my opinion, you don't really want to be too far south of roosevelt when it gets dark out. UIC campus are is nice but it gets sketchy pretty quickly.Anything downtown or north/west of downtown you're fine.

I'd also suggest you try to check out all the little different ethnic areas like chinatown, greektown, little italy, little mexico etc. You can pretty much google those names and find directions.
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Old 09-11-2014, 06:59 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by matthewdesigns View Post
More questions:
Somebody had mentioned doing a boat tour, is that worthwhile? Seems kinda meh on paper.
I've done the boat tour. If you're interested in history, design, and some decent sight seeing it's a great time. Otherwise it's kinda boring. But i'm a huge nerd so i loved it.

I also went out on the lake in a diesel powered jet boat or something when i was younger with my parents. That was something that i won't do again.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:27 AM   #16
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Sky deck on the Willis tower?

Aquarium was good. We ran out of time for the planetarium.
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Old 09-11-2014, 10:37 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Efini~FC3S View Post
If you like ice cream, even a little bit you must go here:

Jeni's Splendid Ice Creams
3404 N Southport Ave
Chicago, IL 60657

Seriously, one of the best ice cream places in the country.

Will

blow

your

mind
LOL

Jeni's finally made it to Chicago, huh?
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:09 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Splitime View Post
Art Institute has a Magritte special exhibit until 10/13 if that overlaps for you. Otherwise I don't tend to do anything in the city... work and get out
Last time I was in Chicago, I was still in college. I was an art major. We spent 3hrs there and I don't think we even saw 1/4 the place. People I were with were ready to go. I wanted to stop and stare at every piece.

On Michigan Ave we ate at a place called the Grande Lux Cafe. We got lucky and got a window seat because some people had just canceled their reservations when we walked in. Awesome food, nice elegant atmosphere.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:18 AM   #19
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Architectural boat tour is definitely worth it if you are the type that would go to the Art Institute. Wife and I went on one last year and really enjoyed it. Lots of architectural design history in Chicago, really wide range of styles to check out.
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Old 09-11-2014, 11:19 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tekel View Post
Last time I was in Chicago, I was still in college. I was an art major. We spent 3hrs there and I don't think we even saw 1/4 the place. People I were with were ready to go. I wanted to stop and stare at every piece.

On Michigan Ave we ate at a place called the Grande Lux Cafe. We got lucky and got a window seat because some people had just canceled their reservations when we walked in. Awesome food, nice elegant atmosphere.
I spent so many years of my life as an art student/major (2yrs of college as a major) and the free days down there for students were most excellent. Lots of time to sit and sketch the scupltures/paintings and look over different techniques.
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