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Recommendations for Chicago

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Old 01-06-2011, 12:47 PM   #1
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Recommendations for Chicago

The wife and I are planning a trip to Chicago in the spring... Got any good suggestions as far as must see places, eats/drinks, that aren't tourist traps?
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:49 PM   #2
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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Originally Posted by Mattyk View Post
The wife and I are planning a trip to Chicago in the spring... Got any good suggestions as far as must see places, eats/drinks, that aren't tourist traps?
One of the few major cities in the country I haven't visited. I look forward to hearing about your trip. A close friend of mine who was an usher at my wedding is from Chicago. I'll ask him for some recommendations.
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Old 01-06-2011, 12:53 PM   #3
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

The eats are suppose to be awesome there, never been myself.


I am going to Santa Barbara at the end of the month for work went last year decent time.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:10 PM   #4
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

Having lived in Chicago for many years, this is what I've got off the top of my head:

Pizzeria Uno is the originator of Chicago style pizza and thus a good place to go...although I think that Giordano's version is better due to a better sauce.

The Art Institute is great and the aquarium is really interesting, and since they are close together you can visit them both in one day easily.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park has some very fine and educational displays.

Polish Town on the west side has some terrific small Polish restaurants. Likewise for Indian food in India Town on Devon St. on the north side.

If you want something regarding religious culture, the Bahai temple in Evanston in the far north is an amazingly beautiful world-famous building and the Bahai community is very warm and welcoming.

The Abbey Pub has some very fine traditional Irish or Irish fusion music at night. The Old Town School of Folk Music gets some great indie acts.

The Steppenwolf always offers fine theater, if you are into that.

On Clark St. near Wrigley Field there are several good sushi restaurants which are in a perpetual price war, so you can get good eats at a good price.

And if you want to go low-brow and have a genuine taste of Chicago, check out one of the Harold's Chicken outlets.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:12 PM   #5
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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Originally Posted by mredskins View Post
The eats are suppose to be awesome there, never been myself.


I am going to Santa Barbara at the end of the month for work went last year decent time.
I've never been to a bad restaurant in Chicago. Deep dish at Pizzeria Due, Italian Beef at Hot Diggity Dogs, take an hour and a half drive up to Lake Geneva, WI and get great seafood at Popeye's. No, not that Popeye's, this one

I love Chicago, and would move there in a second...if not for the damn cold weather
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:34 PM   #6
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

Take a jacket....
Take 5 jackets..........and two.....ehrr, three blankets
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:42 PM   #7
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

We're not going til May, weather should be fine by then. Plus I live in NY, so c'mon, I'm used to some cold.
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:43 PM   #8
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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Originally Posted by Lotus View Post
Having lived in Chicago for many years, this is what I've got off the top of my head:

Pizzeria Uno is the originator of Chicago style pizza and thus a good place to go...although I think that Giordano's version is better due to a better sauce.

The Art Institute is great and the aquarium is really interesting, and since they are close together you can visit them both in one day easily.

The Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park has some very fine and educational displays.

Polish Town on the west side has some terrific small Polish restaurants. Likewise for Indian food in India Town on Devon St. on the north side.

If you want something regarding religious culture, the Bahai temple in Evanston in the far north is an amazingly beautiful world-famous building and the Bahai community is very warm and welcoming.

The Abbey Pub has some very fine traditional Irish or Irish fusion music at night. The Old Town School of Folk Music gets some great indie acts.

The Steppenwolf always offers fine theater, if you are into that.

On Clark St. near Wrigley Field there are several good sushi restaurants which are in a perpetual price war, so you can get good eats at a good price.

And if you want to go low-brow and have a genuine taste of Chicago, check out one of the Harold's Chicken outlets.
nice suggestions, thanks
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Old 01-06-2011, 01:55 PM   #9
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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We're not going til May, weather should be fine by then. Plus I live in NY, so c'mon, I'm used to some cold.
May?..............2 jackets
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:56 PM   #10
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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May?..............2 jackets
Naw, Chicago in May is beautiful.
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Old 01-06-2011, 02:58 PM   #11
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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nice suggestions, thanks
I forgot to mention the Artists Cafe and theater downtown as well as Thai 55 on 55th St., if you like Thai food.

If you want to shop for books, try the Seminary Co-op Bookstore in Hyde Park.
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Old 01-07-2011, 01:55 PM   #13
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

I use to live in the suburbs around Chicago so I have a decent idea about whats good. Then again I lived there from ages 8-12 so my knowledge of the night life is limited.

Anyway Museum of Science and Industry was always fun for me, as it was a great mix of a traditional museum as well as innovative exhibits.
Welcome to The Museum of Science and Industry

Also if you're going to Chicago with the wife you have to check out Navy Pier, as it's one of the more frequent tourist spots (not to be confused with a tourist trap as many of the natives also frequent Navy Pier). You'll certainly find something to do down there.
Navy Pier

Sears (Willis) Tower and John Hancock building are a given. If you're going to Chicago you owe it to yourself to visit at least one of the two. I know the John Hancock building has restaurants and bars that can give you a view of the skyline at night so you certainly owe it to yourself to look into it.
Willis Tower - a global icon, a premier business location, a breathtaking skydeck view
John Hancock Observatory - Chicago's Greatest High

I also understand that couples enjoy visiting the Lake Michigan beaches. I know this because when I fell face first on roller blades into the concrete as a kid the first people to come to my aid were a couple.

Grant Park would probably be the Chicago equivalent of Central Park in New York and it will certainly look nice during a spring vacation. If nothing else you'll get to see where Obama gave his victory speech as well as where the Bulls held rallys after championship seasons. Speaking of which in the spring you could also catch a Bulls or Blackhawks game at the United Center.

I'll also second the recommendation for the Shedd Aquarium.

The Chicago Canal is also pretty fun as you get a nice tour of the sites as well as seeing first hand how a canal works (trust me it's more interesting then it sounds). If you go for St. Patricks day they'll dye the river green.

Still I can't help but strongly recommending late spring over early spring. Back in the days we would get snow storms as late in the year as March. May would probably be the best time to go as it won't be cold but at the same time you'll avoid the summer heat wave.
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Old 01-07-2011, 02:10 PM   #14
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

I've had a few people suggest the Weber grill place, think I've seen it featured on Food Network, definitely sounds interesting
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Old 01-07-2011, 03:11 PM   #15
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Re: Recommendations for Chicago

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The wife and I are planning a trip to Chicago in the spring... Got any good suggestions as far as must see places, eats/drinks, that aren't tourist traps?
Good suggestions in this thread. I'd remind you that most of the city is a tourist trap, so really you want to make sure that the number of planned attractions doesn't exceed the number of days of the trip by much. Easiest way to ruin a Chicago vacation is to plan to do too much.

Within the city, keep in mind that your lunch and dinner meals are almost tourist attractions to them, and the selection within the downtown area can be mind-numbing (two quick favorites: cheesecake factory and any of the deep-dish pizza places Unos or Lou Malnatis). Keeping geography in mind is a must. The quickest, easiest way to cross the town is through public transportation/CTA/EL, so if you are going the rental car route, keep to a single area for the day. Otherwise, you'll at least have a fun travel story to tell us all. But that's a full recommendation for public transportation, it's an excellent intercity travel system, and if you fly into O'Hare, you're connected to the whole city through it (the other airports are a little more complicated).

Navy Pier is underrated as a touristy area, where as the Sears/Willis Tower is highly overrated, and usually a disaster. The museums are all near each other (behind Soldier Field) which is a major plus, but I think they are just museums. Then again, I'm 22, so what do I know?

Knowing the seasonal entertainment schedule for Grant Park should help you narrow down the week you want to go. That, like Navy Pier, is a must-visit tourist attraction that isn't a people consumer like the observation skydecks are. Water-tower place is near the magnificent mile, which kind of centralizes tourist shopping, a plus since that place is strongly people-infested in the spring.

And of course, know when the sports teams are playing. Chicago is a great baseball town, although Wrigley is an overrated facility. I wouldn't recommend against seeing any game while you're in town, no matter what team/sport it is. You have two baseball teams, two hockey teams, an arena football team, and a basketball team all in season in the spring.

If you plan from your meals out, and you do everything with transportation in mind, Chicago is a really good tourist destination in the Spring. Happy planning!
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