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A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

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A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Hi Forum

I'm coming to Chicago for a meeting on the 14th May; it was massively cheaper to fly on Saturday so I arrive t 1830 on Saturday and leave at 2100 on Tuesday.

So I've got Saturday night, Sunday and Tuesday to fill with whatever Chicago can offer me. I'm interested in music, sport, art and food (and any combination).

Any suggestions of where to stay/eat/play? I am a family man in my mid-forties travelling alone.

Thanks in advance for your help!


Comox, Canada
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1. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

I am going a month after you. I ordered a Chicago transit card and have checked their site as to how to get to hot dog places and deep dish pizza places as well as the History museum and of course Wrigley.

I think I will go on a river cruise with wendall boats.

I will be staying in the loop at Club quarters. Enjoy your stay

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2. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

There are so many choices.... look at www.chicagoreader.com or metromix.com, chicagoplays.com, choosechicago.com for who is appearing in Chicago. Mondays are usually dead, and Sunday nights aren't much better. You may want to stick to downtown, the south Loop and the near north area, or you may want to venture farther into the neighborhoods, as long as you are aware of your surroundings.

The weather has been variable, so make plans with the idea of grabbing days with good weather to see the views and ledge at Willis/Sears Tower, a boat tour on the river (one is www.architecture.org) or Millennium Park.

As far as a hotel, there are about 100 choices downtown and near north, so start with what your convention contacts can get you. A search engine with a map is helpful in narrowing them down. If you want specific information on the most convenient hotel or neighborhood, we'll need to know the location of your meeting.

Edited: 29 April 2012, 00:46
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3. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Cactus is referring to - transitchicago.com/travel_information/fares/…

www.chicagoreader.com and www.chicagomag.com are good online dining and entertainment resources. You can read restaurant reviews and search by area, cuisine, budget etc.

Consider exploring outside of downtown and hit up some neighborhoods - explorechicago.org/city/en/supporting_narrat…

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4. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Get yourself a nice steak at Gibsons and afterward, walk over to Jilly's for a drink and some Jazz. Visit the art institute, walk through Millenium Park. Take a tea at the Drake and you can see where Princess Diana stayed while she was here. Have a beer at the pub "English" on LaSalle and tell us how authentic it is. There are so many choices where to stay. You can stay in the loop or river north area.

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5. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Bummer the cubs are out of town those days!

Get a hotel on hotwire.com pick river north or mag mile

Caf architecture cruise is really good

Love gt fish and oyster for lunch or dinner

Hot dog, italian beef or sausage at portillos

Thin crust pizza at osteria

Rensselaer, Indiana
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6. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Alex, I'm just going to mention a few things and you can research into them by looking at some of the past threads:

A big YES to the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise - or one of their other tours.

Seriously, think about using the Chicago Greeter Service. Completely free but you need to reserve in advance for their personalized tours. If you run out of time, there are always the InstaGreeter tours, though. You can choose your tour by area (neighborhood) or interest. To get an idea of what the various neighborhoods offer, take a look at the Explore Chicago website (a great tool in its own right).

Art: Gotta, havta go to the Art Institute of Chicago. It's located on S. Michigan Avenue, just south of Millennium Park and across the street (on the south end) from the ArchiCentre, the Chicago Architecture Foundation's main location in the historic Santa Fe (aka Transportation) Building. Also of note, across Michigan Avenue at the north end of Millennium Park (at Randolph) is the Chicago Cultural Center, which used to be the Chicago Public Library Building.

Here is a little humorous snippet of our combined history: After the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, Queen Victoria was quite saddened thinking that Chicago had lost its libraries in the fire. So, being generous, she organized a collection of books for donation to Chicago and about 8,000 were sent. Only thing was that Chicago had had no libraries at all. So that's how Chicago's library system first appeared.

But not all the art is contained in buildings, you know. If you go to the City of Chicago's or the Explore Chicago's website, you can download the 83-page brochure of Chicago's public artworks. It describes where they are, as well as information about the artist, medium, etc.

If you are looking for something a little more contained, since you don't have a lot of time available, go to the Loop the Loop tours on the Chicago Loop Alliance's website. There are three: Artwork, Theatres and Landmarks. Downloadable to your computer or MP3 device. If you don't have a MP3 device, they are available, downloaded with the tours, at Chicago Architecture Foundation's ArchiCentre.

If you wanted to read a very entertaining and informative non-fiction novel about another great moment of Chicago history for your trip over the pond, I highly recommend "The Devil in the White City" by Erik Larson. It's about the World's Columbian Exposition of 1893 - and about the serial killer, H. H. Holmes, who did his evil deeds then.

Since you are interested in sports, I would say that you might want to go to Wrigley Field, where the Chicago Cubs play baseball. Even if you aren't going for an actual game, they do give tours of the ballpark. So, if you want to see where Babe Ruth's "called shot" occurred in the 1932 World Series, I urge you to consider this.

BTW, the "other team" in Chicago is the White Sox - or simply Sox. They play at the U.S. Cellular Field (the "Cell"). You'll come to realize the rivalry which exists between the northsiders and the southsiders - although there are those who straddle the fence, despised by all :D - when you are here. Since I am an ex-northsider, I wear the right color hat - blue with red. Unfortunately, my ill-mannered brother wears that ugly black-white headgear.

Music: As I always suggest to others, check who will be appearing where when you are here and choose accordingly. However, if you were to choose a music venue based on its own merits, my vote would be the Green Mill, located in the Uptown neighborhood. So much Chicago history there and they usually have great acts as a rule. You can take the Red Line ('L') up to the Lawrence stop, as the Green Mill is only a block away, but I strongly recommend that you cab it back to your hotel.

Dining - Chicago is a world-class dining destination with one of our restaurants recently being voted best in the world. You are only limited by your desires and pocketbook - so please give us a little more information and we'll try to help a bit.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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7. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

Just a correction to set my statement about the donation of books to Chicago following the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 straight: The book drive was actually organized by Thomas Hughes (one of Chicago's libraries was named after him in that honor), who wrote Tom Brown's School Days. Queen Victoria did indeed contribute as did Lewis Carroll, Tennyson, Robert Browning and many other illustrious.

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8. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

The Sox will be in town. You could catch a baseball game on Sunday afternoon. It looks like they also are playing an afternoon game on Tuesday the 15th. It doesn't have the history or ambience of Wrigley Field, but the "Cell" has better food, a more knowledgable crowd (IMO), and it's pretty easy to get tickets on the spur of the moment. Easily accessible via the Red Line.

I agree that the Art Institute is a must for any art lover. You could easily make that part of your plans for your other afternoon (or Tuesday morning for that matter).

9. Re: A couple of days on my own in Chicago....

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