Everything you ever wanted to know about Chicago, but were afraid to ask.

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by legalalien, Feb 5, 2011.  |  Print Topic

  1. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    Since we do not have a sub-forum for the Chicago area, let's try to collect all kinds of useful information about traveling to, from, and around my favorite US city in a single thread.

    So, add your bits of wisdom, but keep it travel related (and PG-13!) in the process, please.
     
    Sweet Willie and Gargoyle like this.
  2. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    If you're headed downtown from ORD, it's faster, cheaper and easier to take the train rather than a taxi. You don't have to go outdoors to catch it, and for some downtown locations, you don't have to go outdoors to enter the building. And that brings up something else- there is a great network of underground walkways (the Pedway) downtown, connecting many of the buildings. During inclement weather you can stay inside while traversing the loop. Those walkways are very safe. Note the cta train stations in the Pedway, those are locations you can get to from ORD without ever going outdoors.
    http://www.cityofchicago.org/content/dam/city/depts/cdot/Pedwaymapandlegend.pdf

    At ORD, You can connect between T1, T2 and T3 without exiting security.

    John Hancock building- go to the bar and get a drink instead of paying to go to the observation deck. It's only one floor different in height, you avoid the waiting lines, you can sit down and relax while you enjoy the view, and if you choose the right drink, the price is just a dollar different from the admission fee for the deck.
     
    UADomer08 and legalalien like this.
  3. Dogzrule
    Original Member

    Dogzrule Silver Member

    Messages:
    24
    Likes Received:
    18
    Status Points:
    130
    Chicago Architecture Foundation ... River cruises are a must for an amazing view of the city, its buildings and history. Their docent led walking tours also give a great background to this wonderful place.

    Oak Park and Frank Lloyd Wright home and studio ... Then take a walking tour around Oak Park and play FLW-spotting!

    The city Library - current building for interest and often special exhibitions. Former building which is now the Cultural Centre ... Spend an easy few hours wandering through their exhibitions, maybe listen to a lunchtime concert and definitely go look at the Tiffany ceiling ... Unbelievable!

    Art Institute ... Spend a lifetime there, and don't forget the new wing ... Wander in there from Millennium Park. And of course the Chagall window is now back on display!
     
    cordray2643 and Sweet Willie like this.
  4. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    Milwaukee (MKE) is a good alternative for flying into and out of Chicago.

    If you need to get to the loop, there is a shuttle that goes to the Amtrak MKA station. For details, see http://www.amtrak.com. Hiawatha Milwaukee-Chicago trains run quite frequently, and it takes just over 1hr to get to Chicago Union Station. You can also get off at the Glenview station to be closer to North suburbs.

    If your final destination is in the far North or Northwest suburbs of Chicago, you can rent a car, and quite possibly be there quicker than if you flew into Midway (MDW).

    If you need to get to O'Hare, check out Wisconsin Coach (http://www.wisconsincoach.com/) for frequent bus service between the airports. Alternatively, take Amtrak to Chicago Union Station, then walk over to the CTA Blue Line train to the airport.
     
    sniklec, krusty and Gargoyle like this.
  5. sobore
    Original Member

    sobore Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,421
    Likes Received:
    33,847
    Status Points:
    16,520
    LXofSweden and Gargoyle like this.
  6. ArizonaGuy
    Original Member

    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    603
    Status Points:
    645
    Maybe I lack some hidden truth about Chicago but I'd love to know why the PDF was created with the document upside down! I realize it's a scan of one of those laminated maps produced for every major city but this seems a silly oversight. I can rotate it, sure, but it's not always an option on a mobile device. Write the mayor! Have Rahm make this a campaign promise to fix!

    Back on topic - how about favorite eats? Besides pizza and hot dogs, I love Polish food. I like the Red Apple buffet best but then again I've only tried two places and that was my preference. Been there several times though and the 50+ options are fantastic. And I love Yolk for the tasty breakfasts - orange bread French toast is my favorite!
     
    Sweet Willie and Gargoyle like this.
  7. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    They did that so tourists from Australia could read it.

    For pizza, I'm partial to the Medici in Hyde Park, but I'm biased. For hot dogs, I like Flukeys- are they still in business?
     
    LXofSweden and ArizonaGuy like this.
  8. ArizonaGuy
    Original Member

    ArizonaGuy Silver Member

    Messages:
    490
    Likes Received:
    603
    Status Points:
    645
    All that's left of Fluky's is some in-store Walmart location in Niles. Sucks! :(
     
  9. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    A shame. Their dogs had a really nice snap as you bit into them. I find Devil Dogs too slushy.

    There was a Flukies at the Lincolnwood Town Center, I wonder if that's still there. Jack Drexler, who owned it, retired to Michigan, his daughter was running things for a while.

    Well, there's always the classic Chicago food- A Super Taco on a Pita, from a Korean owned hot dog stand. Now that's international!
     
  10. sniklec
    Original Member

    sniklec Silver Member

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    29
    Status Points:
    130
    Another option for the John Hancock Observatory is to pick up a companion coupon, assuming they're still available for 2011, at the visitor information center in the Cultural Center: "Bring a friend for $2 when you purchase one full fare admission of equal or lesser value".
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  11. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Does the visitors center by the Water Tower, just off Michigan Ave., also have those? It's just a few blocks south of the Hancock.
     
  12. sniklec
    Original Member

    sniklec Silver Member

    Messages:
    46
    Likes Received:
    29
    Status Points:
    130
    They probably do, but even if they don't it appears you can print them at home:
    http://rightcardchicago.ettractions.com/index.php?action=play
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  13. bea61
    Original Member

    bea61 Silver Member

    Messages:
    25
    Likes Received:
    43
    Status Points:
    145
    For the best view of the best skyline, drive through the museum campus past the Adler Planetarium and hope to find a parking space on the way back. You'll be on small peninsula facing the skyline across the lake for a postcard perfect view.
     
    legalalien likes this.
  14. milepig
    Original Member

    milepig Silver Member

    Messages:
    89
    Likes Received:
    107
    Status Points:
    220
    Don't rule out a trip to Hyde Park, the Museum of Science and Industry is always fun, and walking around the University of Chicago campus is worth the trip. Despite the bad press the campus area is complely safe during the workday hours,and easily gotten to via public transportation.
     
    sobore and Gargoyle like this.
  15. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    If you have time, try to walk around the area with Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. There's a museum in his former home.
     
  16. Rlpro
    Original Member

    Rlpro Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    381
    Status Points:
    450

    Can I get a train heading west from ORD? I'm going to Naperville.
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  17. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    no. and the taxis are overpriced. :(
    (you could take a train downtown, switch stations to get to amtrack, and take metra out to Naperville, but that will take a few hours).

    Sorry.
     
    Rlpro likes this.
  18. Rlpro
    Original Member

    Rlpro Silver Member

    Messages:
    159
    Likes Received:
    381
    Status Points:
    450
    Thanks for the information Gargoyle. My friends can pick me up. I just thought if there was a convenient option I could save them a trip during commute hours.
     
    Gargoyle likes this.
  19. rjb
    Original Member

    rjb Silver Member

    Messages:
    31
    Likes Received:
    44
    Status Points:
    190
    As a visitor from Australia I would like to give a strong recommendation to the Chicago Greeter service. We had a fantastic look around with a local who really loved his city:)
     
    legalalien and Gargoyle like this.
  20. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,015
    Likes Received:
    96,543
    Status Points:
    20,020
    And as a native, I'd never even heard of this service until you just mentioned it, so i just googled it:
    http://www.chicagogreeter.com/
    It sounds very good- if I still lived in the city, and not an hour outside, I'd volunteer.
     
    legalalien likes this.
  21. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    +1. I had known about the service, but volunteering is a bit tricky for us suburbanites....
     
  22. jerseychris1
    Original Member

    jerseychris1 Active Member

    Messages:
    18
    Likes Received:
    22
    Status Points:
    85
    I'm signing up for this now for our family trip at the end of the month. Really looking forward to actually spending time in the city for as much time as I've spent in ORD :p
     
  23. thrashsoundly
    Original Member

    thrashsoundly Silver Member

    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    885
    Status Points:
    670
    I'll be visiting the area next week and will get about 24 hours in downtown Chicago. I've never been before and don't know much about the city except that I've always wanted to go.

    What should I do with my limited time? I will most definitely go back at some point. What should I eat? I'm open to any culinary genre.

    Thanks in advance!
     
  24. legalalien
    Original Member

    legalalien Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,536
    Likes Received:
    9,301
    Status Points:
    7,770
    Chicago offers so many sights, tastes and activities, that we would need to know more about your preferences and your budget to give accurate recommendations. For example, you can try Michelin-rated restaurants like Alinea and L2O, or you can explore Chicago style hot dogs and pizza. Which sounds better? :)

    Do you know where you're staying?
     
  25. thrashsoundly
    Original Member

    thrashsoundly Silver Member

    Messages:
    386
    Likes Received:
    885
    Status Points:
    670
    I'm deciding on hotel right now. As a PC platinum, the Avenue CP or HI Mart on points are high on the list right now.

    Both of those food options sound great, but for this trip I'd probably go the inexpensive to moderate route. I was thinking about a Cubs game or 2nd City show or just walking around town to experience the city's ambiance. I tend toward doing less touristy things unless they are a "must" for a first-timer. I'm also not the kind of person to fret over dining options and end up at an Applebee's or something. Gotta be local.

    I've been so busy lately that I haven't had my normal time to explore the myriad of options. Thanks again.
     

Share This Page