What to do in Chicago in 8-10 hrs?

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by HaveMilesWillTravel, Jan 27, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    So I am flying out to ORD tonight for my first MR of the year. Actually, I don't believe in pure MRs as life is too short to fly without purpose beyond earning status and miles, so I gave myself 10 hrs in Chicago before heading back to California. And now I am looking for suggestions what to do in those 10 hrs. I arrive around 6am, and I plan to take the Blue Line (?) to downtown. First order of business will be breakfast -- at ORD? In downtown?

    The weather forecast for tomorrow:

    "Mostly sunny. Blustery. Highs in the lower 30s. West winds 15 to 25 mph with gusts up to 35 mph at times."

    I don't like the sound of "blustery"... it supposed to be a "balmy" 65 here today. :D

    So maybe some walking along the water front? Some time in a museum to warm up? I have been to the Field Museum on a previous "MR", so maybe the aquarium?​

    Any lunch recommendations beyond "museum cafeteria"? Not looking for something fancy as I'll be tired and un-showered, so some place to sit down, enjoy a light meal, coffee, WiFi and a view would be great...​

    Then, if the weather is good enough that there is actually some visibility, maybe a trip up to the top of the Sears tower (whatever its name is now)... last time I did that was in 1989, I think.​

    Any suggestions or ideas?​
     
    Sweet Willie and Gargoyle like this.
  2. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,014
    Likes Received:
    96,541
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I like walking down Michigan avenue. There are some nice sandwich/informal places with quality food within a couple blocks north and south of the Art Institute, and from there you can check out millenium park. A stroll up Michigan Ave to the Water Tower Place allows for nice architecture viewing and people watching, along with window shopping.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  3. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,014
    Likes Received:
    96,541
    Status Points:
    20,020
    BTW, if you do that walk, go inside the Cultural Center, (the old library at Michigan between Washington and Randolph), walk up the stairs, look at the mosaic work and the huge Tiffany dome.
     
  4. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    first I would say post a question such as this well before you are actually traveling so you can get a better listing of ideas rather than last minute.

    Speaking of breakfast near ORD tomorrow, I'm actually picking up an FTer from ORD by 7am and we are going to breakfast, you are more than welcome to join us. I will send you my mobile as I'm about to head out for the evening with my wife & enjoy some harness racing at Maywood. No need to be in touch this evening as I'm for sure having breakfast tomorrow morning near ORD, I can then drop you off at the blue line so you can take it downtown to walk around a bit.
     
    Gargoyle and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  5. NYCUA1K

    NYCUA1K Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,739
    Likes Received:
    5,086
    Status Points:
    4,270
    A couple of years ago UA had a targeted TEQM promo for flights between LGA and ORD. There are flights hourly between the two cities so that I could just have gone and returned immediately, but to give the illusion that I was not flying simply to earn status, I took my laptop and headed straight for one of the RCCs at ORD, where for next 8 hours I would write a complete scientific research manuscript, before returning to LGA. Then I did again a month later but this time rather than the RCC, I decided to stay overnight at a Hilton property near ORD, also to just earn status points :D. The two TEQM MRs earned me nearly 9,000 EQMs. I had two E-certs for $250, so that each RT to ORD cost me under $20.00; I would do it again in a heartbeat...:cool:
     
    Gargoyle and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  6. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    I have a lot of faith in my fellow MPers to come up with spontaneous ideas. :)

    Sounds great. Thanks!

    That was (is?) my fallback plan in case the weather was going to be too bad to be outside... (thanks to the one-time passes Chase sent me recently). Though right now it looks like a perfectly lovely, if blustery, day in Chicago so I will probably leave my laptop at home and just take my iPad.
     
  7. MSPeconomist
    Original Member

    MSPeconomist Gold Member

    Messages:
    58,563
    Likes Received:
    98,528
    Status Points:
    20,020
    If it's nice enough to walk around Chicago, I suggest going to the area with the Frank Lloyd Wright buildings. You can visit his former home and studio and then do a walking tour. Many of the buildings are private homes, but there's a church that might be open to the public.

    There's also a walking architecture tour downtown, perhaps only on weekdays, as well as a boat version. Do not do the latter if it is cold and blustery.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel likes this.
  8. Jenny & Curt
    Original Member

    Jenny & Curt Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,571
    Likes Received:
    2,379
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Gargoyle and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  9. icurhere2
    Original Member

    icurhere2 Gold Member

    Messages:
    21,694
    Likes Received:
    27,682
    Status Points:
    20,020
    NoMI in the Park Hyatt Chicago is a nice place for lunch and watching over the water tower and the city, especially if the weather's good.
     
  10. Gargoyle
    Original Member

    Gargoyle Milepoint Guide

    Messages:
    22,014
    Likes Received:
    96,541
    Status Points:
    20,020
    A wonderful little place, and just steps from Michigan Avenue.
    If you go there, walk across the street to the mansion that is kitty corner from the museum, walk towards the west side of that mansion and look through the iron fence to the garden- you'll see a nice lion fountain that I carved many years ago.
    [​IMG]
     
    kellio and HaveMilesWillTravel like this.
  11. HaveMilesWillTravel
    Original Member

    HaveMilesWillTravel Gold Member

    Messages:
    12,503
    Likes Received:
    20,197
    Status Points:
    16,520
    So here's what I ended up doing:

    the outbound flight on UA was delayed about over an hour due to a late inbound aircraft. Kind of strange, given that UA has lots of A320 overnight at SFO, so why couldn't they substitute one of those? But whatever, it really didn't make a difference. Slept 3 hrs in 1F, was picked up by Sweet Willie and we had a nice breakfast at a local "hole in the wall" coffee shop near ORD (with another FTer who also happened to fly in from SFO, on an AA red-eye). Nice conversation, good food and lots of coffee... perfect way to start the day.

    Then took the blue line to downtown and walked around Michigan Avenue for a bit and then towards the waterfront. It was quite chilly at times (31 degrees, feeling like 18, according to weather.com, keeping in mind I was coming from 65 degree San Francisco), but the sky was blue, the sun was shining and I thought it was a perfect day to wander around after a red eye. Took some pictures of Hancock Center and the surrounding skyline from the lake front and then walked over to the Navy Pier and found a snow sculptures caving competition in progress. Warmed up a bit inside, then took a local bus to somewhere near Sears Tower. Took pictures of the tower from various angles, then got in line to ride the elevators up to the top ($17.95). Awesome views thanks to the clear skies, and walking out on the Ledge was actually less scary than I had imagined. Was hungry again, so picked Panera next to Sears tower as my lunch spot.

    Walked around a bit more taking pictures of the river and the elevated trains and stations (Loop), and then it was time to head back to ORD via the Orange and Blue Line.

    Security lines were pretty short and I made it to the gate with about 50 minutes to spare. The return flight was on a 3-class 767. I had used my last 2011 SWU to guarantee an upgrade, and enjoyed a comfortable two hour nap after dinner.

    Overall, a very pleasant day trip that should give me 7384 EQMS (DEQM promo). And it inspired me to plan a full weekend in Chicago maybe this spring (with the luxury of a night or two in a hotel) with my wife. I really have to see her squirm when I shove her out on that Ledge :)

    Thanks again for all the suggestions. And many thanks to Sweet Willie for the spontaneous breakfast meetup.
     
    CharlesG and uggboy like this.
  12. Sweet Willie
    Original Member

    Sweet Willie Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,048
    Likes Received:
    8,739
    Status Points:
    7,270
    sorry for my long overdue response, it sure was a nice way to start the day !!

    It was good to meet you. Glad you got to tour a bit of Chicago & that the City inspired you to consider a repeat visit.

    Invite is extended to any other MPers routing through ORD, if you have a layover coming up &/or time for a quick bite/beer before your flight, start a conversation with me, more than happy to talk about travel & Chicago.
     
    HaveMilesWillTravel and CharlesG like this.

Share This Page