1st time in Chicago

Old May 20th, 2007, 11:45 AM
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1st time in Chicago

We are two gals in our mid 30's coming to Chicago for the first time for Memorial Day weekend. We are staying at a hotel on S. Michigan Ave and would some fun things to do around the city, what not to miss, favorite restaurants - we like all types - prefer to have local spots instead of touristy locations. Also, is there a place to get discount theatre tickets? Thanks!
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Old May 20th, 2007, 04:03 PM
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Trattoria Roma Gold Coast
1535 N. Wells St.
is a cute Italian place in a fun neighborhood. For breakfast Anne Sather (on Belmont or in Andersonville neighborhood) has great cinn rolls and they are huge.
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Old May 20th, 2007, 04:45 PM
Join Date: Mar 2007
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You can check out www.hottix.org for one resource for half price or discounted theater tickets - you can buy some online...the website also provides their locations. There is another organization that has discounted last minute tickets, but I can't remember the name (if it comes to me, I will re-post.

There are tons of things to do in Chicago...my favorite being just walking around and catching the sites. There are sooooo many fabulous resturants in Chicago. I know you said you like all types, but perhaps picking your top choices and a price range will given you the best responses. I love Cuatro for dinner - it's on South Wabash (1800 block?) - since you are staying on south Michigan Avenue, this comes to mind. There isn't a ton around there, so if you were looking to do something after dinner nearby, you will be better off heading north...
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Old May 20th, 2007, 07:38 PM
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As far as price range or restaurants, we would be looking at more the inexpensive to mid range. Thanks for the tip on discount tickets.
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Old May 21st, 2007, 01:52 AM
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There are two downtown Hot Tix locations. One is at 72 East Randolf (in the Chicago Tourism Center) the other is at 163 East Pearson (in the Visitor's Center). The hours are Tues - Sat 10 am - 6 pm.

Here is my standard list of things to do in Chicago:

1. The Impressionist galley at The Art Institute. Some of their paintaings include "Sunday on La Grande Jette" by George Seurat, "Paris Street; Rainy Day" by Gustave Caillebotte, numerous Monets, Kandinski, Picasso, Casset, Edward Hooper's "Night Hawks" and Grant Wood's "American Gothic" just to name a few of the more famous pieces. Don't miss the Thorne Room Miniatures.

2. The Courtyard restaurant inside the Art Institute. That is a very unique experience, a sheltered outdoor restaurant with tables arranged around the fountain.

3. If the weather is nice take a walking tour of the Loop. See some of the public art. Start at the Sear's Tower. See the Calder Mobile in the lobby, The Calder Stabile in the Federal Center Plaza, the Picasso in the Daley Center, the Miro across the street from the Picasso, the Chagall at First National Plaza, and the Dubuffet at the James R. Thompson Center (formerly the State of Illinois Center). Walk down the "Canyon" of LaSalle street. Note the statue of Ceres on top of the CBOT.

4. Go to Millenium Park at night to hear a concert then walk to Buckingham Fountain (or the Married w/Children Fountain to the rest of the world!)and watch the light show.

5. Carefully cross Lake Shore Drive and go to the Queen's Landing and go on a boat ride. See the Chicago skyline at night (beautiful! But take a jacket b/c it can be cold out on the water)

6. Go out to the Planetarium at any time to see a beautiful view of the Chicago sky line.

7. Shopping on North Michigan Ave. Especially Water Tower Place.

8. Drinks at the Signature Lounge at the top of the John Hancock building. (I am going to stop recommending this activity b/c the last time I went there it was FULL and I could not go up!!!)

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Old May 21st, 2007, 10:05 AM
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Depending on how far South on Michigan Ave. you are, you may be very close to ChinaTown which is approximately between 18th and 22nd street
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Old May 21st, 2007, 06:20 PM
Join Date: May 2007
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Two websites you might want to check out are:
Metromix.com and

Metromix gives you reviews of restaurants, fun places to go, lounges to check out.
Chicago is a fun city and the people are helpful and friendly. HotTix is great and if you want more info about the history of Chicago, I was just at the Chicago History Museum and it was really nice.

A bit farther north than where you are staying is a place called Aroma Workshop (aromaworkshop.com). It's a small shop where you can create your own perfume. There are some nice little restaurants and fun little shops on this street too.

If you want to try Chicago style pizza you should definilty try Uno's Pizzeria.

Whatever you do here, I'm sure it will be fun.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 09:57 AM
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If you like beer and brats Lincoln Square is having their annual Mayfest over Memorial Day weekend. The festival is located right off the Brown Line at Western Ave. This neighborhood is very German and this festival definately celebrates the heritage. I'm not German, but definately won't miss it.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 10:01 AM
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Also...there is a New Mexican restaurant called Zia's at Armitage and Clark in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. Great food in a GREAT neighborhood. I'd recommend eating lunch here and walking around Lincoln Park Zoo (it's free) and definately a great way to walk off the food.
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Old May 22nd, 2007, 05:34 PM
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If you are in the Lincoln Park area (which I second as a great idea) - head up to Armitage and Halsted. There are a lot of cute boutique stores up there (on Armitage just east and west of Halsted; on Halsted between Webster and Armitage; on Webster). If the weather is nice (and even if not) - you may want to try Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba for a glass of sangria and a tapas or two. It's at 2024 N. Halsted. A nice outdoor area. There is also a fantastic Italian Ice place on Armitage - west of Sheffield a few blocks. If you like sushi and are in this neighborhood, Sai Cafe is great on Sheffield at Armitage. The Lincoln Park area will give you more of a neighborbood feel than downtown.

Oh - and Sweet Mandy B's is right around the corner (1208 W. Webster) for some yummy desserts! To give you feel for this immediate neighborhood - Armitage, Halsted, Webster and Sheffield make one big block (S, E, N, W respectively) - okay it's more than one block inbetween but all walkable. And lots to do in almost all directions from here.
If the weather is not so good (the forecast is iffy now) and you are in again the Lincoln Park area - near the corner of Clark and North (about a 1/2 mile south of the Mexican restaurant noted above) is the Chicago History Museum - nestled in the corner of the park...very close to the lake. If you like museums, but don't want to deal with the huge ones, this one is nice. This is the final weekend of a Christian Dior exhibit about the shaping of the fashion industry in the 1940's and '50's - very intersesting if you like this kind of stuff.

Okay those are my thoughts for a Tuesday night. The city is endless. I personally like the neighborhoods more than the downtown/Michigan Ave area (yes, yes, these are technically "neighborhoods" too, but you know what I mean).
LBLB555 is offline  
Old May 23rd, 2007, 07:49 AM
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Thanks so much for all of your suggestions. I hope the weather cooperates so we can see all these great places!
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Old May 24th, 2007, 06:10 AM
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In case it rains this weekend, anyone have suggestions on what to do? Also, are there 3-day passes for the El available at all stations?
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:06 AM
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Visitor passes are only available at the Midway on the Orange Line; O'Hare, Rosemont and Cumberland on the Blue Line and Chicago Ave on the Red Line. Otherwise you can get them at either of the visitor centers downtown, Union Station or one a currency exchange. Check www.transitchicago.com for a complete list.
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Old May 24th, 2007, 07:12 AM
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If you're flying in, you can get them at the stations at Midway or O'Hare. Just look for the Visitor Pass machines.

Here's a web page for Chicago Transit that includes information about Visitor Passes, including a list (at the bottom) of places where they sell the Visitor Passes:

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