1st trip to Chi -what to see in 1.5 days

Old Sep 27th, 2002, 02:19 PM
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1st trip to Chi -what to see in 1.5 days

I just found out I will be in Chicago NEXT weekend and could use some help on what's a must to see. A decent place for a hearty breakfast would also be appreciated, too. Thing is I will be at the Hyatt McCormick which I understand is a bit aways (subway?) ride from most tourist destinations.

So if you were starting out from the Hyatt on Sat AM where would you go (in what order) & what would you do til you had to leave on Sun PM?

I was gonna use Chicago Greeters but they require too much advance notice.

Old Sep 29th, 2002, 03:53 AM
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I'd take a train to Washington. Walk to the Visitors Center on E.Randolf at around 09.45 to queue for free tickets for loop tour. After you've got the tickets get 'Official Visitors Guide', 'Concierge Preferred' and 'Guidebook of Special Values' with plenty of vouchers. These will give you some ideas.
Drop in at visitors center at Marshall Fields on N.State, 7th floor and ask for vouchers for visitors, incl. 2 for 1 deal for Hancock Tower. Take a 1.5 hour boat tour (Wendella with voucher for 2 for price of 1). The Art Institute on S. Michigan is most impressive if you're interested. Walk north along Michigan Ave. Chicago dogs at Flukys on 3rd floor at Nordstrom N. Michigan kame a nice snack. Water Tower Place has some great shops. Great views from Hancock Tower.
Take a free trolley to Museum Campus. Alder Planetarium (great views of the skyline from that area) or Field - Nat.Hist. - Museum.
Could take train to Chinatown (less impressive than in NYC) on your way back to hotel. What about an Gospel Service sunday morning? We were warmly welcomed as visitors for at St. Lukes on N. Orleans. After that, walk north to Zoo at Lincoln Park and visit Conservatory while you're there. Walk from Lincoln Park back south to Oak Street Beach along Lake Shore Drive. Take train back to hotel area.
Have fun.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 04:51 AM
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I would second the Art Institue and the Feild Museum. They're both impressive but they do take a lot of time to thoroughly visit.
Might I suggest the Shedd Aquarium.. I was there this summer and they had a amazing baluba whale/dolphin show included with the admission. I loved it.

Have a great trip.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 05:02 AM
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I would arrange to get tickets to second city sat nite. very reasonable costs, very funny shows, where many of the saturday night live folks got their start. Its on the north side of downtown, can always take a taxi home. Would help to know where you are coming from/what you are interested in.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 08:47 AM
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Thanks for the tips. Especially the transportation/logistics of getting to/from the Hyatt McCormick to wherever you pros think I should see.

Of course I can always hop a cab but I don't mind taking the train/el? Thing is with so little time, I really can't afford to get totally (inadvertently) lost.

On Fri night I'll probably be beat from work. Is there any local type really close to the Hyatt that a gal could have a friendly drink or something decent to eat?

I figure the Art Museum is a must as is a great view (Hancock Tower?). I would've loved to cath the Cubs play

Unless someone suggests a must see place...after that I'm pretty open. I'd probably just enjoy strolling around the neighborhoods, soaking up some local flavor.

Oh and jeri, where is 2nd City in relation to the Hyatt? BTW, I'm coming from NYC.

Thanks again
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 09:38 AM
Jim Rosenberg
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Hearty breakfast: The Corner Bakery at Wacker & Michigan.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 12:55 PM
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There is a train that serves McC Place area???????????? Are we sure about this?
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 01:31 PM
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Looking at the RTA map I see 2 options. Either Metra Electric District Main Line from 23rd McCormack Place to Randolph St (Loop area) or walk a bit to CTA Metra from Cermak-Chinatown which will take you to the loop or further up north.
BYW, I'm from out of town so it would be nice if a Chicagoan would confirm this.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 01:34 PM
Jim Rosenberg
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Here's the way to check:


There are train maps and system maps that include buses. Personally, I would ask your concierge about the best way to go. I've used the el when it's convenient and I don't know about that specific origin/destination, but a cab wouldn't be all that costly anyway.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 01:52 PM
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You can get discount theatre tickets at any of the Hottix locations. This includes Second City Review, Steppanwolf Theater and Shakepeare Theater at the Navy Pier.
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 05:17 PM
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Could someone please comment on the free loop tour tickets? Is this a daily event? If you queue at 09:45, what time is the actual tour? Is this a bus tour? Sounds like something we might enjoy during our October trip - thanks in advance for the info!
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 06:05 PM
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bk, you have been given a lot of well-meaning but misleading advice.

Don't walk from McCormick Hyatt to Chinatown at night. Take a cab. It's several blocks distance, and unfriendly territory.

Not sure about the free tour reference; the Architecture Foundation gave some free tours for one weekend this summer, but this is in the past. Tour season in general is winding down, but go to the Chicago Architecture Foundation (note correct title) website for their daily list of tours, if that interests you.

Lunch or a drink at the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the Hancock is always fun. Regarding a Friday night casual place: try Chicago Firehouse, 1401 S. Michigan.

Art Institute is a must-see. Second City (located at Wells Street and North Avenue) is a fun time, but those tickets are not usually at hottix. Call and make a reservation if you hope to get in. We are talking about Saturday night here! However, there are a number of terrific shows in town. Take a look at chireader.com, hottix.org and metromix.com for reviews.

I think the weather is going to be a little dicey for outdoor activities, but there is a lot to see and do here. Hope this helps!
Old Sep 29th, 2002, 07:07 PM
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I think Mark was referring to free tours of the loop by el offered from the Chicago Cultural Center, but it appears that they only give them in the summer. Here's a link:

The Metra Electric line stops at McCormick Place but I'd ask the concierge at the hotel if it's safe to use that stop. The Sunday schedule is probably pretty limited. Here's a link:

The South Shore trains also stop there but their weekend schedule is very limited. www.nictd.com

I know the South Shore stops at Van Buren/Michigan and Randolph/Michigan and I believe that the Metra Electric line does as well.

If it were me, I'd take cabs. Much more convenient and safer.

Patg is right about hottix, Second City tickets for Sat don't come up often and you would be wise to make a reservation if you have your heart set on it. You can get Saturday/Sunday tickets on Friday from hottix for other theaters.

If you happen to get a nice day (today was in the 80s!), you might think about the Lincoln Park Zoo or maybe a walk along the lakefront.

If the weather decides to actually turn into fall, I'd start at the Art Institute, work my way up to Michigan Avenue, go to the top of the Hancock if the skies are clear (floor beneath the observatory is free but you have to buy a drink)then go to see something at the theater in the evening. If the weather is OK for walking, it's a bit of a hike from the Art Institute to Michigan Avenue but you'll go past the Chicago River and two of my favorite buildings-the Wrigley Building and the Chicago Tribune Tower. The Tribune building has stones from famous building from around the world and the moon set into the exterior of the building. If you had a little extra time, the Terra Museum is a little art museum featuring American artists on Michigan Avenue and is currently free.

Sunday I would either hit the Field Museum or the Shedd Aquarium or go out to the Garfield Conservatory to see the Chiluly Exhibit.
Old Sep 30th, 2002, 11:35 AM
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I stayed at the Hyatt a couple of years ago. It was a little too far from the usual tourist areas to walk easily and safely. I ended up using cabs more than I have for any other trip. The cabs were inexpensive, and a great way to get around.
Old Sep 30th, 2002, 11:43 AM
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Kris has the best suggestions. But I think taking the el or the bus are safe and inexpensive. You can get a visitor's pass for unlimited rides on public transporation for one low price. Better then sitting in traffic watching the meter go up.
Old Sep 30th, 2002, 12:32 PM
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The El and and bus ARE safe -- it's GETTING to them that isn't necessarily. McCormick place has crappy public transportation access, because most of the people who go there are on expense accounts and don't want to be bothered with buses and Els, and because it's a pretty enormous, isolated complex.

Really, I would cab it.

Old Oct 1st, 2002, 05:52 AM
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I would only take a cab from the hotel to get to your first stop. Then take public transportation until you're ready to go back to the hotel. Unless the added cost is of no concern--then by all means cab it.
Old Oct 1st, 2002, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for all the tips.

BTW, any idea on the average cab fare from the Hyatt McC to the loop/NMA?

Re:Hearty breakfast: The Corner Bakery at Wacker & Michigan. Any specific dish recommendations? Is this closer to the Hyatt or NMA?

Can I walk to the Chicago Firehouse from the Hyatt? Again anything I should order?

If I'm so beat on Fri night that I want to takeout a pizza back to the Hyatt - where should I get it?

Sorry for the food focus...it's lunchtime now

Old Oct 1st, 2002, 10:48 AM
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There's a Corner Bakery closer to the Art Institute, Corner Bakery is a chain. I think it would be the one listed in the Sante Fe building at 224 S. Michigan. Here's a link to their breakfast menu

The best pizza in Chicago is usually deep dish or stuffed and takes about 40 minutes to cook, maybe more if it's a busy Friday night. You might consider having it delivered in the comfort of your hotel room. You'll get varying responses on what is the best-Edwardo's, Gino's, Pizzeria Uno, Pizzeria Due, Lou Malnati's, etc.

Chicago Firehouse is at 1401 S. Michigan and the Hyatt is at 2200 S. Lake Shore which would be at least a mile (8 blocks roughly to a city mile). No, you do not want to walk.
Old Oct 1st, 2002, 11:17 AM
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For breakfast I would go to Lou Mitchell's on Jackson. It is one of Chicago's most popular breakfast spots.
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