2 days in Chicago - first timers

Old Mar 12th, 2024, 09:06 AM
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2 days in Chicago - first timers

Hi all - my husband, 15 yo daughter and I have 2 days in Chicago at the end of March. We have never been. We are staying near Grant Park. We are looking for the best things to do...the ideal 1- or 2-day itinerary BUT we don't care for museums or zoos. Was looking into architecture river cruise - is that worth it? Recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you!
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 12:57 PM
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Saturday + Easter Sunday? You can walk up (north) on N. Michigan Avenue on the "Magnificent Mile" and see what is open. Head west and then walk south on Wacker. You might be able to take the elevator up the Willis Tower (former Sears). Check for a show that you would all like to see in the theater district.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 02:01 PM
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There are some great ethnic restaurants in Chicago. Polish in Portage Park and Chinese in Chinatown and Greek in Greektown. I ate at a Greek restaurant in Chicago once which knocked my socks off.
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 02:06 PM
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In addition to the highly recommended river cruise, the Chicago Architecture Center offers a wide variety of walking tours and bus tours.

https://www.architecture.org/tours/

You can walk or bike (some of) the Lakefront Trail—

https://www.choosechicago.com/articl...kefront-trail/
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Old Mar 12th, 2024, 02:49 PM
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Originally Posted by jbenitez7399
Hi all - my husband, 15 yo daughter and I have 2 days in Chicago at the end of March. We have never been. We are staying near Grant Park. We are looking for the best things to do...the ideal 1- or 2-day itinerary BUT we don't care for museums or zoos. Was looking into architecture river cruise - is that worth it? Recommendations would be appreciated. Thank you!
Yes the architectural river cruise is a must. Too bad you don't like museums as there are two world class ones in Chicago and one is close to you but if not try for sure the Art Institute of Chicago which you could probably walk to. Across the street is a well know restaurant called Russian Tea time.

Definitely see the "Bean" as it's called which again you can walk to.

Consider the Shedd Aquarium and the Adler Planetarium.

Do go to the top of the Willis Tower for great views and you can actually stand on glass ledges that extend out. Look down if you like. .



Make reservations for a meal at Gibsons Italia which has one of the best views of any restaurant in the country as reported in US News and World Report mag. Ask for a table by one of the windows.

If you like something typically Chicago try Al's beef. There is one on the downtown area and also Pequods Pizza which was recently voted the best pizza in the US.

if you want to stay downtown as Pequods is a little further away you can try Lou Malnatis which is downtown. It has been voted consistently as the best pizza in Chicago.

If you want to try where deep dish pizza was made or invented then you can try one of two locations which are both downtown. One is called pizzeria Uno’s and kitty corner is pizzeria Due.



Last edited by jacketwatch; Mar 12th, 2024 at 03:11 PM.
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Old Mar 13th, 2024, 08:56 AM
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Visit the Cultural Center across from the Bean. There is a beautiful Tiffany ceiling on the second floor. There is another Tiffany ceiling in the Marshall Field's on State Street, It is above the cosmetic counter or you can go up to the the 5th floor to get a closer look. Several years ago I took a walking tour of the Pedway system that runs under the city. It was pretty interesting.
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Old Mar 13th, 2024, 10:11 AM
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thank you all for your suggestions! just booked the river tour and noted all the places to eat (can't wait!). appreciate the insights.
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Old Mar 13th, 2024, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by gardendiva
Visit the Cultural Center across from the Bean. There is a beautiful Tiffany ceiling on the second floor. There is another Tiffany ceiling in the Marshall Field's on State Street, It is above the cosmetic counter or you can go up to the the 5th floor to get a closer look. Several years ago I took a walking tour of the Pedway system that runs under the city. It was pretty interesting.
that store is actually Macy’s now. However, for a true Chicagoan it will always be Marshall Fields and the Willis Tower will always be the Sears Tower.
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Old Mar 13th, 2024, 04:24 PM
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Hi jbenitez

I have been to Chicago several times and agree with others that the architecture riverboat tour is great, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed. Going up Willis Tower gives a great bird’s eye view of Lake Michigan and city skyline. Agree that Millennium Park makes for a terrific stroll. Only non-museum thing others have not mentioned that I really enjoyed was biking on the path along Lake Michigan.

best wishes Daniel
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 01:26 AM
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Two different times we enjoyed a free City Greeter tour to an area of our choice. Check their website. Liked the other suggestions posted. Great city to visit.
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by jacketwatch
that store is actually Macy’s now. However, for a true Chicagoan it will always be Marshall Fields and the Willis Tower will always be the Sears Tower.
LOL Yes it is now a Macy's but it has always been Marshall Fields's to me. Although, I was there in December and some of the construction had taken away a lot of the charm. I am from the Detroit area and the Macy's here will always be JL Hudson, of the Marshall Field's era.
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 03:30 PM
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Originally Posted by gardendiva
LOL Yes it is now a Macy's but it has always been Marshall Fields's to me. Although, I was there in December and some of the construction had taken away a lot of the charm. I am from the Detroit area and the Macy's here will always be JL Hudson, of the Marshall Field's era.
Ture. Been to Hudsons as well. Gone but never forgotten.
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Old Mar 14th, 2024, 07:08 PM
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JL Hudson, of the Marshall Field's era.
Noting that JL Hudson was bought by Dayton's (of Minneapolis) in 1969, then Dayton-Hudson (still in Minneapolis) bought Marshall Field about 25 years ago, then Macy's bought the lot. So the Marshall Field era in Detroit couldn't have been more than a few years long, and it was never the Chicago Marshall Field since that was gone (as a Chicago-based store) before the name appeared on stores in Detroit.

The Riverwalk in Chicago is pretty sensational, many. many times larger than the San Antonio version, so check that out, it's an international party scene.
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Old Mar 15th, 2024, 07:29 AM
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Originally Posted by tom_mn
Noting that JL Hudson was bought by Dayton's (of Minneapolis) in 1969, then Dayton-Hudson (still in Minneapolis) bought Marshall Field about 25 years ago, then Macy's bought the lot. So the Marshall Field era in Detroit couldn't have been more than a few years long, and it was never the Chicago Marshall Field since that was gone (as a Chicago-based store) before the name appeared on stores in Detroit.
I am sorry if my comment was misleading. JL Hudson Company was open in 1928. The service and offerings were comparable to Marshall Field's. Services and offering that Macy's does not even come close to. I think that every big city had a department store that compared to Marshall Field's and we all hold those memories close to our hearts..
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Old Mar 15th, 2024, 12:27 PM
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oooh - thanks guys! In for the bike ride, City Greeter tour and the Riverwalk. Can't wait!

side note: I'm from Miami and our Macy's will always be Burdine's.
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Old Mar 15th, 2024, 01:09 PM
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Here are a couple of other restaurant suggestions near Grant Park. Both unique.

https://www.theberghoff.com/ (German food and beer in historic building)

https://www.russianteatime.com/ (Traditional Russian food, not just tea, and wonderful old world service)
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Old Mar 15th, 2024, 06:20 PM
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The L trains (subway) can be ridden with a contactless credit card, so no need for tickets or transfers, and the return trip is often free. Easy to ride to the Loop from either airport on the L trains. You would need a contactless card for each paying passenger though.

It's on the expensive end but loved this one in Fulton Market https://www.rosemarychicago.com/ Very easy ride on the Pink L train (overhead). Maybe not for children, depends.

There are practically no homeless in Chicago, if you travel much you know how unusual this is becoming in the US.

The north central part of the US "skipped" a winter this year so end of March should be pretty nice weather.

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Old Mar 16th, 2024, 11:15 AM
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Have fun in my hometown!
We just got back from there and ate at Rose Mary, one of our favorites, good rec tom_mn!

If you are foodies, that whole Fulton Market area is full of award winning restaurants, and a fun vibe with the streets closed off and outdoor seating. There, we also love Monteverde, Ana, Beatrix and Green Street Smoked Meats. Stephanie Izard , the first female winner of Top Chef, got this area hopping, with her Girl and the Goat and our new obsession Cabra, and she has others.

Rick Bayliss's Topolobambo is also good. It won James Beards best restaurant of the year when it opened. It is attached to Frontera Grill which has similar food but is more reasonably priced. The Kitchen is a pretty spot along the river that has great views, it might be good after your boat tour. Eataly is also fun.

A lot of what you do will depend on the weather, it could be from freezing to 80 degrees, it has been crazy lately.
On a nice day, a bike ride along the lake would be great! There are over 20 miles of bike/walking paths.

For a different experience, take the 151 bus north and you will get a nice view of Michigan avenue, and the lake and get off at Lincoln Park Zoo. I am not a zoo person either, but on southern end, the gardens and ponds there are beautiful, and the zoo is FREE. Nearby, have lunch at the J. Parker on the top of the Lincoln Hotel. https://www.jparkerchicago.com/gallery/

Walk south through the park, over the walkway to North Avenue Beach and walk down to Oak Street Beach, it will have fabulous views.
Many love Navy Pier, I think it is very crowded, but at the end is this restaurant. First come/ first served
https://www.drinkoffshore.com/?SEO_i...9uLndlYnNpdGU=

London House's rooftop bar also has killer views, you definitely need reservations.
https://londonhousechicago.com/rooftop/

gardendiva is right about the Cultural Center, also free, and Marshall Fields,( Macy's if you must)! Enjoy!
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Old Mar 23rd, 2024, 08:35 PM
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Be careful when you choose an Architectural Boat Tour that you get the authentic, original one run by the Chicago Architecture Center, CAC, architecture.org Boat is named Chicago’s First Lady. The docents on board are well trained volunteers.
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