24 hour CHICAGO itinerary

Sep 23rd, 2006, 11:43 PM
  #1  
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24 hour CHICAGO itinerary

we arrive midday sunday via rental car, and leave monday on a 9pm flight out of midway. it's oct 8-9, mon. is columbus day.

we're staying at the Ambassador East in Gold Coast.

things we hope to do, eat and see:

lunch or drinks at john hancock 95th floor (instead of sears).

some awesome chicago pizza. somewhere. anywhere.

Art Institute and/or Photography museum.

Architectural Boat tour.

millenium park, Mag.mile, and any other cool places to walk around.

would like to hit greektown.

heard Navy Pier is anything from awesome to worth skipping. set me straight.

wouldn't mind hearing some blues, but i realize we really only have one night and around 30 total hours.

we fly in friday, grab rental car, go to wedding near champaign, and then return sunday for big short chicago visit. considering keeping rental and paying parking... but if it's do-able, could save some money dropping the car back at midway sunday, somehow get up to our hotel, and use public transport to get around and back to midway monday night.

phew! i need to take a deep breath.
so, tell me, what am i doing wrong and/or right? what am i forgetting?

thanks in advance. by the way, have already done extensive chicago searches on here, and found LOTS of great tips. plenty of helpful chicago people here!


tlf18 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 06:25 AM
  #2  
 
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You have a lot planned and may want to cut back a little. For Chicago style pizza, I'd recommend Uno/Due (they are across the street from each other) or Gino's East. The Architectural Boat Tour is great. I'd skip Navy Pier and Greektown, while there are good restaurants, there is not much else to see and it is out of the way.

You can absolutely drop off the car at Midway and take the Orange Line into the city. You'll want to get off in the loop (I think the stop is Clark/Lake - but it has been a while since I took the EL in Chicago) and the cab ride to your hotel should be $6 - $8.

Have a great time!
bakpakr is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 06:56 AM
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tlf18, I think most of your schedule is doable.

I suggest you forego Navy Pier in your schedule altogether.

When you get into Chicago, take the very first Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise you can. I'd suggest getting tickets in advance, if you can, because you have a very tight schedule.

The River Cruise a little more than 2 hours (including boarding and disembarking).

If you get the cruise as soon as you get into town, then when you are through, go south on Michigan Avenue to the Art Institute. Millennium Park is only 3 blocks south and the Art Institute is just south of that - BUT go to the Art Institute first because they close early on Sundays. You can go to Millennium Park after it closes.

I'd only go to Greektown for dinner, but there are closer options. There is a Giordano's just east of Michigan Avenue at Lake and one at 750 N. Rush. But see note below for a different option.

Next on the agenda, go to the John Hancock Building (Signature Lounge).

Blues clubs: On N. Halsted, there are two blues clubs right across the street from each other. On Sundays, when you pay the cover at B.L.U.E.S., you get into Kingston Mines for free. (KM is open until 4 am so you have no excuse for not going to a blues club.) NOTE: If you were interested in going to these, then I'd suggest going to Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder on N. Clark Street for pizza (cash only) and then just cabbing it over to N. Halsted - fairly close.

If you wanted to stay in the downtown area, go to Buddy Guy's Legends (in the South Loop) for blues.
exiledprincess is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 07:17 AM
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thanks bakpakr.

yea, i know i'm trying to cram too much in. my wife is Greek, so thought maybe we'd catch a meal in greek town, but if it's out of the way we might not bother.

has anyone been to the Photography museum? certainly not as famous as the Art Institute, but figure it must be pretty cool.
how's the museum of modern art? since we're pressed for time, perhaps i should stick with just the Art Institute... that's really the cant-miss museum, correct?

thanks.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 24th, 2006, 07:34 AM
  #5  
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woops, and thanks princess too!
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 25th, 2006, 06:54 PM
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With all the things that you want to do, you may want to park in the city. Parking is really expensive of course, but I found that the Millennium Park parking garage has a reasonable rate (if you compare it to rates at other garages in the city). I believe it's $13 for 12 hours.
Lisa_O is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 07:27 AM
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thanks Lisa. i'm still on the fence about returning the car sunday, or just keeping it for convenience. seems like we can get around downtown pretty easily with public transportation... but depending on when we get into town, if we cant check in until 3, we may want to be able to grab a bit to eat or check things out without hand-carrying our luggage on trains and in cabs.

really not sure hot to play that yet.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 07:32 AM
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I'd check to see if parking is included at the hotel. If not you'll pay quite a bit to park. We paid over $20 a night.

You should be able to leave your luggage at the hotel if you're there before check in time.
angethereader is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 07:34 AM
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JJ5
 
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Faina is a Fodorite who just left Chicago, saw the Photography you mention and absolutely loved it.

If you get to Greektown I rec Greek Islands. There are others and most are very good, but Greek Islands is great.

I would do the Uno or Due's pizza for the most authentic. Gino's East has cornmeal crust and Giordano's is morphing, IMHO.

But for something REALLY good, exiled princesses' Oven Grinders suggestion is super good too. It is not deep dish but very different and most people like it A LOT. I have one son who drives for about 2 hours to get there a couple of times a year.

JJ5 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 07:45 AM
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parking at the hotel is $39. not bad considering we got the room at Ambassador east for $129.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 07:46 AM
  #11  
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parking at the hotel is $39. not bad considering we got the room at Ambassador east for $129.

thanks for the food suggestions JJ.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 08:13 AM
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See what the car will cost for the two extra days. If you are still getting the weekend rate, it might be worth the extra money to save a little time. Also, your point about having a place to store luggage on Monday is a good one.

My suggested itinerary would be:

Find out whether the weather will be better on Sunday or Monday. Plan on doing the River Cruise that day. Go to the Art Institute on the other afternoon
It is open until 5 p.m. on both Sunday and Monday.

Blues show gets started at 9 p.m., so you'll have time to head to your hotel for a rest after in late afternoon, or to the Hancock for a drink.

Sunday evening: Lou Malnati's pizza, 439 N. Wells St. and Blues Chicago 536 N. Clark St. (they're only a couple of blocks from each other)

Monday: walk around Ambassador East neighborhood, have breakfast. Check out of hotel and head to Art Institute or River Cruise. Have lunch on Michigan Avenue, visit Millennium Park.
Dinner in Greektown at 5 (I prefer Costa's); head out to Midway by 7.
patg is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 09:17 AM
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wow, thanks PatG.

it's really only one extra night for the car rental, not 2. we have to have it Fri-Sun to go to the wedding in Champaign and back to chicago. just a question of returning it to Midway sunday or keeping it till monday.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 09:32 AM
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oh, one more thing.
thru searching other Chicago threads, sounds like people suggest getting the Boat Tour tickets in advance. is that still recommended in October, or is it only crowded in the summer?

thanks.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 09:53 AM
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It's much less crowded in October. You could purchase in advance, but then they are yours, rain or shine.

I would wait until 5-7 days before your trip and decide then if you want to buy them in advance. www.architecture.org
patg is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 10:55 AM
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thanks...

trying to research car rental prices for 2 day vs. 3 day.

i'm still thinking that since our flight out isn't until 9pm and we may end up trying to see/do/eat around town after check out, we might need the car.

tough call.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 26th, 2006, 03:32 PM
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One day extra? Keep the car. You'll spend $40 in cab fare without it, and you won't have to stop at Midway on the way in.

For the Art Institute and River Cruise, park in Millennium Garage: enter on Columbus drive (north of Monroe Street/Art Institute) or enter on South Water Street, east of Michigan Avenue (there's a ramp downward - take it and stay to the right)

For Greektown, there are a couple of large lots right on Halsted. Parking is sometimes free, sometimes not, but it's not expensive.

Parking at the Hancock: there is a garage in the rear of the building, or use the 900 North Michigan lot in back of the large shopping mall on the west side of the street. If you do the latter, buy something in the stores and get your parking validated.

The bad news is that parking around the Ambassador East is severely limited. I don't know of any reliable alternatives to that $39 a night charge.
patg is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 05:55 AM
  #18  
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thanks again pat. i was thinking the same thing that i should just keep the car for the convenience.

and great tips once again, much appreciated.
tlf18 is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 07:08 AM
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My advice would be to skip Gino's East, as well as Pizzeria Uno or Du since you can get these pizzas anywhere. I think all three are over-rated tourist traps. I'd go to a Giordanos and get a SMALL stuffed Pizza. Much more unique to Chicago. A small one is good for two and you won't get too filled up. Skip the meat too. Chicago pizzas and meat = OVERKILL and you get way too filled up. A small stuffed Girdanos pizza with garlic and mushrooms, mmm. Makes me sorry I moved out of chicago.

I think I may have one fed-exed.
celfan is offline  
Sep 27th, 2006, 11:12 AM
  #20  
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thanks celfan. i guess "best chicago pizza" is in the stomach of the beholder.

new question: i'm not an art freak, but would like to see the Art Institute. is the museum of Contemporary Art also worth it? i'm sure they're both great. but we have such limited time. my taste probably leans closer to the modern/contemp stuff, but from looking around online the Institute seems more legendary.
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