calling chicgal on Chicago!

Old Sep 1st, 2004, 04:20 PM
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calling chicgal on Chicago!

You are so helpful with all the folks interested in the things to do and see in Chicago, so I thought I'd go right to the source!

We will be coming to Chicago October 21-24 -that's me, my wife and our two boys, ages 13 and 7. We live in the country in Oklahoma, but have taken the boys to New York, Miami, Dallas, Seattle, L.A., San Francisco and now it's Chicago's turn. They love seeing the big cities - right in the heart of all the action.

We are planning on arriving Thursday about noonish, and want to take the train from Midway to the the Homewood Suites on Grand. (It's an experience I will do just once - we will take a taxi back to Midway on Sunday)! Not quite sure how to do the train route yet.

We will likely explore the general area around the hotel that evening, and then plan on the "typical" kid-friendly site-seeing Friday and Saturday - Field Museum, Navy Pier, Sears Tower - my wife wants to go to Marshall Fields. Probably ESPN Zone and PF Changs for dinner - nothing too fancy, what with the boys.

Would love your opinion on any boat rides on the lake the boys would enjoy, as well as any other sites or activities we should cover, and whether you know if there are any big events planned downtown that weekend.

Thanks so much!
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 04:30 PM
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We went to Chicago in May -- and just want to recommend Andy's Jazz Club (I forget the street... Hubbard?) it's great for jazz novices in a totally friendly atmosphere -- I would heartily take teens there, and you can order/eat dinner with the show too.... jazz shows are at all hours. we went early, like 9-9:30 pm so you can hear teh real thing without staying up past midnight.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 04:48 PM
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The el (train) that serves Midway is the Orange line. See for details. Looks like a transfer to the Red line in the loop but the website should be detailed. Not sure why you won't want to take back - Sunday should be calm and easy.

The Museum Campus has Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the history one with Sue the dinosaur found out west. (Sorry - I grew up in Chgo and can't recall the museum's name.) They'd be kid friendly. And it's close to Soldier Field if you're into seeing a landmark altered to accomodate more sports people/$$.
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Old Sep 1st, 2004, 08:45 PM
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I would transfer from the Orange Line to the Red Line at Roosevelt, don't transfer at State/Lake.

State/Lake is not really a direct conection, just two stations near each other. If the weather is Bad you won't want to have to go outside to transfer trains. Roosevelt has a new Transfer tunnel that will be a lot easier.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 05:16 AM
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If your wife heads over to the larger Marshall Field's over on State St. (the original flagship store) and the thought of shopping makes you boys break out in hives, you can take the boys across the street to Garrett's Popcorn and grab a snack of some caramel corn and cheese popcorn and wander over to Daley Plaza for Chicagoween. If you look at the website below and click on Daley Plaza Calendar of Events then Farmers Market with Chicagoween you can see the stuff going on at the Plaza. Looks like there is also a parade on Oct 23.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 06:38 AM
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Instead of bothering with the transfer to the Red line, it's fiarly easy to take the Orange line train to State/Lake, walk downstairs and head north on State Street to your hotel. It's about a five-block walk, and you'll see a lot more than taking the subway.
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 06:59 AM
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I'm a Chicago native and couldn't help but chime in. A must-visit website to plan your trip is It has all the info you need on events, sights, restaurants, etc., and is better than the City's website.

Instead of Johnny Rockets - I'd recommend Ed Debevic's on Ontario and Wells for a more festive retro diner experience (great burgers and shakes, there's a DJ that spins the oldies and the servers periodically jump up on the counter and start dancing).

You should plan some time to walk up Michigan Ave to the Water Tower. (your wife will love the shopping!). You might notice the wonderful aroma of fresh popcorn and a line out the door - that's Garrett's popcorn - a Chicago staple.

In terms of museums, I highly recommend the Aquarium for your boys - we have a great shark and dolphin exhibits.

Have a great time!
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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:02 AM
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Our kids are 14,12,8 and 4. Here are my thoughts and what I'd add as possibilities.

The Art Institute is truly world class and its collection of ancient battle gear is amazing for Dads and kids.

Wrigley Field doesn't usually see October action, but tours are available and I've heard, really cool.

The lakefront really shouldn't be missed and the best way to experience it is on the paths - biking, in-line skating and walking are all fun.

I'd second the Hancock view versus Sears Tower and the Cheesecake Factory restaurant near or at the Hancock has a lot of fans and is kid friendly.

Riding the Ferris Wheel at Navy Pier is fun for everyone - depends a bit on the weather. There is also a nice IMAX theater there that I'd recommend and a good Children's Museum.

Our family favorites are the Shedd Aquarium (really dark and peaceful with a nice dolphin show) and the Field Museum of Natural History (dinosaurs and really cool permanent exhibits) and they are walking distance apart.

For some great background on the city for the parents, read "Devil in the White City" about the World's Fair and a serial murderer who operated in Chicago at the same time. A non-fiction page turner!

Enjoy our GREAT city,

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Old Sep 2nd, 2004, 08:20 AM
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Great responses everyone. Thank you all so very much!
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