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Celebrating Sister's 40th Birthday in Schaumburg IL

Celebrating Sister's 40th Birthday in Schaumburg IL

May 5th, 2010, 02:49 AM
  #1  
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Celebrating Sister's 40th Birthday in Schaumburg IL

We're making a trip to Schaumburg to shop at Woodfield Mall the weekend of May 22nd. We will be celebrating my sister's 40th birthday while there. I'm looking for suggestions and ideas on special activities or restaurants to celebrate. The group includes my mom and our two daughters age 11 and 9. We'd like to avoid going into the city. We're staying at the Marriot. Any suggestions to make our weekend more fun are very welcome! Thanks.
sunny71 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 05:20 AM
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Isn't there a Medieval Times in Schaumburg? I took my husband and teenaged kids to the one near Baltimore a few years ago to celebrate my husband's 50th birthday and we had a blast! While the food is not gourmet, it's tasty and something that all in your group should like. The horsemanship is impressive and the show is entertaining. This could be a fun evening for your family. I know that Medieval Times runs lots of specials, especially for birthday groups, so check their website for a good deal on pricing.
longhorn55 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 09:33 AM
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I'm not sure why you don't want to come into Chicago from Schaumburg. You would just take Metra into the city.

However, since you don't want to come here, my suggestion would be the Chicago Botanic Garden.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 12:36 PM
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Chicago Botanic isn't anywhere near Woodfield--?

Yes, there is a Medieval Times in Schaumburg - nothing like rootin' for your hot knight on horseback.

Any price range on restaurants? There are many in that area.
cruisin_tigger is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 02:54 PM
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I really don't have a price range. Since we are celebrating a special birthday, I am willing to get a little spendy. However, keep in mind we'll want something more casual/business casual dress attire. The Midevil Times looks like a good option! I looked at the botanical garden and noticed it isn't close to where we'll be. It's not that we are not willing to go into the city. I just think there has to be something suitable in the Schaumburg area. Staying close to the mall will allow us to keep it simple and more time for shopping!
Do you have any suggestions for dining with a festive/party like atmosphere? Perhaps something with live music?
Thanks!
sunny71 is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 04:02 PM
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Wildfire & Maggiano's are both good restaurants that fit your description of casual/business casual attire and are both very nice places to celebrate a birthday.

If you get tired of being stuck inside Woodfield all day, you could go to Long Grove and continue your shopping while enjoying a different setting and the outdoors.
http://www.longgroveonline.com/
isabellasu is offline  
May 5th, 2010, 05:48 PM
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I agree that Wildfire and Maggiano's fit the bill. Have fun.
breckgal is online now  
May 5th, 2010, 06:16 PM
  #8  
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I love the way the menu looks at Wildfire! Thanks for the suggestion. I checked out Long Grove shopping too. Thanks for the suggestions! It really helps to get thoughts from people who know the area.
sunny71 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 07:54 AM
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I apologize that I misunderstood your inquiry. I didn't mean to infer that the Chicago Botanic Garden was immediate to Schaumburg. I thought that you were looking for something very nice to do within a short drive from Schaumburg for a special occasion.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is usally a little more than a 1/2 hour drive from Schaumburg. However, I'm not sure how the extent of any road construction in the area would affect that time, as I don't ever come in from that direction.

It happens that May 22 is the beginning of the Chef Series there as well (Diva Chocolates & Confections, Inc. on that date). I thought it might be something that everyone would enjoy.

BTW, I'm not sure if you realize that Wildfire and Maggiano's are both chain restaurants. Is that what you really want for a special birthday celebration?

If chains are OK with you, I just read an article that Seasons 52 is opening a new location right across from the Woodfield Mall on May 10. And it's supposed to have live music (piano bar). Of course, since it's going to be a new location, there's no way of knowing what to expect but it appears that the other locations around the U.S. are reviewed quite favorably.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 08:50 AM
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Wildfire and Maggiano's are good. They're chains, but they're Chicago-based chains. Even so, I would recommend going into the city.
andrews98682 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 09:47 AM
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Excieldprincess: No apologies necessary! I welcome all ideas and looked at the Chicago Botanic Garden site soon after you posted. I think the Diva Chocolate demonstration looks great and I think my sister would love it. The down side is the time is 1:30. Andrews98682: If we decide to go into the city~what do you recommend? Thanks again everyone! I went from no ideas to several great ones.
sunny71 is offline  
May 6th, 2010, 02:22 PM
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If you do go into Chicago, I would recommend Frontera Grill for your sister's b'day. You will have a long wait for a table, but you can enjoy the festive & crowded bar & have one or two(!) of his awesome Margarita's.
Or you could try to get reservations for Topolobampo, which is Bayless's more upscale restaurant in the same building as Frontera Grill.
http://www.rickbayless.com/restaurants/

As for Wildfire & Maggiano's being chain restaurants, don't know why exiledprincess thinks they aren't worthy of a birthday dinner, they are both really good. They are both Chicago based restaurants from restauranteur Rich Melman, who has conceived many of the top & most popular restaurants in Chicago.
isabellasu is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 08:32 PM
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isabellasu:

1. This isn't only a birthday party, it's a 40th one, which many consider a milestone birthday. I know quite a few people who would be a little put out to be taken to a chain restaurant, even a "better" chain restaurant, for a special occasion. Don't you? We have no insight if the OP's sister feels that way or not. But, IMHO, if anyone here is recommending chain restaurants for special occasions, it is only fair to be advising the OP of the same. Let them make that determination if they feel it would be appropriate for the situation.

2. Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises, Inc. is a restaurant group. As you know, they have many different types of restaurants within that group. Everything from some of the best in Chicago (such as Everest, L20 and Tru) to (upscale) mall food options (i.e., FoodLife). A chain restaurant, though, normally conveys that not only are there several locations of the same restaurant but they have similar ambiance and menu items - although that latter could differ a bit, based on the locales. Both Wildfire and Maggiano's Little Italy both fit that definition.

sunny71, if you don't mind a suggestion for coming to Chicago:

You could take the Milwaukee District West Metra line into the Chicago Union Station from Schaumburg.

Why not make your sister feel like a kid again? Take her to the circus! Maybe you'd like to take in a matinee performance of the Lookingglass Theatre's great production of "Hephaestus: A Greek Mythology Circus Tale", which is playing at the Goodman Theatre on N. Dearborn until May 23. (This is easily walkable from Union Station - about 6.5 blocks.) The top ticket price is only $55; and, of course, there are lesser options - but there really isn't a whole lot of difference in the pricing. Quite frankly, I think your entire group, from your mom to your girls, would really enjoy this show.

Anyway, the Goodman is in the center of the Loop Theatre District, just 1 block west of the State Street shopping area, in case you all wanted to pop into some shops there.

So, all that's left is a suggestion for either dinner or lunch. Don't know what your dining budget would be, especially considering if you want to go to the theatre. There are some nicer (pricier) places convenient to Union Station, such as Province or Sepia; however, these are only open for dinner on Saturdays. As another option, you could go just north of the Chicago River into River North where some of the other LEYE restaurants are, such as Brasserie Jo or Shaw's Crab House.

Hope this gives you a little food for thought.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 7th, 2010, 11:43 PM
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Sunny,
Exiled Princess gave some good recommendations, but what does your sister like? There are so many options. The lettuce entertain you restaurants, like Wildfire and Maggiano's, tend to be very good. If you're taking the train in, maybe go to Greektown. If you like Italian, Mia Francesa's on Clark in Wrigleyville is very good. For steaks, there are a number of places like Gene & Georgetti's or Gibsons or Ditkas or Chicago Chophouse.

There's Table 52, which is Art Smith's place. You could check out Rick Tramonto's restaurants.
andrews98682 is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 08:52 AM
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If the OP and group want to go to one of the Francesca chain, they could go to the one at the Seneca Hotel (on Chestnut in the Gold Coast) or the one in Little Italy. They don't have to travel all the way north to Wrigleyville. There are 5 locations of the Francesca chain here in Chicago and at least 10 outside of the city.

Anyway, I think that the OP, if they are coming downtown, would probably want to stay closer to the Loop area, especially if they are taking in a show.

I had thought about suggesting Prairie Fire. It's located in the near West Loop, near Union Station, and it does serve weekend brunch. However, I was a little divided about recommending it. The times I've gone (both lunch and dinner) it's been just great. However, some of my friends didn't have quite the same experience - not bad, mind you, just not as good.

If the OP and group didn't mind going just a *little* further from the Loop, though, I think that the Purple Pig (500 N. Michigan) might be quite interesting to them. It has a connection with the Francesca enterprise because one of the parters joined with the Jimmy Bannos's, Sr. and Jr. (of Heaven on Seven). It has those smaller plates, meant to be shared, and is reasonably priced.

In fact, that walk from the Magnificent Mile to the Loop Theatre District is quite scenic. If the weather is very nice (and we are all hoping for it, after this weekend!), I would suggest that the OP and group walk south on the west sidewalk of Michigan Avenue. Stop and enjoy the spectacular view looking west down the Chicago River from the corner by the Wrigley Building, though. Then cross the Michigan Avenue Bridge to Wacker Drive. Turn right (west) and walk along the *north* sidewalk until you get to State St. Cross south and continue on to Randolph. If you are going to the Goodman Theatre, it is on Dearborn, the next street to the west.

The bridges over Michigan Avenue are drawbridges, you know. It's very interesting to many when they raise to allow the watercraft traffic through - towards the lake this time of year, as many craft are going from drydock inland to the harbors. The OP and crew may be lucky and view this happening.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 09:52 AM
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I'm 100% with EP - Go to a place unique to Chicago and one-of-a-kind. Even if you don't want to go downtown, check out any of our incredible neighborhoods. You can look on prior posts (check out EP's recent posts in another thread) to see many suggestions for restaurants.

If you are not convinced to visit the city, how about Oak Park? There are a lot of amazing Frank Lloyd Wright homes and buildings to visit. There are organized tours originating from the FLW home and stuido. There are some neat restaurants there as well.
Gina817 is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 10:41 AM
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Thank you, Gina817.

I don't want people to think I'm snobbish when it comes to dining establishments. I've eaten at plenty of chains and fast-food joints over the years. But I do feel that special occasions do warrant at least a little something special.

You know, it's kinda funny how things happen sometimes. I was just now reading the dining blog section in the Chicago Tribune online. One of them was discussing an annual poll which listed customer's favorite quick service and casual chain restaurants in the U.S. Maggiano's Little Italy (which began as a LEYE restaurant, but is now owned by another company) was named as #4 - right behind Olive Garden and right above McDonald's.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 10:48 AM
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Sorry, meant to indicate this correction in my above post:

When I said "The bridges over Michigan Avenue are drawbridges, you know...", I'm sure you know I meant to say "The bridges over the Chicago River are drawbridges, you know..." I was specifically thinking of the Michigan Avenue Bridge at that point when I was typing and, unfortunately, my typed words didn't reflect my actual meaning.

At this time of the year, when the bridges over the River start lifting, they usually start from the west and open successively towards the east - to allow the watercraft with those large masts through.
exiledprincess is offline  
May 8th, 2010, 02:18 PM
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No, it's not snobbish. I hope everyone can understand how it's much more special to go to a locally owned, non-corporate and unique place.

It actually hurts me to think of someone being near such wonderful, world class restaurants and not going to them. That said, I am the one always pushing folks toward the local places.

Sunny - I hope we have convinced you : )
Gina817 is offline  

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