Chicago and outskirts- what to do???

Old Mar 14th, 2006, 07:31 PM
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Chicago and outskirts- what to do???

My husband and I are planning a trip to Chicago in May. We have been there several time and have done the touristy things like double decker bus tour, buggy tour, architectural tour, night skylights tour on Lake Michigan, been to a ballgame at Wrigley field, Sears tower, Bobby's Bike tour, and have gone to surrounding areas like Geneva to shop, Lake Geneva,WS for a boat tour, Naporville, is there anything else. We haven't done the museums yet, but if it's good weather we like to be outside. Any suggestions for Chicago or surrounding area?? Has anyone heard of the gangster tour and what are your thoughts? Need help for first weekend in May.
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Old Mar 14th, 2006, 07:50 PM
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How about taking a Segway tour along the lakefront?

http://www.citysegwaytours.com/chicago/
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 05:37 AM
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I don't know when you have been to Chicago, but have you seen Millennium Park? It's great fun for a bit of exploring. You can download a free audiotour at www.millenniumpark.org As your trip gets closer, you can also check the calendar there for park events. I'm not sure the evening free concerts at the Pritzker Pavilion will have started then, but something might be going on.

Have you been to the Lincoln Park zoo? It's outdoors, and a fun place to visit (and free).

You could head to Evanston - wander around Northwestern's campus, visit the shops, and go to the beach (not for swimming - too cold, just for walking).

Head to Hyde Park and explore the neighborhood, including the Frank Lloyd Wright houses (sorry, I don't know the details of what's offered, but you can probably find more info on old posts here).

Chicago offers some botanical gardens that would probably be pretty in early May - http://www.chicago-botanic.org/

Have you explored Chicago's many neighborhoods? Check out Old Town, Lincoln Park, Lincoln Square, Wicker Park, Chinatown, Greektown, etc.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 07:35 AM
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The Botanical Garden in Glencoe is really awesome.

But I would do the Segway if you haven't done that. My kid who did the gangster tour thought he was totally ripped off, and it is not worth doing. Just my opinion, but an hour in Art Institute is priceless. Can't say you've down Chicago until you spend some time in that baby, nor if you haven't been on the Chicago River with the Chicago Arch. Foundation's tour.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 08:26 AM
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Brookfield zoo is very nice.
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Old Mar 15th, 2006, 06:07 PM
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I would second Hyde Park. There are a couple of excellent small museums on the University of Chicago campus, plus the Rockefeller(sp?) Chapel. You won't spend too much time inside any of them. and you can walk between them. Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House is there. There is also Jackson Park, with it's Japanese Gardens, and you can rent bikes at the 63rd St. beach house. There are some excellent restaurants there, and a few interesting shops.

Nearby is the Prairie Ave. historic district. Not a whole lot to see there anymore, but there are a couple of homes open for touring, plus the Vietnam Veterans Art Museum.

If you take the Metra Electric to Pullman (111th St.) you can tour the model community built by the railroad magnate of that name.

If you take the Rock Island line to 111th St., or take the bus from Pullman, you can see the gorgeous homes of Morgan Park and Beverly. Just head north along Longwood Drive. The Metra Rock Island has stations every 1/2 mile to 1 mile, along that stretch, so you can easily pick up the train back downtown.

Pilsen is a neat neighborhood, and the Mexican Fine Arts Museum is really cool. Take the Blue Line to 18th St.

Just be careful around Hyde Park, it's a fairly safe neighborhood, but it borders some pretty rough areas, though the lakefront path all the way to downtown is safe. And you should probably confine your trips to Pullman and Pilsen to daytime hours.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 02:33 PM
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Are you interested in military history? The trip out to The First Division Museum at Cantigny in Wheaton is very interesting and off the beaten path. Cantigny is the estate of the late Col. McCormick, long-time editor and publisher of the Chicago Tribune. The estate is beautiful and the museum is very well done.

http://www.rrmtf.org/cantigny/
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 02:39 PM
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While out in wheaton, you may want to stop at the Morton Arboretum in Lisle for walking and/or a tram ride around the once estate of Joy Morton of the Morton salt fame.
http://www.mortonarb.org
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 02:49 PM
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Brookfield Zoo is a large habitat zoo with many special exhibits. If you love apes/primates of all kinds- it has a terrific Ape habitat.

It's LARGE- so you would need great walking shoes. I'm a Brookfield Zoo Member and it does have parking and entrance fees. The entire area is fun, and we always go to a restaurant called Little Europe in that neck of the woods. NOT high end, but very good Eastern European.

I am a Brookfield Zoo mercat junkie.

Lincoln Park Zoo is free and a much quicker excursion- older style zoo in a beautiful park. The entire area is also fun to explore.

Cantigny is amazing. Morton A. is extremely interesting if you are a tree person. Their tours are highly informative.
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Old Apr 12th, 2006, 03:36 PM
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You can check out the Frank Lloyd Wright Home & Studio tours in Oak Park & River Forest (google it for current tour info).
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Old Apr 14th, 2006, 11:05 PM
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Gosh, you've named everything there is to do in Chicago!!! (HA! Not even close.)

Kayak (or canoe) the Chicago River.

Go to Graceland Cemetery (Clark/Irving Park) and see the final resting places some of Chicago's most famous.

Go fly a kite (literally) at the Museum of Science and Industry that weekend.

Millennium Park has a photo exhibit on the great gardens of the world. They also have a free walking tour of the park you can download on a MP3.

Take a walk north on Astor Street (considered by many to be the prettiest street in the city), west on North Avenue, past the Cardinal's mansion, then south on State Street.

Go to the new Freedom Museum on N. Michigan Avenue.

Go golfing at the Sydney R. Marovitz Golf Course (aka Waveland Golf Course).

How about bird-watching? The Audobon Society has regular outings in Jackson Park. There is also a bird sanctuary north of Recreation Drive on the north side.

Take an outside art tour/architecture tour around the Loop - Picasso, Chagall, Dubuffet, Frank Lloyd Wright, Louis Sullivan, etc.

How about taking a tour of a historic landmark theatre? The Auditorium is the one I'd pick.

Take a Red Line pub crawl. Oh, the places you could go!

Go to the Uptown Poetry Slam at the Green Mill on Sunday night (early), hang around for fine jazz. By the way, if you want to be where the gangsters was, this be the place. Al Capone used to frequent here.

Take the South Shore train (Michigan/Randolph)to the Indiana Dunes National Park (Dune Park station). Walk along the beach or the nature trails. In the same trip, afterwards, you could also go to Lighthouse Outlet Mall in Michigan City for some different scenery. Just pick up the next train going eastbound.

Eli's Cheesecake Factory has tours Monday-Friday and a free sample at the end. What a sweet way to go!

If you need any more suggestions, just let me know. Have Fun!
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Old Apr 18th, 2006, 09:05 PM
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What great suggestions from everyone, I'm really excited about going though I might have to detain my trip by a few weeks, had to have my appendix out last week, and want to be in good walking condition when I go visiting Chicago and areas!
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Old Apr 19th, 2006, 06:04 PM
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Ouch! Hope you're doing well and recovering quickly. Best wishes!
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