Chicago Christmas Trip

Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:03 PM
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Chicago Christmas Trip

Dh and I are taking my mom and heading to the Windy City the day after Christmas. I used Priceline and got a room at the Allerton Hotel but I'm a little worried about some of the negative reviews. I really hate cramped hotel rooms (we did get 2 rooms, one for her, one for us). The parking looks expensive, yes, I know this is Chicago, on Michigan Ave. But I'm hoping someone can recommend a cheaper (but safe) lot nearby? What's good dining wise near the hotel? Like breakfast but don't want to pay the high prices at the hotel....any good bakeries? Nothing very fancy needed.

If you were staying here and wanted to go to the Museum of Science and Industry would you drive or take public transportation? Mom isn't up for a lot of walking (bad knees)

Also - a few of the must see Christmas decorations? And favorite Christmas things to do?

Thank you!
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Old Nov 30th, 2012, 06:30 PM
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Parking- Millenium Park Garage( underground) much less expensive, best price.
Corner Bakery for breakfast...
Dining...Volare, Coco Pazzo Cafe, Bice , Dao Thai, Emilio's Sol y Nieve Tapas, all in Streeterville near your hotel.
Bus to MSI
Christmas decorations- walk Michigan Ave..
Drake Hotel lobbySkating in Millenium Park.
Christmarkt in Loop
Macy's windows, State Street
Walnut Room for lunch, Macy's. State St.
Lincoln Park Zoolights
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Old Dec 1st, 2012, 08:24 AM
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Thanks so much Happy. I didn't realize there was a Corner Bakery near the hotel, this makes me very happy. We discovered one near our hotel when we were there in August and liked it very much. Why do you say busy to MSI? Is the entire trip on bus or is it part subway part bus? How long will it take to get there? I think that Chrstmarkt will be over on the 24th. But I willmake sure to check out the Drake Hotel Lobby.

Does anyone have any opinions on they History is Hott tour at the Palmer House Hilton or an afternoon tea at the Peninsula Hotel? I will probably have to choose between the two. Personally, I think the tea sounds delightful but that will leave DH out of the picture whereas he can do the tour at the Hilton with us.

Thanks!
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Old Dec 1st, 2012, 08:36 AM
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Bookmarking!
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Old Dec 1st, 2012, 03:09 PM
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It looks like the Millennium Park Garages are all South of the river. Are there garages that are closer? This seems like a long ways away? Or is it really the best option?
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Old Dec 1st, 2012, 03:28 PM
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The Christmas market ends on December 24, so it won't be an option for you.

You can reach MSI via the Number 10 bus southbound on Michigan Ave across from your hotel. It will head down Michigan, then to State, then run express from the Museum Campus to MSI. You can check schedules and how to track buses with your smartphone at www.transitchicago.com.

Go to Macy's on State to see the tree, but go elsewhere for lunch. The food is only mediocre and the wait times will probably be outrageous. Try Miller's Pub on Wabash at Adams, Petterino's on Randolph and Dearborn or Atwood Cafe in the Burnham Hotel.

For breakfast, the West Egg Cafe on Fairbanks is also an option. Also, check the decorations at 900 N Michigan and the gingerbread village in the Renaissance Hotel on Wacker.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 12:47 PM
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Thanks City...I didn't realize how long the wait could be at Macy's until I went on the web site...guess lunch at Christmas is a tradition. I will check out the other recs.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 01:57 PM
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The Millenium garages are south of the river , not far, but that is where you'll get the best deal. When we lived in the city the last time, family members parked there when visiting us.
The Walnut Room lunch is an old Marshall Field's tradition in Chicago at Christmastime. Macy's bought out Marshall Field's so maybe it isn't as good anymore. It was fun when I went in the old Marshall Field's days.
Forgot about the West Egg for breakfast, a good option.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 06:47 PM
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Thanks Happy. We will look into parking there - it is half the price of the hotel. Just didn't want to pick a garage that we knew nothing about and have to turn out to not be safe.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 07:41 PM
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It's under the new Millenium Park.
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Old Dec 2nd, 2012, 07:47 PM
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You may also want to check www.ParkWhiz.com/Chicago or www.chicagoparkingmap.com for a garage a bit closer to the Allerton.

If you can't find anything, you can drop mom and the luggage at the hotel, then drive back down to the Millennium Garage and catch the Number 151 bus northbound. The stop is on Michigan at Randolph across from the garage exit. If the weather is nice, it's about a half-mile walk.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 05:42 AM
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Parking was close to $50/night during my recent trip (at the Embassy Suites Lakefront). We trained in so avoided that.

I agree with the Walnut room advice. Go visit and move on. I'd add the historic Berghoff to the lunch suggestions above.

I think in the next hotel over (Crowne Plaza?), is a chain pub called Elephant & Castle. I have had some surprisingly good meals there. Nothing fancy, though.

Gino's East is around the corner, if you want a deep dish fix.

I'm a little concerned about your mom and walking: that's more or less what we do in Chicago. MSI is huge, as are some of the other main attractions.

While I don't recommend driving around downtown, the drive out to MSI isn't too hard to negotiate. Per my recent additions to my "unique" chicago thread, if you are down at MSI, consider hitting the Oriental Institute and Smart Museum at the U of Chicago. It is basically just west of the MSI.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 07:26 AM
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Wow, lucky you! We made a December trip to Chicago some years ago and it was wonderful. Alas, my restaurant recs are no doubt sadly out of date. I hope you will come back afterwards and let us know how your trip went.

For 2013, we are thinking of making a CH-squared Christmas trip -- Charleston, SC, and Chicago. Two cities with completely different vibes, but both great around Christmas.

Have a great time!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:16 PM
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The Berghoff is a wonderful suggestion but check the hours. I was there last year and went on 2 different occasions to find them closed.
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 01:29 PM
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The Berghoff is closed Sunday, but otherwise open for lunch and dinner.

http://www.theberghoff.com/about_us/...irections.aspx

Not trying to oversell the Berghoff, but it is one of my favorite restaurants and I do want to keep them in business!
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Old Dec 3rd, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Thanks for the rec about The Berghoff! I'll make sure to check it out. I do realize that Chicago is a lot of walking. If mom can't keep up she is happy to sit something out - or find a comfy place to sit at the MSI or Art Institute. Honestly, I'm hoping this trip will help her realize she really needs knee replacement surgery. She's been fighting it, so we will see (don't get me wrong, she's not hobbling along using a cane - and in fact she is very excited about this trip and knows of the walking involved!).

I will make sure to come back and post a trip report. I am bad about that but I'm taking a notebook so I can jot down notes along the way!
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Old Dec 5th, 2012, 07:18 AM
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Hi, WingsGal.
Yes, I second (or 3rd or 4th) the Millenium Garage parking lot. I'd drop your mom off at the Allerton first, though. Then 151 Bus or 3 Bus south down Michigan Ave to hotel.

As to the hotel, great location. Can't speak for the rooms, but I went to a wedding there, and the lobby was nice, and the elevators didn't seem all that slow to go to the top floor.

I'd recco Afternoon Tea at the Drake rather than the Peninsula. The tea is really wonderful there, and there seems to be more character in that hotel rather than the Peninsula. If your husband doesn't like the idea, maybe he can have a solo adventure and have a beer and eat some wings at Jake Melnicks...?

A restaurant recco near the Art Institute is The Gage. Really very nice.

Hope you have a good time in Chicago.
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Old Dec 26th, 2012, 05:11 PM
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Thanks everyone for all of your suggestions! Unfortunately we did not go due to some bad weathet that hit Detroit the day we were going to leave (today). I will put these suggestions to great use in the future!
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Old Dec 27th, 2012, 07:32 AM
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Too bad you couldn't go, but so nice of you to follow up your post!
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