chicago trip report

Old Apr 26th, 2004, 12:52 PM
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chicago trip report

Trip Itinerary ? Chicago

Thursday April 22



Catch a cab to:

The Drake Hotel (3 nights)
140 East Walton Place, Chicago, IL 60611
Tel: +1 312 787 2200

11pm (John Hancock Signiture Room for drinks)

Friday April 23

9:00am Depart hotel for Sears Tower
12:30pm Chicago architecture boat ride
1:30-5p Lunch at Pizzeria Uno Magnificent Mile and walk downtown
5p return to hotel to change
7:30pm reservations at nine/ghost bar

Saturday April 24

9:30am Depart Hotel for WrigleyVille
10:30a ? 1pCubbyBear/Murphy?sBleachers
1:05pm Cubs vs. Mets game
4:00pm Lincoln Park to John Barleycorn
5pm back to hotel to change
8pm dinner at narcisse
clark street ale house
desert at Ghiradelli

Sunday April 25

1pm Lunch at Tavern on Rush
2:30pm departs for airport

This is my itinerary from the past weekend with my wife. First of all, the weather was good and bad. Luckily, it only rained on Saturday night briefly. However, forecast all week said the weekend would be 55-60 degrees with lows in the 40s. oops. Saturday for the baseball game was 41 degrees and we froze our asses off. The other two days were perfect. so, bear in mind the wind off the lake can make a huge difference.

Stayed at the Drake Hotel which I would recommend mainly because of service and location. The rate we got on thursday night was 169 but Fri/Sat that went to 269. The hotel is very historic and old and because of that looked the other way on a few things. Foremost, the air conditioning in the room barely worked and when it did run, the vent made a screeching noise. Not enough for me to complain, I simply opened the window. The concierge staff was not that helpful in a couple instances and the breakfast on the concierge level left a little to be desired. But, overall I enjoyed the experience and would stay there again.

Upon arrival went to the Signiture Room on the 96th floor of the Hancock building. Horrible service, way overpriced wine list and the worst merlot I have ever tasted. View is spectacular and was even crowded on at late thursday night. I would recommend going and getting a coke and enjoy the view for about 20 minutes and take your drinking money elsewhere.

Sears tower opens at 10am so we thought we would be real smart and get there at 9:30am. Seems that about 300 high school seniors on a school trip had the same idea. oops. i would still recommend going early because you never know if the weather will change, its usually clearest in the morning and after the kids left, there were only about 50 people up there. plenty of room for everyone.

Chicago boat ride was a nice excursion albeit a very pricey one. 18 bucks pp for an hour listening about chicago architecture. I would recommend but its a one time deal. I did learn alot and it was nice to see the city from the river and sit for a little bit. catch the tour at the corner of michigan and wacker at the south end of the mag. mile.

Had lunch at Pizzeria Uno. Its a toss up for me between uno and ginos but I like the old building uno is in. Some of the best pizza I have eaten without question.

shopped and walked the mile and the tulips were just planted this week and will be out for about a month. wonderful pictures and beautiful colors. My wife bought an overpriced bag at louis vitton.

dinner at Nine. we had the veal chop, gnocchi, chicken. veal chop was one of the best I have had. chickend was bone in and hard to deal with. gnocchi was fabulous. great restaurant and great bar. Upstairs is the ghost bar. Lets just say they dont discriminate to hard as to who they let in. Most people in the restaurant and bar were dressed appropriately. (suits, casual chic and so on) a fair amount of people they let in the club looked like they just crawled out of bed with a severe hangover. I am not saying those people dont have there place. I am often one of them. but not at what bills itself as an upscale club at a 4 star eatery. much less impressed than was advertised but the eating was two thumbs up.

Went to wrigley field on saturday to see kerry wood pitch. lucky enough to see sosa hit a homer and drank some beer. My wife even had fun.

Cubby Bear, Murphy's bleachers are two bars to hit before and afte the game. expect huge crowds early but the beer is cheap and cold. for eats its dawgs and sausage. after we went down to lincoln park to john barleycorn for a hot tottie. I had been there before and it was nice to have some room to sit. this place gets wild on weekends after 9pm.

Dinner at narcisse. what a great dining experience. had the shrimp app. morroccan lamb app. and chicken and risotto. the apps were fantastic. if you go make a reservation for one of the curtained booths. cheapest bottle of wine was 50 and the meals were 17-35. very dark, very cozy and very intimate. We both liked it alot. and its a block from a great watering hole, the clark street ale house. this is a very old establishment and they have 30-40 beers on tap. many I had never heard of and they have a tasting menu which I would try. after that,it was desert at ghiradelli which is on pearson st in the water tower square. we each had a banana split that hit the spot. this place closes at 12 so get there before that.

thats about it. if you have any questions about any of this or would like more detail just email me.
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Old Apr 26th, 2004, 01:45 PM
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Hi Chris:
We also just got back from a long weekend in Chicago...stayed at the Hyatt Regency at North Michigan Ave and Wacker. Were you able to catch your plane on time or was it delayed like the other 80%? We had a 5:57pm flight out on Sunday, that did not leave until 8:20pm! Guess the weather caused a giant delay at OHare.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 07:32 AM
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Highbay, dont get me started. I was traveling non revenue on southwest and it took me 12 hours to get back to dallas. that is the last time I am doing that. free or not.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 09:00 AM
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Thanks for the detailed trip report. Thinking of hitting the Second City for its Blues festival. Thanks for the heads up about Signature Room; it was one of my targets.

Another target is pizza, and I heard about the two places you mentioned. Glad I can't go wrong either way, but I'm a sucker for great architecture.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 09:16 AM
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Hi Chris,

Great report... sounds like you hit some of the highlights of our fine city.

I flew into ORD last night from Dallas, and the flights were still delayed due to the winds... only 2 runways open (normally 3-4) during rush hour accepting ONLY 80 flights per hour compared to the 120 norm. Busy, busy.

Glad you had fun.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 10:03 AM
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Designmr, in case you check back in, the Hancock has three floors for viewing, there is an observatory, The Signature Room restaurant and a bar (I think the bar is on 96). There's a one drink minimum at the bar but it is less than the cost to go to the observatory and at least you get a drink. If you are female, be sure to check out the ladies lounge which is supposed to have a great view.

I think the river cruise Chris took was the one given by Shoreline, not the one given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, based on the price. I have not done the Shoreline version, but I really enjoyed the one by the Architecture Foundation. It's $23-25 and you can get more details on that tour and many others at www.architecture.org.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 11:49 AM
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Thanks for the info, Kristi! Is there not a "gents lounge" for us males with a comparable view ? I'll have to do the cruise tour as well -- and visualize where that Trump International Hotel and Tower that homeboy Bill Rancic will manage!
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 01:26 PM
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Afraid that the view is only for the ladies,don't think it is worth donning a dress for though ;-)

The Trump Tower will be built where the current Sun Times building is, a building that I will not miss very much.

If you're a real architecture buff, you should check out some of the AF's other tours. We did a couple last year when they did the free Great Places and Spaces weekend (May 22-23 this year), one to Graceland Cemetery and one down near Hyde Park that were both interesting. We're doing Uptown, Humboldt Park and Oak Woods Cemetery this year.

And another good choice for pizza is Lou Malnati's on Wells St., Uno's and Gino's get most of the tourist business since they are better known but Malnati's also does a very good deep dish. If you are up in the Lincoln Park area, you might also consider My Pie on Clark just north of Fullerton.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 01:38 PM
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Sorry to touch on a sore spot Chris. I thought our delay was bad! They did announce at 8:00pm that we would be boarding shortly and not to put any luggage in the overhead bins until everyone was on the aircraft. They said if the door was not closed by 8:20, there would be no flight to TPA that night. I was ready to through people into their seats. Fortunately, people did "move it" when boarding.
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Old Apr 27th, 2004, 06:09 PM
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Kristi, very interesting...I am lover of great public spaces...but don't think a late May trip to Chi-town is possible. You are probably aware of the group Project for Public Spaces (www.pps.org), no?

And yeah, name isn't that important re: pizza places. It's all about the deep dish.......
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 05:31 AM
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designmr, I wasn't aware of that site, thanks for the link!

Most of the tours at the GPS weekend are offered throughout the year at different times by the Architecture Foundation but for GPS the tours are free (or $3 for the preregistered ones) and they open up some buildings that aren't normally open. The website for GPS is www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents if you are interested in taking a look.
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Old Apr 28th, 2004, 05:56 AM
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One question - why the comment on the Drake's A/C when you mentioned that it was freezing outside - you opened a window???
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Old Apr 29th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Chicgal, so I take it's just take out? Where could we go to enjoy it? Any parks nearby?
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Old Apr 30th, 2004, 09:43 AM
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cmeyer,

I have not a clue. all I know is it was hot as blazes in the room. therefore, I opened a window.
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