Chicago Trip Report

Old Jun 30th, 2004, 07:37 PM
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Chicago Trip Report

Just got back from Chicago and wanted to report on a fabulous trip. Arrived early Saturday morning (June 26) and took the "El" (blue line) from O'Hare downtown for $1.75 per person. Got off at Jackson and walked to the Hilton Towers, a bit of a walk but the weather was gorgeous. Got to the Hilton around 9:00 a.m. and were able to check in immediately. Room was terrific--very spacious and the bathroom was huge (what a buy at $66/night on Priceline!). Freshened up and walked across the road to Grant Park for the Taste of Chicago. Totally pigged out on all the great food. We bought 44 tickets for $28 and believe me made the most of our money. Bought mostly the taste portions and loved everything (especially the crab cake sandwich) except the ribs. Stayed until about 12:30 p.m. when it started to get crowded. Took the free Hilton shuttle bus up to the Water Tower at 1:00 p.m. Shopped until 2:30 p.m. then went to the Lookinglass Theatre for our 3:00 p.m. show called The Shaggs. This was a great show, glad we caught it before it closed June 27. Came back to the Hilton and had a very light dinner at Kitty O'Shea's, an Irish pub in the hotel (service was slow but the food was good). On Sunday we had breakfast at the Corner Bakery--what a great place for breakfast, wish we had one back home. Like a Starbucks but more relaxed and they have a kitchen so they can cook eggs & bacon, oatmeal, etc. We then checked out of the Hilton and took a cab up north to the Omni Ambassador East where we were staying for the rest of our trip ($80/night on Hotwire). Again, we were able to check in right away, what a blessing! The room was not as large or fancy as the Hilton, but the bed was huge and all the amenities were there. Staff again was helpful and pleasant. We took a cab down to Marshall Fields (the Loop) and had lunch at the Walnut Room. Food and atmosphere were both great. We then took the free trolley to Navy Pier for our afternoon show at the Shakespeare Theater, Second City's Romeo & Juliet. Another great show but we missed a lot of the jokes because they talked so fast. Would really like to get a video or CD if it ever becomes available. Views of the city and the lake from the theater, by the way, are fantastic (especially from the women's washroom). When we came out of the theater after the show, the sky had clouded over and it looked like rain so we cabbed it back to the hotel. Had dinner at P.J. Clarke's, which is less than a block from the Omni Ambassador East. Food and service were both excellent, good sized portions at reasonable price.
Two more days left; will continue report tomorrow.
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Old Jul 1st, 2004, 03:13 PM
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Monday we got smart and bought a 2-day CTA pass which can be used on the El or any CTA bus--$9 for a 48-hour period. In the morning, went to the top of the John Hancock building. Highly recommend the audio tour, it really helps to know what you're looking at and gives lots of interesting information. Went to Filene's Basement to check out the bargains, then ate lunch at Flat Sammie's, good food at reasonable price, mainly sandwiches and pizza. After lunch caught the bus down Michigan to the river where we took the Architecture Foundation tour which was fantastic. Husband didn't really want to go but afterwards said it was the highlight of the trip. He didn't realize it would be so interesting. Took the bus back up Michigan to our hotel to freshen up, then went to dinner at Bistro Zinc on Rush, a couple of blocks from our hotel. Great dinner of Steak Frites; we sat in the front window and watched the world go by. Tuesday we went down to the Visitor's Center to purchase half-price tickets for Bleacher Bums at the Royal George Theater--no line-up, just one group of 4 women ahead of us. Then decided to try going to a mall (a real, old-fashioned mall, not the expensive Water Tower type mall). They said Woodfield was too far and too complicated so we set out for Ford City Mall near Midway Airport. Took the Orange Line out to Midway and then transferred to the 54B bus which took us straight to the mall--took approx. an hour and a half due to long wait at Midway for the 54B (tons of other buses came and went but took about 20 minutes for the one we wanted). There were PACE buses that go there but our visitor passes cannot be used on them. Finally got there and our efforts were rewarded at Marshall's. Got some great designer clothes at bargain prices. Even hubby got some deals. (In hindsight, however, we would probably not have gone here if we had known how long it was going to take. We travelled 3 hours there and back and only had about an hour and a half to shop.) Grabbed a bite to eat at the Food Court and then started back home (another hour and a half due to long wait again for the 54B). Got back to the hotel in time for a short rest before leaving for the show. Had dinner at King Crab just a block north of the theater--very inexpensive meal as we were in time for the early bird specials. Salmon for $10.95 for me and Chicken Champagne for $9.95 for hubby. Food and service excellent. Royal George is a great theater, comfortable seats with a lot of leg room and sharply graded so you can see over tall people (a problem my husband and I had at the Shakespeare Theater). My husband loved the show but a lot of it was lost on me as I don't know much about baseball. Still, it was enjoyable, the actors were great and the crowd loved it; show is 90 minutes long with no break. Back to the hotel to pack for tomorrow. We left early in the morning as we decided to try the El back to O'Hare since it was so easy when we arrived. Took the Red Line from Clarke/Division and transferred at Washington to the Blue Line which goes right out to O'Hare. It took us about an hour to get to the airport so we were quite early. No lineups to check in and hardly any security lineup. Went through very quickly and had time for a sitdown breakfast at Chili's. Everything on this trip seemed to go so smoothly, I was expecting the plane to crash on the way back! We totally enjoyed our stay in Chicago. People all over the city were friendly and helpful. On our way to Ford City Mall, for example, a fellow on the subway overheard us talking about our return route and thought we were going the wrong way. He made a point to talk to us to make sure we were heading in the right direction. All service people were very friendly and helpful, and we met many pleasant people in our travels throughout the city, both Chicago residents as well as tourists. We were certainly overwhelmed by the warm reception we got wherever we went and plan to return as soon as we can.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2004, 11:59 AM
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Isn't Chicago a GREAT city!!!!!!!! We will be there again (kind of a yearly deal) later this month. Yes, we have our Cubs tickets!!

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Old Jul 2nd, 2004, 12:27 PM
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And this is why I live in Chicago!
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Old Jul 2nd, 2004, 01:16 PM
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Chicago is truly an amazing city! We were having so much fun I forgot to take pictures even though I brought the camera. Thanks again to all who helped us plan our trip, especially chicgal and patg.
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Old Jul 2nd, 2004, 08:40 PM
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Aloha antlori,

Thanks for the top notch report of our fine city!

Kitty O'Shea's is our fav spot for bloody mary's prior to our beloved "BEARS" games!!!
Woooffff! Woooffff! Woooffff!

Glad you had a great time... come back for sure!!

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