Comparing Chicago to NYC

May 11th, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Comparing Chicago to NYC

My sister and niece will be traveling with me when I travel to Chicago in July.
They both love NYC but not so much for cultural attractions as the 'feel' of the city... if that makes sense.
They love wandering through neighborhoods and tasting foods different from those at home. Shopping in NYC is an experience too...
My question to you is this... aside from museums, architecture and performing arts (which are well documented) what is there to see in Chicago?
What neighborhoods are a must see?
Is Chicago worthwhile for someone who wants something other than museums, architecture and performing arts?
Thanks for any advise!

TxTravelPro is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 11:48 AM
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Well, I think this might be a troll (is Chicago worthwhile?) but I am going to respond anyway....

"Aside from museums, architecture and performing arts" what else is great about Chicago. Here are a few things.
1) skyline -- not just the architectural masterpieces but the fact that there is a beach running along the length of the city with a vibrant life of its own from Volleyball at North Avenue to outdoor gyms at Oak Street to Dog Beach up north to families riding 5 seater bikes near the Aquarium to people from all walks of life and all neighborhoods running, walking and biking the paths
2) Green spaces. Say what you want about Mayor Daley's foibles, but he sure has made the city pretty. Parks everywhere from little neighborhood oasis to movie nights in Grant Park to the Zoo in Lincoln Park to Millenium Park with the Bean and the Fountain and the crazy Gehry Bridge. Also, the fun eco-friendly bike valet station to assist those who enjoy the miles and miles of bike paths
3) sports -- go to an afternoon Cubs game at Wrigley and contrast it with a night game at the Cell. Both have their admirers and detractors and their own, unique experiences. Can take the el to both
4) Dining -- from high-end world class restaurants (Charlie Trotters, Topolobambo) to fun cheesey neighborhood joints (Weiner Circle) Chicago has it all. Ethinic neighborhoods abound -- Greektown, Chinatown, Pilsner, Ukrainian Village, Devon, Andersonville, Little Italy, Argyle -- all are must see neighborhoods.
5) Shopping -- stay far away from Michigan Avenue (what neighborhood these days doesn't have a Pottery Barn?) and enjoy the many other shopping pleasures of Chicago from high-end Oak Street to Trendy Southport and Bucktown to yuppie Lincoln Park to edgy Wicker Park and up and coming Lincoln Square.
6) the Lake -- take a cruise, rent a boat, rent a kayak, stroll the paths, pack a picnic, go for a swim. You can do it all right down town.

There, I gave you 6 reasons why Chicago is "worthwhile" other than museums, architecture and performing arts. I am sure many other posters will help you out as well. Enjoy your trip.

taitai is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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The history Astor Street District on the North Side is a definite must-see. A stroll through the area is a great way to spend a few hours.
HowardR is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 11:58 AM
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Ooops, that second word should be "historic."
HowardR is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 11:59 AM
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It's a good answer, taitai.

But I would say this as well:

They are not alike. Think about the "eras" of great growth from which they blossomed. Chicago was later- quite after a huge industrial and manufacturing revolution. So there is an entire spacial factor missing in NYC, Manhattan's especially, equation.

They are very different because of this, and "neighborhoods" having a different size and distance quotient in turn. The feel is different, IMHO, because of this and other reasons that have to do with its history and economics.
JJ5 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 12:39 PM
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The funny thing is when I'm in New York, it is my favorite city in the US. When I'm in Chicago, it is my favorite city in the US.
May 11th, 2006, 01:02 PM
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When I'm in New York and Chicago my favorite city in the U.S. is Boston.
nina is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:40 PM
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Certainly not a troll, I have been an active Fodorite for many years.
Funnt thing is that I have not spent any time in Chicago. I have been often, in and out the same day because of the flight frequency from Dallas.
In my in/out trips, I have not been really impressed.
Before you get angry, understand that I have not seen much.
I would like to love Chicago as much as everyone else and possibly with this extended trip I will see much more and a love affair will be born
And I do appreciate your responses!!!
TxTravelPro is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 02:46 PM
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I hope that will be the case, TX. If I recall correctly, you got quite heated on a thread a year or so ago that involved an Englishman asking whether he should visit Dallas or Chicago. I hope your visit to Chicago will win you over to our side of the arguement! Or at least help you to understand why we defended Chicago so fiercly!
CAPH52 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:10 PM
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I second the lake, or a Chicago river boat tour. Also, I got a kick out of going to Mt. Carmel Cemetery, where Al Capone a few other gangsters are burried.
Jolie is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:18 PM
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No, no, no... I could not compare Dallas to Chicago. Odds are, if it was a heated discussion, that it involved this one poster who loves to bash anything that is NOT Dallas. If I mentioned that the Galleria was not really 'all that' he would freak out and just rant and rant.
But, on a side note... the Galleria is now FABULOUS! Within the last year they have totally finished the rennovations.
But I think this must be what you are referring to...
TxTravelPro is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:31 PM
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You'll love Chicago (and, yes, this is a New Yorker writing this).
I know you are looking for attractions other than museums and architecture. Stil, a trip to Chicago would not be complete without experiencing both of these--the city's archtecture and the city's museums. The Art Institute of Chicago, for example, is one of our nation's (if not the world's) great museums.
HowardR is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 03:54 PM
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CAPH52, I think you mean me...

Sure, Chicago is a bigger and faster town than Dallas, no question about it... the question was HOW MUCH bigger and faster...

My argument was... not twice as big and fast... maybe just half again as big and fast. IE, Chicago is just a bigger version of where Dallas is right now...

On the other hand, New York is something much more than a bigger Chicago. Liikewise, LA is much more than a bigger version of Chicago.

TxTravelPro, glad you've seen the light about the Dallas Galleria, although I don't think cosmetic changes like artificial palm trees make much of a difference... It was better in the past than you gave it credit for, and it's not as improved as you seem to think.

But what do you think of Northpark?

xbt23 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 04:26 PM
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Just by studying relative populations, you can get some insight for the New York - Chicago relationship.

In the 2000 census, metro Chicago had about 9 million people, and was the #3 metro in the US. NYC was first, with 18 million, twice the size of Chicago.

Zoom to 2006. Metro Dallas now has about 6 million people, and is the 4th largest American metro. Chicago now just a scoch over its original 9 million, and still # 3. So... Chicago is still half of what New York is, but the sunbelt cities are approaching Chicago's size and rank.

So Chicago is closer in size to a city like Dallas... or even Miami or Philadelphia... than it is to New York.
xbt23 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 04:43 PM
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xbt23... I went to the 'opening' of Northpark last weekend. It was really great. Some great stores... even if it is a bit archaic in design. I have a soft spot for NP because it was basically the only mall I went to until they opened Town East.
I am particularly happy to see a Lush store open in the Dallas area. It took too long. And the new flagship Sephora will be welcomed!!!!
The Galleria has a multitude of new stores since the restoration. At one point the 3rd floor was sparsely populated. Cosmetically, the new flooring was a necessary improvement and more escalaters are very convenient.
The thing that has always been great about the Galleria is the perfect design. No backtracking necessary to see everything.

I have also warmed up to the Lux. It is very good and a great addition to the mall.
TxTravelPro is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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WSell you can say all you want about Dallas and New York but when you get to Chicago get ready fro some great know, the kind that is timeless!
Intrepid1 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 06:31 PM
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Yes, I'll acknowledge that... Chicago has a reputation for great architecture that encompasses much of the history of America.

Maybe a better reputation than New York has...
xbt23 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 07:30 PM
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In July (especially coming from TX) you might enjoy renting bikes and riding on the paths of Lakeshore Dr. You can see the colorful sailboats and enjoy the refreshing breeze. You can bring your swimsuits and hang out on the beach / rocks of Lakeshore Dr too. Good people watching there.

The zoo is free and very well done.

There are few things more Chicago than its sports culture. Why not try to catch a baseball game?

If you are there before July 9, go to the Taste of Chicago. Sample all kinds of yummy food and listen to free bands.
wsoxrebel is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:32 PM
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There's a "feel" about the city of Chicago that's hard to explain. Both sides of my family are from Chicago, but I grew up in Houston (which was then, right behind Chicago, the 4th largest city in the US), and even as a child I sensed that the rythym of Chicago was different. People in Chicago are proud to be from Chicago-- they LOVE their city-- and there's this interconnectedness amongst its residents. I'm not talking about the suburbs- but the city. You might feel it when you step off the plane. I used to.
lynnejoel1015 is offline  
May 11th, 2006, 08:57 PM
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My deepest apologies, TX! And thank you for being so nice about it! Yes, I did have you confused with xbt23.
CAPH52 is offline  

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