Going to Chicago for 1st Time!

Aug 5th, 2004, 06:27 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 3
Going to Chicago for 1st Time!


My husband and I and our 17 month-old son have decided to spend 5 days in Chicago. We have never been there and I started reading about it. My main concern is where would be the ideal area to stay...I don't mind taking public transp. but since we have a stroller, walking is better. How far are the beaches from downtown? Which is the best? Are there hotels around there?

Thank you for any input!
Tali is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 07:39 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 350
I live in Chicago. Stay in the North Michigan Avenue area. Oak Street Beach is within a short walking distance. The popular Drake Hotel overlooks it if that gives you an idea. There are tons of hotels in that area. I would advise to go on Tripadvisor.com and look through some reviews of what you are looking for.
Dori is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 08:18 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You might also look into staying at the Belden-Stratford in Lincoln Park. It's not a great hotel, but it is just a short walk from the zoo, playground, Nature Museum and Fullerton Beach. You would be a short cab or bus ride from Michigan Avenue. Oak Street Beach is a lot of fun, but too crowded for me.
Go to choosechicago.com for lots of tourist info.
patg is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 08:24 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
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WALR, there's more to it than that. Will the beach be a regular stop or a one-time visit? I stayed across in North Mich Ave. area (Hotel Knickerbocker)and felt it would be a great area if you're loaded. I had a lot of trouble finding meals that didn't cost a fortune (typic al breafast for 2 = $40. Next time I'll stay in the Loop - much wider range of price options for eating and very convenient.
bardo is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 08:37 AM
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I told her to stay in the North Michigan Avenue area because quite frankly, that is where most tourists want to stay. As far as cost, you're in a big city and touristy areas will always cost more wherever you go in the world. You want to save a few bucks on food, of course you have to go outside the tourist areas. Fortunately in Chicago, Lincoln Park is a short cab ride or short bus ride (take the bus 151 Sheridan) right up to the zoo area for more dining/hotel options.
Dori is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 12:41 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 181
I would argue that the River North area is more of a tourist trap then Mich. Ave. (MYOP) You may want to Try the Embassy Suites Lakefront. Its near the water and kinda between the shopping of N. Mich Ave. and The Museum/Loop area.

You shouldn't have a problem wherever you decide to stay downtown.
bri19sp is offline  
Aug 5th, 2004, 02:07 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 2,692
There are many inexpensive nice restaurants that serve breakfast in the city. You just need to know where to go.

FoodLife on the mezzanine (or 2nd floor) of the Water Tower Place (mall) had decent breakfast sandwiches back when I lived in the vicinity. Plus, you can sit and people watch.

Albert's Cafe on Elm between Clark and Dearborn has a very nice sit-down breakfast that is probably around $8 per person. Pleasant place, presentation and service. I don't think they open too early and I also don't think they're open on Mondays. Not sure. I never took my son there, though!

As for hotels, I think there are some on Dearborn or State, north of Division and south of North Avenue, but I don't remember their names. That area has a more residential, brownstone-like feel and is located close to both Lincoln Park, Michigan Avenue shops and the North and Oak Street beach area.

I think where you want to stay depends upon what you'd like to see. Since you have a little one, the zoo would be nice. I used to take my son there in the afternoons after the school crowds had left.

Then, there's the Peggy Notebaert (sp?) Nature Museum just north of the zoo. That's a nice walk.

You can walk south of the zoo all the way to Navy Pier if all of you are walkers... or you could take a bus. If you walked, you could stroll along the lake and see all of the different beaches. Navy Pier has the Children's Museum which is great even for children your son's age. I think they open at 10:00 am. There's an admission.

If you want a quick bite, you can stop by Water Tower at Food Life for lunch or eat at L'Appetito in the basement on the Hancock (cheap tasty tostino sandwiches).

Just some ideas I'm throwing out (while I procrastinate packing)!

Have fun whatever you do!


PS I used to take my son to Oak Street beach around 8:00 am and it was great. Very peaceful.
MarthaB is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 03:36 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 459
Tali, we stayed at the Omni Ambassador East last month and found it a great location--near the beach, restaurants on Rush Street, the Water Tower area, Lincoln Park and public transportation. It's in a residential area so seems less hectic than "downtown", lots of kids and dogs in the area. Rooms are not huge but are a fair size, bathroom amenities are good--large bars of soap sculpted to fit the hand. It's nice to have a good-size soap instead of those dinky ones that slip out of your hand all the time. Corner Bakery is great for breakfast and reasonably priced. There's one close to the Omni Ambassador East but they're all over the city too, hence the name I guess.
antlori is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 05:28 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 459
Wow, Chicgal, you are incredible. You give such detailed answers/instructions you make it very easy for visitors to plan and execute those plans. I don't think I would have enjoyed Chicago so much last month if not for your great advice (along with a few others). But you always seem to go out of your way to provide the most precise answers. My hat's off to you. As Elvis would say, "Thank you, thank you very much."
antlori is offline  
Aug 6th, 2004, 07:30 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
Posts: 171
So much to do and see in my home town. Navy Pier is a must and is so beautiful on a nice day. Boat rides are available there as well as North Pier and also at Michigan and Wacker. Great way to see the city and it will cool you off too if the weather is hot. Be sure to take advantage of the free trolleys-routes
are posted in many locations and run
about every 20 minutes. Have fun!
dotsy is offline  
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