Help with Chicago neighborhoods

Old May 19th, 2009, 05:36 AM
  #1  
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Help with Chicago neighborhoods

My wife and I decided to spend 4 days in Chicago, starting this Saturday.
We want to visit interesting surrounding neighborhoods also. Any advise?
Thank you !
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Old May 19th, 2009, 05:54 AM
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Chinatown on 22nd. st.
"Little India" on Devon and Western.
Andersonville (Swedish) around the 5000 block of north Clark street.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 06:56 AM
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JJ5
 
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There are many detailed threads on this subject with walks in detail in Fodors archives and some are quite recent. The search feature here isn't the greatest, I know. But try searching in the USA forum, with "Chicago neighborhood walk". Or look under the poster's name of exiledprincess. She gives extreme specific detail information that is possibly just what you are looking for.

Honestly, with 4 days in Chicago- I wouldn't get out of downtown myself. Chicago is huge. Many Northside neighborhoods would take 1 or 2 days each. Downtown, just to see the basics will take a week, minimum (and that's without seeing any plays or doing whole day museum viewing). Art Institute is a must and so is the Architectural Tour. The one that goes up the Chicago River is tops, IMHO. You don't get the view from the lake itself, but you get the real Chicago and not just a skyline experience. Which, btw, you can get from other spots too. One is from the Swissotel- which juts out and you can see all the way South past the curves to Hyde Park and the Museum etc. past 57th from some public spaces there. Plus there's the John Hancock or Sears Tower view to do.

Many people also like to do Oak Park, IL and Brookfield where the big Zoo is and do a western burbs Frank Lloyd Wright review. Also very popular is the North to Evanston and Lincoln Park area excursion. That would probably be the easiest from downtown lodging.

Have fun. 4 days is just a small, small taste.

Before coming to Chicago, my advice is to get the PBS recording of "Chicago, City of the Century" to view at home. It's available at nearly any public library. You will know what you are looking at and what interests you in what directions much more, if you do that.

For those who haven't been to Chicago previously, the distances and many logistics are completely different than the vast majority of American cities, especially those in the East.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 07:46 AM
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I think JJ5's general advice about four days in CHI is pretty accurate. If you are hellbent on seeing neighborhoods outside of downtown, I'd try Wicker Park/Bucktown and Andersonville (where I live). I suppose you could take a day visiting these neighborhoods. If you're in Wicker Park/Bucktown and are heading north to Andersonville consider stopping in Wrigleyville (a lot of bars, and Wrigley Field) or Roscoe Village too.

If you give specifics about what you want to do in these neighborhoods (drink? eat? shop?) we could give you more specific advice.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:36 AM
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joseptesh, a lot of visitors fail to realize that all of Chicago is comprised of neighborhoods. The neighborhoods are part of Chicago proper and are not the suburbs. I'm assuming that you are aware of this and want to visit the neighborhoods outside of the downtown area.

I'm going to disagree with the above posters because, simply, I think that in four days, a visitor should get a taste of what it's like to be in one of the outlying neighborhoods. Besides some of the very best restaurants and entertainment venues are in those neighborhoods, not in the downtown area.

TwoFatFeet, I'm glad you asked the OP what they want to do when they are exploring.

Some of the neighborhoods are very compact and don't take a lot of time to explore. For example, the Gold Coast (Astor Street being voted consistently as one of the most beautiful in our fair city) and Old Town (this is where Second City and Zanies are located, at Piper's Alley). Chinatown would also fit into that category.

Some of the neighborhoods lend themselves to full-day visits because they, themselves, are extremely large and have areas which are totally different from each other - and they have many restaurants and entertainment venues for later in the evening. For example, the Lincoln Park neighborhood:

You have portion around Lincoln Park (the park) if you want to enjoy the outdoors or go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, walk the Lakefront Trail and so forth.

Then there is the DePaul University portion, which has much interesting architecture and the Halsted-Armitage-Racine Triangle is historically important with more upscale boutique shopping.

The Clybourn Corridor area for shopping of another type. For example, the world's largest Whole Foods has just opened there, and the area contains stores such as Crate & Barrel, Best Buy and others of that ilk.

Lincoln Park has many of the very best restaurants in the city as well as several theatres (Steppenwolf and Royal George only being two) and a couple of blues clubs on N. Halsted. By the way, the historic Biograph Theatre is located in Lincoln Park on N. Lincoln Ave.; and, if you watch the upcoming Johnny Dep movie "Public Enemies", you will see it, as the alley behind is where John Dillinger was killed. (Lincoln Park is also where the St. Valentine's Day Massacre occurred - on N. Clark Street, across the street from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder.)

My own neighborhood - Lakeview - is one that fits into that category as well. I live in the Boystown area of Lakeview (aka East Lakeview or Belmont Harbor area), which is the easternmost section, adjacent to Lake Michigan. Although the highest concentration of gay and lesbian bars and clubs are located on N. Halsted St. - with a couple on N. Broadway and Belmont - and the Gay Pride Parade and similar festivals are held here during the course of the year, the make-up of the population is much more mixed as gentrification took its toll and the cost of living in the area surged. Many folks moved to other neighborhoods to the north and northwest. The Boystown area has many boutique shops and restaurants. Walking south down N. Broadway alone, you can pick up some cinnamon rolls at Ann Sather's; shop at Equinox (home decor/art glass); visit Pastoral: Artisan Cheese, Bread & Wine (has another location in the Loop in case you want to get picnic fixin's for Millennium Park); get some coffee at Intelligentsia (arguably, Chicago's best) or pop in at the Coffee and Tea Exchange; stop in at the Unabridged Bookstore or Bookleggers (second hand); look at some unique T-shirts at Threadless; and get your just desserts at Soupbox/Icebox or Bobtail Ice Cream. In the evening you can take in a comedy or other performance at the Lakeshore Theatre, if you wish. By the way, Hawthorne Place (landmark district) in this area of Lakeview is often included in the top three most beautiful streets of Chicago and is just west of Belmont Harbor (mostly, a sailboat harbor).

Wrigleyville, (the area surrounding Wrigley Field) is immediately west and completely different from Boystown. Of course, there are many sports bars in this area and the iO (comedy club).

Then, traveling westwardly from Wrigleyville is the N. Southport Corridor - there are many boutique shops, restaurants, entertainment venues, and the historic buildings include Schuba's, Southport Lanes & Billiars and the Music Box Theatre. Further west still is the Roscoe Village area.

Don't discount the restaurants in our area. Although we don't have an Alinea, L20, or other similar type, we aren't too shabby.

Some of the above posters mentioned neighborhoods to the north of Lakeview - Andersonville and Little India - and I'll mention another - Lincoln Square. The only thing that I will mention to you about these is that some aren't as accessible as some north side neighborhoods to the south. For example, you have to keep in mind that you have to take the #22 bus to get to Andersonville - and a visit there would be best combined another location, such as Wrigleyville. Along the way, though, you could stop in at Graceland Cemetery (intersection of Irving Park/Clark), a Victorian, parklike cemetery, and see the final resting places of some of Chicago's most famous.

So, here is my advice to you: If you want to make a full day of it in the particular neighborhood, pick one that meets all of your needs. And go on the weekend. Much, much more activity in them then.

Hope this information helps a bit.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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Oops! That's Johnny Depp, of course.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 10:51 AM
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Another Oops! The Whole Foods is the world's *3rd* largest.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 04:53 PM
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I agree. The OP asked specificaly about neighboorhoods which of course have a feel completely apart from downtown. Maybe thats what he wants.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 05:27 PM
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Thank you all. I am just a tourist, I did not mean not to include any area; i am always interested in expanding what tourists do, visit areas and meeting people that may enhance my life experience; and dowtown big cities is not always the best to accomplish my goal
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Old May 19th, 2009, 07:31 PM
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josebtesh, I agree with you 100%. I think you'll really enjoy visiting Chicago.

What other activities have you decided upon and what are you considering you want to do when you are here? Perhaps some of them will easily lend themselves to visiting a particular neighborhood, as some are very close to the downtown area.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 08:12 PM
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JJ5
 
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Gee. exiledprincess, it actually sounds like josebtesh wants to see a bit of downtown Chicago too. Surprise, surprise!

You know, your attitude about what other posters' opinions are- especially other Chicagoans, including and especially me-just stinks.

Here I am giving you good intent and a tip toward your review, and you choose to dis me backhandedly in return.

I note that josebtesh, a total newie got your dis too in stating that they did not mean to "not include" any area.

And I disagree with you too about the entire gist of Chicago.

A city of neighborhoods, yes- but Chicago downtown is the core and reason and history and heart. And it also what tourists like the most, in majority- when all is said and done. Young, old and everyone in between.
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Old May 19th, 2009, 09:18 PM
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JJ5, if you would just read a little more carefully, I did *not* dis you, other posters or the OP.

The OP said in the original inquiry "...spend 4 days in Chicago, starting this Saturday. We want to visit interesting surrounding neighborhoods also." I just wanted the OP to be clear that the "neighborhoods" are part of Chicago - and *not* part of the suburbs.

There was nothing in the original inquiry that indicated the OP was a "newbie". And you can see from the OP's above response that he/she wants to go out of the "downtown" area. I agree with the OP. When I travel that's what I do - every single time.

I certainly did *not* tell the OP not to spend time downtown either, did I? If so, please show me those words. The whole idea is to enjoy both the downtown and the outlying neighborhoods to get a rounded perspective of Chicago.

Inasfar as my comments above, I'll stand behind them 100%. A huge percentage of the best restaurants in the city and many of the best entertainment venues - and, I may add, the best *values* - are located in neighborhoods other than the downtown area. Why would any visitor want to forego enjoying those?
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Old May 20th, 2009, 06:08 AM
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ExiledPrincess,

"A huge percentage of the best restaurants in the city and many of the best entertainment venues - and, I may add, the best *values* - are located in neighborhoods other than the downtown area."

Amen to that. As a Lakeview resident for the past 10+ yrs, I always take out-of-town visitors to restaurants outside the downtown area. They're always asking to take them where I would go and I never eat downtown unless it's for business. I'm partial to the ethnic restaurants in new Chinatown (Argyle/Broadway), Little India and Lincoln Square.

Not dissing downtown tho. I love this city. Just loving the fact travelers to Chicago want to explore outside the main tourist route.

BTW: I thought I knew our area (LV/Boystown) well until I read your post. Wow!
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Old May 20th, 2009, 09:11 AM
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I just want to say I'm a huge fan of the City of Chicago (I've been there on business and as a tourist probably 10 times) and I'm saving this thread for future reference!
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Old May 20th, 2009, 09:46 AM
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So, josebtesh, what do you want to do in Chicago? We could you give you tons of great specific advice!
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Old May 20th, 2009, 06:12 PM
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Thank you people !
We postponed the trip leaving june 5 th instead.
I will follow everyone's advice, plus my instinct.
i am sure Chicago will be as refreshing as it sounds in every post.
Love to all.
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