Fodor's Travel Talk Forums

Fodor's Travel Talk Forums (
-   United States (
-   -   MY Chicago Coming Trip (

mary1007 Oct 15th, 2008 07:28 AM

MY Chicago Coming Trip
I figured everyone else is posting their schedule, why not me?...
This trip is with my two girls (9 and 2)and action ready in-laws (sort of, father in law broke his arm 3 weeks ago ON HIS BDAY)husband too.

Celebrating my big 40!!!

Thursday 10/23

Arrive Hotel at +- 12:00

Have lunch at Quartino right down the street. Reservation 1:00

Go to Navy Pier hang out for the rest of the day.

Come back to hotel rest and get ready for dinner.

Dinner: Frontera Grill 8:30 reservation


Hancock observatory

Lunch American Girl res. 12:30

Magnificent Mile

Dinner: Chicago Chop House 7:45


Architecture River Tour- 90 minute dress warmly
Lunch- Giordano’s Pizza?

Milenium Park/Grant Park Buckingham Fountain - closed

Field Museum

Adler Planitarium

Dinner Le Colonial Res 8:00


Museum Science and Industry


Dinner: Mercat 7:30


tchoiniere Oct 15th, 2008 08:14 AM

Saturday looks very tight having the CAF tour, Field and Adler. Maybe do one of them Friday morning then hit American Girl and then the Hancock? I realize they are next to each other but having just spent 5 hours at the Field and not having time to see everything.

mary1007 Oct 15th, 2008 09:59 AM

I know its tight, that is why I left Sunday open after the Museum of S and I, that is if we are not museumed out by then. I also wanted to have the girls enjoy the Chicagoween festivities. I hope its worth it.

NeoPatrick Oct 15th, 2008 10:54 AM

I would think that even the girls would be bored after a half hour or so at the Navy Pier -- and the "rides" etc., I don't even think are open or operating on Thursday.

Love your choice of restaurants, hitting three of my favorites from my recent trip (Frontera, Quartino's, and LeColonial).

Curious Oct 15th, 2008 11:16 AM

Navy Pier is a waste of time. Regarding the rest of your plans, what will you do if your watch stops? Chicago is best enjoyed with a more relaxed pace.


tchoiniere Oct 15th, 2008 11:39 AM

I was in Chicago in August. I definitely agree to take your time to really enjoy it. We spent 4 days and had too many busy days. I would make sure to hit the Field and leave Adler as a maybe. Especially with a 2 year old, you probably won't be able to have a fast pace.

exiledprincess Oct 15th, 2008 12:54 PM

mary1007, you are planning on taking your two girls (ages 9 and 2) to these restaurants as well? Did you mention that you part of your party was younger children when you made these reservations?

Metromix, which is a fine planning tool, gives people lots and lots of great information (including such items as entree prices and the ages of the audience for the restaurant). You should also be aware that a number of these restaurants are not inexpensive places at which to dine, in case budget is of consideration. There are several on your list which I think you should check out.

Also, with respect to the River Cruise: I personally don't know too many children who would be able to remain quiet for that long, and IMHO they might probably become bored.

mary1007 Oct 15th, 2008 01:40 PM

EP- I am perfectly aware of the types of restaurants I am going to in regards to budget and children. Both my daughters are well behaved at dinner, and are also use to going to "grown up" restaurants here in Miami. My restaurant selection was well researched. If someone in a restaurant decides to give me a snooty attitude simply because I bring children (not because they are behaving badly) that is for sure their problem NOT MINE.

As far as pace, I know it seems fast pace but this is just a suggestive schedule not a written in stone one. It is for the most part play by ear. Navy Pier is just a relaxing day of arrival thing.

Thanks for everyone's opinions.

exiledprincess Oct 15th, 2008 02:10 PM

mary1007, I was only trying to be helpful to you.

From your previous post of 8/9/2008 (which was specifically addressed to me personally), I assumed that you were looking for places which were family-friendly.

Just so we are clear why I did not reply on that post: I cannot give viable recommendations for places which are child-friendly or family-friendly, as I normally do not frequent them. However, I *do* know places which are geared towards an adult audience, as I *do* frequent those.

IMHO, there are several on this list of yours which I would not consider in the family-friendly category. Just take a look at Metromix, if you don't believe me.

In addition, some of these places will cost several $100's (for your party size). For example, my tab at Le Colonial was over $110 for my party of two a couple of months ago. Mercat was even more expensive (on a per person basis.

exiledprincess Oct 15th, 2008 02:27 PM

If you were looking for a very nice ("grown-up") restaurant which *is* family-friendly (and budget is not a consideration), Avenues in the Peninsula is a good choice. They have a new chef there, Curtis Duffy, and just got an excellent (4*) review from Phil Vettel at the Chicago Tribune.

mary1007 Oct 15th, 2008 03:17 PM

Thank you EP for your recommendation and your advice. My husband and I are not completely oblivious to the fact that there are particular places that are not child appropriate. If we get that feeling when we arrive or discuss it with our concierge then we will consider changing.

As far as budget, this is a special trip and we are expecting these prices. Good places here in Miami are pricey too.

Thanks again.

tjhome1 Oct 15th, 2008 03:43 PM

Hi Mary

Just got back from 6 days in Chicago so have a few thoughts. First thing that struck me was the number of restaurants...after 2 days of meals in good restaurants we definately didnt want a third and we were never looking forward to dinner when we'd had a restaurant lunch. Finding places to eat is so easy in US and so just being able to go without or just grab a small bite just enhanced the next booked restaurant.

The Hancock Tower was amazing but we had drinks there while the sun set. We went on the Friday night also and there was a bit of a queue but maybe just get there a little early. There were kids there and nobody minded at all and you could easily swap the Magnificent Mile to the Friday morning. The site of all the lights stretching into the darkness was unforgettable. American Girl looked an amazing store and there was a big Disney store on MM too.

We also did the Architecture Foundation boat tour which did seem better than others (we noticed that some other boats had roof structures which must have spoilt the view of the buildings), again there were kids sitting behind us and they seemed to enjoy it perfectly well and I think its hard to get bored on a boat.

We did Gino's East Pizza and had a great time. The graffiti all over the place was very kid friendly and there were lots of kids there - we just had one starter and one medium pizza between 3 of us and still there was too much.

Millenium Park was great and kids loved the huge mirror bean there.

We had a wonderful time - hope you enjoy it and have a great birthday.


mouseRD Oct 16th, 2008 12:30 PM

Mary - Congratulations on turning 40! Hope you & your family have a wonderful time; please post a trip report when you return & let us know what you enjoyed. Coincidentally, we'll be in Chicago some of the same days (me for a conference; hubby to relax) - hoping to take in a couple of the sights!

exiledprincess Oct 16th, 2008 03:18 PM

mary1007, I get the impression from your responses that I said something in a previous post which offended, when it wasn't meant in that manner.

IMHO, I still think you should look at Metromix and the reviews on them to get a good idea of what those chosen places are like beforehand.

mary1007 Oct 16th, 2008 06:29 PM

Thanks to everyone for your good wishes.

EP- On the contrary, I thanked you on my last post for your advice. But you do have to admit that sometimes (not only in my post) you have a way of saying things that people have taken it the wrong way and then when you see that people answer you a bit ticked off you give the disclaimer that you are only trying to help.

"you are planning on taking your two girls (ages 9 and 2) to these restaurants as well? Did you mention that you part of your party was younger children when you made these reservations?"

You make it sound like I am bringing lepers.

I do not like to sit next to a screaming kid or one running around. Just the same, I do not like to sit next to a loud group of grown ups (I have encountered these more than the kids).

I will certainly give Mercat and Le Colonial a second thought, not because I am not sure that my kids will behave or because of the food. Both my girls would rather eat a good ribeye or lamb chops (9 year old's favorite) than chicken fingers any day. And if they eat it all the $40 are well spent. I would think establishments, considering the economy today, would welcome a party of 6 no matter who the heck it is. But again, I am not completely insensitive to the fact that some places are not for kids. So we will see.

Avenue looks nice but nothing jumps out at me like the others, I definately do not want to go to a place just because it is expensive. My girls have been to The Palm Steakhouse here in Miami and in DC, Capital Grill, ... and have been very welcome there, so I assume that Chicago Chop House would be fine. And if it is not, too bad, I am done with this subject!

thorspecken Oct 16th, 2008 08:00 PM

I'm with everyone else. Navy Pier is a waste of time. Millennia Park is wonderful. The kids will love running around there and exploring. And happy birthday!!!

exiledprincess Oct 16th, 2008 11:34 PM

mary1007, with regard to your first point: Yes, I have had some comments made to me by other posters here. However, if you would research a little further, you would see that those same posters have also had disagreements with others besides myself. You can review their comments, some of which are quite pointed.

Secondly, with regard to my comment: "you are planning on taking your two girls (ages 9 and 2) to these restaurants as well? Did you mention that you part of your party was younger children when you made these reservations?"

The reason why I asked you this is because I wasn't sure from your original inquiry if 1) you were having your in-laws to baby-sit your girls for you while you and your husband celebrated your birthday or went to a "grown-up" restaurant alone; and 2) if you had mentioned the children while making reservations to some of these restaurants, as I was frankly surprised that some comment wasn't made by management at the time they were taken.

And it isn't just Le Colonial and Mercat of which I was talking. I just mentioned those two as examples.

Actually, I had thought that you had recently seen favorable comments of these establishments on NeoPatrick's recent report, et al., and based your decisions on those.

Lastly, again, I am not sure if you were considering the Chicago Architecture Foundation's River Cruise. If that's the one you've chosen, I assume that you've seen on their website FAQ page that you have to pay a full-price fare ($30 pp on the weekend) for each of your children as well as the others of your party. IMHO, that's just a lot of money to pay for something which I know the 2-year old won't appreciate and perhaps your 9-year old won't either. Perhaps you don't care, but I'm mentioning this in case you didn't see this.

cd Oct 17th, 2008 06:06 AM

We find Navy Pier intertaining, if for nothing else just a walk thru stopping somewhere for a drink. (of course with kids maybe stopping for ice cream would be more appropriate :-) They have IMAX and free events, here is their schedule of events:

We have loved the Museum of Science and Industry and spent many hours there so leaving most of the day open for it I think is a good idea. Be sure to go down into the coal mine.

AAFrequentFlyer Oct 17th, 2008 06:31 AM


Hancock observatory

Lunch American Girl res. 12:30</i>,

Instead of doing that, why not have lunch at the 95th?

The elevator ride is free and you're only one floor below the Observatory with the same beautiful views. Use the $15 Observatory entrance fee towards your lunch and a drink at the 95th and enjoy the views. Just make sure it's a clear day.

SusanM Oct 17th, 2008 06:31 AM

Mary, thought I'd throw my 2¢ in. My boys were 5 and 7 the first time we went on the Architecture Foundation cruise - younger than your oldest and older than your youngest. They both loved it and were not in the least bit bored. If your two year old can sit still while not on a boat, she can do the same on board, especially with the added enticement of being on the water.

As for Navy Pier, I say go. Yes, it's touristy, and yes, your girls will likely have fun. It's good to include something in the schedule that's for them.

Hope you have a happy birthday!

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 03:06 AM.