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Ida Apr 18th, 2002 02:55 PM

Need Help with Chicago Areas
There's "The Loop," "N. Michigan Ave.," "Magnificent Mile," and "Downtown." Can someone explain the diff? Looking for most activity, nightlife, good restaurants, people-watching.

jo Apr 18th, 2002 03:18 PM

I'm a suburbanite but to me the loop really means the train tracks that loop around the downtown area -so loop is downtown. Mag mile and No Michigan Ave are the same -lots of shops, pricey, but fun to windowshop. Art Inst. is downtown as is M. Field's main store.

lea Apr 18th, 2002 04:24 PM

Dear Ida,<BR>I live near the Mag Mile/N.Michigan Ave. district. Don't stay in the Loop. Even though there are a ton of restaurants and theatres there, it is the business district and it gets a little desolate at night.<BR>Stay in the Gold Coast area which includes Mag Mile/N. Michigan area. Hotels in this area are Sutton Place, Ritz Carlton, Four Seasons, Marriott, Le Meridien. This is the best area for people watching and activity. I highly recommend the Peninsula and Sutton Place Hotel.

alex Apr 19th, 2002 06:37 AM

Quikbook is offering a rate right now of $290 for the Peninsula in May - it was just rated one of the best new hotel in the world by Conde Naste. Like the previous posters mentioned, the Loop is technically the area inside the el tracks. That being said, there are some nice hotels in the Loop area (Palmer House, W City Center, Hotel Burnham) and some great restaurants. There are also some nice hotels placed about midway between the Loop and Mag Mile such as the Fairmont, Hyatt Regency and Swissotel - these are conveniently located to both the Loop for the Art Institute, Field's, etc as well as easy walking distance to Mag Mile. Check out Rush Street for nightlife. I also like Randolph Street for good food and some nice bars.

BTilke Apr 19th, 2002 07:50 AM

Another vote for the Gold Coast. I have stayed in hotels all over Chicago, ranging from the terrible (Quality Inn-Downtown, ugh) to good but out of the way (Hyatt Regency McCormick--convenient, however, for the convention) to the Four Seasons. I'll be spending 7 nights at Sutton Place this fall and looking forward to it (double rate: $196 from Quikbook).

Ida Apr 19th, 2002 07:51 AM

Thank you. I appreciate the replies and hotel suggestions! Is the House of Blues near the Rush Street/Mag Mile area? Alex, can you recommend places to eat/bars on Randolph, as you mentioned?

my Apr 19th, 2002 07:57 AM

The fantastic thing about Chicago is how everything is clustered together in the city. Regardless of where you stay (in the loop or Gold Coast) you'll be no more than a $7 dollar cab ride from everything you are talking about. You won't go wrong with any of the hotels mentioned.<BR><BR>House of Blues is in the north loop, but is easy walking distance from the Michigan Ave. hotels.

alex Apr 19th, 2002 08:15 AM

Yes, House of Blues is close to the Mag Mile. Check their website or for show listings. I would also recommend Bin 36 which is right next to the House of Blues. It is a wine bar/restaurant and has a great fun atmosphere and fabulous wine selection. Sutton Place Hotel has the Whiskey Bar which is fun but do not move the chairs (see reviews if you do not believe me). The Peninsula bar is usually jumping as are the restaurants - I like Shanghai Terrace. The bars at the W Lakeshore Drive are also fun. On Randolph, I would recommend Blackbird and Red Light. Also the Tasting Room at Randolph Wine Cellars. Also not too far from Randolph Street are the Twisted Spoke and Bone Daddy which are fun bars/restaurants. If you want to venture a little farther, check out Spring (make a reservation) in Wicker Park/Bucktown. That is the area where Real World and High Fidelity were filmed and has tons of bars and restaurants. I highly recommend looking at for what will be going on when you will be in town. You can also search for restaurants by area (Randolph is considered the Warehouse District), type of food, recommended, top 10's (e.g. top 10 people watching) as well as search for bars, events, etc... Lots of reviews so you can see what people like and do not like. If you find any places that sound good and what specific feedback, e-mail me.

alex Apr 19th, 2002 08:17 AM

I just looked at my post and realized how many times I used the word "fun." Sorry - there are just lots of great things to do here. I moved here from NY 4 years ago and I really like it.

jonny Apr 19th, 2002 08:33 AM

Alex - I did the opposite, and moved from Chicago to NYC 2 years ago. Chicago is a great city - I am appaled when I talk to people who don't consider one of the top 3 in the country. But that is for a different thread.

alex Apr 19th, 2002 08:45 AM

I always forget when I have not gone to NY in a while (my parents live out on the North Fork of LI - which you should definitely visit if you have not yet!) how different it is from Chicago. There are great things about both cities but I really like living here. I would never be able to afford a house in a nice area of NYC!!!

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