please critique my chicago itinerary

Jun 3rd, 2009, 02:11 PM
  #1  
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please critique my chicago itinerary

hi fodorites,

DH and i will be in chicago from july 1 - 5 ... we're staying @ the swissotel on wacker. we're very active travellers (we move fast). DH is at a conference in new orleans before arriving in chicago, and i'll be flying in from toronto to meet him there. we plan to buy a transit pass and take advantage of public transit during our trip. we aren't culture vultures but want to see some of the main attractions without overdoing it. when traveling, we tend to get an early start (i.e. quick breakfast in the room and out of the hotel by 8 am) and are in bed early (super happy when i'm in bed by 11 pm!) ... i'm SLIGHTLY concerned about the potentially late night on the saturday ... followed by an early morning flight. but i think we'll survive! some of the activities are weather dependent -- i.e. don't want to do the boat tour or bike ride in the pouring rain. but here's our draft itinerary ... please comment/critique!

wednesday, july 1
- arrive @ ORD: my flight arrives @ 1:30 pm, DH arrives at 5 pm
- check into hotel
- dinner @ giordano’s (prudential plaza – call ahead to order pie)
- shopping around state street
- navy pier fireworks

thursday, july 2
- rent bikes with Bike Chicago – bike up and down waterfront path, grant park, millenium park, museum campus
- shopping on Mag Mile
- dinner @ Portillo’s
- cubs game

friday, july 3
- breakfast @ bongo room
- shedd aquarium (buying tickets in advance via ticketmaster)
- CAF architectural boat tour (3:30 pm tour - buying tickets when we arrive on the 1st)
- dinner @ frontera grill (6 pm reservations)
- drinks/dessert @ signature lounge (???)
- city of chicago fireworks (hopefully from our hotel room or randolph street)

saturday, july 4
- art institute of chicago
- shopping on mag mile or state street
- dinner @ al’s beef
- blue chicago

sunday, july 5
- early morning flight home

THANKS!!!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 02:26 PM
  #2  
 
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Posts: 25,306
What are you shopping for (you have three potential shopping expeditions scheduled -- maybe that's just your "hang-out" time?)?
sf7307 is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 02:31 PM
  #3  
 
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- dinner @ Portillo’s
- cubs game

Where is Portillo's? Will it be a late lunch? Part of the Wrigley Field experience is hanging around outside before the game so try to get there a few hours early. Plus you need time to take the el to get to the game.

I would buy the tickets for the CAF ahead of time. There are no guarantees that they will be available. I realize that you are trying to avoid the fees but is it worth the chance to not get tickets?
tchoiniere is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 02:45 PM
  #4  
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hi sf7307 ... it's partially hang-out time and more like window shopping. although, we don't have nordstrom rack, filene's basement, and loehmann's in toronto so we definitely want to visit those stores in the state street area.

hi tchoiniere ... there's a portillo's on ontario street near mag mile. i was thinking about doubling back to the hotel to rest/change/wash-up, cabbing it over to portillo's for a quick dog (assuming our feet may be tired by then), and then taking the red line up to addison. DH wants to be @ wrigley by 6 pm ... so portillo's would be more like a quick/early dinner.

and re: the CAF tickets, i don't want to buy them too far in advance b/c i really don't want to be on the boat if it's raining. do you think the tickets for the 3rd will be sold out by the 1st?

tks!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 03:02 PM
  #5  
 
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Do you already have reservations at Frontera Grill? They normally do not take reservations for a party of 2. If you get there before they open at 5 you will get in and then have to wait a bit for a table. If you arrive after 5, it may take up to 2 hours to be seated.
isabellasu is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 03:15 PM
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We had to change our schedule around quite a bit there when we couldn't get tickets for the tour we wanted as we waited to the week before. Maybe call there and see what the availability is but given the horde of people in the city, I wouldn't be surprised if it was sold out.

It may just be me as I like to get to games very early but planning on just an hour before Wrigley is very tight. The el will be very packed. We got to Wrigley 5 hours before the game last year (Saturday afternoon game against the Cardinals) and it was a mob scene. The bars around Wrigley are definitely part of the experience too, but given a 6pm arrival, you won't have time as everybody will be heading to their seats. My biggest pet peeve is when people get to their seats just as the game is starting or right after it started. This is an understatement at Wrigley when there are 40 seats that you may have to climb over.
tchoiniere is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 04:50 PM
  #7  
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hi isabella - yes, we already have reservations with frontera. i called last week and they accepted the reservation.

hi tchoiniere - thanks for the info. i'll call the CAF tomorrow and see what they say. where did you eat @ wrigley?? we want a chicago hot dog and i already posted on chowhound ... not sure if @ wrigley would be the best spot.
lilaki is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 04:54 PM
  #8  
 
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Great on getting the reservation for Frontera. Maybe if you call far enough ahead they are now taking reservations for parties under 6. I'll have to give it a try, since I love Frontera Grill, but hate the long wait for a table.
isabellasu is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 04:54 PM
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We are at Cubby Bear. We had hot dogs a previous day so we just picked a bar and had burgers there.
tchoiniere is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 05:01 PM
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For hot dogs you could go to Weiner Circle or if you have time go to Hot Doug's, neither are outside of Wrigley though. They charge an arm and a leg for food inside Wrigley. There are bars and fast food places all around Wrigley, plus you get the atmosphere outside the park also.
isabellasu is offline  
Jun 3rd, 2009, 06:54 PM
  #11  
 
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Murphy's Bleachers is a great place to be from 3 hours before the first pitch until 90 minutes before when you stroll across the street and into Wrigley.

I think your itinerary looks great. I would consider adding a show to it, maybe Second City on your first night. It is a great intro to a Chicago stay.
ChiDad is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 04:33 AM
  #12  
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hi all,

wow - thanks for all the feedback.

i'll look into second city ... and i'll also talk to DH about re-arranging the cubs day to get to wrigley a bit earlier.

so, i take it we want to be at wrigley AT LEAST 90 mins before the game? the game starts at 7 pm ... that puts us @ wrigley by 5:30 pm. what time would we need to leave downtown/loop?

tks!!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:08 AM
  #13  
 
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Do you know about "Taste of Chicago" which will be going on while you're in? We avoid it -- it's kind of a zoo -- but just wasn't sure if you were aware of it.
Have a great trip!
Laurie
blackmons is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 05:10 AM
  #14  
 
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Also, since you're at the Art Institute, you may want to wander over to Millenium Park and see "The Bean", Lurie Garden, and the fountain. I'd rather do that than window shop.
blackmons is offline  
Jun 4th, 2009, 07:26 AM
  #15  
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hi blackmons,

yes - we're aware of taste of chicago. we're not planning to partake. and we'll be seeing the bean, millenium park, etc. during our bike ride.

thanks!
lilaki is offline  
Jun 7th, 2009, 04:53 PM
  #16  
 
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if you can (are from mn, wi, nd, sd, iowa, etc,) take the train. I've heard a ton of good things and am taking a train to chicago soon too. Enjoy (plus, you'll save a few bucks)
skylineproject is offline  

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