Quick Chicago Weekend Trip Report

Old Aug 22nd, 2018, 06:49 PM
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Quick Chicago Weekend Trip Report

Quick trip report –Chicago

Thursday - Arrived to Midway airport on Southwest flight with carry-on luggage
Had debated whether to take Lyft or public transportation via the “L” to our downtown hotel
But by the time we walked all the way over to the ticket kiosk to buy our Ventra cards we vowed it was too far to walk back to the airport exit for Lyft
Anyway for about 1/4 of the cost for Lyft (even with a coupon) we easily took the “L” to our hotel - Fairfield Inn Downtown/River North
Upgraded which was nice and then did a quick change of clothes and took the L to meet up with our son to see his new apartment
He drove us to Arun’s Thai Restaurant – had a scrumptious (though expensive) and very visually appealing tasting menu meal

Friday - we took our time waking up, went down to our free breakfast
Then met up with our son to take my great aunt out to lunch at Renga Tei for Japanese food
After dropping her off we went shopping at Northwestern University (we are alums) and then to pick up dinner supplies – wine, cheese, sandwiches, nuts, etc.
Met up with one of our son’s friends in Evanston where we parked the car and then took the Metra to Ravinia – we took the train which dropped us off at the Braeside stop. We then walked about 10 min to get to the entrance – I would say we arrived at about 5:15PM. Even though gates open at 5PM, the place was ALREADY COMPLETELY PACKED. If you decide to go to one of the more popular Ravinia events I would strongly recommend that you get there as early as possible.
Earth, Wind & Fire!!! Can you believe they still have 3 of the original members – perfect weather, did I mention that it was completely packed, we were able to find a patch of lawn where we proceeded to eat and drink wine and then enjoy the concert under the stars. It was funny to watch people (our generation) get up and dance. Listening to Earth, Wind & Fire brings back so many memories when all of us were younger, skinnier, and definitely more able to do the dance moves.
Took the Metra back downtown and walked about a mile back to our hotel – beautiful night and fun to see the city at night all lit up

Saturday – again took our time waking up
Our son came down and met us at our hotel and we took the L to have lunch at the Purple Pig
Definitely a highlight – the menu item of “pig’s ears” sounded iffy but was delicious – think bacon French fries
We timed it pretty well with signing in at about noon and had only a 30 min wait before they texted us that our table was ready
Afterward went to the Chicago Art Institute – we haven’t been back in ages and it has changed a lot – an entire new wing – had a hard time finding the Chagall’s America Windows. Other exhibits:
-Charles White retrospective – African American artist – very powerful artist
-Of course the Impressionists
Then went to dinner at Parachute – somewhat of a disappointment, food was good but not great
Then went to iO Theater Shakespeare Improv show – the comedians receive a prompt – this one was “Drowning Politely” and then they improvised a play based on that title but using the Bard’s style – words, characters, plot points – hilarious but you had to be on your toes and pay attention. I highly recommend this show. My son likes them better than Second City – the other big name comedy company in Chicago.

Sunday – met up with our son and went to Tre Konor – a Swedish style breakfast restaurant – yum. I had Vanilla and Orange French Toast, while my husband had the Oslo Omelette and our son had the Anders Hash and Eggs.
Then went to church, afterward walked the 606 – previously elevated railroad track and now renovated to a biking/hiking path with attractive landscaping. It was a bit hot but still quite a nice walk – we did about 3 miles though a full round trip would be a little over 5 miles with lots of people out and about.
Afterwards went to Pequod’s Pizza – the location in Morton Grove. Since we were there in the middle of the afternoon there was no wait. The deep dish pizza was delicious. We actually like it better than Lou Manatti’s. I actually thought it was as good as Giordano’s – different but with a good crust to filling ratio.
Then we drove over to Skokie as my husband absolutely had to buy some Frango Mints – for native Chicagoans you will remember that these used to be sold by Marshall Fields department store. They were bought out by Macy’s years ago but Macy’s in Chicago still sells them. We checked to make sure they were available and then ran over to the movie theater to watch “Crazy Rich Asians” in lounge chair comfort. At first we weren’t sure that we were going to see it since we assumed it would be ridiculously expensive (since at this CMX theater you can also purchase dinner to eat in the theater. But the ticket lady could tell we were apprehensive about the cost and she just gave all 3 of us the “senior” discount (even our college age son!). We thoroughly enjoyed the movie in comfort and then ran back over before Macy’s closed to pick up our Frango Mints. Our son dropped us off at the hotel, kissed us “good-bye” and drove back to his apartment to get ready for work.

Monday – woke up early and finally took Lyft to the airport – with a 25% discount and a $5 tip it came to $30 for the 2 of us from downtown to Midway airport at 6:45AM. Wow – Midway is always such a zoo. Even though we already had our boarding pass as well as TSA pre-check we had to walk through a huge Disney-land like route just to get to the security lines. At first I thought we might be making a mistake as our route took us past almost back to where you catch the l again. I really felt sorry for people coming off the L who still had to check their bags as they had to get past our huge line to get to a completely different floor just to check-in and then they were going to have to negotiate this same line again to go through security. Every time I go to Midway it seems to be worse and worse. It looks as if they are doing renovations so hopefully the waiting line won’t be past the L stop.

So quick but packed "long weekend" trip to Chicago –the tally would be:
6 restaurants – Aruns Thai, Renga Tei, Purple Pig, Parachute, Tre Konor, Pequod’s Pizza - as you can see we are really into eating, thankfully we are not morbidly obese, though you wouldn't know from reading this trip report
3 shows – Ravinia – Earth, Wind & Fire, iO Theater – Shakespeare Improv and a movie
1 museum – Art Insitute
1 walk/hike
Since all 3 of us went to college in Chicago we have already seen and done a lot before – but I would highly recommend – Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, just hanging out on the lakefront, Chicago Architecture Foundation Boat Tour, Chicago Detours (walking architecture tours).
For restaurants – Alinea (I think only Michelin 3 star in Chicago), Girl and the Goat, Eden, Russian Tea Time.
For shows - try to get tickets to see the NPR show "Wait, Wait Don't Tell Me" - OMG - so hilarious. We had been once before and were planning to go again on this trip but unfortunately they were on a break the week we were in Chicago - they tape on Thursday night and tickets go on sale online 6 weeks in advance. You have to be ready to buy immediately as they sell out quickly. It is taped in the Chase Bank auditorium and you will not be able to stop laughing.
The weekend we were in Chicago we had also considered the Air and Water show and the Pilsen Beer Festival and just hanging out at Millenium Park - but we just didn't have enough time.

Anyway hope this helps. Chicago is such a great city - so much to do and so accessible. If only it didn't get to 30 below 0 in the winter time!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 06:10 AM
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Sounds like a fantastic short trip. Thanks for the TR
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Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 06:23 AM
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Glad you enjoyed Arun's. I was telling a coworker about it recently - one of my favorite meals out, ever.
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Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 07:44 AM
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Wonderful report. We never lived or worked in Chicago and didn't go to school there, but in 1997, I had to go on business, and I was there for 10 days straight, including weekends, so I had a lot of time to explore. I fell in love with the city and have been back many times. I'm noting some of your particular recommendations for our next trip!
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Old Aug 23rd, 2018, 09:12 AM
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You sure packed a lot in! Glad you enjoyed your trip. Have you been to the Riverwalk, the remarkable redevelopment of the banks of the Chicago river that extends from Wells to the lake?
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Old Aug 24th, 2018, 06:35 AM
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So we actually did a little bit of the Riverwalk as we came back from the Metra station to get to back to our hotel. That was the night we came back from Ravinia and it was a beautiful night with a bit of breeze and the the skyscrapers all lit up. We haven't formally done it and we will have to explore that more the next time we go back. I agree it is a great suggestion.
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 05:11 AM
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Best Attractions in Chicago |

  1. Grant Park
  2. Lincoln Park
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 05:12 AM
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Attractions in Chicago

Chicago Lakefront Trail
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 05:13 AM
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Attractions in Chicago

Chicago Botanic Garden
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 05:14 AM
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Attractions in Chicago

Chicago Beaches
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 05:15 AM
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Attractions in Chicago

Millennium Park
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 07:25 AM
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Nice 61luv2travel! Knowing your way around makes it simpler. I was a 5th wheel when my neighbor, her child, and her mother went to visit another child who was a student at the Art Institute. It took careful study with desk person to locate the different elevator to see the Sargent works. Only because I was meeting up with the rest of the folks did I find the Chagall so I share your confusion. How could a city known for its architecture have made it so?! Or maybe they were constrained by what space they had. Thanks for sharing a nice TR!
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 09:33 AM
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The Museum of Science and Industry should not be missed:

https://flic.kr/p/ax5zhd
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Old Dec 10th, 2021, 10:12 AM
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Multiple posts above by blackbearmediapro
have worthy recommendations along with those which are ads.

Loved loved loved living in Chicago! I developed my own highlights tour of the AIC as we had so many visitors who wanted to tour it.
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Old Dec 13th, 2021, 07:41 AM
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Wow - I was so surprised to see some responses out of the blue! I had been too depressed about the pandemic's effects on travel but have started doing some domestic travel. Having lived in Chicago for 6 years I agree with most of the suggestions listed by blackbearmediapro though I think just listing them doesn't really help you.
My take:
The Chicago Lakefront Trail is fantastic - especially if you are a runner. You can go for miles with amazing views.
Museum of Science and Industry - one of my favorites - a few years ago I went by myself while in town for a meeting - I went to see the amazing LEGO exhibit - so cool to see this:

2017 Museum of Science & Industry - LEGO exhibit - the International Space Station!

anyway - that's what I enjoy about Chicago - so much to see and do and eat
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