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Sightseeing in Chicago

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May 8th, 2013, 08:28 PM
  #1
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Join Date: May 2013
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Sightseeing in Chicago

Hi,
I will fly to Chicago in the middle of June for 5 days. I will arrive at O"Hare Airport and I will stay approximately 40 miles west of Downtown. What are your recommendations to visit in Chicago? Actually, I am not planning to rent a car because I will borrow one of a friend or go downtown by train if possible.
Thank you for your support and suggestions
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May 8th, 2013, 08:37 PM
  #2
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
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What are your interests? We're visiting Chicago in May, and we've found there is a lot to do there.

Lee Ann
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May 8th, 2013, 08:43 PM
  #3
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I love going famous places. Willis Tower will for example definitely be one my visits.
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May 9th, 2013, 08:46 AM
  #4
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
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"I love going famous places" as opposed to ...infamous places?

Will you be spending your entire five days in the city? If not, how much time will you have? How much do you want to walk? Do you want to go shopping? ...In "name" stores? Boutiques? Vintage? Visit museums? Explore on your own? Join an organized tour? See a baseball game? Theatre? Walk/bike along the lakefront?

First, I would advise against driving into the city as the trip can take 90-120 minutes in rush hour and parking in the city is $20-25 per day. Check the schedule for the Metra commuter trains at www.metrarail.com
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May 9th, 2013, 09:23 AM
  #5
 
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Art Institute
Millennium Park
Miracle Mile
Beaches maybe Navy Pier
Museum of Science and Industry
Oak Park for Frank Lloyd Wright houses
Baseball esp Wrigley Field
Neighborhoods like Lincoln Park and Wicker Park, many ethnic neighborhoods
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May 9th, 2013, 09:29 AM
  #6
 
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You might want to plan ahead for the "famous places". I was in Chicago in March for a long weekend and the Willis Tower and the Aquarium all had lines that were 1-2 hours long just to get in. Pre-booking admission is highly recommended.

The Art Institute is phenomenal. I'd return to Chicago just for that.
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May 9th, 2013, 10:48 AM
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Agree with everything on Ackislander's list, except I'd definitely skip Navy Pier.
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May 11th, 2013, 09:55 PM
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The Navy Pier is on my list for the Smith Museum of Stained Glass. Anybody visit it?
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May 11th, 2013, 10:29 PM
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We did that, CPG. It was nice, worthwhile. The rest of the pier, meh, not so much.
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May 11th, 2013, 10:49 PM
  #10
 
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Deb, How long does it take to walk from the beginning of the pier to the museum?
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May 12th, 2013, 05:55 AM
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It isn't a separate museum, it is actually in the pier building. From the entrance to the pier, we walked outside on the southern side of the buildings; less than 10 minutes? Not far at all. Then we went in, and walked through from the eastern most part of where the windows are displayed to the west, so that by the time we were done, we were almost half way back to the entrance. It isn't a real museum, the windows are along the corridor do the building. We did that after taking an architectural boat tour, which left from the pier area.
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May 12th, 2013, 05:57 AM
  #12
 
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Don't forget the Chicago Historical Society's boatride to see the architecture along the river. Fantastic!! I've done it twice and would do it again in a heartbeat. Catch the boat at the Michigan Avenue bridge.
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May 12th, 2013, 06:43 AM
  #13
 
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The Federal Reserve Bank on Jackson Blvd. has a free self guided tour. There is a bit of security to get in. It is across the street from the Chicago Board of Trade.
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May 12th, 2013, 10:09 AM
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The river boat Simpson is referring to is the Chicago Architectural Foundation's with docents on board. A wonderful and educational experience. Highly recommend it.
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May 12th, 2013, 11:26 AM
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We used Shoreline using a groupon for $18 each. The tour guide was informative, and gave a great tour with a touch of humor as well.

http://shorelinesightseeing.com/
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May 12th, 2013, 11:57 AM
  #16
 
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The Chicago Architecture Foundation's website is www.architecture.org/tours. When we lived in Chicago, we always took out of town guests on their river cruise of Chicago's famous architectural highlights. The boat is Chicago's First Lady. The CAF also offers wonderful walking and bus tours.
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May 12th, 2013, 03:27 PM
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We also did a free tour given by Chicago Greeters. Having used a similar program in Paris, San Francisco and Marseille, we were glad to have found this one.

We took what they call Instagreeter where you just show up and join a tour. We actually were the only 2 on the tour, so the guide asked what we were interested in seeing and learning to took it from there!

IF you want a custom tour you MUST sign up and request one at least 10 business days in advance to desired tour date

They will match you with a guide that can show you exactly what you want to see.

We would have preferred the custom tour, but didn't book far enough ahead.

http://chicagogreeter.com/

For the instagreeter tour, you meet at:
Chicago Cultural Center's Visitor Center, 77 E. Randolph
and do not need to preregister. They do a Loop tour and seasonally, a Millenium Park tour.
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May 12th, 2013, 03:34 PM
  #18
 
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I would definitely recommend the Chicago Greeter. My friend and I used this service for a tour in March. We made arrangements and sent a little info on our interests,ie. history, architecture, food, etc. We had a fabulous afternoon with a local greeter who showed us places we would have missed on our own. A definite highlight that led to an enjoyable afternoon with a true Chicago lover!
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May 12th, 2013, 04:09 PM
  #19
 
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The Chicago Cultural Center building should be checked out as well. It has quite a history, has great photos showing Chicago history and some of the rooms/ceilings, fixtures are amazing.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chicago_Cultural_Center
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May 13th, 2013, 02:11 PM
  #20
 
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DebitNM, I'm glad to see you liked the Shoreline tour, since I bought tickets via Groupon as well. Was it difficult to get the time you wanted?

Lee Ann
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