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Taking daughter to Chicago for 21st birthday - what to do?

Taking daughter to Chicago for 21st birthday - what to do?

Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:01 AM
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Taking daughter to Chicago for 21st birthday - what to do?

Dad-daughter weekend in Chicago for her 21st birthday. Trying to get to know her better... and want to have lots of fun. Going in late January and likely staying at the Marriott or Renaissance Mag Mile. What entertainment and restaurant suggestions would you recommend? She doesn't drink alcohol. Your help is sincerely appreciated, thank you.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:10 AM
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You don't have to have an alcoholic drink but stopping up for a beverage at the 96th floor of the Hancock Building is fun. (check out the virtual tour).

http://www.signatureroom.com/lounge/default.cfm?PID=15
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:12 AM
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Unless you live close to Chicago, is there a reason you're going in the dead of Winter?
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:14 AM
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Along with the excellent suggestion of the Signature Room (maybe she would like a glass of champagne?), I would try Grande Lux Cafe and Roys.

For shopping, H&M and Loehmanns.
 
Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:35 AM
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There are several great threads, as one poster, exiled princess, details lots of good walks etc. Use the search function. Chicago weekend or Chicago plays or Chicago jazz or whatever your/her interests are.

Art Institute- a must.

Wicked, the play, maybe. It's a daughter/father theme in one aspect.
My much older daughter LOVED it, as did my 11 year old GD.

www.metromix.com to see what is going on while you are here.

Weather-wise regardless, you can do some walks. Millenium Park, State St, near the River. Check out the WinterDelights program re the internet, just to see if maybe there isn't something there you crave too.

Way too many restaurants to give you a rec, IMHO. What price ranges, what kind of food. Tourist or home crowd? etc. Just in the downtown area?
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 08:48 AM
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Chicago offers a wide choice of museums, great Art Institute, Shedd Aquarium, Sears Tower, Hancock Building (already mentioned) as well as Mag Mile, wonderful plays and musicals, ethnic nieghborhoods, shopping and many restaurants. You might check out GoChicagoCard.com for tourist ideas as well as discount fees.

What kind of things does your daughter like to do? My daughter (also 21) loves the Shedd Aquarium. King Tut exhibit is currently at the Field Museum but only until 1-1.

I have taken many international employees/visitors to Chicago to see the various sights and/or shop. Their requests and likes differed widely, but the visit was always a great experience. What is your choice for restaurant offerings? As for going in the winter, just plan for a cold wind with hat, long scarf, and gloves and if you hit a mild spell so much the better!
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 11:31 AM
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Thanks for the many great ideas thus far. We live in MN, so cold is relative, and we're going for her birthday. Like the tourist sites and still looking for restaurant suggestions. Excluding seafood, we're wide open and want to really hang in downtown with all the action.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 01:10 PM
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For entertainment. . . Blue Man Group at the Briar Street Theatre. Went with my parents several years ago and loved it. I like the suggestion of Wicked, although I have yet to see it myself.

What about live music? So many venues with great bands.

Also, one of my favorite fun places to go in Chicago. . . more in the neighborhoods than downtown, tapas at Cafe Babareeba. I think it is worth venturing outside of the downtown area and into some of the neighborhoods.

Lincoln Park Zoo is great -- although not sure the animals are out and about in the cold weather!

Maybe catch a show at Second City?
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 02:05 PM
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If it were I and my daughter and the end of January, we would stay downtown, do a show, do one or two Museums, go into some of the classic or historic buildings serendipity. Go to the 96th floor of the Hancock, into the Field/Shedd/Adler area at least once, the Bean in Millenium Park.

If you have never gone to the Art Institute, go together. Walk and talk.

Remember travel outside of the Loop, Mag Mile area will take time. I would rather eat River North, Theatre District, Mag Mile right where I was.

Some places I have eaten and liked:
Soundings in the Shedd, Trattoria #10, Aria, Petterinos in Theatre District, also Italian Village is an oldie. For steaks, Ruth Chris, Gibson's, Morton's, the Saloon, depending upon $$$. Pizza- see threads here- there are varying opinions. I like Uno's and Oven Grinders' bowl type- but that last is up in Lincoln Park.

Many other good ones are Ditka's, 312, Hunt Club (to be seen is what I hear) and other top, top places that are higher end others will list if you are interested. Everest, Tru etc. have huge waiting lists, may be too late.
Are you looking for $20 to $50 for a dinner each? That's the kinds of places I know about.

See metromix.com for more choices with food and distances to your lodgings etc.
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Old Nov 28th, 2006, 06:58 PM
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My ears were burning...was someone talking about me?

Huey123, since you are visiting us in the balmy south (compared to MN, that is), I've got a few suggestions for you.

First, you shouldn't get the idea that the "downtown" of Chicago is where all the action is - because it's not. Each neighborhood has it's own "atmosphere" and there is a lot going on in them.

With that being said, here's a few suggestions:

The City of Chicago usually has special activities planned for the weekends (and throughout the weeks) at that time of year. I'd recommend that you check their website to see what is going on when you are here.

If your daughter enjoys listening to jazz, I'd recommend that you two go to the Green Mill in Uptown (take the Red Line to the Lawrence stop - 1 block away). On Sunday evenings, they have the Uptown Poetry Slam, as well.

If you both enjoy international music (including blues and jazz), take a look at the HotHouse on Balbo.

If you like blues, Buddy Guys Legends. Buddy Guy himself is usually there sometime during the month of January.

Also, Pops for Champagne just opened up in the River North neighborhood at the historic Tree Studio building recently. Nice place to enjoy jazz as well.

And take a look at the Old Town School of Folk Music in Lincoln Square as well - they have very interesting acts.

Agree totally with the Art Institute. It's free admission on Thursday evenings 5pm - 8pm, by the way.

If the weather isn't too frigid, there is ice skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park, just north of the Art Institute.

I don't mention it enough, but check what is going on at the Harris Theatre at Millennium Park. Really good venue with wonderful acts - ballet, classical, etc.

You might want to go to a comedy club - maybe Second City or the I/O for improv or Zanies for stand-up comedy - but there are several others in town.

Now, if you are sports fans, I'd recommend that you stop in at Ditkas one of the evenings. Da Coach is often there greeting customers and there is a singer who does great Sinatra certain evenings of the week. Take a look at their website.

Now for restaurants (starting with the most expensive to the least expensive): For something really special, one of the best restaurants in town, Tru, has a dessert-tasting menu for $25. Reservations are required, appropriate dress. Next, for a wonderful special dinner, North Pond on the north edge of the lagoon in Lincoln Park, is just a beautiful place (take a look at the menus online for prices). I'd also recommend Aria (in the Fairmont on N. Columbus) for international fusion spin on comfort food. A La Turka on N. Lincoln has great Turkish food and bellydancers certain evenings (and hookahs, if you wish). Tango Sur in Lakeview on N. Southport is an Argentian steakhouse with live music on Thursdays - no reservations and BYOB - and Cullen's (an Irish bar) right next door has good entertainment every night of the week. Smoke Daddy has BBQ and the blues. Duke of Perth in Lincoln Park has all-you-can-eat fish n'chips on Wednesday and Friday evenings for under $10. For breakfast with unique offerings, try Orange (original location is on Clark and there is a second location in the South Loop on Harrison).

Have fun when you are here.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 06:54 AM
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My sincere thanks. Your recommendations have a nice thread of continuity and great ideas. I also appreciate the sense of conviction and candor many have presented - causing me to feel very confident we will have a great time in Chicago. Thanks again!!
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 09:10 AM
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Just a few more suggestions...

The Hancock's Signature Lounge for a hot cocoa with great views and comfy chairs just before the sun sets would be nice.
http://www.signatureroom.com/lounge/default.cfm?PID=15

L'Appetitos in the basement of the Hancock is a nice place to get a coffee and muffin or a lunchtime panini (grilled sandwich) for about $5. There is a nice sitting area and afterward your daughter could check out the Aveda store. They sell shampoos, etc. -- girly things.

Breakfast on the mezzanine floor (or 2nd floor?) of the Water Tower Place is a good place to people watch while you have an egg sandwich, muffin and coffee for breakfast or a slice of pizza for lunch. Your daughter might like to look around Bigelow's Drugstore or Sephora's afterward which is just a few floors up.

I second Pizza Oven and Grinders. It would be a wonderfully cozy place to go in winter. It's located near Lincoln Park Zoo in a brownstone.
http://www.chicagopizzaandovengrinder.com/

Before you eat, you could take a cab west about a mile from the Halsted/Armitage Avenues area. Your daughter might enjoy some of the fun little shops and restaurants on Armitage, Webster, Dickens and Halsted which runs perpendicular to the first three. This is an area of brownstones and DePaul University. Very pretty area and I think it'd be a fun place for a college-aged girl.

Closer to the Mag Mile: Paper Source -- on the corner of Chicago Avenue and Franklin -- is a four-story brownstone store that sells paper, stationary, and all kinds of quirky items.
http://www.paper-source.com/cgi-bin/paper/
locations/il_chicago_river_north.html

If you want to try some Spanish tapas, you could eat at Cafe Iberico which is located at 739 North LaSalle, just south of Chicago Avenue and about two to three blocks from Paper Source. The place is very festive at night and if you can, I'd get there around 5:30 or 6:00 since the waits can be up to an hour afterward. I'd also recommend that a person unfamiliar with the area take a cab back to their hotel if it's night.
http://www.cafeiberico.com/

I used to go to Albert's Patisserie every weekend for years. It is a very small, cozy, relatively inexpensive bistro located on Elm Street between Dearborn and Clark Streets. I haven't been there in awhile, but you might enjoy eating breakfast or lunch there. My favorite was the $8 potato pancakes and bratwurst.
http://www.albertschicago.com/

Enjoy your trip!
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 10:01 AM
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A few more things:

Bravco's on Oak Street just a block or two west of Michigan sells oodles of sample-sized beauty products for not too much $$.

Window shopping on Oak and Rush might be fun.

The gift shop of the Museum of Contemporary Art sells interesting things. It's just fun to look at the stuff. The MCA is about one to two blocks east of Michigan on Chicago.

If you take your daughter to a place like the Signature Room for dinner, ask for a window seat and tell them you're celebrating her 21st birthday. They might throw in a complementary specially-made dessert.
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Old Nov 29th, 2006, 05:09 PM
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With all due respect to the previous poster, Albert's Patisserie has been closed for some time.

And instead of going to Cafe Iberico, you might consider Nacional 27, which has a tapas tasting special in the early evening and live entertainment.
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Old Nov 30th, 2006, 04:48 AM
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Thanks for the heads-up about Albert's, E.P. I was thinking of venturing out my 'burb to go give them a try.
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Old Dec 4th, 2006, 08:37 AM
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Thanks again for all the wonderful ideas. You've validated my thinking on choosing the great town of Chicago to celebrate. Appreciate your insights.
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