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Texans Coming to Chicago - Feedback, Please!

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Apr 19th, 2012, 07:09 PM
  #1
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Texans Coming to Chicago - Feedback, Please!

My husband and I are in our mid-thirties and will be celebrating our 7th wedding anniversary next month in Chicago. We're traveling with another couple and will be spending 3 nights at the Hampton Inn Downtown on Illinois. It will be a first visit for all 4 of us. We like good food (2 of us are vegetarians), history, live music and museums. I've been perusing other threads and put together an itinerary and was hoping for feedback from some of you locals. Here goes:

Tuesday, May 29th
Arrive at Midway mid-afternoon and take the Metro to Grant-Red stop. Check into hotel and then eat early dinner at Lou Malnati's on North Wells. After dinner head over to Navy Pier (#65 bus?) and see the Smith Museum of Stained Glass and ride the ferris wheel. Would like to have dessert somewhere on Madison Ave - any recommendations?

Wednesday, May 30th
Breakfast at XOCO and then a couple of hours at the Field Museum. Afterwards, walk (or bus?) to Buckingham Fountain and then take the Metro to Wrigley Field for a 1:20 game versus the Padres. The guys want hot dogs - is the baseball stadium a good place to grab lunch? After the game, head back to the hotel for a bit then dinner at Sable followed by blues at Blue Chicago (both appear to be walking distance from the hotel, yes?).

Thursday, May 31st
First up a walking tour with Chicago Greeter followed by lunch in Millenium Park (good place to grab lunch to eat in the park?) and then a couple of hours at the Art Institute. Afterwards, back to the hotel for a bit and then dinner at Frontera Grill followed by jazz at the Green Mill.

Friday, June 1st
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and Lincoln Park Zoo in the morning and early afternoon. Good place to grab lunch in this area? Pick up bags and head to the airport around 4:00.

Would love to hear any feedback you have. Did not include Willis or Hancock because I don't like heights Thanks!
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Apr 19th, 2012, 07:58 PM
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The transit system within the city is "The L" or simply the Red Line, Orange Line, etc. The Metra is the suburban train system. Metro isn't used to avoid confusion between the two.

The stop on the nearest the Hampton Inn is Grand Avenue on the Red Line. There's Madison Street, but it's not particularly known for restaurants is there something you had in mind?

You can take a bus from the Field Museum to Buckingham Fountain but it's only about a 16 minute walk, just follow the path from the north side of the museum under Lake Shore Drive.
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Apr 19th, 2012, 08:06 PM
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So sorry! I mis-typed - should have said Grand Ave, not Grant and Michigan Ave instead of Madison Ave. Arghhh!
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Apr 20th, 2012, 05:57 AM
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Unless you really love zoos and can't visit a city without seeing theirs, I'd skip the zoo. IMHO, seen one, seen them all.

The architectual boat tour gets excellent reviews--I'd recommend that instead.
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Apr 20th, 2012, 07:55 AM
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I thought the zoo was really nice and the Plant Conservatory there was awesome, especially if you're into plants. If it's a really nice day and you want to be out walking around before flying back home, I'd keep the zoo in your itinerary. That said, the architectural boat tour was a real highlight of our trip.
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Apr 20th, 2012, 09:29 AM
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I'm not a big fan of the zoo either and would second the recommendation for the architectural boat tour, or suggest the Chicago History Museum, which I believe is in the same general area as the zoo. They have a very nice cafe as well.
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Apr 20th, 2012, 10:15 AM
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There is one place for lunch in Millenium Park (other than food stands), Park Grill.Their outdoor dining is where the ice rink is in the winter.
However, there is an excellent restaurant at the Art Institute, Terzo Piano, a beautiful airey space with delicious food. We eat there even when we aren't visiting the Art Institute.
You can walk to Navy Pier from Lou Malnatis on N. Wells.
Dessert: Madison Avenue? Do you mean Madison Street or Michigan Ave? Fox & Obel is a gourmet grocer with dining options and a bakery on W. Illinois, not far from Navy Pier.
Or, why not have dessert at a French bistro like Bistro Zinc on N. State?
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Apr 20th, 2012, 01:27 PM
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Sounds like you are going to get a great taste of the City with your plans. You might try and squeeze the museum of science and industry in there somewhere, it is one of the best museums in the country. I recommend the MSI over the Field although that is an amazing museum too.

Noticed just one gaping hole in the plans,,,,no stop for pizza, it is an art in Chicago, different than what you might get at home and the guys will love it. Ask at the hotel for the best within walking distance.

Have a great time.
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Apr 20th, 2012, 01:37 PM
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Dinner at Lou Malnati's first night. Do they serve anything other than pizza?
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Apr 21st, 2012, 05:15 AM
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If the OP was going with children I might recommend the Museum of Science and Industry. That was the only place I did not enjoy in Chicago. Pretty cheesy exhibits and definitely geared toward children.
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Apr 21st, 2012, 09:15 AM
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DW and I have a 4-5 hr. layover in Chicago on 5/30. Any chance of a 10:30AM GTG @ XOCO? Otherwise we'll have a good lunch of Pierogis at Pierogi Heaven on N. Wells.
We're going to be getting on the Empire Builder about the time you get to the ball park.
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Apr 21st, 2012, 09:30 AM
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Lou Malnatis also serves pasta and sandwiches I believe but the reason to go there is pizza.
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Apr 21st, 2012, 03:36 PM
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I'd skip Lou Malnati's. Pizza isn't that great IMHO. If you plan on heading into LP (Lincoln Park), check out Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinders on Clark Street. It's across the street from the infamous "St. Valentine's Massacre" scene. Cash only & LOOOONNNGG lines on the weekends for dinner. They have a Sicilian pizza potpie that is yummy!

I also second the Architectural Boat Tour and Chicago History Musuem. The LP Conservatory is okay. Garfield Park is much better, but I haven't been since the storm damange occurred.

Grab a drink at a rooftop bar. Vertigo, NoMi, Roof, C-View. It's a nice way to view the city.

Have fun!
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