Weekend in Chicago - where to start?

Old Mar 7th, 2000, 09:15 AM
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Weekend in Chicago - where to start?

A friend and I are thinking of planning a weekend in Chicago. Neither of us have been there before and since we will go when it is bit warmer we would like to have walking access to the Great Lakes/beach. ( I am assuming there is a beach?...) also the art museum and Jazz clubs. Any idea where to stay - what part of town would be best. We would be willing to pay about $140.00 per night.
Old Mar 7th, 2000, 09:30 AM
Dan Chrzczonowski
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I would recommend staying anywhere along or near Michigan Avenue or in the Loop. There's a good mix of both luxury and relatively inexpensive hotels, so you should be able to find what you're looking for. The Art Institute is on Michigan Avenue in Grant Park, on the edge of the Loop (central downtown). There are beaches a couple miles to the north (Oak Street Beach, Lincoln Park) and Navy Pier is great in the summer. I HIGHLY recommend obtaining a CTA Visitor's Pass, which you can get for $5 from CTA or your hotel. That way, you can ride the subway and El trains and buses all over town and discover things on your own. The Red Line will get you most everywhere you're looking to go downtown, and many buses stop along Michigan Avenue. Check out to look at a transit map, and choose a hotel near a stop on the Red Line subway.
Old Mar 7th, 2000, 12:37 PM
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Check with some of the major hotels, which might have special rates for weekends--Chicago Hilton, Palmer House, Downtown Marriott, Hyatt Regency Chicago, etc.
Old Mar 7th, 2000, 09:21 PM
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Is the CTA vistor pass valid for the pacer bus, too?
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 08:52 AM
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I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn (new one) downtown and it was very nice and only $115 a night. It was an easy walk to Michigan Avenue.

Also -- there is a double decker tourist bus that you can hop on and off all day long at various stops that is a great idea. You can take the whole tour and then decide where you want to hop off -- your ticket is good all day. I can't remember what it cost, but we felt it was well worth it.

I don't know about Jazz clubs -- the Blues clubs are great.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:21 AM
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Great advice everybody! Thanks! The Hilton Garden Inn sounds like a winner. One final question - is there a particular blues club that anybody would reccomend?
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 09:37 AM
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Kingston Mines is killer for blues- it's on Halsted in the Lincoln Park area. Great music- expect to pay a $10-$20 cover charge, especially on the weekend- worth it though. It's open until 4am on weeknights and 5am on Saturdays, so you can definitely get your money's worth!
Also, have you considered a Cubbie game? Baseball fan or not, an afternoon at Wrigley is a Chicago "must do" in the summer!
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 10:15 AM
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I almost forgot... for jazz, go to The Green Mill in the Uptown area- great music and a lot of fun, and on Sunday nights, a Poetry Slam.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 10:32 AM
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I vote for either Kingston Mines or Blue Chicago.

If you like German food, DEFINITELY have to consider Berghoff's.
Old Mar 8th, 2000, 01:20 PM
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Kingston Mines and Blues Chicago are pretty commercial. If you want good ``down home'' blues I would suggest the Checkerboard Lounge, Legends or Koko Taylor's.

For Jazz I suggest Joe Segal's Jazz Showcase. Ahmad Jamal will be there in a few weeks. In term of hotels in your price range check the Hotel Intercontinental on North Michigan Ave. It's centrally located and the prices are usually pretty reasonable.
Old Mar 10th, 2000, 03:49 AM
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Jazz: Green Mill or Green Dolphin Street

Blues: B.L.U.E.S on Halsted - right across from Kingston Mines. Rosa's is great but out of the way - but worth it if you have a car. Be aware that the Checkerboard Lounge is in a bad area of Chicago.
Old Mar 10th, 2000, 02:15 PM
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I am really sick of people coming up with these arbitrary definitions of what is a `bad' area and what isn't. If you want to hear some good blues, go to the Checkerboard Lounge. Is it the Gold Coast? No. Is it like Kosovo? NO. I also resent the idea that somehow if you leave Near North or the Loop and dare venture anywhere on the South or West Sides that it's `dangerous.' That's hogwash.

Old Mar 10th, 2000, 07:36 PM
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Before you plan where to go, plan when
to go; Chicago is very often packed so tight with conventions that you can't find a room near the Mile to save your life! Check the webpage of the Chicago
Convention and Visitors Bureau for the
conventions list, and steer clear of any
weekend when there are going to be more than 20,000 attendees in town. (Things like the Auto Show, attended mostly by locals, do not count for this purpose.)
I don't think it's kosher here for me to
give you a URL, but try a nested search in a general engine for "hotel discounts" and "Chicago", and you will find a few good sources for good rooms at a human price -- especially from that
one service that does Chicago only.
Old Apr 9th, 2000, 09:32 PM
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Warning: off topic reply.
Sabrina, you are correct. For it was not on the South side, or the West side, but in Edgewater where I was beaten up by a gang of black teen girls. Their reason? Because I was white. At least that's what I deduced from their calling me a "white b----" as it was going on.

Chicago changes block to block, but you're still not going to get me to go to 43rd and Michigan anytime, day or night.
Old Apr 10th, 2000, 08:30 AM
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Jackie: I've been a resident for all my 52 years and have been in all the neighborhoods, even recently. BUT, if you only have a weekend and want to see even a fraction of what is here, stay down by Michigan Ave./ Navy Pier area. You'll like the Pier, especially, and IMAX is there with Fantasia 2000 until April 30. You can also take a boat tour and see the skyline from the lake. Great, in almost any weather. We loved it. Views from the downtown buildings are great too. May want to venture to Field Mueseum area. Do not recommend Wrigley Field if you only have
a weekend, unless you are really into the bar scene and don't need to use a washroom very often. We go to new ballparks each year and are baseball fanatics and I go to both parks frequently. Missed 2 whole innings at
Wrigley last year in the women's bathroom line. Brookfield Zoo's gorillas
are worth watching for hours. Don't think I would venture that far if I only had a weekend. Chicago (traffic non-withstanding) is much better with a car than say Boston or other more walkable cities, in my opinion. Things are far apart and there is so much out there in suburbia too. But if you only have a weekend- the former advice is very good and Michigan Ave. area is fine and accessible to all kinds of experiences. People will help you for the most part, but I do believe our public transportation is confusing and
complex enough to make it unwise to get
too far out of the loop, unless you are
REALLY adventurous. Have a great weekend. Friends just stayed at the
Renaisance and loved it. Went bowling in
Marina Towers after midnight to!

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