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Where To Stay and What to do while visiting Chicago over labor day

Where To Stay and What to do while visiting Chicago over labor day

Old Aug 21st, 2007, 07:32 PM
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Where To Stay and What to do while visiting Chicago over labor day

I will be going to Chicago over Labor Day weekend, and wanted some input. Initially, I plan to use priceline to get a hotel room and was wondering whether I should stay in the (1) North Michigan Avenue - River North Area or (2) Millennium Park, Loop & Grant Park Area.

What are recommendations for activities. From reading other posts, it sounds like Second City is fun. If so, is there anything worth seeing other than the Barack and a hard place show (no shows before 11 P.M.). I have been told to go to the Art Institute, Sears Tower, Millenium Park. Any other ideas? Thanks in advance for your help.
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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 11:51 AM
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you've mentioned several good places, especially Millenium Park. Don't forget the Navy Pier and there are several good boat trips along the river, we especially liked the one done by the architectural society that leaves at the foot of the bridge on Michigan Ave. The Field Museum is vast and there is also the set of buildings where the old world's fair was sold (The White City?).
Many good hotels in Mich Ave area. If you like seafood, we recently had great crab cakes at the Devon.
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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 12:10 PM
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We stayed at the Westin River North and the Conrad Hilton in Chicago and found them to be both in great locations, within walking distances to many attractions/subway stops/restaurants. We did the aquarium and Navy pier, and Millenium Park was great!
We also really enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry (need to take a train, further out). Liked the Hancock Observatory better than the Sears Tower.. Have Fun!
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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 12:22 PM
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I've been a number of times, and am going again in a few weeks. I am looking forward to Millenium Park, which wasn't yet built the last time I was in Chicago. But I've never understood the attraction of the Navy Pier. The only thing I liked was the boat ride to get there from Museum Campus.
Old Aug 24th, 2007, 01:22 PM
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The view from the Hancock Observatory is great, much better than the Sears Tower. Also the Chicago Architectural Foundation has a great boat trip on the Chicago River and the boat & ticket booth is located down the stairs at river level on the southwest corner of the Michigan Avenue Bridge.

If you continue down that walkway that the ticket booth is on, it will take you to the lake. Take a left and the Navy Pier is close by, take a right & you have a pathway that follows the shoreline of the lake going past Grant Park to the Museum Campus. It is a very enjoyable walk. The Field Museum and the Shedd Aquarium are must sees. Then return via Michigan Avenue visiting the Buckingham Fountain in Grant park & exit the park at Congress taking a right onto Michigan Avenue to observe all the statues & monuments in Grant Park along that route. Michigan Avenue will lead you Millennium Park and the Art Institute, other don't miss attractions.

Museums and art galleries usually don't interest us but these in Chicago are don't miss type of attractions.

The areas you are looking at for a hotel are all good areas within walking distance of several of the mentioned attractions, however I like to be close to the Chicago River on or near Michigan Avenue. I am not familiar with Priceline so I don't know the zones & how much of an area they encompass.

You will love Chicago, friendly folks and beautiful city.

P.S. Go see a Cubs game - it's a great baseball town.
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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 01:58 PM
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Hotel rooms will be at a premium over Labor Day, there is a lot going on in town! I would secure my lodging ASAP
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Old Aug 24th, 2007, 07:58 PM
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In addition to the sites mentioned: We also enjoyed the Museum of Contemporary Art. It has an amazing collection.
If you like baseball don't pass up a chance to see Wrigley Field.
Good restaurants:
Pane Caldo
Frontera Grill
Merlo on Maple
Tango Sur
We just returned from Chicago, the people are so friendly, the city is amazingly clean.
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Old Aug 25th, 2007, 05:17 AM
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Nanabee, what'd you think of Terragusto? Atlhorn, I recommend Terragusto too. I live in the neighborhood, and it's my favorite restaurant there.

Atlhorn, if you feel like getting out of the downtown/Loop/River North circuit, try Wicker Park, Lincoln Park/DePaul, and/or Roscoe Village for a few hours.

If you want hot dogs or sausages, don't go to Gold Coast Dogs or any other place downtown. Take the trek to California and Belmont for Hot Doug's. By far the best sausages in Chicago, possibly in the country.
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Old Aug 25th, 2007, 07:11 AM
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I don't think these are mentioned yet.

- Chicago History Museum
- Chicago Cultural Center
- Lincoln Park Zoo
- Oz Park

Read my trip report click:
Chicago Trip Report
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Old Aug 25th, 2007, 11:39 AM
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hi two fat feet:
I second Wicker Park. It was a bit of a drive (we took public transportation) out from downtown, but worth the time to get there. Walk along some of the side streets to see some of the older beautiful homes.
As far as Terragusto -
we really like the idea of organic, local produce, the waiter took a lot of pride in the food and spent a great deal of time explaning the entres to us.
it is cute and cosy, and can get crowded so maybe call for reservations.
it was out by wrigley field.
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Old Aug 25th, 2007, 04:59 PM
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Atlhorn, either location for the hotel would be good for a first-time visitor.

Quite frankly, I'm totally surprised that no one has mentioned the Chicago Jazz Fest, which is held in Grant Park from August 30 through September 2. The line-up this year is pretty good, too. You should know the entertainment at this festival is absolutely free.*

Speaking of free, August 31 is the last Friday evening which the Art Institute has free general admission (from 5-9 p.m.). So, unless you have a specific performer you wish to see per my suggestion of the preceding paragraph, you just might want to head to S. Michigan Avenue.

The walk mentioned by roy2moira (the River Walk along the Chicago River) is an excellent suggestion. However, you might wish to rent a bike (Mayor Daley is BIG on biking in Chicago, and rightfully so!) and do the same thing - or even a Segway. If you don't want to do either of these alone, though, you could always go on a guided bike tour (such as Bobby's Bike Hike - they have 3 tours, one of which is done at night with the fireworks as a special bonus on Saturdays - not sure what they are doing on Labor Day) or a Segway tour with the Chicago Architecture Foundation.

And speaking of the Chicago Architecture Foundation...If you were to ask me what the **single one thing** you should do when you are here, I would answer go on their River Cruise. Not just any cruise - their River Cruise. And I suggest that you do it on the first day you are here, if you can. The absolutely best 2 hours you can spend in Chicago as a first timer. And that's a pretty strong statement to make - because all of us Chicagoans love and are proud of our city.

If you are into sports, a Cubs game at Wrigley Field is a MUST DO - if for no other reason than to visit the "Friendly Confines". There are only a couple of ballparks like this left in the US. Remember, if and when you go, DO NOT leave your seat during the 7th inning stretch.

If you go to the Signature Lounge on the 96th Floor of the John Hancock Center, suggest that you do it about 1/2-3/4 of an hour before sunset. Get a pricey drink and enjoy the changing view as the sun goes down.

Some other MUST DO suggestions for you:

Go to the Steppenwolf Theatre. By the way, for you theatre buffs, I've just read that the current production of "August: Osage County" is going directly to Broadway with the same troupe of actors, production staff, director, etc. (save two individuals). Unfortunately, Atlhorn, it will be closing on August 26 - but keep them in mind for another production.

The Green Mill (jazz club) is a true piece of Chicago history. Since it is so long, I'll just recommend that you take a look at their website and you can read on it. However, if you were a crime buff, and wanted to be somewhere where Al Capone and his cronies used to frequent, this is it.

Likewise, if you wanted to see the place where John Dillinger was shot down after being betrayed by the Lady in Red (not wearing red - but orange), then you'd want to go to N. Lincoln Avenue to the Biograph Theatre. This theatre recently had a multi-million renovation completed to restore it to its former glory and is now the house theatre of one of our best acting troupes, the Victory Gardens.

Continued next post....

*If you do go to the Jazz Fest in the evening, go over to Buckingham Fountain - one of the largest fountains in the world - for the night light display (on the hour, last show 10 p.m.). If you have ever seen a photograph of the Chicago skyline at night, chances are there is a shot of Buckingham Fountain.
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Old Aug 25th, 2007, 05:29 PM
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Continued from above...

I've talked about jazz and now I've got the Blues! Buddy Guys Legends is currently still open BUT it will have to move (but NOT close) due to the Columbia College expansion. I don't see what's going on next weekend on their website, but do try to go. If you cannot because of your tight schedule, then I really suggest that you go to the City of Chicago's website where you can listen to the Chicago Blues History Tour narrated by Buddy Guy himself.

Now, I could mention quite a few other things I consider MUST DO's but you'd never be able to fit them into a long weekend. So, what I guess you'll have to do is:

1. Come to Chicago

2. Fall in love with the City (just like the rest of us) and

3. Then make plans to come back and visit us again soon!

In the meantime, hope you have a great time while here...and, if you get down to the Jazz Fest and you see some crazy Chicago chick really enjoying herself, why that just might be yours truly! Honestly, though, have fun!

P.S. Take a look at my past posts on the restaurants I recommend for different areas. You can enjoy everything from haute cuisine to haute dogs here - just leave your calorie counter behind and remember, diets start AFTER the vacation! TTFN
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