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Places to go in Chicago

by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 8:22 PM

Hi, I will travel to Chicago this May, I'm gonna be there for 4-6 days, I need some recommendations on where to go and what to eat at there Thank you very much :)

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27 Answers
  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 8:46 PM

    You might start here looking at the Chicago guide

    Chicago Travel Guide

    Perhaps if you give some idea of your interests and budget, types of food you might be looking for you might get some answers more tailored to you. Do you like sports? Then you might want to catch a Cubs or Sox game. Do you like museums? Chicago has the Art Institute, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum, the Museum of Science and Industry. Taking a boat ride on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River is a nice way to spend a sunny day.

    Chicago has restaurants ranging from Michelin starred places like Alinea down to really good street food. Perhaps you'd like to try a Chicago dog or a deep dish pizza. Or maybe one of Chicago's steakhouses. Maybe you're more of a trendy diner, in which case I can look some stuff up for you since I don't do trendy.

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 8:54 PM

    How long does it take if i go on the city tour

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 9:09 PM

    Well, i would like to go to cool places, i heard Chicago is famous for its architecture so i think i can enjoy seeing the buildings, i'm intersted in history ( like war, aircraft,etc ) but not the art history painting. I don't know about the Museum of Science, is it really cool at there, what do they have in there ? and also buy some souvenirs For the food, i like to taste the unique and the best foods in Chicago or affordable restaurants in Chicago. Hope you guys will help me

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 9:21 PM

    Money range that I could spent on food is not over 200 usd, it can be anything but as long as it's under 200 usd, i'm good with that

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 9:38 PM

    how about transportation in Chicago, is it bus or subway ?

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    they don't have a pass for a whole day ?

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 24, 2013 at 10:01 PM

    How about night life in Chicago, are there any good place to go ? ( I'm under 21 so i cannot go to the bar )

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 4:06 AM

    For architecture, we picked up a self-guided walking tour map/brochure at one of the visitor centers:

    "Great walkabouts" - Chicago Things to Do Tip by goodfish

    As mentioned in my review, you may also download them in advance for a small fee.

    And yes, one-day - as well as multi-day - transit passes are available: we bought one or two of them at the desk at our hotel during our stay, and you may also purchase them at some the stations and retail outlets:

    transitchicago.com/travel_in...

    You might also look into purchasing a Chicago Pass that covers entrance to 5 out of 7 attractions:

    "Chicago for less" - Chicago Things to Do Tip by goodfish

    I'm not always a fan of city passes as you often have to cram too much into too short a time to make them pay off but these were a pretty good deal. :O)

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 4:59 AM

    blackwolf94 wrote:
    they don't have a pass for a whole day ?

    Yes, you can get a CTA pass for the entire day which will cover the cost of all buses and subway trains (we call those trains the "L" trains).  I'm from the suburbs of Chicago and getting ready to head out for the day.  I will check this forum question when I get back and give you some more information.  You can check out my Chicago page here on VT for additional information. 

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 5:04 AM

    Since you are new to VT I will give you the direct link to my homepage to get you started.

    "Images of Chicago" - Chicago by riorich55

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  • xoxoxenophile's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by xoxoxenophile Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 6:23 AM

    If you want a really cool view of a lot of the skyscrapers in Chicago, check out the Observatory of the John Hancock building. I went to the Field Museum and loved it while I was there, and Lou Malnati's has some fantastic pizza! We got a glimpse of Millenium Park while driving by, and I definitely wish we could have seen more of it, so if you have time, check that out too!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 6:31 AM

    Groupon sometimes has 3 day passes for $9 (usually $20 I think) for the CTA, that covers bus and el.

    The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is thought to be the best by most folks if you like architecture. If you just want a boat ride then the ones on Lake Michigan are always nice for photos.

    I've always enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry, it's a hike out of the center of the city so expect it to eat up most of a day.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 6:39 AM

    Food, if you are willing to go outside the center of the city you can get almost any kind of food. Are you traveling by yourself or with someone else?

    Chicago pizza-my favorites are Lou Malnati's for deep dish and Giordano's for stuffed, multiple branches throughout the city.

    Chicago dog, personally I don't think they are that great so I always recommend Portillo's, doesn't take that long to get to. Some people direct you to Hot Doug's, I wouldn't go there for a Chicago dog but they do have other interesting offerings. Just expect to wait in line.

    steak-my favorite is Morton's but there are literally dozens of steakhouses downtown. I also like Wildfire a lot, it's less expensive, the portion sizes are more reasonable

    Chinatown-lots of places there that are good, Tony Hu has a bunch of restaurants that start with Lao, the only ones I've tried so far is Lao Sze Chuan and one other that I can't remember (Beijing maybe).

    Greektown-Greek Islands is my go to place

    Breakfast-love the Bongo Room, go on a weekday unless you like lines

    Mexican-go to the Maxwell Street market on Sunday morning, best Mexican in Chicago and really cheap. You can also visit one of celebrity chef Rick Bayless' places, there's Xoco for quick and "cheap" (not that cheap but compared to his others), Frontera for mid price or Topolabampo for high end. He's also got a fast food version on the 7th floor of Macy's on State Street

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 7:00 AM

    Just looked at Groupon and they have at least three boat deals going on, there's Shoreline, Tall Ship and Sea Dog. None of these is the one that is most highly recommended, I never see the CAF tour on any of the discount sites. But I thought I'd mention. Of course if the weather sucks then you are stuck with a boat cruise you don't want to use....

    Here's the link for the one that is mostly highly recommended

    architecture.org/page.aspx?p...

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 8:45 AM

    Ok, i made up a list of places on where i will go that is based on what I've read in the above comments and a little research on TripAdvisor

    Art Institute of Chicago

    Milenium Park

    Navy Pier

    The Field Museum

    Willis Towwer, Sears Tower

    The Museum of Science and Industry

    Shedd Aqurium

    Tour around the city

    Michigan Avenue

    Architecture tour

    I don't know about these 2 but i need some suggestions on them: Adler Planetarium, Chicago Cultural Center

    Do you guys think that I'm able to do all of those in 5 days ?

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 9:01 AM

    Yes, you can do them all in 5 days. And I would definitely buy a Chicago Pass as you have all the attractions it covers on your list: you'll skip waiting lines and save $$$

    With the pass, you have to make a choice between the planetarium and the art institute: choose the institute.

    You also have to make a choice between the John Hancock Observatory or the Science and Industry Museum. As Skydeck in the Willis Tower is already included, the museum is a good choice but if you run out of time,  you can also choose to see the city from above in both buildings: maybe do one during the day and the other at night?

    Don't miss the Smith Museum of Stained Glass at Navy Pier: the best thing there! 

    "Wonderful Windows" - Navy Pier Tip by goodfish

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 9:53 AM

    You should be able to see all of that in 5 days, follow Goodfish's advice and get a City Pass if you do. I would also go for the Art Institute over the Adler unless you really enjoy astronomy. I would also pick the Sears (Willis) Tower over the Hancock, you can go up to the Signature Lounge at the Hancock instead of the Observatory, if you sit you really should buy a drink but otherwise it's free.

    If you like architecture the Chicago Cultural Center is not to be missed, it's free to enter, go up the stairs on the Washington Street side of the building to see the Tiffany Dome, I believe it's the world's largest. It used to be the main branch of the Chicago Public Library, you can see the CPL initials in some of the mosaics.

    One caution if you do decide to get the City Pass, you will be spending most of your time inside and if you happen upon some early nice weather in Chicago, you may rather be outside. Of course the way this winter is going it might still be snowing in May!!!!

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 25, 2013 at 10:13 AM

    Sorry I misread, the choice is between the Museum of Science & Industry or the Hancock, I would do the MSI and then go up the Hancock for free as I suggested. The Signature Lounge might only be open to over 21s (I've never been with anyone under that age) but even if you can't do that, I wouldn't do both the Sears and the Hancock as the view, while not the same, isn't different enough to warrant visiting both unless you do one during the day and one in the evening. But if you find yourself in a time crunch, the MSI takes most of the day due to it's location south of the city center

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  • Heatonkbrewer's Profile Photo

    by Heatonkbrewer Online Now Mar 26, 2013 at 6:06 AM

    Hi! There is so much to see and do (and eat), 4-6 days is a great amount of time. A couple of questions for you- in what area will you be staying? will you have a car or just be utilizing public transit? Depending on your situation will depend on what you can do, but generally speaking there are great museums, you could go see a baseball game, and the list goes on. One thing I'd recomend is to check out the tours that the Chicago Historical Society has, they do some great pub crawls, prohibition era tours and other historical tours of the city. They even have bike tours if you're into that. Check it out- chicagohistory.org/planavisi...

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 26, 2013 at 3:33 PM

    I'm looking for a place to stay right now, i'm gonna use public transport for most of the time
    Do you know have any suggestion on where to stay ?

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  • goodfish's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by goodfish Online Now Mar 26, 2013 at 5:47 PM

    blackwolf94 wrote:
    I'm looking for a place to stay right now, i'm gonna use public transport for most of the time Do you know have any suggestion on where to stay ?

    Depends on what you want and your budget. What are you looking to spend per night, and is it just you or are you traveling with a partner or family? Are you flying or driving into Chicago?  

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 27, 2013 at 9:52 PM

    Dabs wrote:
    Sorry I misread, the choice is between the Museum of Science & Industry or the Hancock, I would do the MSI and then go up the Hancock for free as I suggested. The Signature Lounge might only be open to over 21s (I've never been with anyone under that age) but even if you can't do that, I wouldn't do both the Sears and the Hancock as the view, while not the same, isn't different enough to warrant visiting both unless you do one during the day and one in the evening. But if you find yourself in a time crunch, the MSI takes most of the day due to it's location south of the city center

    So i can walk in and sit at  the Signature Lounge, it's gonna be free unless I order a drink, ,is that what you're saying ? 

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 27, 2013 at 11:07 PM

    blackwolf94 wrote:

    So i can walk in and sit at  the Signature Lounge, it's gonna be free unless I order a drink, ,is that what you're saying ? 

    I'm from the Chicago suburbs and have never been up to the Signature Lounge, but I'm pretty sure you would have to order something to eat or drink.  It is a bar and restaurant, so I'm pretty sure you just can't wander around up there.  Dabs will know for sure and let you know when she signs back on. 

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Mar 27, 2013 at 11:44 PM

    You also might want to check out the Chicago History Museum and also take a little bit of a walk on the Walking Path, Bike Path, etc along Lake Michigan.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 28, 2013 at 6:41 AM

    Yes, if you sit in the Signature Lounge you have to buy something or I'm guessing they'd ask you to leave if it's busy. I've never been up with under 21s, not sure if they allow it or not. I'm guessing they would just id you and not deny you entrance but ask before getting onto the elevator if there is a queue.

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  • Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by blackwolf94 Online Now Mar 28, 2013 at 12:17 PM

    Do you guys know any good and safe places to stay that is under 100 USD ? I'll be staying for 5 nights

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: Places to go in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Mar 28, 2013 at 1:10 PM

    The Harris hostel on Congress has private rooms with shared bath for $79

    hichicago.org/chicago-hostel...

    Hotwire and Priceline are both blind sites, you don't know what you get until you book. But if it's not a busy time you can get a really nice hotel room for under $100. Check www.betterbidding.com or www.biddingfortravel.com before looking.

    I've been seeing a lot of rooms under $100 on Living Social in good neighborhoods. You might also check out www.travelzoo.com which frequently has rooms under $100 per night.

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