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First time in Chicago

by raenbows Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 1:47 AM

hey everyone,
Heading over to the USA and spending about 4 days in Chicago around Sept(and surrounding area). Can anyone suggest some different things to visit there. Happy to get out of the hub of the city for day trips. Also anyone got any good ideas for places to stay close to the metro area. With the dollar the way it is against ours anything relative cheap but clean would be great.
Also are the big ticketed items in Chicago worth seeing???
Thanks

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8 Answers
  • deniseesser's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by deniseesser Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 5:43 AM

    I love Chicago and have had luck staying in areas close or in the downtown for a good price through www.hotwire.com or www.pricewire.com.

    I love the "Tavern on Rush" restaurant (www.tavernonrush.com) and have had luck getting theatre tickets day of for evening entertainmnet.

    Walking around Chicago is half the fun for me. THere are some neat parks. The park with the famous "jelly bean" and water fountains is definitely worth checking out. Walking along Michigan Ave perusing the shops is also a lot of fun. The Navy Pier is a must-see as well. You can take free trollys from the Michigan Ave area to the Navy Pier.

    Of course there's often sporting events in Chicago as well as concerts, etc., but you'd need to check out the venues to see who/what is playing while you are there.

    I love Chicago and my best memories have been just walking around and enjoying the beautiful city and architcture and breathing it all in. Hope this helps, and good luck!

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 6:58 AM

    First, check DABS pages here on VT, she has lots of information. My personal favorite would be to take a 2 to 3 hour cruise out on Lake Michigan. Cruises are either dinner or no dinner. The best ones to take leave around 7:00 p.m. and then you can watch the lights of Chicago come out from the Lake. Also the Chicago River Architectural Tours are very enjoyable and you'll learn a little more about the city.

    Millenium Park is where the bean (real name Cloud Gate) are located and it is a fun area to walk around again at night as you will enjoy the photo walls and the waterfalls from there.

    North Michigan Ave to shop or at least window shop.

    What types of activities out of the city were you looking to do? Historical, parks, etc? You can ride into a lot of the Chicago suburbs on the train, but to go beyond about a 35 mile radius from the city you would need a rental car.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 7:03 AM

    Really cheap accomodations would be a youth hostel, there is a good one in the south loop, close to transportation and attractions

    http://www.hichicago.org/

    If you want a regular hotel room, then I'd suggest Priceline or Hotwire, both are blind bidding, non refundable non cancellable but you'll find good rates if you bid. Check out www.biddingfortravel.com or www.betterbidding.com for advice on where to stay, what to bid, how it works, etc. Another option would be to keep an eye on Travelzoo, I've been seeing a lot of80-90 per night rooms there recently.

    Are the big ticket items worth seeing? Only you know that, if you have an interest in that particular subject. The Art Institute has free nights on Thurs (and Fri during the summer months), some like the Lincoln Park Zoo are free every day, the other ones occasionally have free days, this is a good website to have a look at but do check with the actual site for the attraction as things do change.

    choosechicago.com/free_chica...

    With only four days you may not find that you need to take any day trips, there is plenty to do within the city itself. Chicago is a city of neighborhoods and there are plenty to explore, Devon Avenue is Chicago's little India, there's Chinatown, Greektown, the Mexican neighborhood of Pilsen, Obama's stomping ground of Hyde Park/Kenwood. Plus we have a wonderful lakefront that you can bike, walk or run along.

    One of the things I always recommend to people is to get out on the water, either on Lake Michigan or the Chicago River, on a boat cruise, there's an excellent architectural cruise given by the Chicago Architecture Foundation and several others along the lake.

    These offers are only currently good through April 2009 but hopefully they will extend them, some of the boat cruises have 2 for 1 offers

    chicagoofficeoftourism.org/s...

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  • riorich55's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by riorich55 Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 7:08 AM

    Kristi,

    I thought I felt that psychic connection when I was responding the same time as you. That's 2 votes for the water.

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  • Dabs's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by Dabs Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 7:15 AM

    I love Lake Michigan and that wonderful path along the lakefront, it was pure genius and maybe a bit of luck keeping the lakefront open from one end of the city to the other.

    I'm not sure how I missed mentioning food as it's one of my favorite things about Chicago, be sure to squeeze in a deep dish or stuffed pizza somewhere and try a Chicago hot dog, I'd recommend Lou Malnati's or Giordano's for pizza and in the center of the city Portillo's for hot dogs. But there are lots of other places as well and every kind of food you could imagine. If you're interested in food, have a look through some of the VT pages here, there are a lot of us that like to eat :-)

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  • jo104's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by jo104 Online Now Apr 16, 2009 at 7:27 AM

    Great tips for me as a first timer as well - thanks guys!!

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  • yooperprof's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by yooperprof Online Now Apr 17, 2009 at 5:59 AM

    Great tips so far from my Chicago friends!

    If it's early September, you might be interested in going out to the Ravinia Music Festival, which features a variety of outdoor events in a pleasant park setting. It's a short train ride (half an hourish) out from the center city, and lawn tickets are inexpensive. (September in Chicago is usually extremely pleasant weather-wise.)

    http://www.ravinia.org/

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  • coloradopair's Profile Photo

    Re: First time in Chicago

    by coloradopair Online Now May 23, 2009 at 7:30 PM

    Ditto here on the water! The skyline from Lake Michigan is awesome. Face it...Chicago became what it is because of the Lake and the Chicago River. September is a good time to be there weather-wise. Could still get some hot and humid days early in the month. My opinion is that October and May are the two best months for weather... That's why I retired to Colorado! 12 of 12 beat 2 of 12!!!

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