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Chicago Tips?

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  • #737318 Reply
    honeybeenickihoneybeenicki
    Participant

    Despite the fact that I live less than 3 hours from Chicago, I’ve never really “been” there. I’ve gone for a school trip and for the occasional trip in college (when I was half an hour away) and once 11 years ago to see Blue Man Group.

    We’re going down to Chicago Memorial Day weekend because one of our favorite bands is on their farewell tour and its the closest they’re getting to us. We’re coming down Friday, leaving Sunday. So I have a few questions:
    1 – We’re staying at Windom in Tinley Park and the concert is at Hollywood Casino Amphitheater. We were thinking of walking there and taking an Uber back… but I have also never Ubered (is that the right term?) or taking an Uber both ways. Is Tinley Park a “safe” area for us to be walking around when we don’t really know where we’re going?

    2- WTF is up with Uber. How does that work? If we want an Uber after the concert, when should we try to get one? How expensive are they? We’re only going 2 miles, but looks like its an area that gets super busy sometimes.

    3- We need some family friendly things to do/places to eat. I’m super picky (no Mexican food, no Asian/Sushi/etc, no seafood). We’re planning to hit up the Museum of Science and Industry and likely Shedd Aquarium, but beyond that we’re not sure what to do. We’ll have all day Saturday and all day Sunday.

    4- Parking. I’ve heard of apps where you can “rent” people’s parking spots for cheaper than regular parking rates. Talk to me about that.

    Thanks everyone 🙂

    #737321 Reply
    CopaCopa
    Participant

    1. Tinley Park is a suburb and safe as far as I know. (If I found myself there, I wouldn’t be concerned.)

    2. Uber and Lyft rates vary based on demand. For example, when it’s rush hour or if there is a big event, you can expect to see higher rates because there’s more demand. My best guess would be that in the suburbs, most people are driving themselves and you won’t have to worry about any kind of surcharge. When you open the apps, you can see how far the closest driver is from you (e.g., 3 minutes away) to get an estimate of how long you’ll be waiting. Before you order, you can also see the fare you’ll pay so you still have time to back out. You have to sync your credit or debit card with the apps and I recommend doing that ahead of time if you haven’t already!

    3. I’ve never been to the Museum of Science and Industry, but would personally skip over Shedd (I don’t think it’s worth the price). The Art Institute downtown is great, and it’s right by Millennium Park/the Bean. And just a bit east of the Bean is a newer park that looks fun for kids (if you have any/will be bringing them). I always tell tourists to pop into Cindy’s (right across the street from Millennium Park) for a drink because the views are great. If you like architecture, there are river architecture tours you can take where you get a really cool perspective of the city and learn about its history and famous buildings. There are also some Frank Lloyd Wright buildings around that you can take tours of. If you want to ride in the river without taking a tour, the water taxis are a great option. If you’re into shopping, the Magnificent Mile is touristy but that’s where all the shopping is. If you want a 360 view of the city from a sky deck, I’d recommend Hancock Tower over Sears Tower because the line/wait will be shorter (or you can grab a drink at their bar — a drink costs about the same as admission to the sky deck). There’s a nice lakefront trail that stretches for miles, so you can walk along Lake Michigan or rent bikes. You can go to a comedy show at Second City. There’s a free zoo in Lincoln Park. Chicago has no shortage of fantastic food, but recommendations would be easier if I know what you DO like. A lot of tourists go for Chicago-style pizza. I really like The Violet Hour (in Wicker Park) for cocktails. There’s way more, this is just what’s coming to mind off the top of my head, but you’ll likely have decent weather and Chicago is very, very walkable.

    4. I don’t own a car and don’t have to deal with parking here, but I think you’re referring to apps like Spot Hero, which I’ve never used.

    #737369 Reply
    honeybeenickihoneybeenicki
    Participant

    Thanks Copa! We’ll be with a not-quite-3 year old so some of that is out (lots of walking or biking isn’t really up his alley), but some is great! My husband *really* wants to go to Shedd, so I’m thinking we’re going to end up there anyway. I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in High School and have wanted to go back since. We’ll probably try to check out one of the tours for sure! And my mom is coming with and will love the Magnificent Mile.
    We love burgers, so if you can recommend a good burger joint, that would be ideal 🙂

    #737370 Reply
    avatarktfran
    Participant

    So, I got married at Cindy’s, and Copa is right, the views are AMAZING!

    Anyway, MSI (Museum of Science and Industry) is a lot of fun. Definitely go there. Your son will love it. I agree with Copa about Shedd, but if your husband wants to check it out, I suppose you should. Buy your tickets early to both MSI and Shedd so you don’t have to deal with that once you get there.

    The kids park Copa was referencing is Maggie Daley, and it’s pretty cool. There are tons of neat things for kids to do of all ages. It’s basically between Shedd and Mag Mile (Michigan Ave). The Bean is fun too.

    Go to Dylan’s Candy on Michigan Ave. Just do it. Also, make sure you get a beverage. SO MUCH FUN! I’m seriously considering throwing my 40th birthday party there.

    I’ll get back to you shortly on burger joints and more.

    #737371 Reply
    avatarktfran
    Participant

    Also, agree with Copa about Hancock over Sears.

    Au Cheval in the West Loop is famous for their burger. It’s pretty good. They win awards.

    The Dearborn, downtown in the Loop, has a really good burger. And good beer and cocktails. I highly recommend and it will be easy for you to get to.

    #737388 Reply
    CopaCopa
    Participant

    Au Cheval does have good burgers, but there’s usually a wait. The same guy who owns Au Cheval owns several other restaurants, and the burgers at all of them are very similar. So you could try Small Cheval (more of a fast food vibe) or Three Arts Club Cafe (sit down place inside of a Restoration Hardware – it’s very cool). I went to The Gage last night, which is also downtown in the Loop, and my burger was solid. I’m not above fast food, so I’ll also throw out Shake Shack as a recommendation.

    Other restaurants near downtown with food I think you’ll like are The Kitchen, Seven Lions, and River Roast. You’ll also be here at a time where the riverwalk will be coming to life, and you can eat outside at one of the seasonal restaurants/bars on the river. The food isn’t *the best* at any of the riverwalk places I’ve tried, but it’s nice to be outside on the river and waving to kayakers.

    Also, Shedd isn’t *bad*. I didn’t love that the basic ticket didn’t include any of the things I’d be excited to see at an aquarium. I’m glad I’ve been, but won’t go again soon. There’s also Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum. You should check online to see if there’s some kind of pass where you can get admission to several museums for a discounted price.

    I haven’t been to the Sears Tower since moving here, and it IS on my list, but I never wake up on a weekend thinking, “Gee, what a great morning to stand in line.” Once tried going with a friend who was in town, but the line was so long that we ended up at Giordano’s instead.

    #737389 Reply
    avatarFyodor
    Guest

    If you like aquariums, Shedd is a great aquarium. But it’s pricey and they shake you down for extra money to see half the attractions.

    #737390 Reply
    avatarFyodor
    Guest

    Aquaria?

    #737393 Reply
    avatarktfran
    Participant

    The restaurant inside Restoration Hardware is ridiculously expensive and kind of a scene. Super cool space though.

    Funny story about Seven Lions. The husband and I and a couple friend of ours had brunch there. Bloody Mary’s and Michelada’s were ordered. We received them and the Bloody Mary’s tasted funny. Funny as in sweet. We told our waiter. He kind of didn’t believe us and was giving us attitude. He finally took it to the bartender and…. the bartender made our drinks with Strawberry Margarita mix instead of Bloody Mary mix. GROSS! The waiter came back and was like, you’re not lying. Duh!

    Anyway, it’s kid of a tourist trap, but Grand Luxe is a solid restaurant on Michigan Avenue. There’s usually never much of a wait. We take the nieces there when they visit because of its location and its easy to get in and it’s good for picky eaters. I’d say it’s a step above Cheesecake Factory.

    #737399 Reply
    CopaCopa
    Participant

    Oh, and this is kind of random, but I love the Architecture Foundation Store on Michigan Avenue. They have all kinds of fun gadgets there, and an area where kids can play with legos. I also think there’s a children’s museum on Navy Pier, but I tend to avoid Navy Pier like the plague.

    @ktfran That’s super cool that you got married at Cindy’s! I have a few go-to places that I take out-of-town visitors to, and Cindy’s is one of them — and one that I actually enjoy going to every time. Some views in this city never get old to me, and that’s one of them.

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