Heading to Chicago - Any hidden gems???

Discussion in 'Locations & Meetup forum' started by cleary71, Jul 16, 2006.

  1. cleary71

    cleary71 TPF Noob!

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    I am going to Chicago for 5 days this coming Wednesday and I was wondering if anyone could recommend any hidden gems for me to check out while I was there. Whether it is photo opportunities, places of interest or even places to eat, anything and everything anyone suggests will be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
     
  2. morydd

    morydd TPF Noob!

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    Well.... (warning! I'm a bit fanatical about my city)
    Chicago is the greatest city on earth. Paris has a big TV antenna and New York smells like pee.
    Depending on what your free time looks like, how adventerous you are and what your budget looks like, there's about 40 million things to do.
    The Gay Games are running this week, so there's lots of sporting events around the city. Millenium park has the Bean (aka Cloud Gate) and the giant LED spitting faces. The John Hancock is better than the Sears Tower. They have a lounge on the 96th floor, two floors above the Observation deck. Drinks run about the same price as admission to the Obsv deck, but... you get a drink (or a snack if you don't drink, they've got a 1 item per person minimum.) Lincoln park zoo is free and the new Ape exhibit is great. Also the Lincoln park conservatory right next to the Zoo has some amazing flowers and plants. (Also Free). The Art institute is free Thursday and Fri evenings from 5-8pm. There are events in grant park constantly. Summer Dance, The Lyric Opera is doing a Carmina Burana thing Thursday and Sat night in the park. We've got every kind of food you could want, and the best pizza in the world too.
    Also there's Chinatown, just a few El stops south of the loop. Museum campus has the Field Museum, Planetarium and Aquarium too. The Picasso at Daley Center is pretty sweet too.
    (Is this coming across as a bit obsessive :) )
    Anyway, if you can give a bit more info about what you're interested in, and how much you have to spend (time and money) as well as area you'll be staying, I can probably give you more specifics. Do you want "touristy" stuff (Mag Mile, Navy Pier, Millenium Park) or off the beaten path (Greek town, Boys Town)?
    I'm more than happy to help.
    For some photo ideas: http://chicagouncommon.com/
     
  3. cleary71

    cleary71 TPF Noob!

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    Thanks so much for the response!! As far as a budget is concerned, there really isn't one. This will be my first time in Chicago so I will pay whatever I have to in order to get the best experience. The only things I have set so far are a Cubs game on Wednesday night and a White Sox game on Saturday night. My friend is playing in the AVP tournament Thursday morning. Other than that nothing else has been scheduled. I am interested in touristy things as long as they are worth my time, but would also like to hit the little out of the way places that only the locals know about. Could you please direct me to the best place in your mind to take pictures of the Chicago skyline. I know the first two nights we are staying about a block or two from Wrigley Field. After that we are staying closer to the heart of the city (I believe). I have heard of Navy Pier, but haven't heard of the Mag Mile, Millenium Park, Greek Town or Boys Town. I will do a little investigating on the internet for those. Thanks again!

    PS- Is Al's Italian Beef worth the trip?
     
  4. morydd

    morydd TPF Noob!

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    First, a quick primer on Chicago jargon.
    First, no one uses addresses in everyday converstaion, we use intersections. When you ask where something is expect a response like "State & 35th" as opposed to "3507 S State" If asked where I live, all of the following are considered acceptable responses: 47th& Halstead; Canaryville, Newtown, or The South Side. (47th&Halstead is actually a few blocks from me, Canaryville is my neighborhood, which is part of the "official" neighborhood of Newtown, which is on the southside) The fun part is that all Chicagoans believe that everyone knows where these things are. Same with the expressways (which are called interstates, freeways or turnpikes in other places) We don't use the numbers, just the names. (Dan Ryan, Ike, Kennedy, etc.)
    Boystown is a neighborhood somewhat near Wrigley field known for being a center of gay culture. Greektown (unsurprisingly) is a neighborhood primarly settled by greek imagrants. (there's also koreatown, chinatown etc.) We call the area settled by polish imagrants "Chicago". :)
    Mag Mile is short for Magnificent Mile which is the Shopping District. Everything from Walgreens to Cartier. It's pretty much between the river and the Water Tower.
    Can't give an opinion on Al's as I've never been there, but I do recommend getting italian beef and real pizza while you're here. The opinions on pizza place run about as deep as those on the baseball teams. I can't stand Lou Malinatis (sp?) I prefer Gino's. Uno's is the "original". Giordano's is pretty good too.
    You can probably get good skyline shots from around the Museum campus. It's on a bit of a penninsula just south of the loop.
    I highly recommend using the CTA to get around. A 5 day pass is $18. Single fares are $1.75, so if you ride the train twice a day while you're here, you're breaking even, one more ride than that, you get ahead.
    Unfortunately, as far as non-tourist places, almost all the ones I know and love are on the far north end of the city, as that's where I lived until a few months ago. I know a great persian restraunt up there, and a place that's very "hippie" that has great food.
    metromix.com is pretty good for finding fun stuff to do too.
    You might try and get to Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind. The longest running show in the city, it's an improv group that does 30 plays in 60 minutes. It's a blast.
    I promise, I'm almost done with this novel.
    Millenium park is downtown, near the Art Institute and has some great stuff to photograph. There's the Cloud Gate sculture (giant chrome jelly bean) A water feature that's giant LED screens of faces that occasionally spit jets of water. On a hot day it's full of people getting totally soaked. THere's the new band shell which looks like someone set off a bomb inside a giant chrome jelly bean. Also a garden thing and some other gool stuff. And there are events and such going on every day.
    Hope this helps.
     

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