Visiting Chicago in August...recommendations?

Discussion in 'Community' started by blackfox, Jul 4, 2004.

  1. blackfox macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #1
    Hello all...

    I am traveling back to Madison WI, for my 10-year HS reunion, the first week of August (7th), and will also be spending a few days in Chicago visiting a good friend who has just moved there...
    So I ask those of you who live in or are familiar with Chicago, for some recommendations of what to do/ what you recommend in the city.

    A few parameters, though. I used to go to Chicago all the time when I lived in Madison (which ended in 1995), so I am familiar with many things (museums/arts etc) that have likely not changed since I was last there...I am also not a sports fan. I will also at most only have one full-day, one-half day and three nights there, so I am looking mostly at night time activities...bars, clubs and the like...

    I am kinda hipsterish (no chuckles), and would prefer to stay away from sports-bar type establishments...otherwise, I am pretty open. I like to play pool (but not seriously), and enjoy pubs as much as "hip" bars...I will also be on a relatively tight budget. Love the Chicago music scene (as I remember it) w/ Jazz on post-jazz ( a la Tortoise etc) so music venues might be nice. As well as good, moderately-priced restaurants. Will be mobile either by the "L" or rental car.

    Thanks for the help...
     
  2. Dr. Zauis macrumors member

    Joined:
    Feb 29, 2004
    Location:
    St. Louis, MO
    #2
    Go to Navy Pier and check out the boats. I went there during Tall Ship weekend and almost 100 sailing ships came and went down the Chicago River. Also just take a walk through downtown. Its one of the best downtowns I've seen. Also go to the top Sears Tower or John Hancock Building to see a great view of the city.
     
  3. Neserk macrumors 6502a

    Neserk

    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2004
    #3
    *coughyoungincough*

    :D

    I've only been once and I barely remember it. It was a whirlwind weekend for a wedding. Sorry can't be more help.
     
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Joined:
    Jan 6, 2004
    #4
    well there certainly is a lot to do in chicago. it depends upon what you really want to do while you are there. do you want to take in the sights and unique things around, such as navy pier and the Michigan Ave Apple store, or do you want to go to the bars/clubs in chicago? and where in chicago will you be??

    i would recommend going downtown for a day, take the el and walk around, visit some of the stores ect if you want, if its a nice day it would be a great way to spend it.

    The Belmont & Clark area is a trendy area and has some of the most unique shops that you will ever find. The Alley is probably the most famous but if you want unique stores that you will not be able to find anywhere else there is your jackpot.

    if you are looking for clubs i kno Crowbar was just remodeled and there is Excalibur and a whole bunch of others downtown if dancing and partying is your thing

    if you just want some bars and stuff there are plenty of those, however might i recommend Howl at the Moon. It is very laid back and there are two pianos that are regularly played ect. Very interesting place.

    hope this helps you and let me know what you think of my ideas if you want more info on them just ask
     
  5. jsw Moderator emeritus

    jsw

    Joined:
    Mar 16, 2004
    Location:
    Andover, MA
    #5
    As you've been there before, surely you must know that you need to get deep-dish pizza. It's been a while since I've been downtown there, but my memory is that basically any place that starts with a 'G' has great deep-dish.

    Damn it, now I'm salivating. New England has nothing - nothing - that can compare to a good Chicago pizza. They put the sauce under the cheese here for god's sake! Don't they know that makes the cheese slide off? Infidels. All we have is Pizzeria Uno for "Chicago style". Yeah. Like going to Taco Bell when you crave authentic Mexican. Pizzeria Uno isn't horrible, but it's not like its namesake in Chicago.
     
  6. themadchemist macrumors 68030

    themadchemist

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2003
    Location:
    Chi Town
    #6
    If you like Indian food, get down to Devon. Great food at a pretty decent price, especially at lunch. If you like really spicy food, then I recommend this one small establishment, Andhra something, I can't think of the second word in the title, but the first is Andhra. There are also other restaurants that are more geared toward American spice limits. You could check out Woodlands or Viceroy, both of which are also excellent restaurants. I think Andhra and Viceroy have lunch buffets, but I'm not sure about Woodlands. There are a few other restaurants down there that are quite good, as well.

    I think the area is called "Little India," but it might be called "Indiatown." I don't remember.
     
  7. toaster_oven macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 7, 2003
    Location:
    not sure
    #7
    I'd hang out in Wicker Park... it's where all the hipsters were last year... maybe they've moved on...

    -TO
     
  8. stoid macrumors 601

    stoid

    Joined:
    Feb 17, 2002
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    So long, and thanks for all the fish!
  9. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #9
    hipsters have indeed moved on. check out the California/Division area (but know that this isn't the Michigan Ave / Navy Pier area, so keep yer guard up). smaller/hipster bands play at the Empty Bottle, Western Ave just north of Augusta.

    some pub stops: Beat Kitchen at Belmont/Hoyne (they've also got bands), Resi's on Irving Park just west of Damen (german place w/ food, PM me if you're going there and i'll see if i can swing by for a pint), Huttenbar in Lincoln Square ('nother german place, you'll hear german spoken on the street).

    good cheap eats: hipster place on California, around 1100 north, i forget the name (it's got 'Saucer' or 'Plate' in it, i think), Pot Belly's Sandwich Works (a small chain, but i like it, many locations). fave sandwich/smoothie place is Fresh Choice, i find the one on Wells, 1/2 block south of North Ave is the preferred one. snooty neighborhood, but the restaurant staffed w/ some hipster college gals.

    there's a restaurant attached to the Empty Bottle, called Bite. good stuff. also a Columbian restaurant on Milwaukee Ave, somewhere around Armitage, maybe someone else knows exactly where.

    the Wicker Park area was mentioned. you can see its core at Milwaukee/Damen/North Ave. head south on Milwaukee or Damen for more Wicker Park, head north for Bucktown. the neighborhoods are a celebration of what a hipster neighborhood looks like 10 years on -- when the gays and artists who started moving there in the late 80s can no longer afford to stay there...

    where does your friend live? i can probably help you out w/ some things local to him/her.
     
  10. rainman::|:| macrumors 603

    rainman::|:|

    Joined:
    Feb 2, 2002
    Location:
    iowa
    #10
    i'm headed to the windy myself next weekend to see madonna... so, thanks for starting this thread, there's a ton of great info in there. i won't have much time (an afternoon and most of an evening saturday) but there are a couple of suggestions i'm going to go see.

    :)
    paul
     
  11. gernb macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2002
    #11
    hope you have a great trip...chicago is a great american city.

    my suggestion for dinner is chicago pizza co. and oven grinder (usually just called the ovengrinder) at clark and armitage. decent bar and incredible food. we've waited up to 2 hours to get a table on the weekend...but we've never been disappointed.
     
  12. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #12
    Some of my favorite music venues:

    Green Dolphin Street (2220 N. Ashland - jazz/food, a bit upscale), HotHouse (somewhere on Balbo - jazz), The Green Mill (Lawrence/Broadway...my old, fastly gentrifying neighborhood - jazz, Sunday night poetry slam). The Empty Bottle, The Metro, or The Riveria usually has a decent hipster-ish show going on. If I had to pick, I would go The Green Mill or The Empty Bottle.

    Various Bars:

    Huttenbar in Lincoln Square is alright. Simon's or Hop Leaf up in Andersonville are cool. I'm not a bar gal, so that's about the extent of my knowledge in that area.

    Food:

    Greektown is pretty cool (been to Parthenon a few times). For asian, I like Penny's up north (950 W. Diversey) and Joy Yee's down in Chinatown (haven't been there in a while, though). Resa's (Andersonville) is good for middle eastern eats.
     
  13. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #13
    i'll second that. hop leaf has better beer, but simon's is more grumpy.

    i'm gonna have to disagree here. imo resa's went downhill 10 years ago. andy's, right next door (around 5400 n. clark) is a better bet, though they used to be better, too.

    for a yummy and cheap falafel sandwich, check out the Middle Eastern Bakery on foster, between clark and ashland (about 2 blocks from resa's and andy's).
     
  14. jywv8 macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jan 11, 2003
    Location:
    Chicago
    #14
    Ever been to Pita Inn out in Skokie? Now there's some good, cheap falafel!
     
  15. blackfox thread starter macrumors 65816

    blackfox

    Joined:
    Feb 18, 2003
    Location:
    PDX
    #15
    Do you (or anyone) know if the Parthenon has restaurants in a few cities? In downtown Madison, for example...there is/was one...just curious,

    If the same, I know of it...but I imagine Parthenon is a pretty common name too...

    To everyone who suggested pizza, thanks...I had forgotten that element.

    Also out of curiosity, what is the cost-of-living these days in Chicago? Employment opportunities? Kinda shopping around as Portland (which I love) has not been too kind to me job-wise...I have experience in various web-design(flash mostly)/dv film shooting/editing, some Graphic design and tons of service industry/restaurant mangement (hey, we all have to pay the bills...) . Thanks.
     
  16. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #16
    you know, i wonder if that was the place i went to in december '87. has it been around that long? i remember the company (i.e. friends) but i can't remember the food.

    i usually don't stray out of chicago for eats.
     
  17. frank5050 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Nov 11, 2003
    Location:
    way out west
    #17
    Whenever I'm back I never miss a breakfast at Wishbone (3 locations now?) and lunch at Bar Louie (River North and South Loop).

    I agree with jywv8 about Jazz at the Green Mill and variety of acts at the Empty Bottle. I also enjoyed a number of shows at the Double Door in Wicker Park. Was sad to see that Soul Kitchen right next door has closed.

    The Jazz Showcase on Grand and Andy's Jazz on Hubbard in the Near North area are excellent for more trad Jazz (not really hipster places though).

    Another favorite (but small) late night haunt is the Zebra lounge. Its on State Street, just north of the un-appealing scene on Division. Great dark piano bar.

    Enjoy your trip back!

    frank

    ps: does anyone remember Joanne Piano Bar at Clark & Chicago before it closed down in mid-90's?
     
  18. gwuMACaddict macrumors 68040

    gwuMACaddict

    Joined:
    Apr 21, 2003
    Location:
    washington dc
    #18
    gotta go swimming at city beach... or whatever its called...
     
  19. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #19
    For Jazz - skip the yuppie-infested, talkin over the music, high cover charge, expensive drinks, over-hyped Green Mill and go staright to the source - The Velvet Lounge: http://www.velvetlounge.net/ Be sure to pick up some killer ribs at the rib shck next door and bring them into the club with you. It's in the up-and-coming South loop neighborhood.
    Velvet Lounge
    2128 1/2 S. Indiana Avenue

    Make sure you go to the
    Hideout: http://www.hideoutchicago.com/
    1354 w Wabansia
    This hidden away bar is a true Chicago gem. Great small old man Wisconsin-stlye bar that was bought by a couple of younger folks. Front room - small cool bar - back room - great place to see shows. Many Bloodshot records artists (Kelly Hogan) and ex-Lounge Ax employees work and perform here. Ex-Wilco member Leroy Bach does improve music and film nights, Current Wilco member John Stirratt and his wife play shows here all the time. Billy Corgan used this place as a secret 2 month testing ground for Zwan (much to the chagrin of the regulars). Great no BS dance parties on Fridays and some Saturdays - people just come to act goofy and dance their asses off.

    Empty Bottle
    http://emptybottle.com/home.php
    1035 N. Western
    Home of the most diverse lineup in Chicago - jazz, rock, electro, hip-hop. This place is IT. Cheap covers, cheap drinks. Their Wednesday night Jazz series is amazing.

    Bottom Lounge
    http://www.bottomlounge.com/
    3206 N Wilton
    Great new-ish venue that features up-and-coming rock, avant and hip-hop acts. Kinda like the Empty Bottle Lineup only in Wrigleyville.

    Double Door and Metro
    http://www.doubledoor.com/ - 1572 N. Milwaukee Ave (wicker park)
    http://www.metrochicago.com/ - 3730 N. Clark (wrigleyville)

    Two Chicago staples owned by the same folks. Double Door is bigger than empty bottle, smaller than metro and gets soldi up-and-coming acts. Metro is the Big Kahuna for music in Chicago - you name it - they've played here.

    If you're into vinyl - records that is - check out Dusty Groove - on the edge of the Wicker Park area. The best record selection in Chicago - maybe the world. Oh yeah - they also sell CDs.
    http://dustygroove.com/
    120 N Ashland Ave (Corner of Haddon Street, 1 Block South of Division)

    Chicago is home to over 9000 restaurants - too many great ones to list but...

    Breakfast - wicker park - Bongo Room - best breakfast you'll ever have - get there EARLY or be prepared to wait
    1470 N Milwaukee Ave - (773) 489-0710

    Lunch - hangin outside patio style with hipsters in Wicker Park - Pontiac Cafe. 1531 N Damen Ave - not superb food - just good bar stuff - nice to sit outside, have a few cocktails and people watch.

    Dinner - so many good places. if you're in Wicker Park check out:
    Cafe Absinthe - 1954 W. North Ave - 773-278-4488 Kinda pricey but well worth it - this is where Chicago's chefs go to eat - new menu nightly.

    Mod - 1520 N Damen Ave (773) 252-1500 - Right across the street from Pontaic. This place is Jetsons-style meets great food and killer fruit-infused martinis. Make reservatiosn early or just go for some dessert and drinks in their bar area.

    Too many restaurants to list - if you want more suggestions for different types of food (Thai, Indian, Ethiopian, Italian, etc.) please PM me.

    Galleries: in Wicker Park be sure to check out "Buddy" gallery
    Buddy - 1542 N. Milwaukee 2nd Fl. 773-342-7332. Also connected to the "Heaven' gallery.
    http://www.lumpen.com/buddy/yes.html
    http://www.heavengallery.com/

    This place is run by my friend Edmar who has published his amazing political magazine "Lumpen" for over 10 years.

    As metromix.com says..." A collective artist-run space where something different is always happening. This venue is a fresh addition to the area and breathes constant creativity in what is quickly becoming a run-of-the-mill part of town. Buddy is a rare home to the frontrunners in Chicago's digital arts scene -- artists whom still have too few places to perform or even gather.

    You may expect to see cutting edge multimedia performance art-- like live video mixing collaborations of Vjs and Djs-- people making music with laptops (yes they are tools for artists too!) or possibly a gathering for some old fashioned community organizing.

    The folks behind Lumpen Magazine are involved (yes, Edmar is everywhere) and Buddy is designed to encourage many kinds of experimental music, performances, festivals, and exhibitions. Someday, we may even see regular VJ mixing sessions here. During special events, it is connected via secret passageways to the Heaven Gallery.

    Their stated goal is "to foster a habitat and cultural space for emerging accidents, radical culture and intentional community organising."

    The Museum of Contemporary Art downtown is usually pretty good. The Museum of Surgical Science is weird and oddly entertaining.

    I have to get back to work now - I'll post more as it comes to me.

    have a look at http://www.chicagoreader.com/ for music/play/gallery lisings and restaurant reviews. Also look at
    http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/
     
  20. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #20
    :)

    lots o' good info

    i recently stumbled upon several galleries at 118 n. peoria. all 3 i wandered into had good stuff, though i picked up a card only for AronPacker Gallery, when they had this show and this show up.
     
  21. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #21
    Yeah - The Aron Packer Gallery always has some interesting shows going on.

    Intuit Gallery always has some pretty interesting "outsider" art.

    http://outsider.art.org/
    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
    756 N. Milwaukee Avenue

    Right down the street from another of my fave bars - Chicago's smallest bar - literally a row of stools and a couple of feet to the window. Patio seating outside. The BEST Margaritas, Martinis and Manhatans in the city - served with style.
     
  22. zimv20 macrumors 601

    zimv20

    Joined:
    Jul 18, 2002
    Location:
    toronto
    #22
    the matchbox, yes?
     
  23. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #23
    oops - I thought I put the name and address on my last post. it is the Matchbox - 770 N. Milwaukee Ave (312) 666-9292 - gotta love a phone number with "666" in it.
     
  24. Toeknee macrumors regular

    Toeknee

    Joined:
    Sep 24, 2003
    Location:
    San Antonio, Texas
    #24
    Check out the HUGE Apple Store on Michigan Ave.
     
  25. aricher macrumors 68020

    aricher

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2004
    Location:
    Chi-il
    #25
    Oh yeah - if you feel the need to go to the top of the Sears Tower or John Hancock building do this - The John Hancock building is just down the street from the Apple store on Michigan ave. Instead of paying $$ to go to the observation deck take the elevators that go to "The Signature Lounge." This is a bar on the 95/6th floor of the Hancock. For the price of the observation deck trip you can have 1-2 cocktails at the top and sit in a nice lounge overlooking the whole tri-state area. Dress is totally casual - the restaurant on the 95th is swanky but the Sig lounge caters to out-of-towners - jeans/shorts, etc. are acceptable.
     

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