"Vacation" to Chicago

Discussion in 'Community' started by sgarringer, Dec 14, 2004.

  1. sgarringer macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2004
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    OK so the last week of December, I'm taking the girlfriend down to Chicago. Last time we went, we managed to drive by the Apple store downtown, but she wouldn't let me stop. Over the months, I've convinced her its not a geeky store, but a hip place, so she agreed to let me stop this time.

    My question is, I assume that there is some sort of mass transit that can take me there, but how? Last time we were there I saw the elevated train, that run anywhere near there?

    Also, where should we stay. We don't want to drive around at all, if possible. Mass transit nearby is nice (I'm from Iowa, I know its gonna be cold to walk around).

    In addition, I would like to know where else to visit. I'm alredy taking a week (unpaid) off of work for this trip, so anywhere that is cheap would be a major plus.

    Please let me know!

  2. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    The Chicago Transit Authority has a nice website, and allows you to enter your start and end points and it will give you potential transportation options (bus/train).

    If you're staying downtown, Union Station offers Metra train service to various suburbs, but I don't know if you'll get too much going there. There's enough downtown, in terms of museums, the planetarium, Lincoln Park Zoo, etc., to keep you busy.

    I wish I had some recommendations for cheap hotels, but I don't stay downtown very often. You might want to try priceline.com or similar to locate decent deals. Keep in mind that if you are here for New Years, things will be pricey.
  3. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2002
    Hotel Intercontinental has cheap weekend rates a lot of times.

    Some cheap things to do....

    Lincoln Park Zoo (free)
    Art Institute (technically free, but they do like you to make a donation if you can)
    Field Museum of Natural History (one free day per week)
    Museum of Science and Industry (one free day per week)
    Navy Pier (people watching is free and it's still pretty busy in Dec)
  4. jxyama macrumors 68040


    Apr 3, 2003
    i'd stay downtown, near michigan ave. most of the attractions are there. (including the apple store.) hotel prices aren't cheap, but you'll save in time and gas/parking compared to staying in suburb and driving in every day. (are you driving to chicago? or are you flying?)

    visit rush street (two blocks west of michigan ave for downtown) and have some chicago style pizza and hot dogs... other than that, museums, etc. listed in the prev. post is a good start.

    bring warm clothes.

    enjoy. :)
  5. obeygiant macrumors 68040


    Jan 14, 2002
    totally cool
    stay at the Sheraton or the Whitehall, and get breakfast delivered to your room. Plus, be sure to eat at Mon Ami Gabi, excellent food great atmosphere.

  6. RugoseCone macrumors 6502

    Aug 22, 2002
    Mon Ami Gabi is a tasty place and you can actually get a pretty decent crepe there. However it is kind of pricey by some standards. I think average meal is in the $12 - 16 range per person. Just want to warn sgarringer before he goes. Good suggestion though.

    If you want a fun, lively place (in the same price range), but usually enough to make two meals out of it, look for Cafe Luciano on Rush (a N/S street). It's just north of Pearson St (an E/W street) so head west from the Border's Books on Michigan across from the Water Tower. I always walk out of there with leftovers and even on a Saturday night I've never waited more than 20 minutes for a table. If you go, the Country Style Rigatoni is a must!

    I stayed at the Sheraton once several years ago. $150 a night. I think I was on the 12th floor or so overlooking the river. It snowed the first night. It was really beautiful.
  7. mlw1235 macrumors 6502

    Jul 16, 2004
    Milwaukee, WI
    Don't forget to look into the Shedd Aquarium and the Planetarium (i think its Adler) if that kind of stuff is something you may want to do.

    also, Sears Tower is pretty cool, I guess.

    You may want to look into this Citypass if you are going to visit more than a couple of those places. Save some of that money to buy something extra in the Apple Store :D :D
  8. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    If you really want to do Chicago the right way, stay at the W downtown (not the W Lakeshore), or stay at the new Hard Rock hotel. Both are very hip, very cool, and right in the middle of everything.

    ...worth a little extra money, IMHO.

    Oh...and eat at West Town Tavern. Reasonably priced food (by Chicago standards) and the food is AMAZING. One of the absolute best restaurants in the city for the money. You'll spend around $60 for two with wine. I'd also check out Avec on Randolph (actually, almost anything on Randolph west of the expressway). Avec is tapas, so you can spend as little or as much as you want. It's a very cool atmosphere, and, again, the food is wonderful. Everyone sits at one long table, so you get to meet everyone sitting around you. Sometimes you get invited to try their food, and they try yours (remember, it's tapas, so you're not eating off someone elses plate...it's really fun).

    Word of advice...don't eat at any restaurant near michigan ave. they all suck (except for Tru, but you'll drop about $300 for two). If you do, go to Bandera across from Virgin Megastore. It's pretty good, and cheap. Also, if you're looking for a "cool" place to hang out some evening, I highly recommend Sonotheque in East Village or Danny's in Bucktown. The neighborhoods are what make Chicago a fun place to be in the evenings, not downtown (IMO).

    Have fun...it's a great city.
  9. rainman::|:| macrumors 603


    Feb 2, 2002
    Well, I'm not good with hotel recommendations, I did stay at the Wyndham the last time i stayed downtown (got the room pretty cheap, but i had an expert with me). I usually stay at the Marriott Suites in Glen Elyn, and just drive in... money goes a lot farther in the 'burbs. If you don't stay downtown, there is a parking ramp directly below Michigan Ave, entrances are just a few blocks south of the Apple store. That's my favorite place to park, because you can walk the whole strip all day and not pay too much in rates (i think it was like $20 for a day or something). Cheaper than most of the above-ground ramps in the area. Take your girlfriend to H&M, Saks, etc, they're all within a few blocks of the Apple store.

    Much as I can understand your not wanting to walk around a lot, the Magnificent Mile was made for walking... so many shops crammed so close together, you barely have to be outdoors at all... but then I like to shop way too much :)

    Anyway have fun, it's a great city. And a fantastic Apple store! I just bought an iMac there a couple of weeks ago :D

  10. e-coli macrumors 68000


    Jul 27, 2002
    Take the Red Line train (underground) and get off at Chicago Ave. Then walk East. It'll put you right on Michigan Ave.

    Mass transit is everywhere (and there's always cabs). It's hard to get lost and impossible to get stranded.

    And, as a long-time Chicagoan, Don't go to Navy Pier. It totally blows (there is NOTHING there...esp. in the winter), and this time of year, with the wind whipping off the lake, your snot will freeze before it gets out of your nose. You'll thank me for telling you this.

  11. sgarringer thread starter macrumors regular

    Jul 15, 2004
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Thanks for the advice everyone, I'm going to check a couple things out and if you dont mind perhaps post a couple of things here so you can let me know if the hotel totally blows or what.

    Also, I think I may have been misunderstood. I have nothing against walking, its just driving that I'd prefer not to do. My gf doesn't drive in large cities, and I feel the driver always misses out on the majority of the sights.

    Thanks again, I'll check priceline tomorrow at work and see what we can find in terms of deals downtown. My sister and her bf decided to come, so since most everything (except maybe my new iMac if Santa brings me a lot of $$ this Christmas) will basically be split in 1/4ths, I dont think a little extra to stay downtown would be hard to swing at all.
  12. ibrainch macrumors regular

    Oct 2, 2002
    Chicago, IL
    Chicago recommendations

    I think you are pretty safe staying in most hotels that are in the areas between Rush St (West), Oak St (North), the lake (East) and the river (South). The Millenium Knickerbocker hotel usually has cheap rates on Expedia or something (older hotel, but I'm assuming you won't spend too much time in hotel anyway). I know the Sheraton on the river usually has rooms for $99/night as well - you pretty much should expect to pay $100/night minimum for decent hotel downtown. If you want slightly more trendy experience, I would recommend W Lakeshore (contrary to earlier post, W City Center will be out of the way and is more in the business district) or House of Blues Hotel. But anyway, if you are here for a week, you'll have plenty of time to check out all the sights - I would definitely 1) have a drink at Signature Lounge at top of Hancock building - touristy, but I always enjoy it and I only live a couple of blocks from there. 2) stop by McCormick's & Schmicks for happy hour (between 3 and 6pm) for $1.95 appetizers (located on Rush St.) and after that swing by Bentley dealership next door just for fun, 3) West Town Tavern was good recommendation for great restaurant at reasonable prices, 4) if staying downtown, O'Tooles is a great neighborhood sports bar for low key food/drinks, 5) Giordanno's pizza is kind of Chicago staple (also on Rush), 6) might as well wander around Rush/Division St at night - I don't go there often, but can be fun if you are from out of town, 7) do all the museums on Tuesday as they are free admission, 8) check out other neighborhoods - Lincoln Park, Bucktown, Lakeview, Wrigleyville - hotel concierge should have decent recommendations - really too many places to mention. And, of course, hit the Apple store...
  13. bartelby macrumors Core


    Jun 16, 2004
    Last time I was in Chicago I stayed in the House Of Blues, best hotel I've ever been in.
    Nice and subtle!! ;)

    I liked the Shedd Aquarium, except for the small tanks with big fish in.
    The tank with the sea turtle (or whatever it is) that's just big enough for the turtle to move up and down was a tad depressing.
  14. oldschool macrumors 65816


    Sep 30, 2003
    get a new girlfriend. one that doesn't make you ask for permission to stop at an apple store.
  15. justinshiding macrumors member

    May 7, 2004
    Chicago, IL
  16. emw macrumors G4


    Aug 2, 2004
    Just saw that Navy Pier is having a Winter Wonderfest through Jan 2. Indoor ice skating, etc. You might want to check that out as well:


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