Post # 1
I’ve never been to Chicago before and am going in October for a work conference. I am heading up a day early to get a little sightseeing in and would love recommendations.
so far, all I’ve done is book a tour with Weird Chicago to go to places discussed in Devil in the White City. And I have booked my hotel, which is near the Magnificent Mile. With work, we’re doing a cruise, where I’ll get to see the skyline lit up at night (although I might get that view from my hotel!).
So, my question is, if you could recommend 3 things that I have do in the 24 hours I have to see Chicago on my own, would would they be?
Post # 3
Hancock Tour. Better views than the Sears Tower because it’s closer to the water.
If you’re a deep dish person, definitely try Giordano’s. I’m actually not a deep dish person (I’m a native NY’er, shhhh), but of all of them I’ve tried, Giordano’s was up top, and they have locations downtown.
Shopping! If you want to go shopping, hit up the Mag Mile. Start at Michigan/Illinois and hit up Nordstrom. Then head North and you’ll find any store you could possibly want. End at Water Tower Place and 900 N. Michigan malls.
If you’re up for another tour, an architectural tour on the Chicago River is awesome if you’re into Devil in the White City stuff. It’s about an hour during the day, and the tour guides are really good.
Post # 4
1. the architectural foundation boat tour on the chicago river. i know you’re doing a cruise, but this is the best tour ever! the docents really know their stuff so you’ll get loads of info!
2. the art institute — lots to see and there is an awesome new modern wing
3. millenium park – it’s chicago, so it could be winter or summer in october (very low chance of it being fall…lol). whatever the case, take a stroll. some of its more prominent parts are: the Frank Gehry-designed Jay Pritzker Pavilion, a sophisticated outdoor concert venue; the interactive Crown Fountain by Jaume Plensa; the contemporary Lurie Garden designed by the team of Kathryn Gustafson, Piet Oudolf and Robert Israel; and Anish Kapoor’s hugely popular Cloud Gate sculpture on the AT&T Plaza.
if you still have time, go to the signature room on the 95th floor at the john hancock and have a cocktail….you’ll get a great view while you’re at it.
enjoy your trip! chicago’s an awesome city!
let me know if you’d like more info!
Post # 5
If you only do three things in Chicago, I recommend:
1. Do the architectural boat tour. My husband really wanted to do one and I thought it would be boring. It turned out to be really cool.
2. Eat some deep-dish pizza. The Original Pizzeria Uno is my favorite, but Gino’s East is great, too.
3. Check out the Sears Tower and the Hancock Building. They have a really cool brunch at the top of the Hancock.
Post # 6
Thanks guys! If 3 people are recommending the architectural tour, I guess I need to check it out!
I also recently read the book Loving Frank, about Frank Lloyd Wright’s affair with Mameh Borthwick at the beginning of his career. So, I am also hoping to check out Frank Lloyd Wright’s home and studio and the Robie House. Would you all recommend this?
It also looks like Millenium Park will have up a bunch of pavilions for the Burnham Centennial.
My tour day is starting to look like an architecture/literary tour and I am digging that!
Any other suggestions? I’ll actually have a day and a half to myself, so I have a little time to play with.
Post # 7
I’ll second (or sixth) the architecture tour. Totally worth it.
The Acquarium…love it! Cubs games are really cool, but if they’re in the playoffs you probably won’t be able to find tickets. Shopping is a must. The food is outstanding. Navy Pier is overrated.
Post # 8
definitely do the FLW tour if you have a chance…keep in mind his home & studio is in Oak Park (10 miles west of downtown) and robie house is in Hyde Park (10 miles south of downtown). while both are accessible via public transportation…..it could take some time getting back and forth. even if you’re driving, traffic could be a nightmare.
as for the boat tour, i’ve done them with 3 different companies. i found the best one to be the architectural foundation’s tour.
if you do millenium park, the architecture tour and FLW…..those should keep you pretty busy. you could also do a walking tour maybe. or if you have a book in hand, just walk around downtown. there’s lots to see and do.
enjoy your time here!
Post # 9
1. I would definitely go to the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the Hancock Building – even the bathroom is awesome – you’ll see what I mean! This is way better than doing the $15 “tour” of the 94th floor Observatory. Drinks in the lounge are pricey but so worth it to pay $8-$10 for a glass of wine and sit for a couple hours. Best time to go is an hour before sunset. You’ll see beautiful views of the lake and be there late enough to see the lights of the city come on – magical! Go elsewhere for dinner – the food in the Signature Room (95th floor) is so-so IMO.
2. Mag. Mile shopping is great but for a nearby complete change of scenery go on Oak Street (walking distance from Water Tower) to see some fun boutique stores and to Lincoln Park (cab ride) for a great mix of beautiful row houses, shops and quaint restaurants. Our favorite is Geja’s Cafe on Armitage St. – great fondue! The Lincoln Park Zoo is also a favorite – I like it much better than Brookfield Zoo which is quite a distance from downtowm.
3. Here is a link to an article from USA Today with some Chicago tourist ideas to consider: http://www.usatoday.com/travel/destinations/cityguides/chicago/2008-01-29-10-tourist-tips_N.htm
Post # 10
Ladybuglove – the info about FLW is good to know. Maybe I can plan to go to one house on Friday while I’m rambling around on my many tours and hit up the other one on Saturday morning. If I could do only one of the houses, which would you recommend?
I will definitely top my night off with a drink at the Signature Lounge either on Friday night or Saturday night when I meet up with my co-workers. I think that all sounds great!
Surgie – I love boutique stores and quaint restaurants. Mag. Mile doesn’t seem that appealing to me . . . I’ve lived in NY and been to Las Vegas and a few other big cities with shopping areas, once you’ve seen a nice high end store, you’ve seen them all . . . Oak Street and Lincoln Park sound a little more up my alley. And thanks for the food recommendation. Mmm . . . fondue!
This is all great information guys, thanks!!!
Post # 11
@ladygoodman: i would do the home & studio in oak park. once there, i would do the guided interior and walking exterior tour. this may take 2-4 hours (depends on you). although it’s only 10 miles away, be sure to cushion in 1-3 hours for the roundtrip it will take you to get from downtown to oak park (whether its via public transport or car).
if you do end up going to hyde park, also cushion in 1-3 hours for rountrip transport.
here’s the link for FLW: http://www.wrightplus.org/programs/details/home-studio-daily-tours.html#combination
lincoln park is a great place for boutique shopping. so is wicker park/bucktown (just west of downtown). it has more of the new york vibe that you have experience with. i know, i know….i just added to your choices. i can’t help it….chicago’s just that awesome!
let me know if you have more questions!
Post # 12
oh, yeah. one of my favorite restaurants is le colonial…in the gold coast (near mag mile and oak street shopping). everything is so yummy and delish! and the service is A+++! it’s french-vietnamese cuisine. great atmosphere, food and service….you can’t beat that!
Post # 13
@ladybuglove I agree le colonial is excellent!
Shopping in Lincoln Park and Wicker Park/Bucktown (my former neighborhood) is so fun!
Post # 14
and, another thing…since you are coming in october…watch out for the extra foot traffic if you’re coming the weekend of the 11th. the marathon’s on the 11th and there’s going to be lots more extra people here.
Post # 15
1. Okay…..SKIP GIORDANO’S….check out Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder on Clark Street in Lincoln Park. Easy bus ride from the Mag Mile. It is near the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre and has the best sicilian pizza pot pie EVER!! Make sure you bring cash.
2. Wrigley Field. I am not a baseball fan (Go Red Wings), but seriously this place is legendary. Hell, Babe Ruth played there.
3. Macy’s/Marshall Fields on State Street. It’s the original store and holds so much of Chicago history. Make sure to grab some Frango mints 🙂
oh….and the Signature Lounge is okay. There are much better options for rooftop viewing and drinks. C-View at the Affina, Vertigo at the Dana Hotel, Roof at the Wit Hotel, or The Terrace at the Trump International Hotel.
Post # 16
truth be told, I’m not the biggest fan of Navy Pier because it is really touristy, but after being proposed to there, I can’t help but love it. You HAVE to ride on the Ferris Wheel, just to say you’ve been there!
I also suggest the art institute (and take your picture in front of the big lions!
The John Hancock building!
I also love sitting by the Buckingham fountain at night.