Advice about a stop in Chicago

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GerryL
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Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GerryL »

I will be going to Chicago in August to attend a conference at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Trying to keep costs down so I have reserved a room at the Days Inn on Diversey Parkway just north of Lincoln Park. I'll get a free breakfast and will be able to walk (about a mile) to the conference venue. (And I'll get Wyndham Rewards points.)

Does anybody know that part of town? I don't expect to be out much at night -- well, except for the 1st evening ice breaker, but it may still be light at 8PM. Is walking to and from the Zoo well considered? Any other spots in the area I might want to explore on foot on my first full day, since the conference starts around 6PM? I'll also need to find dinner on my own.
Erwin007
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Erwin007 »

Lou Malnati's. Splurge the $.75 for the butter crust.

You can thank me later. :D
tedclu
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by tedclu »

Erwin007 wrote:Lou Malnati's. Splurge the $.75 for the butter crust.

You can thank me later. :D

+1
Malnati's salad and sausage with butter crust.
jane1
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by jane1 »

Lincoln Park conservatory, Chicago History Museum are both not far from the zoo and worthwhile.
Walk around the harbor or near Lake Michigan (take the lakefront trail).

Depending on how much time you have, the weather that day and how much of a walker you are, it is nice to walk along the lake all the way to north beach, navy pier, millinieum park, downtown, magnificent mile area, etc. and enjoy the city museums and attractions.
Trails along the lakefront are popular with joggers, runners, bikers and the park bordering the lake on summer weekends is full of picnickers.
You can take the CTA (bus or El) or Uber for one-way or both ways if you don't want to walk.
Check out the Chicago Air and Water Show if it coincides with your visit.
Globalviewer58
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Globalviewer58 »

I second jane1 suggestion to visit Chicago Historical Museum and would go directly up to the 2nd floor exhibits that focus on Chicago. This museum is an overlooked gem in that area.
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F150HD
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by F150HD »

Erwin007 wrote:Lou Malnati's. Splurge the $.75 for the butter crust.

You can thank me later. :D
or, GIno's East and do curls beforehand so you have the strength to lift a slice :D
Long is the way and hard, that out of Hell leads up to light.
Spedward
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Spedward »

I lived about 1 block from that hotel for 5 years so I know it well!!

It is a great area of town. Wrigglyville, where the Cubs play, is about 3/4 of a mile north and the brown line is 6 blocks to the west which will take you anywhere you could want to go in the city. There is a burger joint right there (perhaps a half block west) that is great. Kuma's Corner.

Skip the big name Chicago pizza joints and just go to pequods. Best deep dish hands down.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by ChiefIlliniwek »

Spedward wrote:I lived about 1 block from that hotel for 5 years so I know it well!!

It is a great area of town. Wrigglyville, where the Cubs play, is about 3/4 of a mile north and the brown line is 6 blocks to the west which will take you anywhere you could want to go in the city. There is a burger joint right there (perhaps a half block west) that is great. Kuma's Corner.

Skip the big name Chicago pizza joints and just go to pequods. Best deep dish hands down.
I also lived in Chicago for a long time and go back 4-6 times a year and second Kuma's. The place is awesome. It is actually called Kuma's Too. Kuma's Corner is on Belmont. Duffy's is a good place to go if you just want some good bar food and is right down the street. If you want Chicago style hotdogs walk south a bit on Clark to Wieners Circle. You are in a great area that is safe so just walk out and explore.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by flyingbison »

Spedward wrote:

Skip the big name Chicago pizza joints and just go to pequods. Best deep dish hands down.
Couldn't agree more. :beer
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blueblock
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by blueblock »

I'd feel perfectly safe walking through the park to the zoo from your location. It's a busy neighborhood. There will be tons of people out and about. You might like to try Chicago's Divvy bike-sharing service; you can rent in one location and drop off at another. The little parking stations are all over the place.

I recommend a visit to the nearby Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Its claim to fame is the Butterfly Haven, a large walk-in jungle space with hundreds of gorgeous live butterflies (40 different species). It's really cool. http://www.naturemuseum.org/
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by mister_sparkle »

That area is very safe, for the most part, but there have been tons of muggings in that general area / a little north taking place later in the evening, especially after bars close at 2am. Belmont and Sheffield is ground zero for the occasional mayhem late at night, just a word of caution.

I second Pequod's Pizza as well as Kuma's II.

Wrigley Field is undergoing a massive reconstruction project, but if you're a fan of baseball even the mess that's there now is worth looking at.

:sharebeer
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GerryL
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GerryL »

Thanks for all the great tips. I'm lapping it up.

Pizza and hot dogs seem to be major food groups. Glad to know my hotel is not in a sketchy area. I previously stayed about a mile to the south of Lincoln Park and never roamed to the north of the Zoo. I will look forward to walking along Lake Michigan and I'll check out at least one of the sights so far recommended. Still have plenty of time -- and 2 other trips -- to be planning my time. Probably should read up on the conference presenters, too, I guess.
simmias
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by simmias »

Catch the brown line at Diversey, take it north to Belmont, red line to Howard, purple line to Davis, go to Buffalo Joe's. Bring cash.
mak1277
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by mak1277 »

GerryL wrote:Thanks for all the great tips. I'm lapping it up.

Pizza and hot dogs seem to be major food groups.
Just make sure you don't order ketchup on your dog.
bigirish
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by bigirish »

Whenever I'm in Chicago I make sure to get a pizza pot pie from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. They are fantastic! Not too far from the zoo. Enjoy your trip! :beer
mlipps
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by mlipps »

simmias wrote:Catch the brown line at Diversey, take it north to Belmont, red line to Howard, purple line to Davis, go to Buffalo Joe's. Bring cash.
Don't waste three hours on the train to go to Buffalo Joe's.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by dubsem »

From my experience, Uber is cheap(er) in Chicago in case you're in a bind.
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patrick013
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by patrick013 »

bigirish wrote:Whenever I'm in Chicago I make sure to get a pizza pot pie from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. They are fantastic! Not too far from the zoo. Enjoy your trip! :beer
Right around the corner from Oven Grinder's and facing the zoo is R.J. Grunt's.
Has the best salad bar, dozens and dozens of salad bar items, potato cheddar
soup, and not too pricey. Other regular dinner items and sandwiches too.

+1 for Duffy's on Diversey also, good hamburgers and fries. Other dinner
items also. Such a close walk.

You can walk the zoo, but anyplace off the main street at night has been a little
robbery prone.
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t3chiman
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by t3chiman »

bigirish wrote:Whenever I'm in Chicago I make sure to get a pizza pot pie from Chicago Pizza and Oven Grinder Company. They are fantastic! Not too far from the zoo.
I can second the POG rec. It's unique among pizza places. You have to love cheese. And it's cash only.

A couple of blocks North of the zoo, but at the opposite end of the food spectrum, is North Pond. It's in a very pretty location, and for a Michelin starred place, it's unpretentious. Get a small group together, and splurge.
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Cottons
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Cottons »

simmias wrote:Catch the brown line at Diversey, take it north to Belmont, red line to Howard, purple line to Davis, go to Buffalo Joe's. Bring cash.
That is a stupid long trip for Buffalo Joe's. Don't get me wrong the wings are good, but not that good.


I second (or third?) the suggestion for Kumas Too on Diversey. Get the plague bringer, and arrive hungry.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by tennisplyr »

Erwin007 wrote:Lou Malnati's. Splurge the $.75 for the butter crust.

You can thank me later. :D
+1, if you're really hungry get a salad. Maybe take in a Cubs game at Wrigley
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aude
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by aude »

Cottons wrote:
simmias wrote:Catch the brown line at Diversey, take it north to Belmont, red line to Howard, purple line to Davis, go to Buffalo Joe's. Bring cash.
That is a stupid long trip for Buffalo Joe's. Don't get me wrong the wings are good, but not that good.


I second (or third?) the suggestion for Kumas Too on Diversey. Get the plague bringer, and arrive hungry.
Agreed 100%. Must have been the owner!
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Carson »

patrick013 wrote: You can walk the zoo, but anyplace off the main street at night has been a little robbery prone.
I agree, and I think that's just city sensibility. At night, you can walk up clark street (it's well travelled) and be comfortably cautious. I wouldn't walk north through the zoo/park at nighttime, just personal preference.

Some great tips in this thread, Kuma's can be a wait (eg, avoid a weekend) but it is good.
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WallyBird
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by WallyBird »

The area is very nice, and generally avoided by out of town tourists. Use your usual American big city caution and you should be fine.

I must dissent re Chicago Pizza (sic) and Oven Grinder. Long wait for a bowl of red sauce with cheese and crust on top that is almost completely unlike pizza. My nearby favorite is Bricks pizza on Clark for thin crust, and I'll join the chorus in declaring my love for Lou Malnati's deep dish.

Wieners Circle is a nearby dog joint that's famous -- make that notorious -- for sassy staff. The dogs and fries are pretty good, but I wouldn't recommend going late at night without doing further internet research on the topic.
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Detroittl
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Detroittl »

+1 peqouds. Take an uber it will run you about 8 dollars.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Detroittl »

All areas mentioned are safe. Just big city normal cautions. IE don't talk on your phone with headphones on staring at the ground and you will be fine. Probably fine if you did that anyway ;)
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GO-UK »

Eat breakfast at Yolk on Diversey, close to your hotel. Great food of any type you can imagine for breakfast.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by AJTrenkle »

......
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by mbk734 »

If you like Mexican, have a margarita lunch at Frontera Grill followed by an afternoon on the beach. Rent a bike or take Uber for transportation. The aquarium is nice if you're into aquatic life.
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patrick013
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by patrick013 »

OK, here's one more.

North Avenue beach has a "boathouse" which is open all
day in August. I forget what they call it. Right in the middle
of the beach. The restaurant/bar is on the 2nd floor so the
view across the lake is premium. Prices not too bad.
Pretty good variety of sandwiches,appetizers, etc.. All
outdoors second floor seating. Might even see a waterspout,
can't see all the way to Michigan tho. Castaways ? might be
the name. Otherwise, the W Hotel has the best lake view IMO
from their top floor lounge/restaurant.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by mak1277 »

AJTrenkle wrote: -See a White Sox game (not the Cubs)
I have to completely disagree with this. Unless you are a White Sox fan, there is no choice but to go see a game at Wrigley. It is one of only two stadiums in major league baseball that are "must sees" (Fenway Park being the other one). If you are a baseball fan you have to see a game at Wrigley.

Is it true that many of the fans are at the game to drink in the bleachers instead of watching the game? Yes. But the park is beautiful and it's a must-see.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Carson »

not sure when in August you are going. FYI the air and water show is aug 20 - 21 and generally from the loop north to Montrose the lakefront will be absolutely mobbed. Surface streets will be congested. Walking shouldn't be too terrible.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GerryL »

Carson wrote:not sure when in August you are going. FYI the air and water show is aug 20 - 21 and generally from the loop north to Montrose the lakefront will be absolutely mobbed. Surface streets will be congested. Walking shouldn't be too terrible.
Next week is exactly when I will be going. The air and water show hits right during my conference. But I have re-confirmed my hotel reservations and won't have a car, so I will just go with the flow. Besides, I'll be at the Zoo most of the time.

I am reviewing all the tips that Bogleheads provided (thanks) and am studying up on how to ride CTA to and from O'Hare.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by gkaplan »

It's not on the near north side, but I would recommend seeing Buckingham Fountain.

https://www.google.com/search?q=bucking ... 20&bih=872


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckingham_Fountain
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by F150HD »

GerryL wrote:I will be going to Chicago in August to attend a conference at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Trying to keep costs down so I have reserved a room at the Days Inn on Diversey Parkway just north of Lincoln Park. I'll get a free breakfast and will be able to walk (about a mile) to the conference venue. (And I'll get Wyndham Rewards points.)

Does anybody know that part of town? I don't expect to be out much at night -- well, except for the 1st evening ice breaker, but it may still be light at 8PM. Is walking to and from the Zoo well considered? Any other spots in the area I might want to explore on foot on my first full day, since the conference starts around 6PM? I'll also need to find dinner on my own.
+1 on Ginos pizza....Giordanos is excellent, but Ginos deep dish, ridiculously good. Ginos East.

Surprised no one has mentioned any blues clubs. Many to pick from....Rosas among others.

Download the Uber app for your smartphone, super easy to use, set it up before you need it.

Too much to do there....
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Carson »

GerryL wrote: I am reviewing all the tips that Bogleheads provided (thanks) and am studying up on how to ride CTA to and from O'Hare.
It's fairly straightforward, but depending on what gate you come into, it's a decent walk. Look for signs that say 'ground transportation' and then 'trains to city'. You will have to do an escalator or two.

Buy a Ventra card at the kiosk - it's $5 to leave from O'hare. There will be multiple platforms, but it is all the Blue Line, get on whichever one is moving next. I have found Google Maps to give very accurate directions via chicago public transit options.

Enjoy your stay!
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GerryL »

Carson wrote:
GerryL wrote: I am reviewing all the tips that Bogleheads provided (thanks) and am studying up on how to ride CTA to and from O'Hare.
It's fairly straightforward, but depending on what gate you come into, it's a decent walk. Look for signs that say 'ground transportation' and then 'trains to city'. You will have to do an escalator or two.

Buy a Ventra card at the kiosk - it's $5 to leave from O'hare. There will be multiple platforms, but it is all the Blue Line, get on whichever one is moving next. I have found Google Maps to give very accurate directions via chicago public transit options.

Enjoy your stay!
Thanks.
I spent some time yesterday researching the CTA details. So confusing the way it's written on multiple websites. Have printed out my routes and a map. Have determined that I can buy two $5 Ventra 1-time use tickets at the airport, one to get into town and one to return to the airport at the end of the trip. I think I am calm now. (I also checked to make sure that the hotel reservation I made in January was not lost.)
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by BUBear29 »

Go to Wiener Circle and ask for a chocolate shake. Thank me later

Pequod's is a local favorite but I found it underwhelming. I prefer Lou Malnati's butter crust. Go to Girl and the Goat for brunch.

I really enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry which has a German U505 in the lower level. Really fascinating.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by BUBear29 »

mj13f150 wrote:
GerryL wrote:I will be going to Chicago in August to attend a conference at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Trying to keep costs down so I have reserved a room at the Days Inn on Diversey Parkway just north of Lincoln Park. I'll get a free breakfast and will be able to walk (about a mile) to the conference venue. (And I'll get Wyndham Rewards points.)

Does anybody know that part of town? I don't expect to be out much at night -- well, except for the 1st evening ice breaker, but it may still be light at 8PM. Is walking to and from the Zoo well considered? Any other spots in the area I might want to explore on foot on my first full day, since the conference starts around 6PM? I'll also need to find dinner on my own.

Surprised no one has mentioned any blues clubs. Many to pick from....Rosas among others.
Kingston Mines is my favorite
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Ben10
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Ben10 »

Just came back from Chi-town. Beautiful weather this time of year. Took train from airport - very easy and cheap. Uber or walked everywhere else. Don't miss the architectural boat tour and the Art Institute.
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Non7WoodUser
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Non7WoodUser »

You'll need a lot of money for the tolls.
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by ChiefIlliniwek »

BUBear29 wrote:Go to Wiener Circle and ask for a chocolate shake. Thank me later

Pequod's is a local favorite but I found it underwhelming. I prefer Lou Malnati's butter crust. Go to Girl and the Goat for brunch.

I really enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry which has a German U505 in the lower level. Really fascinating.
I love the chocolate shake. Not sure how I forgot about that
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by GerryL »

BUBear29 wrote:Go to Wiener Circle and ask for a chocolate shake. Thank me later

Pequod's is a local favorite but I found it underwhelming. I prefer Lou Malnati's butter crust. Go to Girl and the Goat for brunch.

I really enjoyed the Museum of Science and Industry which has a German U505 in the lower level. Really fascinating.
I remember the Museum of Science and Industry from when I was a kid. When I was last in Chicago -- 10 years ago for the same conference -- I set out on a cold March day for said museum so I could revisit Coleen Moore's doll house, which I'd never forgotten. I negotiated transfers, waited for late buses, and trudged the long chilly walk from the bus stop and up the steps to the museum. I happily told the ticket seller that I had come all the way from Oregon to see Collen Moore's doll house. A cloud crossed her face. So sorry, the doll house was recently closed for cleaning -- first time ever. Would not be open for several months (a year?). So, so bummed. (She did give me a reduced-priced ticket to apologize.)
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by F150HD »

Non7WoodUser wrote:You'll need a lot of money for the tolls.
on that note....using EZPass saves half the cost. I don't have one but could have used one a month ago. Back in the day, we threw 40 cents into a big basket, times have def changed.

http://www.illinoistollway.com/tolls-and-i-pass
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F150HD
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by F150HD »

GerryL wrote:
BUBear29 wrote:I had come all the way from Oregon to see Collen Moore's doll house. A cloud crossed her face. So sorry, the doll house was recently closed for cleaning -- first time ever. Would not be open for several months (a year?). So, so bummed. (She did give me a reduced-priced ticket to apologize.)
I was in NYC this summer...went to see the World Trade Center site, it was 'closed' for some kind of cleaning. Unbelieveable. Roped off, could not get to it. Being that I'll never go back to (chaotic) Manhattan, was frustrated too.
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WallyBird
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by WallyBird »

GerryL wrote:
Thanks.
I spent some time yesterday researching the CTA details. So confusing the way it's written on multiple websites. Have printed out my routes and a map. Have determined that I can buy two $5 Ventra 1-time use tickets at the airport, one to get into town and one to return to the airport at the end of the trip. I think I am calm now. (I also checked to make sure that the hotel reservation I made in January was not lost.)
It's ridiculously confusing, yes.

The single ride ticket (actually good for two transfers in two hours) is $5 if you buy it at O'Hare and $3 at any other station. So buy the return ticket downtown if you want to save $2.

Depending on how long you're here, you may want a pass. They're $10 for one day (24 hours), 3 days for $20, 7 for $28.

The 7 day gets more complicated because you can't buy it on a throwaway card at the airport. (Even more confusing!)

PM me for more details if you haven't left already.
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seersucker
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by seersucker »

Make your life easier and use Uber to get around town (unless you're bound and determined to go full Bogle).
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by Dave C. »

mak1277 wrote:
GerryL wrote:Thanks for all the great tips. I'm lapping it up.

Pizza and hot dogs seem to be major food groups.
Just make sure you don't order ketchup on your dog.
Don't worry about ordering ketchup on your dog...... The only thing the owner will do is ask you to leave.
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tinscale
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by tinscale »

+1 on Lou Malnati's. If you're "meh" on deep dish, their thin is the best! It's been 35 years since I had one, but I now make my own and it's close enough!
:sharebeer

And don't worry about the ketchup, although some places don't even have any. :annoyed
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Re: Advice about a stop in Chicago

Post by BeneIRA »

tinscale wrote:+1 on Lou Malnati's. If you're "meh" on deep dish, their thin is the best! It's been 35 years since I had one, but I now make my own and it's close enough!
:sharebeer

And don't worry about the ketchup, although some places don't even have any. :annoyed
If you're being serious, I would appreciate a PM of that recipe.

OP, my advise would be to check to see if your company, if it is a megacorp, provides any discounts or free entry to any of the main attractions. One of my former companies got me free entry into quite a few of the heavy hitter museums. All I had to do was bring my ID and one time I used a pay stub that I had printed off. Free entry for me and a guest. It was great and saved me a ton of money.

I can't believe no one has mentioned The Second City. You have to see a show there at least once. I go there virtually every time I am in Chicago. It is best if you are into improv, but I would recommend that everyone see at least one show. Assuming your business functions will be during the day, you should be able to sneak it in at night. You will have to public transit/Uber/Taxi your way there at night, but it's worth it.
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