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dinakt
01-10-2012, 05:09 AM
:swoon:Chicago, you'll love it, such gorgeous architecture. Probably my favorite US city.
My favorite walk close to you: exit the hotel, go south on Michigan, explore Millenium Park Park ( Navy Pier is blah, but millenium Park/Grant Park is glorious- don't ignore the Cloud Gate sculpture, the twisted bridge etc), cross back to Michigan, sneak peak into the interior of the Fine Arts building at 410 South Michigan ( gorgeous Art Nouveau interior), notice if Art Museum Lions are wearing anything unusual ( like the Bears uniforms, though it'll be past the football season), keep walking South meandering through Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain should be working in late April, with flowers all around, pass by the Field Museum, Planetarium and Acquarium, walk on the boardwalk by the lake near the Acquarium ( that's quite a long walk).

If you are into art at all, the Art Museum is not to be missed; it's much more compact than the Met but incredibly impressive.
Symphony is awesome, as well, if you are in a concert mood.
Restaurants- not cheap ( but not backbreaking either) and not quiet, but Frontera Grill, at 445 North Clark Street- Rick Bayless' gourmet Mexican, absolutely delicious and justly famous ( mezcal margaritas, oh my).
Wacker Drive is beautiful; it's another great walk just to follow it from Michigan Ave. west as it curves.
You can't lose, really. Chicago is very special.
BTW, there is a lovely Nordstroms on Michigan probably across from your hotel:D

There are numerous posh hotels on and near Michigan where it's fun to go into a bar for a drink- the Drake at the North End of Michigan Ave, for example.

flyingsit
01-10-2012, 01:51 PM
You can also find quite a few restaurants in Old Town (N Wells St) I have no ideas about the prices though.

I spend a lot of time in Old Town as my brother and his family live there. There's a really nice French bistro called Bistro Margot; prices are reasonable and the staff is so friendly it's unreal. If you happen to be on Wells Street there, make sure you go into Kilwin's. They have the best peanut brittle I've ever eaten (and I'm not typically a fan of peanut brittle). They also make really good ice cream.

If you like sushi there's a place on Wells called Kamehamachi (sp?). I've not been but my brother loves it.

Kruss
01-10-2012, 02:33 PM
Wacker Drive is beautiful; it's another great walk just to follow it from Michigan Ave. west as it curves.

Quick warning - Wacker Drive is under construction. While the bulk of it is closer to Union Station, I am not sure if there is anything being done on Wacker on the Michigan Avenue end of it.

There is also an architectural walking tour (http://www.architecture.org/page.aspx?pid=600) available, if you like to walk and explore. But honestly, you can probably wander on your own and view our beautiful architecture. The Cultural Center (across from Millennium Park) is a beauty - the former Chicago Library, it's very historical, was restored some years back, and has some beautiful features inside.

Really sad is that so many historical buildings were razed in years gone by - in the early days, Chicagoans didn't see the value of keeping some of the older buildings, so we lost some gems. But what is left is still breathtaking.

I'm really enjoying hearing everyone's impressions of this beautiful city. :)

Orable
01-10-2012, 05:40 PM
I'm loving the Chicago love in this thread :D Matry, if you like improv, you should try to catch a showing of Second City - generally, a really great bet for a fun evening.

emason
01-10-2012, 05:51 PM
Another vote for Rick Bayless' restaurants, either Frontera Grill or Topolobampo. Also, another vote for the Field Museum.

I've been to Chicago 4 times on weekend getaways and I have loved it each and every time. I think it is a super city in which to vacation.

znachki
01-10-2012, 06:46 PM
For perhaps the best meal of your life, try Charlie Trotter's
http://www.charlietrotters.com/countdown.asp

If you even think you want to go to Trotters, you need to make a reservation now. He is closing the restaurant in ugust, so I suspect that reservations will be increasingly hard to come by.

ballettmaus
01-10-2012, 09:32 PM
Quick warning - Wacker Drive is under construction. While the bulk of it is closer to Union Station, I am not sure if there is anything being done on Wacker on the Michigan Avenue end of it.



So far the Wacker Drive that winds along the river is still without construction. They start somewhere around Randolph St.

manleywoman
01-10-2012, 10:21 PM
I spend a lot of time in Old Town as my brother and his family live there. There's a really nice French bistro called Bistro Margot; prices are reasonable and the staff is so friendly it's unreal.

LOVE Bistro Margot.


I'm loving the Chicago love in this thread :D Matry, if you like improv, you should try to catch a showing of Second City - generally, a really great bet for a fun evening.

Agreed.

Matryeshka
01-11-2012, 12:34 AM
I love improv; I totally forgot about Second City. Maybe I'll skip the convention. :shuffle: Although I will NOT be visiting an hookahs! Orable, yes, I'm looking at you.

PrincessLeppard
01-11-2012, 02:51 AM
Have Orable take you to the restaurant where she took Spinner and me. It was fab.

Wait, you hate baseball. :drama: Don't go there. It was awful.

;)

Matryeshka
01-11-2012, 03:48 AM
You don't love baseball, PL. You just love Bigfoot in a baseball cap. :P

Matryeshka
01-11-2012, 04:07 AM
Sorry to keep posting so much--I love all the suggestions, keep them coming, BUT, let me reiterate--the bulk of my budget went to staying close to the Magnificent Mile as to save (I hope) on cab fare and being in an unfamiliar city.

While I would love to go to places like Charlie Trotter's, it's not in the budget, closing or no. And to be perfectly honest, that's really not how I prefer to eat if I'm going to be somewhere for a short amount of time.

I know this is probably sacrilige, but I will make a konfession:

IME, nice upscale restaurants are the same worldwide. An upscale restaurant in New York is not that much different from one in New Orleans, Paris, St. Petersburg, Munich, Moscow, Orlando, Houston or any other major city where I've gotten to eat in a swanky restaurant. (And to me, swanky is anything over $30 where the sides are a la carte. I recognize that 65/tasting menu is very reasonable for many budgets, but not mine.). It's always been my belief that you taste a city not through its fancy restaurants that get featured in magazines but in the individual neighborhoods, street vendors and dives.

essence_of_soy
01-11-2012, 04:49 AM
Sorry to keep posting so much--I love all the suggestions, keep them coming, BUT, let me reiterate--the bulk of my budget went to staying close to the Magnificent Mile as to save (I hope) on cab fare and being in an unfamiliar city.

While I would love to go to places like Charlie Trotter's, it's not in the budget, closing or no. And to be perfectly honest, that's really not how I prefer to eat if I'm going to be somewhere for a short amount of time.

I know this is probably sacrilige, but I will make a konfession:

IME, nice upscale restaurants are the same worldwide. An upscale restaurant in New York is not that much different from one in New Orleans, Paris, St. Petersburg, Munich, Moscow, Orlando, Houston or any other major city where I've gotten to eat in a swanky restaurant. (And to me, swanky is anything over $30 where the sides are a la carte. I recognize that 65/tasting menu is very reasonable for many budgets, but not mine.). It's always been my belief that you taste a city not through its fancy restaurants that get featured in magazines but in the individual neighborhoods, street vendors and dives.


Too bad you're not staying at the Chicago International Youth Hostel. It was in a fantastic location next door to the Auditorium Theatre, and very economical for a private room, only $79 a night.

Also, in terms of dining, why not try R J Grunts near Lincoln Park, home to the first salad bar.

http://www.rjgruntschicago.com/

For quick bites to eat during the day, Au Bon Pain is great, too.

http://www.aubonpain.com/locations/alllocations.aspx

Spinner
01-11-2012, 05:07 AM
It's always been my belief that you taste a city not through its fancy restaurants that get featured in magazines but in the individual neighborhoods, street vendors and dives.

THIS describes Chicago. If you eat in a chain restaurant here, you're doing it wrong.

jeffisjeff
01-11-2012, 05:23 AM
Sorry to keep posting so much--I love all the suggestions, keep them coming, BUT, let me reiterate--the bulk of my budget went to staying close to the Magnificent Mile as to save (I hope) on cab fare and being in an unfamiliar city.

This was my favorite hang out back in grad school (15 years ago, so don't shoot me if it is awful):

http://www.sheffieldschicago.com/

You probably won't be able to enjoy the beer garden, but they used to have free pretzels and dipping mustard. Friends, beer and free pretzels made for an economical grad school dinner. :P