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Chicago...any advice??

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ccuheartnurse

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Hi All,
I might be going to Chicago end of April for a few days for my anniversary. For those of you that live there or have been there, how many days do you think is a reasonable time to visit the city? I thought maybe 4nights/5 days to see the sights. I havent booked any flights yet, but Southwest has some good time slots available. Is it cold then? I''m always cold, & my husband is always hot....go figure...we get along anyways. ;-)

I understand hotels are expensive in Chicago, but what about on the outskirts where there might be a subway or train of some sort? I stayed in Arlington, VA & it was great because there was a direct train to Washington. :)

Any ideas for anywhere else if Chicago is too cold then?? Ummm, too cold is winter jacket..LOL Comfortable weather is a fleece jacket. LOL

As far as touristy things to do, I''ll find something online I''m sure. LOL

Judy
:)
 

jenna_g

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Aug 17, 2005
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I just moved from Chicago, and I miss it! :) 4 nights/5 days is a good amount of time to spend there. You can see some shows (if you like) or you could do lots of shopping (which is what I miss the most!) or hit the museums. A good place to do some shopping that is a little bit out of the way, but great, is Armitage Ave. And for not so out-of-the-way shopping, you must hit Oak Street, which is right off of Michigan Avenue (aka The Magnificent Mile).

I''d recommend staying on Michigan Avenue. It is cheaper in the suburbs, but not by much...and you miss out on being downtown at night. You can find good deals for hotels sometimes by checking out the Chicago tourism web site.

At the end of April, the weather in Chicago can give you any number of surprises. It might be chilly, but it might also be beautiful! Dress in layers, and you''ll be fine.

Have fun! It''s a wonderful city and I think everyone should visit there at least once!
 

mrssalvo

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My hubby is from Chicago so we go visit as often as we can. I think 4-5 days/nights is a nice amount of time. there is lots to do and it''s so fun. staying downtown on michigan is the best and a lot of things are in walking distance. I''d recommend seeting the show "Wicked" if you haven''t. we saw it when we were there in November and it was wonderful. Make sure to visit navy pier, the sears tower and all the fun michigan ave. shopping. hopefully dee jay will see this thread. she''d have lots of good ideas I''m sure..
 

KimberlyH

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We visit Chicago about 4 times a year. I would not recommend staying in the suburbs or near either airport if you''re going to hang out in the city. The Marriot Courtyard on the Mag Mile is nice and reasonably priced.

4 nights/5 days is a good amount of time to spend doing touristy things. If you''re into animals head to the Shedd Aquarium and the Licoln Park Zoo. The Goodman Theater is beautiful. The Art Institute is amazing.

Harry Caray''s is a fab restaurant (I''m biased, it''s where DH proposed) http://www.harrycarays.com/. Custom House is fantastic http://www.customhouse.cc/ too. Spiaggia''s menu doesn''t appeal to us, so we''ve never been, but Cafe Spiaggia is wonderful.

I could go on and on...
 

bluehue

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Oh do stay downtown. Well worth the extra $. A shameless plug for my old stomping grounds - if you like Egyptology then a jaunt to the Oriental Institiute at U of Chicago in Hyde Park is a must. Have fun in Chi-town!
 

Scooba

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you could spend a night or two or a week or two, there is plenty to do!

End of april is probably fleece jacket weather but you never know!

I wouldn''t stay on the outskirts, if you are trying to budget there are hotels like a Red Roof Inn and a Super 8, right downtown.
 

Allisonfaye

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Chicago is cold from November through May. But you could get lucky in April. You never know.
I assume you are a diamond lover if you are on here so I definately suggest checking out Oak Street. My favorite store is Graff''s.

Navy Pier is fun. Definately check out the Art Institute. Lots of good steak places to go in Chicago too.
 

emilina22

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you should definatly spend a little more and stay downtown theres noting like it you might even be able to see all the sights in 3 days and that way you would be able to stay downtown! its actually super nice this week it looks as if our horrible winter is over this whole week its in the 50''s!!! which is soooo beautiful!!! your gonna love the city!
 

monarch64

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The weather will be hit or miss at the end of April....it could be 40 degrees or 70, you just never know, probably not down coat weather, but bring fleece or a rain/trench coat for sure.

We live 13 miles west of downtown. I definitely agree that you should spend a little more on a hotel downtown, maybe cut your trip a day short (3-4 days instead of 4-5 maybe?) and enjoy all the city has to offer without worrying about train schedules, etc. Last trains back to the burbs are usually 12-1a.m. and it''s just easier to stay in the city and not worry about cutting your evening too short because you have to get back to Union Station. If you''re really not a night owl, though and don''t plan on staying out late at night I guess that wouldn''t be an issue.

You certainly won''t find a shortage of things to do! They even have Segway tours of the city now, I think they''re $70/person for four hours. (Segways are those motorized two wheeler things you stand on and drive around--I think that would be so fun!) Have a great trip!
 

ccuheartnurse

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Thank you everyone for your posts, I appreciate them very much. I''ve gone as far as booked the flight & because of time constraints, booked for 4 nights, 5 days. But in going through the Chicago board of tousism...there is SO much to do. Wish I could have squeezed a few more days in now.


As for weather, seems to be just like Toronto, & as far as 2007 has been going around the world, hard to predict what it will be like. I''ll bring a light jacket, with fleece for layering. LOL I should be safe that way.

NOW....my dilemma is the hotel. We''re going to stay downtown, as some of you said, there is no real savings for staying in the outskirts. This is the list if anyone can comment, has stayed, or known others that have stayed, for opinions that would be great....Location: Magnificent Mile area, all are priced in Canadian funds as found on Expedia.ca. Will check out TravelAdvisor.com this afternoon.

-Hampton Inn--King -full breakfast- $1046 (includes taxes & full hot breakfast every morning).

Allerton Hotel- Full OR Queen- $844.54

Chicago Athlet. Association-

Affinia Chicago- King- $1180

Mellenium Knickerbocker- King OR 2 Full- $1145

Ambassador- Queen- $1177

Raffaello Hotel - king- $1077

Radisson- Queen- $1094

Tremont- Queen- $1101

Homewood Suites- King- includes full hot breakfast)- $1224 **rooms from 7th - 19th floor, with city views.

Sooo...where do I stay?? LOL I thought that PS people would like to have some #''s for comparison shopping. Wow, we can analyze everything to death! LOL I like the look of most of these hotels, especially the Raffeallo, the lobby seems brighter & the rooms newer. But you know how pictures can hide the truth. LOL It might be that the other hotels are just as nice or nicer , especially if renovated.


Thank you all very much,
Judy
:)
 

ccuheartnurse

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Sorry, Have a new list of hotels as I spent a bit of time reading the reviews & looking at pictures on TripAdvisor.com. I know a lot of these reviews you should take with a grain of salt, but sometimes if there are numerous complaints or concerns about the same thing, I somewhat pay attention to those. SOoo... since I see no way to edit the previous post, here is a new list of hotels as I''ve narrowed down a few off the original list...

1. Hampton Inn....seems people really like this and TripAdvisor has it as #12 out of 156 hotels.

2. Affinia....#25

3. Ambassador East....seems its an old hotel in need of renovations, but apparently is still in great shape. #54

4. Raffaello Hotel....Was renovated in November 2006, #49

5. Radisson Hotel...#37


Now what, go on instinct & just book something?? Value wise, Hamton Inn is cheapest at with king bed, & full breakfast. I may have answered myself. LOL But if someone says either of the others is fantastic, I will sit up & listen. ;-)

Judy
:)
 

mrssalvo

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you know, we always stay at the Marriot on Michigan so I have know idea about the other hotels you mentioned. the Marriot though is very nice and I love where it''s located, right accross from the gap and a starbucks 2 doors down.
 

Haven

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You are going to love Chicago! I do, but I live here, so I''m biased.

As for hotel choices--have you checked reviews on epinions.com or other such sites? I always use those sites for reviews when we''re going out of town.

You should also check out metromix.com before you come, you can search for events, restaurants, bars, etc. The site is affiliated with Chicago Tribune, and it''s the best place to find out what''s going on in the city.

I''ve lived in Chicago my entire life and I STILL haven''t experienced all it has to offer. Enjoy your trip!
 

monarch64

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We like the Marriott on Mich. as well...I''ve also stayed at the Hyatt on Wacker and the Hilton on State (I think), all very nice. Out of the three, though, the Marriott has been our favorite, DH travels a lot and usually stays at them, plus we just love their beds/bedding. I''m thinking the Hampton would be the best bang for your buck, though, with the included full breakfast. Maybe you could even do one night in more upscale hotel and the rest at the Hampton?
 

eks6426

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Joined
Nov 19, 2004
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Date: 3/11/2007 3:30:23 PM
Author: ccuheartnurse
Thank you everyone for your posts, I appreciate them very much. I''ve gone as far as booked the flight & because of time constraints, booked for 4 nights, 5 days. But in going through the Chicago board of tousism...there is SO much to do. Wish I could have squeezed a few more days in now.


As for weather, seems to be just like Toronto, & as far as 2007 has been going around the world, hard to predict what it will be like. I''ll bring a light jacket, with fleece for layering. LOL I should be safe that way.

NOW....my dilemma is the hotel. We''re going to stay downtown, as some of you said, there is no real savings for staying in the outskirts. This is the list if anyone can comment, has stayed, or known others that have stayed, for opinions that would be great....Location: Magnificent Mile area, all are priced in Canadian funds as found on Expedia.ca. Will check out TravelAdvisor.com this afternoon.

-Hampton Inn--King -full breakfast- $1046 (includes taxes & full hot breakfast every morning). This hotel is OK but not great. I would choose something more "Chicagoan".

Allerton Hotel- Full OR Queen- $844.54 Good location. Needs an update.

Chicago Athlet. Association- Don''t know on this one.

Affinia Chicago- King- $1180 Don''t know on this one.

Mellenium Knickerbocker- King OR 2 Full- $1145 Nice old style hotel. Some rooms may be small. But hey, it''s Chicago.

Ambassador- Queen- $1177 Nice...

Raffaello Hotel - king- $1077 Unless this has been remodeled, the last time I was there in late 2005 it was in major need of an overhaul.

Radisson- Queen- $1094 Ok

Tremont- Queen- $1101 My personal favorite of the ones you have listed. The location can''t be beat...right across the street from Water Tower Place. Smaller, more boutique hotel. If you ask for a corner room you can get nice views. The windows actually open which can be fun to hear the city sounds.

Homewood Suites- King- includes full hot breakfast)- $1224 **rooms from 7th - 19th floor, with city views.

Sooo...where do I stay?? LOL I thought that PS people would like to have some #''s for comparison shopping. Wow, we can analyze everything to death! LOL I like the look of most of these hotels, especially the Raffeallo, the lobby seems brighter & the rooms newer. But you know how pictures can hide the truth. LOL It might be that the other hotels are just as nice or nicer , especially if renovated.


Thank you all very much,
Judy
:)
I live about 1 1/2 hours east of Chicago in Indiana so Chicago is the "city" to go to for entertainment for me. I definitely vote staying in the city.

I personally almost always use Priceline when going to Chicago. Unless I''m there during a major convention week it almost always yields me a decent hotel on/near the Magnificant mile for around $100 US per night. 2 other hotels that you haven''t mentioned that I like are Seneca--if you can get a suite the rooms are huge and the location is good..right next door to the Hancock Tower. Or Hotel Monaco....further down toward the State Street area but still very doable--and closer to the diamond district.

http://www.senecahotel.com/

http://www.monaco-chicago.com/
 

bujiatang

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Joined
Feb 22, 2007
Messages
91
I love the museums in Chicago. I''m completely blanking on which one has the German submarine... And the Pizza resurant with the writing on the walls... why do these names elude me?!?
 

ccuheartnurse

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Thank you once again to all of you for your opinions on my future trip. :) Island Dreams...very comprehensive, thank you! I am leaning towards the Raffaello as they did have renovations (complete) completed back in November 2006. I figure, how trashed could it have gotten in a few mths?? LOL We were temped by the Hampton Inn, but my husband & I never make to breakfast so no point in worrying about it. LOL We''ll just grab a bagel & coffee on the go. :) My friend likes the Tremont, but reviews have said although a nice place, also needs updating.

Thank you all, I''m booking the Raffaello tonight. It''s pretty small in comparison to the others, & I dont think it even has a restaurant in it, thats ok though. I dont remember when I ate in a hotel restaurant. Too much variety all around. :)

Judy
:)
 

eks6426

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The Rapheal will be great with the update. I agree Tremont could us a bit of an update.

The museum with the sub is Science & Industry. The pizza place with the writing was Gino''s East. But they moved several years ago to a new location. The new location doesn''t have nearly the charm of the old place. The pizza is still good though. A different pizza place moved into the old Gino''s East place and I believe they kept the writing on the walls but I have not been there.

One thing I would do is try to get a lunch time for the restaurant in the Hancock Tower. You get to see the view and have lunch for not much more than the cost of going to the top of the Hancock building itself.

My husband and I have good luck using Metromix to research restaurants, bars & things to do. There''s always good tips and lots of "top places" links:

http://metromix.chicagotribune.com/
 

kev_800

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Jan 27, 2007
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I live in Chicago, and have lived here most of my life. Just as a heads up for certain things:

1. the Art Institute of Chicago is one of the most impressive art museums in the world. It has the largest permanent collection of Monet, and has a wonderful gallery of medieval art through the modern period arranged in a chronological fashion. They have some of the most famous works of art the world over, its DEFINITELY not to be missed.

2. Chicago is known the world over for its skyscrapers. The world''s first skyscraper was built in Chicago, the world''s tallest masonry building is in Chicago, the world''s tallest stone building is in chicago, and the world''s tallest skyscraper (arguably) is in Chicago (the sears tower). You can go higher in the sears tower than any other building, I believe. 112 stories or something crazy. It has a great collection of Frank Lloyd Wright and Meis VanDerrohe. Make sure you go on an architectural tour!!! These leave from the architectural society at 300ish south Michigan Ave.

3. Awesome restaurants! Gourmet magazine rates it the second best restauraunt town in the country after NYC. Don''t go to the kitchy touristy spots, try something a little bit more fun. Do you like Indian? French? Italian?

4. The Oriental Institute is great (as someone mentioned above) if you''re into ancient / classical history. The museum of science and industry is cool, as is the MCA if you''re into contemporary art. Check out some shows at the Goodman Theatre, the Steppenwolf Theatre, etc. HotTix (on Randolph I think) offers day-of heavily discounted tickets.
 

KristyDarling

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I haven''t read any of the above responses so sorry if these are duplicates:

Art institute of Chicago. It has one of the best collections literally in the world. People come from all over just to see this museum.

The Shedd Auarium....huge, and again, world famous. It has a picturesque location at the end of a land strip that juts out into the lake.

The architectural boat tours. A must-do. Architecture students come from everywhere in the world just to check out the city''s beautiful skyscrapers.

Shopping on the Magnificent Mile, aka Michigan Avenue. Awesome window-shopping!

Restaurants: definitely go to Gino''s for Chicag-style deep dish pizza. Also, my personal favorite is Portillo''s -- another restaurant famous for local foods: Italian beef sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, amazing cheese fries. I grew up on the stuff.
In addition to local stuff, there''s TONS of higher-end places, most of which opened after I moved away years ago so I don''t know as much about them.

Navy Pier: it has changed a lot since I left Chicago in 1998, but I hear it''s chock full of fun places/things to do, including that humongous ferris wheel.

Theater: the city is famous for it''s drama and comedy. Go to Second City to catch a comedy show, or catch a play at the Steppenwolf Theatre (Gary Sinise is performing in something there right now. I''ve seen a play there starring John Malkovich, it was great).

OK, I gotta put a plug in for my old place of work: the Chicago Symphony. Definitely try to check out a concert...world-class music for your enjoyment!

April can be hit-or-miss when it comes to weather. Just come dressed in layers and you''ll be fine! Warm or cold, you are going to have an awesome time!!!
 

mrssalvo

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Date: 3/14/2007 1:40:10 PM
Author: KristyDarling



definitely go to Gino''s for Chicago-style deep dish pizza. Also, my personal favorite is Portillo''s -- another restaurant famous for local foods: Italian beef sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, amazing cheese fries. I grew up on the stuff.
I love Gino''s, we go every chicago trip. Hubby took me to Portillo''s for the first time when we were in chicago last Nov. Can''t beat a good ol'' Chicago dog
 

KristyDarling

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Loooove Chicago dogs! Yum! Have you had Portillo''s onion rings? OMG, TDF!!!

Yeah, not the best city for people with high cholesterol.
 

Regular Guy

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Will anyone stand up for the Berghoffs, downtown (also seen at the airport, I think)? Classic German restaurant downtown, not too expensive...I hope the waiters still dress formally. They make their own beer & root beer, I believe.

Also, there''s Billy Goat Tavern...and now I hear there are several. The original under the trains at Michigan and....is it Wacker? (Do you remember the old Saturday Night Skit, from which this is based on, and they would say, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger, no fries, chip? A restaurant opened near me in Washington DC metro, called Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger. I asked them for fries, and they said...small medium or large. An embarrassment!).
 

KristyDarling

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Berghoff''s is a Chicago institution!!! (oldest restaurant in the city, I believe?) It was just around the corner from where I used to work and I''d go there on my lunch break. I just checked their web site and they are now CLOSED.
How sad. But it appears there''s a new location called "17 West at the Berghoff" -- owned and operated by the Berghoff family.

Regular Guy -- I totally remember that skit! LOL.
 
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