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Trip to US

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Pandora II

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FI and I are coming over for FBIL''s wedding in Chicago on Sept 29th 07.


We have to be in Chicago from 26-30th for rehearsal dinner etc and we''ve booked hotel etc for those dates.

We are flying out from the UK on the evening of 21st.

I don''t know the US at all, FI knows bits of it pretty well. We were thinking of flying into somewhere else first (NY?) and then getting connecting flights to Chicago on the 26th.

What would be a good itinerary? We like things like wildlife, parks, animals, photography, great architecture, museums etc. We love sushi - and I hear it''s way cheaper than here (Think minimum $100 for 1 person for a decent amount for 1 meal in London
)

We''re not really into clubbing/sitting on beaches etc and I am limited to about an hour looking at sparklies before FI freaks
.

We''re happy to hire a car etc and want to have a slightly relaxing time - so I don''t want to fly to 3 different places.

So, do you ladies have any ideas for the best way to spend 5 days that isn''t too $$$$, for someone that hasn''t seen the US since she was 6?

Also any ideas of fun things to do in Chicago very welcome - I have a guide book, but that''s about it!
 

poptart

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I don''t live by New York, and the only time I''ve been to Chicago was in the middle of winter for my DH''s graduation from boot camp. Definitely go downtown to the shops though, they are pretty great. The thing I wanted to say was if you are flying into the east coast, PLEASE don''t take the Newark New Jersey airport because my flight got CANCELLED TWICE. My friends mother works for the FAA and always reminds us NOT to fly through that airport... she also refuses to ever go through there. So that''s just an FYI. Hopefully other people in the Chicago and New York area can help you out though! I hope you guys have fun here!

*M*
 

KristyDarling

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Chicago is going to be beautiful that time of year!! I''m jealous of you!

Wildlife/animals: Lincoln Park Zoo, Brookfield Zoo (LPZ is better though)
Museums: Art Institute of Chicago is a must-see, the Field Museum has a GREAT mummy collection, dinosaurs too. The Shedd Aquarium is one of the best in the world. If you have time, check out the Museum of Science and Industry too.
Great architecture: well, Chicago is THE ultimate American destination. Architecture students from all over the world come to Chicago to study the beautiful buildings. Take one of the guided architectural boat tours (cruises down the Chicago River)

Sushi? It''s been 9 years since I lived there so I can''t recommend any place in particular in case it''s no longer in existence. But Chicago is very well-known for its sophisticated, fine dining. If you want some down-home traditional Chicago eats though, try Portillo''s for its Italian beef sandwiches and cheese fries, and Gino''s for Chicago''s famous deep dish pizzas. (bring antacids!)

Oh, and if you can, DEFINITELY check out a concert by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Some of the best musicians in the world are there. Also, check out a comedy show at Second City....again, world-famous with many celebs as alumni: Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, John Candy, Jim Belushi, Steve Carell, Mike Meyers, Chris Farley, etc etc.

You are gonna have an awesome time!!!
 

monarch64

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First of all, ditto on poptarts suggestion of avoiding Newark airport...I always have problems there!

Chicago and New York...so many options! What do you like to do? Do you like to see shows, stay up late, or are you early morning fans? For Chicago (we live just outside Chicago, actually) I would suggest going to Second City to see a comedy show (this is an improv club where many a Saturday Night Live commedien/enne got their start--think Belushi, Chris Farley, etc.) tickets are not all that expensive (maybe $20 per person with a 2 drink min.) and it''s a great Chicago tradition. For restaurants, and Italian, I recommend Rosebud on Taylor, Hugo''s Frog Bar, or the Signature Room on the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. You could also do a tour of the Sears Tower (unless you''re afraid of heights) or Navy Pier...and there are lots of nightclubs (Redheaded Piano Bar comes to mind).

New York...there is a Sex and the City bus tour which I believe is $40/day per person, but you can get on and get off when you please and the ticket is good for 48 hrs...also you have to go to the diamond district and at least window shop there in Manhattan. China town and Little Italy are fun to see, and if you are up for it definitely go to Ground Zero and observe for at least a few minutes.
 

poptart

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Oh my gosh, China town, of course! I''ve never been but my friends RAVE about it. It''s supposed to be awesome. You might be able to catch a broadway show or go to the IMAX theatre if you like that type of thing.

*M*
 

Independent Gal

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Hi Pandora,

I've spent some time in Chicago and just put a long post about restaurants and stuff in answer to Labbielove's inquiry. So will just add a few things:

First and foremost: DO NOT HIRE A CAR in NYC or Chicago. Traffic can be bad, but the cost of parking is ATROCIOUS. Think $20 for 15 minutes in some places. Both cities have excellent public transport and plentiful cheap taxis so there really is absolutely NO need for a car. It will just become a huge and expensive headache.

I second the 'Second City' suggestion. I laughed till I cried both times I went. Also, Lincoln Park zoo is indeed great. There's also a good botanical garden. You definitely want to spend some time in Millenium Park if you come at that tiem of year. There are free concerts every night in the Frank Gehry bandstand. There are also free dance lessons in Grant Park and a band every night so you can try out your new steps.

Best sushi in Chi-town is at 'Japonais', which is on the pricier side, but still MUCH cheaper than what you say. Decor is awesome, and it's a great 'scene'. Really good, and totally affordable sushi can be had at 'Oysy' which has two locations, the better of which is at Michigan and 9th.

The Architecture Center boat tour is the best thing in the city. They also run walking tours. Chicago is an architectural MASTERPIECE with many exceptional Art Nouveau, modern, and post-modern buildings, and the tour brings the whole place to life. Also, the steel frame skyscraper was invented here, and the early Daniel Burnham versions are heart-wrenchingly beautiful (e.g., the Fisher Building at Van Buren and Dearborn).

You can easily, happily spend 5 days in either NYC or Chicago. I'd not try to do more than that as you'll just end up rushing around and not get a taste for anything.

Have fun!
 

Pandora II

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Thanks for all the great suggestions - I''m so excited.

So you think NY is the way to go - ie 2 cities, rather than countryside? I suppose a lot of the really gorgeous bits are a bit far to fly direct from the UK? Idaho looks really pretty or the National Parks - like Yellowstone etc

Sorry, my US geography is just awful!
 

dtnyc

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There are TONS of flights between Chicago and NY- so connecting shouldn''t be an issue there-
getting to Idaho on the other hand... well it''s like the other side of the country.

That is a nice time of year to be in both Chicago and NYC- early fall and often in NYC it''s still really nice that time of year.
 

poptart

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Yea, Idaho is definitely too far away. It''s about a four to five hour plane trip from Chicago alone. Not to mention, Idaho isn''t very pretty in the winter and it''s VERY cold there. However, if you ever come back in the summer, try out Craters of the Moon National Park. It''s left over from volcanic activity thousands of years ago and you can explore the underground caves. It''s SO much fun if you are a nature/adventure person!

*M*
 
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