What's happening in Chicago on Saturday, 11/29/09?
November 24, 2009 8:47 AM   Subscribe

What fun things are there to do in Chicago this Saturday (11/28/09) if you're in a hotel near Midway with no access to a car?

A buddy of mine and I are going to be in Chicago for 24 hours this weekend for a gig. We fly in at 2pm on Saturday and have free time until 10pm that night.

We'll be at the Marriott on the south end of Midway.

What museums, shows, bars or festivities are worth checking out? How's public transit in that area, or is it better to take a cab wherever I end up going? How much will it cost to get me to where the fun is?

What would YOU do for fun if you had 8 hours to kill in Chicago this weekend, but no car? We're open to checking out multiple destinations, as long as it's not too cost prohibitive.

I need to be back at the hotel by 10pm and then I fly home at 11am on Sunday.

Thanks, and have a happy Thanskgiving!
posted by xotis to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Public transit is easy; the orange line of the el ends at midway, so you're a 20 minute train ride to the loop. I would take the train in early, get coffee at intelligentsia, do a tour of the art institute, grab some food of your choice or make a pilgrimage to Hot Doug's, and then head back.
posted by craven_morhead at 8:49 AM on November 24, 2009

Hot Doug's is usually closed for major holidays.

They are closed for Thanksgiving this year, to re-open Monday, November 30.
posted by kathryn at 8:55 AM on November 24, 2009

Seconding the Art Institute & neighboring Millennium Park. I also thought the Museum of Science & Industry was a lot of fun. I know it's accessible by bus, but I'm not sure how far the nearest el stop is.
posted by usonian at 9:10 AM on November 24, 2009

Oh yeah, Science & Industry is a blast. Go see the sub. It's a bit of a hike from the nearest el stop; not a bad walk if the weather is nice, but miserable if it's blustery. Shame about Hot Doug's.
posted by craven_morhead at 9:16 AM on November 24, 2009

If you take the orange line to millenium park (easy to do), you can get a bus near there that will take you to all the other museums in the "museum campus", if you're into that kind of thing. Google maps has a "public transit" option for Chicago that will tell you all the connections to make. If you have the cash, I prefer cabs, but the public transit is perfectly usable.

There's a free daily paper called red eye which has some events and goings-on. They don't seem to put this stuff on their site but I linked you to the print edition. Check it on Thursday or Friday.
posted by amethysts at 9:29 AM on November 24, 2009

Go see the sub. It's a bit of a hike from the nearest el stop; not a bad walk if the weather is nice, but miserable if it's blustery.

Careful there. Properly speaking, the nearest El stop to the Museum of Science and Industry is the Garfield Green Line stop, which is two miles away and lets off in a dodgy neighbourhood. If you decide to check out the MSI (which I'm somewhat indifferent to, though the renovated submarine exhibit is quite nice), you're better off taking the #10 or #6 bus from downtown, or using the Metra Electric line.

If you're looking for entertainment listings, your best bet is the Chicago Reader; the A.V. Club Chicago is pretty good too.
posted by Johnny Assay at 9:44 AM on November 24, 2009

MDW to the city is very easy on the el (orange line) and it's roughly a $35 cab ride to the Loop. Check the archives for what to do in downtown Chicago and you'll find lots of suggestions. The orange line gets you to the planetarium, the aquarium, the Field Museum, Grant Park, Milennium Park, the arboretum, architecture boat tour, the Art Institute (gallery talks scheduled this Saturday). You'll be near the Sears Tower (the glass viewing boxes are awesome!), not far from the Mag Mile shipping district (just over the river, the 144, 145, 146, and 147 buses all get you there, but it's an easy walk). There's the Picasso, the Chagall (there is plaza construction right now, but it's still viewable), and the Calder.

There's reasonably cheap eats in the Loop, as well as some excellent more expensive places. Our local coffee heroes have a shop near the Park which is open on Saturday (it's right near the Cultural Center --with its newly restored Tiffany Dome!).

And, of course, it's the kick-off of the Christkindlmarket.

Have fun!
posted by crush-onastick at 9:49 AM on November 24, 2009

Thanks everyone! Keep the suggestions coming!

My traveling buddy is a UK expat, and has lived in the middle of a mid-western cornfield for the last decade. Are there any places that he might enjoy, like a proper English pub?
posted by xotis at 10:19 AM on November 24, 2009

The Globe isn't specifically English, but it does have some English-style food and lots of good beers on tap.

A quick search also turns up the Shire Public House and the Firkin and Pheasant.
posted by lholladay at 10:34 AM on November 24, 2009

Oh, and I wouldn't suggest the Sears Tower. Go to the Signature Room at the John Hancock Building instead. For the same price as the observation deck, you can get a drink and a table with a fantastic view, especially at night. Use the lady's room if you're able.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:04 AM on November 24, 2009

Derf. You want the Signature Lounge for the drink, not the Room.
posted by craven_morhead at 11:04 AM on November 24, 2009

The Globe will also be showing the (Premier League) Football on Saturday & Sunday morning, so if your UK friend is of that inclination, he may want to make the trip up. Of course, if he's a Spurs or Chelsea supporter, he may not feel too welcome.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 11:51 AM on November 24, 2009

Go downtown and catch a set at the Jazz Showcase. Sunday will have both a 4 PM matinee and a 8 PM set.
posted by thedanimal at 12:12 PM on November 24, 2009

Actually, if you want to see the Museum of Science and Industry (or other Hyde Park delights), just take the X55 or regular 55 bus from Midway. (The X55 may not run on weekends.)

(And then, if you want to go downtown from there, take the 6 or the 10 north from Hyde Park, and just return to your hotel via the Orange Line later.)
posted by j-dawg at 2:53 PM on November 24, 2009

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