Trip to Chicago: Super happy fun time!
April 28, 2010 10:50 AM   Subscribe

What month is better to visit Chicago this summer? June or July? Chicago-ans help me out.

My girlfriend and I want to go to a Chicago this summer (road trip!), but we're not sure which month we want to go, either June or July. I think we're going to stay for about four days. We'll also probably be couch-surfing for most of it, unless someone can suggest a really cheap hotel/hostel.

I think I would prefer to do it sometime when the Puerto Rican Parade (Chicago version) is happening , but I can't seem to find any information on it online.

So any suggestions for events, places, and locations that are a must when going to Chicago?

Specific Chicago food places would be awesome, as well as time-sensitive events that would be great to see, suggest anything and any time!

The most important is the Puerto Rican Parade. If I can find the dates on that I would most definitely center the trip around that.
posted by lizarrd to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (25 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
 
P.S. I forgot to add. I would like to anything in June as quickly as possible because I have two days to ask for days off...ahh procastination.
posted by lizarrd at 10:51 AM on April 28, 2010


If you like indie music, the Pitchfork Music Festival will be July 16-18.
posted by susanvance at 10:57 AM on April 28, 2010


If you're hoping for warmer weather, I'd suggest July. June last year was actually quite cool and rainy. The weather is never very predictable, but I think July would be a bit more reliable if it's sun you want to mix with your fun. (Chicago beaches are awesome.)

Sorry -- no idea about the PR parade.

Welcome and enjoy your stay!
posted by Work to Live at 10:59 AM on April 28, 2010


Puerto Rican Parade is on June 19 this year.
posted by parttimeninja at 11:03 AM on April 28, 2010


Oh, and here's the info on the Puerto Rican Parade (along with a list of all the other festivals):

Puerto Rican Parade
Jun 19, 2010 | Free Admission
The 2010 Puerto Rican Parade will take place on June 19th in Downtown Chicago.
Loop
posted by susanvance at 11:03 AM on April 28, 2010


You could extend your trip a little longer than you'd originally suggested, hitting the Parade on 6/19 and Taste of Chicago on 6/25. I'm not a Chicago-an but I went to Taste in 2007 and loved loved loved it.
posted by knile at 11:11 AM on April 28, 2010


Yeah, June's weather is still tricky. July, however, has all the beauty of summer without the oppressive quality August can have.

And like mentioned above, there Pitchfork Music fest is in July.
posted by Windigo at 11:12 AM on April 28, 2010


The downtown Puerto Rican Parade is June 19, but the real party will be Fiestas Puertorriqueñas in Humboldt Park, June 15-20. There isn't much info online yet, but you can find a lot about past festivals.
posted by hydrophonic at 11:16 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


As an ex-temporary-Chicagoan, I'd also have to vote for July. June, as others have said, can be weird--anything from *gasp* *heat* *melt* to, in one memorable year, "um, why is it snowing?"
posted by thomas j wise at 11:24 AM on April 28, 2010


Taste of Chicago is OK, but that same weekend is the Pride Parade, and that's way more fun.

Definitely check out as many of the main museums as you can (Field, Art Institute, Science and Technology). The aquarium was way more awesome than I thought it would be. Sadly I found the planetarium a bit lacking.

In terms of food, I cannot stress enough how useful LTHForum is. Everything from street vendors to Alinea ($500+ pp) is covered at LTHForum, so you should definitely be able to find great food in your price range, location, and cuisine types. A great place to start would be their list of Great Neighborhood Restaurants.

I would recommend spending some time in the little neighborhoods in Chicago like Chinatown, Boystown, Pilsen, Greektown, Humboldt Park, etc. I remember driving through Humboldt Park once on the same day as the Puerto Rican Parade and there were lines of cars with PR flags honking and it was very cool to see.

I really loved the time I lived in Chicago and only wish that I'd done more.
posted by kmz at 11:30 AM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I definitely want to visit the little neighborhoods. I also want to go to whatever could be termed the Puerto Rican section of Chicago. I am Puerto Rican and it's a desire/goal of mine to see all the different Puerto Rican areas in cities that I visit that may have them.
posted by lizarrd at 11:36 AM on April 28, 2010


That would be Humboldt Park, though there's a significant Puerto Rican population in a lot of neighborhoods nowadays.
posted by kmz at 12:15 PM on April 28, 2010


The planetarium is indeed fairly lacking, although I would imagine it would be pretty neat if you were eleven or so.

What sort of food places are you interested in? Pricey/nicey, hole-in-the-wall, vegan, Cuban, sushi, anything specific?
posted by shakespeherian at 12:56 PM on April 28, 2010


I'm the girlfriend/road tripping partner, and I'm vegetarian and spicy-food-loving, so if you can suggest places like that, that'd be great.
posted by hoperaiseshell at 1:01 PM on April 28, 2010


Hmm, Puerto Rican definitely. I like more of the unique style of places that can't be found anywhere else or say, something you think is just particularly amazing in Chicago. Otherwise, vegetarian is important because my girlfriend is aboard that train.

So, hole-in-the-wall, unique, Puerto Rican, Sushi is great too...
posted by lizarrd at 1:02 PM on April 28, 2010


My hands-down favorite sushi place in the city is House of Sushi and Noodles, which has a $15 all-you-can-eat option, which is ridiculous for sushi (it also happens to be delicious, in my opinion). If you want a ritzy night, The Green Zebra is vegetarian and very good, if a bit pricey. If you'd prefer more affordable vegetarian and vegan-friendly food, Earwax Cafe is always on my go-to recommendation list, although be warned that it's cash-only, so be prepared.

I haven't managed to find a favorite Puerto Rican restaurant yet, so hopefully someone else here can chime in.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:22 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


Depending upon your tastes there is the Blues festival June 11 to 13 and Lollapalooza August 6 to 8. If you like blues this festival should not be missed.
posted by caddis at 1:32 PM on April 28, 2010


The Chicago Diner is Vegan and amazing enough to impress my not at all vegie in-laws.
If you are at all interested in theatre this city is the best in the country for all types of theatre. The League of Chicago Theatres has listings from the smallest to the bigest theatres in town and Hot Tix has half price tickets to a lot of shows though for the smaller ones the fees tend to make it just as cheap to buy directly from the theatre company.
posted by Uncle at 1:49 PM on April 28, 2010


The Calle Mayor of the Boricuan community in Chicago, is known as the Paseo Boricua, on Division Street, between Western Ave. and California Ave/Humboldt Park. There are 27 foot tall flags of steel marking the "entrances" to the Paseo, and they are there to commemorate the Boricuans who were killed in "police actions" in June of 1966 and again in June of 1977.

But no sadness is here for Fiestas Puertorriqueñas. The "downtown" parade on the 19th will be the same one that ends up inching through the Paseo. Neighbors will bring lawn chairs to watch the parade, and there will be restaurants and street vendors competing to show off their wares.

If you stay over until Sunday, then head for the brunch at Nellie's in the Paseo. (yelp page).

You can view some past Fiestas & Borincuan forums on www.paseoboricua.com.

Often during that week, the PB Community Center hosts a conference called "The Community as Intellectual Space," co-hosted by the Graduate Studies in Library & Information Science Department at U of I. Whenever you get to Chicago, and to the Paseo, please stop in the PB Community Center. The people of the community have started a women's health library, and the community started its own high school, the Don Pedro Albizu Campos High Scchool, and a newspaper (web & print) La Voz del PB.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:03 PM on April 28, 2010


Handlebar kicks Chicago Diner's ass. Kicks it hard. Chicago Diner is, in my opinion, over-rated and the food is all stuff tricked out to pretend it's meat, so it tends to be unsatisfying for many nonvegetarians.
posted by crush-onastick at 2:24 PM on April 28, 2010 [1 favorite]


For the record, I have no problem with vegetarian food -- garden burgers are delicious -- but I do love when they try to do something that isn't just, here is a meat replacement!
posted by lizarrd at 2:33 PM on April 28, 2010


and Victory's Banner also kicks Chicago Diner's ass. Hard. Two words describe CD: Over Rated.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:34 PM on April 28, 2010


I missed that hoperaiseshell wants vegetarian & spicy suggestions. No problem in Chicago. There is a sizable concentration of Indian restaurants, from the fancy to the funky, up along Devon. And Victory's Banner (which I noted above) is some of the best vegetarian food you will encounter outside my kitchen.

In the Paseo, many of the restaurants will accommodate vegetarians. Restaurant Coco was about the best in my experience.
posted by beelzbubba at 2:42 PM on April 28, 2010


Taste of Chicago is crazy but fun not only for the food but for the free concerts with some pretty big names.
posted by EmilyClimbs at 6:17 PM on April 28, 2010


No to the House of Sushi and Noodles! I don't think it is good at all and they also rush you out of there, literally ask you to leave the moment you finish eating (I have eaten there three times, twice was asked outright and last time the waitress hovered). Sushi's a personal thing, of course; my fave is New Tokyo, as it is also in the walkable stretch of Broadway in Lakeview. You have cool shops and are close to the zoo (which is free) as well.

If you really want cheap all-you-can eat sushi, try Hiro's Cafe, which is that same Lakeview neighboorhood. I personally think it's much better, and they offer a much larger menu along with laid-back atmosphere and good service.

Another neighborhood to wander is Andersonville. It boasts the Kopi Cafe, which has mostly vegetarian fare. It's very good. And you might luck out and see the Puppet Bike!
posted by Windigo at 8:39 AM on April 29, 2010


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