Going to Chicago next Sunday - car some days; what to do?
August 7, 2010 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Headed to Chicago the 15th. Been to Chicago before (love it!) First time for the fiance. Details inside!

We're renting a car….to be outside of Chicago from Sun-Tues.
We're staying downtown (loop area)…and I work Wed-Fri downtown.)

Read the prior threads...The question is…What to do?

Sun-Tues: I've never really seen outside the city - so I figured we'd rent a car from the airport and drive…and stay...where? A two/three hour drive for something wonderful is very doable.

We'll be on the ground in the car by 11 - so we could be 2 hrs away by 1pm on Sunday.

Things we like:
Beach combing (particularly sea glass), Love animal preserves where they treat animals well; places to see wildlife, craft fairs, scenic areas, cool technology, bookstores, scifi. I'm a beer person (she's not) - I've experienced the Map Room and Hopleaf.

Tues-Friday: Chicago proper
Tues Night, we'll definitely head to the Signature room. Probably will get some deep dish too.

Wed night I have an event I'm speaking at. Thurs night is still open.

I know she should see the Magnificent mile…Sears tower, Art institute, Millennium park…we have two nights - she has the days, together at night - ideas are very welcome. Sushi and veggie places are a bonus.
posted by filmgeek to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
I asked a Chicago question recently, the events took place the last couple days, and I intend to update the thread tonight thanking everyone for their awesome suggestions.

Things I think you should do:

Park the car somewhere cheap or free (this is actually possible) and by a 3-day Fun Pass from the CTA
Go to the Field Museum and maybe Shedd Aquarium
Walk the beach front path between North Avenue and Fullerton
Go to the Lincoln Park Zoo
Go to Wicker Park and check out Myopic Books
Catch a show at iO
Go to the Harold Washington Library Center and marvel at how awesome it is, especially the 9th floor
posted by phunniemee at 4:30 PM on August 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

d'oh...buy a CTA pass, available at only a few train stations, but most grocery stores, Walgreens/CVS, and Currency Exchanges

links to Field, Shedd, and Zoo

Also in Wicker Park is this coffee shop called the Worm Hole that looks like it just opened up. There's no sign, but there is a DeLorean in the window. Their vanilla bean latte was delicious. It's not too far past Myopic and Reckless Records.
posted by phunniemee at 4:35 PM on August 7, 2010

Response by poster: Phunniemee - thanks. We'll have the car on Sun/tues and be outside of chicago - while in chicago, we'll have gotten rid of the car.
posted by filmgeek at 4:45 PM on August 7, 2010

Oh good, no car really is the best plan.

If you want to go to Chinatown, you should eat at Lao Sze Chuan. And order 3 Cup Chicken, Mongolian Lamb, and Spicy Pan Fried Pork.

Another great place is the Paramount Room. Good beer selection for you, good food for your fiance. If you go before 7pm you get the kobe burger and a pint for $1. I don't drink, so when we go my boyfriend lucks out and gets two. Whee.

This has officially turned into the PHUNNIEMEE ♥s CHICAGO thread. Apologies.
posted by phunniemee at 4:55 PM on August 7, 2010

Best answer: Outside Chicago: consider SW Michigan and its beach towns. We once stayed in a lovely house right on the beach just south of Grand Haven and had a fantastic time. My parents recently went to Saugatuck; ditto.
posted by onepot at 5:00 PM on August 7, 2010

Best answer: Ditto for SW Michigan. In fact, you don't have to go very far into Michigan to find all kinds of lovely relaxation. A few years ago, we stayed at the Pine Garth Inn and it was awesome. Beautiful grounds, nice rooms, yummy food, very homey, and the beach was great. (They also had the most wonderful chocolate and toffee fudge; the recipe is here.)
posted by DrGail at 5:12 PM on August 7, 2010

For your two hour drive, why not go to the Warren Dunes? They are in Michigan, but it's only a two hour drive, really. It's still pretty hot here (Chicago/midwest), so you can swim, but it does get a little cool around the lake at night so bring a sweatshirt. The beach there is much nicer and less crowded than anything you'd find in Chicago.

When you're in the city, yeah, definitely go to wicker park and check out Myopic books. While you're there, you might as well stop at Reckless Records and Quimby's. This is pretty much my standard Chicago recommendation, but it's a lot different from anything you'd see anywhere else.
posted by wayland at 5:26 PM on August 7, 2010

The Chicago Botanic Garden in glencoe is really nice.
posted by kylej at 5:32 PM on August 7, 2010

Walk around the Clark & Belmont area - actually, walk up Clark all the way to Wrigley Field. Lots of cool shops and restaurants in that area.
posted by SisterHavana at 5:45 PM on August 7, 2010

Best answer: Noting that you're interested in wildlife: Brookfield Zoo is pretty awesome, and they have a new bear habitat that is supposed to be state-of-the-art. Also see the Mexican wolf exhibit.

Which airport are you flying into? If Midway, that's an easy trip over to Michigan. But also consider Starved Rock for a little hiking and checking out the canyons.

Galena is pretty cool. Well worth the trip, IMO, but may be closer to 3-3 1/2 hours, depending on how fast you drive.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 5:46 PM on August 7, 2010

Outside Chicago: Indiana Dunes. It's just south of the city with, you guessed it, sand dunes along the beach
posted by astapasta24 at 6:23 PM on August 7, 2010

You mentioned book stores...

There are awesome book stores in Hyde Park (roughly 55th street and the lake). Powells, 57th street books. seminary coop.
posted by chicago2penn at 7:14 PM on August 7, 2010

Totally nth-in the Dunes in Indiana. If you don't drive, look into the South Shore train to get there. You can catch the train right downtown, and take it out that way.

You could also drive to downtown Valparaiso, IN. It's a nice little town with a cute downtown.

Also nth-ing Starved Rock. It's a couple hour drive, and beautiful and easy hiking.

(and if you want FANTASTIC deep dish here in the city, skip Lou Malnatti's and Uno and whatnot and go to Pequod's. Their deep dish is actually EDIBLE).
posted by bibliogrrl at 12:54 AM on August 8, 2010

Milwaukee is about 1.5 hour drive from Chicago. It's like a mini-Chicago. The Milwaukee Art Museum's architecture is fantastic. I think the whole building shutters itself like a big eyelash at sunset.
posted by Jason and Laszlo at 12:48 PM on August 8, 2010

The Chicago Botanic Garden in glencoe is really nice.

Seconding this.

Also, if conditions are right, seeing the skyline while driving into the Loop is pretty cool. Traffic conditions driving into the Loop can be hellish though.
posted by ZeusHumms at 6:38 AM on August 11, 2010

Response by poster: Starved rock was amazing. Uncle Fun? not great. Did Pequods for pizza (excellent) Paid for a $20 hotel upgrade to a penthouse suite (really nice!)
posted by filmgeek at 12:55 PM on September 7, 2010

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