fun teen chicago outing
March 23, 2013 10:46 PM   Subscribe

I have a few 14 year old suburban girls to escort on a fun day into the city of Chicago. Looking for a mild adventure, but I am somewhat new to the area. If we were back in the DC area, I might take them by metro up to GWU for a tour and lunch, then walk down to Georgetown for some shopping and then walk down to the river and take a boat back to Alexandria, seeing a few highlights along the way. Anything similar we could do for a day in Chicago? Wicker park? We can come in on the UP-NW Metra.
posted by southeastyetagain to Travel & Transportation (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If you go into the city by Metra, there is a river taxi docking point right by your station. You can use that for a cheap (I think fares are about $3) river cruise as you get past the commercial district to more teen-friendly stuff. You could go all the way around the bend to the Wrigley Building, and then go north on Michigan Avenue or south on State Street for shopping (high-end on the former, a bit more reasonable on the latter). If you go south, you can also go to Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and/or the Art Institute, which are all within blocks of each other. You could get lunch anywhere along this route. When your done, assuming you end up somewhere near Millennium Park, you can walk the mile west back to your train station or grab a cab. Have fun!

Do not go to Navy Pier.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 5:57 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

If you're looking for slightly less mainstream shopping than the Magnificent Mile and a cool neighborhood outside of the loop, wicker park is a pretty good bet.
posted by steinwald at 6:24 AM on March 24, 2013

I would have loved the Chicago cultural center as a 14 year old! The Lakewood neighborhood (Belmont stop off the red line) would have fasinated me too. Hollywood mirror and rag stop make for some awesome shopping and they are just a block east of the el stop.
posted by missriss89 at 7:05 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Walking up Clark from Belmont, you'll also pass the Alley (think Hot Topic but it's been around since the 80s), Chicago Comics, lots of other stores and restaurants (try Pick Me Up), and then more and more awful bars until you get to Wrigley Field and its surrounding sports souvenir stores and the Addison el stop. It's a pretty dense half mine walk.
posted by hydrophonic at 7:18 AM on March 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think missris89 means Lakeview, not Lakewood, and yes, it's a great neighborhood, and so are Wicker Park and the adjacent Bucktown.
posted by walla at 7:26 AM on March 24, 2013

It really depends on what they are interested in.

The Chicago Museum campus is pretty cool. There are free days for Illinois residents at the various museums. The Lincoln Park Zoo is also a nice free medium sized zoo. There is also a large botanical conservatory right next to the zoo.

The neighbourhoods are interesting to explore and shop in. I find East Lakeview to be restaurant heavy but shopping light. Halstead near De Paul (Fullerton stop) has lots of shops for woman’s clothing. Artisan doughnuts from Glazed and Infused are nearby as is Floriole cafe. Bucktown/Wicker Park is probably the densest area for things I find interesting and I love the views of downtown that you get on the diagonal streets. It's an interesting mix of hipster gentrification and pre-gentrification.

I think the L is a key part of a Chicago visit so I suggest passes and hop from neighbourhood to neighbourhood.
posted by srboisvert at 7:55 AM on March 24, 2013

And yes, the Cultural Center is a great building to explore. Shawn Decker's Prairie, is really great, and large, sound installation on the top floor.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:14 AM on March 24, 2013

I think they would really like Wicker Park. It has that hip, urban feeling with lots of one-of-a-kind shops and restaurants that teens would probably think is cool. Depending on how much you want to walk, you could also do some shopping on North Ave. up to the Armitage boutiques in Lincoln Park, then walk over to the park/zoo (on the way you could stop at the great, free DePaul Art Museum which only takes about 30 mins) and have a picnic in the park or lakefront. A comedy/improv show would be a great idea too.
posted by theuninvitedguest at 10:37 AM on March 24, 2013 [3 favorites]

There's comedy and improv going on most nights. Improv standards are the IO or the Playground. Comedy depends more on the night of the week, but could be Lincoln Lodge, or Chemically Imbalanced that won't have a problem getting teens in.
posted by garlic at 8:28 AM on March 26, 2013

Might I take a moment to plug women's roller derby? We're all about being family-friendly and there's a bout on Saturday. Plus, it's right off the blue line-- a straight shot from downtown.
posted by eamondaly at 6:37 PM on March 26, 2013

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