Don't even tell me to see a White Sox game.
July 10, 2006 6:43 PM   Subscribe

What should I not miss in Chicago while I am there for 2 weeks?

I am going to be in Chicago for 2 weeks for a workshop at the School of the Art Institute starting on Saturday. It has been 8 years since I have been to Chicago. I will have a bit of free time while there. What should I not miss while I am there? I will have about 5 hours on Saturday with nothing to do. The other times I will be busy with the workshop for most days but evenings and weekends are free. I am a pretty simple gal. I like baseball, good bookstores/cd stores, power pop, yummy food and art.
I have seen the other Chicago questions but I was hoping there there might be something FANTASTIC going on this month.
posted by nimsey lou to Travel & Transportation around Chicago, IL (31 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Wrigley Field rules.
posted by shallowcenter at 6:47 PM on July 10, 2006

Check out the Mayor's Office of Special Events.

I'm not exactly sure if you're going to be here on July 29, but that's Venetian Night. Also, there are fun weekly fireworks from Navy Pier (Wednesday nights). Feel free to contact me if you need any directions, have traffic questions, or need any advice whatsoever. Email's in profile.
posted by MeetMegan at 6:53 PM on July 10, 2006

The downtown library has a really nice atrium on the top floor that is a great place to have a sandwich, read or just sit and think. If you're in the loop area, it's a little oasis while you plan your next move.
posted by jessamyn at 6:56 PM on July 10, 2006

Head a bit further south on the Red Line to 35th and you can watch a baseball team that wins.

See a concert at the new bandshell in Millennium Park.

Eat ribs at the Twin Anchors on Sedgwick.

See a film at the Music Box.

I've been out of town for a while, but you might check to see if the Empty Bottle still has a free jazz showcase. If you can catch Ken Vandermark, you're in for a treat.

Also, Lazo's Tacos on N Western is not to be missed. Go on a weekend after 10pm for one of the most interesting scenes in town.

God, I miss Chicago. Have fun!
posted by felix betachat at 6:59 PM on July 10, 2006 [1 favorite]

Devon Street (Indian/Pakistani neighborhood)

Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie House

Second City

Breakfast at the Bongo Room in Wicker Park

Fries at the Weiner's Circle in Lincoln Park
posted by kdern at 7:00 PM on July 10, 2006

Also - keep your eyes open for a Mountain Goats or Wilco concert!
posted by kdern at 7:00 PM on July 10, 2006

Which reminds me, kdern...

Go see Kelly Hogan sing at the Hideout.
posted by felix betachat at 7:02 PM on July 10, 2006

Go to a taping of Wait, Wait... Don't Tell Me. I think it's taped in Chicago every Thursday.
posted by daviss at 7:21 PM on July 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks!!
I forgot about the Robie House being in Chicago. It was closed when I went by all those years ago.
The photos of the food on Devon Street looks way to good.
Band suggestions are always welcome.

Felix... all good suggestions. I will be looking up those tacos, music and movies... however, I am a die hard Astros fan and I can bring myself to go see the sox. (hence my title).

I love Wait... Wait!
posted by nimsey lou at 7:28 PM on July 10, 2006

If you see one thing in Chicago, only one thing at all, it should be a show at Buddy Guy's Legends. Chicago is a great town, with lots to see and do, but what it does best of all is blues. A day game at Wrigley is a close second, but this isn't the Cub's year.
posted by caddis at 7:33 PM on July 10, 2006

I was going to post a similar question myself - I'll be in Chicago the last weekend in July for the Pitchfork Music Festival. Passes are pretty cheap, so if there are any bands that interest you, you could catch a few shows essentially for the price of one.
posted by boomchicka at 7:34 PM on July 10, 2006

a good resource: Chicago Landmarks website

Good used book stores in Hyde Park (near Univ of Chicago and Robie House)

Art Institute of Chicago - one of the great American collections of European and American art (n.b. Caillebotte's "Paris Street; Rainy Day, 1877"

Wicker Park area has good funky/alternative/groovy shops, galleries and places to eat but it's rapidly becoming SoHo-ized

Mies van der Rohe's 860-880 Lake Shore Drive Apartment Buildings.
posted by Toolshed at 7:54 PM on July 10, 2006

The Museum of Contemporary Art would be a good place to go.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:04 PM on July 10, 2006

If you're interested in seeing a farmers market -- maybe picking up a basket of raspberries or a bit of cheese -- you can hit the Green City Market on Wednesdays or Saturdays.

If you want some good Thai food that's different from the run-of-the-mill stuff, go to either Sticky Rice (4018 N. Western Ave.) or TAC Quick (3930 N. Sheridan Rd.) and ask for the translated menu (translated from Thai into English).

If you're in the Lake View neighborhood, Unabridged Bookstore (3251 N Broadway) is a great place. Up the street is Intelligentsia Coffee (3123 N. Broadway).

I could go on and on . . . I'm in Chicago for a few months myself after a bit away. I missed it like hell and am having a great time rediscovering it. E-mail is in the profile if I can help out in any way.
posted by veggieboy at 8:19 PM on July 10, 2006

Kingston Mines.

A trip to the visitors gallery of the Chicago Merc or Board of Trade if they are open still.

Wrigley Field even though the south siders are a better baseball team. Wrigley is a much better party.

The Zoo. Lincoln Park zoo is a great place on a Saturday morning.

A stroll along the lakefront from Diversey south to the museums.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 8:24 PM on July 10, 2006

Definitely go to a Cubs game...or at least wander around Wrigleyville. It's such a fun area!
posted by SisterHavana at 8:31 PM on July 10, 2006

All my suggestions from this thread still apply and cover art and eats pretty well.

As for bookstores, the Hyde Park neighborhood is a mecca of sorts, with 57 St. Books and the related Seminary Co-Op Bookstore, as well as the ancestral Powell's, and the ever curmudgenly O'Gara's.

Post about where you'll be staying and I'll try to come up with a little more.
posted by j-dawg at 8:48 PM on July 10, 2006

Empty Bottle calender -- they're still booking jazz but the weekly shows have moved to the Hideout. The Empty Bottle often has free Monday night rock shows
Hideout calender -- no Kelly Hogan, dang

The Chicago Reader should keep you up to date on what's happening. Look for street festivals, free movies in Grant Park on Tuesdays (it'll be crowded, and you won't see much of the movie, but it's fun), Summerdance, and the Gay Games, and pack a bottle of wine and a picnic dinner and go to Ravinia.

And eat at Flo, IrazĂș, Lula Cafe, and Hema's Kitchen.
posted by hydrophonic at 8:48 PM on July 10, 2006

Millenium Park - right next to the Art Institute, which is not to be missed! By the way, there is a restaurant at the Art Institute that is quite gourmet, if you can squeeze in a lunch. Plus, I note they have Thurs night jazz and Fri night live from Memorial Day to Labor Day - may be worth exploring.

I second Buddy Guy's and the MCA as musts. Rosa's Lounge is also a great & very friendly blues club, but be alert that the surrounding neighborhood is a bit dicey.
posted by madamjujujive at 9:08 PM on July 10, 2006

Women and Children First at 5233 N Clark is a wonderful feminist bookstore. Seconding the Music Box theater--they run a film of clouds across the ceiling in the main auditorium and you almost don't want to pay attention to what's on screen. Check the Reader or Time Out Chicago for fringe and storefront theater listings--the city has some of the best.
posted by brujita at 10:06 PM on July 10, 2006

Jane Addams' Hull House on the UIC campus if you like history.
posted by brujita at 10:08 PM on July 10, 2006

Ah, the Pitchfork Music Festival! I have a couple of tickets for the Saturday, July 29th show that I'm not using. (Long story...bought them, then realized that I'm going to be on the road all summer...) My mother is supposed to be selling them on craigslist for me, but I doubt she's done it yet.

So...nimsey lou...because I feel so badly about the ignominous end of Roger Clemens's career (it is over, isn't it?), and the spanking your 'stros took in the series...the tickets are yours if you want 'em.

Email's in my profile.
posted by felix betachat at 10:39 PM on July 10, 2006

Giordano's Pizza. BRING ME BACK SOME.
posted by robbie01 at 11:07 PM on July 10, 2006

A hot dog, Chicago style, with everything, including the celery salt.
posted by solid-one-love at 11:11 PM on July 10, 2006

I think the Field Museum is pretty awesome. I went a couple years ago and got a big kick out of Sue.
posted by radioamy at 11:18 PM on July 10, 2006

Response by poster: Thanks to all!! I don't think I will be bored. I will be staying at the residence hall for the School of the Art Institute of Chicago!

Felix... Thanks, I will be emailing you! I will be there on the 29th but not the 30th. And Roger has comeback for 1 more year. The man just won't stop pitching.
posted by nimsey lou at 5:02 AM on July 11, 2006

Hungry? Don't miss The Billygoat...Cheezbugha, Cheezbugha, Cheezbugha, cheeps, Coke. No Pepsi!
posted by Gungho at 5:26 AM on July 11, 2006

Definitely take the architecture boat tour, it's one of my favorite chicago things to do when the weather is nice.

And I completely agree with the person who told you to have breakfast/brunch at the Bongo Room, it's around the corner from where I used to live and the pancakes are amazing (especially because you can get one of each kind instead of the whole stack if you want).

Also, forget Giordano's or Uno's, if you want REALLY good pizza, go to Piece on North Ave in Wicker Park (for New Haven style thin crust) and O'Fame on Webster in Lincoln Park (for deep dish or thin crust)
posted by echo0720 at 7:03 AM on July 11, 2006

Hot Doug's - it's the The Sausage Superstore and Encased Meat Emporium - need I say more?

Intelligentsia Roasting Works Tours are cheap ($7), fun, and you get to take home a 1/2 lb of coffee that you watched get roasted.
posted by misskaz at 7:11 AM on July 11, 2006

The AIC residence hall is in the same building as the Gene Siskel Film Center. They run artsy movies virtually nonstop, and tickets are only $4 for students. Also next door is Channel 7's new street-front studio. That's entertaining for about five minutes. Be warned, if you stand there dumbly watching the anchors while I'm trying to get to my train, I'm liable to run you down.

Also, the Stro's will be playing the Cubs July 18-20, if you're in town then.

Oh, and the perennial pizza debate. Lou Malnati's is my pitch. God I love that pizza.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 7:29 AM on July 11, 2006

With the Gay Games being in town starting Saturday, remember that getting anywhere in the downtown/North Side area will take longer than you anticipate.

The King Tut Exhibit is at the Field Museum. I will be going to see that myself on Sunday.

Do you like softball? (Not 16-inch, which is cool and synonymous with Chicago, but fastpitch?) If so, you might be interested in checking out Chicago's professional fastpitch team, the Chicago Bandits.

A couple of good blogs to check out: chicagoist, chicago bean and chicagotips.
posted by SuperSquirrel at 9:43 AM on July 11, 2006

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