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Chicago Travel Ideas
#1
I'm planning a trip to Chicago for a birthday getaway. Not wanting to miss anything great but outside of the travel guides, what do you guys think would be worth my time? Looking for food and activity type things while there. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

ETA: Oh and bars!
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#2
Eat every meal that isn't breakfast here:
http://www.kumascorner.com/

Eat breakfast here (The pancakes might as well be a dessert):
http://maps.google.com/maps/place?hl...41388973735322


Get to both places early or be prepared to wait.
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#3
Quote:

Originally Posted by Raspberry Leper
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Eat every meal that isn't breakfast here:
http://www.kumascorner.com/

I think I'm in love.
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#4
Went there a few years ago for a week. Amazing city, loved every second of it.

Food recommendations:

For a good downtown semi-fancy meal, The Gage. Save room for the french toast dessert. Trust me.

Best breakfast place: Orange. It's amazing enough to not put one of Chicago's wonderful diner's in its place.

Check out the Gene Siskel theater, but if you go around the Wrigleyville area at all (and I suggest you do) check out the Music Box. Great theater.
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#5
Chicago is a great city that can offer many things to different people. Care to help us whittle it down? Otherwise I'm gonna just be throwing things at a dartboard.
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#6
If you're a baseball fan, you have to go to a game at Wrigley. If you're not a baseball fan, what are you, some kind of nancylad?
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#7
Yeah, I was hoping to see the Cubs while I was there, but they'll be in Texas(I believe) at the time.

Mainly I don't need any help when it comes to museums and things like that. I would like it if I could find some cool cultural attractions off the beaten path.
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#8
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Originally Posted by Parker
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Check out the Gene Siskel theater, but if you go around the Wrigleyville area at all (and I suggest you do) check out the Music Box. Great theater.

I'm definitely going to find out what is showing there on that weekend.
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#9
Quote:

Originally Posted by Raspberry Leper
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Eat every meal that isn't breakfast here:
http://www.kumascorner.com/

THIS, THIS, THIS!

For beer, I liked the Hopleaf on Clark. They had a pretty nice selection and decent food from what I remember (admittedly not much).
http://hopleaf.com/

Superdawg was fun when I went there too.
http://superdawg.com/

You can also go cheer against The White Sox, that's always a good time.
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#10
The Music Box is a very cool theater. One of the only left in the city that bothers to run midnite shows. Gene Siskel caters to the more foreign cinema crowd, but worth looking into.

Kuma's Corner does have great food but the wait can take forever during peak hours. Someone I talked to was complaining how its gone downhill but I haven't been there in about a year. Another very famous local place with insane lines is Hot Doug's, a gourmet sausage joint. The duck fat fries are a bit of a gimmick but the encased meats are worth the wait. Been there once and had a smoked venison sausage with truffle butter and fois gras. Completely decadent. The hours suck tho.

Longman & Eagle just opened to great reviews. Its a hotel, bar & restaurant in Logan Square. So if you're looking for an off the beaten path place to stay, that's a good bet. The Logan theater in that neighborhood shows 2nd run films at a discount. Friendship Chinese is up in Logan too. Normally I'd stay away from Chinese food (outside of Chinatown) if you're in an Asian mood (I'd stick with sushi or Korean BBQ instead,) but that place is tasty and has a great dining room.

I'd have to recommend the Mexican food while you're in town since it is ubiquitous and generally great. Big Star in Wicker Park has some of the best tacos I've ever had (they should be, the menu was designed by a celeb chef) and a pretty extensive whiskey collection. But for the best cheap eats in the city, it's hard to top La Pasadita's carne asada tacos. I live right by there and for a while I was stopping in once a week. My gut is probably 60% taco.

If you find yourself downtown go see the bean in Milennium Park. The Art Institute is near there. Also check out Upper Wacker (It's where they filmed a lot of Batman Begins and Dark Knight, and it's near the buildings on the cover of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.) Plus it is quite scenic at night. Close by are The House of Blues and a bunch of famous Chicago steak houses. Rick Bayless' very expensive, prix fixe Mexican restaurants are near there also.
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#11
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Originally Posted by Pop Zeus
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If you find yourself downtown go see the bean in Milennium Park. The Art Institute is near there. Also check out Upper Wacker (It's where they filmed a lot of Batman Begins and Dark Knight, and it's near the buildings on the cover of Wilco's Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.)

I went to a record store in Chicago the first day I was there. I found a copy of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (this was before it had been re-released) and picked it up.

When we went back to our hotel, we realized the buildings were right across the street from where we were staying.

Then we went to the movies and saw The Dark Knight. We realized that the scenes with Wayne industries (including his pent house) were filmed in our hotel!
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#12
What I believe to be the best Messican food in Chicago.

Best cinnamon rolls.

My favorite breakfast place.

Before you fly in, check out metromix.com and look into what events / festivals are going on that weekend. They tend to have a pretty good list.
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#13
I have to try that Mexican food, Closer. Looks like some tasty shit.

Parker, that area is so nice that it fools the general public into thinking that most of the city is that scenic, when in fact most of the city looks more like High Fidelity.
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#14
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Originally Posted by Pop Zeus
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I have to try that Mexican food, Closer. Looks like some tasty shit.

The tacos orientales are probably the closest thing on this planet to pure perfection.

Its mexican with some lebanese fusion thrown in there. They cook the pork and onions like they do gyro meat.

God damn, I gotta get some this weekend now.
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#15
Kumas is cool but the line is usually out the door. If you're deadset on checking it out try and swing by at off times. An early dinner or late lunch.

As far as bars go I'd recommend Club Foot or Exit. Both are a nice balance of local flavor with over the top atmosphere. Both are also a short cab ride away from downtown. Do you know where you're staying yet? In the Loop or with friends?

Downtown is cool but depending on what you're into there may not be much to offer. Most of the cooler shops/venues/bars are located on the North side.

Hot Dogs you want to do Wiener Circle on Clark St. Everyone will tell you Hot Dougs but fuck that place. Too long a line for average hot dogs, also a bit off the beaten path. Wiener Circle is in a more centralized location and I feel is a more accurate depiction of Chicago. If you do go to Hot Dougs go on a Friday, that's when they have french fries cooked in duck fat. They're supposed to be pretty good.
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#16
I second the vote for the Wiener's Circle. Worth your time if you want a Chicago Hot Dog.
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#17
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Originally Posted by Jack Frost 2112
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As far as bars go I'd recommend Club Foot or Exit.

Was just at Club Foot last night. For the most part I dig the crowd there. Fairly unpretentious, as far as Wicker Park/Ukie Village bars go.
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#18
PIZZA: GIORDANO'S. The Chicago style is legendary. I ate at the Rosemont restaurant. It's a ton of food. Hungry as we were, we ended up taking half the pizza with us, eating it over two days.

AI has the museum of fine arts downtown, which is totally worth it if you're into that sort of thing. I am and could've spent all day looking at original Degas's, Hals's, Rembrandt's, etc.
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#19
There's also a bad ass record store (Dave's Records) that only carries vinyl a few store fronts away from Wiener Circle. I picked up the Dolemite soundtrack last time I was there.
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#20
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Originally Posted by JetManX
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PIZZA: GIORDANO'S. The Chicago style is legendary. I ate at the Rosemont restaurant. It's a ton of food. Hungry as we were, we ended up taking half the pizza with us, eating it over two days.

Giordano's is pretty decent. I suppose it's not a specialty to me because there's one right by my office and they always buy a few pies for our monthly office parties. Then again, I'm still a thin crust guy and always will be. Too much fucking dough in most deep dish pizzas, IMO. In fact, most of the new pizzarias on the north side are thin crust/neopolitan in style, usually cooked in a wood or coal fired oven. Best deep dish that I've had in Chicago is Pequod's. No crust. They bake the cheese all the way to the edge of the pan!
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#21
Yeah, on the flight home from Chicago this last time I went, they mentioned the top 5 places to eat Chicago pizza in Chicago and Giordano's wasn't even mentioned. Not sure why. I remember the Food Network naming it number one 2 - 3 years ago. And I still think it's ridiculously good, epecially since there's only Domino's, Pizza Hut, Little Caesar's, etc. where I live.
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#22
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Originally Posted by Pop Zeus
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If you find yourself downtown go see the bean in Milennium Park.

And make sure you walk under it and look up. If you do drugs, do them before you walk under it.
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#23
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Originally Posted by Nexus-7
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And make sure you walk under it and look up. If you do drugs, do them before you walk under it.

If you do drugs look me up, I'll have you covered.
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#24
Quote:

Originally Posted by JetManX
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PIZZA: GIORDANO'S. The Chicago style is legendary. I ate at the Rosemont restaurant. It's a ton of food. Hungry as we were, we ended up taking half the pizza with us, eating it over two days.

Gino's East has a similar pizza, but it absolutely KILLS Giordano's in the crust department. It has a crispy, crumbly crust that can't be beat.
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#25
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Frost 2112
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If you do drugs look me up, I'll have you covered.

Awesome.

I'm going to be finalizing plans within the next week, so if any of you have any further suggestions then please share. Also, if any of you are in the city that weekend I'll be getting a drink or eight on Friday and Saturday. It would be cool to meet some chewers IRL.
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#26
It's slightly out of the way if you're staying downtown, and I can't attest to their actual meals (although they looked decent), but we stopped at Hot Chocolate a couple of years ago, and the desserts and, naturally, hot chocolate drinks are amazing.

I had the Black and Tan, which is 1/3 hot fudge, 2/3 medium hot chocolate with a giant homemade marshmallow on top - it was absurdly rich and probably the best hot chocolate I've ever had. A little bit of a splurge for a non-alcoholic drink, but so worth it.
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#27
Quote:

Originally Posted by Jack Frost 2112
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Exit. Both are a nice balance of local flavor with over the top atmosphere. Both are also a short cab ride away from downtown.

Personally, I love Exit, but I think it would be good to note that they only play industrial/heavy dance music(at least the last time I was there). If you aren't a fan of goth guys and girls wearing spiked collers, pale skin, and bondage, might not be the best place.

I like going there wearing khakis and a polo to help balance out the leather and generally dark clothing. Funny cause people end up staring at the normal looking person as they don't expect anyone in there to be wearing something other than what you would see in NIN, Marilyn Manson, Ministry video( even though I am a fan of NIN and Ministry). Plus, if you want to go to a "normal" club after/before, you are already dressed for it.
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#28
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Originally Posted by Pop Zeus
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Giordano's is pretty decent.

Not a big fan of Girodano's. You have a better chance of getting a good pizza going to locally run place(only one or two locations). Giordano's is a little too much of a franchise, and I think you'll find more interesting and better tasting pizza staying away from what they usually show on The Food Network or Travel Channel, though we did find a place that sells the worlds largest pizza puff from watching the Travel Channel, but they only have one location that I know of.
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#29
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Originally Posted by RCA
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Not a big fan of Girodano's. You have a better chance of getting a good pizza going to locally run place(only one or two locations). Giordano's is a little too much of a franchise, and I think you'll find more interesting and better tasting pizza staying away from what they usually show on The Food Network or Travel Channel, though we did find a place that sells the worlds largest pizza puff from watching the Travel Channel, but they only have one location that I know of.

Y'know, I go on to recommend a local pizzaria if you read my whole post.
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#30
Music Box Theater. http://www.musicboxtheatre.com/
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#31
http://chicagozombie.com/2010/04/ter...ndead-by-dawn/

Anybody been to one of these guys film festivals?
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#32
I'll fourth (fifth? couldn't keep track of how many) the love for the Music Box. Definitely worth going down there. Facets Cinematheque isn't but a ten minute drive from there and also shows some quality films.
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#33
Headed here next month. Any hotel recommendations? Specific names are great (of course), but just general neighborhood tips are cool too. Naturally, some of the cheapest options are around the airports and 'burbs -- so if there are any worth staying in, let me know. We're hoping to take public transit around, if that helps. Thanks, Chewers.
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#34
Here's a nugget of advice: pack a good umbrella. It's been thunderstorming a lot in June for some reason. Seriously, 2 days this week, no thunderstorms.

I really don't know of any great hotels since I have no use for them. But the Congress which is located right across from Grant Park is pretty cheap. And its a total dump too, but location.
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#35
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Originally Posted by The Closer
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I just want to thank you for this one. Stuff was fantastic.
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