Chicago - suggested places a visitor should see?

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    Aug 08, 2008 2:08 PM GMT
    Hey Chicago guys - It seems I'll be in your city for a long weekend next week. I've already had a few suggestions offered me for eating and drinking as well as sights. I can tell already this is not going to be a health trip as I get the feeling that I'll be eating a lot. So far I'm told I have to go to Portillo's, Giordano's and the Goose Island Wrigleyville Brew Pub as well.

    This will be my first time there and I was curious if any local guys had any other suggestions or things to check out in the city. I've only got a few days but I plan to get the most out of them. icon_lol.gif
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    Aug 08, 2008 3:17 PM GMT
    Art Institute of Chicago! Awesome Impressionist collection. Also see the different science museums.
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    Aug 08, 2008 3:24 PM GMT
    Cellblock, Steamworks, Chicago Eagle, Steamworks, Leather Archives Museum, Steamworks, Art Institute of Chicago, Steamworks, Lunch with Ophra, then Steamworks. I'm just sayin' if it were me, then again I only come there for International Mr. Lather and a few other BDSM & rubber events
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    Aug 08, 2008 3:27 PM GMT
    It's MARKET DAYS in Chicago! Definitely hit that up this weekend icon_smile.gif Market Days is tons of fun for sure...
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    Aug 08, 2008 3:34 PM GMT
    My partner and I were just there last weekend as tourists. The best thing we did was take the Architectural Boat Tour, 1.5 hours that was really interesting and provided a different perspective to the city. Everyone we spoke to recommended it and now I can too.

    We skipped the Art Institute for the Contemporary Art Museum, but I'd stick with the Art Institute unless you like Jeff Koons who has a large exhibit at the CA museum.

    The other really fun thing we did was attend Taj Mahal's birthday party at Hydrate, a bar in boytown. If you fancy a night out, then look for a party Taj is hosting. She's a lot of fun and is all over the place!

    Although very touristy, go to the top of the Sears Tower. The views are worth the wait if the day is clear!

    Hope you have fun. x
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    Aug 08, 2008 3:46 PM GMT
    museum of science and industry is my personal favorite, marketdays is a blast, not to be missed... air and water show is weekend after next, hollywood beach is very popular, um, i have a really good friend who does those architectural tours, lincoln park zoo is fabulous and free (and across the street from me)... seeing the city from a tour boat is unforgetable: the odyssey is a really fun cruise, oh boy there's so much to do here... yeah the bars are great and steamworks too, but is that what you really want? send me an email and i'll give you my number if you'd like to call! have a great time here!
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    Aug 08, 2008 6:06 PM GMT
    If you are going to be here next weekend (as it sounds) then you will miss Market Days. You will literally be unable to miss the Air & Water Show, however--at least the air part. The planes thunder overhead all over town. If you're driving at all, be aware that streets by the lake will be parking lots because of the show on Sat & Sun. CTA or cab are much better options anytime. Or just walk--you'll discover lots of cool things that way.

    Speaking of walking, just a stroll along North Michigan Ave is great, whether to shop or just sight seeing. If you go the the Art Institute (which I also hightly recommend--it's world class) then go across the street to Millenium Park. It's touristy but in a high class way, unlike Navy Pier which is pretty low class touristy (although the Ferris wheel does give you a great view of the city).

    You can't miss Chicago's great architecture as it's all around you. The boat tour mentioned above is definitely worth awhile. Reserve tickets ahead, tho, as trips do sell out on the weekends.

    I'm not sure about your eating recommendations. There certainly are much better places than the ones you were given but it all depends what you're looking for. There is no end to good restaurants and there are plenty of great ones, too, tho many of them will lighten your wallet in a hurry. Online you can check Metromix (part of Chic Tribune) for recommendations. Once in town Chicago Magazine, Time Out Chicago, or the Reader are good sources of restaurant listings and reviews.

    No one's mentioned theater yet but Chicago has it in abundance, everything from Broadway class (and look for discount ticket outlets) to storefront local companies. There are some decent gay productions, as well. The outlets listed above for restaurants will guide you to shows and lots of other stuff, too. And if you're staying at a hotel, don't forget your concierge especially for nearby restaurants.

    Conclusion: you will have a great time. You can't do it all. Therefore, you will want to come back! Enjoy!
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    Aug 08, 2008 9:10 PM GMT
    Thanks for the input everyone. To clarify, my visit is next weekend and not this one. I'm going to miss Market Days sadly. I'll just come prepared to be wowed by the Air and Water Show. The plan is to just walk and use public transport but thanks for the warning about driving . I'm staying with friends on the northside? I'm hearing Lincoln Park and Lakeview being mentioned if I remember what I've been told correctly.

    briboychicago the Odyssey cruise does look like it would be quite an experience!

    dkings56, I know the eating places mentioned aren't exactly 5 star dining but they are apparently unique to Chicago? I usually enjoy myself more in places that are a bit more simple or plain. I guess I'm not that fancy hehe. But you're right, I can't do it all. I plan on picking a few things to do and to relax and enjoy myself while doing them.

    So the list I've got so far to choose from for places to see and things to do:
    Art Institute of Chicago
    Museum of Science and Industry
    Lincoln Park Zoo
    Architectural Boat Tour
    Sears Tower
    Millenium Park
    Navy Pier
    Chicago Theater

    And some of the gay places to check out:
    Taj Mahal - performer
    Hydrate - bar
    Eagle - bar
    Steamworks - just learned this isn't a bar...hehe...leaving it up but I won't be going lol

    Some of these I've been reading about but this gives em a lot more to check out. Thanks!
  • shoelessj

    Posts: 511

    Aug 11, 2008 4:23 PM GMT
    As far as general tips and advice, don't rely on the CTA much. The trains have construction zones and slow zones and the buses move slowly and there aren't enough of them. Use it, but be prepared to be frustrated when you have to wait a while for a bus or train or when one comes and it is full of people. (yeah, we love to hate it)

    The good news though, if you're going to be staying on the North Side/Lincoln Park, is that alot of what you'll want to see and experience are within walking distance or just a short cab ride away. The air (who wants to see the water part, really?) show starts on friday (through sunday), and one thing i really enjoy, when i have that day off, is just hanging out on the North Side/Boystown, at an outdoor table at a coffee place and seeing and hearing the planes go by overhead and make the whole neighborhood shake!

    If you like Thai, Korean, Vietnamese food, Chicago has it in abundance. From neighborhood gay-friendly thai places like joy's noodle on broadway across from the gay-ish caribou in boystown, to korean place jin ju in andersonville (another gay 'hood, but a bit older, quieter and more lesbian-ish), to a bunch of places on argyle street, right off the argyle CTA station (and blocks away from andersonville).

    I like the suggestion to have lunch with oprah, too. Me and her, we got a regular standing monday lunch date, though i break it sometimes to hang with nate dreamy berkus or kanye west. ;)

    The architectural boat tour is a great idea too, not just for the tourist aspect, but also just taking a boat tour on the river is a great way to see downtown and august in chicago is usually pretty steamy and that's a nice way to get some cool river breezes. If it rains (or doesn't) and you're near michigan avenue, i'd also recommend getting a drink or two at the bar on the 95th floor of the hancock building. this way you don't do just the plain old, go up to the top of a tall building and look out the windows and leave, but instead you get to enjoy a 95th floor view, but also with a cocktail or two, which cannot be beat.

    If you like theater, check out the Theatre on the Lake, a quasi-outdoor theatre right on the beach in lincoln park. they put on one week runs of shows that have been critically acclaimed in chicago the previous year. And i also recommend getting a copy of Time Out for listings of almost everything you'd want to see.

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    Aug 13, 2008 1:46 PM GMT
    Thanks for your input as well Shoeless! Someone else told me the same thing about the Hancock Building. I would have lunch with Oprah but I just can't fit her into my busy schedule this weekend. Maybe next trip! icon_wink.gif

    I'm looking forward to the trip and being told I talk funny every time I say "y'all!" Hehe