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Exploring Chicago... Advice Please!  
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2448 posts, RR: 23
Posted (4 years 2 weeks 4 hours ago) and read 2501 times:

Hello There:

On Friday for the first time, I will be taking a day trip to the city of Chicago. I will be flying on WN meaning I would be arriving at MDW, and would like to know the best way to travel from the airport to the city its self. Ive heard getting around Chicago is pretty easy, maybe even easier then around NYC and I look forward to exploring what Chicago has to offer. I would also like to know the best places to visit as well as do some last minute Christmas shopping as well ( Chicago's "Magnificent" Mile Maybe? ) Although I should have posted this a week ago, I would appreciate any advice one has to offer on this mini adventure for the day.


One last note, what is the ideal time in returning back to MDW, either by Train or taxi? I was thinking maybe 2hrs, but I am not sure how long it takes to get from MDW to the city by road.


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
50 replies: All unread, showing first 25:
 
User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 1, posted (4 years 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2485 times:

I would take the "L" train downtown from MDW. It's only about a 30 minute ride and the terminal is at MDW.

It sounds like you want to go shopping. I would start at Macy's (formerly Marshall Field's) on State Street then walk north to Wacker drive (a few blocks) hang a right and go 2 more blocks to Michigan Av. Then go north a few blocks to the "magnificent mile". You'll know you are there by the water tower and John Hancock building.
You can spend an entire day just doing this. If you want a scenic view you can go to the top of the John Hancock center.
If you like deep dish Pizza, Gino's and the Original Pizzaria Uno are just a couple of blocks off of Michigan Ave.

And dress very warmly. Chicago is very, very cold this time of the year!


User currently offlineflanker From United States of America, joined Aug 2005, 1661 posts, RR: 2
Reply 2, posted (4 years 2 weeks 1 hour ago) and read 2483 times:

Quoting SXDFC (Thread starter):
I would appreciate any advice one has to offer on this mini adventure for the day.

Stay away from Englewood



Calling an illegal alien an 'undocumented immigrant' is like calling a drug dealer an unlicensed pharmacist
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40076 posts, RR: 74
Reply 3, posted (4 years 2 weeks ago) and read 2473 times:

Ditto what type-rated said.

You picked a great time to visit Chicago.
I'm not much of a shopper but I love Michigan avenue at Christmas time.
Lots of Christmas decorations, music, snow and I love the over all Christmas spirit, especially downtown Chicago.
Do dress warm as it will be cold.
I'd also recommend eating at Giordano's pizza!   
Chicago has the best pizza in the world and is best with lots of meat & cheese.
Can't beat a Chicago deep-dish with a pitcher of beer, especially when it's below freezing outside.
Any Giordanos will do but I prefer the one on Ontario street. It's at the north end of Michigan avenue.
(few blocks east of red line Grand station)

Also check out Rush street for the bars and the bars in Wicker Park are cool because they have live music.
(take the CTA blue line to Damen station)



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlinelhr380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 4, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 23 hours ago) and read 2468 times:

Will save this thread as I was going to post one myself in a few months for my June trip to ORD.

User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40076 posts, RR: 74
Reply 5, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2464 times:

I also forgot to mention the observation deck at the John Hancock Building. The one at the Sears Tower is neat too but they make you sit through a lame 20 minute video presentation before going up.
The John Hancock is almost right on Lake Michigan and even has an outdoor deck.

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 4):
Will save this thread as I was going to post one myself in a few months for my June trip to ORD.

In that case, the weather will be warm and there will be a lot of outdoor activities at the lake front. You can rent bicycles or roller blades and ride the entire Chicago shoreline on the bike path.
There is also out door live music at Millennium Park.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlinelhr380 From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 6, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 22 hours ago) and read 2461 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
In that case, the weather will be warm and there will be a lot of outdoor activities at the lake front. You can rent bicycles or roller blades and ride the entire Chicago shoreline on the bike path.

Im thinking 2 nights before my Empire Builder Train. So plenty of time to enjoy the city..


User currently offlineN776AU From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 771 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2430 times:

Quote:
would take the "L" train downtown from MDW. It's only about a 30 minute ride and the terminal is at MDW.

Yeah, CTA is really easy. One day passes are pretty cheap ($7 I think?), and good for unlimited rides. Very easy. You can even order online.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
I'd also recommend eating at Giordano's pizza!
Chicago has the best pizza in the world and is best with lots of meat & cheese.

Without a doubt the best pizza ever
http://a.imageshack.us/img714/1772/83pizza.jpg

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Any Giordanos will do but I prefer the one on Ontario street. It's at the north end of Michigan avenue.

Never been to that one, but I know the one just west of the Quincy Station near the Sears Tower is very good.

Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
The one at the Sears Tower is neat too but they make you sit through a lame 20 minute video presentation before going up.

Yeah, it is pretty lame, but the glass ledge they have up there is pretty awesome.
http://a.imageshack.us/img697/1973/97straightdown.jpg



Careful, Doors Are Closing And Will Not Reopen. Please Wait For The Next Train
User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6678 posts, RR: 6
Reply 8, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2426 times:
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Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
I'd also recommend eating at Giordano's pizza!

Oh please... Gino's East all the way!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Also check out Rush street for the bars

The "Viagra Triangle" you mean? Hmm no.. skip that!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Wicker Park are cool because they have live music.

Much better suggestion - good restaurants, and a more "local" crowd. If bars is what you seek, there is Lincoln Park, the bars along Clark Street (kitty corner from Wrigley field).



Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40076 posts, RR: 74
Reply 9, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2425 times:

Quoting lhr380 (Reply 6):
Im thinking 2 nights before my Empire Builder Train. So plenty of time to enjoy the city..

Sounds like a great trip!  
We look forward to reading your non-aviation trip report.  
Quoting N776AU (Reply 7):
Without a doubt the best pizza ever

That's it!
I need to cough up several million baht to get a Giordano's franchise opened up here in Bangkok!
I am going through my fatty American food withdrawals right about now and feel the need for a Chicago deep-dish with extra cheese, Italian sausage, peperoni, salami, mushrooms, bell peppers, black olives & Canadian bacon bits.   

Quoting N776AU (Reply 7):
Never been to that one, but I know the one just west of the Quincy Station near the Sears Tower is very good.

I've been to that one as well.

Quoting N776AU (Reply 7):
Yeah, it is pretty lame, but the glass ledge they have up there is pretty awesome.

I totally forgot about that new addition to the Sears Tower.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineSXDFC From United States of America, joined Dec 2007, 2448 posts, RR: 23
Reply 10, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 18 hours ago) and read 2421 times:

Thanks for the advice, where are some good places to go to for breakfast and such? Ill be getting into MDW at 8:45AM . Also what about going back to MDW, what train would I take to get there?


ALL views, opinions expressed are mine ONLY and are NOT representative of those shared by Southwest Airlines Co.
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6372 posts, RR: 9
Reply 11, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2412 times:

Don't be fooled by my Namibian flag - born and raised in Namibia, but to parents from Chicago (well, Berwyn), so I know Chicago very very well, as all my family (including, now, my mom once again) live in Chicagoland.

Quoting SXDFC (Thread starter):
maybe even easier then around NYC

Well, it helps that people in Chicago are actually nice  
Quoting flanker (Reply 2):
Stay away from Englewood

No way, you can score some great crack there!

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
Chicago has the best pizza in the world
Quoting Superfly (Reply 5):
The John Hancock is almost right on Lake Michigan and even has an outdoor deck.

I knew I liked you, Superfly...you are dead on balls accurate for both of these! I take everyone to the Hancock Tower rather than the Sears.

Quoting N776AU (Reply 7):
You can even order online.

No need, really...you have to walk right past the ticket machines at MDW to get on to the El...it takes about 30 seconds to get a ticket/day pass. Definitely do the day pass.

Quoting mt99 (Reply 8):
Gino's East all the way!

Agreed! I often dream about the crust...


User currently offlineSuperfly From Thailand, joined May 2000, 40076 posts, RR: 74
Reply 12, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 17 hours ago) and read 2408 times:

Quoting sw733 (Reply 11):
parents from Chicago (well, Berwyn),

Same
Same

Quoting sw733 (Reply 11):
Well, it helps that people in Chicago are actually nice

Very true!
New Yorkers are unnecessarily rude and thought I was a freak for simply wearing a Hawaiian shirt, white polyester pants & sandals.
It was my frikkin' vacation!
I refuse to conform to New York black in the middle of August.

Quoting sw733 (Reply 11):
I knew I liked you, Superfly...you are dead on balls accurate for both of these! I take everyone to the Hancock Tower rather than the Sears.

...and thinks for acknowledging it as the Sears Tower.



Bring back the Concorde
User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3541 posts, RR: 5
Reply 13, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 16 hours ago) and read 2396 times:

Go to Wicker Park - take the Blue line from any of the loop stops toward O'Hare, and get off at Damen (the six-way intersection of Damen, North Ave. and Milwaukee). There are a ton of shops, restaurants and bars on the stretch (your best bet is to go southeast on Milwaukee or East on North Ave), and it's a very artsy/hipster part of the city with a lot of character. It's very vibrant on any night of the week, but especially Friday.

You will see bums, you'll see fancy young people, you'll see frat boys/sorority girls, you'll see hipsters, you'll see old people. The Subterranean (or SubT in local parlace), which is right at the intersection, is a great venue, and it looks like there's a show going on that night. You can also go to a great record store, Reckless Records, which is right next to Myopic Books (another must visit). My wife and I usually go to the Debonair Social Club, which is a decent bar with a good selection of food and beers.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineN776AU From United States of America, joined Nov 2005, 771 posts, RR: 1
Reply 14, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 12 hours ago) and read 2366 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 12):

...and thinks for acknowledging it as the Sears Tower.

The "Willis Tower" is stupid. It will always be known in my head as the Sears Tower.

Quoting SXDFC (Reply 10):
what train would I take to get there?

Orange line train will get you downtown and back to MDW. Depending on what you're doing downtown you may need to change trains somewhere along the way. I also found that to be quite simple, though.



Careful, Doors Are Closing And Will Not Reopen. Please Wait For The Next Train
User currently offlineluckyone From United States of America, joined Aug 2008, 2236 posts, RR: 0
Reply 15, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2352 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
I'd also recommend eating at Giordano's pizza!  

Blegh!!! Uno or Gino's is way better. I'm not from Chicago but I have quite a few friends who are...they almost unanimously agree that Gordano's is disgusting. Personally the crust is far too doughty, even for deepdish.


User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3541 posts, RR: 5
Reply 16, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 2345 times:

Quoting N776AU (Reply 14):
The "Willis Tower" is stupid. It will always be known in my head as the Sears Tower.

Why's that?

It's called the Willis Tower now - Sears is not paying for the name (and hasn't for the past decade).



Do you like movies about gladiators?
User currently offlineER757 From Cayman Islands, joined May 2005, 2616 posts, RR: 7
Reply 17, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2320 times:

Quoting Superfly (Reply 3):
I'd also recommend eating at Giordano's pizza!

Giordano's is great, but my vote is for Gino's East. We could get into the great pizza debate but that's another topic.
If you get downtown, Gino's is on Superior, just off Michigan Ave near Water Tower Place and the Hancock Building.
Whether you decide on Gino's, Giordano's or Pizzeria Uno, you must have deep dish pizza while in town.


User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 18, posted (4 years 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 2316 times:

Don't bother with pizza, pie is pie. Go to Ditka's or the Chicago Chop House for some prime grub. BTW Giordano's and Gino's are one and 1a. Uno's and Duo's are tourist traps, avoid them like the plague.


"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlinetype-rated From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 19, posted (4 years 1 week 5 days 4 hours ago) and read 2278 times:

To me the Willis Tower will always be the Sears Tower.

And I am still mad that Macy's took over Marshall Fields.

My personal favorite Chicago Pizza is Uno's. At the original location it is MUCH better than you get at the remote franchises.


User currently offlinemayor From United States of America, joined Mar 2008, 10674 posts, RR: 14
Reply 20, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 17 hours ago) and read 2252 times:

Quoting N776AU (Reply 14):
The "Willis Tower" is stupid. It will always be known in my head as the Sears Tower.

I think that, to many of us, it will always be "Sears Tower". I can remember the Channel 7, weatherman, doing his weather spot, one evening, from the top of Sears Tower, sitting on the edge, with his legs dangling over the side.



And I'm probably telling you this, after you've already been, but you've got to have a Chicago Dog, somewhere while you're there.



"A committee is a group of the unprepared, appointed by the unwilling, to do the unnecessary"----Fred Allen
User currently offlinesw733 From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 6372 posts, RR: 9
Reply 21, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2247 times:

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 18):
Don't bother with pizza, pie is pie. Go to Ditka's or the Chicago Chop House for some prime grub.

You can get a steak anywhere (those are two good places, yes, but...)...when in Chicago, eat Chicago Pizza!


User currently offlinemt99 From United States of America, joined May 1999, 6678 posts, RR: 6
Reply 22, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 16 hours ago) and read 2243 times:
Support Airliners.net - become a First Class Member!

Quoting P3Orion (Reply 18):
Chicago Chop House
Quoting P3Orion (Reply 18):
tourist traps, avoid them like the plague.

Pass. The Chop House IS a tourist trap. An expensive tourist trap - but a tourist trap non the less.

They do have great steaks. Worth the $125 ( ) for a slab of meat? No. Was there about a month ago. 4 of us racked up a $800 bill. It included drinks, appetizers a delicious lobster bisque with truffle oil. (yum!) - but all in all i had better food elsewhere, specially considering the price.

If you look around the people the go, most are business people taking clients for night out, the odd older gentleman with his younger "niece".. the couple from the suburbs ..

Wasn't too impressed.



Step into my office, baby
User currently offlineP3Orion From United States of America, joined May 2006, 544 posts, RR: 2
Reply 23, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 15 hours ago) and read 2235 times:

Quoting mt99 (Reply 22):
the odd older gentleman with his younger "niece"..

There's no shame in that.   Actually, I love Ditka's. Yes, I am originally from western PA; but, during the weeknights, Big John performs Sinatra upstairs. It is a rousing good time. A manhattan with crab bisque, maybe pot roast nachos, Aces!



"Did he say strap in or strap on?"
User currently offlineplanespotting From United States of America, joined Apr 2004, 3541 posts, RR: 5
Reply 24, posted (4 years 1 week 4 days 14 hours ago) and read 2225 times:

If you want steak in Chicago, you have to go to Gibsons.

But you'll either have to have it at the bar or in the lounge, because the dining room reservation list is one to three months long depending on the time of the year.



Do you like movies about gladiators?
25 ER757 : Bingo! Couldn't have said it better myself. Let's agree to disagree on that one - I'll take the same opinion as expressed below and just add "one of"
26 Post contains images Superfly : Agreed! It will always be the Sears Tower. Yes I do remember those old shots of the channel 7 weatherman on top of the Sears Tower. Had no idea you l
27 ER757 : Was that John Coleman? I remember him doing the weather on channel 7 when I was a kid. He once said on a Friday that if it snowed over the weekend he
28 mayor : Actually, I was born and raised, out past Aurora, but I worked at ORD for 8 1/2 years. Yup, that was him....I couldn't think of his last name. Comedi
29 type-rated : John Coleman, yes with the Thorms! After the weather channel debacle, he took up forecasting jobs in New York, at Channel 5 in Chicago then off to San
30 rwessel : If you buy the (more expensive, of course) Fast Pass, you can skip the video, and a bunch of the line. If you buy it beforehand (which you can do onl
31 Post contains images ER757 : Don't know about Superfly, but I am old enough. I was just a kid, but definitely remember the drawings he'd do. He was on Channel 2 IIRC and Harry Vo
32 mayor : I think that Harry Volkman eventually took over for PJ on Channel 2.
33 Post contains images NWAdeicer : So, you must have known Wayne and Garth Have an aunt and uncle who live in Lansing, IL. I have spent so much time in Chicago. If I could only talk th
34 Superfly : That's just too much planning to go up an elevator. Probably. I like his resent statements about 'global warming'. Not sure but I do remember some lo
35 Post contains images mayor : Uh, yeah........somehow they managed to grow palm trees in Aurora. I think it was earlier than that....probably in the mid to late 60s.
36 sw733 : They grow a lot of "non-native plants" in Aurora, why not palms?!?!
37 mayor : The weather in Aurora, Illinois is hardly conducive to growing palm trees. You and I know that it was actually filmed in LA and just said it was Auro
38 Superfly : I was born in 1973. So I would have missed it. Actually Wayne's World started in New York, New York. Remember it was a Saturday Night Live skit. Spea
39 mayor : Yeah, but at least in the movie, it was set in Aurora......come to think of it, I've never seen Aurora's downtown look as nice as it did in the movie
40 Superfly : Speaking of Wayne's World, I remember seeing a flatbed tractor trailer carrying the stretched AMC Pacer with flames broken down on the side of the I-
41 N6238P : At the beginning of Waynes World when they drive past the giant Indian, thats literally less than two miles from my house. One thing I wish someone me
42 Superfly : SXDFC, grab a back of Garrett's popcorn while you're in Chicago. Expect to eat a LOT of food while in Chicago. N6238P, yes I agree. That is good stuf
43 Geezer : Boy, I'm probably gonna get "creamed" for suggesting this..............all you Chicago "natives" are a hundred times more familiar with the city than
44 kstateinALB : When I was in Chicago this past October, I went there. It was by far the best pizza I've ever had. I loved the John Hancock Observatory. I'd try that
45 Superfly : Probably one of the few good things Jr. Daley has done as mayor. Too bad his wife didn't speak up when he husband destroyed a revenue generating airp
46 sw733 : I love wheat beer, but have always been disappointed by Goose Island 312. I have tried it so many times in an attempt to enjoy it, but...I just don't
47 planespotting : He did a lot of good things ... but at least one big huge major bad thing too.
48 ER757 : Yeah, I prefer it to the one in Sears Tower (oops, Willis Tower - I'll never wrap my mind around that one).
49 Post contains images Superfly : It's the SEARS Tower damn it! ! ! No self respecting native or local acknowledges that silly new name. ...and a lot of bad little things too.
50 type-rated : Geezer: I love that old library building. Back in the 70's I used to do research for some of my classes there when I was home for the holdidays. My pr
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