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Discussion Starter #1
Attempting to plan out a week vacation and Chicago keeps coming up. I haven't been to Chicago since 1983(ish).

Would be the first week of July, including 4th of July. I assume we should expect warm humid temps (which is not a problem, can deal with heat and humidity).

List I got from my daughter is:
Art Institute of Chicago
Navy Pier for fireworks 4th
Cubs game July 5th
Cloud Gate
Millennium/Lincoln Park
Museum of Science and Industry
Chicago Cultural Center
Michigan Ave
Willis Tower
Shedd Aquarium
Chinatown
Navy Pier

Any other good family of 4 (two adults 15 and 10 year old) attractions? We don't do relaxing sit by the pool or drink coffee watching humanity go by vacations, but we also don't do climb the Andes type vacations. Pretty good at cramming lots of things in a week, like to have a plan but don't follow a precise timeline.

Good places to stay? I am assuming renting a car is best (not like NYC last year, were walking and subway and train were the main conveyances) as we will be flying to maximize time there.
 

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I can think of a few places better than Illinois ,Thank God I moved Away , the cost of everything has gone up including gas prices near $5.00 bucks a gallon still in the 3's in TX, The Taste of Chicago always happens downtown on the 4th of july but after hearing about the crime rate increase and random stabbings going on in that city it makes me glad I moved south ...My advice Check out San Antonio Texas I hear tons of great things about it and its almost of equal distance from you ... I HEART TEXAS <3... my 2 cents
 

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Lincoln park zoo, six flags up in gurnee is also something I would check out if you're out here, and to us Chicagoans, its not the Willis tower its still the Sears tower ;)
 

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The architectural boat tours on the river are interesting if you're into that sort of thing. Most of the time I go to the city though I just wander around aimlessly. Sometimes I'll walk the lakefront by north ave beach and such, sometimes I'll even go into the high rise open houses to get out of the heat and enjoy the view:tongue:

I can think of a few places better than Illinois ,Thank God I moved Away , the cost of everything has gone up including gas prices near $5.00 bucks a gallon still in the 3's in TX, The Taste of Chicago always happens downtown on the 4th of july but after hearing about the crime rate increase and random stabbings going on in that city it makes me glad I moved south ...My advice Check out San Antonio Texas I hear tons of great things about it and its almost of equal distance from you ... I HEART TEXAS <3... my 2 cents
Most of the crime is in the ****ty neighborhoods they've always been in and occasionally a gold coaster who can't take their eyes off their iphone will get it ripped off. It's a city, a real city with all the goods and bads of one. Goods don't get news coverage. If you're into a city that shuts down at 5pm with a bunch of lifeless plazas built within the last 10-20 years, it's probably not for you.


, its not the Willis tower its still the Sears tower ;)
Damn right! :D
 

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The local news said that there were only 121 gun related deaths this year so far in Chicago, last year it was 180, so things are much better there now!

For whatever reason we always end up in the 'hood', but I will be sure not to this time.

We have already done San Antonio, Ft Hood, Austin two years ago. Easy 12 hour drive from here, but Chicago is 24, too far for a set amount of time we have.

We survived NYC last year, rural southern Mexico/Yucatan peninsula/Guatemala a few years ago, I think Chicago will be fun.
 

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I liked visiting Chicago; I was particularly surprised that the Lincoln Park Zoo was free admission (considering everything has a price here in SF).
I also remember catching a free concert at Millenium Park of Yo Yo Ma. You might want to see if there are any family friendly events.
http://www.cityofchicago.org/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/millennium_park.html

Lastly, I learned that Ensign Sulu from Star Trek (George Takai) was gay when he passed by as the grand master of the LGBT parade that was going through town.... it was a few years ago and I had no idea :)

All in all, it seemed a pretty well run town with decent mass transportation -- I guess that's one advantage for having one political engine run the govt for decades ;)

-g
PS. If you want some place a little less hot/humid, consider visiting SF sometime. yes, it will be spendier than even Chicago but there's always a TON of activities for families out there.
 

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Here are a couple things that I can think of:

Chicago Botanic Gardens
Frank Lloyd Wright Tour
Cantigny Park (A little ways out but everyone's happy when you have gardens and tanks in one spot)

-Bryan
 

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Discussion Starter #10
Great info, keep it coming!



SF is road trip material for me, it was in the running this year, and we might do the coast in October. I was stationed there for awhile (Mare Island) and enjoyed the area, and have been back a couple of times since then.
 

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X2 on cantigny, you should also check out the Volo auto museum while you're out here!
 

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For me Chicago is ALL about the FOOD!!!!! I will plan a trip to CHicago just to EAT!!!

Some Suggestions:

Deep Dish Pizza : Lou Malnati's or Ginos East. Both are downtown. (people will argue which is better... THey are BOTH really good... just be sure to try one or the other) If you want a Stuffed pizza, Giodano's is the answer HANDS DOWN

Italian Beef/Chicago Dog: Potillo's is the Ultimate answer here. Again there is a GIANT one downtown on Ontario street.

Steak: Chicago Chop House, Gibson's, Chicago Cut Steakhouse, or David Burke's. ALL are among the best Restaurants in the City. Can't go wrong with any of them

Touristy types: Weber Grill (downtown, EVERYTHING on the menu is cooked on GIANT Weber grills in plain view), Ed Debevics (50's theme and waiters intentionally Rude to you), Harry Carreys, and House of Blues

I'm sure there will be City-Folk that disagree or tweak some of those picks, but those are always the ones I take people to, and/or eat there myself

-Clint
 

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Good call, the food is important to my wife. Food is the only thing I remember from my previous visit to Chicago, and cherry phosphates in both old school diners and soda shops.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Where is a good place to stay? What is the best way to get around, rental car, public transportation, or a combination of the two? I think the thoughts of staying downtown and using public transportation are over (140 a night for a room, plus even 2 weeks ago no rooms with two doubles or a king and a sofa bed).

I guess a good place to stay would be near a train station, and take that, or get a rental and park near public transportation and take it.
 
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