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-   -   Last minute trip to Chicago-- need help! (http://www.disboards.com/showthread.php?t=2217728)

jen-n-greg 06-30-2009 05:46 PM

Last minute trip to Chicago-- need help!
 
k- my Dh just told me he has Thursday and Friday off, and since the kids don't have any sports those 2 days we decided to drive to Chicago to see the Harry Potter exhibit at the Science museum. I need some recommendations for hotels (cheap but decent - there are 5 of us) and maybe some other fun things to do. I am thinking the Shedd Aquarium and Lincoln Park zoo look interesting-- any comments? Also, are these places close to each other? How far away is Six Flags and does it take all day? Thanks for any help :)

akcire 06-30-2009 06:50 PM

Okay...let me try my best.
 
First and foremost. The Harry Potter exhibit at MSI is brand new. Before you work on anything else I would make certain you can get tickets to the exhibit. It is not included in your regular admission, and they are limited in the number of tickets they sell per day. MSI has a nice underground parking lot. Depending on your family size, and if the are doing specials on the website, it may be cheaper to buy a membership, even for just the one visit. Not knowing where you are from, you may also be able to visit other museums on their list.

Hotels, aka budget busters. This is 4th of July weekend. The taste of Chicago is on this week. Hotels in the city will be expensive, plus you can expect a daily parking fee of $40+, keep in mind hotel tax in Shy town is about 20% a night. I can't even remember anymore since our company will not allow anyone to stay in the city, we put everyone up in the burbs.

You could drive down on the MSI day, and take the train Metra (or stay near a hotel on the Blue line) on a day to visit the Shedd, Field, & the Planetarium. All three are located on the lakefront within a few blocks of each other. Another loop area attraction is the Art Institute.

Lincoln Park Zoo is free and located at the other end of the loop. It is a VERY long walk or a bus ride from the Museum Campus.

If you stay in the burbs you may also consider the Brookfield Zoo they have a dolphin show, and should have a butterfly garden. They have been advertising some sort of Dinosaur thing too.

Six flags is in Gurnee. It can be a full day with the water park.

tazdeb 06-30-2009 07:06 PM

If you use Grant Park as center (and this week it is home to the taste of Chicago and its millions of people) then the Museum of Sience and Industry is 3 miles south, Lincoln park zoo 1 mile north and the Shed aquarium right there at the museum complex (also home of the Field museum and Adler Planetarium). Six Flags is about 70 miles north and like one park at Disney will take all day. Other fun things to do in Chicago are Navy Pier, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago River water tours, deep dish pizza, Millenium Park and the bean, beaches on lake Michigan, walking along the waterfront, segway tours, ghost tours, mob tours ( takes you to all the famous places related to crime in chicago......ie...Al Capone, John Dillinger, machine gun Kelly, St Valentines Day masacare etc). This is one of the busiest weekends in Chicago so I would hotwire/orbitz hotels but make sure you have a map and find the address before you book. Many hotels say there "close" to everything but you will find you are outside the loop. I would stay within 8 blocks of the intersection of Michigan and Ohio, that way you can walk every where or take a cab or the subway (safe until late at night, get the weekend pass). Otherwise the parking fees will kill you... Have fun........TAZ

kydisneyfans 06-30-2009 07:42 PM

We are staying about 20 miles out by OHare for $35 a night on Hotwire for the 4 day weekend. That's much better than the $100+ per night +parking that we were finding downtown, even if we have to pay to park at sights.

adventure_woman 06-30-2009 07:55 PM

Go to travelzoo.com. They have a lot of hotel deals for Chicago (not sure about this weekend, but I would look!)

jen-n-greg 06-30-2009 10:06 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by akcire (Post 32506718)
First and foremost. The Harry Potter exhibit at MSI is brand new. Before you work on anything else I would make certain you can get tickets to the exhibit. It is not included in your regular admission, and they are limited in the number of tickets they sell per day. MSI has a nice underground parking lot. Depending on your family size, and if the are doing specials on the website, it may be cheaper to buy a membership, even for just the one visit. Not knowing where you are from, you may also be able to visit other museums on their list.

Hotels, aka budget busters. This is 4th of July weekend. The taste of Chicago is on this week. Hotels in the city will be expensive, plus you can expect a daily parking fee of $40+, keep in mind hotel tax in Shy town is about 20% a night. I can't even remember anymore since our company will not allow anyone to stay in the city, we put everyone up in the burbs.

You could drive down on the MSI day, and take the train Metra (or stay near a hotel on the Blue line) on a day to visit the Shedd, Field, & the Planetarium. All three are located on the lakefront within a few blocks of each other. Another loop area attraction is the Art Institute.

Lincoln Park Zoo is free and located at the other end of the loop. It is a VERY long walk or a bus ride from the Museum Campus.

If you stay in the burbs you may also consider the Brookfield Zoo they have a dolphin show, and should have a butterfly garden. They have been advertising some sort of Dinosaur thing too.

Six flags is in Gurnee. It can be a full day with the water park.

Just got back from my kids' softball games and appreciate all the info! As soon as I read this I went and purchased Harry Potter tickets so I'm all set there :) I went for a Best Western about 30 minutes away for $63 a night for the 5 of us - I thought that was pretty good. Now, just gotta narrow down our other choices for things to see -- don't know if the kids are thrilled with a zoo-- I would like to go though. Are there any can't miss restaurants?

jen-n-greg 06-30-2009 10:09 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by tazdeb (Post 32506917)
Six Flags is about 70 miles north and like one park at Disney will take all day. Other fun things to do in Chicago are Navy Pier, Chicago Historical Society, Chicago River water tours, deep dish pizza, Millenium Park and the bean, beaches on lake Michigan, walking along the waterfront, segway tours, ghost tours, mob tours ( takes you to all the famous places related to crime in chicago......ie...Al Capone, John Dillinger, machine gun Kelly, St Valentines Day masacare etc). ... Have fun........TAZ

Thanks for the ideas :) Deep dish pizza-- I totally forgot about that -- anywhere special or are they all good? Ghost tours sounds interesting too and my husband mentioned Navy Pier. We only have 2 days so I want to do as much as possible.

Psychodisney 06-30-2009 10:09 PM

Where is your Best Western(what suburb)? That will help us make some suggestions.

jen-n-greg 06-30-2009 10:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Psychodisney (Post 32509143)
Where is your Best Western(what suburb)? That will help us make some suggestions.

It is the Best Western Oakbrook Inn in Westmont, I believe.

Psychodisney 06-30-2009 10:36 PM

I don't know the western suburbs very well but I think you would be failrly close to Brookfield Zoo. I would opt to go downtown. Take an architecture boat trip from Navy Pier. My favorite pizza would be Giordano's or Gino's East. The Shedd is not my favorite-I think it's expensive for what the experience is. The big fireworks will be on Friday night-expect HUGE crowds.

Psychodisney 06-30-2009 10:40 PM

If the weather is good(clear) you might enjoy going to the top of the Sears Tower of Hancock. The Chicago Entertainment book has coupons for the Hancock, the Seadog boat trip, Museum of Science and Industry and the Field Museum.

Octoberbabiesrus 06-30-2009 10:40 PM

Priceline.com for your hotel IF u can get one...
Betterbidding.com will help u get an idea of what to bid.

Octoberbabiesrus 06-30-2009 10:41 PM

Pizza, Connies or Giordanos.

akcire 06-30-2009 10:57 PM

Places to eat
 
Quote:

Originally Posted by jen-n-greg (Post 32509178)
It is the Best Western Oakbrook Inn in Westmont, I believe.

.

So you will be near to two malls which have a lot of good places to eat.

The Oak Brook mall has a Cheesecake Factory, which I know many people enjoy. They also have multiple Let's Entertainment properties: Maggiano's, Wildfire, Mon Ami Gabi. At Oak Brook my husband is partial to Alexander's, the Club House, and there is also a Thai place. You can google for Oak Brook center.

If you drive down 22nd Street about 3 miles you will see tons of other places, ending approximately at the Yorktown Mall in Lombard. Yorktown is an older mall, BTW both have TDS. The out lot of Yorktown has many famous chains: the Weber Grill, Claim Jumper, The Capital Grill, etc. Once again if you google I am sure you can find some places with menu's that fit your family.

A favorite fun place to eat is Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise. Reasonable, with a good atmosphere. I believe it is located in Downers Grove.

In the city some places you could try may be: popcorn from Garrett's, a large Rock-n-Roll McDonald's near the Rainforest Cafe. There are many Rick Bayless restaurant's in the city, depending on your budget. My favorite is The Frontiera Grill. If you are downtown during lunch the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the Hancock Building with good lake views used to have a pretty cheap buffet.

There are ton's of great Greek places in Greektown, we like Greek Isle's the best @Adam's and Halstead (Southwest corner). Another funny thing in Chicago is that ton's of Greek immigrants own restaurant's, they serve a full menu of standard American fare and then some Greek dishes, they are almost like diners. These places have some of the best, and most economical meals in the city and suburbs. My husband likes Omega (only the one in Downer's Grove & The Marquette Inn in the city I think it is on Madison near the Sear's Tower) ***If you choose to go to one ask your server before you order about portion sizes...some of them are insanely huge.

Can you tell my husband and I have both had expense account jobs, where we took people out to eat all the time.

This is just an overview of things/places you can eat. If you tell me what you are looking for type of food and a budget, I can probably give you more specific information.

Also depending upon your kids ages I may be able to recommend some other things since you are staying in the burbs. I know there is some sort of a Lego-land-like thing in Schaumburg.

I don't know if you can email me though the boards? If you can go ahead.

Otherwise tell me what you are looking for and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.

jen-n-greg 06-30-2009 11:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by akcire (Post 32509857)
.

So you will be near to two malls which have a lot of good places to eat.

The Oak Brook mall has a Cheesecake Factory, which I know many people enjoy. They also have multiple Let's Entertainment properties: Maggiano's, Wildfire, Mon Ami Gabi. At Oak Brook my husband is partial to Alexander's, the Club House, and there is also a Thai place. You can google for Oak Brook center.

If you drive down 22nd Street about 3 miles you will see tons of other places, ending approximately at the Yorktown Mall in Lombard. Yorktown is an older mall, BTW both have TDS. The out lot of Yorktown has many famous chains: the Weber Grill, Claim Jumper, The Capital Grill, etc. Once again if you google I am sure you can find some places with menu's that fit your family.

A favorite fun place to eat is Jimmy Buffet's Cheeseburger in Paradise. Reasonable, with a good atmosphere. I believe it is located in Downers Grove.

In the city some places you could try may be: popcorn from Garrett's, a large Rock-n-Roll McDonald's near the Rainforest Cafe. There are many Rick Bayless restaurant's in the city, depending on your budget. My favorite is The Frontiera Grill. If you are downtown during lunch the Signature Room on the 95th Floor of the Hancock Building with good lake views used to have a pretty cheap buffet.

There are ton's of great Greek places in Greektown, we like Greek Isle's the best @Adam's and Halstead (Southwest corner). Another funny thing in Chicago is that ton's of Greek immigrants own restaurant's, they serve a full menu of standard American fare and then some Greek dishes, they are almost like diners. These places have some of the best, and most economical meals in the city and suburbs. My husband likes Omega (only the one in Downer's Grove & The Marquette Inn in the city I think it is on Madison near the Sear's Tower) ***If you choose to go to one ask your server before you order about portion sizes...some of them are insanely huge.

Can you tell my husband and I have both had expense account jobs, where we took people out to eat all the time.

This is just an overview of things/places you can eat. If you tell me what you are looking for type of food and a budget, I can probably give you more specific information.

Also depending upon your kids ages I may be able to recommend some other things since you are staying in the burbs. I know there is some sort of a Lego-land-like thing in Schaumburg.

I don't know if you can email me though the boards? If you can go ahead.

Otherwise tell me what you are looking for and I will do my best to answer in a timely manner.

Wow-- thanks for all the great ideas! My kids are 9, 12 and 14. Other than pizza, I have no specific food in mind- we're pretty open. As for budget, just nothing outrageous or fancy.


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