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Things to do in Chicago

noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
Hey guys,

The wife and I are going on a weekend trip to Chicago next week. We get there on Friday and leave Monday evening. Saturday is all planned with a conference I have to attend and friends afterwards, but the rest of the days are wide open. We're staying by the Art Institute of Chicago, so that's one thing we can do, but I'm open to other suggestions. A nice dinner or brunch place would be great, and also, if there's any good Karaoke haunts.

Posts

  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    If you're into metal, Kuma's is kind of a neat heavy metal-themed burger joint. Jeez, I didn't realize they had more than two locations now. We went to Kuma's Too.

    We went with friends to Navy Pier about two years ago. It was a tourist trap. Didn't really enjoy it.

    The Museum of Science and Industry is neat, especially the U-505 exhibit. You can pay extra for a short tour of the U-Boat, which was neat, but we got our tickets in advance and that was the right move. They were sold out for the day when we got there in the early afternoon.

    Going to the observation deck on the Sears (Willis) Tower is neat, but also quite expensive.

    I'm sure others will have better suggestions. I visit the city a few times a year, but mainly just to catch bands I like.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Thanks! Kuma is definitely on the list- I remember hearing about them a few years back when they did the communion burger. It'll be either there or Squared Circle- the wrestling theme one.

    Also, I guess I should ask- where should I go to try Chicago pizza?

    SteevL
  • SteevLSteevL What can I do for you? Registered User regular
    I've only experienced Giordano's deep dish pizza, but it was pretty good! Their garlic fries are also delicious.

    Lots of people swear by Lou Malnati's, but I've never been there. Both are Chicago chains. I couldn't tell you if there's a better, non-chain alternative.

    noir_bloodkime
  • tyrannustyrannus Registered User regular
    Au Cheval has better burgers than Kuma's

    Ketar
  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    The food at Squared Circle isn't great. But it is a fun place and worth visiting for drinks. Thankfully, it's only 3 blocks or so from my top pizza recommendation - Pequod's Pizza on Clybourne. Giordano's and Lou Malnati's are the best of the chain options, and I do get pizza from both periodically since both are available to me out in the burbs where I live now, but Pequod's is easily my top choice when I'm in the city. Dinner at Pequod's followed by drinks at Squared Circle would be nice.

    Kuma's is fun if you're really into the metal theme. The burgers themselves aren't anything special, aside from the names and crazy topping combinations. The actual hamburger patties...eh, they're alright.

    Bongo Room on south Wabash is pretty popular for breakfast/brunch. If you're into sweet breakfast items in particular they make for a good stop. If not, maybe look elsewhere.

    The Gage on Michigan Ave is a nice dinner spot near where you'll be staying.

    There are good private room karaoke options far north of downtown. Lincoln Karaoke is the top choice for my friends and I. There's some karaoke available in Chinatown as well (along with innumerable good, authentic Chinese restaurants) but I haven't tried it there. For more public karaoke I know people who like Brando's Speakeasy, but I haven't been there myself.

    If you want something unique, but expensive, the Peninsula Hotel has "Chocolate at the Pen" on Friday and Saturday nights. $40 per person for the most decadent, delicious dessert buffet you will ever see. They frequently have live music (like a jazz trio or similar) playing as well.



    If you have any specific cuisine cravings let me know and I'll see what I can recommend. Chicago has just about anything.

    Oh, Navy Pier isn't just a tourist trap. Restaurant-wise, absolutely. But it has a ton of great stuff for kids, a good theater for plays, a genuine Imax theater, and hosts some great exhibitions at times. That said, without kids and when it's cold out I wouldn't recommend it.

    Kristmas Kthulhu
  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    Almost forgot: you should absolutely visit the Art Institute. Make sure to visit the Impressionist galleries, as that's where you'll see the most famous paintings in the collection. They have a huge collection of arms and armor as well, though they only put out a small percentage for viewing at any given time. If you go down to the basement level beneath the main stairs near the front entrance, there's a pretty unique collection called the Thorne miniature rooms. They're incredibly detailed miniature replicas of home/mansion/castle interiors from various countries and historical eras. A lot of people have no idea they're in the museum, and never see them, but I really enjoy taking people down there.

    Millenium Park right next door should be good for a quick visit, even if it is nicer when it's warmer.

  • QuantumTurkQuantumTurk Registered User regular
    The ramen place I hit everytime I go to chicago (and maybe there is better, but this is near a subway stop and my friends place) is slurping turtle. The only place I've been where after a huge bowl of ramen each, we looked at one another, bloated, fat, and gross and happy, and said "....do....do we order another to try another variety?"

  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    Slurping Turtle is good stuff. The chef who opened it used to have a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant.

    There are a bunch of good ramen places in Chicago now though; it was the big new trend for a year or two. Furious Spoon is another one that I like, that was started by a different chef who used to have a Michelin-starred fine dining restaurant.

  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    I've eaten at the Gage before. It's pretty good. And while basically everybody I went to college with would disagree, I think Giordano's is overrated. (It's basically molten cheese on cardboard topped with tomato sauce.)

    The Field Museum is awesome, and in my opinion way more interesting than the Museum of Science and Industry or the Sears Tower.

    Lincoln Park Zoo is fun, as is the Shedd Aquarium. (You have to walk really far between exhibits at Brookfield Zoo.) The Planetarium can be enjoyable for a few hours but it's not really worth a day trip. Same with the Sears Tower, and the Hancock.

    The Art Institute is AMAZING. Definitely make that a priority.

  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Thanks for all the replies so far! I live in NY and hit all the major museums here, so I was thinking of skipping the Art Museum, but based on the thread, the wife and I will check it out.

    Any good burger places around there? We're going to have a cheat day on the trip and it's been a while since I've had burgers/fries

  • KetarKetar Lacks the basic intelligence required for pretty much everythingRegistered User regular
    edited March 5
    Good burgers close to the Art Institute? I can't really think of anything I'd go out of my way for. The last couple of times I've wanted a burger in that area, I went to the Shake Shack that's right over there on Michigan Ave. But you being from NY and all...heh.

    tyrannus was spot on with the recommendation of Au Cheval for a burger though - they make some of the best in Chicago. That area of Randolph that they're on is a great food area, and if you really wanted to cheat you could try hitting multiple spots around there.

    Mindy Segal's restaurant, Hot Chocolate, does a damn fine burger that usually gets rated among Chicago's best. And since she's actually a pastry chef originally, you'd have way better dessert options than most other places with a good burger. That'd require a drive/cab/lyft though.


    Consider having an Italian beef sandwich, juicy or dipped in gravy, with hot peppers at some point. To me that's even more of a Chicago thing than stuffed pizza, and certainly something I eat more often.

    Ketar on
    noir_bloodMichaelLC
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    Oh man, that italian sandwich sounds delicious. We're definitely not above cabbing to a place, so thanks for all the choices @Ketar

  • Kristmas KthulhuKristmas Kthulhu Registered User regular
    The barcades in Chicago are off the fucking hook. I've looked for them in other cities, but they're really not common. The one I remember off the top of my head is Headquarters, but I know there's at least one other. They have free arcade cabinets and pinball machines around a bar. Enough said if that's your scene.

  • Giggles_FunsworthGiggles_Funsworth Paranoiac Bay Area SprawlRegistered User regular
    Thank You/Lost Lake is a rad Chinese fusion restaurant/tiki bar if you're into that sort of thing.

    Second City is fun if you like improv theater (it's really good improv theater).

    There's a company that rents kayaks on the river and that was a lot of fun.

    PwH4Ipj.jpg
  • mcpmcp Registered User regular
    edited March 10
    Ketar wrote: »
    Good burgers close to the Art Institute? I can't really think of anything I'd go out of my way for. The last couple of times I've wanted a burger in that area, I went to the Shake Shack that's right over there on Michigan Ave. But you being from NY and all...heh.

    tyrannus was spot on with the recommendation of Au Cheval for a burger though - they make some of the best in Chicago. That area of Randolph that they're on is a great food area, and if you really wanted to cheat you could try hitting multiple spots around there.

    Mindy Segal's restaurant, Hot Chocolate, does a damn fine burger that usually gets rated among Chicago's best. And since she's actually a pastry chef originally, you'd have way better dessert options than most other places with a good burger. That'd require a drive/cab/lyft though.


    Consider having an Italian beef sandwich, juicy or dipped in gravy, with hot peppers at some point. To me that's even more of a Chicago thing than stuffed pizza, and certainly something I eat more often.
    Burger Bar is on Michigan near Roosevelt which is close-ish, about 1 or so miles. They've got good burgers.

    If you want to go to Hot Chocolate, be sure to get a reservation. They're always booked up.

    Edit: Website for Burger Bar: http://burgerbarchicago.com/

    Edit edit: Didn't see the dates. Might be too late in the game. Whoops.

    mcp on
    walrus.png
  • noir_bloodnoir_blood Registered User regular
    I'm in Chicago! *Ferris Bueller reference*

    The wife let me know she'd like some seafood this weekend, so any recs? Either a good sushi spot or just a good seafood spot in general.

  • JasconiusJasconius sword criminal Illinois???Registered User regular
    i guess this wasnt mentioned because its saturday but tomorrow are the st. patricks day festivities in the Chicago (for some reason)

    there will be a parade and stuff that around 9AM I think

    it will be cold.

  • mcpmcp Registered User regular
    edited March 10
    Glenn's Diner is good for general seafood.

    http://www.glennsdiner.com/

    kinda far north though, depending on where you're at.

    mcp on
    walrus.png
  • CreaganCreagan Registered User regular
    If you end up in Hyde Park (it's by the Museum of Science and Industry, so there's a chance) another interesting (although unfortunately named) museum is the Oriental Institute. Their Lamassu is worth seeing, and there's a bunch of great, reasnobly priced restaurants in the area. (Medici's is good for sandwiches and apple croissants, the Snail is good, Bonjour Cafe Bakery has great french pastries and tarts, and Piccolo Mondo's got pretty nice Italian food.)

    Basically, a nice day trip would be going to the Field Museum and maybe the Oriental Institute, one of the nearby restaurants, and then taking the ME to Millennium in the loop.

  • RiusRius Registered User regular
    Headquarters is spectacular if you like pinball; they have, what, 40 machines? All on free play. Totally worth a visit. It's not downtown, per se, but it's worth the trip if you're an enthusiast.

    I like Wow Bao for lunch, and there's a few of them scattered around downtown.

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