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First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

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Seattle, Washington
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First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

HEy everyone, my g/f and I are coming to visit Chicago for our 5 year anniversary from monday 8/29 to Friday 9/2. I would appreciate any advice on what we can do and as to scheduling if anyone can give me an itinerary for the days we are there. We arrive O'hare from Seattle at 230pm and i believe the EL would be the best way to get into town? Should we get a cab as to avoid Rush Hour? We are staying at the Hard Rock Chicago. Anyone have any feedback about the hotel and it's surrounding area. How far from the Mag mile? Navy Pier? etc..ALso we are going to the Cubs game on 8/31 which is a day game. ANy advice as to that to plan a perfect Wrigley Field outing? Should we get there early? lunch around the areA? how bout after the game..i imagine the El would be crowded due to rush hour and the game getting out..any advice staying in the area for drinks and possibly dinner ? is it safe to be there and take the El back to our hotel a little later in the evening ( around 7-9pm?) . And last but not least..should we cab it to the Museum of Science and Industry as I hear the area around there isn't too safe or would the bus suit us fine? What would you recommend if it were your family or friends taking a bus from a NMA/Loop hotel. Thanks..and one last thing...Lou Malnati's vs. Gino's EAst vs. Giordinos vs. Pizzeria Uno?...what should we try considering where we are staying ..as to location and overall best pizza? thanks...email me at okayxplaya@hotmail.com if you have anything else to add ..otherwise thank you for responding to my post ;)

Palatine, Illinois
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1. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

Quick Answers to a few of the questions

- Blue Line 'L' train is the best way to get downtown. You get off at Clark/Lake Station and walk three blocks east to the Hard Rock.

- The Hard Rock is a block south of the Michigan Ave shopping area (Mag Mile).

- Wrigley Field, you can get to it by the Red Line 'L' (Closest stop from Hard Rock is State/Randolph) and my recommendations are Murphy's Bleachers or Sluggers. Getting back on the 'L' is fine at any time during the night.

- Pizza, in this order of recommendations

Lou Malnati

Giordano's

Gino's East

Pizzeria Uno

Chicago, IL
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2. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

I would not take a cab from O'Hare, especially if it is rush hour, provided you are traveling with manageable luggage. The journey by el will be faster and certainly much cheaper at $1.75 per person.

Since you are staying at the Hard Rock, I'd make my first stop the tourism center at the Cultural Center at the corner of Randolph & Michigan, just a couple of blocks from the hotel. After you've checked out all of the brochures, be sure to head upstairs to see the beautiful Tiffany glass domes. If you have a nice day, I'd then head over to Millennium Park across the street to see the bean (hopefully it will be uncovered by then!), the Crown Fountain, the special exhibit of aerial photos and the Gehry designed Pritzker Pavilion. You might also stick around for the free performance that evening if you like jazz, see the attached

www.millenniumpark.org/parkevents/august.html

I wouldn't take a cab to the Museum of S&I, there are express buses that go right to the museum. See the options on the attached website

www.msichicago.org/info/directions/bybus.html

The pizza at Giordano's is stuffed, the other three are deep dish. Stuffed pizza is heavier than deep dish, more cheese and more crust, deep dish is more ingredients. I would recommend Malnati's for deep dish, Giordano's or Edwardo's for stuffed. In all fairness though I haven't eaten at Gino's since they were over on Superior and that was quite some time ago.

Seattle, Washington
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3. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

Thank you guys for the quick response...i think i prefer deep dished and might as well try what Chicago is known for right? As for the jazz performance that night, I appriciate that tip as I know my girlfriend and I would love to see that..is it an outdoor concert? The buses that go to the Musuem of S&I..what numbers are they? Do they stop in front of the Museum or must we walk there? Again, my only concern is after reading other reviews from other sites, I hear the surrounding area isn't as safe as the south as a rep of being a rougher neighborhood...I could totally be wrong though...thanks again and hope to get more of your feedback....

chicago
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4. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

The CTA # 10 Museum of Science & Industry stops at State + Lake (close to Hard Rock Hotel) -- it should be about a 20-minute bus ride from there to the MSI. Bus operates every 10 to 15 minutes from 6:00 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. daily. Other option is the # 6 Jackson Park Express.

Check out the CTA's website for detailed bus schedules. You might also want to consider purchasing a CTA Visitors Pass for unlimited rides on all CTA buses/trains. A 1-day visitor pass is $5, 2-days is $9, 3 days is $12 and 5-days is $18 (regular fare is $1.75) -- easy to buy online in advance.

http://www.transitchicago.com/

Chicago, IL
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5. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

Performances at the Pritzer Pavilion are outdoors, there is a section of seating at the front and the rest is on the lawn. I happened by a concert yesterday and the sound on the lawn was terrific, it'd be a great place to bring a picnic dinner. I know for the Grant Park Orchestra performances that some of the seating is reserved for members but general seating and the lawn is free.

The area immediately around the Museum of S&I is fine, the #10 Museum of S&I bus drops you within a block I believe. I wouldn't hesitate to use during daytime hours.

Chicago, Illinois
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6. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

I agree with the above, the "L" is the best way to get around. the Red Line back from Wrigley shoudl be no problem and completely safe. As for MSI I would take the bus, the areas around the museum are fine and you'll be travelling during daylight hours.

There is a great deal to do just steps from your hotel, but I recommend the above suggestion of going to the Cultural Center a few blocks from the hotel to get all the brochures and questions answered.

Have a great time, it is such a great city.

Minnesota
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7. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

hey if it is your 5 year anniversary and she is still your girlfriend then she deserves more than pizza! Maybe you should spring for a nice restaurant to pop the question??

Sorry couldn't resist

Elaine

Seattle, Washington
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8. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

I agree Fronteer...the pizza is just lunch ;)....dont worry i know she's worth every penny of that pizza and then some ;)...why do you have any recommendations for a nice restaurant before we watch Wicked? I figured we would just ''wing" it and I'm sure we could find something...but see Chicago is known for pizza..esp deep dish so i figured I get advice and go to the best pizza joint ....going to chicago and not getting deep dish is like going to philly w/o trying cheesesteak..or new york and not getting a sliceof pizza...or shoot, like coming to where i'm from ..Seattle and not getting coffee right?...as for everyone else, thanks for the tips and yeah we'll just catch the bus to to Museum of S&I...would you consider Museum campus as a one day affair? do you guys think we could finish Alder and Field all on one day? or should i plan two days?..sorry its just there's so many things to do and we only have 3 full days and of course the half day we arrive and when we leave...

Chicago
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9. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

Lou Malnati's is hands down the best pizza in Chicago, although everyone will have their opinion on what's their favorite. You have to give Lou Malnati's a try!

To get there from the Hard Rock Hotel, walk over to the State & Lake El Station and take the Brown Line (brown line only goes one way at State & Lake). Get off at the 2nd stop which is the Merchandise Mart station. Then walk 1.5 blocks north on Wells.

As for whether you can do the Field Museum and Adler in the same day: Definitely! They're right near each other. Try the cafe inside the Adler; great food and a great view with glass windows all around overlooking the lake and skyline.

Chicago, IL
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10. Re: First time in Chicago 8/29-9/2 with G/F...5 year anniversary

Restaurants close to the theater for Wicked are often fully booked for the pretheater dinner times so if you want to be right around the theater you might want to book ahead. We ate at the Atwood Cafe which is only a couple of blocks away (1 W. Washington), the cuisine is contemporary American, the restaurant is very cozy and comfortable, dinner entrees range from $15-$25 and the desserts are awesome (you could also go there just for dessert after the show if they are still open)

http://www.atwoodcafe.com/

Other people have recommended Golden Budha, a Chinese steakhouse on Randolph which is about 5 or 6 blocks away, there's Petterino's for Italian and steaks within a block or so on Randolph, Park Grill in Millennium Park is only about 3-4 blocks away

Most of these can be booked online at www.opentable.com. You'll want at least 2 hours in advance of curtain so you can enjoy your meal without rushing.

You can do 2 of the 3 museums on the museum campus in one day (Shedd Aquarium, Adler and Field), they are within walking distance of one another. But if you end up with a nice weekend, you might want an alternate plan so you can spend some time outdoors, maybe go to a museum in the morning and rent bikes in the afternoon to ride along the lakefront or head up to Lincoln Park to the free zoo or go on one of the wonderful boat rides either on the lake or one of the architectural cruises on the river.

If you like aquariums, the Shedd is one of the best I've ever seen. You can see the main part of the aquarium for only $8, it's when you add on the oceanarium and wild reef that the admission goes up to $20+

One more thing, the Chicago Jazz Fest is Sept 1-4 in Grant Park, you can check out the lineup at www.cityofchicago.org/specialevents

admission is free