We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

Which Chicago hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
YLW
Level Contributor
120 posts
3 reviews
Save Topic
Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

We are staying at the Crowne Plaza Allerton on North Michigan Ave. the last weekend of this month. Yeah, I've read some bad reviews of the hotel, but we'll deal with it.

This is our first time to stay in the downtown area and would like some tips on the best attractions, rest. & etc. to hit. Even maybe some good sports bars or something of that nature.

What about the Navy Pier?

We are not really big into taking in shows but might if the right show was taking place while we are there. We'll probably hit a few of the stores much to my husbands liking.

Since this is our first trip, we'd just like some ideas.

Thanks

YLW

Illinois
Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
44,837 posts
67 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

Hi YLW,

Some good places to check out what's going on the weekend that your're here is: www.metromix.com and www.chicagoreader.com. You can also find restaurant reviews, attractions, etc.

Do you like museums? What type of food do you like? Will you have kids with you? Navy Pier is nice to visit. Visit www.navypier.com for details. For shopping, visit Marshall Fields on State St. Also, my wife does a lot of damage at stores along Michigan Ave.

For public transit information - visit www.transitchicago.com.

YLW
Level Contributor
120 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

No kids will be along...just us two.

We basically like any kind of food. Nothing fancy. We might go for a really nice dinner either Friday or Sat. night, but we are pretty basic people. Good bars or pubs?

Museums are good.

YLW

Palatine, Illinois
Level Contributor
660 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

First off, don't be scared off by the Allerton. It is a fine, historic hotel and as long as you got a good deal (ie. <$125/night), then you should be happy with it.

Navy Pier is a great idea for part of the day.

As for close sports bars, ESPN Zone is a couple blocks south and west and is good for walking distance from the hotel. A couple of block father west on Grand Ave. is Fado Irish Pub and is good if you like soccer. If you want to explore some more (and if the White Sox are in the World Series), Jimbo's on 31st Street is the place to be (that is a Red Line 'L' trip and off at 35 Street, it is about 2 blocks west and 4 block north of the train station).

As for a couple of other ideas

1) Second City (Improv Comedy) is always a good time. It is at North and Wells, about 1 1/2 miles away. It is a healthy walk or $6 - $8 cab ride.

2) Greektown for dinner. Always a good time, prices are not outrageous for dinner and great food no matter where you go. My three suggestion are Greek Islands, Pegasus or Santorini (heavy on the seafood at Santorini). This is located around Madison and Halsted, again about 1 1/2 miles away, healthy walk or $6 - $8 cab ride.

Palatine, Illinois
Level Contributor
660 posts
16 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

Forgot to add for lunch/dinner these two places

1) Boston Blackies at Grand, just east of Michigan. Great little place, excellent hamburgers.

2) Heaven on Seven, Ohio and Michigan. Cajun food like you wouldn't believe.

Here's hoping you have a great trip!

YLW
Level Contributor
120 posts
3 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

Great...sounds like our kind of places....

Rensselaer, Indiana
Level Contributor
6,756 posts
Save Reply
6. Re: Hot Spots to Hit in Downtown

YLW, a couple of suggestions for you.

Since it's your first trip, would highly recommend that you go up to the Signature Lounge on the 95th Floor of the John Hancock and have a couple of drinks and enjoy the view. I always recommend just before sunset, if possible.

A lovely restaurant only 1.5 blocks NW of the John Hancock Building is Le Colonial (French Vietnamese), but you have so many in that immediate area from which to choose as well--i.e., Gibson's, Hugo's, the Saloon Steakhouse, Bistro 110, etc.

The Art Institute is one of our greatest treasures. Plan 1/2 a day there, at least. If you were interested in a good place to eat in the immediate area, I like Russian Tea Time (1/2 block west on Adams).

The Chicago Architecture Foundation has a 3.5-4 hour bus tour on Saturday mornings only (Chicago Highlights by Bus) that takes you around into many neighborhoods as well as the Loop/Michigan Avenue area. They also have many walking tours available, lead by knowledgable docents. Please check out their website to see what's available. If you do decide on the bus tour (which I recommend), it starts and ends at the Sante Fe building on S. Michigan Avenue, and is only a block or two south of the Art Institute.

If the weather is good, immediately north of the Art Institute is Millennium Park to explore.

Navy Pier will have its Halloween doings going on so there will be MANY families out there. My recommendation would be to forego Navy Pier, unless you were interested in taking a lunch/brunch/dinner cruise (weather is pretty iffy around Halloween - could be mild or our first taste of the bad stuff) or going to the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

The Field Museum will be having a special exhibit on Pompeii (starting October 21).

Maybe you'd like to go to see Da Coach at Ditka's. He's there quite often greeting customers and some evenings, they have a wonderful singer (a la Frank Sinatra) in their lounge. Check out their website.

Harry Caray's has much Cubs memoribilia as well.

Iconic taverns: you might want to go to The Billy Goat Tavern (by the Wrigley Building). The Berghoff holds the city's liquor license #1 (given after prohibition was repealed).

For sports bars, though, there are TONS up around Wrigley Field (easy to get to by the Red Line El), on N. Halsted, N. Clark and on Diversey. Many cater to alum of particular colleges and universities - if you check out Metromix, it has a break-out of which bars/which Us and Cs.

Hope some of these suggestions may be of interest to you.