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Funky neighborhoods, etc...

Maryland
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Funky neighborhoods, etc...

We are heading to Chicago first thing on Thursday August 1 after spending the previous night at the Indiana Dunes. We’ll be driving a pick-up truck (I know – not the easiest thing to park) and will be spending two nights at the Aloft by the airport. My initial thought was since we’ll be coming from the southeast and the Aloft is northwest is to try to go to places that are more convenient with the truck the first day (I don’t mind moving the truck and looking for street parking since we probably won’t stay at any place longer than a couple hours) and then take the L in the next day to go to the Art Institute and the Field since they are pretty close to each other and we just primarily have to worry about getting back and forth. We also might go to see the Cubs on our first night on Thursday but I don’t see us making the call on that until very close to first pitch (is street scalping legal by Wrigley or do you have any other suggestion for finding cheap tickets right before first pitch?).

Our Art Institute/Field Museum day is pretty easy to plan (thinking that will be Friday 8/2). I was thinking we would grab pizza at Giordano’s in-between and maybe head up to Magnificent Mile or some other place for dinner before we head back to the airport for the night (maybe we can grab a hot dog by downtown since I can’t imagine we’ll want to eat much after that lunch).

The other day is still coming into focus but a couple of initial thoughts are wandering around a funky neighborhood or two (Wicker Park & Bucktown come to mind but would love recommendations on nice streets); walking along the water; Logan Hardware in Logan Square; maybe a wander around Lincoln Park and the site of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre; a visit to Graceland Cemetery and a game or not at Wrigley.

We like parks, outdoor markets, iconic local foods and the urban stumble. We are a pretty diverse group (mid 60’s to 12 year old girl).

Any thoughts on how to do this most efficiently and any other thoughts on places to eat (I think we need to have an Italian Beef sandwich somewhere along the way – we’ll worry about our cholesterol on the rest of trip) would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks.

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

A couple quick notes

1. There's really nothing special about the St. Valentine's Massacre site anymore. There's nothing particular for a tourist to do there. It's just another city block now.

2. Yes, you can easily get tickets at Wrigley. First of all, they're not selling out so you can get them from the box office. Second, there are dozens of ticket brokers around the park. If you step off the train, you'll see lots of signs saying tickets for sale. You can buy them off the street, too, but that's less reliable. I've done it but you're taking chances that you're getting a legitimate seat.

3. Don't plan anything for an Italian Beef. Just step into any local hot dog stand that you see and you can get one. Don't worry about going to a specific place to get one.

4. You are not the only one with a pickup truck. Just be aware street parking is very difficult to find in some neighborhoods. In particular, you can't park on the street near Wrigley for a night game. You need to use a parking lot or public transit.

5. Andersonville is another neighborhood you might like and it is not too far from Wrigley. www.andersonville.org. It's less known than Wicker Park.

pgo
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2. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

Don't leave the Dunes too early - you'll want to skip our rush hour. With your truck and time restraints, I'd suggest coming up lake Shore Drive and visiting the Field that day, or the Lincoln Park neighborhood and zoo. If you park a little north of the zoo (look around Stockton Drive) you can walk to Wrigley without moving the truck. Head out to the airport after 6 PM. the Lollapalooza festival starts at noon Friday so you'll want to get the Grant Park area checked off your list on Thursday.

The next day, take your hotel's shuttle to the airport, or drive to the River Road Blue Line stop. It's easy to walk to the Art Institute from the Jackson stop on the Blue Line. Time on train is about 45 minutes. The fare on the Blue line is $2.25 at every station except O'Hare; it jumps to $5 if you get on at O'Hare. Just a heads-up! The Art Institute is next door to Millennium Park (look for a free concert on Friday night) and the Cultural Center; use Washington Street to access the Blue Line on the way home and you'll get a nice tour of downtown.

Logan Square, Bucktown (Damen stop) and Wicker Park (Division stop) are all along the Blue line and easy to reach for your third day.

Edited: 1:48 pm, July 22, 2013
Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

WickerPark/Bucktown would be good to hit on your way through town toward the Airport. Exit the freeway at Division. Logan Hardware? that's a new one. Of course I remember when it actually was a Hardware Store (ACE). That would be doable if you took MIlwaukee Ave through WickerPark to Fullerton and you can get back on the freeway at Fullerton.

Lincoln Park parking is tough. The site of the St. Val's massacre is a parking lot for a nursing home and the bullet wall is in Canada.

Graceland is amazing. It should be a tourist attraction but that would be a bit tacky. However, those moguls didn't build those monuments to themselves so no one would be impressed decades later.

The Art Institute and the Field Museum AND Millenium Park AND Michigan Ave, AND Lincoln Park AND ... too much. Your pick-up will probably fit in the Millenium Park garage so park it and go as far as you can on foot or subway, "L" or bus.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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4. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

I think that I may possibly have some bad news for you...

Does your pickup have truck plates? If so, you can only use truck routes in the City of Chicago. If plated as a truck, you cannot drive it on Lake Shore Drive, as well as the other boulevards.

How many people are in your group? Cannot have more than 3 passengers in a traditional pickup, possibly 2, based on how many seat belts are in the truck.

Is this an extended cab pickup? If so, then you need to pay particular attention to the size (length, weight and height) restrictions at any lot or garage. Street parking would definitely be out because pickups can be ticketed if parked on residential streets in Chicago.

If any of these are the case, I strongly recommend that you leave the pickup out at the hotel by the airport and take public transportation into the city.

Edited: 7:41 pm, July 22, 2013
Chicago, IL
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5. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

While I'm not disagreeing with Chitownfriend I will tell you, as someone who has driven in a pickup truck frequently on LSD and many of the city's boulevards for the past 20 or so years, that it is not widely enforced if at all. Our truck is small and is not used as a commercial vehicle (ie no writing on the side of it or construction gear in the back) but it has Indiana truck plates on it and we have never been stopped and certainly we've seen many police cars over the years. We also park on city streets quite frequently although less often now that the city is almost entirely metered and limited to 2 hours. I had actually forgotten about this antiquated law until chitown brought it up. So while it's a possibility, more so if you are driving a larger commercial truck, understand that it's an outdated law that many people have tried to get appealed and is probably only hauled out when the police get a complaint from a neighbor or when they want to pull you over for something else. Parking in lots will alleviate any doubts you may have about parking, time is limited to 2 hours in any event so if you plan on being somewhere longer than that, you'd have to anyway. And most residential neighborhoods have some form of resident parking sticker required

This is a good website for finding the best rates on parking downtown and in some of the neighborhoods, might not be accurate for Cubs parking since I imagine that changes on game days

http://chicago.bestparking.com/

Maryland
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6. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

Thanks for everyone's thoughts.

We'll have an extended cab Ford F150. I'm going to have to assume we are going to be okay but thanks for the info (I know it will be a challenge to park).

I'm thinking about Field on our first day (Thursday) since it opens early followed by Wicker Park and maybe another neighborhood (any thoughts here appreciated). We also might like to walk along the water (we'll have the truck so that may help or hurt).

The next day we'll take the L in and hit the Art Institute and everything around there including potentially Mag Mile. Might buy a day transit pass (Is it easiest to buy those at Walgreen's or could I buy one at the station in Rosedale?).

The next morning (Saturday) I plan on taking the L in early while the others sleep in and rent a bike downtown either via the new bike shares or Bike and Roll. I'll meet them at the Rock n Roll McDonalds and maybe we'll have a quick drive thru of Graceland before we hit the road for our 7 hour ride to Omaha.

pgo
Chicago
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7. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

There are surface parking lots at the Field, and you'll be close to the water. Take a walk out towards the Planetarium and then south on Northerly Island for some good views.

I doubt if you'll need a day's transit pass. You'll take one train to the AI and walk to the surrounding attractions. Walk up the Mag Mile, at least as far as the Tribune Building. Then, catch the train back at Dearborn and Washington. Even if you get farther up Michigan Avenue and don't want to walk anymore, you can hop a bus and transfer to the train for only a quarter extra.

Chicago
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8. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

i would not recommend driving a truck on LSD. Why take the chance.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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9. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

LoveChicago, whether someone feels a law is antiquated, it is still the law. If anyone cares to do a little quick search on the Web, they'll see how often this question arises (short answer: lots); and it's never been repealed.

Here is a page from the City Clerk's office about pickup parking in residential areas: chicityclerk.com/city-stickers-parking/…

Here is the page for parking at Soldier Field: http://www.soldierfieldparking.com/index.php If you look at the FAQs page, they only specifically mention RVs and busses (parking at the Adler lot). I would strongly recommend that you call them to see if they allow extended cab pickups - and also to confirm if pickups are allowed on LSD that short distance to get to Soldier Field/Museum Campus area.

With that extended cab, you're going to have to call any garage or lot to see if they'll allow the vehicle due to their restrictions.

Which brings up another question: Are you going to have a camper (topper) on that pickup? Specifically asking because you are going camping at the Indiana Dunes prior to the Chicago visit.

I assume you've also checked with your hotel to see that they have this type of parking.

Maryland
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10. Re: Funky neighborhoods, etc...

Parking the truck at the hotel should not be a problem but obviously I'm a little concerned about parking on the city streets. Looks like the fine is $25 so I might just risk it. We aren't camping so no topper.

Need to look a little deeper into how transfers work and/or what the fees are to ride the bus since the $9 daily pass may be a little bit more than we need but that would certainly simplify things as I'm pretty sure it's good for the bus as well.

Logan Square, Bucktown and Wicker Park look like good places to stumble - any suggestions on great streets or iconic food places (we'll probably look into a Diner, Drive-In and Dive place from the TV show).

Thanks for everyone's help.