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Things to see and do in Chicago when you only have a few days to visit
This was a nice hotel to stay in. Comfy beds, spacious rooms with a fridge to store drinks and snacks. Plentiful breakfast and convenient to Michigan Avenue, shopping and restaurants. Small pool and gym on the top floor as well and luggage storage available if you arrive early or are leaving late.
All the food you could ever want to eat and taste. This was a main reason for coming to visit in July. It's hot and crowded, but where else can you get Chicago pizza, a hot dog, a chocolate covered banana and a roasted ear of corn at the same place?! Tickets were $7 for 11 tickets and most food items were 7-9 tickets, although they did have "a taste" available (smaller portion for less tickets). They also have live music, but be sure to drink plenty of water, as it's really hot with all those crowds!
This was a really wonderful museum. My Mom & I meant to only spend a couple hours there, but ended up spending the entire day. The model train exhibit is huge and amazing. The frog exhibit (limited time) is also really great to see and my Mom loved the Body Slices. Colleen Moore's Fairy Tale Castle and the chick hatchery is also a lot of fun to walk through. This is a really large museum that really takes a full day to tour. They also have a really nice food court in case you need a bite to eat.
You could easily spend another entire day at this museum as well, but we only hit some of the highlights that we really wanted to see. The Monet paintings are breathtaking, as well as "Sunday in the Park", "American Gothic" and "Nighthawks". It's fascinating to be able to walk right up to the original. You are also allowed to take pictures, but make sure that the flash is NOT turned on! The Thorne miniature rooms and the paperweight exhibit are also worth seeing. The only thing that I did not like about this museum is that is is VERY confusing to find your way around through a series of different elevators and staircases. I had to ask someone for help every time I wanted to find a different floor or exhibit.
This is a very touristy place that I could skip. The only reason I went is to ride the BIG ferris wheel. It's $5 per person for 1 rotation, which takes about 7 minutes. During the summer, there are fireworks on the pier.
This is a 90 minute tour on the Chicago River given by the Chicago Architectural Foundation. Tickets can be bought at the boat dock, which is at the corner of Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, under the bridge. The boat takes you around to show you the different buildings and styles while giving a history of the buildings. If you're into architecture, this is a great trip to go on. Or at least a nice break from all the walking!
This is a nice area to walk through. Take your picture in the reflection of "The Bean", watch the kids get soaked in the Crown Fountains, take in a concert or just wander through the grounds. It's a very beautiful park right in the center of the bustling city. There's also a restaurant there as well.
If you love to shop, MIchigan Avenue has it all. We walked from Wacker Avenue to the Hancock Building, which is quite a walk if it's hot out. Be sure to bring comfortable walking and shopping shoes. There are a lot of stores that you can find anywhere, like Crate & Barrel or Saks, but there are a lof of unique stores as well, such as Marshall Fields or the Ghiaradelli chocolate shop!
This restaurant was one block from our hotel and we went one night while looking for a late night snack. We shared the appetizer sampler and it was excellent. Ribs, steak skewers, beer can chicken tenders and shrimp on a bed of crispy onion rings. Too bad we weren't hungry for dinner since the rest of the food looked fabulous!
Another restaurant about a block from our hotel. We tried it for dinner one night. It was very busy, so we had to wait a while for a table, but the food was very good. I had the chicken mac n cheese. White meat chicken in homemade, creamy, cheese macaroni & cheese. My Mom got the steak tips that were served in a thick mushroom beer sauce. Both entrees were great and the portions were enough so that I took home leftovers to put in the fridge in our hotel room. They also have a great rooftop deck and lots of homemade beer.
We stopped in for a late afternoon snack. The grilled tomatoes were excellent and the fried tomatoes were ok. My hamburger was overcooked and fries were just average. Not what I expected out of a $10 burger after the waitress said they had the best burgers.
Very tasty and tender steaks, but I wouldn't make a special trip. Everything is overpriced and the portions are enormous to the point of being just ridiculous. The side items are extra, but at least a salad or soup comes automatically with the meal. One slice of cake is over $10 and can easily feed 6 people. Who eats that much!? They did have a very knowledgeable staff and outdoor seating.
We made the mistake of attempting to take the EL and subway to our hotel from Midway airport. Never again! Some of the subway stations do not have elevators, so we had to carry our luggage up or down to street level. It was exhausting! We used the Continental Express Airport Shuttle to get back to the airport. They were on time and got us there VERY quickly (although the ride was a bit scary the way the driver weaved in and out of traffic)!
This is avery easy city to navigate. The free summer trolleys are great and get you to almost any destination. The buses are labeled so that you can easily see where you are going and the El station maps are by color, so they are also easy to figure out how to get to your destination. We never had a problem finding anything.