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Chicago -Getting around,things to do

Dudley, United...
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Chicago -Getting around,things to do

Hello we are thinking of having one-two weeks away in Chicago. We are wondering if there is enough there to keep us occupied for this long? We know there are museums and a zoo, these are the sort of things we are interested. Also can anyone. Advise as to how easy it is to get around If we need to get to attractions that are spread out. We so not mond walking sesnsible distances as we are fairly fit late 30s and 40 yr olds :)

Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

It's easy to get around. Chicago public transportation is good and it is easy to find cabs. There are also lots of car rentals downtown if you want a car for the day to go somewhere on the outlying suburbs.

There's plenty to do but since everyone is different, get a couple guidebooks or read up on TA to see if you can find enough attractions that interest you for two weeks.

Edited: 06 July 2013, 13:26
Illinois
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2. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

www.choosechicago.com for ideas of what to see/do here.

www.transitchicago.com for public transit information. There's a trip planner tool on the homepage.

London, United...
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3. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

Also look into the city pass, that is vfm if it is your first visit

Dudley, United...
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4. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

Great, thank you all, will definitely be looking into it further :)

Chicago's North...
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5. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

if you are able to budget 2 weeks (especially during the warm season---may thru early oct), you could easily spend a week+ right here in town exploring the city.....

others could weigh in on stuff to do in chicagoland, but if you're willing to hire a car, you could also spend up to a week exploring some of the very interesting destinations in the surrounding region----IE, spending several days in a michigan beachtown:

beachtowns.org

going up to sleeping bear dunes and mackinaw island:

http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/

http://www.nps.gov/slbe/index.htm

http://www.mackinacisland.org/

spending several days in door county, wisc:

http://www.doorcounty.com/

or doing a combo of all by taking this:

http://www.ssbadger.com/

here's a TA road trips article describing places to go in the midwest/great lakes region:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-c183176/United-S…

Rensselaer, Indiana
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6. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

It's very easy to get around. Not only is "downtown" Chicago a rather compact area, the streets are set up on a "grid" system so you can easily know where you are at any given point.

On the CTA's website, you can view maps online of the various sections of Chicago. They show all of the more popular attractions and there is a specific section that gives you all of the various bus and 'L options of how to get there.

In addition to the CTA's busses and 'Ls, Chicago also has water taxis. Two companies, Wendella and Shoreline, offer water taxi service both on the Chicago River and Shoreline has a harbor taxi as well which travels from Navy Pier to the Museum Campus.

Good news for you - Chicago has an outstanding array of museums pertaining to many different interests. That Choose Chicago website can give you information on all of them. The major ones are often mentioned on this forum; however, there are many smaller gems that you might not want to overlook.

Since you are here at least a full week, maybe more, you'll probably want to get those pesky "touristy" things out of the way first. Then work your way outwards.

Take a Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise - and, since you are here that full week, a membership might be beneficial to you. It sounds right up your alley, because, although the emphasis is on architecture, they also delve into the history of the city.

Likewise, you might be interested in tours sponsored by the Chicago History Museum. Of course, these are more focused on the history. Most of them are in the neighborhoods surrounding the Chicago History Museum - namely, the Gold Coast, Lincoln Park and Old Town. But they branch out into other areas as well.

What I very strongly advise you to consider is fully utilizing the free Chicago Greeter Service. There are two separate types of tours. The InstaGreeter tours of the Loop and Millennium Park. You don't have to make reservations for them, just show up at the appropriate place and time. And the Chicago Greeter Service, where you make reservations (at least 10 days in advance) for a personalized tour based on your interests or on a specific neighborhood. Since you will be probably spending the majority of your time in the "downtown" areas or on the north side, I would suggest taking a Chicago Greeter tour of the Hyde Park neighborhood. Extremely rich in Chicago history, with MANY things to interest you - the University of Chicago including its Smart Museum of Art and Oriental Institute; the Frank Lloyd Wright sites; the Museum of Science and Industry; and outdoors, the Osaka Japanese Garden and the Wooded Island at Jackson Park.

Speaking of neighborhoods, which are part of the city proper, and not the suburbs: Take advantage of the luxury you have of exploring the outlying areas. The ones I would suggest you consider: the Gold Coast, Old Town; Lincoln Park; Lakeview (or as you sometimes see it, Lake View) - which includes Wrigleyville, Boystown and the N. Southport Corridor; Andersonville; Lincoln Square (maybe you'd be interested in going to a performance at the Old Town School of Folk Music); Chinatown; Wicker Park/Bucktown; (already mentioned) Hyde Park; Pilsen (particularly the National Museum of Mexican Art, since you are museum lovers).

I've recently contributed a couple of walking tours here: tripadvisor.com/ShowTopic-g35805-i32-k661936… Maybe they'd interest you.

It should be mentioned that automobile liability insurance is mandatory in the U.S. So, if you hire a car, you have to also take care of this matter. This may not be something that foreign visitors can afford or might wish to do. There have been separate threads in the past of options which you can reach by public transportation - no car necessary. Just to name a few: The Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes State Park (via the South Shore and South Bend Railroad); the Chicago Botanic Garden; Ravinia; the Brookfield Zoo (you already know about the much smaller - and free - Lincoln Park Zoo contained within the city) - all these last via Metra. Also a visit to Oak Park for more on Frank Lloyd Wright is possible, although if you are interested in the Chicago Architecture Foundation's membership, they definitely have options.

I think you might be interested in a trip to Springfield and see the Abraham Lincoln sites. This can be done via Amtrak.

Chicago's North...
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7. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

also accessible via AMTRAK is st joseph, MI, a very nice beachtown with lots to do, including hanging out on a top notch beach.

8. Re: Chicago -Getting around,things to do

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