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Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

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Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

Will be in Chicago 6/27-6/29. Staying at the Holiday Inn Mart Plaza. Will be traveling with a 4 year old and a daughter who will be 4 months pregnant by then. Best way to get around town to see the sights? Want to spend a good amount of time on Lake Shore Dr. @ the Navy Pier, Shedd Aquarium, Childrens Museum, Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry. Will be flying into O Hare.

Besides in taxis, are child car seats required on all forms of public transportation?

Any recomendation for reasonably priced family resturants in the area?

thanks for any help!

Chicago, IL
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1. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

to get from O'Hare via public transport, you can take a taxi for about $35 or the train. To catch the train, follow the airport signs that say CTA, get on the train, take it all the way to the Clark/Lake stop, transfer at Clark/Lake to either the brown line or the purple line, whichever you like, get off at the Merchandise Mart stop & your at your hotel.

There is a free trolley that can take you directly to Navy Pier. Ask at the concierge desk where the closest trolley stop is to your hotel. I don't have my map handy at the moment.

To get to the Museum Campus, you can take both the Brown or the Purple line train right at Merchandise Mart to the state street stop, transfer to the Red line train, get off at the Roosevelt Road stop, and walk west to the Museum Campus.

The Museum of Science and Industry is in Hyde Park, so you'll have to catch the #6 Jeffery bus or the #14 Express bus to get there. You can catch either bus at the corner of Washington & Dearborn.

As for a few reasonably priced family friendly restaurants relatively close to your hotel:

Portillos 100 W. Ontario

Leona's 646 N. Franklin

Lou Malnati's Pizzaria 439 N. Wells

Rainforest Cafe 605 N. Clark (a bit more pricey than the others)

Vallarta Mexican Grill 431 N. Wells

There's a ton of others near your hotel, but more than likely, you'll just stumble across some places as you sight see.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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2. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

There are free trolleys that go to most of the sites you mention (not to the Museum of Science of Industry though). Check out the City of Chicago website which shows the various routes.

Keep these bus routes in mind when visiting: The #29 goes on State Street then Grand to Navy Pier. The #66 goes EB from Chicago Avenue (by the Water Tower) out to Navy Pier. The #146 SB travels on Michigan Avenue, Wacker Drive for a couple blocks then State Street out to Museum Campus (where the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum and Adler Planetarium are). The #10 SB goes PAST (with a stop across #41-Lake Shore Drive-but doesn't go into) Museum Campus and goes directly to the Museum of Science and Industry. (Of course, all these buses make return trips on basically the same route as well.)

The Children's Museum is at Navy Pier.

The other poster mentioned some ways to take the El out to various locations. However, I would recommend that you just take a short cab ride (we are talking about $3-$3.50 including tip) to either State Street or Michigan Avenue (depending on where you are going that day) and picking up one of the buses, if the free trolleys are filled or slow in showing up. I believe your 4-year old will be free on the buses/El.

Eating: Corner Bakeries (they are all over town and one is in the Field Museum), the Foodlife at Water Tower, the food court in Marshall Field's (State and Randolph, lowest level). If you stop at Millennium Park, there is the Park Grille, nice to eat outside.

Hope this information helps a little.

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3. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

Thanks to all for all the great usefull information! Any knowledge of the requirements for use of a child car seat?

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4. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

I was wondering the same thing, do they require use of a car seat in a cab or on a trolley/ shuttle bus for a 35lb kid?

Palatine, Illinois
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5. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

Car seats are not needed for Bus, Trains or Trolleys. For taxi's, I believe it is the same as cars, which is car seats/booster seats until you are 7 yrs. old.

Atlanta, Georgia
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6. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

I would agree, I've never seen a car seat on any public transport (El, bus, etc) - you hold them like you would a free infant in lap in an airplane. Otherwise they just hold on. She will be okay either on your lap or next to you.

In the cab, I've never gotten in a cab w/ a car seat so guessing not.

Also, the El is great but there is not necessarily a very close stop to the above places; buses will work fine though and if there are 3 of you, a cab is a great idea. Not too expensive especially for 3 people, even including the extra person fee.

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7. Re: Doing the Tourist thing in Chicago

Just a note about carseats in cabs...I was in Chicago with my 2 year old nephew about 18 months ago and I called a cab company and asked that they send a cab with a car seat and they acted like I requested a trip to the moon.

I've lived in the city, but I have no children and my friends are all childless, so I never thought about car seats. I've never seen one in a cab and obviously the call to the cab company was futile. I'd call your hotel and ask what most people do about car seats. We ended up putting a seat belt on him and going a short distance, but we didn't ride in a cab after that. It seems strange that they don't provide an on demand seat just in case.

The el and buses never use car seats, but I'm still uncomfortable about putting a child in a car without one. And another note, if you have a stroller for the younger child, get a system of one person flagging the cab and telling the cabby where to go, another getting the trunk open and another flattening the stroller and putting it in the trunk. They start the meter asap and every second it takes you to get settled seems to count. (and its hard to watch the little ones while you do all that flagging and flattening).

Good Luck!