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what do the locals do in chicago

st louis
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what do the locals do in chicago

We visited chicago last year for labor day and are planning a repeat; we did the museums, deep dish pizza, architecture tours, sears tower, etc. This time we do not want the tourist stuff :)

Here is a question for locals: If you spent years there and moved away, but had the chance to return for 3 days, what would your must be stops include? Markets, restaurants, coffee shops, book stores, clubs--things you would really miss where you used to hang out.

We are staying downtown and also will have a car, besides not being adverse to using the train or a cab.


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Chicago, Illinois
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1. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

I would have to head to Bucktown (blue line Damen Ave stop, North Ave/Milwaukee Blvd area) to eat and shop. Cool places to eat: Piece (great New Haven style pizza and they are also a microbrewery so check out the beers on tap), Bin Cafe (really cool wine bar, cheese plates, for brunch they have Bloody Mary and Mimosa flights that are YUM), Hot Chocolate (incredible desserts), Parlor (cute indy place with homestyle American food with a sophisticated twist)

Also, Lincoln Park is a really cool area to check out (Brown line to Armitage Ave) - the zoo is there, great boutiques, some fantastic restaurants. Cool places to eat: Cafe Ba Ba Reba (spanish style tapas with good sangria and a very festive feel), Mon Ami Gabi (French bistro right by Lincoln Park zoo).

Have fun and let me know if you have any other questions!

Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: what do the locals do in chicago


I like the concept of your question, to think about what I would do if I had moved away and was coming back for a visit. There are so many things but I think most of the best things about Chicago are not in the main downtown area. That being said one I would go take in an event at the Millennium Park Pritzker Pavillion. You can bring your own food and drink and sit on the lawn and listen to music for free. You also get great views of the city at night.

Another thing I wouldn't want to miss would be a trip to the beach. One of my favorite things about Chicago is the lakefront. There are many parks and beaches to choose from. You can visit North Ave or Oak Street beach and be in the main hustle and bustle. I personally love the 57th Street beach (accross from the Museum of Science and Industry). Compared to Oak Street and North Ave beach its quieter and filled more with families. It is a great place to enjoy one of the city's beaches. I would then make sure to visit Medici restaurant which is on 57th street in Hyde Park not too far from the beach. It is a restaurant/bakery. The bakery makes some of the best pastries I have had outside of Europe. In my opinion, the ham and cheese croissants are to die for!

Another of my favorite things about Chicago is all the great food. If you like Indian food and are willing to venture to the far north side of the city I would recommend a trip to Devon Street. West along Devon from Western Ave is a huge concentration of Indian restaurants, markets and stores. Try the lunch buffet at Tiffin! On the way back downtown from Devon head down Western Ave and swing thru the Lincoln Square neighborhood. There are are some great stores in the square along Lincoln Ave (Mertz's, Timeless Toys, Chopping Block). There you can also grab cup of coffee and dessert at The Grind (its my favorite coffeehouse in Chicago) or a beer at the Daily Bar and Grill.

Enjoy your trip!

Chicago, Illinois
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3. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

I would eat -- Alinea, Charlie Trotter's, Spiaggia, Kevin, Naha. I also would spend a lot of time at the lakefront.

Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

Breakfast at Lou Mitchells.

Corned Beef sandwich from Manny's.

Please bring me an Oreo Concrete from Ted Drewes.

Transitchicago.com for public transit information. A CTA visitor pass might come in handy.

Rensselaer, Indiana
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5. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

IMHO, I think that many people make the mistake of thinking there is an invisible boundary between "tourist" and "local" spots in Chicago. As a rule, I don't think there are very many that would qualify as that.

And the museums definitely don't - however, IMHO, most locals usually go for the special exhibits or events and tend to visit their favorites in conjunction with them.

What I'd do would vary by season, but here are my choices:

I'd definitely stay in Lakeview. Not just out of sentimentality but because I really do enjoy the atmosphere of the neighborhood - although how much longer it will retain that is in question.

3-day activities:

Go to the Chicago Jazz Fest (Labor Day weekend) for a couple of performances.

Visit the Art Institute. If there were any special exhibits which caught my fancy at the Field, Shedd or Museum of Science & Industry, go there as well.

Visit Osaka Japanese Garden, if I was at the MSI.

Go on a CAF River Cruise. (I do every year, even living here.)

Catch a Cubs game at Wrigley.

Walk along the Lakefront.

Go to Millennium Park for an outdoor concert or event, if anything was available.

Stroll in Lincoln Park, visit the Zoo, Conservatory.

Go to the Music Box Theatre and Tango Sur for dinner.

Have an early breakfast while reading the Sunday Trib at an outdoor restaurant patio.

If Lynne Jordan and the Shivers were playing at any venue, would go.

Go to the Nettlehorst School farmer's market (Saturday mornings only) for bakery goods.

Go to The Green Mill.

Go to a Chicago Shakespeare Theatre performance and later get together with friends at the Beer Garden on Navy Pier.

Have a special dinner at North Pond.

Budapest, Hungary
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6. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

I agree with the last poster...many of the things I would do are tourist attractions also. I have a set of friends who moved to Poland and they come back every year. They tend to walk down michigan avenue, around the loop, and take a run on the lakeshore bike path. They have a few restaurants they go to then hit rush and division for the bars. They grab a burger (Poland has horrible beef) and get pizza at Giordanos. Then if there's time they just walk around the neighborhoods.

I'd probably do much of the same with more of a focus on some of my favorite restaurants and neighborhood watering holes (I tend not to mention them on here b/c I don't want them becoming overcrowded) and I'd walk around my old neighborhoods of Wicker Park and Andersonville. I'd also focus more of my time on the beaches and biking on the lakeshore bikepath. I'd also catch a show at one of the theaters or an opera. and if it were the summer, I'd go to one of the festivals and catch the Grant Park Orchestra for one of their shows.

By the way...I wouldn't bother coming back to chicago unless it were warm.

Lac du Flambeau...
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7. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

I love to walk from the Tribune Tower north to the Water Tower on Michigan Ave; great walk and loads of stores to browse. I love the Crate and Barrel and Garrett's, of course. I also enjoy Frank Lloyd Wright, so a trip to the Robie House near the U of Chicago or out to Oak Park is other trips I try to do. An italian beef sandwich, Chicago hot dog and pizza are always appreciated, too. Have fun!

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8. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

Something I do almost every Sunday is brunch at Angelina's, a little italian joint about three blocks away from Wrigley Field. You can take the red line from downtown to Addison, then walk three blocks east to Broadway and it's right there on the corner. You can get an item off the menu and unlimited champagne cocktails for $18 (cash only). The brunch menu is small, but everything they make is absolutely divine. The staff is friendly and the crowd very mellow. It's located near Boystown, so clearly a gay-friendly spot.

If I moved away and came back to Chicago, this would be an absolute MUST for me. Enjoy your stay. :)

9. Re: what do the locals do in chicago

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