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Weather, music and so much more.

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Peterborough UK
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Weather, music and so much more.

Just starting to plan a 4-5 day trip to Chicago in late Sept 2009, combining with a similar amount of time in Detroit.

We're a 50+ couple, with a real interest in soul music from 60s onwards - hence this twin-location trip. But we want to do other stuff as well. So, a few questions....

What is weather generally like in Chicago late Sept?

Any recomendations re transport to/from Detroit?

Although we know we'll find plenty of blues venues, what about anything re the legacy of Curtis Mayfield etc?

And what other activities/interests might be good? We like sightseeing, shopping, dining, etc

Any help very welcome.

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1. Re: Weather, music and so much more.

Late September is probably similiar to late Sept in London. In other words, possibly rainy, maybe really hot, could be beautiful....so just go to weather.com before you head over and get the forecast. In regard to Detroit, I would say book the hour flight on southwest airlines. Planes leave often and are pretty cheap. Since you can buy one way tickets without penalty, you may want to look into flying into Chicago and out of Detroit for your trip back to the UK. That would save some time instead of coming back to Chicago. And finally, Detroit isn't known to be a nice place to visit. Especially with the economy really taking a beating up there crime is on an upswing. If you are visiting friends or something that is one thing but you may want to really consider the amount of time you spend there.

Destination Expert
for Chicago, Illinois
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2. Re: Weather, music and so much more.

www.explorechicago.org is a good site to do some research.

As your dates get closer, check the music listings at www.chicagoreader.com - the site is also good for dining searches.

www.transitchicago.com for public transit information. A CTA visitor pass might come in handy for your visit.

Chicago has two airports - O'Hare (ORD) and Midway (MDW). when pricing out airline tickets to Detroit, consider both airports. Both are about equal distance to downtown.

You can also go via train - www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer…

I assume you're aware of - www.motownmuseum.com

Or bus - http://www.megabus.com/us/

Chicago, IL
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for Chicago
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3. Re: Weather, music and so much more.

Detroit doesn't have the reputation that Chicago does, but there are enough things to keep you busy for several days.

As far as getting there, Southwest Airlines from Midway will be among the most inexpensive. The other airlines that fly from Midway will likely have competitive fares.

To get around in Detroit, you will need a car. The sights are spread over a wide area and public transit is lacking.

The biggest draw in the Detroit area is The Henry Ford, an indoor/outdoor museum complex that has a superb transportation collection, decorative and industrial arts and historic buildings. Highlights include the rocker in which Abraham Lincoln was assassinated and Thomas Edison's lab where he invented the phonograph, electric light and stock ticker and all the presidential limos through 1982.

They also have tours of the Ford Rouge Complex which after 100 years is still the only auto plant to take-in iron ore and silica to make steel and glass, then turn out a completed a completed car at the other end.

If you like to gamble, there are the three casinos in downtown plus one across the river in Windsor.

You can visit the auto baron estates. The Henry Ford House is on the campus of U of M-Dearborn. The 104-room Meadowbrook Hall is on Oakland U's campus about 20 miles north of downtown and near the Chrysler Museum and the Edsel and Eleanor Ford Estate is in Grosse Pointe Shores.

The Detroit Institute of Arts reopened about a year ago after a major renovation and expansion. Prizes of the collection are the Diego Rivera murals and a Van Gogh self-portrait.

If you enjoy architecture, you can tour the Cranbrook Community which was home to Eliel and Eero Saarinen who designed the TWA Terminal at JFK and the St. Louis Arch among other works. Cranbrook also has a science center and art museum and you can tour the house and gardens of publisher George Booth.

I'm not sure about Blues but for jazz, the place in Detroit to go is Baker's Keyboard Lounge. It's on the NW side of the city about 8 miles north of the city center.

For shopping, visit the Somerset Collection in Troy. It's two malls anchored by Saks, Neiman Marcus, Macy's and Nordstrom and connected by a moving skywalk.

If you want to escape the city, you can cross to Canada and head to Jack Miner's Bird Sanctuary or Point Pelee Park, the southern-most point in Canada. Both are about an hour south of Windsor.

If you do decide to cross the border, make sure the rental agreement on your car specifies that. The border agents will sometimes hassle you if your agreement doesn't have that clause and some companies charge heavy penalties if you don't tell them at the time of rental.

4. Re: Weather, music and so much more.

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