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What to do???

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San Diego...
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What to do???

My husband will be going to Chicago in mid-July to work, so my kids and I have decided to join him. I've never been to Chicago, so I'm looking for fun, exciting, unique things to do. We'll be staying at the Rosemont Hyatt near the airport I believe.

I live in San Diego, so the normal tourist stuff you find in each city isn't what we're looking for - zoo, tour buses around town, etc. Driving in the city, or distances is not an issue for us as we're used to traffic, etc.

If you had friends or family coming into Chicago for just a few days - what sorts of things would you recommend they do? What is unique to Chicago? Is there anything out of the ordinary that you find fun or interesting?

My kids are 12 and 11, and we're very open minded to all sorts of adventures.

I will keep looking at all the websites for ideas, but thought I'd ask here to get personal experiences.

Thanks for any input or suggestions...

Illinois
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1. Re: What to do???

Take a look at www.explorechicago.org for ideas. If you give us an idea of your particular interests, we can offer suggestions. You don't need a car here. Parking is very expensive.

www.transitchicago.com for public transit information. It will take about 45 minutes to/from downtown on the CTA blue line train. A CTA visitor pass might come in handy for your visit.

Chicago
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2. Re: What to do???

If the kids are Harry Potter fans, there is an exhibit with movie props, etc. that just opened at the Museum of Science and Industry. Advance timed tickets recommended. The architectural boat tours are also wonderful. As has already been said, list some of your interest areas and people will try to help.

San Diego...
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3. Re: What to do???

Thanks for the information. Our interests, hmm....

We love to explore, walk, shop, see plays, visit strange places, etc. We're pretty much open to anytyhing, and enjoy unusual or out of the ordinary types of things. Not big sports fans unless its a San Diego team. Oh, we love food... what is a trademark food for Chicago?

I think the lakes may be of interest to them, because they are so large - maybe a boardwalk around the lake? We'll go to the Navy Pier, Grant Park, and maybe the Osaka Garden.

I thought I'd take them to Sears tower, downtown to see the area - the Magnificent Mile.

Can't think of anything else at the moment. If you think of anything I'd love to hear about it. Also, if we stay near the airport, is public transportation still a good option for us as we'll be going downtown?

Thanks again!

Illinois
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for Chicago, Illinois
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4. Re: What to do???

"We love to explore, walk, shop, see plays, visit strange places, etc. We're pretty much open to anytyhing, and enjoy unusual or out of the ordinary types of things. Not big sports fans unless its a San Diego team. Oh, we love food... what is a trademark food for Chicago?

I think the lakes may be of interest to them, because they are so large - maybe a boardwalk around the lake? We'll go to the Navy Pier, Grant Park, and maybe the Osaka Garden.

I thought I'd take them to Sears tower, downtown to see the area - the Magnificent Mile.

Can't think of anything else at the moment. If you think of anything I'd love to hear about it. Also, if we stay near the airport, is public transportation still a good option for us as we'll be going downtown?"

If you do a search for pizza in this forum, you'll find numerous posts. Also search for hot dogs and Italian beef. Chicago is a wonderful dining city. Just about every ethnic group is covered here. In addition, there's much more to Chicago than the downtown area. Visit a neighborhood or two.

The CTA blue line train is your best bet for transportation. The above mentioned link has the details. Again, CTA visitor passes should be a good deal for you. Order then ahead of time by mail.

The closest thing to a boardwalk would be Navy Pier. A better option is to walk along the many miles of lakefront.

If you're going to Osaka Garden, why not visit - http://www.msichicago.org/

Theater information - www.chicagoplays.com

Discounted tickets - http://www.hottix.org/

Restaurant reviews and dining searches - www.chicagoreader.com

Chicago, IL
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for Chicago
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5. Re: What to do???

I'd also recommend a walk through Grant Park and Millennium Park to see the fountains and other sights. They'd probably enjoy a walk through the loop and the canyon of the financial district.

To explore a couple great old buildings, head into the Monadnock Building on Jackson & Dearborn and the Rookery at LaSalle & Adams.

The Federal Reserve Bank has a money museum that's free and open 9 to 4 where you can have your picture taken with a suitcase containing a million dollars. They also offer guided tours at 1 p.m. Check their site at www.chicagofed.org and click on the education tab.

Chicago
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6. Re: What to do???

I hope you don't mind if I say that the comment about the boardwalk around the lake made me laugh. You will be surprised at the size of Lake Michigan, it is huge. I was trying to imagine how many weeks it would take to walk around it on a boardwalk! The kids would probably enjoy bicycling along the lakefront, there are various spots including Navy Pier to rent bikes. You can also do Segway tours downtown. Have they seen Blue Man Group? It is a theater performance that they might also enjoy. The Museum campus holds the Field Museum, the Shedd Aquarium and the Planetarium and you can take a water taxi between there and Navy Pier.

San Diego...
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7. Re: What to do???

Very Funny! I assumed someone would think that I mean to walk 'around' the lakes, and not meander 'around' the area. Though I've never seen them, I know they are so large that it appears like the ocean. So, I did know we could not walk 'around' them, but as long as I provided a good laugh - I'm good with that.

thank you all for your input, I'll set up our trip accordingly. Now here's something funny for you - I had completely forgotten Chicago was known for its pizza! thanks for the reminder.

Illinois
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8. Re: What to do???

I 2nd the recommendation for the architectural tour.

Be sure to do the lake/river boat tour. The Sea Dog tour leaves from Navy Pier, Wendella leaves from the river. Both tours go through the locks. Kids would probably enjoy the Sea Dog better because the boat goes fast on the lake portion of the tour. They both last about 90 minutes and aren't terribly expensive.

Pizza, of course. Italian Beef sandwich a must - totally unique to Chicago. Get it with extra gravy and take plenty of extra napkins. If you like spice, top it with Giardinarra peppers - also unique to Chicago.

Chicago, Illinois
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9. Re: What to do???

Look at this if you have the time.

http://www.tempelfarms.com/

Chicago
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10. Re: What to do???

Actually I did assume you meant that - the use of the plural "lakes" and the boardwalk idea simply put that picture into my head.