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Best of Chicago?

Discussion in 'Great Lakes' started by BigHeavy, May 26, 2012.

  1. BigHeavy

    BigHeavy Aficionado (215) Missouri Jul 11, 2007

    I'll be in Chicago from June 1st through June 3rd. What do I HAVE to do while I am there? Museums, eateries, beer, the whole works. We are open to pretty much anything.
  2. ravot

    ravot Advocate (535) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    Navy Pier, Walk Michigan Avenue, Museums are fantastic, science of industry (south side). You can walk around the planetarium, great view of the city 'from' the lake and can take wonderful pictures with your guests. Next to the planetarium is Shedd Aquarium, i always hear(haven't been there in years) tickets are pricey but it's fun. There's a small beach on the planetarium side which is normally nice, water is iffy :) a short walk away is Soldier Field, where the Bears play.

    If you got got a car, i'd hit up some breweries, Rev Brew just opened their brewery, their restaurant has great food as well but it's not too close, unless you have a car. Rev Brewery is near Half Acre, Goose Island Pub.

    if you're there early on friday, try getting to Hot Doug's. specialty hot dog place, line is HugE well worth the wait, friday and saturday is infamous for a huge line up to an hour. Or near by,the overhyped on a good way, Kuma's Corner. great burger spot with fantastic mac and cheese (share it , don't finish it) i know people will say to go else where for burgers, but it's really not bad, a lot of people i know like it, i'm a vegetarian, they have a garden burger.
  3. Kwaz

    Kwaz Aficionado (200) Illinois Mar 31, 2012 Beer Trader

    Don't go to Navy Pier, it's a train wreck of tourists and overpriced food. Everything else sounds like a good recommendation to me depending on where you're staying. If you're anywhere near the lake, take a walk on the lakefront path, it's kind of the embodiment of summertime in Chicago.
    pmoney and MarkIntihar like this.
  4. Etan

    Etan Champion (765) Wisconsin Jul 11, 2011

    Half Acre
    Goose Island (Clybourn)

    The Map Room
  5. Mjmoser

    Mjmoser Savant (420) Illinois May 6, 2012

    If you go to Half Acre, stop in Bad Apple across the street. Local Option is also a good bar for various craft beers. Pizza and Beer: Piece...

    Ifbyou are down town looking for a beer, Green Door Tavern is kinda fun.
  6. JakeT469

    JakeT469 Savant (400) Colorado Jan 13, 2012

    Can't do Chicago in 2-3 days. Extend your trip!!
    MarkIntihar and SpottedZombie like this.
  7. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Advocate (515) Ohio Oct 11, 2010

    I would add these:

    Local Option (my favorite beer bar in Chicago)
    Maria's Packaged Goods (also there's a place next door called Pleasant House Bakery that has awesome beef and ale pies)
    Kuma's Corner (decent beer list, usually has Zombie Dust on-tap, my favorite burger place, I recommend the Plague Bringer)

    Pipeworks (you can't actually go to the brewery, but it's a great local brewery, try to pick up some while you're in town)

    Binny's in Lincoln Park (on Marcy Street)
    West Lakeview Liquors (is close to Half Acre, has one of the best selections in the city)

    non-beer stuff:

    Museum of Science and Industry, the Field Museum and the Art Institute are all must-sees, seriously these are some of the best museums in the country.

    also depending on the weather going to the beach would be a good choice, although it looks like you guys will be busy, Ohio Street beach is a really good choice, it's close to food at Navy Pier and is usually not as crowded as Oak street beach.
  8. Vav

    Vav Advocate (515) Illinois Jul 27, 2008

    Shedd Aquarium.
    Peaquod's Pizza.
    Architectural Boat tour.
    Local Option.
  9. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Advocate (515) Ohio Oct 11, 2010

    also, this ^ exactly. Stay for another two days if at all possible, Chicago is really great at this time of year.
  10. Go to millenium park...its free and futuristic...i recommend eating acid to liven the experience
    da_bulls, SpottedZombie and RTrain12 like this.
  11. aefbjo

    aefbjo Savant (295) Bahamas Jun 8, 2005

    Revolution is totally do-able without a car: it's like "stumbling distance" (literally) from the Blue Line train, California stop. Seriously. Or (in declining order of proximity) the California, Armitage or Fullerton buses, depending on where you're coming from.

    Also second going to Bad Apple if you hit Half Acre. And I third the Local Option. Chicago's best tap list for my money, maybe tied with Hopleaf, but more centrally located. Map Room is up there; they almost always have Zombie Dust and always other good stuff. A great pub "crawl" (not walking-distance unfortunately, but down one stretch) would be Local Option > Beer Bistro North (formerly Small Bar Fullerton) > Map Room > Quenchers and then over to Revolution as well as Cole's and the Whistler if you are interested in cocktails.

    (Non-beer-related) One of my favorite things to do with out-of-towners is just a bit off the beaten path for most tourists: Chicago Avenue in Ukrainian Village. Start at the west end west of Western Avenue and have great, well-priced Ukrainian comfort food at Shokolad. Borscht, pierogies, really nice salads, pastries. Go across the street to Star Lounge for locally roasted coffee. Go a half-mile east or so and hit the Ukrainian Institute of Modern Art or whatever it's called. From there go to Alcala's Western Wear, an incredible Mexican cowboy clothing store with crazy boots, belt buckles, embroidered shirts and jeans. Then you're close to Hoosier Mama for great slices of pie and coffee... and then (beer-related) you're pretty close to Twisted Spoke, which is up there with the above-listed places on my best tap lists in Chicago.

    I also love Maria's bar in Bridgeport, and also highly recommend getting savory pies next door.

    What else... Jazz Record Mart, any of the Reckless Records locations.

    Pilsen for Mexican culture (Little Village if you're adventurous).

    Food: Publican. If you like meat in rustic preparations.
    Etan likes this.
  12. Redrover

    Redrover Champion (830) Illinois Jan 18, 2003

    Do the Chicago Architect’s Foundation Boar/River tour. It has fantastic views and a great way to learn about some really cool buildings.

    Also look for a one of the many neighborhood festivals that take place every weekend.

    What dates are you in town?
  13. doogie71628

    doogie71628 Savant (255) Illinois May 9, 2012 Beer Trader

    Very much agreed on avoiding Navy Pier at all costs. It is awful, expensive, and a tourist trap. And Chicago museums and galleries are pretty typical, and not anything special from what you would find in all other big cities. They are good, but your time is probably better spent exploring other things. Lincoln Park Zoo is pretty fun though, and free. Millenium Park is interesting, but not a lot to do. And don't do the Sears tower trip to the top, unless you haven't seen buildings from really high up and would like to do that.

    More unique Chicago options:
    Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind- a fun theater group that does 30 short plays in 60 minutes. It is fun and slightly interactive. The cost is only $9 plus the roll of a dice, so between $10-$15.

    Improv Olympics, a must if you like comedy. Second City is alright too, but Improv Olympics is more intimate and cheaper. A lot of comedians came from both places. Plus it is close to Wriggley Field if you want to see the outside of that.

    Water taxi- if the architecture tour is too much, this cheap water taxi will take you through the river downtown all the way to Chinatown, which is a fun neighborhood too.

    Nowhere to start, but interesting cheaper($8-$16) places: Franks n Dawgs(fancy hot dogs, like rabbit with truffle mayo), Del Soul(Korean tacos), Lockdown(like Kuma's burgers, but much easier to get in to), Bad Happy(poutine with fancy ingredients), Crisp(Korean chicken wings), Art of Pizza(if you wan't deep dish pizza, it is better than giordano's), Urban Belly(noodles, Korean/Vietnamese/Latin fusion),Cemitas Puebla(puerto rican sandwiches), Jerry's(sandwiches, but also a great beer list), Black Dog Gellato(for dessert)

    A little pricier($17-$35), but good places: Lula Cafe, Revolution Brewery(mentioned earlier for its beer, but food is great too), Chilam Balam, Piece Pizza(good new haven style pizza, and they brew their own beer which is good), Slurping Turtle, Hot Chocolate

    Expensive($30-$60), but worth it: Avec, Girl and the Goat, Longman and Eagle, Takashi

    Bars: All the ones mentioned above, and Fountainhead. So many great bars, you can't go wrong. So mostly depends where you are staying.
  14. cu29

    cu29 Aficionado (235) Wisconsin Sep 26, 2005

    Perhaps you won't have a ton of free time, but why not join the group going on the German pub walk on Saturday? There is a thread on it somewhere below titled "June 2nd German Pub Walk-Chicago". Right near the Glunz pub there is a pretty fun German Maifest taking place. My wife and I usually head there after Glunz. We represent Wisco, looks like you gotta represent KS! These Illinois folk can't hog all of the fun! That wouldn't be fair.
    Redrover likes this.
  15. BakeBisBife

    BakeBisBife Aficionado (190) Illinois Mar 15, 2011 Beer Trader

    pick up some galactic double daisy cutter and go to montrose beach. rent bikes and hit the lakeshore path hard. or you could just spend a lot of money and go to every place already mentioned.
  16. BigHeavy

    BigHeavy Aficionado (215) Missouri Jul 11, 2007

    I saw that Galactic Double Daisy Cutter was available a couple of days ago. Any word on if it is still there? Or will be in a weeks time?
  17. CP20

    CP20 Aficionado (195) Massachusetts Jan 16, 2011

    If you have a group interested in it, renting bikes and riding the lakeshore path is absolutely the best way to experience Chicago in the summer. I would also recommend seeing some comedy (iO, Second City..) Honestly, Chicago has some great breweries/brewpubs (Revolution, Goose Island, Half Acre, Piece, Metropolitan, Haymarket etc), but IMO enjoy the city first and seek out the closest beer destinations as a supplement.

    I do second Hot Doug's and Pequod's as authentic Chicago dishes, and would add Lou Malnati's (sorry I'm a North Shore guy) and Billy Goat Tavern (underneath Michigan Avenue) as convenient Chicago spots.

    If you're sticking around the Loop, I would do the Art Institute, Millenium Park, and possibly walk out on Northerly Island Park. If you're in Lincoln Park, try Local Option (Food + Drink), Kingston Mines (Blues Bar), and Alive One (Bar).

    Geesh, my homesickness is starting to show so I'll stop now, but have fun!!!
  18. sullenbee

    sullenbee Savant (340) Michigan Jan 15, 2010

    Best FREE thing to do in Chicago right now:


    The Morbid Curiosities collection at the Chicago Cultural Center has some of the best work I have ever seen under one roof. That is, if you like things a little darker than most. And best of all, it's FREE.
    Vav and projectvillain like this.
  19. WillCarrera

    WillCarrera Advocate (515) Ohio Oct 11, 2010

    It kicked in about 30 hours, gone as of Saturday evening I think.
  20. MarkIntihar

    MarkIntihar Advocate (700) Michigan Mar 17, 2010

    I know a bunch of pizza places have been mentioned already, but I always take people to Gino's East whenever it's their first time in the city. Awesome pizza, and even though it's been a bit commercialized, the atmosphere and writing on the walls is still kind of fun.

    Other than that, Shedd is a must-see IMO.
  21. Lognar

    Lognar Aficionado (155) Illinois Apr 10, 2012

    I really recommend a restaurant called The Gage. It's a gastropub (think of it as upscale pub food) across from Millenium Park on Michigan Ave between Monroe and Madison. They have a decent craft beer selection, TONS of whiskeys and scotches, and the food is killer. My wife and I have eaten here about 5 times over the last couple years and we've never had even close to a bad meal. http://www.thegagechicago.com/

    Burger Bar http://burgerbarchicago.com/ has really good burgers. It's the place that introduced me to craft beer. They were pairing Bourbon County Brand Stout with a few of their burgers a while back too.

    I would also recommend the Shedd Aquarium.

    And honestly, if you have access to a car. 3 Floyds isn't a bad drive.
  22. Kwaz

    Kwaz Aficionado (200) Illinois Mar 31, 2012 Beer Trader

    The food is great but the beer selection is pretty awful. As a proxy, Stone IPA is the only thing on here thats remotely "pale."
  23. BFro

    BFro Aficionado (245) Illinois Feb 1, 2012

    If you want to do the museums, check out the websites. I know there's a "city pass" type thing that gets you admission to multiple places, including Shedd and other museums. I don't remember how much it is though. Shedd Aquarium is awesome. Definitely gets pricey if you start to pay for all the mini "attractions" once youre in there. But it's one of the best aquariums in the country. But like a few people have been saying, you really need to pick what you wanna do and supplement with one or two of the other things. You're unfortunately going to have to pick weekend beer/bar tour or museum tour. Cost is probably about equal, so you don't have to worry about that. ;)
  24. DROOO

    DROOO Aficionado (205) Illinois May 5, 2009

    i will fully co-sign this. i want to own The Death of Venus.
    sullenbee likes this.
  25. Payne

    Payne Disciple (50) Illinois Mar 1, 2012

    I hit up Half Acre on Saturday night and they still had tons of Galactic Double Daisy Cutter. Limit 4 tall boys per person ~$20 for a 4-pack. It is some good stuff for sure!
  26. ravot

    ravot Advocate (535) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    they tweeted this morning that they were sold out. they had a good chunk in the afternoon on saturday when i went. it looked like it would last the day through sunday for a bit, doubtful for monday. But yeah it's gone.
  27. Vav

    Vav Advocate (515) Illinois Jul 27, 2008

    Snap, didnt know this was happening, thanks!
  28. dmsulli

    dmsulli Savant (350) Illinois Jan 30, 2012 Beer Trader

    I don't know if anyone mentioned this yet, but if you're a Bank of America card holder, this weekend is their "Museums on Us" weekend for June. I think it's one free admission per card holder.


    Be sure to check out the Lichtenstein exhibit at the Art Institute!
    MarkIntihar likes this.
  29. jegross2

    jegross2 Champion (760) Illinois Jan 3, 2010 Beer Trader

    can we sticky this post plz lol
  30. 71gto

    71gto Savant (315) Illinois Jun 3, 2009 Beer Trader

    Shedd FOR SURE. Love that place.
  31. C2H5

    C2H5 Savant (480) Illinois Jan 7, 2012 Beer Trader

    get a pizza puff, seriously.
  32. dmsulli

    dmsulli Savant (350) Illinois Jan 30, 2012 Beer Trader

    THESE. EVERY one of these places are amazing and amongst the highest food reccomendations I can give. Crisp (and possibly Del Seoul) is BYOB.

    Also, has enough been made about the prevalance of BYOB spots here in Chicago? I thought most people find it somewhat unusual when they come to the city.
  33. I'll throw in another nod for the Architecture boat tour. It sounds dumb, but it's basically a boat ride down the river with a history lesson all along it. It's my absolute go-to when people come into town.

    Hancock signature room... I don't love this place, but if you are jonesing to get up high and have a view over the city, skip the Sears (uh... Willis) Tower and go here. You don't pay an entry fee so you just go up to the bar, have a drink, and go on your way. Nice way to break up the day if you are doing tons of walking around and need a rest.

    Also, I'll say Avec for a nice dinner if you are looking for that. Not great beer (though Province across the street normally has one-off FFF stuff and you can wait there since Avec doesn't take reservations), but the food is amazing and it's SUPER reasonably priced. My gf and I spend about $70 including drinks when we go. Get the bacon wrapped dates and focaccia bread.
    Kwaz likes this.
  34. Kwaz

    Kwaz Aficionado (200) Illinois Mar 31, 2012 Beer Trader

    Big time agree with both Architecture boat tour as my go-to for out of towners and Avec for a great meal.
  35. beelzebubbles

    beelzebubbles Aficionado (235) Illinois Mar 1, 2006 Verified

    Yeah, that beer list isn't very interesting. Too bad, the Gage used to a great place for beer & food in the Millennium park area.
  36. SalukiAlum

    SalukiAlum Advocate (560) Colorado Dec 19, 2010

    Baeball in town? Cubs or Sox?
  37. Lognar

    Lognar Aficionado (155) Illinois Apr 10, 2012

    I should clarify that last time I was at the Gage, they had a tap list on a chalk board behind the bar, so the website is not an accurate reflection of what they have for craft brews.
  38. jkaiser150

    jkaiser150 Aficionado (115) Florida Jul 23, 2009

    there is a childrens museum at navy pier that is free if you belong to any other childrens museum across the us. it is insanely huge and fun, could spend 4 hours there and still not see everything, parking is terrible, it's like $25 four blocks away for all day
  39. howopeeps

    howopeeps Savant (265) Ohio Mar 7, 2011 Beer Trader

    Anyone do the revolution beer tour yet thinking about going next wednesday
  40. ravot

    ravot Advocate (535) Illinois Mar 20, 2012 Beer Trader

    i haven't. been meaning to do. time are the tours? the brewery or the pub?