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Visiting Chicago next month...need some help!

1162 Views 5 Replies 4 Participants Last post by  Steely Dan
I'm going to be in Chicago next month for Memorial Day weekend. I was born there but have not returned since I was about 2 years old so obviously I have no recollection of it. Anyways, I was hoping some of you Chicagoans (is that the correct term?) could steer me in the right direction. Here are some questions I have:

-I want to stay on the magnificent mile but i'm not sure which part. I'm debating between the Westin at the north end by water tower place or the marriott which is several blocks south near the Chicago river. I want to be close to where the critical mass is so which one would you recommend? I'd be also be open to any other hotel recommendations that are in that general area, I'm trying to stay at around $200 a night though so the Conrad and Omni are out of the question.

Tourist attractions
-I know very little about what major attractions are in Chicago. All i know is that the Sears tower is the tallest in the states and that michigan ave is on par with 5th ave in nyc and rodeo drive in beverly hills. what other spots are a "must see" for an out of towner?

-I'm a 23 year old straight male so I definitely want to know where the hot spots are, preferably where college girls and young professionals hang out at. I prefer hip hop/top 40 music and tend to lean towards the asian crowd. any recommendations for which clubs to check out?

- What's the best way to get around town? I'm from seattle where there is no mass transit so our only options are the bus or cabs.

That's about all the questions i got for now, any tips would be much appreciated!
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Um... I will try the best I could by answering your questions.

Yes, Chicagoans is the right term.

First of all, forget the Sear's Tower observation skydeck(if you were going to plan on going up to one of Chicago's tall building and look down). Go to John Hancock's 95th Floor/ signature room. There are lunch buffets at $15 and you get to look out of the Building for free or buy a drink which is like less than $5 from the 96th floor bar. The John Hancock is on the North end of Michigan Ave/ Magnificent Mile. IMO, better location than the Sears Tower.

Um... if you have time, be sure to check the Museum Campus, on the Lake just south of the Loop, 3 major or even World Class Museums there; the Field(Natural History), Alder Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. Plus this is the perfect place to take a picture of the Chicago Skyline.

Go to Grant Park or better yet the Millenium Park which is new (made in 2004). The major attraction there is the "Bean" which is open. I would say also go to the Art Institute, but since you are coming to Chicago just for the weekend.


If you have a bike, take a scenic bike ride along the Lakefront. On one side you will see the Lake and parks and one side skyscrapers.


The L is the perfect way to travel around Chicago. Just buy a "One Day pass" which let you use every single bus and train for a day for only $5. The L is only probably second to NYC's public transportation.

Downtown Chicago is very safe and clean, IMO, so don't worry about that unless you wondered into an alley somewhere.

There are many attractions in Chicago, but for coming here for a weekend, Cruise around downtown, taking the L, or even going to some neighborhoods outside the general area of downtown.
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Call any hotel concierge in Chicago, tell them that you will be staying in their hotel (even if you're not) and ask them to send you the latest copy of WHERE Magazine. It has everything you want to know.
What's the best affordable hotel on the magnificent mile? I care most about the location, facilities, and price.

Any suggestions for nightlife?
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