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Driving along Chicago's Lake Shore Drive, especially on a nice spring, summer or fall day and you will see sail boats on the Lake, people running, jogging, biking and skating along the Lakefont. Do yourself a favor, after you drive the LSD get out and walk by the Lake yourself to get the true beauty of our magnificent lake front.
Written Mar 31, 2008
About the middle of March, 2008, anyone who is 65 or oder who lives in Cook, DuPage, Kane, Lake, Will, or McHenry County is eligible to ride FREE on transportation operated by the Chicago Transit Authority [CTA], Metra, and Pace. If you already have the Reduced Fare Permit [as I do], then within a few months a transition to the new "RTA free-ride ID Card" [the new "smart card' ] will take place.
If you want to be elgible, you must sign up during normal business hours at the RTA's CUSTOMER SERVICE CENTER that is located at 165 North Jefferson Street in Chicago or a suburban site [270 of them]. For a list of the registration sites, you may call 836-7000 [from any local area code].
Once you receive your card, you are able to show it to the bus driver, the train conductor; or, you can use it at a farebox or turnstile.
This is a fabulous free service for seniors, especially low-income seniors. I personally think that this will give older people the opportunity to "get out and about" without financial burdens.
Written Mar 29, 2008
Headed for a night out and wanted to entertain a few friends to a nice dinner outside the city center so I decided that getting chauffeured around might be a good idea.
Shopping around for rates I found that Elite Chicago Limo had a really competitive one; especially compared to the prices I am more used to pay in LA.
Their rate comes to $70/hr for 10-person stretch with fully stocked complimentary bar.
The car was a relatively new Lincoln (2006 model I think) - the bar was nice with all the 'usuals': beer, wine, champagne, coolers and whisky; and the driver was a very polite and rather quiet lady.
She arrived on-time (expected) and dropped us off about 20 minutes over the reservation without any problem (also expected). Would definitely use them again should the opportunity arises.
Written Sep 4, 2007
Let's not forget that the Chicago River is a working waterway. Particularly the South Branch, which goes through some pretty gritty industrial districts on its jolly way to Joliet.
Here a well-laden barge is carrying a significant amount of gravel. In the background, under construction you can see some of the new South Loop condo towers.
Written Aug 23, 2007
One of the most popular tours that is available in Chicago is the Chicago Double Decker Company Tour. It is heated in the winter and open-air in the summer.
They take credit cards such as Discover, Diners Club, Master Card, Visa, and American Express.
This tour has a "Hop On, Hop Off" advantage where you are allowed to get off at 13 different stops, but you cannot get off between stops.
From May 26 through September 3, they have an exclusive offer that includes a bonus route of Chicago's ethnic neighborhoods; thus, you obtain two tours for the price of one! These neighborhoods include Little Italy, Chinatown, Greektown, and West Loop/Harpo Studies.
They have several service stops where you can purchase your tickets. The prices are $23.00 for adults and $20.00 for Seniors.
The stops they make are Sears Tower, Millennium Park, Wacker South [Riverwalk, Tribune Tower, Wrigley Building, Boat tours], Theater District, Art Institute, Hilton Towers & Hotel [Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, Printer's Row], Field Museum of Natural History, [Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium], Sheraton Hotel [NBC Tower, and River East Plaza, Navy Pier, Magnificent Mile, Hancock Center, Water Tower, River North [North Bridge & River North shopping and dining.
While we were there, they were offering a Free Hershey chocolate bar and a Free Garrett popcorn Sample [these items could be redeemed at the Hershey [Water Tower stop and at the Garrett Popcorn stop [Theater District].
Updated Aug 12, 2007
It can be very helpful to understand Chicago's grid and street numbering system. Rather than try to explain it here, I'll encourage you to google "Chicago grid system." There are several helpful resources out there. Knowing that, for example, increments of 800 equal one mile, can help you calculate the distance between 2 locations.
Written Jul 22, 2007
Parking throughout the city is quite pricey, so if you can manage to use public transportation to get into the city then once there you can easily walk around and take local transit to get to further destinations.
We actually parked in one area (Navy Pier) and we took their free shuttle to Michigan avenue from there we walked around Michigan ave. , The financial district, millennium park, EVERYWHERE.
Sure, its a long walk, but a great exercise and great way to get around!
The traffic in the city is really busy and often hectic, the easiest way to get around especially along Michigan is walking!
Written May 19, 2007
Often called "Chicago's secret weapon against the elements", the Pedway was introduced to me by fellow VT member, Dabs [Kristi}.
The Pedway is really a combination of underground tunnels, overhead skyway bridges, and concourses. It shelters pedestrians from some of Chicago's bad weather when in and around the Chicago Loop.
I looked up information about the Pedway after being introduced to it and discovered that development of it began in 1951 [and I'm just now learning how to use it!!!] Because it has grown haphazardly, it is not uniform; it is difficult to locate, and sometimes hard to navigate
We were able to walk to James R. Thompson Center, to Marshall Field's [Macy's], and the Cultural Center. But the State-Dearborn Pedway is now closed because of the development of Block 37. This is really a great inconvenience for the downtown workers and dwellers who get off the Blue Line and pedway to Macy's or those who get off the Electric or the Red Line and cut underground to go to LaSalle Street.
I did read in the Sun-Times that the pedway at Michigan and Randolph will very soon have a Starbucks, a bakery, a newsstand and other retailers [this area will be called The Shops at Millennium Station]. Presumedly, there will be more and better lighting, air conditioning, and cleaner attendant-kept restrooms. I've forgotten when it will be completed.
Here is a partial list of points of entry and exit for the Pedway:
25 East Washington Street
139 North Wabash Avenue
Hyatt Regency Hotel
77 West Wacker Drive
City Hall/County Building
James R. Thompson Center
Richard J. Daley Center
Chicago Cultural Center
Carson Pirie Scott
Having been introduced to this underground world [at least a portion of it], I will now remember what to do when it's bitterly cold, raining, or ridiculously hot...The Pedway is the way to go!
Updated Feb 10, 2007
Navigating Chicago is a little easier if you know the following things:
1) Chicago was built on a grid system, almost all of the streets in Chicago run straight east/west or straight north/south. The notable exceptions are Lincoln, Clybourn and Clark (only past North Avenue)
2) 8 blocks=mile
3) The "zero line" is the intersection of State (north/south street) and Madison (east/west street) in the heart of the Loop.
Addresses to the east of State increase with E. addresses, to the west they increase with W. addresses.
Addresses to the north of Madison increase with N. addresses, addresses to the south of Madison increase with S. addresses.
4) Wacker Drive consists of upper and lower Wacker. Lower is just for driving and escaping the congested downtown traffic. The entrances to Lower Wacker are not very well marked.
5) Wacker Drive is the only street I can think of in Chicago that has addresses that are E., W., N. and S. as it curves along with the Chicago River. Be careful if you are trying to find an address on Wacker.
6) If you see a brown street sign instead of a green one, these are honorary street names, honoring notable Chicagoans, which you won't find on a map.
7) If you are driving, watch out for one way streets. There are lots of them, especially in the Loop.
8) Street names aren't as easy as NYC which is almost all numbered (Manhattan anyways) but there are some east-west streets that are lumped together:
The President streets in the loop in chronological order heading south-Washington, (Adams the elder and Jefferson are skipped) Madison, Monroe, Adams, Jackson, Van Buren, Harrison, Polk. I don't know why John Tyler was skipped and I read that Washington and Monroe St. were named after counties and not Presidents...
The Great Lake Streets in River North going south-Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario (the 5th Great Lake, Michigan, runs north-south)
The tree streets-between Division (1200 North) and Chicago (800 North) along the Mag Mile there is Elm, Cedar, Maple, Oak, Locust, and Chestnut
Updated Jan 17, 2007
I was thinking that maybe people are traveling from city to city. If so, if you are coming or going to chicago from Indianapolis the best route is I-65 (N or S, depending on your destination) and then taking I-90/I-94. If you are not from Chicago and you are planning to drive there, always stay on the left, you can always get to your exit. For example say you need 51C but you are at 53a, don't worry stay on the left in the express lane, you will be thankful later that you did so!
Also traveling either to chicago or to Indianapolis, to pass all of the tolls it will cost you $3.15. There is a 15¢ toll, a 50¢, and a $2.50 toll.
Written Oct 6, 2006
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