Chicago Travel Guide

  • Chicago River Cruise
    Chicago River Cruise
    by riorich55
  • The Bean in Millennium Park
    The Bean in Millennium Park
    by riorich55
  • Another Cloud Gate View
    Another Cloud Gate View
    by riorich55

Chicago Things to Do

  • Navy Pier

    4 out of 5 stars

    2014 update: unfortunately the Smith closed this year, and the pieces will be finding new homes. Will update this review once it has been announced where most of them will land. The adjoining Richard H. Driehaus Gallery - with 11 Tiffany windows - will remain open for now....

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  • Millennium Park

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    We stayed at the Silversmith Hotel at 10 South Wabash Avenue in the Jewellers Row District in Chicago. It sits two blocks away from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago. We weren't impressed with the hotel at first sight for it looked like a warehouse but apparently it was originally constructed to house jewellers and silver craftsmen...

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  • Willis Tower (Formerly Sears Tower)

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Visit the observation platform at Sears Tower/ now Willis Tower (starting with July 16, 2009). The building is 110 storeys above ground. There is a wonderful view of the city and neighborhood from the observation platform here. We were surprised by the quick and effective elevator and the wonderful views from the observation platform. We only had...

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Chicago Hotels

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Chicago Restaurants

See all 1396 Restaurants in Chicago
  • Giordano's

    4 out of 5 stars

    Last visit to Rosemont location October 2015 Giordano's comes up a lot as one of people's favorite pizzas, I hadn't been to one in many years, not because I don't like their pizza, just because I always seem to be taking people to Lou Malnati's for deep dish or because Edwardo's is more convenient for us for stuffed. But when Peter (loisl) came to...

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  • Pizzeria Uno/Pizzeria Due

    4 out of 5 stars

    I discover this place last week, when I was on vacations with family in Chicago. Trust me that was the best pizza I ever had and the atmosphere was phenomenal . Also, the painting on the walls was awesome. They really have an art to catch the interest of anyone who likes Pizza

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  • Japonais

    4.5 out of 5 stars

    Though I've traveled to many places in the world, Japonais remains a "fav" (short for favorite)!!! From the menu selection to the atmosphere, this restaurant has a ton of things going for it. If you love sushi, then this is one of the places to hang out. Head to the sushi bar to watch them work their magic. Or, relax at a table in the spacious...

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Chicago Nightlife

See all 367 Nightlife in Chicago
  • Signature Lounge-Hancock

    located in the 96th floor of the john Hancock Center in the Magnificent Mile and is one of the most spectacular and romantic views around the city of chicago and lake michigan aroundso it is ideal for romantic dates or proposal but even for just chit chat and hanging around. For the price of a trip to the John Hancock tower observatory ($15, two...

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  • Green Mill

    This place has a long history, so it is well worth a visit. They do have a no talking during the performance rule that was being pretty strictly enforced while I was there. And since I'm not huge into jazz, made the night seem to go pretty long. Get there by 8:00 for a seat for the 9:00 show. Drinks are pretty well priced. I had to pay $15 for...

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  • Comedy Clubs

    The UP Comedy Club is in the same building as Second City. I had been seeing discounted tickets for "What the Tour Guide Didn't Tell You" for months and we finally booked tickets through Hottix for a Thursday night. The space holds 285 people, on a Thursday night it was not crowded but there was a decent size crowd of people considering it wasn't...

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Chicago Transportation

  • CTA (city trains & buses, the EL)

    Chicago has a great public transport system with the famous El (Elevated Train), tied-in underground/subway/metro lines, and buses. One can get individual rides or buy tickets for extended periods of time such as several days giving unlimited rides. This makes getting around town easy and enjoyable. The El in particular is a fun way to get around...

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  • O'Hare International Airport

    A common question for travelers coming into O'Hare from overseas when transferring through Chicago is how long immigration and customs takes. I personally wouldn't contemplate a layover with anything less than 2 hours especially if you are coming in on a visa or ESTA and after the line I saw on September 8, 2013, I probably wouldn't do it with...

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  • Driving/Parking

    Check out the website listed below for current information on travel times and construction within the Chicago, Gary, Indiana and Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. Usually there is some type of construction going on in the greater Chicago area between March and November. The other months are a bit too cold for major construction.

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Chicago Shopping

See all 210 Shopping in Chicago
  • Magnificent Mile/Michigan Avenue

    North Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, is one of the world's best shopping destinations, rivaling US streets like 5th Ave. in New York and Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Shopping centers such as Water Tower Place and 900 N. Michigan offer hundreds of stores, along with plenty of other stores on the street, including: Hugo Boss, Armani, Louis...

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  • Marshall Fields - 111 N State St -...

    I do not find anything especially unique or interesting about Water Tower Place. It's a big mall, that is about it. I would have you go to State and Washington for the 'original' department store (now a Macys)...Marshall Fields...This is truly one of the orginal dept stores in the country. There is a beautiful domed cieling with cermaic design by...

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  • American Girl Place

    This is THE Desitination place for little girls between the ages of 5 and 12. A venue for selling the American Girl dolls. The store has its own theatre- The Circle of Friends- a musical which features seven girls planning a birthday quilt for their friend Laura. Each girl has made a quilt square inspired by the story of an American Girl from long...

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Chicago Local Customs

  • Festivals & Holidays

    Christkindlmarket is a German Christmas market at Daley Plaza that runs from around Thanksgiving to Christmas each year. If you are in Chicago around this time, be sure to stop by. Sample a variety of food and drink from Germany, including bratwurst, schnitzel, leberkaese, potato pancake, stollen, and gluehwein. There are also a variety of vendors...

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  • Eating & Drinking

    Beginning on Thanksgiving Day, and continuing until Christmas Day, there is an old world outdoor German Winter Market in Daley Plaza. It's so much fun, I go there every year, and am always bringing new friends! The Christkindlmarket is full of booths of special gifts to buy, and German foods and drinks! There are hot pretzels, German holiday...

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  • History

    On May 24, 1924 14 year old Bobby Franks was walking home from school when he was kidnapped and killed by Nathan Leopold and Richard Loeb, who were looking to commit the perfect crime. Bobby Franks could have been anyone, he wasn't their particular target, just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Leopold and Loeb were wealthy, they were young, 19...

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Chicago Warnings and Dangers

  • Common Sense Advice / Sketchy...

    I've lived in Chicago for most of my life and know the city well. Down town area is fairly safe but watch out for groups of teenagers as they have been jumping and mugging people the last few years. Put your IPhone away in transit stops. If someone comes up to you and starts to talk to you at a bus stop etc watch around you for others. Do not go...

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  • Beggars & Scam Artists

    I Got Scammed by "Tyler" on the front of the Art Institute of Chicago. Not only scammed but stolen from as well. I am young woman (late teens early twenties) and was with my mother, we came into Chicago for the day because we had a day off (She is a caretaker for her good friend who has Breast cancer so we were looking forward to a peaceful/fun...

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  • Parking

    Updated 9/16/13 Parking in Chicago is expensive, especially during the week. Sometimes you can get early bird specials on the weekdays if you come early enough. If you are coming in by plane, you should not need to have a car. If you are lucky enough to find a free or metered spot on the street, check all the signs very carefully. There are...

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Chicago Tourist Traps

  • Navy Pier

    I want to start with the notion that I absolutely understand why tourists would visit Navy Pier, Chicago's #1 tourist draw, but I am sticking under tourist traps for three reasons: 1) 90% of the people you encounter here are tourists 2) Restaurants and shops are overpriced and not the best in the city 3) Parking is obnoxiously priced, currently...

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  • Sears Tower or John Hancock Building

    Getting up there is not all too cheap. And before you get on the elevator, they force you to pose for a picture with a fake background. On your way out, they try to sell you that picture for nearly $30. Then they force you to pass through a long hall of gift shops instead of walking straight out. Take in the views at the top though. That's one...

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  • Restaurants

    I cannot take credit for the name - I read it in a recent article about the new McDonalds. Boy is it accurate though. I hate this strip of Ohio/LaSalle/Clark. It is NOT at all representative of Chicago as a city. This includes the Rain Forest Cafe (jungle theme- good for little kiddies with limited attention spans), The Hard Rock Cafe (basically a...

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Chicago What to Pack

  • Combined Suggestions

    I like luggage with many pockets, but you can use about anything. When I get to a new place, I usually buy a bag from that place to carry around and put in all the miscellaneous maps, brochures and postcards inside. In Summer, it's generally warm, so I would suggest some light clothing and swimsuit for the beach, but beware! In Chicago, you never...

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  • Clothing - Winter

    It gets really cold in Chicago in the winter, and I mean *really cold*! You will need a good coat, a hat, gloves, a scarf and anything else to keep wam and out of the wind. During the weekend in December 2008 we visited a bar in downtown Chicago and left around midnight, when we left the bar it was around -15 Celcius, which in itself is pretty cold...

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  • Footwear

    If you are just here for a holiday then a suitcase will be fine, if you are going to be travelling on then a backpack is probably better. Also bring a small back or rucksack to carry your day things in ie. down at the lake or park. Two seasons - freezing cold or boiling hot. Generally October-April is the time that you will need very warm clothes...

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Chicago Off The Beaten Path

  • Architecture & Public Art (outdoor)

    If you're in the University of Chicago area, have a look at this massive concrete sculpture (it was originally supposed to be carved in granite). It dates from 1915, sculptor Lorado Taft (whose workshop was nearby) and was intended to commemorate the first 100 years of peace between the US and the UK. The sculpture and its pool lie at one end of...

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  • Neighborhoods-other

    Printer's Row is located south of Congress Parkway, a section of what is becoming known as the South Loop, an area of Chicago that most visitors to Chicago don't wander into. But if you find yourself at the Harold Washington Library, Printer's Row is just south of the library and a walk down Dearborn Street to Dearborn Station will showcase some of...

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  • Suburban delights

    Willowbrook Park, a unit of the Forest Preserves of DuPage County is a wonderful oasis in this urban area. The rehabilitation center houses numerous animals For more pictures see my marsh, and rehab center.

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Chicago Sports & Outdoors

  • MLB - Chicago Cubs

    On our last visit to Chicago, we decided to take in a Cubs game because LJ had never been to a professional baseball game. Knock another thing off the bucket list!!! Was a wonderful day with lots of sun and a cool breeze. Sets were perfect and all has a great time.

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  • MLB - Chicago White Sox

    Last visit June, 2012 The White Sox started playing at the new Comiskey Park in 1991, renamed US Cellular Field or the Cell in 2003. Many Chicagoans still refer to it as Comiskey, frequently mispronounced as ComiNskey, or Sox Park. My interest, along with many other Chicagoans, was renewed when playoff fever spread in 2005 and the Sox chewed up...

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  • Football - Chicago Bears

    such irony that Soldier's Field is home of both versions of football. The Major League Soccer Team of the Chicago Fire up to 2005 (Soccer is known as FOOTBALL all over the world ok and is the most popular sport in the WORLD! and it the ORIGINAL football while American Football was copied from it and rugby and modified by Walter Camp and is Just...

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Chicago General

See all 445 General in Chicago
  • Local Specialities

    Chicago is really a foodie paradise and they have many native food concoctions than the new yorkers hehehe and one of this really good native invention is the Italian Beef which I watched from the Discovery Travel Channel so thanks a lot Adam Richman for the info hence I must try this delight before leaving chicago right! Italian beef is a sandwich...

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  • Navy Pier

    When my sister, Ronda, came to visit me from my hometown, Robinson, Illinois, a few years ago, one of the most fun activities that we shared was an afternoon cruise on Lake Michigan. We caught a taxi from our hotel near the Miracle Mile, which took us to Navy Pier. I had already booked our trip via the Ugly Ducks' Website. We went to the ticket...

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  • Walking

    If you are walking and shopping on State Street in Chicago during the holidays (November and December), be sure to stop by the Macy's on State Street (111 N. State St.) to check out their beautiful holiday window displays. Also be sure to visit inside the store itself to see Christmas decorations as well as a giant Christmas tree.

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Comments (4)

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Apr 17, 2013 at 6:55 PM

    If you are planning to come to Chicago let me know and I'll help you put together a personal agenda based upon your interest.

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Mar 26, 2013 at 9:47 AM

    Lollapalooza tickets are on sale, the lineup will be available April 9th. August 2-4, 2013 www.lollapalooza.com

  • Dabs's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    Is this where we are supposed to post things like the CTA rate hike that is scheduled for January 2013? Or the new block of tickets that is going on sale for the very popular "Book of Mormon"?

  • riorich55's Profile Photo
    Jan 2, 2013 at 10:37 AM

    Let me know if you are coming to Chicago! I've given several personal tours to other VTers when they have landed in our town. If I'm available I can give you a personal guided tour also.

    • giampiero6's Profile Photo
      Jan 2, 2013 at 11:53 AM

      Non commercial and just a VT member in good standing :)

    • ranger49's Profile Photo
      Jan 2, 2013 at 1:46 PM

      riorich55 -That sound fine to me and the sort of useful information I would have hoped/expected to find here!

 
Explore Deeper into Chicago
John Hancock Center
Things to Do
Art Institute
Things to Do
Michigan Avenue
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Field Museum of Natural History
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Grant Park - Buckingham Fountain
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Shedd Aquarium
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Museums
Off The Beaten Path
METRA and South Shore Line (suburban rail network)
Transportation
Oak Park/Frank Lloyd Wright
Off The Beaten Path
Signature Room at the 95th
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Lou Malnati's
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Trolleys (some are FREE)
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Cheesecake Factory
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Hyde Park/Washington Park
Off The Beaten Path
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Greek Islands
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Basketball - Chicago Bulls
Sports & Outdoors
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Rosehill Cemetery
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