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UPDATE   Chicago visit less fun than initially expected.

And, actually, I'm kind of going for understatement there...

So, in a recent diary/journal, I had just posted that I had been in the hospital yet again.  Not as bad an illness this time around...last time I had almost DIED of blood loss due to bleeding ulcers which I had no idea that I had. I know there are just a crapload of cool things to do in and around the city. Probably more than I could possibly remember. Only problem is, I'm here on my own, without my husband--you know, the one I married straight out of high school in August of 1987? We moved to central Ohio in 1988.

We went everywhere using buses and trains "back in the day".  A year after we moved to Columbus in 1988, we bought a CAR for the first time. One can kind of get used to that sort of luxury. And, of course, the world has moved on since the last time we were here. , Back then,  public transportation didn't have a web site. Let alone turn-by-turn GPS navigation, trip planners that didn't involve that archaic "pencil and paper" stuff. Supposed to go pick up a rent-a-car from Budget soon.  But, then what? AAAACK!

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Comment Preferences

  •  Depends on what you like to do... (4+ / 0-)

    If you are not driving, there's good public transport in Chicago.  Get to the loop - all of the trains and bus lines converge there.  

    If you can't really spend any money, it's sometimes nice to get a drink or an inexpensive lunch and hang out in Millennium Park and people watch.  Nearby is the Art Institute, which is a nice way to spend a day, and a lot of shopping on Michigan Avenue.

    My favorite institution in Chicago is the Field Museum.  If you like science and natural history, really go out of your way to go there.  It is a world-class museum, really worth visiting. Shedd Aquarium is right there, too.

    It's migration season now, and while I'm on a business trip, the weather is probably pretty good.  Lots of cool birds migrating along the lakefront.  Check out the trees in Millennium Park and around the Field Museum for warblers and other colorful neotropical migrants.

    “If the misery of the poor be caused not by the laws of nature, but by our institutions, great is our sin.” Charles Darwin

    by ivorybill on Thu May 09, 2013 at 05:39:17 AM PDT

    •  Thanks (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FloridaSNMOM, ladybug53

      I remember a lot of this stuff, except, I suppose, the Millennium Park. I'm just trying to figure out how to get to the car rental place via bus. My legs ALREADY don't want to walk to a bus stop. And it was my BROTHER who walked downstairs and walked my dog first thing this morning. (Dog will be staying here in his crate.)

      •  TransitChicago.com (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        FloridaSNMOM, rja, ladybug53

        then Trip Planners. Enter your origin and destination addresses and you'll get bus and/or El options.

        I really must find a good sig line!

        by Rileycat on Thu May 09, 2013 at 07:03:13 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Or call RTA at (312) 836-7000 (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Rileycat, ladybug53

          They will talk you through your options.

          The CTA web site using the RTA's "goroo" trip planner lets you select routes which will try to optimize the walking distance down to a quarter mile or less if there is a way to get there without walking much.  After you "Plan a trip", click on the "Edit Your Trip" link for that option.  For instance, O'Hare Airport to Grant Park shows that there is a half mile walk.  It lists the walk from the airport to the CTA Blue Line as "Distance: <0.01 Miles", so it is quite detailed.

  •  Chicago Architecture Foundation (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    agnostic, Inland

    Do the river tour, or one on foot. (I liked Early Skyscrapers).  See Second City.  

  •  Sheddhead had a great series back in the day (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Adam B, ladybug53

    Disclaimer: If the above comment can possibly be construed as snark, it probably is.

    by grubber on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:38:06 AM PDT

  •  Field is great, but so is (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, ladybug53

    the Art Institute, Science and Industry, the Shedd Aquarium (who knew fish could be so effing cool?) and the olde standby - Navy Pier.

    If you want to count statues and get wonderfully lost, Lincoln Park is great. They even stuck a fun zoo right smack dab in the muddle of it.

    One must is the architect's tour of the city by boat. Really great architects are your guides and take you and down the river thru downtown. I have done it many times, and I still love it. A unique view that you will never ever forget.

    Greek town for greek food, China town for teas, both nicks and knacks, AND great chinese food. There are haunted house tours, church tours, and in the dry season, a tour of the underground deep tunnel project. It is an amazing place.

    Go up Sears tower and stand on air 100 stories up. Or go to 95th in the Hancock, and pay too much for great views and great drinks. There are art galleries that that are like a free art museum. Just walking up and down Michigan avenue will be a thrill. (especially north of the Art INstitute)

    At nacht, there are jazz, blues, country, classical, and more choices. There is theater ALL the time, with great shows. I believe the Lyric has tickets for Oklahoma, and the symphony kicks ass.

    BEST ADVICE. Find a copy of the CHicago Reader, a free magazine that has all the cultural, musical, food, art, and sporting events in town. It has everything that is anything going around.

    What we call god is merely a living creature with superior technology & understanding. If their fragile egos demand prayer, they lose that superiority.

    by agnostic on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:45:21 AM PDT

  •  Art Institute without a doubt. You can also take (0+ / 0-)

    the water taxi at Wacker & Madison to Navy Pier. You may want to go to the observatory in the John Hancock if it's a clear day. The bean in Millenium Park is fun as well. Bring your camera.

    " The whole world is about three drinks behind" Humphrey Bogart.

    by flatford39 on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:46:40 AM PDT

  •  CTA (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM

    Make friends with the CTA and use buses or the El. A car isn't absolutely necessary unless you're out in the suburbs or fairly distant from the Loop. Chicago is fairly easy to drive in, but parking is very expensive if you're downtown. Get a CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) map, and get a card for buses and trains, and just go. You can walk to the Field Museum or the Planetarium from the Roosevelt CTA, the Art Institute is a little north of there on Michigan Avenue, or you can shop on State Street or the Magnificent Mile on North Michigan Ave.

    Chicago's a great place to spend a day or two. I live ninety miles north of there in Milwaukee, and my wife and I go down there frequently. Have fun!

    The Bush Family: 0 for 4 in Wisconsin

    by Korkenzieher on Thu May 09, 2013 at 06:49:55 AM PDT

  •  second city (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    FloridaSNMOM, ladybug53

    has student shows for $5 - I know because my kid is in one on Monday nights - warning... if you are a pearl clutcher who is easily offended by raw language, then this is not for you!! Some of the words coming out of son's mouth would have sent him straight to the time out chair back in the day - now we hope those words can get him a job!

    I went to Chicago by myself 2 weeks ago and found it to be an easy city to get around - use google maps public transit feature to figure out the best way to get to where you want to be - I was happy as a clam just walking up and down Michigan Ave. BTW Macy's has a nice food court on the second floor. Really great selection of food - pay by the weight.

    Have fun!

  •  Where are you (0+ / 0-)

    Exactly?  

  •  Chicago Botanical Garden and Morton Arboretum (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ladybug53

    are a couple of nice places to visit.

    If you are not driving, you can get to Chicago Botanic Garden by Metra train and bus.

    You would need a car for The Morton Arboretum.

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