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Visiting Chicago - Come for the pizza, stay for the pizza

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Old
07-09-2013, 01:07 PM
  #151
Superstar Shane
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My woman and I will be visiting Chicago in a couple of weeks. We're only going to be there for one day on our way down to Missouri. So I'm looking for, food-wise in particular, a few suggestions for places to stop to get food that you can't find anywhere else. My standard procedure for these kinds of visits is to watch the city's Man vs. Food episode, and that would lead me to Gino's East (which some in this thread have recommended, while others have recommended against), Al's Italian Beef, and some sandwich shop near Wrigley that pretty clearly ripped off Primanti's in Pittsburgh.

I'm definitely leaning towards Italian beef for lunch before we leave town. So I suppose I'm asking first of all for suggestions for a good Chicago-style pizza. A place with a good beer selection would be ideal.

Any can't-miss stops for breakfast, or anything else we might want to consider? And how is driving through the city on a Wednseday evening-Thursday morning going to be? We're staying at the Ramada in Waukegan (which, now that I Google its location, is actually quite a bit farther away from the city than I realized). Would there be any public transportation options I'd want to consider in lieu of driving? Or are we going to be too far from downtown for that?

Thank you, folks.

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07-09-2013, 01:17 PM
  #152
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Waukegan into the city is rough. If you have any way of changing that even to a closer suburb (especially one of the convenient near west suburbs) Id recommend it just to give yourself more time to enjoy the city. Would certainly be more expensive that way though.

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07-09-2013, 01:28 PM
  #153
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hey guys, I'll be visiting Chicago with my family in two weeks. I would juts like to know recommendations for sites to visit, food to eat, shopping centers/stores, theatres/comedy shows. Thanks

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07-09-2013, 01:40 PM
  #154
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstar Shane View Post
My woman and I will be visiting Chicago in a couple of weeks. We're only going to be there for one day on our way down to Missouri. So I'm looking for, food-wise in particular, a few suggestions for places to stop to get food that you can't find anywhere else. My standard procedure for these kinds of visits is to watch the city's Man vs. Food episode, and that would lead me to Gino's East (which some in this thread have recommended, while others have recommended against), Al's Italian Beef, and some sandwich shop near Wrigley that pretty clearly ripped off Primanti's in Pittsburgh.

I'm definitely leaning towards Italian beef for lunch before we leave town. So I suppose I'm asking first of all for suggestions for a good Chicago-style pizza. A place with a good beer selection would be ideal.

Any can't-miss stops for breakfast, or anything else we might want to consider? And how is driving through the city on a Wednseday evening-Thursday morning going to be? We're staying at the Ramada in Waukegan (which, now that I Google its location, is actually quite a bit farther away from the city than I realized). Would there be any public transportation options I'd want to consider in lieu of driving? Or are we going to be too far from downtown for that?

Thank you, folks.
Lucky's? Place rules.

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07-09-2013, 01:41 PM
  #155
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstar Shane View Post
My woman and I will be visiting Chicago in a couple of weeks. We're only going to be there for one day on our way down to Missouri. So I'm looking for, food-wise in particular, a few suggestions for places to stop to get food that you can't find anywhere else. My standard procedure for these kinds of visits is to watch the city's Man vs. Food episode, and that would lead me to Gino's East (which some in this thread have recommended, while others have recommended against), Al's Italian Beef, and some sandwich shop near Wrigley that pretty clearly ripped off Primanti's in Pittsburgh.

I'm definitely leaning towards Italian beef for lunch before we leave town. So I suppose I'm asking first of all for suggestions for a good Chicago-style pizza. A place with a good beer selection would be ideal.

Any can't-miss stops for breakfast, or anything else we might want to consider? And how is driving through the city on a Wednseday evening-Thursday morning going to be? We're staying at the Ramada in Waukegan (which, now that I Google its location, is actually quite a bit farther away from the city than I realized). Would there be any public transportation options I'd want to consider in lieu of driving? Or are we going to be too far from downtown for that?

Thank you, folks.
Yea, I would also say to avoid Waukegan. It's just too far. There's a train into town, but it'll take you over an hour. I'm sure there are better options if you're on a budget. Maybe something around Rosemont?

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Originally Posted by mikeedgexxx View Post
hey guys, I'll be visiting Chicago with my family in two weeks. I would juts like to know recommendations for sites to visit, food to eat, shopping centers/stores, theatres/comedy shows. Thanks
Depends what you're into. There's something for everybody here.

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07-09-2013, 04:31 PM
  #156
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best place to have a Chicago-style hot dog?

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07-09-2013, 06:39 PM
  #157
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Originally Posted by mikeedgexxx View Post
hey guys, I'll be visiting Chicago with my family in two weeks. I would juts like to know recommendations for sites to visit, food to eat, shopping centers/stores, theatres/comedy shows. Thanks
Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower) has a cool observation deck with sliding glass windows although the observation deck from the Hancock Building is a better view of the lake/city and closer to shopping attractions on Michigan Avenue like Water Tower Place.

As far as museums go, my favorites are the Art Institute (which is right next to Millennium Park and the bean statue) and Shedd Aquarium (right next to Soldier Field and the surrounding area gives a great vantage point of the lake and city).

As far as comedy, there's a lot of options. Second City is more famous but also more expensive than other also funny improv places like the IO theater that is up in Wrigleyville (I personally enjoy their Improvised Shakespeare Company). Of course a lot depends on the ages of the people in your family whether that is a good option. If you want to look at regular shows or need to try to find kid-friendly fare you might find something at broadwayinchicago.com.

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best place to have a Chicago-style hot dog?
If you are already downtown doing other stuff you could go to Portillo's on Ontario St. in River North. The 1938 Blackhawks Stanley Cup banner from the old Chicago Stadium lives there.

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07-09-2013, 06:43 PM
  #158
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ComedySportz isn't bad either if you want to see a comedy show. It's right off the Belmont Red/Brown/Purple line stop.

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07-12-2013, 05:02 PM
  #159
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I hope it's not going to be scorching hot when I visit in a week

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07-12-2013, 05:19 PM
  #160
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Originally Posted by mikeedgexxx View Post
I hope it's not going to be scorching hot when I visit in a week
Looks like a string of near 90 degree days at the beginning of next week. Don't know if that's scorching to you.

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07-12-2013, 09:05 PM
  #161
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The one piece of advice I have for anyone visiting Chicago is to have a shot of malört.
Can't say you'll thank me but you'll be richer for the experience.

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07-13-2013, 07:46 AM
  #162
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Looks like a string of near 90 degree days at the beginning of next week. Don't know if that's scorching to you.
yup, anything above 85 is scorching for me

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07-13-2013, 09:59 AM
  #163
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Originally Posted by TheComingOfTheCrow View Post
The one piece of advice I have for anyone visiting Chicago is to have a shot of malört.
Can't say you'll thank me but you'll be richer for the experience.
Hahaha. That's exactly right. I had my first shot not too long ago...it was something else, that's for sure.

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07-13-2013, 08:11 PM
  #164
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I went to Taste of Chicago today. The food, prices, weather, and the boat ride were fine, but there's so many people I would only go on a Friday again.

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07-13-2013, 09:23 PM
  #165
committedindian86
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Originally Posted by TheComingOfTheCrow View Post
The one piece of advice I have for anyone visiting Chicago is to have a shot of malört.
Can't say you'll thank me but you'll be richer for the experience.
It tastes like the day Dad left...

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Old
07-14-2013, 01:37 AM
  #166
Jeffrey Lebowski
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I went to Taste of Chicago today. The food, prices, weather, and the boat ride were fine, but there's so many people I would only go on a Friday again.
Taste is good to go to once every 5-10 years. It's always packed and takes 15 minutes to cross a 30 ft. street. No thanks, I'll just eat at a restaurant.

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07-15-2013, 10:03 AM
  #167
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Superstar Shane View Post
My woman and I will be visiting Chicago in a couple of weeks. We're only going to be there for one day on our way down to Missouri. So I'm looking for, food-wise in particular, a few suggestions for places to stop to get food that you can't find anywhere else. My standard procedure for these kinds of visits is to watch the city's Man vs. Food episode, and that would lead me to Gino's East (which some in this thread have recommended, while others have recommended against), Al's Italian Beef, and some sandwich shop near Wrigley that pretty clearly ripped off Primanti's in Pittsburgh.

I'm definitely leaning towards Italian beef for lunch before we leave town. So I suppose I'm asking first of all for suggestions for a good Chicago-style pizza. A place with a good beer selection would be ideal.

Any can't-miss stops for breakfast, or anything else we might want to consider? And how is driving through the city on a Wednseday evening-Thursday morning going to be? We're staying at the Ramada in Waukegan (which, now that I Google its location, is actually quite a bit farther away from the city than I realized). Would there be any public transportation options I'd want to consider in lieu of driving? Or are we going to be too far from downtown for that?

Thank you, folks.
Waukegan is far from the city. I recommend stay at Spring Hill Suites (8101 W. Higgins). Moderately/low priced, no parking fees, next to I-90 (Kennedy Hwy), decent neighborhood, newer hotels.

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07-16-2013, 02:56 PM
  #168
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Here is my short review of my (somewhat recent) visit to Chicago:

During the Summer of 2011, my girlfriend and I wanted to get away somewhere for a week-long vacation. We live in Winnipeg, and preferably wanted to go to a city in the US that we had never been to (aside from the typical "Fargo / Grand Forks / Minneapolis" pilgrimage that us central Canadians religiously take on an annual basis). Being university students, we also wanted this trip to cost us less than $1,000 CDN per person.

Without having any specific cities in mind, we used a popular travel website and managed to find and book a trip to Chicago for approximately $700.00 CDN per person after taxes (round-trip airfare + hotel). As this was both our first trip to a BIG American city, we were excited to say the least. After extensive online searching, we planned out our trip itinerary and were confident that we would have no trouble getting around Chicago once we got there.

We used the train (amtrak I think?) to primarily get around from where we were staying to the downtown area, and purchased a week-long pass from a terminal in the O'Hare airport (as our hotel was a 5 minute walk from the station, was 3 stops from the airport, and about a 45 min ride from downtown), and then walked everywhere else. We saved a TON of money going this route, as opposed to renting a car or taking a taxi.

Being a sports fan, I was a little bummed that I wouldn't be able to see the 'Hawks play in the middle of August, so I looked at the next best thing: DA Bears (who also happen to be my girlfriend's favorite sports team). The cheapest ticket I could find at Soldier Field for a preseason game that happened to be taking place while we were there was $125.00 US per person, and being on a budget we just couldn't justify spending that much on 1 attraction, especially with a whole week to spend in the Windy City where that money could go a much longer way.

Next stop, baseball. The Cubs were not in town that week, but the Sox were, so we each purchased a package that came with an upper deck ticket, a hotdog, a drink and chips for (I think) $18 US. Also, the Chicago Fire (MLS) were playing a game in town that week as well, and we picked up a pair of tickets for under $40 US. Both games were quite entertaining, but the Fire game really stood out for us. We're both soccer fans, but neither of us had ever been to game that didn't involve players above the age of 15. It really is a night / day experience to see professionals play "the beautiful game" in person, rather than on TV. Both US Cellular Field and Toyota Park are world-class facilities as well.

Being a roller coaster fanatic, we also had to make our way out to Six Flags for the day (about an hour ride on a special chartered bus that leaves from the downtown bus terminal, and if memory serves me correct the week-long train pass we purchased also covered this trip). I think a day pass was somewhere in the range of $60 US. But for the cost of what would have been 1 NFL pre-season match-up, we got to see 2 professional sports teams, and experience the amusement park in it's entirety (concessions included).

Some of the other highly recommended attractions we used to fill our days up with were:
- The "Magnificent Mile" (Michigan Ave., for the shop-a-holics)
- The Navy Pier (a historic/cultural tourist attraction with shopping, dining, and a world-famous Ferris Wheel), which also happened to be the day of one of their spectacular fireworks shows (check their website for the schedule).
- Chicago Double Decker Bus Tour (a "hop on / hop off" tour, a great way to see all of the downtown area at your own pace).
- The Field Museum (Dinosaur fossils, Egyptian displays, etc...).
- Millennium Park (great place for a walk, home of the famous Cloud Gate / "The Bean" sculpture).
- Willis Tower Skydeck (aka Sears Tower, glass observation deck on the 103rd floor of the building that allows you to see ALL of Chicago. VERY neat!).

Now, as for the FOOD... being on a budget, we didn't get to experience a lot of the main dining staples. Most of our meals consisted of food bought at a local grocery store and consumed in our hotel, with a few packed lunches. But, when we did eat out, these are some of the places we tried:
- Giordano's (Deep Dish Pizza, absolutely AMAZING!) *This decision was made at the last minute. We heard so much about Pizzeria Uno online, but it wasn't until we actually got to Chicago and started asking around that the most popular answer we got was this place. Did not disappoint. HIGHLY recommend.*
- The Hotdog stand outside of the Field Museum (supposedly, THIS is the birthplace of the Chicago-style Hotdog, but I'm sure there are a lot of vendors making the same claim. Nonetheless, it was the best 'dog I've had in my entire life).
- The Cheesecake Factory (A well-known chain, but my first time trying it. Delicious!)
- T.G.I. Friday's (A well-known chain, but my first time trying it. Delicious!)

I'm sure there are some things I'm forgetting to mention, but I hope this helps anyone thinking of traveling to Chicago. It was the best trip I've taken in my entire life, and I hope to return again some day soon to watch the Jets beat down the 'Hawks!


Last edited by noize: 07-16-2013 at 04:19 PM.
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Old
07-16-2013, 03:31 PM
  #169
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Nice review. Surprised the Bears preseason tickets were so expensive! Typically season ticket holders have to try to give them away. I went 2 years ago for I think $35 each.

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Old
07-16-2013, 04:13 PM
  #170
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Nice review. Surprised the Bears preseason tickets were so expensive! Typically season ticket holders have to try to give them away. I went 2 years ago for I think $35 each.
Yea, I specifically remember them each being that price. However, this was on the Ticketmaster website using the "cheapest price / best available" search option, judging by your response I'm guessing the box office only had "premium" seats remaining. I'm sure if we would have gone the day of we could have found a scalper selling a much cheaper pair, but we purchased everything in advance as we didn't want to leave anything to chance while on our vacation.

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07-16-2013, 04:20 PM
  #171
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Oh. Should've just looked at Stubhub, people are always selling their tickets for the preseason.

http://www.stubhub.com/chicago-bears...-2013-4266921/

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07-16-2013, 04:53 PM
  #172
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You weren't kidding! $35 a pair?! Son of a........

Well... I'll know for next time. Thanks!

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Old
07-19-2013, 10:50 PM
  #173
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Hope I'm not covering a place already mentioned, but as Blackhawks fans we love The Palace Grill it's it too far from downtown and about 1/2 mile east of the UC.


http://palacegrillonmadison.com/

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07-20-2013, 05:10 PM
  #174
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Hope I'm not covering a place already mentioned, but as Blackhawks fans we love The Palace Grill it's it too far from downtown and about 1/2 mile east of the UC.


http://palacegrillonmadison.com/
One of my favorite Blackhawks YT (2:25)


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07-20-2013, 06:43 PM
  #175
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I remember seeing that video - awesome.

I love anyplace that does breakfast any time of the day.

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