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  #1  
Old 03-28-2012, 07:23 AM
Londoner Londoner is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
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Hi I’m Will from London and I’m after a bit of help/info. For a mates Stag/bachelor party there are a group of us heading over to your fine city around May next year and I'm really just after a bit of a locals view.

We are planning on staying out of the centre of town in the suburbs somewhere to get away from the major touristy bits (I see the irony here) and are looking for Chicago's hidden gems. I have been looking up some bachelor activities as well and found the usual paintballing / go karting ect but we are after something a bit different. We are set on going to Wriggly Field to watch the Sox and hitting some suburban dive bars but other than that we haven't got much else planned.

Any insider info would be greatly received, I realise it’s a long way off but us limey’s like to get organised early. Cheers.
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  #2  
Old 03-28-2012, 08:27 AM
Stormcrow Stormcrow is offline
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One hidden gem in the bachelor paintballing/go-kart style is Whirlyball. Think bumper cars crossed with lacrosse and basket ball. It's a blast.

Wrigley Field is the Cubs; the Sox play on the South Side at US Cellular Park. Both parks are cool, but different. neither team is likely to be anygood this year.
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  #3  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:42 AM
Wheelz Wheelz is offline
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One thing I would definitely recommend is to take advantage of the City's excellent public transprtation system, especially if you plan to be drinking. You can get virtually anywhere in the city and a few close-in suburbs fairly quickly and easily. Don't drive in the city if you can help it. Trust me on this one.

Here's a hotel you might want to check out: The Carleton in Oak Park. Disclaimer: I've never stayed there. But it looks nice and it'll certainly cost less then a downtown hotel, and you'll be within walking distance of a train station as well as the Madison Street bar district in Forest Park.

My standard plug for visitors is always the Chicago Architecture Foundation's boat tour on the Chicago River. It's fascinating and unique.

Try for a day game at Wrigley. While it does have a certain charm under the lights, there's absolutely nothing like Wrigley Field in the sunshine. Enjoy!!
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  #4  
Old 03-28-2012, 09:51 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Join Date: Apr 2002
I recommend the Untouchables Tour. It's kinda corny and cheesy, but it is fun, and definitely unique to Chicago!

http://www.gangstertour.com/
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  #5  
Old 03-28-2012, 04:44 PM
Cheryl44 Cheryl44 is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2009
I beg to differ with Tim about the gangster tour--out of town friends were confused by it because so many of the places associated with the Capone era have been torn down. I mean, if you want to see where the St Valentine's Day Massacre garage stood, okay. Just realize it's not there any more. Neither is the Lexington Hotel or Dion O'Bannion's flower shop.
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  #6  
Old 03-30-2012, 08:07 AM
Londoner Londoner is offline
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Join Date: Mar 2012
Cheers, I really appreciate all the help. We will definitely look up all the suggestions, they sound quality.

In terms of where to stay are there any recommendations? We don’t want to stay downtown where it’s going to be busy all the time and everyone is rushing about. We are looking for a smaller suburb with its own shops and bars ect that isn’t full of tourists and has a bit of personality. I realise I’m asking quite a lot here, we just want somewhere with a decent bit of character and not just skyscrapers. Also are there any areas we should avoid?

Thanks a lot for the help.
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  #7  
Old 03-30-2012, 09:59 AM
MikeS MikeS is offline
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Location: New London, CT
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Londoner View Post
In terms of where to stay are there any recommendations? We don’t want to stay downtown where it’s going to be busy all the time and everyone is rushing about. We are looking for a smaller suburb with its own shops and bars ect that isn’t full of tourists and has a bit of personality. I realise I’m asking quite a lot here, we just want somewhere with a decent bit of character and not just skyscrapers. Also are there any areas we should avoid?
Oak Park was mentioned above, but you might also try Evanston. Both are suburbs that nowadays directly adjoin Chicago proper, but whose historical growth was somewhat independent of Chicago's. Also, importantly, both of those suburbs are served by the CTA, which would be a lot easier to use than Metra trains (or, for that matter, renting a car and dealing with parking & traffic.)

Oh, and in case you're not aware: CTA = Chicago Transit Association = light rail. Subways in the downtown core, elevated trains (hence the nickname "The El") elsewhere. Metra = heavy rail = commuter trains. Designed to funnel far-flung suburban dwellers into Chicago on weekday mornings and disperse them back out on weekday evenings. Trains at other times are much less frequent, so it's not as useful for tourist trips.

Last edited by MikeS; 03-30-2012 at 10:03 AM..
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  #8  
Old 03-30-2012, 10:02 AM
Mr Downtown Mr Downtown is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2009
If you haven't been to the States before, you may be surprised by the lack of "busy" downtown. The Mag Mile area will be busy on weekends with tourists and the Loop business district will be busy on weekdays with workers—but not crowded, certainly not by London or even Glasgow standards. American suburbs are generally auto-oriented places for raising families, with few bars other than chain restaurants and few hotels save those along the motorway. The only places in the Chicago area that might even come close are Oak Park or Evanston.

Nearly all Chicago hotel rooms are within two blocks of Michigan Avenue (Magnificent Mile), and some of the ones that aren't are in pretty dead areas west or south of the Loop. Exceptions on the North Side: Best Western Hawthorne Terrace, Days Inn Diversey, Inn at Lincoln Park, Hotel Lincoln, Wyndham Blake. In the Loop itself: JW Marriott, Club Quarters, Hampton Inn Majestic, Hotel Allegro, W Hotel Adams, Hotel Burnham. Along South Michigan, near the Museum Campus: Congress Plaza, Blackstone, Chicago Hilton, Essex Inn, Best Western Grant Park.
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  #9  
Old 03-30-2012, 11:21 AM
zoid zoid is offline
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Oak Park has a large number of Frank Lloyd Wright homes and a magnificent tour if you are at all interested in architecture.

There are a few interesting places to eat and drink but frankly River Forrest, just to the west, has all the food and booze you could ask for. Personally I’d stay in Oak Park and do my drinking in River Forrest.

If you do decide to stay in Oak Park the Write Inn is a kind of run down but fun place that’s close to a downtown area but still quaint and quiet. It has a serviceable restaurant called Hemmingway’s Bistro (Earnest Hemmingway was born and raised in OP – he called it a town of broad lawns and narrow minds).

The other option for me would be the Carleton. Like everything else on Oak Park it’s a little run down but in a nice way. They have a restaurant called Barclay’s that frankly is not too good, however the adjoining oyster bar call Poor Phil’s is GREAT! Really good food and beer. Right down the street are some other good places like the Marion Street Cheese Market (horrible service, very good food), a new seafood place called Seven Ocean, and a bunch of little places to grab a snack (there’s a Mexican place that specializes in lamb that’s quite good, a shop that sells Arepas from Argentina, a bakery…).

Honestly now that I think about it, go to the Carleton, you’re a few blocks from the train and hence downtown, there’s plenty to eat and drink nearby, and should you eventually sober up you could walk to the Frank Lloyd Wright area/tour.
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