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Old 11-16-2014, 12:47 PM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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Back to Chicago after 37 years

Greetings Dopers,
So I'm coming to Chicago from Dec. 4-8 with my wife who's never been there. I was born at 57th and Woodlawn in '52, Mom and Dad bought a house in the suburbs (Dolton) in '55 and I grew up there. After leaving home I lived on the very near north side in a warehouse/photo studio just north of the Merchandise Mart and then way up in Rogers Park before leaving in May of '77.
Some of my favorites are still there (Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Adler Planetarium, Art Institute), some aren't (Al's Fishery, Jerry and Hy's Deli). I've been steeling myself for the changes I'll find, hoping for some good stuff and some discovery as well as "coming home" experiences.
We plan on using Metra and the el to get around as well as hoofing it because we're staying at Hilton Miracle Mile and most of what I want to see is reachable by those means, but I'm thinking I'd like to rent a car for a day and run down to the South Side and suburbs to visit old haunts there.
Other than dressing for an f'ing blizzard and not sitting in puddles on el seats, I could use some tips and heads ups on good cheap eats, ways to get around and stuff to see and do in that short time we'll be there. A lot of mildewed memories are coming back to me but I realize for all intents and purposes I'm practically an alien visiting that planet for the first time.
I don't give a crap though, the Goddamn Sears Tower is still the Goddamn Sears Tower.
Thanks in advance,
Lou
  #2  
Old 11-16-2014, 09:26 PM
SanDiegoTim SanDiegoTim is offline
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I've been eating at the Athernian Room (Halsted & Webster) since the late 70s. Very casual/friendly. Excellent Gyros and Greek Chicken. Attached is Glascott's Groggery, a good "Chicago" bar. In addition to excellent food, it's located in a neighborhood a visitor would very much enjoy. Lots of excellent reviews on Yelp.
  #3  
Old 11-17-2014, 01:24 AM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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Welcome home!

It's tough to give you recommendations beyond the usual tourist joints unless we know where you will be staying. As I'm sure you remember, every neighborhood has worthwhile places to visit.

SanDiegoTim's rec of the Athenian Room and Glascott's is great, if you happen to be near that neighborhood (and it's a couple blocks from where I live), but not much help if you are miles away. If you can give us a better idea of your base station location, I'm sure there will be more suggestions forthcoming.

If not, there are the standard recommendations: Al's Beef, Portillo's, Giordano's, Lou Malnatti's, Uno's and Due's, etc.

If you plan to take public transportation, check out transitchicago.com for the latest options. The "Ventra" card is the way to buy your el rides these days.

I hope you have a great trip!
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Old 11-17-2014, 10:35 AM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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Thanks to the "Tims", San Diego and R. Mortiss for the advice.
San Diego Tim, I was checking out your thread on visiting Chicago and since we're flying into Midway we'll probably do the Orange line and 146 bus to the hotel. Or not, depending on how much my SO feels like playing pack mule after the flight. Taxi, though expensive, may be the preferred choice for that leg of the trip. Once we're at the hotel as a base station, public transit is the choice.
Tim R. Mortiss, thanks for the tip on Gyros. I'd love to get me some, gyros is hard to find out here, only available in "Mediterrainian" restaurants. When that's what ya got, it'll do, but I do remember how yummy the real stuff is. Oddly enough, when we lived in the Tampa area, we had Tarpon Springs, a Greek community nearby and got used to having Greek food once a week or so. We are staying at the Hilton Miracle Mile. I mentioned that in the post but it was buried in there.
Lou
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Old 11-17-2014, 02:18 PM
Tim R. Mortiss Tim R. Mortiss is offline
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You won't be far from the greatest gyros on the planet. That's right, the entire planet. It is a cozy little dump called Five Faces, on Division just off Rush Street.
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Old 11-17-2014, 04:25 PM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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Tim R. Mortiss,

(Best Homer Simpson drool)mmmmm, gyros.....
Thanks mate, I'll be there.
Lou
  #7  
Old 11-18-2014, 01:47 AM
needscoffee needscoffee is offline
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As soon as you arrive in Chicago, sign up for Lyft on your smartphone (you do have one, right?). At least, back in Sept, they were offering 5 free rides for signing up. Uber gives you a free ride for signing up, too. Don't sign up before you arrive, as the free rides are specific to the city where you sign up from. Lyft and Uber are far cheaper than cabs out there. My trip from Rogers Park to O'Hare would have been $21, according to the app, vs about $40 by taxi, but it was free because of the signup bonus. You might have to google the free ride signup code for each company.
  #8  
Old 11-19-2014, 04:43 PM
FeAudrey FeAudrey is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mind the gap View Post
... Some of my favorites are still there ... Museum of Science and Industry ...
They are still doing the "Christmas around the World" exhibit:

http://www.msichicago.org/whats-here...und-the-world/

and the Park District conservatories are still doing holiday flower shows:

Lincoln Park

http://www.chicagoparkdistrict.com/a...conservatory-/

Garfield Park

http://www.garfieldconservatory.org/...r-linings.html

New! a Christkindlmarket at Daley Plaza:

http://www.christkindlmarket.com/events/?F_c=1
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Old 11-20-2014, 11:09 AM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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Thanks so much to those who've replied. Looks like my trip will be a full and fun one, barring unforseen weather. Not that that could happen..........
mind the gap
  #10  
Old 11-28-2014, 03:06 PM
tbird tbird is offline
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I feel it's only fair to give you a warning to be careful on public transportation, robberies, muggings have gone up unfortunately. I imagine they would target tourists, even in "safe" areas like the mag mile. Not trying to scare you away of course, just be aware. There's quite a few good BBQ places one called Smoque, another called Big Bricks across from Martyrs (who is having a cool monthly rockabilly/ roots concert during your stay). yet another is Smoke Daddy, a tight little place w/excellent BBq and a Chicago/Memphis blues club feel. If you end up on the far southside, Horsetheif Hollow, a microbrew pub has great beer. Cork and Kerry always goes over the top w/xmas decorations,but Maple Tree Inn would be a personal fav. The most authentic New Orleans cooking outside of Baton Rouge, little pricey but worth it, GREAT beer selection. You can google them all, welcome home and Enjoy!!
  #11  
Old 11-28-2014, 03:10 PM
tbird tbird is offline
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UH, I guess Baton Rouge IS outside of New Orleans, so lets just say best Looziana, cooking in Illinois?
  #12  
Old 11-29-2014, 06:54 AM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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T-Bird,
Thanks for the tips on BBQ, there ain't much going on in wine country on that account. When Mrs. Gap and I were living in Florida we got used to good Q. If time and opportunity present themselves, I'll do some sampling. We've got a lot of crap to stuff in a small bag of days though.
As far as "troubles" I grew up on the south side, worked there and on the east side. Haven't forgotten my street smarts. Will keep an eye out, as always.
Four days to liftoff.......

mind the gap
  #13  
Old 12-11-2014, 11:10 PM
mind the gap mind the gap is offline
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So, an update on my Chicago visit. Went to the Field Museum, MS&I, meh. Way too much Imax, interactive videos and so on for the illiterate or attention deficit set. Realized the Chicago I grew up in is in the past, rightly so. After some anguish, I came to the conclusion that I no more needed to rediscover my past than a hen needs to rediscover the eggshell she hatched from. Just lay more eggs. Once I passed that point I had a blast.

Ate lots of good food, starting with Shaws on Thursday night, Ginos East on Friday night, Five Faces Saturday night and Publican Sunday night. Breakfast at various and sundry places, no lunches. Did a lot of walking around and soaking in the city. Friday night after Ginos, Mrs. Gaps daughter and her boyfriend went to the Museum of Contemptable Art and Mrs. and I walked down Lake Shore Drive to Navy Pier for a late night ride on the Ferris Wheel. Lovely view of the city skyline. Bracing weather, not too cold but the Hawk was present. Rosy cheeks were the order of the day.

I must say, I enjoyed the friendliness of the folks there. Unlike the pretentiousness of Northern California, there was a sense of grace to the residents that put us at ease. Mrs. Gaps daughter lives in Brooklyn, but loves Chicago. Mrs. said at one point, "I could really live here!" Of course living in the suburbs where it's affordable, commuting in shitty weather and all the other mundane aspects of "normal" life would temper that, but I couldn't dismiss her feelings. I always said, after moving to SoCal years ago, that I'd love to have Chicago on the other side of the mountains. Lake Michigan included of course.

Thanks to all of you for your kind suggestions. Other than Five Faces, time and group wishes precluded visiting other recommended spots, but we do intend to return at some point in the not too far distant future.

mind the gap
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