Ok, you are staying at Westin Mich. Ave. The name of the head concierge is Marina…I know her well. She is very busy, but should be a great help to you on everything you need to know in Chicago. Call Marina early or expect to be on hold for a while.
The restaurant at the Westin is The Grill on the Alley. Top notch steak place, a little pricey for your budget, but worth it. Have Marina make a reservation and get special treatment.
You are 2 blocks from McCormick & Schmick at Chestnut and Rush St. It is a national seafood chain at reasonable prices. Check out the bargain bar menu, $1.95 for good eats (something like) 3PM to 6PM and late night. Hugo’s Frog Bar is also close, but more pricey.
Cheesecake Factory (huge cheap menu) is across the street at The John Hancock. No reservations accepted, see your concierge for priority seating. At the Hancock, do not pay to go to the observatory. Instead go to the Signature Restaurant lounge for a cocktail and see the view.
For ribs Carson’s is famous, but in your neighborhood, it is a short walk to Jake Melnick’s Corner Tap or take a cab to Twin Anchors. Twin Anchors is a real neighborhood joint $7.00 by cab, again see Marina for priority seating.
If you want to try something different, Le Colonial serves excellent French/Vietnamese cuisine. It is so good it will blow your mind and I’m a meat and potatoes guy! Let your waiter order for you, they know what’s best.
You are staying in the best part of Chicago, Mag Mile/Gold Coast. For shopping see H&M and Filene’s Basement. Both are 1 block away and the only places on Michigan Ave. that you can pay discount prices.
If you have a chance travel 1 ½ blocks west from the Westin on Delaware Pl. Stop by The Talbott Hotel and see the concierge, ask for Tim, mention SDMB.
As stated in an earlier post www.metromix.com is a great resource.
Enjoy our wonderful city!