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Old 04-21-07, 09:27 AM   #1
nccmd
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Chicago Visit

I'll be going on a business trip to Chicago and have never been there.
Any car free Chicagoans here? Is it really feasible to fly into O'Hare and
take public transport downtown? My hotel is 7 blocks from the work site,
can I get by without a rental car in the downtown? My mental image of midwestern cities is strip mall after strip mall separated by dead end cookie
cutter neighborhoods. This image comes from flying over them. Is downtown
Chicago walkable? The map shows a grid layout bounded by a lake and cut
by a river. What is the ground truth?
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Old 04-21-07, 09:44 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nccmd
I'll be going on a business trip to Chicago and have never been there.
Any car free Chicagoans here? Is it really feasible to fly into O'Hare and
take public transport downtown? My hotel is 7 blocks from the work site,
can I get by without a rental car in the downtown? My mental image of midwestern cities is strip mall after strip mall separated by dead end cookie
cutter neighborhoods. This image comes from flying over them. Is downtown
Chicago walkable? The map shows a grid layout bounded by a lake and cut
by a river. What is the ground truth?
Chicago is one of the great cities of the world, but O'Hare is way out in the 'burbs, which are pretty much what you describe.

The downtown "loop" area of Chicago is walkable, and it's also quite interesting architecturally. Check out Millennium park and the lakefront if you have the time. An excursion cruise on the Chicago River is fun too.

I believe there is pretty good public transportation from O'Hare to the Loop, probably a good deal faster than going by car. (Unfortunately that's not the case for getting to my sister's place in Evanston.)

Sheldon "Chicagophile In Boston" Brown
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Old 04-21-07, 11:26 AM   #3
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I grew up in Chicago....if you are downtown, its better not to have a rental car. Public transportation is plentiful, and parking in the loop is a nightmare....not to mention the "getting lost" factor. There are plenty of options getting to downtown from O'Hare. Depending on exact destination, train, bus, taxi, shuttle service, limo.....price would vary as would "style".

Once downtown, there is lots to do. Michigan Ave is must walk for the visitor. Not to mention the Sears Tower and Hancock Tower too. Nothing like the view from the observation floors.....(96th or 97th floor). If museums are your style, check out the Science and History.....one can spend days there. Where else can you tour a German U-boat from WWII? (U-505 if I recall....). If baseball is your fancy, it's easy to catch the train to Wrigley field.....nothing like watching a Cubs game.....afternoon games start around 1:15 or was it 1:30?? There's also the Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium on the lakefront.....not to mention just watching the planes come and go from Miegs Field...

Food?? There is so much food I couldn't even begin to start making recommendations......even the bad places are pretty good.....ask the Concierge where ever you're staying....Where are you staying?

Then, as Sheldon Brown mentioned, there is a tourist boat outing, for about $30 bucks, you get a nice tour of the Chicago architecture, some history behind some of the major buildings, and the story of how Chicago changed the flow of the Chicago river......Its a great 1.5 hour tour.....

There is so much more to do....I"ve just scratched the surface. Chicago really is one of the best cities around, and a great vacation place too.....but some might think I'm biased.....I am.

good luck,
mark
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Old 04-21-07, 11:55 AM   #4
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Years ago, I attended a conference in the city of Rosemont (adjacent to O'Hare). I did not have a car and I believe I took public transit into and around the Loop (I'm a cheapskate so I know I did not take a taxi). There's a great public train system and I had a blast just walking around and exploring. And you gotta grab some of that Chicago deep-dish pizza.
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Old 04-21-07, 07:27 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nccmd
Is it really feasible to fly into O'Hare and take public transport downtown?
correct. Hop the Blue Line at O'Hare, take it all the way downtown.


Quote:
Originally Posted by nccmd
My hotel is 7 blocks from the work site, can I get by without a rental car in the downtown?
Ignore the car. Between parking, traffic, and the Lincoln Park Pirates, it's more hassle than it's worth.

Seven blocks should be less than a mile (street numbering gets a little wonky downtown, but elsewhere one mile = eight blocks = a change in street numbering by 800). I have a rather perverse definition of "walking distance" (I walk a little over three miles from home to work every day... one way), but seven blocks should be walking distance.


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Originally Posted by forensicchemist
If museums are your style, check out the Science and History
Ahem... "Industry." And the Field Museum of Natural History. (Right on the U-boot, though. Oh, and it's the Hancock Center; the Hancock Tower is in Bahston.)


Quote:
Originally Posted by forensicchemist
If baseball is your fancy, it's easy to catch the train to Wrigley field.....nothing like watching a Cubs game.....afternoon games start around 1:15 or was it 1:30??
1:20, 2:55 on Saturdays. Worth it just to say you were there. Way better than the Cell, although if you want to see the home team win, the Cell's your better bet. (Cubs fan here)


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Originally Posted by forensicchemist
There's also the Planetarium and the Shedd Aquarium on the lakefront.....
Which if you want to do that, look into one of these or these. You'll save so much money. It's almost like visiting just one of these places makes the rest of the book worth it. It's a little irritating, since I remember most of them being free or real cheap when I was a kid, and now it's hard for me to visit them 'cos I can't afford it anymore.


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Originally Posted by forensicchemist
not to mention just watching the planes come and go from Miegs Field...
Well, let's not mention it, since that bastard Daley razed it over in the middle of the night a couple years ago.

Last edited by wildcat; 04-21-07 at 07:51 PM.
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Old 04-21-07, 07:44 PM   #6
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I stand corrected.....Science and INDUSTRY. (Hey, I was close....not too bad for an aging memory

and whats this about Miegs field?? You must be kidding right? I was there last about 10-12 years ago for business.......all was still Ok. When did this happen?? I'm stunned....shocked....and saddened....my vision of the "hometown" is tarnished.....
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Old 04-21-07, 07:55 PM   #7
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and whats this about Miegs field?? You must be kidding right? I was there last about 10-12 years ago for business.......all was still Ok. When did this happen?? I'm stunned....shocked....and saddened....my vision of the "hometown" is tarnished.....
'Fraid not.
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