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(To be) in Chicago for a conference ... any suggestions?

Discussion in 'Anything goes' started by doctorquant, Mar 23, 2012.

  1. doctorquant

    doctorquant Well-Known Member

    I am scheduled to be in Chicago for a conference in late April. I have been there two or three times, but I'm hoping to get some fun worked into this trip. The conference hotel's the Marriott in that "Magnificent Mile" area and will go for about $390 a night, which I ain't springin' for. I have a reservation about a third of a mile away for around $230 a night, but I can get out of that if something better comes along.

    My questions to the Chicago experts on the board are:

    1) Can you suggest a reasonably-priced (and decent) hotel that's reasonably close to that Marriott?
    2) Is that area reasonably safe to amble around on foot for an old fart like me (who's typically between the sheets around 10 p.m.)?
    3) What are some "must-do" and "might-do" fun things I could/should work in on a Saturday or Sunday in April in Chicago?
  2. Ace

    Ace Well-Known Member

    If you have the slightest interest in art, go to the Art Institute. It's next to Millennium Park and that's worth a visit.

    The boat tours are good for tourists. I really like the architectural boat tour on the river.

    I think virtually all of downtown Chicago is safe to ramble around.

    I have gotten good prices at the Chicago Hilton near Grant Park. It's huge. But it really depends on how busy that week is and if there are any conventions.
  3. bigpern23

    bigpern23 Well-Known Member

    It might be touristy, but I had a great time and heard some great music at the House of Blues. John Hancock building was great.

    I make a habit of trying to get photos of locations where movies have been filmed, so I got some good Ferris Bueller shots when I was there.

    My friend and I stayed 20 minutes north of the city for like $90 a night at a Marriott (IIRC), but that was in 2003 and it wasn't particularly close to the Magnificent Mile.
  4. Mizzougrad96

    Mizzougrad96 Active Member

    You can get amazing hotel deals on any of the Expedia type sites.

    When I go to Chicago, which is a lot, I either stay at one of the Marriotts in Schaumburg or O'Hare and I don't think I've ever had to pay $100 a night.
  5. Captain_Kirk

    Captain_Kirk Well-Known Member

    3 threads of material for your perusal:



  6. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    If you at all like a fancy cocktail, you have to go to the Aviary. Craziest, most elaborate drinks you'll ever have.
  7. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Can't go wrong with either The Gage or South Branch if you are trying to find decent places to eat/drink downtown.
  8. YankeeFan

    YankeeFan Well-Known Member

    I've been kind of disappointed with the Gage the last two times I went.

    The space is nice -- beautiful, big bar. The location is great. Good drinks and beer list.

    And, the menu is interesting -- lots of different proteins. But, I didn't think the food was that great, and the prices are kind of high.

    Go for a drink. Eat somewhere else.
  9. HejiraHenry

    HejiraHenry Well-Known Member

    My advice: Cheat. (Crossthread.)
  10. Dick Whitman

    Dick Whitman Well-Known Member

    Atwood Cafe is a Loop eatery I have enjoyed. For more casual atmosphere, Exchequer.
  11. bumpy mcgee

    bumpy mcgee Well-Known Member

    Going to Chicago this weekend, found a place on hotels.com that's on Michigan and Wacker for $120 a night. Hitting the lounge in the Hancock building for drinks, been told it's a cool place to grab a beverage.
  12. SFIND

    SFIND Well-Known Member

    I think the Best Western downtown has cheaper rates. I once stayed at the Red Roof Inn on/near the Magnificent Mile for about $90 a night a couple of years ago after I got shutout by the hotel where there was a conference that I was covering.

    Navy Pier is interesting enough, but it's NOT "true Chicago" by any means. I enjoyed going up in the Willis Tower and looking out, and enjoyed the Field Museum.

    There's plenty of different food at different price ranges. I love Harry Cary's if you want to spend some $$$. There are also plenty of little eateries around that are great.

    As Ace said, downtown is pretty safe. I've walked around on a number of nights with "Tourist" written on my head without problem.
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