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First time visiting Chicago

I'm going on a work trip for four days but will have some down time. Any suggestions on must-sees? I know I can't explore the neighborhood from the opening credits of Good Times as they demolished Cabrini Green, but I can still eat and be social. What's the best pizza place? Suggestions on a gay bar for a bearish gentleman?

First on the list is a stop at Steamworks, as we don't have a real bathhouse in NYC.

I'm staying in the Loop.


by Anonymousreply 55July 13, 2024 2:19 PM

Check out Calumet

by Anonymousreply 1July 9, 2024 4:35 AM

Chicago offers a ton of options for fun activities during your downtime. Here are a few ideas:

* Must-Sees:

* Millennium Park: Home to Cloud Gate (aka "The Bean") and other art installations, Millennium Park is a great place to spend a relaxing afternoon.

* Navy Pier: Navy Pier has something for everyone, from amusement rides and shops to restaurants and stunning lakefront views.

* Art Institute of Chicago: One of the oldest and largest art museums in the world, the Art Institute of Chicago houses an impressive collection of Impressionist, Post-Impressionist, and American paintings.

* Best Pizza: Chicago is famous for its deep-dish pizza, but there are also great thin-crust and tavern-style options.

Here are a few suggestions to consider, depending on your preference:

* Deep Dish: Lou Malnati's, Gino's East, Pequod's Pizza

* Thin Crust: Vito & Nick's Pizzeria, Pizzeria Uno, Punch Bowl Pizza

* Tavern-Style: Chicago Pizza & Oven Grinder, Robert's Pizza & Dough Company, D'Agostino's Pizza

* Gay Bars: Chicago has a thriving LGBTQ+ community with a variety of gay bars to choose from. Here are a couple of options:

* Sidetrack: A large and popular bar with multiple dance floors and a friendly atmosphere.

* Marty's Martini Bar: A classic Chicago gay bar with a relaxed atmosphere and strong cocktails.

by Anonymousreply 2July 9, 2024 4:36 AM

Buck would never have been in the Loop. Try Lake Forest.

by Anonymousreply 3July 9, 2024 4:36 AM

You won’t want to miss Vrdolyak’s on Avenue O; it’s got everything - boil-in-bag cuisine, velour lady’s lounge, target range in the basement, mozzarella sticks!

by Anonymousreply 4July 9, 2024 4:59 AM

Listen, honey. All I ever wanted was a little bit of fame. A name in lights, a spotlight on me. And then I met him. Amos. Sweet Amos. A two-bit nobody who managed a nickelodeon. But he promised me the world. He promised me Vaudeville! And then... well, that's when things got messy. Let's just say the spotlight found me, alright. Not exactly the way I intended. But hey, at least everyone's talking about Velma Kelly now, aren't they?

Now I'm here, cooped up in this glorified cage with a bunch of chorines who can't carry a tune and Roxie Hart, that... that wannabe! But you know what? I wouldn't trade it for anything. Because I'm gonna make the most of this. I'm gonna become a legend. A cautionary tale, sure, but a legend nonetheless.

So, Roxie can have her sob stories and her tears. I've got something more powerful. I've got scandal. I've got sass. And I've got the best lawyer in Chicago. And that, my darling, is a recipe for stardom.

by Anonymousreply 5July 9, 2024 5:05 AM

There are no must-sees in Chicago. If you have a full day, the Museum of Science and Industry is probably the best science museum in the world. It is also close to the Oriental Institute and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie house, but it's all some miles south of downtown and not appropriate for a compressed time visit.

by Anonymousreply 6July 9, 2024 5:15 AM

In the downtown area your best museums would be the Planetarium, the Aquarium, and the Field Museum of Natural History, which is one of the premier research museums in the world with more than 100 PhD's in residence.

Navy Pier is annoying, expensive, and forgettable. Michigan Ave is attractive but mainly stores you will see elsewhere. Gay life is dominant in several outlying neighborhoods, like Boystown, Andersonville, and to an extent Wicker Park.

There's a lot of new stuff in the West Loop for the foodie types.like the French Market or a big entertainment enue like the Alhambra Palace Restaurant

by Anonymousreply 7July 9, 2024 5:21 AM

Navy Pier is a tourist trap.

Go to The Art Institute.

Deep Dish pizza is more like cheese quiche with some sauce on top - based in that description you can decide if you’d like it or not

Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillos

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by Anonymousreply 8July 9, 2024 5:40 AM

There's a stereotype that Chicagoans have an inferiority complex, especially towards New York City. It's a complex issue with some truth and some exaggeration. Here's a breakdown:

* Some Chicagoans might feel overshadowed: New York is often seen as the ultimate American metropolis, with a bigger media presence and global influence. This can lead to comparisons that might downplay Chicago's strengths.

* Chicago is proud and independent: Chicago has a strong identity and rich history. It's a major financial center, cultural hub, and boasts a distinct architectural style. Many Chicagoans celebrate these aspects and may not feel the need to constantly compete with other cities.

* The stereotype might be outdated: Chicago is a confident and vibrant city. While some comparisons might exist, it's not necessarily an inferiority complex. It's more about Chicago standing on its own merits.

by Anonymousreply 9July 9, 2024 5:43 AM

You're lucky they tore down Cabrini Green cos that's where Candyman lived.

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by Anonymousreply 10July 9, 2024 5:45 AM

There’s a Swedish restaurant there that was fantastic.

by Anonymousreply 11July 9, 2024 8:54 AM

That was probably in Andersonville, R11.

by Anonymousreply 12July 9, 2024 11:56 AM

R9 No one cares. Did you read OP’s question?

by Anonymousreply 13July 9, 2024 12:43 PM

In Chicago, all seems to breathe freedom and peace, and to make one forget the world and its sad turmoils.

by Anonymousreply 14July 9, 2024 12:46 PM

[quote] Many Chicagoans celebrate these aspects and may not feel the need to constantly compete with other cities.

In my experience, Chicagoans are constantly comparing themselves to New York while pretending Los Angeles does not exist.

by Anonymousreply 15July 9, 2024 12:48 PM

[quote] There are no must-sees in Chicago.

The Art Institute is a must see.

by Anonymousreply 16July 9, 2024 12:50 PM

I have never had anyone tell me I steer them incorrectly when I recommended the lake and architecture boat tour, and I have recommended it to dozens of people over the past 20 odd years. It is touristy but well worth it. The majesty (MARY!) of the city from the Chicago River is a must-see.

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by Anonymousreply 17July 9, 2024 12:58 PM

Navy Pier has nice views over the lakefront, despite being a tourist trap.

The Chicago Architecture Foundation has hour-long tours in the Loop, there's usually something scheduled during the noon hour--I've played hookie from meetings to do those. There are tours on the Chicago River which are nice in the evening.

The Art Institute of Chicago is an excellent museum. Look into what's on at Steppenwolf Theater or Second City. Boystown is a couple miles from both--an easy trip on the Ravenswood L.

by Anonymousreply 18July 9, 2024 1:04 PM

You can also get nice views from the museums.

by Anonymousreply 19July 9, 2024 1:08 PM

Not all of them. Chicago actually has lots of museums.

by Anonymousreply 20July 9, 2024 1:19 PM

I second the recc for Sidetracks, especially if it’s a Sunday afternoon. That’s when they belt out show tunes and it’s just a very friendly crowd. Try the Ketel One Grape Crush!

If you’re feeling particularly adventurous, or masochistic, you could also visit The Wiener Circle. Perhaps consider bringing backup…

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by Anonymousreply 21July 9, 2024 1:21 PM

Mon Ami Gabi is a very nice French restaurant at 2300 North Lincoln Park West, not overly expensive. Comfortable and casual.

by Anonymousreply 22July 9, 2024 2:04 PM

The ones on the lake, duh.

by Anonymousreply 23July 9, 2024 2:41 PM

On State Street, that great street, I just wanna say

They do things they don't do on Broadway

by Anonymousreply 24July 9, 2024 3:49 PM

Lifelong Chicagoan here - R2 and R17 nailed it.

No need to go outside Boystown to experience the bars. As a bearish type you will feel right at home at Sidetrack down the street from Steamworks (something for everyone - try the roof deck if it's nice outside) and at Northend about 3 blocks north of Sidetrack (beer, bears and pool tables). Avoid Roscoe's (twinks) and Scarlet (sketchy).

Wood is a good place to eat if you're solo. It's between Steamworks and Sidetrack. Also Drew's, two blocks south of Steamworks at Belmont and Halsted. At both you can eat at the bar and it's easy to strike up a conversation with the people around you.

by Anonymousreply 25July 9, 2024 3:51 PM

Laurie Metcalf is at the Steppenwolf in "Little Bear Ridge Road." The play has gotten excellent reviews. Hot Tix has discount tickets for other shows.

Art of Pizza, a short cab ride from Northalsted/Boystown, sell excellent stuffed and pan pizza by the slice. No atmosphere, just good pizza.

Wiener's Circle is an excellent choice for an authentic Chicago dog.

by Anonymousreply 26July 9, 2024 5:50 PM

As you are a NYer, you will find Chicago cleaner, but emptier. You don't quite get the crowded streets and hustle and bustle of NY, but you do get similar gorgeous architecture and feel like you can breathe more. And Chicago feels more distinctly American, whereas NY feels very global with tons of languages and people from around the world.

I love Chicago, it's definitely the second best city in America IMO.

by Anonymousreply 27July 9, 2024 6:04 PM

Seconding R25’s recommendation of Wood. I travel to Chicago on business alone often, and always feel welcome at Wood on my own, then toddle up to Sidetrack.

by Anonymousreply 28July 9, 2024 6:08 PM

R27: A comparison that hasn't been valid in ages. The mid northside (greater Boystown) on a weekend=lots of foot traffic. Chicago gets fewer international visitors than NYC but has people from all over the world--multiple Chinatowns.

by Anonymousreply 29July 9, 2024 6:22 PM

Does Chicago have more or less foot traffic than NY r29?

Does Chicago have more or less people who were not born in America r29?

So I don't know what you are trying to argue about.

by Anonymousreply 30July 9, 2024 6:27 PM

I had really tasty ramen noodles somewhere near the W Chicago Lakeshore. Can't remember the name. There's a Portello's right around there too so you can get your Chicago hot dog and Italiian beef sandwich fix.

by Anonymousreply 31July 9, 2024 6:47 PM

Portillo's has a new owner. The prices went up and the quality went down. Go to Al's or Mr. Beef or Buona for Italian beef.

by Anonymousreply 32July 9, 2024 7:32 PM

What is the W, Chicago Lakeshore? Do you mean West Chicago Ave. near the Mag Mile?

by Anonymousreply 33July 9, 2024 7:35 PM

Yeah, that big W hotel.

by Anonymousreply 34July 9, 2024 7:48 PM

Willis (formerly Sears) Tower and the Hancock tower (where Chris Farley died) are always fun.

by Anonymousreply 35July 9, 2024 7:49 PM

Even though it's not downtown, the Museum of Science and Industry would definitely be worth a drive/ride down to the Hyde Park neighborhood.

by Anonymousreply 36July 9, 2024 7:50 PM

Jerry Sporinger lived in the Hancock for many years. Oprah lived in Water Tower Place.

by Anonymousreply 37July 12, 2024 9:25 AM

Oprah lived in Lake Point Tower.

by Anonymousreply 38July 12, 2024 9:37 AM

Oprah had four floors of Water Tower Plce

by Anonymousreply 39July 12, 2024 9:38 AM

Garfield Conservatory

by Anonymousreply 40July 12, 2024 11:34 AM

Harold Washington’s Lace Panties

by Anonymousreply 41July 12, 2024 3:35 PM

Oprah never lived in Lake Point Tower. She bought a full floor unit on East Lake Shore Drive and renovated it. But the building staff (doormen, front desk staff, garage parkers, etc) unionized and went on a lengthy months-long strike for better wages. The strike dragged on so long that Oprah never moved in, fearing being called anti-union.

Instead she bought adjoining units on two floors at Water Tower Place. In all, over 9000 sq ft. See floorplan in link.

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by Anonymousreply 42July 12, 2024 5:21 PM

The architecture tour on the river is wonderful, as is the Art Institute.

I like to grab lunch at Miller's Pub in the Loop for old-timey, blue-collar Chicago vibes and then happy hour at the Cherry Circle Room, which is exquisite and will transport you to the 1930s (MARY!).

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by Anonymousreply 43July 12, 2024 5:50 PM

[quote] I had really tasty ramen noodles somewhere near the W Chicago Lakeshore. Can't remember the name

Thanks for your contribution. Wow.

by Anonymousreply 44July 12, 2024 6:04 PM

Get a bulletproof vest, OP.

by Anonymousreply 45July 12, 2024 10:00 PM

Very funny and original, r45. I've never heard anyone point out that gun violence happens in Chicago. Your friends and family are lucky to have you in their lives.

by Anonymousreply 46July 12, 2024 10:17 PM

Before you go, OP, be sure and learn how to toddle.

by Anonymousreply 47July 12, 2024 10:19 PM

The Skydeck on the 103th floor of Willis Tower.

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by Anonymousreply 48July 12, 2024 11:45 PM

Might as well stop by Berghoff's, a Chicago institution:

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by Anonymousreply 49July 13, 2024 12:00 AM

How was OP's trip? Hope he took this excellent advice.

by Anonymousreply 50July 13, 2024 1:33 AM

Op! Have you been robbed yet?

by Anonymousreply 51July 13, 2024 2:35 AM

She bought two additional floors as buffers for her condo

by Anonymousreply 52July 13, 2024 12:25 PM

OP here, I'm arriving in Chicago next Saturday, so I'll have a day and a half to explore before work starts.

Thanks for the tips and I'll let you know how it goes (if I survive.)

by Anonymousreply 53July 13, 2024 12:48 PM

I love Chicago, OP! Have a wonderful time.

by Anonymousreply 54July 13, 2024 1:15 PM

"First on the list is a stop at Steamworks, as we don't have a real bathhouse in NYC."

Did you get to personally experience the nacreous layers of permacum in the giant hot tub yet, OP?

by Anonymousreply 55July 13, 2024 2:19 PM
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