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Chicago

My husband and I, would like to visit Chicago in a couple of weeks.

I am starting to be worried about going there, with the mass shootings in t he U.S.

Should I reconsider going?

Thanks

Posted by
6410 posts

We just had Lollapollaza music fest here attended by 400,000 people not worried from all over the world.

Posted by
1915 posts

NO!!! Come to Chicago!! You will love it!

I assume you are from Italy. You'll love Chicago.

There's a lot to do there. There's the lakefront. There's the Aquarium, the Field Museum (dinosaurs), and the Planetarium.

The Art Institute is a world class art museum.

The Oriental Institute is a little distance from the Loop (the main part of downtown), but is a wonderful small museum.

There is the Lyric Opera and the Chicago symphony.

Other things to do: Walk around the downtown. Look at the building.

Churches include the Baha'i temple (north of Chicago) and many churches downtown.

Shopping - the Magnificent Mile (n of the city). You can go to the top of the John Hancock Building on the 95th floor, and have a drink with a wonderful view of the city.

There is Chinatown. Go to get dim sum. There is the Berghoff, which is a traditional German restaurant.

For special high-class Mexican food, go to Topalabampa - this is a world-class Mexican restaurant.

Food: CHICAGO PIZZAAAAA!!! It is thick, with lot of cheese and very heavy on the bread.

Chicago HOT DOGS!!! Go to Portillo's for a chicago Hot dog.

There are several Frank Lloyd Wright houses to tour.

I love Chicago. Just don't rent a car - parking is very expensive.

Take a riverboat tour, take an architecture tour.

Don't go to the South Side of the City, which is a little difficult area.

I recommend the Hotel Lincoln. Not expensive, near the zoo.

How long do you stay? What dates?

Posted by
6410 posts

But the University of Chicago campus, Muhammad Ali's old mansion, the Museum of Science and Industry, Barack Obama's house and Frank Loyd Wright's Robie House is on the Southside so go.

Posted by
4202 posts

The risk to your personal safety in any US city is extremely small, except in high-crime areas tourists wisely do not visit. A guidebook will help you see the sights of most interest to visitors and avoid problems.

Posted by
76 posts

Paul of the frozen north, thank you for the encouragement.
I am not from Italy, I am Canadian but of Italian descent.

We have heard of travel alerts, suggesting not to go to the U.S. and it is actually coming from the U.S.
Of course, I choose to believe we can travel without fear, there is more good out there than bad. Although, I must say, isn't looking so good right now.
My husband will be going on a business trip and I wanted to join him, because Chicago sounds like my kind of town.
Thank you all so much for all the great recommendations!!! I really appreciate it!

Posted by
2860 posts

As a Chicago native, I concur with all the positive comments above. You should definitely do an architecture tour. The one I did a few years ago was by boat on the river, and it was very good. There is a wonderful building in the downtown area, that used to be the main public library. The interior is just gorgeous.
You might look into whether there are tours of the U of Chicago campus. That way you could probably see Wright’s Robie House and the Oriental Institute at the same time. Note that the latter houses artifacts from the Near East, Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, etc. that, if I remember correctly, were excavated by the university’s own archaeology department. If you are there, the Museum of Science & Industry isn’t too far away, though not walking distance.
Go!

Posted by
9361 posts

I live about two hours south of Chicago and go there fairly regularly. In fact, I was just there last Sunday for a musical in the theater district. You will LOVE Chicago! There is so much to do and see! We take the train up, or drive from where I live, and have never had a problem.

Posted by
13930 posts

I grew up in Chicago. It was only many years after I left that I spent time as a tourist there on a visit and discovered that Chicago is one of the best tourist cities in the world. Now I make a biannual trip and allow lots of time to "play tourist." Most of the city is very safe and there's no reason to venture near the areas on the South Side where there's violence.

There are some fine Italian restaurants - maybe Jay will pop in here and make some recommendations. There are wonderful ethnic restaurants for just about every style of food - Mexican, Polish, Lithuanian, Jewish deli, Indian, Greek come to mind immediately.

There's a bus that goes from the Loop to MSI (Museum of Science and Industry) where you can spend an entire day and not get bored . . . baby chicks hatching, tour a coal mine and a German U-boat, walk back in time 100 years through Main Street and stop for a malted at an oldtime ice cream shop and much much more.

Posted by
76 posts

So, we should have 2 full days and I can see there is so much to see and do.

Should we take a hop on hop off?

Posted by
6143 posts

I would not take a generic hop-on-hop-off-bus in a city that has such a wide variety of excellent, professionally conducted tours as Chicago (although I'm no a fan of these types of buses anywhere, truth be told). I would pick from among the many tours sponsored by the City's architectural foundation. The river tour, in particular, should not be missed if you only have 2 days.
https://www.architecture.org/tours
It's worth visiting the architecture center and the cultural center (two different places) as well:
http://www.architecture.org/visit/general-information/visit-the-cac/
https://www.chicago.gov/city/en/depts/dca/supp_info/chicago_culturalcenter.html

There is a lot of things you could see in Chicago just on foot and using public transport. It's a city of many neighborhoods, not all located in downtown (e.g. Oak Park, Hyde Park, etc).

As far as museums go, my favorites are the Oriental Institute (University of Chicago campus - yes, its in the Southside and yes, it's OK to go there) and Art Institute of Chicago.

For food, try any of the Rick Bayless Restaurants (yum! there are several at different price points, but the food is excellent if you are open to modern Mexican food): https://www.rickbayless.com

Posted by
9361 posts

You can buy an inexpensive transit pass that covers both buses and the El (train) for a single day or multiple days. You can easily do several things at some stops, such as the museum campus that includes Shedd Aquarium, Adler Planetarium and the Field Museum (natural history). You will want to see Millennium Park, which is next to the Art Institute, which is next to Grant Park, etc.

Posted by
2860 posts

The Cultural Center, that Agnes mentions above, is the one I referred to as having a gorgeous interior. It’s right in the center, as I recall, just off Michigan Ave, and doesn’t take overly long (half hour?) to see.

Posted by
4498 posts

You will need more than 2 days to see Chicago, which means you will just have to return. I'm guessing you will want to. Lots of great ideas listed above so far. I would definitely take the river boat architectural cruise (Chicago Architecture Center on Wacker just east of Michigan Avenue). You'll learn some of the world famous architecture (Chicago is the US architecture capital) and it is a fun boat ride on a nice day. With all the museums, you will have to pick what most interests you. Certainly Millennium Park and along Michigan Avenue. Not mentioned is the Riverwalk which now extends from east of Michigan Avenue all the way past the bend turning south along Wacker Drive. Lots of cafes and restaurants and great views of the city-scape. I'm not a fan of Navy Pier unless you have kids to entertain.

Food wise, there are the tourist classics mentioned previously. But Chicago is one of the great immigrant cities in America and you can find amazing ethnic cuisine in the various neighborhoods. If a certain cuisine interests you, let us know and some of us locals can let you know neighborhoods or even restaurants to check out.

Posted by
908 posts

@Chani-

I also grew up near Chicago-think Ferris Bueller-and would have no trouble going back to visit. Yes, you hear about gang shootings in Chicago but they are in areas that most people and no tourists would visit. The city has world class museums, including one of the best art museums in the country, beautiful lake front including "beaches" in the summer and IMO the best skyline in the US.

Early Sept is probably the best time to go as the humidity of summer is dying down. Don't miss the Architectural Boat Cruise where you can see world class buildings unclose. Watch a Cubs game at Wrigley Field and enjoy cuisines from all over the world. I visited Chicago again a few years ago and it's fabulous for tourists. I always tell people it's like NYC, but livable:)

Oh and if you like theater, Chicago is probably the second best city to see a production.

Posted by
5624 posts

The South Side is diverse as are all locations so has some very good and also some bad areas like all cities. Hyde Park, Obama's home, is there as is the world class University of Chicago. The area to avoid is the far west side, Englewood.
Chicago is a fabulous city with so much to offer. The lakefront is protected and has bike and walking paths as does the Chicago River.
Public transportation is excellent. There is a very nice Fairmount Hotel as well as a lovely Sofitel where we usually stay.

Posted by
1064 posts

By safety, are you referring to the mass shootings in the USA or the ‘murder capital of the world’ nonsense spewed by Fox News?

Mass shootings in the USA need a solution but it’s no reason to avoid the USA. Chicago gang violence is a problem, but it’s confined to areas of no interest to a tourist and I doubt you’re making YouTube rap videos dissing some gang.

I’d avoid the HOHO, I’ve mentioned that I work next to the Sears (Willis) Tower and I often see the HOHO coming down Wacker, you spend more time watching office workers eating their lunches or having a smoke than you so looking at the Sears Tower.

I’d definitely do the river architecture tour, though. There are several, it kinda depends on how deep in the weeds you want to get. Some will go into detail about the building design, others will focus more on what celebrities live or used to live there

Posted by
256 posts

Maria, what is it that you are interested in doing when you get to Chicago? As one who visits yearly, 2-3 nights is a perfect time. I second the thought of visiting during the fall. There are many very good restaurants, shops, bars, and venues to keep you both entertained. In our younger days we would stay at the Hilton Inn & Tower. From there we would walk up Michigan Avenue to Oak Street and back. Now we stay more central to where we want to be. North of the river, south of Oak Street. From lake Michigan to no more than 2-3 blacks west of Michigan. Ideally we try to stay along Michigan Avenue. If you travel frequently you learn to recognize when you are in an area that you do not belong. Chicago is no different. Not sure how Fox News is to be blamed for events that are reported on across all news channels. There is a website dedicated to the number of shootings in the city with the locations marked as well so its problems are well known.
I would recommend making some reservations ahead of time for some restaurants that you wish to eat at. You will appreciate the city once you pay a visit.

Posted by
76 posts

Thank You John. Yes, everyone has been very kind and helpful on this forum. I am very excited to visit. My husband will be on a business trip, so I will be alone during the day, the first day. That worried me a bit. But now I feel better about it. Then we will visit the city together. We will be there all day on a Wednesday, Thursday and we are leaving on a Friday night.

We will try to see a show one of the nights. A play or maybe comedy. I love Jazz, maybe a Jazz club.
We will try the Chicago Pizza and hot dogs and what other place should we eat at. Not Italian, I am of It-lain decent and like to try other stuff.
Is there a cruise company we should use in particular?
We will see a Cubs game.
And I love to shop a little.
Looking forward to seeing Chicago!
Thanks a bunch

Posted by
6410 posts

I was born here; these are the clubs where the internationally jazz touring talent play
This jazz club has been around since late 1940's.The owner is 92; his son runs the club now.
https://www.jazzshowcase.com/

This club is smaller but excellent more intimate
http://greenmilljazz.com/

This is one of our newer clubs near the Navy Pier
https://www.wintersjazzclub.com/

This is near the previous club;
http://www.andysjazzclub.com/

We sometimes do more than one club in a night or go after dinner and a movie

Posted by
256 posts

You can start a small war asking which pizza place to go to. I do not have a place to recommend since my favorite place, Papa Milano's, and the block it was on was replaced by a national store. I don't care for Chicago hot dogs (Vienna Beef) being a Detroit guy. So, no recommendations there either. For shopping, start on one side of Michigan Avenue and work your way up one side then turn around and work your way down the other. That could be an all day affair. There are many, many restaurants in Chicago to choose from. My wife likes to go to Lawry's, I like to go to any good steakhouse or The Berghoff for German food. Looks like you are going this weekend so have a great time.