Rick Steves travel group meeting in Chicago

Hi all - I'm moving to Chicago in a few days and would like to start a RS travel group meeting there. I enjoyed my STL meetings very much and will miss them! Anyone interested in getting together for monthly meetings in the Chicago area? Let me know!

Posted by Michael
Griffith, IN, USA
440 posts

How about the western or northern suburbs of Chicago. Pretty big area to just think Chicago. Anyone out there??

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Thank you very much, Michael, for bumping this up. I'm in Chicago now and would love to start a RS group with other local travel enthusiasts.

Posted by Nancy
Lombard, Il
73 posts

Hi Sarah, I'm not a regular poster on the helpline,but I do travel frequently. If a travel group is started in the Chicagoland area, I would be very interested in participating. THanks

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Nancy, I sent you a private message.

Posted by Nancy
Bloomington, IL, USA
7683 posts

Why message privately if you want to build a group of interested people?

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

I've only been to Europe twice but would be interested in attending. I'm not an expect like many on this site, but always looking to learn more.

Posted by Terry kathryn
Ann Arbor, Mi
2612 posts

If I am visiting one of my travel/photographer friends that lives in northern suburbs I would pop in.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Hi all! What day of the month and where would be the best time for you to meet?

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

I live in the western suburbs so that would be great. That said, I'm flexible as to the location (suburbs are better for me than downtown) but would like to hear what others think.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

I currently live in East Rogers Park but am moving to Edgewater next week. I don't have a car so as long as I can easily get to the meeting location via public transit, I don't mind if the meetings are held in the suburbs.

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

I too would be interested in a travel group meeting and I also live in the Western suburbs. I'm unfamiliar with the Edgewater area and what kind of transportation is available. How about trying somewhere in-between? How difficult would it be for you to get to the O'Hare Airport area...say Rosemont?

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Is Rosemont the area surrounding O'Hare? I can easily get to the airport on the train but to travel beyond the airport may be more difficult.

Posted by Nancy
Lombard, Il
73 posts

D
Since the new outlet mall opened, the traffic in the Rosemont area is terrible. If we knew in what western suburb you were located maybe we could come up with an alternative location with less traffic.

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

Sarah, yes Rosemont is an area close to the airport. I didn't realize the Rosemont area traffic is so terrible, Nancy. I haven't been that direction in a while. I'm in Downers and can go pretty much any direction. A weekend afternoon would work best for me but I can swing other times too.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

It sounds like I'm the only one here who lives in the city. I'm happy to meet outside the city as long I can easily get there by public transit. With that in mind, does anyone have any suggestions? I'm still learning the city and haven't even started on the suburbs!

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2394 posts

It sounds like good ole Oak Park is the place to be. Green Line L from the City and right off the Ike for those in the western burbs.

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

Oak Park works for me. What do you think, Sarah? Want to come up with a date? Douglas, have any suggestions on a meeting place in Oak Park?

Posted by Tom
Oak Brook, IL
160 posts

Oak park would work for me. Are we thinking a morning meeting on the weekend?

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

The Panera in Oak Park works for me! What's the address? Do we want to meet on a Saturday morning like the other groups do? Does that work for everyone?

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

But not too early. It may take me 2 hours to get there from the Red Line Bryn Mawr stop.

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

Panera on a Saturday morning or afternoon works for me. I think the address is 7349 Lake Street in River Forest, Illinois. I didn't see one in Oak Park on Google and this looks like it's on Lake Street and a couple blocks west of Harlem Avenue and in walking distance from the Green Line. So, Sarah (if this is the one Douglas mentioned)I guess you'll have to take the Red Line to the Green Line and according to Google Maps it should take an hour and 8 minutes including the 7 minute walk when you get off at Harlem. So what Satuday works for everyone? My calendar is pretty open so it doesn't matter to me.

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4877 posts

I believe the rules that apply to meetings of people who frequent the Rick Steves Helpline is that you must meet on the 3rd Saturday of the month. Preferably at Panera Bread. Those locations don't have a Panera Bread (think the Idaho folks) can deviate from the approved meeting Place. Don't believe Frank if he tries to hit you up for a franchise fee. Have a fun meeting!!

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

An hour is about par to get anywhere in the city of Chicago without a car. :) According to my transit app, the Panera seems to be on the border of Oak Park and River Forest. The app says it will take me an hour and 6 minutes - glad that it and Google agree! Andrea - I wish there was a "like" button on here so I could like your comment! Saturday mornings and afternoons work for me. In November, I'm available on the 9th, 16th, and 23rd. Yes! The Third Saturday! :)

Posted by Pam
Troy, Idaho, USA
471 posts

Laughing, yes the Idaho and Eastern Washington folks are renegades. The nearest Paneras are on the West side which for us means the other side of the Cascade mountains. We enjoy a local coffee place with a reservable back room we can use for free. Have a wonderful time!

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

The third Saturday in November is the 16th. Want to go with Saturday, November 16th at 10am (like the rest of the travel group get-togethers)at Panera in Oak Park/River Forest? I'm in.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2394 posts

Just to confirm, the Panera is in River Forest. 7349 Lake Street. Directions:
It is in a strip mall at the southwest corner of Harlem and Lake. The Green Line Harlem stop is right there, as is the Metra UP West Line Oak Park stop. Walk north 1 block from the station, to Lake St, then west 1 block (the Panera is at the far northwest corner of the mall). If driving off the Eisenhower Expressway, take the Harlem exit (exits on the left) and go north about a mile to Lake St. Turn left on Lake and go 1 block to the first light. Left at the light and then right into the parking area in front of Panera. If anyone needs more specific directions coming from other directions, PM me and I will send you some. (I personally will try to attend if it works for my schedule)

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4877 posts

Congrats! You've passed the first hurdle on your way to starting your meetings. My suggestion is to have one point person. They would be the one who would post a reminder about a week to 10 days before the meeting. For our Sacramento group that person is me. Each month I include the date and location of the meeting. You never know when someone new to the website will see it and want to attend. That happened to us as recently as this month. I hope you enjoy your meetings as much as we enjoy ours!

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Good idea, Andrea. I'm happy to be the point person if no one else wants to do it. Also, let's think about how to identify ourselves at the meetings. One idea is to place RS books on the table. I have 2 to bring. Andrea, how does your group make itself known at the meetings?

Posted by Andrea
Sacramento, CA
4877 posts

The Panera Breads in this area (that I have seen anyway) have a large table in the center of the room. I try to arrive a little early (sometimes Larry beats me to it) and we have Rick Steves books on the table as an identifier. We try to find out approximately how many people will be attending in order to know if we need to add a table to the large one. This month we had to add two tables. I was just back east and was in a couple of Panera's in Virginia. I noticed they didn't have the large center table. If your meeting place doesn't have one you can just push tables together.

Posted by Douglas
Oak Park, Illinois
2394 posts

This Panera is not huge and I don't think it has a large table as described above. Most of the seating is booth oriented. It's also pretty busy. But if there isn't a huge crowd, it should work by pushing a couple tables together. If we decide to do this again and the Panera doesn't seem to work well logistically, I have another place nearby that should work well (another group regularly meets there). It too is right off the Green Line.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

In St. Louis we met at a Panera (St. Louis Bread Company in STL) which had smaller tables, so we pushed some together depending on the size of the meeting. I'll bring my RS books. Douglas - thank you for providing directions to the Panera, and for offering a different meeting place if it becomes necessary.

Posted by Diane
Chicagoland
21 posts

Sounds great! I've got a couple blue books to put on the table as well. My name is Diane, by the way, not D. I don't know where the rest of my name went when I created my profile. I guess I should change that. If you're looking for a headcount, it will be just me unless I can get a sitter so my husband can join in. Looking forward to our first meeting! Thanks, Sarah, for getting this going.

Posted by Nancy
Lombard, Il
73 posts

I've marked the date on my calendar. Looking forward to meeting everyone.

Posted by Carol
Oak Lawn, IL, USA
90 posts

Wow, sure hope I can attend. My husband and will have just returned from our european adventure cruising in the mediterranean.

Posted by Sarah
Chicago (formerly St. Louis), IL, USA
1311 posts

Hi Carol, I hope you can attend! I'd love to hear about your trip.