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I have a friend who is going to Chicago in September for a week (he's staying with a friend for Sept 11) and he needs to know:

(1) Places to go
(2) Things to see
(3) Places to stay (he wants somewhere nice but non-corporate and not terribly expensive)

He's relaxed, likes clubbing, gay but pretty straight-looking, with a wicked sense of humour. He likes Harry Potter. You could take him home to meet your mother and she would be charmed and try to set you up with him -- until she realised that he was spoken for.

He is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the sweetest men I have ever met, so I'd really appreciateany suggestions you might have for making this a great vacation.


( 5 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 4th, 2002 09:00 am (UTC)
Places to go:
Art Institute of Chicago
Shed Aquarium
Field Museum
Museum of Science and Industry
Sears Tower

Things to do:
eat at Heaven on Seven
go to a Cubs game at Wrigley Field
shop in Boy's Town
cruise by the Leaning Tower of Touhy (pronounced Too-ey)
listen to some jazz at House of Blues
eat at Super Dog

Also, I recommend that he goes to www.metromix.com. This is a great website of all Chi-town doings. And tell him to stay the hell away from the south side.
Jul. 4th, 2002 05:30 pm (UTC)
Absolutely yes to the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Science and Industry. One cool thing they have at the Museum of Science and Industry is a cross-section of a human body, like the head of Leonard Betts. There are also boat tours that leave from just off Michigan Avenue and go around the Navy Pier and back--great view of the Chicago skyline. I have never been to the House of Blues, but had a good time at a place called Blue Chicago.

Chicago-style pizza at Pizzaria Uno or Pizzaria Due. If he likes seafood there was a restaurant called Shuckers just off Michigan Ave. on Ontario, I think. It doesn't look like much, but they have the hugest prawns I have ever seen. Once when I was there around Christmas, they had the prawns arranged in the front-window on ice as Santa and his Reindeer. More costly was Bistro 110, but very good.

I don't really know anywhere non-corporate to stay. I have been to Chicago a couple of times on business and have gotten to stay in a couple of swanky places like the Four Seasons that I never could have afforded on my own. When I've had to foot the bill, I have stayed at the Holiday Inn-City Centre a couple of times. It's just about 2 blocks off Michigan and about a half mile walk from the Navy Pier. He should try Expedia.com.

I hope your friend has a good time. Chicago is one of my favorite places!

Jul. 5th, 2002 08:32 am (UTC)
Dude. Bo knows Chicago.

Um--okay, he needs to hit Halsted Street for the local boystown flavor. Hell, give him my number, I'll meet him if he's interested in meeting some of the locals. Rob and I can show him about. We'll try not to be too scary. :)

Regardless, he should go clubbing on Halsted; SideTracks is an excellent bar for dancing and hanging out. Of course, there's GayMart and We Are Everywhere has a branch as well. Once he goes to boystown, he'll find there's a plethora of things to do along the strip.

All the touristy things are good. And it's still baseball season, in fact, the Cubs are hosting Montreal the 9th through the 11th which will be the blind playing the lame but still, it's baseball, it's American and very very cool stuff. He could catch a game at Wrigley which is just FABULOUS(Once again, I do believe he could find someone who'd be glad to go with him, wink wink nudge nudge.)

Should homeboy like to shop, he could cruise the Magnificent Mile at WaterTower Place and just walk along Michigan Avenue. Rush street is tourist central, filled with restaurants and nightlife all catering to tourists. I would also suggest that he go up in the Sears Tower because the view is great and it's the tallest actual building in the world because those spires on that exotic bank building don't count. And with all the things about tall buildings in the states, he may want to go up and have a looksee. Because it really is fabulous, as is the Hancock Tower which is smaller but has a better view of the Lake, is free as opposed to the Sears Tower and has a great overview of the history of Chicago at the top, not to mention a Cheescake Factory in the basement. Well worth a trip.

As a nice place to stay, he could try the Lennox Suites which is affordable and really down in the heart of it all as it's on Rush and a block from Michigan Avenue. My mother in law and sister in law stayed there and LOVED it. I'll check with Rob about rates and reservations. Rob has connections there, but I don't think they get the Goodman discount, the rates are normally so low.


You can't beat $129 U.S.D a night on weekends when you book multiple nights. And since that's about 2 BP after conversion, it should work well. Great place, too.

Oh and speaking of the Goodman, there's that. At that time they'll be starting their new season and it looks like they're dark, but Steppenwolf will have "The Time of Your Life" opening on September 12th. I like Steppenwolf better than the Goodman, frankly, but hell you can't go wrong with Gary Sinise, John Malkovitch and Laurie Metcalf as founding and current members.

I'll think some more. And of all the touristy places he should go, tell him not to miss the Shedd Aquarium. The fish jail ROCKS.
Jul. 5th, 2002 01:22 pm (UTC)
Lessee...food-wise, he should also not miss out on the cheap-ass pleasure of an Italian Beef sandwich for lunch. Any yellow-signed dive downtown can probably make a credible one. It should definitely have the green peppers already in it.

Everyone covered downtown pretty well. Just outside Chicago are two attractions I love - FermiLab...oopse, looks like security issues have closed it down to most of the public. Ok, Brookfield Zoo. One of the larger zoos in the Midwest, but also one of the oldest. It's huge; it would take the whole day to visit.


He should also check and see if there are any city festivals going on around the time he will be visiting. I doubt it, but you never know. Even when the festival has been smaller than I expected, it was still quality and a lot of fun.

Good luck!

love, lore
Jul. 8th, 2002 11:17 am (UTC)
Lots of fun stuff off the red line Sheffield and Belmont EL stop.

If he goes up to Boys Town (accessed by this EL stop), he needs to stop at Cesar's for margaritas. It's on Clark, just south of Belmont. You've been there.

Just north of Belmont, also on Clark, is that sushi place we like. It's like two stores north of the Alley. Good and Cheap.

Just north of Belmont on Halsted is the fabulous Tapas place, Arco de Chill.... He needs to get the tuna stuff. Trust us on this. It's on the east side of the street.

Also there is the Alley, the big goth store for fun shopping.

Ann Sather's for cinnamon rolls- that's just west on Belmont about half a block from Clark. It is also a notable Swedish restaurant.

Other good places to eat in the neighborhood are Clark's on Belmont. Nookie's on Halsted. These both specialize in American food.

Just north on Halsted is all of Boys Town and that's where GayMart and all the fun shops are located. Best sex shops in Chicago are there. Or at least, the most amusing I've been to (not that I'm a connnoisseur, by any stretch of the imagination, mind).

He can also go to Chinatown to Moon Palace for the fabulous Szcheuan green beans. That's the Cermack/22nd street EL stop on the Red Line, I think. But he probably should cab it down there. South side is shady. It's right on 22nd street, on the north side of the street.

I third or whatever the recs for the Art Institute, the Brookfield Zoo and the Shedd Aquarium.

There are also excellent Architectural walking and boat tours. Those are great, but cost about $32. They are accessible through the Metromix site.

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