Chicago Journals

Chicago on a Budget

A January 2005 trip to Chicago by Backpackingrl

Quote: This journal outlines my recent trip to Chicago. As a student who loves to travel, my entry focuses on how to enjoy the city without a huge budget. I spent $300 (including airfare, food, hotel, activities, everything) on this 3-day getaway, and had a great time.

Chicago on a Budget

Overview

Quote:
This journal outlines my recent trip to Chicago. As a student who loves to travel, my entry focuses on how to enjoy the city without a huge budget. I spent (including airfare, food, hotel, activities, everything) on this 3-day getaway and had a great time. The Breakdown: Airfare: Hotel on Michigan Ave. (3 nights): Transportation around the city: Activities: Food: Quick Tips: Useful websites: Chicago Tourism Bureau: http://www.chicago.il.org/default.html Great deals on Chicago Hotels: www.hotels.com Getting around with public transportation: http://www.transitchicago.com/Best Way To Ge...Read More

Chicago's Essex Inn

Best Of IgoUgo

Hotel | "Essex Inn"

Quote:
I stayed at the Essex Inn for 3 nights in January 2005. The deal was fantastic. Through www.hotels.com, I got all 3 nights for $120. I then sent in a rebate coupon they give on checkout for a $25 refund. The total cost was $95 for 3 nights. The rest of the stay breaks down like this: Location: Excellent. This hotel is on Michigan Avenue, and you can't do better than that. It is surrounded by expensive hotels but gives you the same location for a MUCH lower price. Safety: As a female travelling alone, I had no concerns. Decor/My Room: Ahem, not the best. The leopard-skin color carpeting didn't do it for me. The furniture was slightly tattered, although the bed was co...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 8, 2005

Chicago's Essex Inn
800 S MICHIGAN AVENUE
Chicago, Illinois 60605
312-939-2800

Corner Bakery Cafe

Restaurant | "Corner Bakery"

Quote:
The Corner Bakery has a very central location and great food and is good for budget travellers. The downside is that this place is a chain. So, if you are looking for authentic Chicago food, you'll want to eat elsewhere. Having said that, this is a very affordable location with very good food right smack in the middle of the action. I stopped here to grab a quick dinner and was pleasantly surprised with the tomato and mozzarella sandwich. It tasted very fresh and left me very full. There were many options on the menu, including sandwiches, soup, salads, and pasta dishes. There was also a full line of hot breakfasts for under $5. The atmosphere is like a café. It is fine for families, single t...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2005

Corner Bakery Cafe
224 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60604
(312) 431-7600

My Thai Restaurant on Michigan

Restaurant | "My Thai"

Quote:
My Thai boasts a very central location on Michigan Avenue across from the Art Institute of Chicago. Most Magnificent Mile shoppers will miss this place, as it is removed from the main shopping drag. Because of this, it is not overcrowded. This is a great place to stop for lunch while walking along the waterfront. For budget travelers, this place is great. You can eat a very filling meal with drinks for under $10. The food is good quality Thai with a large menu selection. The atmosphere is casual, with ample seating. It is good for families. The service was prompt and friendly. The only complaint I have about this place is kind of odd. Before sitting, I had asked the waitress if I could s...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 9, 2005

My Thai Restaurant on Michigan
30 S. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 345-1234

Chicago Waterworks Visitors Center

Attraction | "Visitor's Center-Chicago Waterworks"

Quote:
This visitors center houses a piece of history itself. The center is located in the Old Water Tower. The tower was built in 1869, using a Gothic style of architecture. It is very tall because the pipe housed inside the tower needed to be 40m in order to equalize the water pressure it received. This was one of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire destroyed everything surronding the water tower (and 17,450 buildings in total). Because of this, the building seems to stand alone among its neighbors in present-day Chicago. For this reason alone, you should check it out. The visitors center itself is okay. There is information and print-outs on many things to do in Chicago;...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on March 8, 2005

Chicago Waterworks Visitors Center
163 East Pearson St
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 742 8811

Quote:
Very nice--I spent a whole day here. There is a wide collection of paintings (over 2,000 works), including Picasso, Monet, El Greco, and many, many more. There is a beautiful sculpture garden in a glass-enclosed arboretum. I was very excited that I would see my all time favorite paintings in this museum--Edward Hopper's Nighthawks, but I was very disappointed to see it was on loan. It should be back in Chicago by now, though. I paid the $7 student admission price. Regular admission is $12. The Gallery Audioguide is a very worthwhile way to spend $4. Let me say, in keeping with the budget theme of my journal entry, that the museum is free on Tuesdays from 10:30am to 4pm. Website: www.ar...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 8, 2005

Art Institute of Chicago
111 South Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60603
(312) 443-3600

Michigan Avenue/The Magnificent Mile

Attraction | "The Magnificent Mile: Michigan Avenue"

Quote:
The Magnificent Mile is a great way to spend a day walking in Chicago. There are 460 stores spread over 8 city blocks. Some stores include Express, Victoria's Secret, American Girls, and Lord & Taylor. I'd suggest beginning your walk at the area around 8th/9th Street. This is not part of the shopping area, but there are some great things to see. The waterfront lines one side and has a nice park (Grant Park) with hills for sleigh riding, interesting sculptures, and an ice-skating rink. The Art Institute of Chicago is also a few blocks down on your right. As you keep walking, you will come to the Magnificent Mile. You could easily spend a day or two shopping here and not see everything. ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on March 9, 2005

Michigan Avenue/The Magnificent Mile
North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 642-3570

Take the train from the airport!!!

Best Of IgoUgo

Story/Tip

Quote:
Okay, having never been to Chicago, I started reseraching how to get from O'Hare to my hotel on Michigan Ave. Everything I found, from official tourism sites to airport sites to my hotel's site, suggested the Airport Express shuttle service. So, I thought, okay--let's try that. I went to their website and checked on the price--$42 ONE-WAY to get from the airport to my hotel. I don't think so. Let's talk train. Surprisingly, I had to dig a little to get this info, but the train comes right into Chicago O'Hare airport, and for the price of $1.75, it can get you to your hotel in downtown. The CTA has a good website where you can enter in your starting point and destination, and it will give...Read More
Quote:
One of the best ways to keep costs down? Find cheap airfare. My flight was $92 roundtrip, and with tax, a grand total of $120. While airfares will fluctuate throughout the year, of course, here are some helpful tips for finding cheap airfare to Chicago. First of all, flying to Chicago is cheaper in the winter. So, if you are flexible about when you go, try January to March. Fares are also cheaper if you buy 2 weeks or more in advance (the magic number). After that, finding a flight for a specific date and time will cost you big bucks. I found my airfare in January by using the Travelocity farewatcher. Here's how to do it: Go to www.travelocity.com and sign up for an account. Then click on...Read More