Chicago Journals

Wintry Mix: First Time in the Second City

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A January 2007 trip to Chicago by callen60

Water Tower Photo, Chicago, Illinois More Photos
Quote: We hid from winter's wrath in Chicago, of all places, enjoying theatre, museums, deep dish pizza and big city ambience.

Wintry Mix: First Time in the Second City

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Overview

Big City Neighbors Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
We headed to Chicago for a winter getaway, a three-night holiday road trip over King’s birthday to see Wicked. Unexpectedly, Chicago was our refuge from winter’s wrath, enjoying moderate temperatures in the Windy City while an ice storm ravaged our home in southwest Missouri. Go figure. Adding to the confusion, Chicago remained decked out for Christmas, although the calendar read mid-January. Which holiday was it, anyways? Michigan Avenue and it...Read More

Embassy Suites Chicago - Downtown/Lakefront

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Hotel | "Embassy Suites Hotel Chicago-Downtown/Lakefront"

Embassy Suites Chicago - Downtown/Lakefront Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
Housing five in Chicago isn’t easy or inexpensive. When looking for two nights lodging in the center of the Second City, I remembered staying here on business two years ago. Given Embassy Suites’ $160-$180 per night price tag, our family usually makes other choices with our own travel dollars. But with standard two-bedrooms going for $150, when a $135 per night pre-paid rate popped up at the Hilton website, I grabbed it.There are two Embassy Suites downtown, one in the middle of the theatres on State Street (they weren’t offering any discounts). We...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 21, 2007

Embassy Suites Chicago - Downtown/Lakefront
511 N COLUMBUS DR
Chicago, Illinois 60611
312 836-5900

Pizzeria Due

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Restaurant

Pizzeria Due Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
If you believe the newspaper reproductions scattered among the walls, the inventor of Chicago’s most famous culinary contribution was a Texan. Ike Sewell created this more-of-everything version of pizza at Pizzeria Uno (just a block down the street) in 1943, and soon afterwards opened this aptly named Restaurantal Sequel. I don’t know whether Gino’s East, Giordano’s, and other practitioners of the art would agree with this pizza lineage, but nonetheless we headed to Due for a post-theatre dinner, although it was only one of several options close to our hotel.The restaurant sits...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 21, 2007

Pizzeria Due
619 North Wabash Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 943 2400

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum

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Attraction | "Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum"

Quote:
Although I now reside in a rather modestly sized urban area, I spent 15 years living in the center of two of the nation’s largest metropolis. Nevertheless, it now surprises me just how big, big cities are. It happened again when we left the Field Museum and headed for Shedd Aquarium, which looks to next door on the hotel-room map of central Chicago. It was a few hundred yards, roughly equal in length to the line to get in. The wind was blowing now and it felt more like the wintry Chicago I remembered, so we quickly searched for a new destination that wouldn’t require standing still in icy lakefront breezes. "Well, the planetarium is just down the way..." I said. And we were off.Brrr...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on January 21, 2007

Adler Planetarium & Astronomy Museum
1300 South Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago, Illinois 60605
(312) 922-7827

Hancock Building Observatory

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Attraction | "Hancock Observatory"

Hancock Building Observatory Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
The Hancock Center was once Chicago’s tallest building and the world’s second tallest. Not for long—within five years it was locally eclipsed by the Aon Center (which entered life as the Standard Oil Building) and then the Sears Tower. Still, at 1,127’ and a round 100 stories, ‘Big John’ still makes a grand end to the Magnificent Mile.And if you want to look out over the city, what’s a few hundred feet? Its Observatory may be 323' below its competition, the Sears Tower SkyDeck, but it sits closer to the lakefront, amid the city’s commercial district (while Sears is on the far west side of the Loop). And the Hancock is open until 11pm, allowing for a late, late night look (the Sears closes ...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on January 21, 2007

Hancock Building Observatory
875 North Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 751-3681

Oriental Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts

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Attraction | "Wicked at the Oriental Theatre"

Oriental Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
Somehow, my kids have fallen in love with musical theatre. I think it began with Les Miserables, which my middle one fell for at the tender age of 8. Joseph and other Andrew Lloyd Webber shows, Aida, Children of Eden—just the soundtrack is enough to hook them. My nieces introduced them to Wicked, and soon they had the music on their iPods and were learning the story from multiple sources on the web.So for Christmas, we found tickets to a matinee over the King holiday in Chicago, and planned a family road trip to see it. Our expedition took on ...Read More

Member Rating 5 out of 5 on January 21, 2007

Oriental Theatre, Ford Center for the Performing Arts
24 West Randolph St
Chicago, Illinois 60601
+1 312 782 2004; +1

Stanley Field Hall at the Field Museum Photo, Chicago, Illinois
Quote:
Having spent the night an hour outside Chicago after outrunning the ice storm, we easily made it to the Field before the 9am opening. As we walked up the steps to the imposing entrance (think National Archives), flanked on each side by hundreds of yards of columns, we passed family after family with young kids just leaving after spending a overnight of ‘Dozing with the Dinos’.I’d never made the connection before, but the ‘Field’ immortalized here is, of course, Marshall Field, founder of Chicago’s preeminent department store. Chicagoans are probably thrilled that, unlike his business, the museum still bears his name and not Macy’s, who probably engendered significant ill will by evicting M...Read More

Sunday Morning on the Magnificent Mile

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Story/Tip

Quote:
As a kid, I never knew what was ‘magnificent’ about this mile of Michigan Avenue. Our family expeditions to Chicago always revolved around visiting museums, and not shopping. Plus, the similar alliteration of ‘Merchandise Mart’ always had me confusing the two. As we talked through options about how to spend Sunday morning during our recent visit, we eventually settled on walking over to Michigan Avenue and just strolling down to Water Tower Place. Since we left at 9, we knew none of the stores would be open on our walk north—and that nothing at Water Tower Place was likely to be open—but the weather w...Read More