A July 2001 trip
to Chicago by kjlouden
Quote: We rented bikes at Bike Chicago on Navy Pier and headed South on the Shoreline Drive path along Lake Michigan for the best big-city ride we'd ever seen on the best bikes we've ever rented. We found one more reason to love Chicago!
Another suggestion is to rent your bike on the internet for a /day deal for 4 days. You must reserve them several days in advance to get the internet deal at www.bikechicago.com -- and this is quite a deal, because rentals are usually .75/hour.
Bring a lunch. There are plenty of places to park & enjoy. Or, after your ride rest a while and take refreshment outdoors at Bubba Gumps or any number of establishments on Navy Pier. The best motel within walking distance is Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers or the Hyatt on the Chicago River. The Sheraton has a great internet deal right now.
Other options include a free trolley to and from Navy Pier, which you can get at the Cultural Center and other points, and the Wendella RiverBus (), which docks at River East Plaza, Chicago River North 3 blocks west on Illinois Avenue from Navy Pier. We took the RiverBus up the Chicago River to the Amtrak station. More than anything else, the view from the river revealed why Chicago is a world-class city. For more info, check out www.wendellaboats.com
Hotel | "Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers"
First, we stood in line for 45 minutes to check in. I am a "Gold" member and had requested early checkin--no deal, forget it. I''d stand in that line again at 3:00 p.m. So we stood in another line 30 more minutes to check luggage, since we couldn''t get into our room or go anywhere with our luggage. At least 4 people were checking luggage; still, 30 minutes. That''s how busy. Did I mention it was 92-degrees with 86% humidity and we looked like drowned rats from rolling our luggage three blocks? But we couldn''t stand inside in the cool lobby--no, we stood outside in the heat to check our luggage. If you don''t know how miserable Chicago has been this summer, just imagine drenching your skirt from the sweat dripping off your nose. Should I get something else to wear out of that suitcase? And stand in line outside another 30 minutes to check my luggage again? Plus, these were the clothes I had slept in! I''ve always got an early checkin at every Sheraton I''ve ever stayed, so I forgave them--until I saw my room!
Three people booked for this room had one coffee cup, two glasses and two washcloths. The empty beer bottles on the floor and in the windowsill weren''t ours. The table where we usually sit with our visitors'' literature had only one chair. When I called to complain, front desk said housekeeping would be right up. An hour later, I heard a commotion in the hall and found someone else complaining that housekeeping hadn''t been to her room, and she had been waiting for them since the day before. In her room, 3 people had only 2 towels and those were yesterday''s towels. All this, plus I''ve never seen such a small, crowded room. But the lobby is wonderful and huge.
So, would I recommend this hotel? Yes, because it''s the best location in Chicago! No complimentary shuttle, meals overpriced in the dining rooms, no ice machine on the premises so that you must pay $3 for soda from your wetbar, need to tip those porters, since they MUST handle those bags so you can get lost! Still, the River North is where I want to stay, and the Hyatt looked just as busy. In the plus column, there is the patio grill beside the river and the location, location--beautiful neighborhood just a block from the MagMile and close to everything we wanted to do. One more plus: the taxis were lined up outside; no need to call for one. At least we had got that online discount--and one of my companions had showered without a washcloth before!
Member Rating 3 out of 5 on August 10, 2001
Sheraton Chicago Hotel and Towers
301 East North Water Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Restaurant | "Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers"
To get to the outdoor grill, take the escalator down 2 floors from the street. I believe they're open only for lunch.
Member Rating 4 out of 5 on August 10, 2001
Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers
301 E. North Water Street
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Restaurant | "Bubba Gump's Shrimp"
Bubba Gump Shrimp
700 E. Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
Attraction | "Theater on the Lake"
We saw a Lillian Hellman play, "Another Part of the Forest," performed by the Eclipse Theater Company. The play was wonderfully acted and staged and the theater small enough to make the performance even more special.
One drawback was the temperature. Perhaps the theater is air-conditioned. I'm not sure. There are ceiling fans, but the little hand-held plastic fans all guests were given at the door were kept busy all night, a few hundred of them going at once. This may have been appropriate for a Southern family drama, but it was distracting. I still enjoyed the play and will return to the Theater on the Lake, since they do such literary masterpieces as "The Cherry Orchard" (the week after I was there, darned, for it's my favorite).
To get to the theater, you must take the CTA red line to the Fullerton Avenue stop, then walk east all the way to the Theater, just a mile (their directions insist), maybe a mile and a half. We enjoyed the walk out Fullerton and back to the CTA because it is a pleasant neighborhood of brick & brownstone walk-ups with well-planted little yards, intriguing architecture, and plenty of people out and about, walking dogs and visiting. We felt like we lived there.
The Second City
1616 North Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
West Virginia, United States