Chicago Journals

Hot Fun In The Windy City -- Chicago

An April 2002 trip to Chicago by Desiree Koh

Quote: Here's why I consider myself a local in spirit – the Lake Michigan gust doesn’t frazzle my nerves, I drink green beer on St. Patrick’s Day, and till death do us part, I am a loyal Cubs fan. Hop on this virtual El for snapshots of a Chicago life.

Hot Fun In The Windy City -- Chicago

Overview

Quote:
To truly experience Chicago may not be the typical tourist experience -- it's not just a matter of scaling the Statue of Liberty, for example, or snapping a shot of the Hollywood sigh. Rather, it's feeling the vibe of the city. It's standing on State Street feeling the revelry of the St. Patrick's Day Parade, or trying to stand your ground as the wind threatens to sweep you off your feet, if the city hasn't already done so. Or it's sampling every little one of the restaurant Chicago hosts, or maybe it's standing at the top of the Hancock Tower feeling like Spiderman on the other side of the glass window. In this journal, you'll find a collection of my favorite Chicago experiences. Live them.Quick ...Read More

The Drake

Hotel | "Drake Hotel"

Quote:
For classic Chicago ambiance and old-fashioned splendor, look no further than Bill Clinton's favorite address whenever he is in town. Since 1920, the world-famous Magnificent Mile hotel has an elegance that new hotels find hard to duplicate. From the wainscoting in the wide hallways to the mail chutes and classic elevator doors on each floor, there are vintage delights everywhere, especially in the ornate lobby. Lounge lovers will enjoy the clubby, intimate Coq d'Or, where pianist Buddy Charles entertained guests for more than 50 years until his retirement in 2001. For all its historic splendor, the Drake offers all the amenities that guests have come to expect in a premium mod...Read More

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

The Drake
140 E WALTON PL
Chicago, Illinois 60611
0013127872200

Pizzeria Uno

Best Of IgoUgo

Restaurant

Quote:
Somehow, a real pizza parlor doesn't feel like a real pizza parlor unless it's small, dark and cozy, with heat from the oven fires warming the pepperoni of your heart. There are too many places in Chicago claiming that they serve the original "Chicago-style pizza," and while it's hard to determine a winner, I'll go ahead and give the blue ribbon to Pizzeria Uno just because it tastes so good, in terms of pie and atmosphere (owner Ike Sewell says Uno invented the deep dish pizza in 1943). Every pie here is deep dish -- you can almost hear the graffiti scratched into the parlor's wooden tables heckling, "Get out, you wimpy thin crust pies!". The spinach and the Hawaiian (as exotic as you can get, in tru...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Pizzeria Uno
29 East Ohio St.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 321-1000

Gibsons

Restaurant | "Gibsons Steak House"

Quote:
Gibsons is all about big -- colossal servings of slabs of steak and seafood, huge bar selection, and sky-high celebrity quotient. Chicago mayor Richard Daley has his own table here. If you have reservations and you're still waiting, maybe it's because Jay Leno, David Letterman, Fergie, Jack Nicholson, Elizabeth Taylor and the Cusacks are around.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Gibsons
1028 North Rush St
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 266 8999

Toast

Restaurant

Quote:
Check out the namesake of this popular breakfast spot: French toast stuffed with strawberries, piled high with marscapone cheese, with a side of potato wild mushrooms hash. Mm-hmm. Other innovative takes of your mom's breakfast favorites are eggs benedict with prossciutto and white-truffle hollandaise, and filet mignon with eggs.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Toast
746 W. Webster Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60614
773.935.5600

Wiener Circle

Restaurant | "The Wiener's Circle"

Quote:
The Chicago hot dog: two juicy dill pickles, three ripe slices of tomato, plenty of raw onions and neon green relish slathered on a charred red hot frank, all stuffed into a poppyseed bun. The Wiener's Circle: the best place to sample what may sound like an anomaly, but is really just a very luxurious hot dog. The cold lemonade and cheese fries are great to go with your meal (yes, please leave your calorie counter at home), and if the counter staff is rude to you -- hey, it's a hot dog stand, and they do mean it affectionately. Or at least, why dampen a sunny hot diggity dog day?

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Wiener Circle
2622 North Clark St
Chicago, Illinois 60614
+1 773 477 7444

Original Pancake House

Restaurant | "The Original Pancake House"

Quote:
How many ways can you make pancakes? The Original Pancake House will give you a hint -- pancakes in every size and permutation sprawl across the menu. Coconut, Hawaiian, Georgian pecan, wheat germ, sourdough French toast - it's enough to take you around the world and back. Throw in sides of eggs, bacon and ham, and you're up against a hearty behemoth of a breakfast. Yes, it's a chain, but the offerings are all original wholesome Midwestern soul.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 17, 2002

Original Pancake House
22 East Bellevue Place
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 642 7917

Quote:
Patience may be a virtue, but by the time you make it to the front of the line at Garrett's, you'll realize that popcorn is a godsend. With caramel crisp wafting through the air and perfuming the sidewalks of the Magnificent Mile, locals and visitors alike stand in line for close to an hour and leave with armfuls of popcorn -- the cheese and caramel mix is a standard must-have.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Garrett Popcorn Shop
670 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
312.944.2630

Bone Daddy

Restaurant

Quote:
How many ways do excellent BBQ ribs come in? As many as Bone Daddy serves them -- North Carolina (spicy, vinegar-based), South Carolina (tangy, mustard-based), Chicago (tomato-based), and Memphis dry rub. For a industrialized spin on comfort food, get your ribs served with sweet potato chips, home-made tater tots or sprout salad. And what's a good BBQ joint without rockin' tunes? A live band performs every night. Another cause for joy -- two dozen microbrews on tap.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Bone Daddy
551 N. Ogden Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60622
(312) 226-6666

Phoenix

Restaurant | "Phoenix Restaurant"

Quote:
To fully get the most out of your Phoenix experience, get a crash course in dim sum before heading here for brunch. If not, let your nose decide for you. Dim sum is like tapas -- brunch delights and delicacies are carted around as you pick and choose what your palate desires. Dim sum is hands down best at Phoenix -- Hong Kong chefs prepare an authentic variety of dishes that are delicate and tasty, not at all like the greasy fare found elsewhere in Chinatown. The people standing in line for almost an hour waiting for a table can attest to that.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Phoenix
2131 South Archer Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60616
+1 312 328 0848

Calypso Cafe

Restaurant

Quote:
So you're in Chicago in the dead of winter when the city is frozen and frigid. The tarot cards don't hold a sunny vacation for you in the near future. Your best bet is Calypso Cafe (or anytime, really) where the decor is colorful enough to make a rainbow blush and the drinks are eclectic enough to make you forget the cold. Carribbean standards such as jerk chicken, conch chowder, plantain chips and oxtail sauce rule here, but don't neglect the American fare with tropical twists (burgers on Cuban sweetbread). Want to get a slice of heaven? Try the key lime pie.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Calypso Cafe
5211 South Harper St
Chicago, Illinois 60615
+1 773 955 0229

Hancock Building Observatory

Attraction | "John Hancock Tower"

Quote:
What's 1,127 feet tall, 100 floors high, can withstand winds up to 132 mph, gives you a view that extends to five states, and is Spiderman's dream building to scale? Right-o, it's the John Hancock Tower. The second tallest building in the Second City, but the one where you can have more fun with more interesting exhibits and panoramic shot potential than the Sears Tower. If being on the top of the world is your thing, find another excuse to hang around at the 96th floor Signature Lounge. But beware, the view and prices are more to gawk at than the food.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

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

900 North Michigan Shops

Attraction | "Michigan Avenue - The Magnificent Mile"

Quote:
Michigan Avenue comes up short of a (magnificent) mile, but it's all there when it comes to shopping choices and the aorta of Chicago's bustle. How versatile it is, too -- in the winter, Christmas lights drip off bare trees (yes, there are trees on the sidewalk) and in the springtime, early blossoms line the traffid divider. Even if a conventional shopping trip isn't your idea of an excursion, try this on for adventure: stand at the stop lights at N. Michigan and Ohio, one of the busiest crosswalks on the stretch, close your eyes, and feel Chicago pulse you by. If you think the Midwest strolls a few steps behind the coasts -- well, four words for you: N. Michigan and Ohio.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

900 North Michigan Shops
900 North Michigan Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 915 3916

Chicago Waterworks Visitors Center

Attraction | "Water Tower"

Quote:
This 138-foot high structure holds its own in a sea of skyscrapers. It's not just the miniature medieval castle design, it's the fact that this little guy said "nyah nyah" to the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed everything in the city... but our hero. You might say that it embodies a heartwarming story of how nice guys finish last. The City Gallery is housed in the Water Tower, displaying mostly Chicago-themed photographs by Chicago photographers.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

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

Tribune Tower

Attraction

Quote:
There are many revered and important newspapers in the country, but few were owned by a bigger egoist than William Randolph Hearst, who proclaimed his publication the "World's Greatest Newspaper." Staring up at the Tribune Tower from the Michigan Ave sidewalk, you can't help but feel that like its founder, it does have a much higher self-esteem than the rest of the city's building, never mind that it is one of the shortest by comparison. In 1922, Tribune editors Robert McCormick and Joseph Patterson offered $100,000 to whoever designed the most beautiful and distinctive building in the world. The winners were two New York architects. On street level, the paper's radio a...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Tribune Tower
435 North Michigan Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60611
+1 312 222 3994

Wrigley Building

Attraction

Quote:
You've chewed the gum, now visit the building. The Wrigley Building was the first major high-rise built north of the Michigan Ave Chicago River bridge, sparking the transformation of warehouses and docks to today's shopping strip.

The Wrigley Building is prettiest at night, when floodlights put it in the spotlight. The Wrigley was modeled after te Giralda Tower in Spain and the Woolworth Building in New York City.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on April 18, 2002

Wrigley Building
410 North Michigan Ave.
Chicago, Illinois 60611
(312) 923-8080

The Second City

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Second City"

Quote:
You're always in good company at the world's most famous and productive breeding ground of Saturday Night Live performers and other comedic celebs -- Second City's alumni list includes Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Elaine May, Chris Farley, Tina Fey, Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi. Despite its high profile, the troupe's goal is still to make you life and feel at home. The auditorium is an intimate setting, with enough room for servers to bring you the brewski without obstructing your view. Dinner is always a good idea before a show -- the paltry menu features just bar food and pizza. But I digress -- the main event is the show, the show, the show. The show is made up of little nuggets of comedy sketches wri...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

The Second City
1616 North Wells Street
Chicago, Illinois 60614
(312) 337-3992

State Street

Attraction

Quote:
There's a reason why Frank Sinatra emphasized that State Street is "that great street," where "they do things they don't do on Broadway." Well, that may have been about 50 years ago, before the gentrification of Michigan Avenue stole State's thunder as the city's shopping mecca. Still, the allure of what used to be the hippest strip in town remains in its old-fashioned wrought iron lampposts and ornate glass-enclosed entrances that lead down to the subway. Also home to the city's self-proclaimed theater district, almost-gaudy, loud marquees cry out the big shows in town.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

State Street
State Street
Chicago, Illinois

Green Mill

Best Of IgoUgo

Attraction | "Green Mill Cocktail Lounge"

Quote:
Think Prohibition with the alcohol -- everything about the Green Mill is just intact as it was during Al Capone's time, including some of the best jazz to cross the prairie. It's Brian Setzer's dream lounge come true, except that the music is legitimate and performed by established genre musicians. The floor is well-polished from hep cats who swing dance on it, and the jam sessions well into the early mornings invoke the spirits of Count Basie and Miles Davis.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Green Mill
4802 North Broadway St
Chicago, Illinois 60640
(773) 878-5552

Jazz Showcase

Attraction

Quote:
If you know your jazz, the Jazz Showcase could be a voodoo experience that's transformed into a magical Birdland every night, with the quality of live music played here. Birdland? Only because bebop giant Charlie Parker is this club's patron saint. Pictures of legendary performers line the wall, a who's who of jazz, as well as a who's who of who've played here (The Bird, John Coltrane, Wes Montgomery, to name a few). Every year in August, the club is devoted to musicians who celebrate the Bird, and on Sundays, patrons are encouraged to bring their children. You can most likely stay after the first set for the second without having to pay additional cover.

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on April 21, 2002

Jazz Showcase
59 West Grand Ave
Chicago, Illinois 60610
+1 312 670 2473

Hancock Building Observatory

Attraction | "Kane County Flea Market"

Quote:
Take all the usual categories of knick knacks you can expect to find at a flea market -- toys, antiques, decorative items, sports trading cards, clothes, accessories, jewelry, furniture, porcelain, tools, collectibles, and so on. Sounds normal enough? Multiply the image of a typical flea market in your mind by about 50 -- that's how big the "largest flea market in the Midwest" is. As soon as the market is open (noon on every first Saturday of the month, or 7am on every first Sunday of the month), shoppers from all over the Midwest pile in through the floodgates and start purchasing right away, piling their bounty into wagons, baskets, carts, or whatever's big enough. Th...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

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

Uncle Fun

Attraction

Quote:
Uncle Fun is the uncle we've always wanted to have -- that dude who still has Partridge Family picture books from the 1970s, Knight Rider bubble gum from the 1980s, and The Simpsons blow-up couch from the 1990s. For more than two decades, Uncle Fun has been in the business of helping people celebrate the spirit of fun and creativity by offering toys such as bobble-head dolls, stink bombs, fart powder, and Pee Wee Herman harmonicas. If you want to be a kid again, you'll be able to find the secret formula here. But don't stop at what's on display in the store (and be sure to allow at least an hour to comb through all the goodies they have crammed onto shelves and in piles) -- tell Uncle ...Read More

Member Rating 4 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

Uncle Fun
1338 W. Belmont Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60657
(773) 477-8223

Urban Oasis

Attraction

Quote:
The only urban thing about this oasis is in its name -- step through its doors, and forget that you're in the country's third largest city. Your most stressful moment will be deciding whether you want juice, tea or water before you're ushered into one of six private changing rooms to put on a kimono and slippers. You know they're serious when they say, "You are about to enter a low-tech zone, please turn off your cellular phone."

With 11 different types of massages available, finish off with a relaxing rain shower and sweet-smelling body oils and lotions. For a truly rejuvenating experience, try an aromatherapy wrap or salt flow treatment.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

Urban Oasis
12 W. Maple Street
Chicago, Illinois 60610
(312) 587-3500

Grant Park

Attraction

Quote:
Commonly known as Chicago's Central Park, Grant Park is the place to go for all outdoor summer fun in the heart of downtown. From famous festivals such as Taste of Chicago (imagine getting to sample from every Chicago restaurant institution!), Chicago Jazz Festival (everyone knows how great the jazz is here) and Chicago Blues Festival (ditto for blues), to watching favorite classics on a big screen in the twilight, to just having a wide open space to toss a frisbee and play 16" softball, all Chicago needs is its very own JFK Jr. to complete its iconic reputation.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

Grant Park
500 South Columbus Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60605
+1 312 742 7529

Quote:
Housed in a gorgeous mansion in the Gold Coast neighborhood, and overlooking Lake Michigan, the International Museum of Surgical Science contains a remarkable display of surgical devices and techniques dating from Roman times. Each room in the museum has its own theme -- either geographical or procedural -- and several rooms contain predecessors to today's forceps, syringes and speculums. Other rooms feature gruesome paintings of early surgical procedures.

Member Rating 3 out of 5 on June 7, 2002

International Museum of Surgical Science
1524 North Lake Shore Drive
Chicago, Illinois 60610
+1 312 642 6502