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Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 1:54 p.m.

Mom and Dad are taking a train trip from PA to the Grand Canyon in April.  On the way they have a 6 hour layover in Chicago (Union Station).  It will be Wednesday morning April 6th to be exact - basically 9AM til 2PM.  I'll just send them a link to this thread so they can read and pick for themselves.

Since they are not internet savvy, I want to be able to give them some things to see/do.  I think they'll be fed on the train for breakfast, so can you all suggest some things for them to do?  They are both in their early 70s, in good health but dad has a modestly bum knee and mom's trick back means she sometimes can't do a ton of walking.  So no ziplines, rock climbing, or parachuting.  Dad is an outdoor type - hunter, fisherman, biologist, classic car lover.  Mom is an outdoorsy person as well and likes arts and crafts, coffee, food, gardens.  They both like to experience people and towns by doing the local things instead of taking the pre-arranged tour.

They often like to do things instead of buy things.  They're the kind of folks who might enjoy going to a deli and getting some lunch meat, cheese, a local wine, and sitting in a park for lunch instead of going to a restaurant, however good restaurant recommendations are welcomed.

I want to be able to tell them to get a taxi from Union Station and go to [insert local attraction] and then get another taxi and go to [insert iconic Chicago restaurant/deli] for lunch.  Any suggestions?

wae
wae PowerDork
2/4/22 2:03 p.m.

The Art Institute of Chicago is pretty amazing.  As is the Museum of Science and Industry.  I don't know if that would be too much walking, though.  If they're fish people, the Shedd is crazy-awesome.

 

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 2:06 p.m.

They can certainly walk a museum, just not likely to take a 6 mile hike, or walk 20 blocks to get somewhere.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/4/22 2:14 p.m.

Museum or Shedd Aquarium. Take a taxi

Captdownshift (Forum Supporter)
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 2:15 p.m.

Go to a fine restaurant pretending to be the sausage king of Chicago. 

67LS1
67LS1 Reader
2/4/22 2:17 p.m.

We recently took a train from California to NY and had a 9 hour layover/train change in Chicago. We walked to the waterfront which I believe was less than a mile and walked back along the River Walk. We saw pretty much all of the highlights of downtown. I would recommend this to anyone that isn't mobility challenged.

One could also Lyft to the waterfront and return via the River Walk and cut the walking distance in half.

This all depends on the wether too...

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 2:21 p.m.
Captdownshift (Forum Supporter) said:

Go to a fine restaurant pretending to be the sausage king of Chicago. 

YARN | -You are Abe Froman? -That's right. I'm Abe Froman. | Ferris  Bueller's Day Off (1986) | Video gifs by quotes | 74c35ac2 | 紗

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 2:23 p.m.

I think they would LOVE the Shedd Aquarium.

Good restaurants/shopping on the waterfront I assume?  Where should I suggest they eat?

1988RedT2
1988RedT2 MegaDork
2/4/22 2:33 p.m.

Chicago has a long and illustrious association with organized crime.  Is there an "Al Capone Museum" or something similar?

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/4/22 3:12 p.m.

First things first, make sure they have masks and their vaccination cards handy. Many places will require it.

Keeping it close to the loop: 

Lou Mitchell's is about a block away from Union Station. It is the historic start of Route 66, nicknamed the first stop on the Mother Road. It is just a greasy spoon diner, good breakfast, but kinda cool.

Au Cheval is just outside the loop, maybe 3/4 of a mile from Union Station. It will probably be the best burger they've ever had. No joke. Opens at 11, no reservations, wait times used to be crazy. Wednesday morning during Covid? Probably will be seated when they get there, but if they want to do this I'd plan on being at the door at 10:55. 

Chicago French Market is an indoor market with some groceries and a lot of food vendors. I've never been disappointed with anything I've had there. It is also right by Union Station - it is underneath Ogilvie Station, which is basically across the street (from the north end of Union, anyway).

The Berghoff is the oldest restaurant in Chicago. Good German food. 

Other than those listed... Well, basically anywhere will have decent food if not great food, as long as it isn't a place that exists solely for lunch for business folks. If there is something they want specifically, let me know and I can probably recommend it. Greek, Polish, Mexican, Shawarma... Great food all over.

For coffee, a ton of good options. Intelligentsia is arguably the best, in the Monadnock building on Jackson. Cafecito is a Cuban place - good sandwiches - but great Cuban coffee. Goddess and the Baker and Hero Coffee Bar are both supposed to be superb, but I have no experience with them myself. 

 

As to what to do and see, the top of the list will be the Museums. Science and Industry Museum would be the coolest, but may be too far as it is the only one not near the loop (10 miles south). Shedd, Field Museum, and Adler Planetarium are all awesome and all right by each other on the Lake, and the Art Institute is just a little bit north of them (and directly east of Union Station). Go to whichever tickles their fancy. 

Architechtural Boat Tours are really cool as well. I recommend them. 

I don't know what will be going on then, but go to Daley Plaza and see the Picasso. There is often something going on there as well - either some performances, or a farmers market, or food trucks. 

For gardens, go to Lurie Garden which is in Millenium Park. Then proceed wherever you want within the park, or to Buckingham Fountain, which has a few gardens surrounding it, including Art on the Farm and a couple rose gardens. That'll have you right on the Lakefront Trail. 

 

Let me know any other questions, and I'll pop in with more stuff if I think of anything. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/4/22 3:20 p.m.

Oh, I forgot about the Lincoln Park Zoo. Maybe 3-4 miles north of Union Station, free admission. Also right there is the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Four huge greenhouses, IIRC. Also free.

If they're into breweries, a lot of them around the loop as well. 

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/4/22 3:20 p.m.

Dont. Get. Shot. 

 

 

But seriously, there's the botanical gardens which are nice. Untouchables/gangster tours. 

Thats all I have, Im sorry buddy. 

Cooter
Cooter PowerDork
2/4/22 3:22 p.m.

In reply to Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) :

The Lake Michigan shoreline is almost all park district land.

You can find some places to eat at Navy Pier (Billy Goat Tavern- "Cheezborgor, Cheezborgor!"; Giordano's for pizza), Streeterville (Carson's for Ribs, Prime Steaks, and BBQ; Niu Japanese Fusion Lounge) or lighter fare along the Riverwalk.

There are also water taxis to take you all the way from Union Station to Navy Pier.   I highly recommend an architectural boat tour along the Chicago River for anyone visting the city.

Cooter
Cooter PowerDork
2/4/22 3:26 p.m.

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

Tell me you don't know Chicago without saying you don't know Chicago.

John Welsh
John Welsh Mod Squad
2/4/22 3:31 p.m.

The boat tour is a good idea. Also, not on their feet all day like a museum.  But, first week of April is risky.  Could be a 60 degree day...could be 20 degrees with a stiff wind off the lake and could be not running at all. 

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/4/22 3:32 p.m.

In reply to Cooter :

Skip Billy Goat. Overrated burger. Unless you just want to see it. 

Cooter
Cooter PowerDork
2/4/22 3:36 p.m.

Some people want to experience something uniquely Chicago.   Billy Goat has a lot of history, from Belushi to Royko.

hobiercr
hobiercr UltraDork
2/4/22 4:10 p.m.

Well damn, there USED to be a Dick's Last Resort in Chicago.

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
2/4/22 4:24 p.m.

I think the only recommendation that hasn't been mentioned is Willis Tower. 6 hours isn't a ton of time, but they should be able to do a couple things and still have time for lunch.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/4/22 4:27 p.m.
clutchsmoke said:

I think the only recommendation that hasn't been mentioned is Willis Tower. 6 hours isn't a ton of time, but they should be able to do a couple things and still have time for lunch.

Ahem. If they want to do the local thing, it is the Sears Tower thankyouverymuch.

Curtis73 (Forum Supporter)
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) MegaDork
2/4/22 4:54 p.m.
mtn said:

First things first, make sure they have masks and their vaccination cards handy. Many places will require it.

They're both vaxxed and boosted, and both carry a box of KN95s.

Great suggestions on all of this.  Thank you.

hybridmomentspass
hybridmomentspass HalfDork
2/4/22 5:01 p.m.
Cooter said:

In reply to hybridmomentspass :

Tell me you don't know Chicago without saying you don't know Chicago.

Youre right, I dont know. Ive only visited a few times.

But news looks bleak - https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/local/2021-ends-as-chicagos-deadliest-year-in-a-quarter-century/2719307/

"Chicago, as it has in previous years, ended 2021 with more homicides than any other city in the United States"

I mean, you can be upset at my dont get shot comment, but facts is facts brother.

84FSP
84FSP UltraDork
2/4/22 5:30 p.m.

Chicago is the nearest "Big City" to Cincinnati and a personal favorite of the family.  The Shedd Aquariaum is amazing, they have Beluga Whales for pete's sake.  The Various Chicago Pizza's, Hot Dogs, and Frank Loyd Wright tours round out the common tourist stuff to do.  Navy pier and the various fantastic museums are nice but likely too much time commitment based on the time table.  Wiffee and I love Heaven On Seven, a fun and random Creole place with a massive hot sauce collection as well.

mtn
mtn MegaDork
2/4/22 5:37 p.m.
Curtis73 (Forum Supporter) said:
mtn said:

First things first, make sure they have masks and their vaccination cards handy. Many places will require it.

They're both vaxxed and boosted, and both carry a box of KN95s.

Great suggestions on all of this.  Thank you.

Awesome, just make sure that they have proof of vaccination handy when going into places. 

clutchsmoke
clutchsmoke UltraDork
2/4/22 5:46 p.m.
mtn said:
clutchsmoke said:

I think the only recommendation that hasn't been mentioned is Willis Tower. 6 hours isn't a ton of time, but they should be able to do a couple things and still have time for lunch.

Ahem. If they want to do the local thing, it is the Sears Tower thankyouverymuch.

I legitimately did a quick search before posting because it will forever be Sears tower to me, but wanted to make sure I used the correct current name to avoid confusing non-natives.

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