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View Poll Results: Best city by design?
Toronto 25 19.38%
Chicago 44 34.11%
San Francisco 24 18.60%
Washington DC 36 27.91%
Voters: 129. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 04-16-2014, 09:51 PM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
14,304 posts, read 17,928,730 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red John View Post
Raves, concerts, bars, lounges, and clubs in that same order.
I'd give nightlife for sure to Chicago and maybe Toronto. DC's nightlife is OK in my experience and San Francisco's is a little better but nothing overly amazing.

I don't know tons about Toronto in this regard and I know it has some good clubs and lounges, but Chicago has a lot of music venues large and small throughout the city and the summer is also home to a large handful of big music festivals. I'd say that Chicago for the whole city is a bar city - lots of good bars, but in the downtown area there are some great lounges as well and of course the clubs. Not sure how familiar you are with the city, but most of the newer nightlife spots that open in the downtown area tend to be more upscale now. Gone are the days of sports bars opening downtown en masse. A lot more sophisticated more and more.

Last call in Chicago can also be as late as 4am everyday but Saturdays when it can be 5am. Normal last call is 2am everyday but 3am on Saturdays, but places can get late night licenses to stay open until 4am/5am. A lot of the clubs are open that late and there's a number of bars too open that late. I'd estimate around 100 stay open this late in the city.

As far as raves go, Chicago is big on electronica and there's a lot of abandoned warehouses in various parts of the city. I'm not into this scene right now, but I have friends who are who have told me some crazy **** goes down in these if you're in the know and most people have no clue about it. I don't think they're going on like they used to be, but I know they still definitely go on sometimes here.

Quote:
Would all of you describe your city's street grids and layouts as "user friendly"? How about where commercial retail is located, would you say it's easily accessible or is it quite a good walk/drive/bike from most of the prominent residential areas?

I have lived in Chicago and my city is Washington.
When did you live in Chicago? I guess you already know that Chicago is mainly a grid and easy to navigate once you learn the system.

Quote:
For water related activities, having lived right north of the Loop, I think you're underestimating Chicago though. The Chicago River and into Lake Michigan is wonderful for some activities I picked up (as hobbies) in college in Austin; such as wake boarding, jet skiing, kayaking, and even though I haven't tried it yet paddle boarding as well. The issue is that you cant use the lake in the winter months but in summer, quite packed and multi-use. My understanding is that Lake Ontario works much the same way for Toronto. Washington, you could do that in the Potomac but it's better to just drive to the Chesapeake Bay or straight to the Atlantic shoreline and take it up there.
Very much agreed here. Chicago probably offers really good activities for both the river and lake, but yes you can't use it when it's that cold out. I mean you could go boating on it during the winter since the lake and river aren't usually frozen, but you'd have to stay inside probably.

You'll be happy to know that Chicago is currently doing a $100M expansion of the river walk. Also 3 new high rises (two at 700+ feet and one at 525 feet) are being built now (well, one starting in a few months) and each will be extending the river walk and providing green space along the river themselves privately invested. The 525 foot building is actually Wolf Point (you know that parking lot on the river infront of the Sun Times building). 2 more buildings at 700 and 900 feet will be built after this first one and both will do the same riverwalk/green space thing on the river.
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Old 04-16-2014, 09:52 PM
 
9,586 posts, read 10,919,739 times
Reputation: 2114
Quote:
Originally Posted by RadicalAtheist View Post
Glad there aren't a bunch of huge grocery stores everywhere here.. that sounds terrible.

I actually agree with you. It's overkill. It's WAY oversaturated.

Safeway
The Swift

Whole Foods
Apollo H Street

Giant Food
360

Safeway
Tenleytown Safeway

Giant Food
Cathedral Commons

Walmart
77H

Giant Food
CityMarket at O (rental)
CityMarket at O (condo)

Walmart
Fort Totten Square

Trader Joe's
Louis at 14th

Harris Teeter
The Yards/Twelve12 Apts., Harris Teeter - JDLand.com

Whole Foods
800 New Jersey/Whole Foods/Square 737 - JDLand/Near Southeast DC Revitalization

Harris Teeter
http://www.washingtoncitypaper.com/b...s-strike-deal/

Natural Market
http://www.popville.com/2013/06/natu...iquor-license/


And this is being added to these already here under apartment or office buildings:


Whole Foods
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Wh...552cc008514c66

Safeway
https://www.google.com/maps/search/s...df0a3a9b7bec25

Harris Teeter
https://www.google.com/maps/search/h.../data=!3m1!1e3

Safeway
https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sa...15fc9134f9ca4d




It's over the top and I agree. Enough is enough! I hope we will have the density to support them all so close together. There are even more, but I didn't include ones not under high-rise buildings. It makes D.C. very urban, however, they may be too close together.
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Old 04-16-2014, 10:58 PM
 
Location: Tokyo, Japan
6,479 posts, read 7,714,517 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
I'd give nightlife for sure to Chicago and maybe Toronto. DC's nightlife is OK in my experience and San Francisco's is a little better but nothing overly amazing.
Yeah I would give nightlife to Chicago and Toronto too (Chicago first though). Washington's nightlife is special, it has the hard part down. It has the lounges and clubs on lock, they are very good, and well deserved reputation for them. Bars are the easier nightlife options, basically any city with a major professional sports team will have that or really any city with a higher than average median age or college population will have that. It's like a Target store that exists everywehere, the most core essential for any sort of nightlife, in my opinion. Whereas raves, lounges, and clubs feed directly off high demand.

Not suggesting Chicago lacks anything, it doesn't, like I mentioned in another thread that the city is probably the most balanced place in the country across the board for nearly everything it seems. It has mass amounts of everything without any one thing sticking out as a defining feature.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
I don't know tons about Toronto in this regard and I know it has some good clubs and lounges, but Chicago has a lot of music venues large and small throughout the city and the summer is also home to a large handful of big music festivals. I'd say that Chicago for the whole city is a bar city - lots of good bars, but in the downtown area there are some great lounges as well and of course the clubs. Not sure how familiar you are with the city, but most of the newer nightlife spots that open in the downtown area tend to be more upscale now. Gone are the days of sports bars opening downtown en masse. A lot more sophisticated more and more.

Last call in Chicago can also be as late as 4am everyday but Saturdays when it can be 5am. Normal last call is 2am everyday but 3am on Saturdays, but places can get late night licenses to stay open until 4am/5am. A lot of the clubs are open that late and there's a number of bars too open that late. I'd estimate around 100 stay open this late in the city.

As far as raves go, Chicago is big on electronica and there's a lot of abandoned warehouses in various parts of the city. I'm not into this scene right now, but I have friends who are who have told me some crazy **** goes down in these if you're in the know and most people have no clue about it. I don't think they're going on like they used to be, but I know they still definitely go on sometimes here.

When did you live in Chicago? I guess you already know that Chicago is mainly a grid and easy to navigate once you learn the system.
I lived in Chicago in the early 1990's and then again in the middle 1990's. I have been back numerous times, my mother and father still own our place there, we've just rented it out to someone else who will use it more than we can at this present time.

You're right, I am familiar enough with Chicago but I only asked the question to relate it to the other three places.

Even know where the speakeasy's in Chicago are.
Quote:
Originally Posted by marothisu View Post
Very much agreed here. Chicago probably offers really good activities for both the river and lake, but yes you can't use it when it's that cold out. I mean you could go boating on it during the winter since the lake and river aren't usually frozen, but you'd have to stay inside probably.

You'll be happy to know that Chicago is currently doing a $100M expansion of the river walk. Also 3 new high rises (two at 700+ feet and one at 525 feet) are being built now (well, one starting in a few months) and each will be extending the river walk and providing green space along the river themselves privately invested. The 525 foot building is actually Wolf Point (you know that parking lot on the river infront of the Sun Times building). 2 more buildings at 700 and 900 feet will be built after this first one and both will do the same riverwalk/green space thing on the river.
That looks good, one thing I wish the river walk had more of is restaurants and retail abutting the walkways directly next to the river but they're typically on higher ground and there's a decent amount there already. Are there any plans to add more restaurants and retail along the river? Gerald D. Hines is the developer of that 700 footer, I expect nothing short of high quality product, Hines has a track record to boot.

I also know of Rahm's ambitious plan to turn the Chicago River into a Times Square-esque type of thing. Here's the rendering for that, I would post the article but it would be removed because it's a "competitor site". Even though all it is Curbed Chicago.

Rahm like his predecessor before him (Daley, but more particularly Daley post-2000) is pushing to increase international tourism in Chicago. With 14% international leisure growth year over year, they're finding a lot of success in it.

My issue with Chicago's trajectory is that I feel the focus is in wrong areas. Shouldn't Rahm be working on making the city more economically competitive with other American cities?

It's been quite sometime since I've last lived in Chicago and four years since I last visited (refuse to stay in a hotel in my own city), so I'm by no means an expert on Chicago.

Last edited by Facts Kill Rhetoric; 04-16-2014 at 11:32 PM..
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Old 04-17-2014, 12:59 AM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
14,304 posts, read 17,928,730 times
Reputation: 6255
^ Cool. Yeah the city has changed a bit since then for sure and what I've heard. There are plans to add more restaurants and retail along the river. That was always one of my problems but they're doing it now. Some of those new buildings I referenced as well may have restaurants on the river too. Chicago lags behind some others for international tourism, but it's definitely increasing. Each year I've been here, I've heard more and more non-English languages being spoken on the streets from obvious tourists. The interesting thing with that data, 2011 vs. 2012 is that out of the top 10, only 4 had positive numbers for 2011 to 2012 - Miami, Orlando, Honolulu, and Chicago. Funny enough, more and more boutique hotels open and Chicago is in the middle of a hotel boom including a handful of conversions in the north end of the loop to boutiques. Also in the West Loop there is a SoHo House that is almost complete and there's a Nobu Hotel + restaurant that will start construction soon. One of the hotels on Rush Street near the Giordano's is also going to be redone as an AC Hotel, which is a Spanish hotel and this will be their first North American hotel.

Funny you mention the Times Square thing. Recently something came out that would Times Square a few buildings on Michigan Avenue. Not that I agree with doing it for a big area, but it looks like they're pushing for part of this to happen in various areas.

I'm not really sure what you mean by economically competitive with other American cities fully in that sense. He's been doing a pretty good job of getting corporations to relocate to Chicago or expand, most recently getting ADM to relocate their headquarters to Chicago. ADM of course is a $90 Billion/year company in the top 25 or 30 of the Fortune 500. The Chicago area actually lead the country last year in corporation relocations or expansions, believe it or not. https://www.worldbusinesschicago.com...amed-top-metro

Obviously now tech is the thing that's very relevent in the country. The Bay area, and then NYC have the biggest share, but the startup community in Chicago is growing very rapidly. This article explains that and shows the biggest tech incubator, though there are more, smaller ones opening soon, including a Biotech incubator that will be half the size of the one referenced in the article. Of course, Chicago just won a bid to build a $320 manufacturing/engineering Think Tank campus in town. 41 companies, 23 universities and labs are part of this including companies like GE, Lockheed Martin, Dow, Siemens, etc. You can read about it here

If you're talking about city-wide gentrification then that's something else. There are some areas that need the help, though they are trying. I'm not a fan of this, but there's a big plan for some south side areas to revitalize it that I think city council recently passed. Actually in some areas like Washington Park, Woodlawn, and Englewood, there are lots available for $1, but mad restrictions on who can actually buy them.

Other areas were gentrifying and then the economic collapse happened which halted that. In the richer neighborhoods, things were still happening slowly, but some of the other ones that started to get safer and what not like East Garfield Park halted. Now some of the areas are starting up again most notably West Town - Ukrainian Village and part of Humboldt Park and Noble Square as well. Tons of new construction there. Of course areas like Bucktown and Wicker Park used to be skid row when you lived here and today they're inhabited by people with money and are very safe now. Same as most of Logan Square and Avondale now. There's some trendy restaurants and food places in Avondale. Of course there are areas that are not doing much right now, which is a shame. I'm hoping a few of those change. A Whole Foods is actually being put in Englewood for some reason and if Chicago wins the Obama Library, then it will probably be put in Bronzeville, Washington Park, or Woodlawn. Neighborhoods that need it, but luckily Bronzeville is actually safer now and there's actually some signs of life there lately in terms of new economic and residential activity.

You may also be interested to know that Chicago is currently building something like the Hi-Line in NYC. Some old train tracks that run between Bucktown and westernish Humboldt Park is being converted into something similar to the Hi-Line. A few new parks are being built, new connections, etc
The 606 | Home

Chicago also has Divvy bike share, which is like Capitol Bike Share. It's very popular, especially in the summer and there's 400 stations with 4000 bikes. I think they may actually be expanding it now to 475 stations soon. Interestingly enough last year Divvy was the most utilized bike share program in the world for a weekend. Rahm has been making a big push to make the city the most bike friendly in the country and has been adding bike lanes and what not like crazy.


You may find this interesting, but I made a map of the big (and a few small but notable) projects happening in town and all of these are basically in the last 2 years. Either under construction or recently proposed but in a way that we know will be built. There's actually a good amount of stuff going on
https://mapsengine.google.com/map/ed...k.kBT6CjkYv1Tw

Last edited by marothisu; 04-17-2014 at 01:10 AM..
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Old 04-17-2014, 01:18 AM
 
437 posts, read 468,833 times
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For all the reasons already mentioned I have to give Chicago the nod on this, only other grid that rivals LA, blocks are very consistent along with alleyways, and the second best PT in the country, its a no brainer.
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:26 AM
 
Location: Southern California
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A grid that rivals LA? Chicago taught the west how to grid ... I have never thought of LA as a grid.

Anyway..

Can't speak for DC or Toronto...(can Americans move to Toronto?)

These threads are making me miss Chicago. Though I have chosen CA.

That said. I am not sure I would choose SF given the current state of things. Balanced it is not...in a state of upheval and in a class war.

Beautiful, yes. But also annoyingly chilly most of the time with a summer that never occurs. Mostly though, I feel it has or is attracting too many of the "same" types of people now.... Kind of like post grad school for rich annoying people.

Unless I had a great job there I would probably cross it of my list, personally atleast until the dust settles.

Anyhow I came to post, really just to say that I am an Illinois native. I grew up in the Chain o Lakes area. The natural beauty of Illinois, and to a slight lesser extent MI and WI so overlooked by those who can't appreciate a landscape without a dramatic mountain or palm tree.

That's what I miss more than anything... Some of the state parks, the lakes (learn to ice skate or play hockey -- find a natural lake there are tons)

I miss the change of seasons but mostly the dramatic sky in storms ...its part of the landscape. There is so much more exploring to do in the Midwest than most would ever guess

I miss the small towns too and real farm houses...and two lane roads.

I love CA too, but I think I need to book a flight home now just thinking about it!

DC seems ok...if you can handle DC personalities, I can't, anymore!
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Old 04-17-2014, 02:44 AM
 
Location: Seattle, WA
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LA is actually all set upon a very consistent straight grid. If you study the layout of the streets, avenues, and boulevards, LA was actually a very well planned city... for a streetcar network. The original urban planners intended for LA to have the organization of Chicago but have the beauty of Paris with its gorgeous boulevards. Boy how they predicted the future incorrectly. Of course, everything went wrong when they tore down the streetcars and built detached single family homes and basically turned 80% of LA into a sprawling bedroom community with no regard to public transit.

Chicago is still arguably one of the finest US cities in terms of urban planning. Straight grid, organized and logical street layout, dense build, widespread public transportation, gorgeous architecture, etc. Of course, the fact that Chicago was built on a very flat land area helped it greatly to become as organized as it did. While NYC is still America's #1 urban city, from an urban planner's perspective the fact that NYC is spread out upon several islands is an urban planner's nightmare. Nothing but bottle-necking and ineffective geography. Chicago, on the other hand, doesn't have those geographic issues. No islands or isthmus to obstruct traffic.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:23 AM
 
Location: Upper West Side, Manhattan, NYC
14,304 posts, read 17,928,730 times
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^ Yep, the street car system was a big reason it developed the way it did. I can remember my dad and my older relatives telling me about using the street car system growing up in LA and how great it was. Then they tore it up like in almost all US cities and were left with a worse off logistical system.
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Old 04-17-2014, 08:47 AM
 
Location: San Francisco
2,112 posts, read 5,128,935 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rgb123 View Post
A grid that rivals LA? Chicago taught the west how to grid ... I have never thought of LA as a grid.

Anyway..

Can't speak for DC or Toronto...(can Americans move to Toronto?)

These threads are making me miss Chicago. Though I have chosen CA.

That said. I am not sure I would choose SF given the current state of things. Balanced it is not...in a state of upheval and in a class war.

Beautiful, yes. But also annoyingly chilly most of the time with a summer that never occurs. Mostly though, I feel it has or is attracting too many of the "same" types of people now.... Kind of like post grad school for rich annoying people.

Unless I had a great job there I would probably cross it of my list, personally atleast until the dust settles.

Anyhow I came to post, really just to say that I am an Illinois native. I grew up in the Chain o Lakes area. The natural beauty of Illinois, and to a slight lesser extent MI and WI so overlooked by those who can't appreciate a landscape without a dramatic mountain or palm tree.

That's what I miss more than anything... Some of the state parks, the lakes (learn to ice skate or play hockey -- find a natural lake there are tons)

I miss the change of seasons but mostly the dramatic sky in storms ...its part of the landscape. There is so much more exploring to do in the Midwest than most would ever guess

I miss the small towns too and real farm houses...and two lane roads.

I love CA too, but I think I need to book a flight home now just thinking about it!

DC seems ok...if you can handle DC personalities, I can't, anymore!
My grandmother is Swedish, but came to the states (Chicago) around 1950. She lived with my grandfather for a time in Santa Barbara and in Marin County, and had to return to IL for many of the same reasons you listed above. I, on the other hand, look around here, especially in a place like SB or Marin, and see the greatest beauty I've ever seen in the continental US. I wonder how she even came to her conclusions.

The nostalgia described above is so Midwest. It's quite nice. However, it's definitely not for everyone and that sort of thing is why even Chicago will be "small town" in many ways.

Also, the way you describe SF's 2014 culture is hyperbole/rhetoric and uses talking points that are used in the New York Post in articles titled "Is SF the new NY?". I moved here as a transplant in 2013 and am not in tech, and I am surviving and happy. It is totally possible.
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Old 04-17-2014, 09:12 AM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
15,404 posts, read 24,386,201 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsimms3 View Post
Chicago and the other two aren't even close.
I'm curious to why you think Chicago and DC aren't even close. Wrigley Field and Verizon Center are arguably more integrated into the urban fabric of the city than AT&T Park, especially Verizon Center.
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