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Old 05-17-2007, 08:59 AM
 
238 posts, read 598,707 times
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Hi all,

My wife, my 13 year old son, and I are going to have an 8+ hour layover in Chicago in early June. What to do with our time? We arrive at O'Hare in the morning and don't leave until evening. Assuming an hour each way to downtown by public transport, and a couple hours check-in time, that leaves about 4 hrs. to kill. I haven't been in Chicago in almost 20 years. Neither my wife nor son have ever been to Chicago (or really any big American city.) So, it should be an adventure.

Cheap/free ideas would be ideal, but not opposed to paying for a nice meal, for example.

Discuss...
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Old 05-17-2007, 09:09 AM
 
Location: Chicago
108 posts, read 482,273 times
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The Lincoln Park Zoo is free and easy access from the "el". It's also a really nice walk along the lake during the summer.
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Old 05-17-2007, 11:02 AM
 
Location: South Side
4,237 posts, read 10,028,143 times
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I'd suggest a trip to Navy Pier. There's lots of things for kids and grownups. The lake view from there is spectacular, too. Plus, its pretty accessible and reasonably priced. The Ferris wheel there would be a lot of fun. Water Tower Place is within walking distance, for those folks inclined to shop. In that area there are many lodging places to check in, for all budgets.
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Old 05-17-2007, 05:33 PM
mdz
 
Location: Near West Burbs, IL
622 posts, read 2,512,204 times
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agree with the navy pier idea--also can walk around millenium park which is new and beautiful. Lincoln park zoo would mean a transfer to a different el line and then a bus ride or long walk to the zoo. Just make sure you have enough time to get back. Drop your carryons in a locker somewhere so you don't have to drag them around.
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Old 05-17-2007, 06:27 PM
 
Location: Southern California
3,455 posts, read 7,878,186 times
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I agree with Navy Pier....first thought that came to my mind even before I saw the others

I also would avoid the zoo....good suggestion but there are zoo's in every city. Navy Pier is unique to Chicago and its also free, with plenty to see and do.

Yes, just make sure you have enough time, but it sounds like your on top of this with your more realistic 4 hour estimate that should be plenty of time for navy pier by the way.
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Old 05-18-2007, 11:18 AM
 
772 posts, read 2,383,137 times
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I would absolutely NOT recommend Navy Pier as the one thing to see if you only have a few hours - it provides nice views, but other than that, I think it's the most overrated attraction in Chicago. In addition, as a practical matter for your itinerary, the Blue Line is what you need to take to and from O'Hare and it isn't very accessible to Navy Pier (it would be too long of a walk or a substantial cab ride from the nearest station).

Since you only have a few hours, here's how I'd suggest to maximize your time. Take the Blue Line train to Washington Street, see the large Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza (which is right by the train station), go to the old Marshall Field's on State Street (now a Macy's flagship but way more beautiful inside than the New York store), stroll through Millennium Park (the "Bean" and Crown Fountain) and Grant Park (Buckingham Fountain and access to the lake), and, if you still have time, see the Art Institute of Chicago (tons of famous paintings such as American Gothic and Nighthawks along with a huge Impressionist collection featuring a number of pieces by Monet and Renoir). All of these places are right by each other so you can see them easily in succession, they are all places that are completely unique to Chicago and won't find anywhere else, you'll get a real feel for the vibrancy of the city since you'll be in the midst of the skyscrapers, and you can get right back onto the Blue Line back to O'Hare to catch your flight.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:45 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 73,546,789 times
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Id agree with Frank. Navy Pier is great for kids, but not even close to the best thing in Chicago. What I suggest is not having anything planned, seriously. Get downtown, stroll along Michigan Avenue, Oak Street, State Street, etc, etc, etc.... if you find something interesting, hit it! Its more fun to do several small things and see more than to do one thing someone suggests (which you might not even like) and waste all your time. If you absolutely have to do one thing, maybe take a SeaDog tour on the lake and river.
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Old 05-18-2007, 01:54 PM
 
Location: Chicago
108 posts, read 482,273 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve-o View Post
If you absolutely have to do one thing, maybe take a SeaDog tour on the lake and river.
just hope Dave Matthews tourbus isn't anywhere near any bridges....
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Old 05-18-2007, 02:36 PM
 
Location: Phoenix metro
20,004 posts, read 73,546,789 times
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LMBO

Good one.

LOLOL
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Old 05-20-2007, 03:26 AM
 
238 posts, read 598,707 times
Reputation: 109
Great ideas and food for thought. Any more?
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