Heading to Chicago: Need Advice

I am a Canuck heading to Chicago for 5 days in November for a conference.

Never been in Chicago before. The only thing I know about Chicago is that their basket ball team named the White Socks. (j/k)

The conference is at McCormick Place. Google maps tells me that it is very North of the downtown area (I think) – can someone confirm this?

Can someone tell me about good places to go/restaurants/sight seeing, etc?

I also heard rumours that there are shuttle buses between hotels or something? so I can stay in a hotel downtown and there is a free shuttle bus up to McCormick place? seriously??



McCormick place is south of the loop (downtown).
The Field Museum is well worth a full day exploration, the Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium are right there too. Museum of science and industry is close to McCormick place. You’ll be right on the lake so be prepared for some nasty wind.

Yeah the Museum of Science and Industry kicks ass. Make sure you play a few missions of SilentHunter 3 so you’ll have a better appreciation of the U-505 exhibit.

Are there any remnants of the old runway on Meigs Field? I’m in Chicago for a couple of days in July, and I’d like to wallow in some FlightSim nostalgia.

Account for delays in/out of O’Hare airport. It’s one of the major (congested) hubs in the US. I pass through there often, having about a 50/50 late to on-time arrival/departing flights.

Places to eat (for expensive, occasion meals):

Alinea. Tasting menus only, big bucks, molecular gastronomy but not too weird. Worth the money, but I would advise against getting the accompanying wine flights unless you have a high tolerance for alcohol (not to mention the $200 price, iirc). Lincoln Park.

Salpicon. Absolutely wonderful Mexican. Much, much better than either of Rick Bayless’s joints. Cannot recommend highly enough, particularly as it’s so difficult to get decent Mexican in Canada. River North.

Butter. Shooting for 3-star dining but not as well known as the big players, so they try harder. West Loop.

Moto. Extr33m molecular gastronomy. Tasty? Sometimes. But definitely memorable. West Loop.

Spiaggia. High-end traditional Italian at the top of the Magnificent Mile. The cheaper and less pretentious Spiaggia Cafe is also excellent.

All of these are cheap cab rides from McCormick Place. Alinea is farthest away, I’d guess a $10 to $15 cab fare. Reservations a week or more in advance essential at any of them (except possibly Butter), or try your luck the morning you wish to go.

Also, go to the Hancock building, but don’t go to the observation deck, go to the bar which is either one floor above or below (I forget) and doesn’t have an entrance fee. Great place to unwind with a lovely beverage.

I’d add Lou Malnatis
Pizzeria Due pronounced DO-EH.
Giordano’s For my money the best.

I forgot to add Frontera Grill Rick Bayless from PBS outstanding mexican