Toronto Hound coming in for a visit....Advice please.
Flying in on Thursday May 3rd til the 6th, I've read your advice to other visitors but the one thing different is that I have not yet picked a hotel, so a place to stay in a central location
would also be greatly appreciated. Rick Bayless's restaurants are already on my list from your responses to others. I also figure that I should hit a pizza place, maybe some bbq,
and I would love to check out some farmers markets or fish markets. I just now read some suggestions to a fellow Canadian staying in the Michigan and Chicago area, seems like a really cool area and is on my list now but I don't mind staying somewhere that is less touristy if walking to destinations is still feasible.
I know it seems like I'm trying to pack a lot in a 3 1/2 day trip but considering it's only a 45 minute flight I plan on coming back a few times this summer.
Thanks in advance for the help
Hey now, while the Chowhound mods frown against hotel recommendations, we can definitely help you out with picking a neighborhood to stay in based on food ;) Do you have any business requirements that would keep you in the Mag Mile? Price limits? Or can you stay wherever you want? There are some neighborhood B&B's which would put you in walking distance to some great food and drink...
You're right about hotel request, I worded it quite vaguely, my mistake. I was looking for a neighbourhood/area that would put me within walking distance or a short cab ride of good day eats, walking and sites as well as night stuff to do. From reading the replies to my request it seems I'll have to pick a hotel and call this trip a learning experience, and plan my next trip with my new knowledge of your city.
One more non food request....Is there an area of the city that has a concentration of vintage clothing shops or an area of antiques/nick nacks.
Topolobampo/Frontera Grill are both in River North, right near the Michigan Avenue area with the biggest concentration of hotels. There are many, many restaurants in that area, and they cover a wide spectrum of types of food, but you won't find many of the cheap ethnic eats you will find in neighborhoods around the city. For this trip, since you plan to go to the Bayless places, that area is probably as convenient as any.
The big Chicago-style deep dish pizza chains (Giordano's, Bacino's, and Edwardo's for stuffed, double-crust pizza, and Lou Malnati's and Gino's East for single-crust pan pizza) have locations all over the city, so wherever you stay, you will find locations nearby.
There are lots and lots of neighborhoods all over the city with excellent restaurants, particularly the area within 3 miles of the lake from south of the Loop all the way up to Evanston. Yes, that's a huge area, roughly 15 miles long! It's fairly easy to get around the city of Chicago, either by public transit (although some of the el (subway) lines are under construction now) or by cab or rental car. For example, even if you're staying around Michigan Avenue, it's only about a 25-minute drive to Evanston outside of rush hour, and everyplace else is even closer. Another alternative is to stay on the north side; for example, I've heard some visitors here mention the Lincoln Park Days Inn, and that's right in the middle of the north side, where it's easy to travel to just about anyplace in this entire area.
Bottom line, it's easy enough to get around and visit neighborhoods and restaurants all over the city. Don't worry too much about where you're staying; you can stay just about anywhere and there will be good restaurants close by, and it's easy to travel to those that aren't.
instead of blowing money at a celeb Mexican joint, you can enjoy 2 similar meals at the price one:
Mundial Cocina Meztiza
Fonda del Mar
Sol de Mexico
pick and chose 2-3. 3 of the above are on on Chicago Mag's best of '07 list. NOT that Chicago Mag is the end all be all food guide but... you gotta use/abuse these critics when you can.
as far as where to stay... anywhere in the city that's CHEAP. so you can have more $ to eat of course. Evanston isn't the city and is annoyingly difficult to access even with a car.
Youre in the right neighborhood, btw. Any of these hotels puts you as close to the center of things as you're going to get: Sofitel, Whitehall, Four Seasons, Talbott, Tremont, Drake, N. Michigan Westin, and especially the Sutton Place Chicago, the single-best location in the city. Just do a mapquest on them and try to get within a block or two of their general area. Personally I advise against further south in River North because it becomes progressively more "office-corporate".
As for pizza place, do Pizzeria Uno or the neighboring Due.
IMO, BBQ isn't a strong suit in chicago, honestly.