~6 hours in Chicago
My daughter & I will have about 6 hours in Chicago on Friday. Having never been there, and needing to eventually end up at O'Hare to fly home in the evening, we're looking to get a taste (both literally and figuratively) of Chicago. Can anyone recommend a "must see" area and place for a great lunch for two foodies? (we will have a car)
May I also suggest you determine your actual time frame before planning much. If you need to travel out to O'Hare airport from the city anytime between 3:00 PM and 7:30 PM on a Friday, I would warn that travel time will be one-hour of actual drive time (I know Mapquest says 17 miles and 25 minutes). Also car rental return requires a 10-12 minute bus ride back to the terminals.
Good point. It can often run MORE than an hour. The Friday evening drive time is the worst traffic of the entire week. Unless you're leaving downtown by 2:30, you might want to allow 75-90 minutes from downtown to be safe. You can get travel times on your computer at www.gcmtravel.com/gcm/maps_chicago.jsp or, while en route, on radio WLS 780-AM "on the eights" (every ten minutes at :08, :18, etc). Listen for "the Kennedy" travel times from downtown to O'Hare; they also give times to "the juncion" which is roughly halfway between the two.
Depending on what else you're doing, there are some food destinations on your way to O'Hare that might work for you. For example, you can stop at Smoque for barbecue on Pulaski south of Irving Park, at the Al's Italian Beef on Higgins just north of the Cumberland exit, and/or at the Giordano's at Higgins and River Road for deep-dish. (At this or any of our deep-dish pizza places, you can phone ahead with your pizza order to avoid waiting 30-45 minutes while seated for your pizza to bake.)
You really never know. Some days it's not much; for example, right now the map is showing 21 minutes to the airport, which is unusually low. Average times are probably around 60 minutes, as jbontario noted. Throw in bad weather, a bad accident, or bad luck, and they can be significantly more than that.
When you say a "must see" area, are you referring to food, or non-food tourist sites? That's a huge distinction! For example, for non-food tourist sites, you might want to go to downtown Chicago, where you'll find most of the museums, the architectural heritage, the famous parks and sculptures, etc. The Chowhound Team frowns on giving non-food advice here, so you'll get a better sense of what Chicago has to offer by checking out the Visitors Bureau website at www.choosechicago.com
For food in the downtown area, if you've never been here, I'd recommend getting some of our delicious deep-dish pizza, such as at the original Pizzeria Uno or Pizzeria Due (for single-crust "pizza in the pan") or Giordano's (for double-crust "stuffed" pizza). There are many other places where you can get a great lunch, but authentic deep-dish pizza is something you can find here and generally can't find anywhere else.
One place you might want to visit, not far from Uno and Due, is Fox & Obel, our premier gourmet food shop. They have the finest fresh meats and seafood, prepared foods, baked goods, cheeses, etc. There's also a cafe in the rear of the store where you can get anything from coffee to a complete meal. www.fox-obel.com
If you're looking for information about food tours and food neighborhoods, you might check out the recently-updated discussion at
Similarly, there are discussions on Chicago's quintessential foods:
or maybe you're particularly interested in pastries:
or artisanal chocolatiers:
If those ideas and discussions aren't sufficient, feel free to ask more questions!