|Iconic Chicago Theater|
View Chicago Downtown in a larger map
1. The Subway and Trains
How do you get to downtown Chicago, The Loop area, from the airport? You take the blue line CTA train from O'Hare Airport. It isn't the speediest option as it stops at over a dozen stops before getting downtown, but it gets you there in 45 minutes regardless of traffic. It is also cheap (cost of a regular bus ride). If you drive or take a cab, it depends on the traffic and when we arrived, it would have taken longer by car as the traffic was crawling on the freeway when we could see it from the train.
|Pretty nifty wall wraps advertising a new iPhone grocery app in the train station.|
|Red Line Subway Station|
|Metra Commuter Train|
|L Train / Loop|
2. Shopping and Entertainment Districts
This Near North Side area containing the The Gold Coast / Magnificent Mile is shopper's paradise. Many, many mid to high-end stores in this area, many of which are flagship stores that are big and nicely done up. Dining abounds in this area with every block having multiple restaurants if they are not all shop fronts. Very fun to shop and look around in.
|John Hancock Center|
|Historic Water Tower|
3. Eating Out With Deep Dish Pizza And Much More
We scratched the surface of dining out in Chicago. As a tourist you walk and walk and walk and then you eat and eat and eat. This city has a lot of see and eat with near infinite variety. Some of the things we wanted to try was Chicago Deep Dish Pizza and the funky fusion and tapas restaurants there. The tourist information and places like Yelp and many more will give recommendations for many places to eat out at.
- Sushi Samba. South American influenced Japanese food and tapas. Tried sushi rolls, and a number of other tapas that were very tasty. Different spices and zesty citrus livened up the meal. The children's bento boxes are awesome here.
- Weber Grill. Tasty BBQ / Grill dishes.
- The Purple Pig. Had a number of tapas style dishes that were shared. We had an awesome dinner by appetizer. The pork shoulder and the turkey were very tasty and tender, but the turkey was huge as it was a massive drumstick (Fred Flinstone style).
- Pizzeria Uno. Very nice deep dish pizza and a spinach salad. Had a nice crunchy crust and lots of filling. Takes 45 minutes to cook, but it's a good thing you can order in advance and wait in line.
- Giordano's Pizza. Another long wait, and pizza's take 45 minutes to cook too, but they gave out glasses of ice water. It was a record breaking hottest day of the year the day we went. The deep pizza here was tasty too with a very good but less crunchy crust than Uno's, homemade sausage, and was much cheesier. They make a very good eggplant parmesana.
- Bubba Gump Shrimp Restaurant (this is a chain, but still a fun experience). Easy access to it as we were at the Navy Pier with its many attractions (see the ferris wheel and stained glass collection here!)
- Rock Bottom Restaurant and Brewery (just for convenience as we needed to see Blue Man Group that night, but the micro-brew and burgers were good!)
- Foodlife and Foodease at Chicago Water Tower Place. This is a pretty amazing modern take on restaurant quality food that you can buy from a massive hot and cold buffet or prepacked in the fridge. An absolute zoo of people grabbing food. Reminded me of those Natural Lawson supermarkets in Japan kicked up a another notch in food quality. I hope this idea spreads but it looks like it needs a big customer base to work. If you are in the area, well worth seeing and eating at, especially for lunch.
Continued in Part 2.