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Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
590 posts
5 reviews
Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Wow, what a great city you have, no wonder everyone raves about it! Going to make several reports, break it down into smaller posts.

Not sure if anyone caught my post, but on the morning of our long planned trip (thanks so much for your help TA people!) I woke up with food poisoning (are you kidding me)???!!! Luckily rebooked plane tickets for next day (actually SAVING $100 in the process - love SOUTHWEST!) Vacation started a day later than planned, good thing we booked such a long stay! Still got in the 10 days, could have stretched it to 2 weeks easily, no joke! Chicago has so much to do!

Overall impression - (first time visitors) Lived in LA for 10 years and are very familiar with NYC, was interested to see what Chicago would be like. Surprised it didn't seem like such a big city (i know we only saw a teeny part of it) I guess bc of the smaller sections & the way we explored those, it seems more like a bunch of smaller communities, each with their own feel, felt very comfortable. Was surprised at how clean it was, especially coming off an unending winter. Imagine it will be breathtaking as it warms up. Everyone was super friendly, but then, it's the mid-west!

The architecture is breathtaking, it was really amazing to realize that the Chicago Fire (1871) which opened the way for the city to be rebuilt & paved the way for the first skyscraper (1880-1890) was right around the time of the shoot out at OK Corral (1881) here in AZ!

Location - We stayed in the Gold Coast (The Viceroy). After exploring the city & walking by my other choices, I think we made the best choice. I would recommend that area for tourists since you are so close to everything. We mostly walked everywhere, this is where your weather is a big plus! It's so invigorating to walk in the cold (as long as it's not windy or snowing)! It was such a pleasure to walk everywhere. The whole time it was in the upper 40's-60's, perfect (in my opinion....especially when it reached the 100's back in AZ while we were in Chicago!) One thing to mention, I thought we could easily buy beer at the local Walgreen's/CVS (they sell it at all those places in AZ, but most of them did not sell it. Was a little harder to find than I thought. Then again, we have drive-thru liquor stores here in AZ!!

Safety - I know this is a big issue, just read in the paper there were 69 shootings over the last weekend. I felt completely safe in the Gold Coast/Mag Mile area. There are some homeless people but they were so out of it & cold they barely even looked up. We have way more in PHX, I guess bc of the weather. No one was aggressive...a few mumbled shouts, walked by myself several times around the area (without husband) & felt absolutely safe. Was in Wrigleyville, Old Town, River North, Lincoln Park & Wicker Park/Bucktown. All those ares felt safe, kept my eyes out of course, but didn't feel any less safe than any other city (or small town for that matter).

Getting around - Second trip to big city without renting car. We are big fans of Lyft (pricing way better & like their company policies better) used it when we weren't walking. Adding up all the rides (including to/from airport in PHX-CHI it was less than $300 for the 10 days. Way cheaper than cost of car rental, even without the parking, gas, etc. Walked miles every day, really a great city to walk in, lots to see on every block.

Will follow with reports on restaurants, attractions, etc.

6 replies to this topic
Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
2,134 posts
284 reviews
1. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Glad you enjoyed your trip... looking forward to hearing other observations!

Level Contributor
8,884 posts
81 reviews
2. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Chicago is known as “the city of neighborhoods” and for good reason. If you are born and bred here in Chicago, the culture is you can tell a lot about someone by the neighborhood they choose to live in. It’s subtle, it’s cultural, but it’s there. Viceroy was a great choice...in the middle of it all but somehow away from it all. Did you get a chance to go to the roof bar?

Level Contributor
3,681 posts
40 reviews
3. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Thanks for posting! Glad you had a great time.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
1,869 posts
182 reviews
4. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Jennifer, I am so glad that your trip was a success (even if it was postponed because of a stomach bug). I recall when you were posting about your plans that there were comments by some posters (not Chicagoans) who questioned how one could spend 10 days here. So glad that you embraced what the City has to offer -- even our unseasonably cold spring.

If you'd like to learn more about the City's history -- especially it's post-Fire development -- I strongly recommend "City of the Century" by Donald Miller. It focuses on the late 19th Century period of Chicago. Great book.

Chicago, Illinois
Level Contributor
148 posts
5. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

Sounds like you had a good time. You were on this forum a lot for local and non local input. Nice job. What 's with the #&39 ? What are your thoughts about Chicago compared to LA and NYC. ?

Edited: 10 May 2018, 04:32
Scottsdale, Arizona
Level Contributor
590 posts
5 reviews
6. Re: Chicago ROCKS! (Trip Report 4/19-4/30)

That's exactly the vibe I got about the neighborhoods, each it's own little universe, HappiTraveler . And the Viceroy was just that, in the middle of things but a little oasis (more about it when I do the hotel review!) The very first thing we did after checking in was to hit the roof bar for our first look at the city. Was fun to see in person all the things I had been looking at on maps. And sooo glad we did ten days, I got some strange looks from people when I said we were going for vacation to Chicago for that long (EXCEPT for people from Chicago, they just told me I'd love it & suggest a bunch of places to go)!

Thanks for the book suggestion MBA, I always read books about or novels set in a city I'll be traveling to, I'll check it out.

And I have no idea why the #&39s showed up, they weren't in the preview before I posted!!! Look's like it's where apostrophes & ampersands are......we'll see if it happens this time!

As for the differences in the cities, NYC is kind of overwhelming. Much more crowded feeling, there isn't much open space so the skyscrapers feel crowded in around you, unlike in Chicago there is still lots of open sky so you don't feel boxed in. It has the little neighborhoods like Chicago but they aren't as distinct to me. People are definitely not so nice there, everyone seems in a hurry, Chicago had a more relaxed pace.

LA is just a sprawl, traffic is a nightmare, parts of it are really dirty & ugly. Both LA & NYC suffer from

hipster-itis (especially since we're in the fashion industry) lots of pretentiousness. I think to sum it up, I like to visit NYC & LA (not LA as much since I lived there for 10 years & have to go for business frequently) but I could see living in Chicago.

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