Celebrating 50th in Chicago - suggestions?

<p>My husband and I will be in Chicago when my husband turns 50. We will be visiting our son who is interning this summer at Northwestern.</p>

<p>I am looking for some suggestions for a nice restuarant for dinner and then any ideas for a great couple of days. We have done all the touristy things - we're looking for things a little off the beaten path.</p>

<p>Any suggestions are greatly appreciated.</p>

<p>Click on over to tripadvisor.com for lots of similar threads.
There are several new hotels in town - Trump Tower, the Elysian, Dana, Felix, Wit, Blackstone, Palomar. Each has a strong identity, so you can pick whatever appeals to you. Do watch out for high-priced convention dates, although July is pretty safe.
Have you taken a bike or segway tour of the lakefront? Or try the Architecture Foundation for dozens of neighborhood walking tours or their famous river tour. Check out some fun neighborhoods like Lincoln Square or Bucktown. Visit the Botanic Garden in Glencoe and spend the evening at Ravinia Music Festival.
New restaurants open all the time - you can generally find a roundup in the Tribune or Sun-Times. We like May Street Market for good food at a reasonable price. It's a short cab ride from downtown.</p>

<p>We like the Chicago Botanic Garden. Or the Museum of Science and Industry (U-Boat exhibit is very cool if you haven't done it, although maybe you already have). Walk around the Chicago Tribune building and look at the objects embedded in the building.</p>

<p>How about Topolobambo?? Limited reservations are possible if you call far enough in advance, check their website.</p>

<p>Take in the show on the main stage at Second City. I highly recommend getting tickets in advance for main stage shows and getting in line early for best seats.</p>

<p>The</a> Second City - 50 Years of Funny</p>

<p>You can have dinner before right next door at the Adobo Grill...have a margarita while dining alfresco then walk next door for the show. Good food and drink and very convenient.....one cab ride for both dinner and the show.</p>

<p>Adobo</a> Grill Restaurants :: Chicago, Illinois</p>

<p>As far as the other restaurants:</p>

<p>If Topolobampo is unavailable, his restaurant right next door (Frontera Grill which uses the same entrance) is also excellent great and a great spot for lunch as well.</p>

<p>Topolobampo:</a> Restaurants - Rick Bayless | Frontera</p>

<p>Frontera</a> Grill: Restaurants - Rick Bayless | Frontera</p>

<p>Note: I live in Dallas and certainly know about good Mexican food. I'm in Chicago often and have frequented all three....all three are very good with the Bayless restaurants offering a different "take" on Mexican....mmmmmmm.....</p>

<p>Agree on improv and Bayless. Also seek out Polish food (perogies), cause- face it- where else are you going to find it- and have a wet Italian Beef.</p>

<p>My husband and I were just there to celebrate our anniversary. Since we are from Texas, we figured we could pass on Mexican cuisine (yes, even Bayless!), so after googling "best restaurants in Chicago" and reviewing menus, we selected North Pond in Lincoln Park. They specialize in farm-to-table, and their tasting menu was wonderful (the lamb course was amazing!). It's in an old skating house overlooking the pond - the setting is quite beautiful.</p>

<p>We also really enjoyed an Architecture Foundation tour - our guide was an art history professor so we learned quite a bit.</p>

<p>If you want really, really special try Charlie Trotter's
Cuisine</a> - Charlie Trotter's
I've never been, too spendy for me, but I use his cookbooks all the time -- the food must be phenomenal if what I produce is any indication.</p>

<p>If you're going to do Trotter's, though, you have to make reservations sometimes weeks in advance... just so you know.</p>

<p>Have you been to a White Sox game? Schaumburg Flyers are also fun in person.</p>

<p>See if a Redmoon theater event coincides with your schedule. Or any play that suits you. Check Hot Tix for half price tickets.</p>

<p>I second or third the Botanic Garden and Ravinia. In Evanston, the Merrick Rose Garden near downtown, beautiful in summer. Bike the Ladd Arboretum and Skokie Sculpture Park along McCormick Blvd. </p>

<p>Evanston has one of the country's best 4th of July Parades and fireworks by the lake.</p>

<p>And if you are by the Trib area, you might catch my offspring unit (!) a licensed Chicago Street Musician during summer break.</p>

<p>You would never run out of restaurants in Chicago and Evanston has many. I'd like to try that Prairie Grass place in Northbrook. Less than ten miles north of Evanston.</p>

<p>On a visit to Chicago last summer we discovered Perennial in Lincoln Park Perennial</a> · Chicago. We thought the food and the service were both fabulous. Especially the "cheesecake" made from raspberry custard, cream cheese foam, and graham cracker ice cream. Yum!!</p>

<p>I haven't seen the Chicago River tour mentioned, which gives highlights of Chicago architecture. If you're interested in Frank Lloyd Wright, many of his houses are in Oak Park (west). My husband jokes that there are approximately 15 high-end steak houses within a few blocks of our condo (by Trump Tower). I like the Art Institute and the miniature rooms (Ward?) are quite different. I had written off The Bean as tourist flackery, but it really is way cool, particularly if you're on the Michigan Ave. side and the buildings are reflecting off it. You could have a drink or just visit the top of the Hancock Building.</p>

<p>I would highly recommend a night at Ravinia, even if it's not to see someone you're particularly familiar with. If you're going to be here several nights, there's bound to be one night that has music you prefer.</p>

<p>Not off the beaten track but I'm a sucker for Oak Street and then some time on the beach (in the summer). I look at Lake Michigan all the time, but there's something about having the city all around you that I just love. I can spend a day shopping/eating/shopping/eating/drinking/beaching/eating/drinking....</p>

<p>Go to a baseball game. Nothing quite like Chicago and Baseball and hot dogs. Got to have a hot dog when I visit. </p>

<p>I've never done the river tour, but it does look like fun and I do want to do that someday.</p>

<p>I like Shaws Crab House and Heaven on Seven...not glamorous, romantic type meals but both fun places with predictably good food.</p>

<p>For romantic I'm fond of the 95th at Hancock. Time your meal for watching the sun set and the lights of the city come on.</p>

<p>I never tire of spending an entire day walking each side of Michigan Avenue.</p>

<p>I also never tire of the Art Institute.</p>

<p>Take in some jazz or a show...there are some great venues.</p>

<p>I agree with Kathyc. The Chicago River tour is fantastic as is the tour of Frank Lloyd Wright's Oak Park home and studios. Brilliant architect. Less than a great human being. As an alternative to the river tour, take a double deck bus tour, but be sure to sit up top for the best views. </p>

<p>Not exactly off the beaten path, but we very much like the Art Institute, and strolling around the Millennium Park area.</p>

<p>We have never been able to get into Rick Bayless' place. So if you want to go, make reservations in advance. As for eating, we like Mon Ami Gabi, Mon</a> Ami Gabi - Home. It is in an old Chicago hotel with an incredible lobby. </p>

<p>Also there is lots and lots of theater in Chicago, both Broadway and off-Broadway type. We recently saw the Million Dollar Quartet and thought is was incredible. Discount tickets may be available through Hot</a> Tix - Half price ticket program offered by League of Chicago Theatres. We were able to get the tickets the day of the show.</p>

<p>Walking up and down N. Michigan Ave. is fun in itself. Lots of tourists. I don't know where you are from, but if it is a small town, there is lots and lots of shopping available in Chicago.</p>

<p>If you enjoy really good food at a not very inexpensive price, try Alinea: Alinea</a> - Menus</p>

<p>It's an experience.</p>

<p><a href="http://www.citysegwaytour.com%5B/url%5D"&gt;www.citysegwaytour.com&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/p>

<p>Speaking of theatre, if you are theatre people (and maybe even if you aren't), Billy Elliot would be worth every penny you spend. Because of the demands of the show (the young dancers and the set), it will be a very long time before it tours (if it ever does). Right now the only places in the U.S. you can see it are NYC and Chicago. I actually saw it in London last fall, but plan on seeing it more than once while it's here, and will try to get H to go along with me. It's the kind of show that even guys will like... guys who don't normally see live theatre.</p>

<p>If you like rocks and fossils, you can visit Dave's</a> Down to Earth Rock Shop: Evanston/Chicago jewelry, fossils, minerals, Native American jewelry, crystals, gems, beads and gifts. in Evanston. From Evanston, you can drive south on Sheridan all the way to Lake Shore Drive. You can drive north on Sheridan through the ravines and past the mansions. Very pretty.</p>

<p>tsdad, we TOTALLY agree with you about Million Dollar Quartet! We sat in the front row and I was grinning the whole time. It's in a fairly small theater so you can really see what the actors are doing.
For something different, my husband's cousins just took a tour of the Options Exchange (I think that's the one in the building with Lyric Opera, as opposed to the Board of Trade, but don't flame me if I've gotten them mixed up).
This weekend we're planning to do the bridge museum (under the Michigan Ave. Bridge on the south side). I'll let you know if that's worthwhile.</p>