Need some advice from Chicago parents

<p>We will be attending parents day at the University of Chicago in October. I think I have a plan for restaurants and sight seeing, but a question.</p>

<p>Should we each get the .. Hop-on-Hop-Off pass? $31 for three days. There are six of us. We aren't getting a car. We will be staying at the Embassy Suites at 600 N. State Street, fly in Friday, mess around in the city. On Saturday, go to the University and game. Back to the downtown area for dinner, stay downtown on Sunday. But of course our student will have to get back to campus on Sunday. Is this pass a good investment for $31, or can we walk places? </p>

<p>This is more or less our plan:
Friday lunch at Portillos or Ginos Pizza.
Walk down to the Pier, sight see - either the Aquarium or Field Museum.
Dinner at Riva Crabhouse at the Navy Pier.
Saturday - tour campus. Stop at Oriental Museum.
Lunch at the Nile.
Football Game at 1pm.
Dinner at Topolobampo.
Sunday, Brunch at the Signature Restaurant at the Hancock Tower. Airport.</p>

<p>thanks!</p>

<p>The hole in your plan is that the aquarium/field museum are a good 3 mile walk from Navy Pier. You wouldn't have any time to see them if you walked there and back. Even the hop-on-hop-off bus will take a loooong time to get there (you'd have a lot of tour in between). If you just want to look around the museum, that's no big deal, but if you want to get your money's worth out of your expensive admission tickets, I'd spring for a cab in at least one direction. Far cheaper than 6 $31 tickets. Your other destinations are all walkable, except for the Hyde Park stuff, but the hop-on trolley doesn't go there anyway, so you'll have to pay for separate transport there.</p>

<p>When you say "The Pier," I suspect you may be inadvertently confusing Navy Pier with the Museum Campus, which is where the Shedd Aquarium / Field Museum / Adler Planetarium are. Navy Pier is an entirely separate destination (and a bit of a tourist trap, though if they have the Tall Ships exhibition there during your time, that could be fun). </p>

<p>One thing to check is whether there are any events / games at Soldier Field during your weekend - Soldier Field is on the Museum Campus and events there have a tendency to clog up the parking and logistics. My daughter used to work on the Museum Campus and there were days where I literally couldn't get into the campus to get to her to pick her up, and public transportation was stalled. On the other hand, the museums are often empty during that time - but just be aware - I would hate to have you waste your time in Chicago in a cab or bus just outside the Museum Campus and not be able to get in because of football traffic.</p>

<p>You might want to ask your concierge for other brunch suggestions - the restaurant at the Hancock tower is (IMO) overpriced and a bit of a tourist trap as well.</p>

<p>Also sign up for Chicago Groupon - they may have discounts for museums or downtown activities of interest.</p>

<p>Consider having Friday lunch at Lou Malnati's; there is one just a few blocks north of your hotel, right on State. If you have any interest in architecture, don't miss FLW's Robie House.</p>

<p>If this is early October and weather is still nice, consider the architectural boat tours that leave off Navy Pier. But have a back-up plan if weather doesn't cooperate!</p>

<p>I would also walk down Michigan Ave, go to the Lincoln Park Zoo, and walk down Astor Street to see the old brownstone mansions.</p>

<p>If you can only do one thing, go to the Art Institute instead of the museum or aquarium.</p>

<p>I've lived here my whole life and travelled the world, and the AI is one of the best art museums in the world.</p>

<p>YMMV</p>

<p>I prefer the Field Museum/Aquarium to Navy Pier any day. I would also look into tickets to Second City for evening entertainment.
I agree that Art Museum is wonderful.</p>

<p>^ Agree. Fish and stars are fish and stars. The AI's impressionist collection is fabulous. And if the weather is even half way decent, it's a nice walk from your hotel.</p>

<p>Rather than a bunch of hop-on-hop off tickets, find out about all-day and multi-day passes for public transit.
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<p>Another option for transportation between Navy Pier & the Museum campus is the water taxi service. You will need to check their season schedule to see if they are still running the weekend you are in town.</p>

<p>Anything is better than Navy Pier, anything. That is for sailors on leave. Unless there is something special there you want to see, like the flower show. I do like the stained glass museum there and it's free.</p>

<p>Well, chicago shakespeare, widely agreed to be the best shakespeare in the US, is at Navy Pier. I would encourage that at any time.</p>

<p>Chicago is my second home town and future retirement spot... </p>

<p>Favorite foods: Gino's, Reza's (north Clark, Middle Eastern), Gaylords (Indian)
Spots: Museum of Science and Industry, Art Institute. Shedd is ho-hum if you're not into fish. Brookfield Zoo. Magnificent Mile. Navy Pier is a waste of time and money. Millennium Park.</p>

<p>Shopping - if you're into clothes there's plenty spots...</p>

<p>Brookfield Zoo is WAY too far off the beaten path for someone who is just in town for a weekend. It's in a western suburb of the city and requires either a car or significant time on public transportation to get there. If you have a zoo jones, try the Lincoln Park Zoo instead - much better location for a weekend visitor.</p>

<p>One of the issues is that you are ditching what I always thought were nice activities at the University Saturday morning -- model classes, and a free lunch with your kid's friends and THEIR parents. Why would you want to miss that? (I think there is a tour of the Oriental Institute you can sign up for, too, and of Robie House.)</p>

<p>Transportation: You can get an unlimited 72-hour CTA pass at the airport for about $15/person. It works for all the buses and the El. That's what I would do.</p>

<p>As for the rest -- you have perfectly good restaurant choices (assuming you want to try deep dish pizza -- which I guess is unavoidable). I think I've already voted in this poll in another thread, but along with many others I say the absolutely thrilling, not-to-be-missed downtown activities are the Art Institute, the architectural boat tour, and 15-20 minutes in Millennium Park soaking in the vibe. Ixnay on Navy Pier.</p>

<p>Yeah, I realize this is ironic given my screen name (which was a poor choice made in haste), but Chicago deep dish pizza is no great shakes, if you ask me. I think it's rather overrated for what it is and I'd go for a nicer restaurant if time and budgets permit.</p>

<p>True that, Pizzagirl, about the zoo. It's a half day easily, but quite a thing to see. Depends where the parents / family are coming from and what they like to see. If they have not seen much of Chicago and are coming long distance, a 3-4 day stay is minimum.</p>

<p>I spend a week a year in Chicago and always find things to do for R&R.</p>

<p>If you have a crave for snacks on campus, you can try the oriental noodle house, its not a part of the Univ. but it is on the campus..:)</p>