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Ok gents, the wife and I may be taking a trip up to Chicago in the next few weeks. I'd like some information from those who have visited or who may be living there. Firstly, I think safety...what side of town is best to stay on, and what side(s) do I stay the hell away from? Looking at doing some local sight seeing..aquarium, zoo, miracle mile etc etc... any other information would be great: restaurants etc. Thanks for your time :)


  • lilwing88lilwing88 ChitownPosts: 2,812 ✭✭✭
    Where to begin?....... Well, first of all, depending on how long you're staying, safety is not really an issue. If you stick to magnificent mile, the loop, river north and the lakefront near downtown, then you're okay. There may be the occasional bum or shady character, but nothing like your gonna see on the south or west sides. Not to scare you, but we had 310 people shot recently (not all at once, but over a short period of time) and only 30 of them succumbed to their wounds. 10%.... pretty good odds, right? LOL!!!

    Scary stuff aside, Chicago's not all that bad. There's lots of cool neighborhoods that aren't infested by gangs and drug dealers....... yet.

    Sight seeing:
    Well, there are the obvious choices. Millennium park, Grant Park (where Buckingham Fountain is), The Art Institute, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, various boat tours on the river, Navy Pier and Lincoln Park zoo. All safe touristy boring stuff. If you're gonna be here in the nice weather, I'd suggest biking the lakefront. All that stuff is accessible from the bike paths. There's tons of bike rental places. But don't go further south than McCormick Place and don't go further north than Addison St. Not unless you're packing heat. If you're real adventurous, you could bike south to the Museum of Science and Industry in Hyde Park. Remember, daylight is your friend.

    There are literally hundreds in or near downtown, alone. All very good. The best restaurants, though, in my opinion, are scattered about the neighborhoods, away from downtown. Best bets downtown..... Keefer's Steakhouse ($$$$$), Stefani's on Rush ($$$$), Quartino ($$$), Spaggia ($$$$$), and The Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock building ($$$$). All fine dining favorites and Chicago originals. There's some chain restaurants that are good too, like Morton's, Ruth's Chris, and Gibson's, but you could go to those anywhere...... If you're feeling adventurous, hop in a cab and try one of these: Kuma's Corner (beer, burgers and heavy metal), Hot Doug's (meat in tube form, nuff said), Demera Ethiopian (trust me, it's gooooood), The Hop Leaf (Belgium beer and Belgium food, what a combo!), Sabatino's (great Italian/American food....plan for a long night) Cafe Iberico (Spanish tapas.... cheap date, great food), Arun's Thai food(an $85 per person 12-course meal that you can literally die after, cuz you'll never eat better again in your life. Period.)

    Neighborhoods where you're least likely to get shot:
    Olde Town, Wrigleyville (home of the Cubs), Rush/Division (aka The **** Triangle), Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, Lakeview, Roscoe Village, Edison Park.

    Neighborhoods where you may or may not get shot, but are worth a try:
    Chinatown, Pilsen, Taylor Street (little Italy), Uptown, Lincoln Square, Logan Square.

    Neighborhoods that are very risky:
    Humboldt Park, Roger's Park, Edgewater, Bronzeville, Bridgeport (home of the White Sox), Little Village, Hyde Park...... anything far west or far south and you're dead meat.

    Cool/crazy stuff to do:
    Second City Improv, Lincoln Lodge Comedy Club, walk around Belmont/Clark area, take the Ghost Tour, kayak the Chicago River North Branch, golf at Waveland Golf course on the lake, catch a Cubs game (or a Sox game if you have a death wish), go to the top of Willis Tower (formerly Sears Tower), shop at Water Tower Place and the Magnificent mile.

    Most of the housing projects have been torn down over the years, so the dividing lines between safe and dangerous neighborhoods have blurred quite a bit. Thanks to Mayor Daily and Section 8 housing, there are no truly "safe" neighborhoods anymore. Just be careful and when in doubt, just ask a cop..... they might laugh at you a little or give you some attitude, but they'll always be brutally honest.
    Guns don't kill people, Daddies with pretty daughters do…..
  • lilwing88lilwing88 ChitownPosts: 2,812 ✭✭✭
    Here's an interesting link. It's from 2009, but it'll give you a good idea of where to go and where to avoid. Be sure to zoom in on the map, otherwise it looks like one big murdering cesspool! LOL!
    Guns don't kill people, Daddies with pretty daughters do…..
  • lilwing88lilwing88 ChitownPosts: 2,812 ✭✭✭
    Oh, and I almost forgot....... CIGARS!!! If you're confined to downtown, then go to Jack Schwartz. If you can venture out, then go to my B&M, Utopia Cigars.
    Guns don't kill people, Daddies with pretty daughters do…..
  • NYHCx516xNYHCx516x Posts: 728
    to jump on lilwing's suggestions, this are my top 3, "The Art Institute, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium" Shedd and the field museum being the top 2 actually. FAN-friggen-TASTIC
  • Wow, excellent information Lilwing, exactly what I was asking for. We also have a section 8 problem here in Nashville, so I understand what you are saying. I'll keep to your guidelines and hopefully won't need the noisy cricket. I'm looking forward to our visit!
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