Posts Tagged ‘chicago’

Best Things To See and Do in Chicago, IL – What a Trip!

Monday August 10, 2009 at 7:07 AM | 2 Comments

Posted by Nancy D. Brown

See the View from the Chicago River in Illinois

 My favorite tips and locations for visitors to Chicago, Illinois. The first place I take a visitor from out of town is to Millennium Park, Museum Campus and the Signature Lounge in the John Hancock Building.

When I crave Chicago cuisine, I turn to Giordanos, Gino’s East, Pizzeria Due or Lou Malnati’s for Deep Dish Pizza.

To escape work I go to Oak Street or North Avenue Beach.

For complete quiet, I can hide away at Osaka Garden on Wooded Island in Jackson Park.

If you come to Chicago, get your picture taken in front of The Bean in Millennium Park or on the Museum Campus with Chicago’s skyline in the background.

Eat Deep Dish Pizza on a visit to Chicago

 When I’m feeling cash-strapped, I go to Nuevo Leon in the Pilsen neighborhood.

For a huge splurge, I go to Table 52, Avec, Blackbird, Aliena or Topolobombo.

Photos ops in Chicago include The Bean, Skyline, the Michigan Avenue Bridge over the Chicago River.

The best vantage points are taken by walking to the top of Sears Tower or John Hancock Buildings. Both buildings have observatories that are available for views of the entire city.

The most random thing about Chicago is the Baconfest. The folks @ExploreChicago put the reqest for random Chicago things out to the Twitterverse and the Baconfest was decidedly a unique annual event.

In Chicago, an active day outdoors involves walking or hiking or biking or roller-blading the Lakefront Trail.

My favorite walking route is the Lakefront Trail.

Chicago’s best museums, the Museum of Science and Industry, Field Museum, Art Institute, Chicago History Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Adler Planetarium to name a few. On our first trip to Chicago in 2002, we brought our children, then ages six and ten, and visited all of the museums listed above. We broke our trip into bite size pieces and the kids gobbled up all of the activities without a hint of complaint.

 For a night of dancing, go to Nacional 27, HideOut or Le Passage.

The Wiener’s Circle is the spot for late night dining.

Take your picture with the Gothic Couple in Chicago, Illinois

 To find out what’s going on at night or on weekends, read Time-Out Chicago, Metromix, or The Reader.

You can tell a lot about Chicago if you take an architecture river cruise.

In the spring you should attend baseball opening day, the Great Places and Spaces Festival, or Farmers Markets.

In the summer you should attend Taste of Chicago, Millennium Park Concerts, neighborhood street festivals or SummerDance.

In the fall you should visit Fashion Focus and Chicagoween.

In the winter you should go to Holiday Events in Daley Plaza or on Michigan Avenue and check out the holiday windows at Macy’s.

A hidden gem in Chicago is the Water Taxi.

For a great breakfast treat or espresso, go to Milk and Honey, Yok, Lou Mitfchells or Ann Sather.

Just outside of Chicago you can visit Oak Park, have lunch at the New Rebozo Mexican Restaurant.

The best way to see Chicago is to walk Lakefront and Michigan Avenue or ride the El around the loop. You can also take a segway tour.

If you have kids, you won’t want to miss the Zoo, Millennium Park, Navy Pier or the Crown Fountain.

What are your favorite things to do in Chicago, Illinois?

Thank you to Karen Vaughn and Sarah Best of the Chicago Office of Tourism for their assistance with this post.

Top Ten Hotels for Holiday Shopping in the USA

Saturday November 22, 2008 at 3:03 AM | 4 Comments

If you like a bargain, don’t mind fighting holiday crowds and are willing to be patient when it comes to finding a parking spot, Black Friday was created just for you.  Shoppers are pulling out their credit cards, making their lists and scanning ads for a bargain-based shopping extravaganza.

Are you ready for Black Friday holiday shopping? These shopping centers are known for the best selection, best deals and best name brand shopping in the USA. Of course I included some of the best hotels with the best shopping deals on the list. Everyone is entitled to a good night sleep.

Check out my Top Ten Hotel List that I created for Did your hotel make the cut?


Mall of America,  Bloomington, Minnesota

Mall of America, Bloomington, Minnesota

Mall of America,

Bloomington, Minnesota

The most visited shopping mall in the world, with over 40 million visitors annually, the Mall of America is one of the largest shopping malls in theworld. With over 520 shops,restaurants, a park and a church, Mall of Americahas got it all. TIP: Minnesota doesn’t charge sales tax on apparel or shoes.

LODGING Guests of the Crowne Plaza in Bloomington, Minnesota, have access to free mall shuttle service.

Newbury Street is the place to shop in Boston

Newbury Street, Boston, Massachusetts

Shopping is one of the top reasons people visit Boston. I lived in Boston for a year and let me just say, there is more to do in Boston than shop. But let’s get back to shopping. High-end Newbury Street, an eight-block stretch of cutting-edge and upper-crust shops, is sure to please. For budget savvy shoppers, check out Wrentham Village Premium Outlets.

LODGING: The Fairmont Copley Plaza, overlooking Copley Square, is centrally-located one block from Newbury Street. TIP: The century-old hotel offers a Midnight Madness Shopping package  for Black Friday holiday shoppers.

Chicago, Illinois Magnificent Mile

Chicago, Illinois Magnificent Mile

Chicago, Illinois “Magnificent Mile” stretches along North Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to the Chicago River. From Armani to Louis Vuitton, you’ll be able to shop-till-you-drop.

LODGING: Chicago’s Omni All-suites Hotel is located on the Magnificent Mile and offers a Girlfriends Getaway package. TIP: Join the free Select Guest reward program and get Wi Fi, express check-in and check-out, complimentary morning beverages and turn-down service.

Westin Galleria Dallas, Texas for top 10 holiday shopping

Galleria Dallas, Texas

From dining with your American Girl to ice skating with friends, Galleria Dallas has over 200 stores to shop.

LODGING: For those who prefer to wake up, roll out of bed and proceed directly to shopping, Westin Galleria Dallas is located within the Galleria shopping center. TIP: For shoppers wanting a little Mother/Daughter bonding, select the Westin’s American Girl getaway package.


Socialite Sabrina Parisi

Rodeo Drive, Beverly Hills, California

 If you want to shop like a rock star, you’ll want to head to Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. The real estate in Beverly Hills gets a little star studded between Santa Monica Blvd. and Wilshire Blvd. Considered one of the most exclusive shopping streets in the world, you’ll find French fashion, Italian designer boutiques and plenty of bling to keep you happy.

LODGING: Continue your rock star experience with a stay at Chateau Marmont at 8221 Sunset Blvd. in West Hollywood, California. Built in 1927, the Hotel of the Stars is the perfect getaway in the center of the city. TIP: The Beverly Hills Hotel is close to the golden triangle of shopping and is also a celeb spotting location.

"Fith Avenue New York"

Fifth Avenue, New York for top 10 holiday shopping

Fifth Avenue, New York

Located in the center of the borough of Manhattan, New York’s 5th Avenue is one of the premier shopping streets in the world. The shopping district between 49th and 57th streets is ranked as having the world’s most expensive retail spaces. Fifth Avenue originates at Washington Square Park in Greenwich Village and runs through midtown, along the east side of Central Park and ends at the Harlem River.

LODGING: Kimpton’s The Muse, a boutique hotel located blocks away from 5th Avenue, offers a “Head over Heels” shopping package for the sole. Trump Hotel offers the “Ultimate Shoe Lover” package with Bergdorf Goodman.

Macy's Union Square

Macy’s Union Square

Union Square, San Francisco, California

I left my heart and my wallet in San Francisco at Union Square. A 2.6 acre plaza, Union Square is bordered by Geary, Powell, Post and Stockton Street. The area is also known for its hotel, dining and theater district.

LODGING: The Westin St. Francis, located on Union Square, offers a Macy’s Shopping Package with accommodations starting at $234 per night. Hotel Nikko, located at 222 Mason Street, offers a Serenity Package at a nearby day spa for tired shoppers.

Thanks to Frank Lynch for his Flickr photo of Macy’s NY Black Friday. Newbury Street, Photo courtesy of Thanks to Thomas Dyllan for his Flickr photo of Sabrina Parisi. Thanks to MikeO for Lights of 5th Ave.