Any Tips for Vacation to Chicago?

Contrary to what some of you may perceive, I actually do other stuff other than eat and travel … honest. While I had hardly started on the series of our vacation to Washington, the truth is I am going on another vacation again … this time to Chicago.

I am looking to you readers for tips, pointers, advice … anything at all to help me plan for this trip. I am hoping some of you chowtimes readers are from the Chicago area or had visited before. As always, I am looking for tips especially for food that I should check out. I need advice also where the best place to stay as I had absolutely no idea of the layout of Chicago.


My company requested that I attend a 2-hour meeting of Project Managers within my business unit to be held in Atlanta this month. I actually don’t know how many PMs there are within my business unit but the new acting head of Project Managers had called for a face meeting. Nope … video, web or voice conference would not do. It is to be a face meeting. Fine by me, I said, even though it kind of an overkill to travel all the way just for a 2 hour meeting. I wanted to also meet up with my project team in Atlanta to confirm the execution plan of an upcoming roll out.

I made the usual travel arrangements and it just so happen that I was booked for the YVR-ATL sector with a layover in Chicago. What this means is that I can stay for a few days on my return flight in The Windy City instead of hopping on the connecting flight.

Since it was such short notice and I am pretty sure the Richmond Public Library will not have the travel guide book I need, I walked over to Chapters in Metrotown during lunch break to get hold of a travel book. My favourite is the SK Eyewitness Travel series which I had used during my visits to New York, London and Paris.

Oh … this is NOT a paid review for the Eyewitness Travel series (though I so wished it is!). I thought since I am at this, I might as well introduce you guys to this book.


This travel guide is not like many of the travel books. Firstly, it is glossy with every pages having illustrations. They don’t just show you maps but shows it in 3-D. I find this much more easier to read and help me focus on the true essential info. I won’t go into a detail review of this book but do recommend you at least check out this book before your next travel.


Another simple and neat thing about this book is that the extended covers flips over as a couple of bookmarks. I had often referred to the guide a few times an hour and this is much more handier than the normal bookmark.


The book is also designed to last with repeated use too. The covers are thick and strong and does stand up to a lot of abuse.

Anyway … again … it would be great if you could tell me everything you know about Chicago. I am so looking forward to this.

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  1. GL

    Great city and easy to get around. You’ll love it.

  2. koji

    i’ve been to chicago lots of times, my sister lives there. i won’t be able to help you with any hotels, but if you get something right downtown by the michigan mile, you’ll be good. if you’re interested in architecture, take the boat cruise that talks about the buildings, it’s a real great way to see the city and buildings. Navy Pier is just so-so, i didn’t think it was that great, but you’ll have a great time checking out the park beside it along the lake. also under architecture, look up Frank Lloyd Wright, his chicago house is there.

  3. anna

    I’m planning a trip to Chicago in October and I asked the question if where to go and what to eat. I heard Randolph Street is a good place to find food (I’m sure it’s “street”, it’s where Harpo’s Studio is located- tonnes of restaurants in that location. They also told me to get an “Italian Beef” a sandwich I assume and apparently their pizza is pretty good as well.

  4. koji

    chicago does have famous italian beef sandwiches, i tried it and frankly, i think it’s actually overated.

  5. eddiep

    Try deep dish pizza. Giodano’s, Pizzeria Uno or Due are good starts. My favorite is Lou Malnati’s. Try some Garrett’s popcorn. They always have lines out the door. Chicago has some of the best steakhouses. My favorite is Chicago Chop House. Gene and Georgetti’s is also well known. Carson’s ribs is a place for wet style baby back ribs. They also have good Indian food there but I do not know of any off hand. We stayed at the Hyatt Regency on Thacker. It was about 200/night. Very well located near Michigan Avenue.

  6. Mary Stacy

    Ben, Chicago is a great place to visit during summer and early fall. I live in Chicago. I’ve been to several top restaurants such as Charlie Trotter’s and Everest for business meetings – they are pricey though. For more reasonable ones, I would suggest you try some restaurants in the Italian Village and Lincon Park areas. You do not need to try any Asian restaurants as the ones in Vancouver are much better according to your review.

    For hotel, I strongly recommend the Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers. For a reasonable price, you gain an easy access to the Michigan Ave and a great view of the Lake of Michigan. Enjoy your visit!

  7. chicago is fun

    – the westin

    – architectural tours
    – john hancock observatory
    – the magnificent mile
    – the field museum

    – garrett popcorn
    – frontera grill or topolobampo
    – food life (at water tower place)

  8. Ben

    Hi All: Thanks for all the tips. They were excellent!

  9. Rob Williams

    Oh I love Chicago, you definitely need to check out the music scene there! There’s a lot of great music and art there. Get a good deal on a hotel in a good location and you’re set! I’m an ambassador for Hampton Inns, I had some info that it seems like you’d be interested in, I thought I’d let you know about it.

    Hampton Inn is offering 10% off the best available rate until September 1st. We’re also giving away bikes, vacations and a lot of other stuff for the Olympic Games!

    Check it out here: en/hp/promotions/hx_su mmerpromo08/index.jhtm l?cid=OM,HX,Dreams,Specials&it=Specials,Dreams

    Check out this video also and let me know what you think! Hope I didn’t bother or cross any boundaries by contacting you. v=D2Y0jf-BKpI

    Rob Williams
    Official Hampton Inn Ambassador

  10. Vivian

    Next time you come around Chicago, please let us take you out! We try to avoid any chains at all and focus on Chicago’s gems! It’s a great eating town just like Vancouver (where I grew up).

    1. Suanne

      Thanks Vivian. I spent a few days in Chicago last summer and love the city. Chicago has the most amazing popcorns in the world. I love that so much that I had it almost everyday and bought a huge bag home for the family. I also tried the deep dish pizza in the restaurant where it all began but I think it was over-rated. That reminds me that I need to get those 1 year old Chicago blog drafts out someday … and the Madrid ones too. Oh … I am so behind on writing!

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