Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Frommer's Favorite Oh-So-Chicago
Strolling the Lakefront. Chicagoans use the lakefront in every pos-
sible way: for walking, rollerblading, biking, running, swimming,
picknicking, and playing volleyball. Summers on the lakefront can
get a little crowded, but that's part of the fun. Even in winter, you
can see hardy souls out for a run while waves crash onto the
shoreline. Most activity takes place around Oak Street Beach and
North Avenue Beach.
Sightseeing on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. By far the
best way to scope out the city is by taking a boat tour. Getting
onto the water gives you a fresh perspective on a city that grew
up around a lake and a river. Options include dinner cruises, the
“ducks” (amphibian land/water transports), speedboats, and tall
ships. See “Kid-Friendly Tours,” in chapter 6, for suggestions.
Visiting Marshall Field's around the Holidays. Marshall Field's State
Street store puts on a real show during the holidays. The unveiling
of the windows is a much-anticipated event, and having breakfast
or lunch around the gigantic Christmas tree in the stately Walnot
Room is a time-honored tradition for generations of Chicagoans.
Cheering the Cubbies. Wrigley Field is not to be missed. In fact,
Chicagoans regularly play hooky to hang out in the bleachers on
a perfect summer afternoon. Eat a hot dog. Exercise your lungs
during the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.” I'm sure
you'll leave agreeing with me that Wrigley Field is the most
charming ballpark in America.
Riding the El. The noisy, dirty El (Chicagos' elevated train), which
blocks sunlight from the streets beneath its tracks, is a quintessen-
tial part of Chicago. Even if you have nowhere in particular to go,
hop on the El and ride around the Loop. The brown line heading
with African Americans and the
ethnically mixed student popula-
tion drawn to the Catholic univer-
sity. Much of Rogers Park has a
neo-hippie ambience, but the west-
ern stretch of Devon Avenue is a
Midwestern slice of Calcutta, set-
tled by Indians who've transformed
the street into a veritable restaurant
row of tandoori chicken and curry-
flavored dishes.
The West Side
West Loop Also known as the
Near West Side, the neighborhood
just across the Chicago River from
the Loop is the city's newest gentri-
fication target, as old warehouses
and once-vacant lots are trans-
formed into trendy condos. The
stretch of Randolph Street just west
of Highway 90/94 and the sur-
rounding blocks are known as
“Restaurant Row” for the many
dining spots that cluster there.
Nearby, on Halsted Street between
Adams and Monroe streets, is
Chicago's old “Greek Town,” still
the Greek culinary center of the
city. Much of the old Italian neigh-
borhood in this vicinity was the
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