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LouieB

Going to Chicago....what to do, see, stay, etc.

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If anyone has additional non-show experiences they want to share from the Winterlude week, please post up.  It might help others still coming.

 

LouieB

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Just want to say I had breakfast at Dove's Luncheonette over in Wicker Park Saturday morning & it was absolutely amazing, and Revolution brewing was worth the visit.

 

Sunday morning I went to the MCA for the "David Bowie Is" exhibit, which I would encourage depending upon your interest in the thin white duke.

 

Got around cheap & fast on the L, and overall really enjoyed the trip. (but I'm grateful for the 65 degree weather here in new orleans).

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Come on guys, who else did cool shit in Chicago during the residency.  I mean I know Uptown is pretty exciting, but the rest of the city has stuff to offer.

 

LouieB

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Hey LouieB!

I'm from Barcelona, I'll be in chicago in may and I want so say thank you for all your information!

 

Just one question, do you know some locations for Wilco fans? I don't want to know the direction of The Loft, just if you know some favorite restaurants, guitar sotes, record stores of Wilco members. Or any places that appear on Wilco lyrics...

 

Thanks for your help and sorry for my english, it's so bad.

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Since an out of towner was sent here for info on Chicago it should be noted that this thread has been hanging around for many years and some of the info may no longer be accurate.  Restaurants open and close with regularity.  Please consult Yelp or other websites for up to date info. 

 

Any additional suggestions here are always appreciated.  With a big summer concert coming up maybe people can chime in again.

 

LouieB

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Turns out that the Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibit at the Art Institute ends on May 10th, which is 2 days before we get to town for the Jeff Tweedy Vic show.  Boo. 

We're going to the Vic show on Friday May 13; on Saturday we're going to a Califone (Tim Rutili) LRS.  Tim is also doing shows both Fri 13th and Sat 14th in Chicago.

If anyone knows of daytime stuff that weekend please post.  Checking the Reader; nothing stuck my fancy there yet.

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Turns out that the Van Gogh's Bedrooms exhibit at the Art Institute ends on May 10th, which is 2 days before we get to town for the Jeff Tweedy Vic show.  Boo. 

We're going to the Vic show on Friday May 13; on Saturday we're going to a Califone (Tim Rutili) LRS.  Tim is also doing shows both Fri 13th and Sat 14th in Chicago.

If anyone knows of daytime stuff that weekend please post.  Checking the Reader; nothing stuck my fancy there yet.

 

The Cubs are playing day games on May 13-15th and the Terra Cotta Warrior exhibit at The Field Museum looks pretty good.

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Divvy Bike rides might be fun.  You get them for  half hour at a time.  Also a bike or walk on the 606 trail or whatever it is called would be a great daytime activity.  Any random visit to the Art Institute, the Museum of Contemporary Art (both have admissions) or some time in the Cultural Center (free) is worthwhile.  Take the el to a neighborhood you have not been to and walk around is also a great way to spend the day.  Or simply get on one of the el lines and ride to the end of the line and back, particularly if you go west or south for a change of pace.  This has been mentioned before, but the close suburbs of both Evanston and Oak Park are interesting or go to Hyde Park.  Any of the Architectural Foundation tours are fun. 

 

It needs to be noted that the Reader is a mere shadow of it's former self and does not have the detail it used to have. 

 

If you like record collecting, Google the record shops and use that as a way to explore various neighborhoods.  Most stores have active street life around them. Or pick a major street and start walking and hit every bar on the way that looks interesting; nothing like a little bit of day drinking to keep things crazy.

 

LouieB

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The wife and I will be going to Chicago for the first time in the spring! I've never been to a city that big, it's pretty exciting. We're looking at staying in The Loop area, as that seems to have the most museums/restaurant/touristy stuff. We also considered The Magnificent Mile but that looks like it has mostly high end shopping, which isn't really our thing.

I'm of course, very excited to do some record shopping, but the amount of Chicago record stores that come up online is a little overwhelming. Do the local Chicago VC'ers have any favourites? 

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If you go back through some of this thread you will find talk about record stores I think (didn't look myself.)  Clearly the ability to get to record stores in the time you have is a factor since most of the good ones are outside of downtown anymore.  The biggest player in town is Reckless Records with a store in Wicker Park and one in Lakeview. (Is there one downtown still?)  They are the big boys in town and have the biggest selection in town..  I work at Laurie's Planet of Sound in Lincoln Square (Jeff's alleged favorite), which is smaller, but I like to think pretty good.  Dusty Groove (Wicker Park) is good if you like jazz, world music, and soul.  I am fond of Logan Hardware on Fullerton, but it is off the beaten track in Logan Square.  Permanent Records has a nice selection of more exotic and indie records on Chicago Avenue.  Bob's Blues and Jazz out on Irving Park, way off the beaten track, is what became of the old Jazz Record Mart if you like blues and jazz.  There are others in far flung parts of town, which if you have alot of time and want to explore different neighborhoods can be fun.  Hyde Park Records in Hyde Park (south side) is fun because they have lots of soul records and other stuff. Beverly Records is way way south and is a holy mess and way way off the beaten track.  

 

I would welcome any other suggestions from folks here because I don't get around as much as I used to. I hope others chime in. I know there are several in the Pilsen neighborhood on the near southwest side, but I have not been to any of them lately so I can't tall you if they are worth your time, but Pilsen is an interesting place to walk around.

 

As you can read in many of postings, I strongly suggest getting out of the Loop and near north side at least part of the time.  But if you have never been to Chicago are visiting for the first time, then staying downtown is certainly worthwhile.  But if you have a bit of time to jump on one of the el lines and see a different neighborhood, do it.

 

LouieB 

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The biggest player in town is Reckless Records with a store in Wicker Park and one in Lakeview. (Is there one downtown still?)  They are the big boys in town and have the biggest selection in town.. 

 

Reckless does still have the downtown location - and it's in the Loop. It is much much smaller than the other two locations though. 

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Reckless does still have the downtown location - and it's in the Loop. It is much much smaller than the other two locations though. 

I thought so, thanks.  If you only could go in the Loop this would be a place to go, but the other locations are much larger.  Thanks again.  Other ideas?

 

LouieB

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Thank you both, that's great. We'll be there for four full days, so that should give us time to hop on a train and explore some different parts of the city. I've heard the transit system's pretty good, so I don't see that being a problem. We're flying in so I can't buy too much, so I'll hit up Reckless in the Loop and branch out as much as I can! 

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Ok so here's what I have planned:

 

Reckless Records in the Loop, because it's within walking distance of the hotel, so why not!

Wicker Park has three, Permanent Records, Shuga Records, and the biggest Reckless, so those should all be walkable to each other, and they're not too far from the Loop so we could probably get a Lyft. My wife wants to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo so I'm hoping while we're in that area we can go to Dave's Records, which sounds promising. I want to go to Laurie's Planet of Sound as well, Lincoln Square sounds really nice, so if we can make it up there, have lunch and check out some records, we will. I live in a smaller western Canadian city with limited record buying options, so usually when I get to Vancouver or Seattle I go a little wild and buy a ton of records, I'll have to be careful this time since we're flying in, and mostly purchase records I'd otherwise never be able to find. Fingers crossed I can stick to that!

We booked ourselves into the Congress Plaza. The wife wants to go to the Art Institute, which I'm familiar with from Ferris Bueller, so that should be fun. The Field Museum sounds great as well. I wanted to see The Cubs but they're on the road while we're there... maybe if I'm lucky the Blackhawks will be playing still. Oh and I wanted to surprise the wife with Hamilton tickets but HOLY CRAP expensive.

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Ok so here's what I have planned:

 

Reckless Records in the Loop, because it's within walking distance of the hotel, so why not!

Wicker Park has three, Permanent Records, Shuga Records, and the biggest Reckless, so those should all be walkable to each other, and they're not too far from the Loop so we could probably get a Lyft. My wife wants to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo so I'm hoping while we're in that area we can go to Dave's Records, which sounds promising. I want to go to Laurie's Planet of Sound as well, Lincoln Square sounds really nice, so if we can make it up there, have lunch and check out some records, we will. I live in a smaller western Canadian city with limited record buying options, so usually when I get to Vancouver or Seattle I go a little wild and buy a ton of records, I'll have to be careful this time since we're flying in, and mostly purchase records I'd otherwise never be able to find. Fingers crossed I can stick to that!

We booked ourselves into the Congress Plaza. The wife wants to go to the Art Institute, which I'm familiar with from Ferris Bueller, so that should be fun. The Field Museum sounds great as well. I wanted to see The Cubs but they're on the road while we're there... maybe if I'm lucky the Blackhawks will be playing still. Oh and I wanted to surprise the wife with Hamilton tickets but HOLY CRAP expensive.

the shops in wicker park are a short walk from the Damen stop on the Blue Line too.

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Ok so here's what I have planned:

 

Reckless Records in the Loop, because it's within walking distance of the hotel, so why not!

Wicker Park has three, Permanent Records, Shuga Records, and the biggest Reckless, so those should all be walkable to each other, and they're not too far from the Loop so we could probably get a Lyft. My wife wants to go to the Lincoln Park Zoo so I'm hoping while we're in that area we can go to Dave's Records, which sounds promising. I want to go to Laurie's Planet of Sound as well, Lincoln Square sounds really nice, so if we can make it up there, have lunch and check out some records, we will. I live in a smaller western Canadian city with limited record buying options, so usually when I get to Vancouver or Seattle I go a little wild and buy a ton of records, I'll have to be careful this time since we're flying in, and mostly purchase records I'd otherwise never be able to find. Fingers crossed I can stick to that!

We booked ourselves into the Congress Plaza. The wife wants to go to the Art Institute, which I'm familiar with from Ferris Bueller, so that should be fun. The Field Museum sounds great as well. I wanted to see The Cubs but they're on the road while we're there... maybe if I'm lucky the Blackhawks will be playing still. Oh and I wanted to surprise the wife with Hamilton tickets but HOLY CRAP expensive.

Forget Hamilton unless you are rich.  I would pass on Shuga if you have only two stops.  I have not been there personally, but know the guy and he is kind of a jerk.  If you do ride share you can get places as well (Uber or Lyft).  Daves is good and obviously I like Laurie's since I work there (if you come ask for me, although I work part time only.)  Lincoln Square is like Wicker Park, but less intense.  Absolutely go to the Art Institute, even if you are only a minor art fan.  It's world class.  Depending on your fatigue factor, give it three or four hours and don't expect to see even half.  See the Hawks.  

 

the shops in wicker park are a short walk from the Damen stop on the Blue Line too.

Very good point.  Wicker Park is a good place to go for out of towners also.  Plenty of other fun stuff to do there and interesting street life.  From Wicker Park you can ride share or cab or bus to just about any other neighborhood. 

 

LouieB

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So I'm considering going to the Chicago Blues Festival in June.  Primarily to see Gary Clark Jr. play.  I don't go to festivals much, certainly nothing this big.  Anyone have any experience with this or opinions on how practical this is?  Do I stand much of a chance of being able to enjoy a particular performance?  Any pointers?

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So I'm considering going to the Chicago Blues Festival in June.  Primarily to see Gary Clark Jr. play.  I don't go to festivals much, certainly nothing this big.  Anyone have any experience with this or opinions on how practical this is?  Do I stand much of a chance of being able to enjoy a particular performance?  Any pointers?

 

This year they are finally moving the main stage to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion - which is a good thing. Nice venue and the sound is great for an outdoor venue.

 

I haven't heard that they will be charging for seats for the Blues Fest - like they are now doing during the Taste of Chicago. You may have to stand in line to grab a seat for Clark - not much of a view from the lawn, unless you are at the very front, so you will need get in the pavilion.

 

Blues Fest is usually fun and pretty laid back.

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Yes - it should be free, then.

 

It has always have been free, but the Taste use to be free, too, so I never assume anything is free in Chicago, anymore.

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Blues Fest better be free.  I have only gone a couple times in the last few years. It is much more crowded (at least it was at the old  Grant Park location)  than Jazz Fest which I attend every year.  While Pritzger is much nicer, it is also smaller in total area and Blues Fest tends to be a bit more raucous than Jazz Fest.  The upshot? Don't know exactly.  I agree that you should not necessarily have a problem getting a seat, but you may have to wait in line.  And you will be surrounded by people drinking and partying quite a bit.  Don't miss the side stages which often have very fun performers in a more laid back environment.

 

LouieB

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Reckless in the Loop was indeed pretty small, but the Wicker Park Reckless was great. Permanent Records was exactly the kind of record store I don't like. The selection itself wasn't great, at least not for what I'm into, and the guy working there wasn't very friendly. However, Laurie's Planet of Sound more than made up for that, I scored the I'm Not There soundtrack which I've been wanting for ages and my wife got the God Help The Girl soundtrack, which she was pretty happy about. Unfortunately Louie wasn't working but the two guys there (an older gentleman with long hair and a younger guy with a beard) were nice. Dave's Records was also really great, despite being a smaller store it had a great selection and Dave (I'm assuming that's who was behind the counter) was a class act. I got a nice stack of vinyl to haul on the plane, so thanks for the advice!

The Art Institute was on another level. I'm not a huge art person but there was a lot even I recognize. We had gone to the Vancouver art gallery last year, but it doesn't compare. 

Beautiful city, I can't wait to come again, hopefully with better weather!

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I'll be in Chicago from next Saturday (May 6) to the 15th. This was supposed to be a trip for job interviews (and it may still be to an extent), but it's looking more and more like it'll probably be my only vacation in 2017. As such I'm hoping to enjoy myself. The Art Institute is one of my favorite museums in the world. I'm looking forward to eyeballing "Whistler's Mother." I'm also hoping to catch a Sox game, and I won tickets from XRT to the Real Estate show at the Vic on May 12. I'll be staying with one of my oldest friends, and Chicago's pretty much my favorite American city. Very much looking forward to my time there.

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Reckless in the Loop was indeed pretty small, but the Wicker Park Reckless was great. Permanent Records was exactly the kind of record store I don't like. The selection itself wasn't great, at least not for what I'm into, and the guy working there wasn't very friendly. However, Laurie's Planet of Sound more than made up for that, I scored the I'm Not There soundtrack which I've been wanting for ages and my wife got the God Help The Girl soundtrack, which she was pretty happy about. Unfortunately Louie wasn't working but the two guys there (an older gentleman with long hair and a younger guy with a beard) were nice. Dave's Records was also really great, despite being a smaller store it had a great selection and Dave (I'm assuming that's who was behind the counter) was a class act. I got a nice stack of vinyl to haul on the plane, so thanks for the advice!

The Art Institute was on another level. I'm not a huge art person but there was a lot even I recognize. We had gone to the Vancouver art gallery last year, but it doesn't compare. 

Beautiful city, I can't wait to come again, hopefully with better weather!

Glad you had an okay experience at Laurie's. I am part time and mostly evenings.  You met John the owner and Paul one of the main clerks..Glad you found stuff.  We all work pretty hard to make sure there are plenty of interesting LPs in the bins, especially since we aren't all that big.

 

LouieB

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