Agile 2009 Visitors, the Grenning’s Chicago Recomendations

Any of you people coming to Chicago for the Agile conference, here are a few of my wife’s and my recommendations for things to do in the the city. Most of these activities are within walking distance of the conference hotel.

Grant Park Museum Campus
1) Natural History Museum
– Excellent museum, with the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex. You will be glad “Sue” is extinct. Lots of interesting exhibits.
2) Adler Planetarium
– if you have never been to a planetarium, go see their sky show. They have a great exhibition of historic astronomy gear also.
3) Shedd Aquarium
– if you like sea life, check it out. They have a dolphin and beluga whale show
4) Chicago Art Institute

Do not bother with the Science Museum. It used to be great and is still at least OK. But it has been dumbed down. It is also rather far from the city center, too.

Grant Park, Buckingham Fountain, Millennium Park
See the big bubble of mercury, LED water sculpture, giant overhead spider web. They have free evening concerts there.

Architectural walking tours

Architectural boat cruises (Wendella, and others)

Nay pier – Giant Ferris wheel, Shakespearean Theater, nice view of the lake.

Are you interested in going to the top of tall buildings?

Walk down Michigan Ave. Expensive shopping and people watching on the Magnificent Mile. The you come to the John Hancock Building. It is the 2nd tallest building in Chicago, but has the best lakefront view. We don’t go to the observatory, we go to the bar one floor below the observatory. Sit in the window, enjoy the view with a beer. Probably costs about the same as the observatory fee, but you get a beer.

Sears tower is taller, but not on the lake. But it does have a glass ledge to stand on if you dare.

Chicago is famous for Jazz and Blues
– The Green Mill, not close but a classic.
– House of blues – close but not so intimate.

Chicago is famous for gangsters in the 1920’s You could probably get a gangster tour.
– Dillinger, Al Capone are famous bad guys.

Just a plane old walk along the lake shore is great too. Bikes and roller-blades are welcome. I bet there is a Segway tour or rental too.

Lincoln park zoo is a nice, in city, free zoo. We always like to watch the sea lions.

Other Chicagoans please weigh in.

I’ll have my wife make some restaurant recommendations.

5 thoughts on “Agile 2009 Visitors, the Grenning’s Chicago Recomendations

  1. James,

    Thanks a bunch for the information. I’ll be coming the weekend before the conference with my wife, and we’ll be staying at the north end of The Mile. I look forward to checking out Chicago.

    Recommendations for pizza / restaurants are welcomed with baited breath.

    Also, any suggestions on going to the White Sox game on Sunday?

  2. Uno’s is one of the favorite pizza places, though plan on waiting a long time.

    As far as the white sox are concerned, I am a North sider, so I can’t help much. The neighborhood is not great, so take a cab.

    You are a short walk to the zoo from the north end. It is a very nice place to take a walk. There is another museum up that way too, the Chicago Historical Museum.

    On the north end, you are not far from a walk up Lincoln ave, where you can find plenty of food, pubs, and music. Halsted between Armitage and Fullerton has some good food places. For tapas try Cafe Ba Ba Reeba.

  3. Pingback: What to see in Chicago when the sessions are over? « Agile 2009 Conference

  4. Living downtown, I recommend you find restaurants that aren’t on the beaten path. Those tend to be pretentious, expensive, and mediocre. Walk around the corner from the popular streets or take a cab to the neighborhoods for the real restaurants.

    If you love architecture, consider a tour of the Frank Lloyd Wright houses in Oak Park. You can get there on the Green Line. The river tours are fun, too. Also, the Art Institute has a new wing designed by Lorenzo Piano.

  5. I was in Chicago last summer and one of the highlights was the architectural boat tour that left from Navy Pier. It was awesome.

    Also, apparently the best view of Chicago is from the woman’s bathroom on the bar level of the Hancock building – my fiance can vouch for that 😉

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