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Chicago Visit Coming Up- Where to Stay?

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Greetings, Chicagoans- an upcoming visit has me looking for places to stay in Chicago. We do NOT want to rent a car. We're walk/take transit kind of people and are looking for a hotel/B&B situation that will support us getting easy access to/from some of the major museums, and also access to good local dining/shops, etc.

We don't know whether it would make more sense to stay downtown in the loop area or to stay in one of the neighborhoods out of the city core along a CTA line. Any suggestions? Any ideas for interesting things to do/visit that are not as well known as the Fields museum, Wrigley, Art Institute, etc?

Any help would be much appreciated.

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For cheap, there's a Motel 6 in Schiller Park, it's near the Rosemont stop on the El's O'Hare Blue Line. Usually runs $60/night, which is probably as cheap as you'll find. There's a diner right outside as well. It's about a 15 minute walk to the station, but it doesn't sound like that'll bother you too much.

As for downtown, there's not a whole lot that's really economically priced. City Suites Hotel, as well as the somewhat similar Majestic Hotel, are reasonably inexpensive and I've heard are nice places to stay. There's also the Best Western River North which is pretty much smack dab in downtown.

Places to eat? Pizzerias Uno and Due, right around the corner from each other, are totally worth the wait. The pizza is unbelieveable. I also like Ed Debevic's Short Order Deluxe, a 50's style diner where the waitstaff is suitibly curt. Pretty cheap, too. There's also a Chipotle on Michigan Ave., just south of the Chicago River which is a favourite place of mine to recharge.

Stuff to do? Check out the Frank Lloyd Wright house in West Suburban Oak Park, as well as the surrounding neighborhood. I believe you take the Green Line's Oak Park stop, though I'm not completely positive. The zoo in Lincoln Park is supposed to be a very nice place, and the beaches along the Gold Coast are also supposed to be pleasant enough, though crowded. Well south of the Loop is Promontory Point, at 55th st. and Lake Shore Drive/highway 41. Technically in the odd duck, but much beloved Kenwood and Hyde Park neighborhoods, it's a great spot from which to see Lake Michigan's waves crashing onshore and observe Chicago's skyline. Take a drive in a taxi down Lake Shore Drive past downtown for another very interesting view of downtown. Also, if you're into peoplewatching, riding the El and taking a stroll on the Magnificent Mile (Michigan Avenue, north of the River) are some of the best places I've seen to do it. Sears Tower's obsercation deck might be taller, but locals will tell you that the one on the John Hancock building's more quiet, has a lesser-known view of the city, and is a buck cheaper, to boot. The Harold Washington Library in the Loop is worth a visit just for the sheer impressiveness of it. It is in fact the largest municipal library in the nation, and is a beautiful place inside.

That's all I'm coming up with off the top of my head. If I think of anything else, I'll let ya know...

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