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  #1  
Old 27-02-2004, 06:13 AM
sueellen
 
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Default Key Post: Chicago or Washington???

Hi,

I am planning a holiday for myself and my hubby late April to the States. I plan on flying Aer Lingus and have narrowed it down to visit Chicago or Washington.

I would appreciate any info (Hotels etc..)on either city.

Does anyone have any idea of weather that time of year in Chicago?

Thanks,

Carrie
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  #2  
Old 27-02-2004, 07:30 AM
hooper
 
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Default .

In DC the Topaz Hotel is a great spot. Right in the middle of Dupont Circle too. You can get cheap deals on some internet sites (~$100).

Chicago is much more fun if that's more important than galleries and monuments.
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  #3  
Old 27-02-2004, 07:46 PM
Brouhahaha
 
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Default Re: .

I lived in Chicago over last winter and summer, fabulous city in my opinion. Weather in April is very pleasant, expect warm and sunny but not hot.

There are great cultural sites to see. If art is your thing don't miss the Chicago Art institute. Do a tour of the city, there is an architectural tour by boat around the water ways that is excellent. If you want to go up a sky scraper the Sears Tower is the tallest but the second tallest, the John Hancock tower, has a bar on the top floor. Great place for a beer! By the way if you go in the front door to go to the viewing galary you are charged $10 but if you go in the side door to the right and say you are going to the bar it is free and the bar is higher than the viewing galary!

For hotels it depends on your budget. For great location check out Fitzpatricks, it's absolutly central, don't know about the cost. Otherwise I would suggest searching hotels.com.

If I can help with any more info just ask.
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  #4  
Old 27-02-2004, 08:08 PM
ckc123
 
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Default Washington DC

I am extremely biased as I am from Washington, but I highly recommend it!! There is an absolute treasure trove of museums, galleries, great restaurants, great nightlife in Adams Morgan and Georgetown. It has more of a small town feel, as there is no industry there - except for the government! There are many parks, etc, and itis only a short drive to the Blue Ridge Parkway, the Eastern Shore/Baltimore, etc.

There is a lovely Jury's hotel at Dupont Circle - very central - near all of the embassies.

Enjoy!
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  #5  
Old 27-02-2004, 11:34 PM
lovechicago
 
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Default Chicago or Washington

Have been to both in the past two years. Washington is exactly as you see on TV and solely for that is fantastic. Lots to see but only for a day or two. Chicago on the other hand is unbeatable - most fantastic architecture, defo take an architecture tour, we did the walking one as the boat one wasn't running and although it may sound boring was absolutley fantasatic - great for just $12. We stayed on Michigan Avenue (the main street) in a lovely hotel called the Essex Inn www.essexinn.com - it is about a 15 min walk from the main shopping district but is on the same street and given that Americans don't like walking they actually run a courtesy shuttle bus every half hour. We paid $65 per night in the first week of April last year.
There is so much to do in chicago it is unreal - stayed in the city for 8 days which is a long tome as a tourist in a city but felt we didn't see/do it all. If going get a 'citypass' which for something like $40 gives access to 7 museums - Shedd Aquarium, Chicgo Art Inst and a few others, all of which were really memorable. Look up the United Centre on the web and oyu may also be able to catch an Ice Hockey or basketball game there as well.
It is right on the nicest lake, spotlessly clean and for some boardwalk fun there is Navy Pier with some fun kinda restaurants

All in all - given the choice would go back to Chicago every time
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  #6  
Old 28-02-2004, 06:27 AM
carriehair
 
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Default Chicago or Washington

Thank- you everyone for that great information.

I have just booked for Chicago (flight times were ideal). Washington will definitely be second on our list but perhaps for just a short break.

Please bear with me while I pick your brains another bit.
Is Michigan Avenue the main shopping area in Chicago? Are most hotels based in this area?
Is a car necessary?
What tours / sightseeing , if any, are worthwhile taking outside the city?

It is fantastic to have "local" insight into an area. It cuts down on researching travel guides quite a bit.

Again Thank - You.
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  #7  
Old 29-02-2004, 06:15 AM
sluice44
 
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Default Re: Chicago or Washington

In Chicago, try and see the 'stock exchange' or whatever it's called there. It's amazing to see everyone running around shouting at each other!!

Sluice
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  #8  
Old 29-02-2004, 06:21 AM
sluice44
 
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Default Re: Washington DC

Hi ckc123,
Washington is one place in the States that I'd love to visit but I've heard negative things about it. In particular, all the Govt employees etc leave at 5pm and go to the suburbs. In other words, Washington is great during the day but deadly after dark!

I've been told to stay in Philly or NY and do Washington, via Amtrak, as a day trip or a 2 day visit.

What do you think? I'm not looking for an argument just an honest opinion. As I said, it's somewhere I'd love to visit.

Sluice
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  #9  
Old 29-02-2004, 06:31 AM
hooper
 
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Default .

It is a suit town and a lot of people do commute to the suburbs in Maryland or Virginia. But it is also a university town (Georgetown, Catholic U) and has some upmarket districts like Georgetown, Adams Morgan, Dupont Circle as well as the bad. It does not become a Mad Max wasteland after dark, there's no need to run 2 hours on the train to safety!
It is a good city to spend a few nights in, honest.

PS. Amtrak is expensive, it's often cheaper to fly. There are several Chinatown coach companies that run between DC and NY for $35 return if you don't mind hollywood movies dubbed into chinese for 4 hours.
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  #10  
Old 01-03-2004, 06:24 PM
Brouhahaha
 
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Default Re: .

Michigan Avenue is the main street (called also the Magnificent Mile) and is the main shopping area. You'll get everything from Burbery and Armani to Filnes Basement (discount designer) there.

There are a lot of hotels in this area, if a hotel says it is inside "The Loop" it is central.

A car is not necessary for the city, there is a very good bus system. There is also a trolley bus service for tourists that goes to the popular tourist sites (Field Museam, Shedd Aquarium, Navy Pier, Sears Tower, Michigan Avenue, Art Institute...).

The first tour I would take is the open top bus tour that loops around the center of the city - it will give you a feel for the layout. You can get on and off and it takes about 1 hour in total. I would recommend the boat tour on the waterways as well. I don't know about tours outside the city as I didn't take any.

Something that you might consider (between shopping ;-) is a baseball game. The Cubs are a Chicago institution and play in one of the oldest grounds in the US (Wrigley Field). It's in the city and is not that far from the centre and is also a great area for bars. I think the season starts around April. If the game isn't interesting the beer and hotdogs always are!
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  #11  
Old 01-03-2004, 08:13 PM
Brouhahaha
 
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Default Re: .

This website gives locations for hotels:

Map of Chicago Hotels
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  #12  
Old 06-04-2004, 02:50 AM
carriehair
 
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Default Chicago

Hi,

Just a quick update on our plans. We are travelling to Chicago at the end of April. We have booked Fitzpatricks Hotel.

Does anyone know if Fitzpatricks provide an airport shuttle service?. I have emailed them but alas no reply as yet.

Is Gurney Mills Shopping outlet accessible by public transport - or is it even worth going out there?

Carrie
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  #13  
Old 06-04-2004, 06:59 PM
veron01
 
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Default Re: Chicago

Gurney Mills is excellent. There is absolutely amazing bargains to be had especially in Gap, Berlington Coat Factory etc. You could easily spend the day there if not more.

Sorry am not sure re transport as drove there with family.
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