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Women Tell Women About Chicago

Low hotel rates and great candy...

I was born and raised in Chicago and it holds a very dear place in my heart because it is the most wonderful city. Friendly, helpful people on the street who don't mind giving directions, making suggestions, etc. I've been gone a few years now but I make frequent trips back. My last visit (summer 2005), I stayed at The Days Inn across the street from the Lincoln Park Zoo. The rates were much lower than any hotel in the Michigan Ave. area and the hotel provides free transportation down to the Magnificent Mile for shopping or the Art Institute (10-15 minute ride) or anywhere you wish to go within reason. The staff was helpful and very approachable.

A well kept secret, at least I've never seen it listed in tourist books, is the breathtaking mosaic ceiling in the OLD main library downtown. Go in the Randolph Street entrance, up the magnificent marble staircase to the second floor looking at the inlaid mosaic walls as you climb the stairs to the circle rooms which are inlaid with jewel like tiles which spell out sayings, quotes from masterpiece literature of the world. Sometimes those rooms are used for string quartets or mini-concerts. Please don't make a mistake by going to the NEW Washington Library which is also downtown.

Also be sure and pick up a box of Fannie May candy at any number of outlets. Try the pixies and the apricot filled bonbons. Marshall Fields also carries Fannie May's Frango Mints in a large choice of flavors. When you visit Marshall Fields you can also pick up a very reasonable lunch in their basement. Chicago is filled with 4 and 5 star restaurants but if you want fast and cheap this basement lunch suits that bill. I hope these tips are helpful.
Mary, Arizona, USA

Marshall Fields during the holidays, etc...

Born and raised in Chicago I have many wonderful memories of going downtown, especially at holiday time. Today I live in a different city, but I always find time to visit during Christmas. (1) First stop is Marshall Field's Department Store on State Street. It's the flagship store and not to be missed (holidays or not). The architecture and many floors of displays will occupy the shopping woman traveler for hours. Visit the Field's museum in the store to see the past of this famous retailer. Check in at visitor services to get a free coupon booklet to use in the store. Not to be missed is the Walnut Room restaurant --especially at Christmas time. Their giant tree is fabulous. One caveat -- go early -- they don't take reservations! (2) Next on the agenda would be a visit to the Field Museum on Lake Shore Drive. Here you can dive into history and spend an afternoon away from the wind! (3)Take a walk down/up Michigan Avenue just to window shop. The stores will amaze you. Then, be sure to walk down to the lake -- about two-three blocks east of Michigan Avenue. No matter what time of year, it's a beautiful site (and sight). (4) Take in a play at any one of the fabulous theaters. The venues are small and seats are always good. (5) Dublin's Irish pub on Rush is a favorite place to warm up after a long shopping trip or for a casual dinner.

Chicago things I miss most...

I lived in Chicago for about 4 years, and worked there as a massage therapist. Things in the city I miss most:

Tiffani Kim Institute, where I worked - there are a few locations, but it's a great place for a massage, body treatment, facial, or manicure/pedicure. The original location at 310 W. Superior houses a spa, a hair salon, a wellness center (with acupuncture, and a nutritionist) and a boutique.

Club Lago - across the street from Tiffani Kim Institute, run by brothers, Guido and Gian Carlo, 3rd generation owner/managers of this great little neighborhood bar and restaurant. The food is great, the prices are reasonable, and Gian Carlo and Guido greet most customers by name. If you ever dreamed of having a real life "Cheers" - this place is it. I recommend the bourbon list and the baked pasta.

Always free is the Lincoln Zoo - where else can you see elephants and high rises in one glance? And across from the Zoo entrance is the Nature Museum, with interactive attractions and a butterfly garden.

The view from the Hancock Observatory beats the view from the Sears Tower, hands down. Plus it's cheaper, less crowded, and closer to other tourist attractions like The Water Tower and shopping on Miracle Mile (Michigan Avenue).

If architecture is your thing, Chicago is a great town for it, and there are several reputable tours. The gangster tour of Chicago is a really fun tour and the guides are in character, which is also a hoot but not necessarily women-centered (

A drive on Lake Shore Drive (from the northernmost part driving into downtown), with the lake on your left and the city before you is a definite sight-seeing must.

If you're visiting in the summer, check out the neighborhood festivals if you can. There's often about one every weekend in different parts of the city, and they're great fun little strolls through a neighborhood, blocked off with food, music and vendors. Keep in mind that Chicago is more a bunch of very different neighborhoods than one big city and you'll get even more out of your trip!
Ann, Las Vegas, USA

Famous women with Chicago connections...

Julia Louis Dreyfus
Ann Margaret
Mahalia Jackson
Oprah Winfrey
Nancy Reagan
Ann Landers and her sister Abby

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