Friday, April 25, 2014

Windy City Attractions and Amusement, or Chicago Good Stuff

In preparation for the 2014 AALS Conference on Clinical Legal Education in Chicago, I am happy to bump this post by Kelly Olson to the blog from the Facebook group.   Enjoy!   (Also, there can not be too much cheese.) 


I appreciate Jeff asking me to participate in the Clinical Professor's Blog. My first post is a list of Chicago Good Stuff for clinical law profs and their families headed to the AALS clinical conference in Chicago.

While I am not a current Chicagoan, I am a former resident and I am frequently asked for a list of what to do when friends head there. I also polled friends for their current favorite restaurants. I hope others will respond with more ideas or corrections.

Please don't take the following as an exhaustive list or as excuses to miss the excellent programming at the conference, just as ideas for when the conference isn't in session.

The Palmer House is surrounded by Chicago treasures. You are within blocks of wonderful art, history and outdoor space. The big steel Cloud Gate (known to locals as the Bean) is in Millennium Park. Beyond the Bean there is lots of green space all the way through to Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park. The Art Institute of Chicago is on South Michigan on the edge of the parks. If you don't have time to explore it all, you can see copies of almost all the art by strolling through the gift shop (there is a second shop in the contemporary wing that focuses on the contemporary art). The gift shops are also a great place to find gifts for the people you left at home.On the lake front there are world class museums including the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium. Chicago’s museums beyond the Loop are also excellent. On the south side by bus or cab is the Museum of Science and Industry, with its famous U-505 submarine and coal mine. The Museum of African American History and the University of Chicago’s Oriental Institute, devoted to the history of the ancient Middle East, or tour the Robie House down by the University of Chicago (Frank Lloyd Wright 1909). Or head south and west by cab or L train (subway) to the Pilsen neighborhood, a predominantly Latino area that is home to another world-class museum, the National Museum of Mexican Art.

It looks like it hasn’t warmed up as much as we might like, so bring a jacket and walk along Michigan Ave., the lake or to Navy Pier. Take in a show at The Auditorium or the Chicago Theater. Just north of downtown via an easy bus or cab ride are the Lincoln Park Zoo, which is free every day of the year and the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, where the butterflies land on your shoulders for pictures. Or take the red line L train to Addison to see Wrigley Field and walk around the ivy covered walls. You can't catch a Cubs game because they aren't in town next week but the neighborhood is still fun. There is also a group headed to the south side to see the White Sox on Tuesday night.

I always recommend Chicago river tours, day or night. Several tour companies have great architectural tours on the history of Chicago including all the different stages of its development.

For a fancy dinner with a view, head to the "Signature Room" Restaurant on the 95th floor of the Hancock Tower. Tip the head waiter and ask for a table at the west windows or south windows. If you don’t want dinner, have a drink at the bar and ladies, use the restroom to see great views of the city. Another traditional place in the city is the Berghoff Bar and Restaurant. They have traditional German food and lots of Chicago history. Greek town is near West of downtown. Go have some flaming cheese. Or stick close to Michigan Ave. and have the servers at the Billy Goat Tavern yell your orders at you or experience Chicago sports history through hundreds of photos at Harry Carry's Restaurant.

The Shopping on North Michigan Ave. or State St. is great, there are too many stores to mention. Marshall Fields is two blocks from the hotel. It's a great store for shopping, lunch, Frango mints and people watching. Some people have accepted change better than I have and call it Macy's. There are many excellent stores and restaurants on Michigan Ave. including a favorite of mine, La Colonial.

Pizza, hot dogs,and Italian beef are the food staples. There are lots of Chicago pizza places and even more opinions about which ones you should go to. Lou Malnati's on State (Gold Coast)has authentic Chicago style pizza that has been around for ages. Others prefer Giordano's or Gino's East. My favorite pizza is a little differ. It is the Chicago Pizza Oven Grindery at 2121 N. Clark, but don't go there because I don't want to wait behind you in line. Whoever you get your dog, remember Chicago style is piled with relish, pickle spears, onions, mustard and more. Absolutely no ketchup on your hot dogs. Mr. Beef or Al’s Beef are favorites for beef with or without peppers.

There are lots of places for other food that doesn't involve as much meat or cheese. Here's a list of some highlights, their neighborhoods and a little about them. 3 dots & a dash (River North) new lettuce entertain you; great bar cocktails & good food, too.Avec (West Loop) a little priceyBellyQ (West loop) (Asian bbq - collaboration with Michael Jordan - cool space design & great reviews)Deca (Gold Coast) (close to them - the dec rooftop bar is fun if it's warm enough, also good brunch)Frontera Grill (River North) Rick BaylessGilt Bar (River North) (good cocktails, fresh menu - a little pricey)Girl & the Goat or Little Goat Diner - Stephanie IzardGT Fish & Oyster (River North) (seafood, brunch Sat & Sun - pricey)Jaipur (West Loop) (Indian food - supposed to be great)The Publican (West Loop) - Great food to shareSlurping Turtle (River North) - (Japanese comfort food, good ambiance & fun)All of these have good drinks & food and are fun Chicago experiences. Again, this isn't an exhaustive list, just some ways to have fun beyond the conference.

Have a great time in Chicago.


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The last time I was in Chicago, Ken Dunham and I were coaching our students to the NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP of the ABA Representation in Mediation competition. I may remind people of this a lot next week.

Posted by: Baker | Apr 25, 2014 4:26:47 PM

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