Scroll down for information on places to eat near the conference center, hotel and transport information, and suggestions for things to see during your visit to Chicago. Also for information of a special tour for TAG participants of the Charnley-Perksy House, by Dr. Rebecca Graff.
Like the look of our lovely TAG T-shirts? They feature the Chicago-TAG logo, designed by Kate Franklin. Email Johanna Pacyga (email@example.com) to order one for youself as a souvenir!
The conference will be held in the Gleacher Conference Center, which is located in the downtown neighborhood known as "The Loop".
Rooms have been reserved for TAG participants at the downtown Sheraton. Book by following this link. For other hotel options, please see below.
Alternatively, it is usually cheaper to find a room through vacation sublets sites such as Airbnb. When searching these sites, neighborhoods that are within walking distance of the conference center will be listed as The Loop or Downtown. Within a short and easy bus/train ride: the Gold Coast, River North/West, West/South Loop, Old Town. Easy to reach on public transport but approx 30-45 mins away: Wicker Park, Ukrainian Village, West Town, Bucktown, Lincoln Park, Andersonville, Edgewater, Lakeview.
Chicago has a safe and reliable system of public transport (known as the CTA). It is also easy to hail taxis in the street in most neighborhoods (but not in Hyde Park). Maps and trip planners are available here or through google maps. CTA cards are valid on both buses and trains, but can only be purchased at train stations. Buses also take cash (exact change only). A single journey costs $2.50, with an additional $0.25 for the second transfer and the third transfer free (for trips taken within 2 hours). The Metra is not part of the CTA system – tickets must be brought separately at the Metra station.
Taxis and shuttles are available from both airports to anywhere in the city and cost approx $30-60, but particularly during rush hours the train is a much faster and more direct way to get into the city. From O'hare, the Blue Line will take you directly to the loop. From Midway take the Orange Line direct.
A taxi from the Loop to Hyde Park will cost approximately $20-30, but note that although it is easy to hail a taxi in the loop it is almost impossible to find a taxi in the street in Hyde Park! Taxis can be booked, however: 312-829-4222 (Yellow Cab), 773-561-4444 (Flash Cab), 312-380-9938 (Blue Ribbon Cab).
The following buses go from the Loop to Hyde Park on a regular basis: 6, 2, X28. For exact routes, check google maps. We advise you to take a bus to Hyde Park rather than take the Red or Green lines. The Metra also goes directly to Hyde Park from the Loop.
Folow this link for an interactive map of places to eat near the Gleacher center and downtown hotels, with particular focus on lunch spots and vegan/vegetarian/gluten free options.
Located less than two miles from the Gleacher Center, the Charnley-Perksy House stands as an example of the collaboration between architects Louis Sullivan and Frank Lloyd Wright. It was also the site of a 2010 archaeological excavation, and will host another excavation season in summer 2013. With the permission of the Society of Architectural Historians, project director Rebecca S. Graff will take a group of up to 15 people to visit the site and tour its Gold Coast neighborhood on Friday, May 10 at 5:15 PM. We will leave directly from the Gleacher Center. Please email Rebecca Graff (firstname.lastname@example.org) to reserve a slot.
Images from this site come from the Rookery building, and from the recently restored Louis Sullivan Wabash Avenue storefront on State Street. Tours of the Rookery are available every day, and are organized by the Chicago Architecture Foundation, who also offer a wide range of interesting tours around the city.
The Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise is by far the most popular way to get a taste of the city's architectural diversity and history. While there are many companies that offer boat tours of Chicago, the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s river cruise is the best for the serious architecture fan. Their 90-minute tours cost $37.85 per person plus tax, and they depart just steps away from the Gleacher center.
If you don't have time for a full tour, we suggest visiting the Chicago Cultural Center. A short walk from the Gleacher Center, the Chicago Cultural Center is a good starting place for tourists. Not only it is housed in the former main branch of the Chicago Library (1897--Shepley, Rutan & Coolidge), it contains the world’s largest Tiffany stained-glass dome, an exhibit on Chicago architectural history, and the Chicago Visitor Information Center.
A slightly different options is Bobby’s Bike Hike. This company offers a variety of tours of Chicago’s neighborhoods for the cycling enthusiast, including a tour of Chicago’s Lakefront. Tours range from $35, and include the use of a bicycle and helmet. Alternatively there is the Chicago Segway Tour. No judgment here — if you want to explore the city in a 21st century manner, the Chicago Segway tours are available, starting at $79. Even if you don’t rent one, chances are you will witness other tourists zipping around Chicago’s Museum Campus and other lakefront sites.
Chicago has a wide range of fantastic museums, many of which are situated close to the conference center in the Loop or on the "Museum Campus". Other places in the loop to check out include Millennium Park. For those interested in Chicago's historic neighborhoods, the Encyclopedia of Chicago History is free online and a great source of inspiration.
Chicago is famous for its food and drink - we like to think we have everything New York has, but without the pretentiousness... So if you are new to Chicago, be sure to set time aside to enjoy some of the many eating and drinking options the city has to offer. While the restaurant recommendations above are for lunch spots near the conference center, listed below are some of Mary's personal recommendations for places to visit on Sunday or Friday night, when you have time to get away from the Loop. No doubt every other Chicagoan at TAG will disagree and offer up their own version of the 'must try' options... But these should get you started! For the professional take, check out the reviews in Urban Spoon and The Chicago Reader.
Let's start with bars! A map was recently put together that claims to list the 100 best bars in Chicago. Some of the suggestions on here are inexplicable (such as all the listings under "10 Best for Grub"), but most of the recommendations are pretty reliable.
Chicago went through something of a cocktail craze a few years back: prohibition era recipes and speakeasy-style bars were popping up everywhere. The novelty of not being able to locate the entrance has worn off somewhat, but not our taste for intriguing and experimental drinks. Time Out has a good (and up-to-date) review of some of the best. I'd recommend avoiding the Violet Hour entirely (unless you're happy spending at least two hours waiting to get in), checking out The Watershed if you want somewhere delicious and cozy in the Loop, and if you are looking to get an entire theatrical experience with your drink, try The Aviary. Weegee's is by far the best of the bunch, but you might need a taxi to get there and back again.
For the beer drinkers, there are a range of great options. Chicago microbreweries that also have restaurants/bars include Piece, Goose Island and Revolution Brewing. For the best selection of beers from around the world, check out The Hopleaf, The Burger Bar, Small Bar or The Map Room. The Hopleaf gets crowded on Friday and Saturday night, so get there early or be prepared to wait (fyi - its worth the wait!). With the exception of The Map Room, all these places also do great food.
For something entirely different, try The Emporium Arcade Bar.
Food! Well there are plenty of up-scale options for fine dining. But what you really have to do is try a Chicago hotdog. The classic "gourmet" option is Hot Dougs: an experience in and of itself... But it has odd hours, and on summer weekends the line is so long you really need to get there at least an hour before it opens. The best no-frills classic Chicago hotdog is probably Murphey's Red Hots. Tacos have also recently been getting the gourmet/hipster treatment. Big Star (also a great bar) led the charge, but now has competition from Antique Taco. Both are in the Wicker Park neighborhood, but for more authentic options head to Pilsen.
Check back later for more info on theater and music events going on in Chicago over that weekend, and other options for entertainment.