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9 Hour Layover with senior Mom

9 Hour Layover with senior Mom

Old Jun 11, 12, 2:34 am
  #1  
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9 Hour Layover with senior Mom

Hello,

My 75 year old Mother and I will have a layover in ORD from 10:30am to 8:50 pm in early September. We've never been to Chicago before and are interested in seeing the famous buildings, art, museums, and sights. Shopping, drinking and dining are not so important although I hope we can find a good deep dish pizza to try. My Mom can get around pretty well so walking is fine but I don't want to rush her. I figure we should head back to ORD around 6:30 pm on the train.

We will be coming from Canada and will have checked our big luggages but will have two small rolling carry ons with us. Our connecting flight is a United domestic flight.

Would you kindly suggest some sights? We'd like to take the subway/train if possible. Thanks very much!
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Old Jun 11, 12, 11:13 am
  #2  
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You will clear customs in Canada, so you'll be landing at the domestic terminal. If my assumption that you're flying United/Air Canada is correct, you'll most likely be landing in terminal 2, although possibly 1. In either case, just follow the signs for the CTA/Trains to City. You do NOT want the ATS, which is the shuttle between terminals. At the CTA station there are machines where you can buy tickets, for my route you'll need 4 fares total, and you can use a single card and just "pass it back" at the turnstiles to the second person.

The biggest issue is your carryons. To my knowledge there is no left luggage at ORD, although some people have left bags at the Hilton - allow 15 extra minutes on either side to deal with that.

In any case, if your flight is ontime you should be at the train station and on a train by 11, and in the loop by 11:45. There is no possibility of getting on the wrong train at ORD, as all trains are the Blue line toward the Loop. I'd suggest getting off at Washington.

I'd then suggest an early lunch at Pizano's, 61 E. Madison. When you get off the train at Washington, Madison is the next block in the direction the train was traveling (there may be a marked exit for Madison from the station, I can't remember) and walk East on Madison past State St. and then Wabash.

When you get off the train at ORD and exit the station there is a large departure board directly in front of you which will give you gate information for your departing flight.

After lunch, The Art Insitute is right across Michigan Avenue, or I'd suggest taking the Architectural Foundation Boat Tour:

http://www.architecture.org/page.aspx?pid=574

The boats leave from Michigan and the River, about a 10-15 minute walk from Pizano's. Reservations are strongly suggested.

After the boat tour or museum, you could walk through Macy's aka Marshall Fields, at State/Randolph, or walk up north Michigan to see part of the Magnificent Mile. (Macy's put's you closer to the CTA stop for the trip home).

Leaving by 6:30 seems like good timing, I'd go a little later, but I'm local.

You can board the Blue line at any stop in the loop, with Clark/Lake being the last stop in the loop. The trains will be marked "O'Hare".

If you have a bit of extra time and energy, I suggest a walk up part of LaSalle street, which is lined with beautiful old banks and office buildings.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 2:12 pm
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I'll second the suggestion for the Architectural Foundation Boat Tour. Advanced reservations are strongly suggested (they regularly sell out). You might want to double check to confirm that luggage can be brought on board, otherwise I'd suggest seeing if you could store the bags at the Hyatt, which is nearby.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 2:22 pm
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Do the boat tour in good weather, when it's pleasant to be on the outdoor deck.

Before making plans, try to check whether the blue line has any track work scheduled for your travel date. If you must get off and take a shuttle bus, then get on again, this adds time and hassle to your journey.

Personally, I would plan the day to alternate walking and sitting activities; for instance, museum first, then boat. I would also plan the pizza to be a late lunch or early dinner, given your schedule.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 7:11 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
I'll second the suggestion for the Architectural Foundation Boat Tour.
One of the Chicago magazines recently reviewed a number of the boat tours and chose this as the best one. I agree.

http://timeoutchicago.com/things-to-...ecture-cruises

You also might want to wander Millennium Park; people come from around the world specifically to see this gorgeous example of city landscape architecture. Right next to the Art Institute, one of the great art museums in the world.
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Old Jun 11, 12, 11:44 pm
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Thank you all for taking the time to offer such useful tips - so much appreciated!

MSPeconomist & toomanybooks - Thank you for the boat info & review link and we will definitely enjoy Millenium Park, excellent.

chgoeditor - Good idea re checking luggage, txs!

milepig - Your suggestions are exactly what we would like to do - thank you for the ideas and also the great train directions, incredibly helpful! What time do you suggest to be on the train going back to ORD if we already have boarding passes?
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Old Jun 12, 12, 7:12 am
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Also:

If you have time, walking on Michigan Avenue (Magnificent Mile) would be a good thing to do as mentioned. If you run short of time or don't want to walk to a Blue Line stop, taxis in the downtown area are cheap.
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Old Jun 12, 12, 8:06 am
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Originally Posted by denisiel View Post
What time do you suggest to be on the train going back to ORD if we already have boarding passes?
Originally Posted by toomanybooks View Post
Also:

If you have time, walking on Michigan Avenue (Magnificent Mile) would be a good thing to do as mentioned. If you run short of time or don't want to walk to a Blue Line stop, taxis in the downtown area are cheap.
You need to be at your gate no later than 8:30 for an 8:50 flight, and I'm one who would want to be there by 8:15 when they begin boarding. Working backwards, you need to allow 45 minutes for the train, up to a 10 minute wait for a train at the station, 15 minutes walk from the train to your gate (that's likely the max) and 20 minutes in security. That totals to 90 minutes, so I'd want to be at the Clark/Lake CTA station by 6:45 at the latest.

Good tip from toomanyhbooks on the taxi. You can easily hail a taxi from wherever you are in the general loop area as late as 6:30 and be at the station in just a few minutes. Rush hour will be mostly past, and it'll cost just a few dollars.

The CTA does a really good job about posting upcoming work that would cause delays, and you can check the status of the Blue line the day before you begin your journey.
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Old Jun 13, 12, 12:57 pm
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+1 for the Architectural Boat Tour!
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Old Sep 12, 12, 11:19 pm
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We ended up with a four day trip to Chicago and did everything on the City Pass plus the Architectural Boat Tour - what a fantastic city! If we did end up with just the 9 hour layover I would have been happy with the Boat Tour and the Science & Industry Museum. CTA was easy to use and the local Chicagoians were very courteous and helpful.
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Old Sep 14, 12, 7:43 pm
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^ for the Architectural River Cruise. Even as a Chicagoan that has taken it a number of times, I still love doing that one again.
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