Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Destinations > America - USA > Midwest
Reload this Page >

Need suggestions for an interesting "suburban" destination

Need suggestions for an interesting "suburban" destination

Old Apr 4, 16, 8:52 am
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Question Need suggestions for an interesting "suburban" destination

Am meeting an old friend from high school in the Chicago area to visit up over the weekend of June 24-26 (I live in San Francisco and she in Cleveland). We did this once before when I had a meeting and stayed in downtown Chicago. This time since it is such a short trip and not a fun time getting into the loop on a Friday afternoon (my meeting in Deerfield) I thought we might try to find something interesting within an hour of ORD in the suburban or more rural area.

Can anyone make a suggestion about this? Would like something(s) interesting do to on Saturday - a botanical garden, museums, places to walk/hike, etc. Would also like some non-chain hotel that would be lovelier than one of those, but don't expect the Four Seasons in that area, nor do I want to spend $700/night. Kohler Wisconsin was an idea, but it is 2 hours away (and the one hotel I checked was booked solid for the month).

My cousin suggested Long Grove - doesn't seem to be much to do but shopping and only lower end chain hotels, but could be an option. Any ideas??

Many thanks - long request I know!
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 9:23 am
  #2  
formerly AtomicLush
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ORD (formerly SAN)
Programs: Hilton Diamond; IHG Spire; AA Platinum Pro (DH = EXP), Delta Gold
Posts: 1,664
There are a ton to do in the area. Ravina https://www.ravinia.org/ is an outdoor concert/festival arena in the North Shore. A lot of people grab some salad/soups/groceries from nearby Anton's Fruit Ranch http://antonsfruitranch.com/ and picnic there.

There's also the Chicago Botanic Gardens http://www.chicagobotanic.org/ right in the area. In addition to the typical garden variety garden (pardon the pun), it's actually really lovely with a section of Japanese Gardens and ponds.

The appeal of Long Grove is that it's very historic with a lot of the main areas and shops with the "hometown / Mainstreet" vibe. Certain days of the summer are festival days with food from nearby farms - the most famous is Strawberry Fest. http://www.visitlakecounty.org/Event...s?EventID=8834

Non-chain hotels are harder to come by. I can't think of any off the top of my head. Also, I've been to Kohler and was not that impressed. Overpriced and I've had better showers in some InterContinentals.
TravelLawyer is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 11:11 am
  #3  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Thank you AtomicLush. Will look all of this up when I get home. What I have found for lodging that seems to be the "best" in that area without going too far afield is the Hampton Suites in Lincolnshire. Looks "fine" but would appreciate any other suggestions in that area or other areas. The chain hotels have overrun the internet so I always know I am missing some of the more interesting local ones.

[Not totally opposed to a B & B but I notice that 2 of the better looking ones in the area are very recently closed.]
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 11:25 am
  #4  
Moderator: Information Desk, FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Chicago, IL, USA
Programs: AA Gold
Posts: 12,262
What about Evanston? You're an easy El or train ride into the city, plus you can drive north to Highland Park/Ravinia/the Botanic Gardens. Evanston now has some great bars and restaurants. There are several decent hotels. Plus, Northwestern's graduation is the week before, so hotels should be available and affordable, and restaurant reservations easy to score.
chgoeditor is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 12:35 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
What about Evanston? You're an easy El or train ride into the city, plus you can drive north to Highland Park/Ravinia/the Botanic Gardens. Evanston now has some great bars and restaurants. There are several decent hotels. Plus, Northwestern's graduation is the week before, so hotels should be available and affordable, and restaurant reservations easy to score.
Interesting idea. I was born in the Chicago area (left at 3 except for short visits to see relatives) but spent some time in Evanston seeing relatives a long while ago but have always liked it. Can look into that and wonder if Highland Park would also be an option. Any idea how hard it would be to get the Evanston from ORD? Will be easy from where my meeting is!
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 12:48 pm
  #6  
formerly AtomicLush
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: ORD (formerly SAN)
Programs: Hilton Diamond; IHG Spire; AA Platinum Pro (DH = EXP), Delta Gold
Posts: 1,664
Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Interesting idea. I was born in the Chicago area (left at 3 except for short visits to see relatives) but spent some time in Evanston seeing relatives a long while ago but have always liked it. Can look into that and wonder if Highland Park would also be an option. Any idea how hard it would be to get the Evanston from ORD? Will be easy from where my meeting is!
There is no easy way to get to Evanston from ORD - are you renting a car? Google maps is your friend. Otherwise, you'd need to taxi or Uber. And there are also no local non-chain hotels in that area either that comes to mind.

Hampton in Lincolnshire seems a little far from Deerfield and the North Shore. There's an Embassy Suites and a Marriott Suites in the Deerfield business park. If you want more of a boutique feel, there's a Hotel Indigo in Vernon Hills (but that's just as far as the Hampton).
TravelLawyer is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 1:23 pm
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Originally Posted by AtomicLush View Post
There is no easy way to get to Evanston from ORD - are you renting a car? Google maps is your friend. Otherwise, you'd need to taxi or Uber. And there are also no local non-chain hotels in that area either that comes to mind.

Hampton in Lincolnshire seems a little far from Deerfield and the North Shore. There's an Embassy Suites and a Marriott Suites in the Deerfield business park. If you want more of a boutique feel, there's a Hotel Indigo in Vernon Hills (but that's just as far as the Hampton).
Was hoping I could get the car and end up in Deerfield at my meeting (ending Friday afternoon) and just have my friend flying in from CLE get to Evanston, rather than having her need to rent the car. But taking a cab or uber should be fine or maybe one of the surburban taxis.

Will look into hotels - thanks for info.
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 2:15 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Titanium/LT Platinum, Hilton Gold, AA Platinum
Posts: 4,436
Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Was hoping I could get the car and end up in Deerfield at my meeting (ending Friday afternoon) and just have my friend flying in from CLE get to Evanston, rather than having her need to rent the car. But taking a cab or uber should be fine or maybe one of the surburban taxis.

Will look into hotels - thanks for info.
Getting from airport to Evanston on a Friday afternoon is just about as bad as going all the way to Chicago, if that's what I understand your friend would be doing. It will be a better (but still traffic) drive going north if she can meet you in the Deerfield area.

If your meeting will be over by 3:30ish on Friday, I'd suggest meeting your friend downtown and staying there instead. It would be about a 45 min drive for you at that time, assuming normal early rush hour traffic. And your friend should take the blue line L from ORD, which takes about the same amount of time, maybe a few minutes longer.

If you're set on the suburbs, there are lots of hotels in the Lincolnshire/Deerfield/Wheeling area. There's a very nice Westin, a Marriott resort property, Embassy Suites, and lots of Courtyards and similar.

If you get a nice weekend, the north shore beaches such as Highland Park and Lake Forest are another Suburban idea. Not really a lot of museums. As someone else mentioned, Ravinia is an excellent idea for some music that's not so loud that you can't relax and catch up with your friend.

The train service from the north suburbs to downtown Chicago is very good too. No reason you couldn't hop on a train in the morning, spend the day in Chicago, and come back before or after dinner.
JBord is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 5:47 pm
  #9  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Originally Posted by JBord View Post
Getting from airport to Evanston on a Friday afternoon is just about as bad as going all the way to Chicago, if that's what I understand your friend would be doing. It will be a better (but still traffic) drive going north if she can meet you in the Deerfield area.

If your meeting will be over by 3:30ish on Friday, I'd suggest meeting your friend downtown and staying there instead. It would be about a 45 min drive for you at that time, assuming normal early rush hour traffic. And your friend should take the blue line L from ORD, which takes about the same amount of time, maybe a few minutes longer.

If you're set on the suburbs, there are lots of hotels in the Lincolnshire/Deerfield/Wheeling area. There's a very nice Westin, a Marriott resort property, Embassy Suites, and lots of Courtyards and similar.

If you get a nice weekend, the north shore beaches such as Highland Park and Lake Forest are another Suburban idea. Not really a lot of museums. As someone else mentioned, Ravinia is an excellent idea for some music that's not so loud that you can't relax and catch up with your friend.

The train service from the north suburbs to downtown Chicago is very good too. No reason you couldn't hop on a train in the morning, spend the day in Chicago, and come back before or after dinner.
Thanks very much. Last year I took the train in to the loop from somewhere nearish to Buffalo Grove (which is where the meeting actually is), which was not a great experience, so I was hoping that staying outside the city might be easier all around.

But Chicago, of course, is busy and spread out like San Francisco, and solving one problem creates others, like renting a car at ORD (probably not fun) and driving around in the traffic (definitely not fun). And always much harder being so unfamiliar with the area. Doing this all around SF would be easy.

Last year we stayed at the Palmer House and it might make more sense for me to just take some cab/uber option to there and either stay in the loop area or take the train up north. The Botanical Garden was beautiful the only time I was there. It is just such a short amount of time - basically Saturday and a couple of evenings for not night-life people. Trying not to make this too big a project!
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 6:30 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: ORD
Programs: UA Silver, Marriott Titanium/LT Platinum, Hilton Gold, AA Platinum
Posts: 4,436
Originally Posted by mstraveler View Post
Thanks very much. Last year I took the train in to the loop from somewhere nearish to Buffalo Grove (which is where the meeting actually is), which was not a great experience, so I was hoping that staying outside the city might be easier all around.

But Chicago, of course, is busy and spread out like San Francisco, and solving one problem creates others, like renting a car at ORD (probably not fun) and driving around in the traffic (definitely not fun). And always much harder being so unfamiliar with the area. Doing this all around SF would be easy.

Last year we stayed at the Palmer House and it might make more sense for me to just take some cab/uber option to there and either stay in the loop area or take the train up north. The Botanical Garden was beautiful the only time I was there. It is just such a short amount of time - basically Saturday and a couple of evenings for not night-life people. Trying not to make this too big a project!
There's no question you'll hit some traffic going into the city. But from Deerfield it's a straight shot down 94, hard to get it wrong. It just requires a little patience at rush hour.

But it should be much better for your friend to take the L. See if you can drop off the car in the city and save some money too. My thought is there's a lot more to do there, plus you literally have thousands of options for dinner and a few glasses of wine if that's your thing.

If you stay in the suburbs, you'll need the car of course. But it will be easy to drive anywhere. In fact, I wouldn't worry about staying at one of the nicer hotels like the Westin, which is actually near Wheeling's "restaurant row" on Milwaukee Ave., and being able to easily drive anywhere you want to go. For your friend, a cab from ORD to that area is probably around $30-35, so not too bad. A lot more if you stay closer to the lake.
JBord is offline  
Old Apr 4, 16, 7:19 pm
  #11  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: San Francisco
Programs: Four Seasons Aviara (owner), Starwood, Marriott, Hyatt, Hertz President's Circle, United 30+ yrs
Posts: 1,135
Originally Posted by JBord View Post
There's no question you'll hit some traffic going into the city. But from Deerfield it's a straight shot down 94, hard to get it wrong. It just requires a little patience at rush hour.

But it should be much better for your friend to take the L. See if you can drop off the car in the city and save some money too. My thought is there's a lot more to do there, plus you literally have thousands of options for dinner and a few glasses of wine if that's your thing.

If you stay in the suburbs, you'll need the car of course. But it will be easy to drive anywhere. In fact, I wouldn't worry about staying at one of the nicer hotels like the Westin, which is actually near Wheeling's "restaurant row" on Milwaukee Ave., and being able to easily drive anywhere you want to go. For your friend, a cab from ORD to that area is probably around $30-35, so not too bad. A lot more if you stay closer to the lake.
Thank you again JBord. Am going to skip the car altogether and just take uber from Buffalo Grove. Driving around on a Friday - even with patience - will not be anything I want to do after an intense meeting that starts early and lasts all day with two hours of jet lag. And being able to walk to the art museum and lots of restaurants will be easy. And last time we just too the train (steps from the hotel) to ORD on Sunday. Couldn't have been easier. And doing the same basic plan makes the whole thing easier yet.

Very helpful info all - what would I do without this resource ?
mstraveler is offline  
Old Apr 9, 16, 8:22 pm
  #12  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Nov 2002
Location: PWM - the way life should be
Posts: 11,699
You might also check out Lake Geneva, Wisconsin - about 90 mins from downtown Chicago.
gfunkdave is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread