Chicago New Year

Old Sep 23, 16, 9:11 am
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Chicago New Year

With the great fares out of AMS for trips to ORD I've decided I'm swapping new year in HNL to visit a US city I've never even transmitted through before.

I've tried looking for New Years events but the official Chicago website just says sign up for when news is released however I'd like to at least have a rough idea of where to base myself, hotels etc. Will only be there for 2 nights so any recommendations are appreciated.

So can anyone help with hotels, sports bars, places to eat or nightclubs?

Thanks in advance,

Jamie
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Old Sep 23, 16, 11:18 am
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Originally Posted by Jamier45 View Post
With the great fares out of AMS for trips to ORD I've decided I'm swapping new year in HNL to visit a US city I've never even transmitted through before.

I've tried looking for New Years events but the official Chicago website just says sign up for when news is released however I'd like to at least have a rough idea of where to base myself, hotels etc. Will only be there for 2 nights so any recommendations are appreciated.

So can anyone help with hotels, sports bars, places to eat or nightclubs?

Thanks in advance,

Jamie
I hope you enjoy your first real visit to Chicago!

For the second (I think) year in a row the city is putting on an outdoors New Year's Eve celebration. If you enjoy spending hours outside in the cold, it might be enjoyable, but it's my understanding the inaugural event was a bit of a bust.

Not surprisingly, New Year's Eve is very lucrative for businesses, so you should expect that every bar, restaurant and many concert venues will be holding special events, which typically means charging you a higher price for lower quality meal and drinks compared to what you'd typically pay.

Restaurants typically have two seats on NYE -- one early in the night and another starting at 8 or 9 pm. These are usually prixe fixe menus, even if that isn't the norm for the restaurant, and the second seating often includes a champagne toast and party favors (hat + noisemaker).

Bars run the gamut -- for many there will be no cover and regular priced drinks, other may advertise a package for the night involving some type of open bar (which may technically be illegal in Chicago, I'm not sure) and a band or other entertainment.

You usually see bar, concert and restaurant deals (ones that require a ticket or advanced reservation) beginning in the end of November. However, I believe OpenTable allows you to make NYE reservations 3 months out, so Sept. 30 or Oct. 1.

Because so many places have New Year's packages, we'd really need a bit more guidance to make recommendations. Age, interests, price point, etc.?
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Old Sep 23, 16, 12:15 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post

Because so many places have New Year's packages, we'd really need a bit more guidance to make recommendations. Age, interests, price point, etc.?
Agreed. Based on the facts that the OP will be here only for 2 nights and it will probably be -2 F at that time, I'd suggest staying mainly in the downtown area for everything (generally speaking - loop, River North, and West Loop). I rarely recommend that, but who visits Chicago in January .

My suggestion to the OP is to do a little research on hotels, restaurants, etc. and come back here with some questions and we'll be much more useful. Chicago has too many good hotels, restaurants, bars to just ask open-ended questions.

Additional questions:
Hotel - do you prefer a small boutique or a major chain?
Restaurants - type of food and price range?
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Old Sep 23, 16, 12:43 pm
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Thanks for replying promptly. Hotels I'm not bothered as long as it's got a bed and is clean but would prefer not to have to walk far at that time of the year to main attractions.

Restaurants $100 for meal not Inc drinks or tips seems reasonable to me. I'm known on the BAEC board as being a bit of a drinker so any decent nightclubs or bars or pubs will be very handy including where the young ladies (I'm 27) hang out (also known for having a bit of luck with the ladies)
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Old Sep 23, 16, 3:16 pm
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That doesn't narrow down the options much! Let me give you a short list to get thinking.

Hotels - stay anywhere near the east-west portion of the Chicago River, whatever suits you at a good price. To narrow it down, hotels on Wacker Dr. And north up to Chicago Ave. East of highway 94. This area is River North.

Lots of good restaurants and bars within walking distance...most of the good steak houses, Frontera, and look along Hubbard St. for others, including some fun bars.

It's a quick can ride to the West Loop - Girl and the Goat, Nellcote, Maude's Liquor Bar, Blackbird, Bavette's and lots of others bars and restaurants within walking distance of one another. Randolph St. Is restaurant row.

I'm not much of a club guy, more of a pint at the pub style, so not help much there. But IMO, any of those above are good to get your night started before heading to a club.

This covers one of your nights. As mentioned earlier, bars, restaurants, and clubs will come out with party packages in another month or so. Given your interests, I think you'll want to focus on one in River North.
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Old Sep 23, 16, 10:41 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
For the second (I think) year in a row the city is putting on an outdoors New Year's Eve celebration. If you enjoy spending hours outside in the cold, it might be enjoyable, but it's my understanding the inaugural event was a bit of a bust.
I watched it on TV, they couldn't even get the countdown right. Apparently the best we can get to host is Mario Lopez and his wife. Chicago (the band) was featured. They sounded pretty good, but then they were playing a song up to like 15s before midnight. They had to rush Mario and champagne onto the stage and didn't even really get a 10 count. The producers also decided to show the stage instead of showing the big star hitting the top of the Hyatt. I shoulda just watched Janet Davies and Mark Giangreco at the Palmer House.

OP, Chicago doesn't really have anything big like New York or many other cities for NYE. They tried last year, it was a bust, maybe it'll be better this year. It'll be an expensive night at a hotel, the single most expensive night to go to bars and restaurants of the year. Though it pains me to unrecommend the city I love, in this case, I do. Come some other time when you won't get gouged for no reason other than the day on the calendar.

Also, trading HNL for CHI in January is madness. HNL will be gorgeous. CHI could be frigid.
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Old Sep 24, 16, 2:49 am
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So thanks to your suggestions I've found 2 hotels that are what I consider good value for the time of year etc

AC Hotel Chicago Downtown or the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Any recommendations on those 2 or other hotels?

Both seem around the area suggested, maybe a bit out of the way for the Sheraton.
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Old Sep 24, 16, 7:58 am
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Originally Posted by Jamier45 View Post
So thanks to your suggestions I've found 2 hotels that are what I consider good value for the time of year etc

AC Hotel Chicago Downtown or the Sheraton Grand Chicago. Any recommendations on those 2 or other hotels?

Both seem around the area suggested, maybe a bit out of the way for the Sheraton.
Either location is good. For obvious reasons, I haven't stayed at a hotel in Chicago, but I'd guess the AC is a little nicer than the Sheraton. Looks like it's on Rush, a block from Michigan Ave. As you said, the AC is a couple blocks closer to the action too. Very busy area, lots of restaurants (probably half chain restaurants), but places like Purple Pig might be worth checking out to see if you like it. Vertigo Sky Lounge is nearby as well. Likely to have some NYE event there. http://www.vertigoskylounge.com/
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Old Sep 24, 16, 10:16 am
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Thanks, I've booked the AC, managed to get it for 259 for 2 nights and 2 double beds so only 130 each for me and my mate.
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Old Sep 24, 16, 5:49 pm
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Originally Posted by Jamier45 View Post
Thanks for replying promptly. Hotels I'm not bothered as long as it's got a bed and is clean but would prefer not to have to walk far at that time of the year to main attractions.

Restaurants $100 for meal not Inc drinks or tips seems reasonable to me. I'm known on the BAEC board as being a bit of a drinker so any decent nightclubs or bars or pubs will be very handy including where the young ladies (I'm 27) hang out (also known for having a bit of luck with the ladies)
Personally, I don't think $100 pp will get you a ton of options for an NYE second-seating reservation. Places really jack up their prices. Rather, if you're a bit of a foodie I'd suggest you do a nicer dinner on Dec. 30, or consider attending Eve of the Eve, which is a big party on Dec. 30.

Given your age and price point, maybe do a low-key dinner -- burgers or pizza -- on Dec. 31 and then splurge on an all-inclusive party. One of the nice things about booking your NYE in advance is that you don't need to deal with the hassle of trying to guess whether you'll be able to get into certain spots.

Maybe wait another 2-3 weeks and search again for NYE parties. And don't limit yourself to the city's website. Time Out, Eventbrite and Metromix also have good event listings.
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Old Sep 25, 16, 12:19 pm
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Just one little tip....best to stay off the El late on NYE, unless you want to see a lot of very drunk 20somethings puking all over the crowded cars. (First hand observation btw)
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Old Sep 25, 16, 3:55 pm
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Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
Rather, if you're a bit of a foodie I'd suggest you do a nicer dinner on Dec. 30, or consider attending Eve of the Eve, which is a big party on Dec. 30.
That looks like a great idea. We dont arrive till 1925 but I could envisage getting off the aircraft and being at the hotel, showered etc and getting there for 2100. It all goes to support a worthwhile cause as well which is always a plus.

Originally Posted by chgoeditor View Post
And don't limit yourself to the city's website. Time Out, Eventbrite and Metromix also have good event listings.
Will do, thanks for the advice. It's all coming together now so I'm looking forward to spending a new year somewhere different.
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Old Sep 25, 16, 5:47 pm
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Originally Posted by Jamier45 View Post
That looks like a great idea. We dont arrive till 1925 but I could envisage getting off the aircraft and being at the hotel, showered etc and getting there for 2100. It all goes to support a worthwhile cause as well which is always a plus.
If you end up attending, I suspect you'll hear a lot of attendees say that this event is their big activity for the weekend, and they're doing something more low key for NYE itself, which has a reputation as a bit of an amateur night.

If it's not still active, bump this thread in another month or so as your plans firm up and we'll try to give you more ideas.

You're departing on New Year's Day? What time is your flight?

Presuming you're on an evening flight, three things to consider for New Year's Day:

First, brunch. This is a great list of suggested places spots compiled last year, and the recommendations are still good ones: http://chicago.eater.com/maps/new-ye...h-2016-chicago

Second, America's national pastime on New Year's Day: Watching the Rose Parade, which kicks off at 10 am. It's a unique parade because all of the floats are decorated solely with natural materials -- flowers, leaves, seeds, etc. (Depending on how early you roll out of bed, the order of #1 and #2 can be swapped.)

Third, pick a sports bar and hang out with the crowds watching college football bowl games. These games match up the best college/university football teams from different conferences. The teams that are actually playing won't be selected until early December, but if you really want to get into it, you can find sports bars that are home to a particular team's fans and watch there. (But you'll want to make sure you're wearing the team's colors -- not those of its opponents -- or you'll get a lot of grief.)


ETA: Another New Year's Day option: The NYD 5K Walk/Run.
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Old Oct 4, 16, 3:04 pm
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Look's like we won't be attending that Eve of the Eve and will have a quietish night on the 30th.

I'm on the 0858 flight ORD-DFW and then onto CLT (really want to try the exUS 330) and LHR/CDG. Then it's back to work the next day.
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Old Oct 8, 16, 7:03 pm
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Also consider

Navy Pier fireworks at midnight
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