Poker Pro MJ Bernstein's Blog
-I usually gripe about being in Chicago. The truth is that despite not being around the bay/ocean on a regular basis, I feel very lucky to live here. It's truly a great city and there are many things to do. If you are ever thinking of taking a trip out here, spring/summer are the best albeit the only (Chicago's winters suck!) times to visit.
Chicago in 72 hours:
Museum Mile (Historic, waterfront buildings within walking distance of each other)-
Shedd Aquarium- One of the best aquariums I have ever been to. The Shark Reef exhibit is awesome and the Dolphin show overlooks lake Michigan. The aquariums restaurant overlooks Lake Michigan as well and the food is surprisingly good.
Adler Planetarium- Unbelievable. Great night-sky shows.
Field Museum- I have been to the one in NY and I think Field is just as good.
Sears Tower and John Hancock Tower- Head to the top of these buildings and get panoramic views from the observatories. You can also get drinks in the evening at the signature lounge which is near the top of the Hancock building. I would not suggest going there for dinner because the food isn't that great. However, they have a breakfast buffet on Sundays which has great food and of course one of a kind views. Also, there is a Cheesecake Factory located on the ground floor if you like their food.
The Magnificent Mile- This is basically Michigan Ave stretching from the Hancock tower on the north end, to the Chicago river and the NBC building on the south. Plenty of Shopping in the Watertower mall and along the walk.
Navy Pier- Probably the biggest tourist trap in Chicago. That said, there are a lot of novelty stores, restaurants, games and rides on the pier which are fun to visit during the day. Additionally, skyline sail and motor boat tours run pretty much all day and night. If this is your first trip to Chicago, you probably should go.
Wrigley Field- Old school ball park in Chicago's north end. Catching a cubs game there is very unique.
Ravinia Music Festival- An outdoor music festival located on a beautiful park/forest about a 1/2 hour north of downtown. Come with a blanket/wine/cheese or whatever you like and sit on the lawn during the evening hours and listen to the likes of Tony Bennett, John Legend etc. Ravinia runs during the summer months and is really great.
Dining (MJ's Favorite Spots)-
Smoque BBQ- This is on the top of my list. I have been all around the states eating BBQ and this is hands down the best I have ever had. Like brisket? This is what to order. They massage the hell out of it with a special dry rub, smoke it for 15 hours until melts in your mouth and then they pair it off with a special thin consistency BBQ sauce that is so good, you could actually drink it as a stand alone. God bless the guys that opened this place, although I could kill them for the subsequent heartburn I get after eating there 5 days a week. **Tip**: Smoque was featured on the food network so there is typically a line around the corner in the early evening. One time I even got there to find that they were sold out of everything but three slabs of ribs. So, get there around mid-day for fast service and guaranteed inventory.
Wave- Best tappas food in the world. Waves is in the W hotel on lake shore drive and overlooks Lake Michigan. The Chef there is always creating new menus to coincide with the season and she is a culinary genius. Grab a bottle of wine and prepare to have party in your mouth. **Tip**- Ask for a guy name George to be your waiter. This South African import is as good as they come and will make sure the service is every bit as good as your meal. Make sure to tip him well, though.
Bin 36- You just died and went to wine and cheese heaven. Bin imports wines and cheeses from all over the world and then arranges them in flights according to either region or taste. I typically order pre selected red wine flights and then sample different cheeses a la cart. The setting is contemporary/casual. Check the menu out and you will know why I go here when I need some stress relief. House of blues is also located across the way and they have a lot of concerts there.
Night Life (72 hour pics)-
-Whiskey Sky- Lounge
Poker- Can't forget about this. The only place to go as far as I'm concerned is the newly renovated Horseshoe casino in East Chicago (actually Indiana). No good tournament action, but they run some great 5-10 NLHE cash games. Not a great area though, so be careful.
Lake Shore Drive- Renting a car? Take a nice drive along the lake shore from Randolph Dr. heading north. As you will see, Lake Michigan looks more like an ocean then a lake and during the summer months the water can turn as green as the Caribbean. **Tip**: Want a great day at the beach? Check out Fullerton beach. It's right off of Lake Shore Drive.
If any of you decide to take a trip out here, I hope you have a good time.
See you at the tables,
* Please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or comments