Upper Midwest US

tzznandrew

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#1
After a number of blowout Euro trips, we're keeping it simple For a while we have wanted to go to Chicago. Our very rough outline is a trip that does, in the broadest sense:

1. Detroit
2. Chicago
3. Milwaukee
4. Minneapolis.

Other than Chicago, there's a lot of flexibility there. Anything I should see in those places? Anywhere not on the list, but an easy trip from, any of these places? I'm thinking, in particular, of the space between Chicago and Minneapolis, as I'm likely to drive that.
 

storrsroars

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#2
After a number of blowout Euro trips, we're keeping it simple For a while we have wanted to go to Chicago. Our very rough outline is a trip that does, in the broadest sense:

1. Detroit
2. Chicago
3. Milwaukee
4. Minneapolis.

Other than Chicago, there's a lot of flexibility there. Anything I should see in those places? Anywhere not on the list, but an easy trip from, any of these places? I'm thinking, in particular, of the space between Chicago and Minneapolis, as I'm likely to drive that.
I haven't spent a lot of time out there in the past decade, but one of my exes was a Minneapolis girl with parents in Milwaukee, so I spent a decent amount of time in both places. Not much to Milwaukee I'd consider a "must", but the lakefront is very nice and neighborhoods like Brady St., Third Ward and Old World 3rd St are good walking destinations with lots of bars/restaurants and small shops. Summerfest is very cool if you're there while it's going on. And Usinger's sausage factory was interesting to me (I'm not much of a motorcycle guy, so the Harley-Davidson museum was lost on me).

Like Pittsburgh, Milwaukee is very neighborhood-centric and there are different flavors to each, but the lakefront area is somewhat more homogenous. I suppose a trip to Culver's for custard is necessary. And if you're there in summer, a trip to Door County (up near Green Bay) for a fish boil is a solid diversion. I've never spent time in Madison, but it's a nice area to drive through since it's basically surrounded by lakes.

Minneapolis, OTOH... couple of the best kitschy food/drink experiences I used to enjoy. Jax Cafe... you used to be able to catch your own fish as they have a trout stream running through the restaurant. I think now the waiters use a net. It's old school, but the food is really good. And Lord Fletcher's on Lake Minnetonka has to be one of the largest lakefront bars in the country. 100s of boats pull up, order drinks to go, and huge decks all over to enjoy your libations. For less kitschy stuff, Uptown is a great neighborhood to hang out in. There are a number of Somali restaurants around, and upscale Norwegian - a couple of cuisines that aren't available in most cities.

Much better museums & cultural attractions in Minneapolis. The Walker and Mia are both excellent and the Guthrie Theatre usually has great performances. I even found the Mill museum interesting (the history of flour and the Mississippi river). It's a great city for biking around or walking and it also has a decent light rail. If you fish, a day trip up around Brainerd is great for walleye, and you can take a photo with Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox ;-)

If it weren't so damned cold out there, I would've moved to Mpls years ago. It's one of my favorite cities.
 
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#3
After a number of blowout Euro trips, we're keeping it simple For a while we have wanted to go to Chicago. Our very rough outline is a trip that does, in the broadest sense:

1. Detroit
2. Chicago
3. Milwaukee
4. Minneapolis.

Other than Chicago, there's a lot of flexibility there. Anything I should see in those places? Anywhere not on the list, but an easy trip from, any of these places? I'm thinking, in particular, of the space between Chicago and Minneapolis, as I'm likely to drive that.
Not sure what you want to see, but Green Bay isn't that far from Milwaukee. Chicago is decent depending on where you go.

What are you looking to do? I live about 2 hours from Chicago btw.
 

tzznandrew

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#5
Not sure what you want to see, but Green Bay isn't that far from Milwaukee. Chicago is decent depending on where you go.

What are you looking to do? I live about 2 hours from Chicago btw.
In Chicago, there are some basic necessities: Wrigley, high end good food, and the major museums, and some more local things, etc.
 

whaler11

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#8
Both my wife and I like baseball. Wrigley is a non-negotiable, but I'd be interested to see the Twins, Brewers, and Twins.
good because the twins brewers and tigers are the only three things to do in those cities :)

detroit... when i’ve been there i cross the border at night to get out.

milwaukee... it’s got a hartford quality to it

minneapolis is nice - its weird how late the sun is out in the summer... do you like malls?
 
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#9
In Chicago, there are some basic necessities: Wrigley, high end good food, and the major museums, and some more local things, etc.
Field museum and the aquarium are phenomenal. They have a pass to see all of them and you don't have to hit them all in one day. Not a bad price. The science and industry museum is a little further away from those. I didn't think that the science won was worth it.

I guess you can try some deep dish pizza but you will hate it. Got to eat it with a fork and knife. Just awful.

Magnificent Mile is where a lot of shopping and restaurants are. Nice area. Willis tower (formerly Sears tower) is right there.
 

storrsroars

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#10
In Chicago, there are some basic necessities: Wrigley, high end good food, and the major museums, and some more local things, etc.
Wrigley was great when the Cubs were losing... now they're kinda full of themselves. But yeah, you have to go. Murphy's Bleachers is the best of the bars next to Wrigley. Oddly I've never been to either Comiskey Park (or whatever they call the new one).

The Shedd Aquarium is very good as is the Field, as mentioned. And check out what exhibitions are at the Art Institute as the couple of times I've been, it's been top shelf.

I used to spend 3-4 weeks/year at McCormick Place and knew that town well, but have only been once in past five years. Not sure how long it's been since you've been to Chicago, but if it's been awhile, "The Bean" is a great place to take a photograph, if you're walking around Millenium Park. And the Park Grill restaurant next to the skating rink is a great place for people watching and the food is surprisingly good. Also a beer garden (Goose Island) and some neat food trucks right there. Anyway, it's a good place to hang after going to any of the museums.

On the high-end good food front, if you're thinking Alinea, you should probably already have a reservation. I'm envious. There are a half dozen new Mexican places I'm dying to try with dishes that'll never come to Pittsburgh, including a new Bayless place specializing in fish/seafood along with Mi Tacoya. Logan Square area is probably the center for upscale "nuevo" Mexican if you're interested in that. Meantime, I can suggest Birrieria Zaragoza, which is the only place I've ever been that specializes in goat ;-)

If you get homesick for CT, head to Piece in Wicker Park - very respectable NH-style pizza.
 

tzznandrew

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#11
We're not committed, really, to staying in the cities (other than Chicago) if there are better things to do elsewhere.
 

huskypantz

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#12
Chicago and Minneapolis are fun. Detroit is meh. Have not been to Milwaukee. When I was in MN I drove to mt Rushmore, about 9 hrs I believe. Long ride but to me it was worth it if you’ve never seen the region.
 
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