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Anime in Chicago Staying an extra few days after the con -- what's a fan to do?

#1 User is offline   harana 

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:09 PM

I apologize if this is in the wrong forum, but I wasn't sure where else to stick it...

Normally my friend and I just come up to the Chicago area for the convention, but with some extra time off work we've decided to stay an extra few days and actually check out Chicago for the first time.

Does anyone have any suggestions for places to go in the city that the "stereotypical" anime fan would want to see? We're a little "older" (as in not teenagers, 25-26) if that makes any difference. I'm mainly looking for shops/sites/etc that I wouldn't normally see at home. I always like to check out used bookstores in cities I go to for cheap OOP manga or hunt out a Hello Kitty store (I love her) if I can.

Of course we'd also check out the stereotypical (non-anime) tourist things too, so if anyone has any suggestions... We're really excited to dig into Chicago.

Thanks!

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Posted 24 April 2013 - 09:39 PM

My only tip is about Japanese food. If you're walking around in the loop and looking for some good sushi try Tokyo Lunch Boxes. They have like 4 locations I think, and besides sushi they have udon noodles and tempura. I usually eat at the one in Merchandise Mart in the second floor food court. You get easily get their via the L.
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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:14 PM

You could always head to Chinatown! There's always a lot of good restaurants there and fun stores. There's also the museums and Shed aquarium if you're looking for something more tourist-centric.
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Posted 24 April 2013 - 10:48 PM

there's the mitsuwa marketplace- http://www.mitsuwa.c...ica/eindex.html
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:08 AM

^This place is amazing. I also recommend the rotating sushi bar, Sushi Station. It's delicious and can be really reasonably priced. Each dish is placed upon a colored plate that will tell you how much it costs. You keep track of your spending budget and enjoy great sushi at the same time! It's just down the road a few blocks from Mitsuwa.
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 03:06 AM

For Art: Art instiute of Chicago, less then a block away there's a comic shop called Graham Cracker comics that has a good selection of manga and they're very nice. You can see some cool Japanese scrolls, pottery and prints at the AI.

History: Feild Museum would be a good place to go. Also the museum by the University of Illinois in Chicago. I would also suggest checking out the Science and Industry.

http://chicago.about...ago-Museums.htm -link to the top ten museums.
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 04:18 AM

First, if you want to see more of Chicago, then I recommend browsing Not for Tourists first. It publishes a book each year which provides detailed maps for almost every neighborhood, and the website has even more insights.

There's plenty of guided tours in Chicago, especially now that the weather is improving. Look for one that appeals to your interests, then make sure you know how much it costs and where to find it.

One of the hidden gems in downtown is the Chicago Cultural Center. Find out what programming they offer -- usually for free -- and make sure you have time to get there.

I'm a big fan of two stores that are hidden just two small blocks away from the Belmont Red Line stop on the north side. Chicago Comics is just north of the intersection of Clark and Belmont, and Games People Play is about a two minute walk north from there (just south of an intersection with a stop sign). The former has an impressive selection of independent and self published comics, and the latter has popular and obscure used video games dating back to the mid-70s. The neighborhood as a whole is fascinating and worth exploring.

Getting around Bucktown (near the Damen stop on the Blue Line) can be challenging, because at least three major roads converge in an intersection that's a bit chaotic. Even so, I recommend looking around. See if you can find Reckless Records, a used media store called The Exchange (about two doors away), the unique gourmet dessert store iCream across the street, and the Worm Hole, an amusing coffee house down the street with a working NES.

Just outside Chicago, there's a lot to see and do in Oak Park (the last 3 stops on the west end of the Green Line), as well as Evanston (the Purple Line, which can be accessed on Sat/Sun by waiting at the Howard station on the Red Line).

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 08:13 AM

View Postrinniheart, on 24 April 2013 - 10:48 PM, said:

there's the mitsuwa marketplace- http://www.mitsuwa.c...ica/eindex.html


I <3 Mitsuwa and Sushi Station, but they are kinda far from the city so I didn't think to suggest them. From Rosemont though it's not too far if you wanted to hit those first before venturing into Chicago. If you take the blue line to O'Hare you can take a few buses to get over near there. If you have a car though totally drive over!

Cars are the best options for the suburbs, and public transport is the best option for the city, especially in the loop. Parking is a nightmare downtown(not just because it'll cost you an arm and leg), and even in some areas/neighborhoods you can't park anywhere because of permits and stupid stuff like that.
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

Check out the Art Institute. They have a very nice collection of Asian art and artifacts.

http://www.artic.edu...llections/asian

Also, Millennium Park, right next door, is an excellent place to spend a spring afternoon.
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:33 AM

View PostSayuri-chan, on 25 April 2013 - 12:08 AM, said:

^This place is amazing. I also recommend the rotating sushi bar, Sushi Station. It's delicious and can be really reasonably priced. Each dish is placed upon a colored plate that will tell you how much it costs. You keep track of your spending budget and enjoy great sushi at the same time! It's just down the road a few blocks from Mitsuwa.


Sayuri-chan mentioned Sushi Station... I highly recommend going there. My BF and I had a mini-con related meeting there it was my first time ever going and MY GOD. I CANNOT WAIT to go back and eat there. He told me it gets packed during ACEN but just after ACEN shouldn't be too bad. It was a bit packed when we went but it was a weekend. It feels like being in Japan watching all the food move and taking out whatever you want as the conveyer thing moves. I'm claustrophobic but once you're inside you may feel a bit crammed until you get your seat. Once I was seated I felt completely comfortable. The waiters & waitresses tended to my every need and made sure everything was good. It's amazing. Seriously. That and like stated the plates are colored and priced by whatever color they are. It's really neat. There's a visible chart that shows you what color plate = what price. I've never had such delicious sushi! One of my favorites from there is the Hanako Roll *____* Also, you can order things off a menu if you don't find anything you want and they'll cook it for you fresh. If you see something on the belt too you want fresh just ask and they'll make it fresh. AHHHH I WANT TO GO BACK T_____T


Also... as Rinniheart mentioned Mitsuwa Marketplace is really awesome. There's also Asian food stands in the marketplace (Gabuto Burger or something... A yummy noodle place, a few other places) Not only that there's a bakery in the marketplace where you can get all sorts of neat bread like melon bread, chocolate cornets, all sorts of cool stuff! I noticed they had bread with Doraemon drawn on it last time. They also sell Dragon Ball Z drinks along with lots of random goods. Taiyaki, Mochi, Pocky... just about anything Japanese you're looking for. Food, drinks, snacks, cds, etc. It also has a book store in it which has a pretty large manga section (most of them arent in English though).

Also like mentioned... the Bean which is right next to Millennium Park. It's basically a giant bean that doubles as a giant mirror. Millennium Park is really nice and has this weird fountain with faces on it. But definitely worth checking out. The Magnificent Mile is a huge shopping district pretty much. It's a walk, so be prepared. I mean it's called the "Magnificent Mile" XD It's got the Disney Store, chocolate places like a Ghiradelli store, tons of clothing shops, probably a book store somewhere. I went just before Christmas so it was a crowded nightmare x___x But it shouldn't be all that bad now. Navy Pier. It's got a few rides, several food places, and a good view of the city. It's really pretty (especially at night). But watch out if you park there. It's like $25.

Haven't really been to much other than those places.... WAIT. GUYS. GUYS. WHY DID NO ONE SAY GAMEWORKS?! Gameworks in Schaumburg is where a lot of us Chicago-area peeps like to have pre-con meetups, birthdays, etc. It's awesome. 2 floors, tons of games, good selection of prizes. Downside is that people under 21+ get booted out after 9PM because it "technically" becomes a bar. There's a cool Lego place (you can't miss the giant Giraffe hanging over the building) within the same strip, along with a nice theater literally at the side of Gameworks, and a mall nearby if I'm not mistaken. Schaumburg has a lot of neat places to hang out. It's a bit of a distance from Chicago but a lot of suburbs are actually better to hang out in than the city itself and you don't have to worry about parking permits and feeling crowded and closed in. If you want to see cool places I'd suggest having some sort of transportation and not only limiting yourself to the city of Chicago. Suburbs ftw. Just make sure you have quite a bit of money if you wanna do anything in Chicago or near it... You'll need it. I've been to all these places so I speak from experience. These are my favorite places somewhat close to or in the city.

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#11 User is offline   Sayuri-chan 

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 12:31 PM

^Why you mention Hanako roll?! That is my favorite as well. T_T I want some now...!~
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#12 User is offline   ranmas 

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 01:42 PM

sigh, I moved to schaumburg about 7 or 8 years ago, and never really made it to downtown chicago for any number of reasons. I mean I did visit the science museum and mellenium park, but I have yet to be to navy peir yet. Now I have been to mitsuwa several times, and a couple of the other little asian marts in the area. Heck I even have visited one of the go salons in the area, and at times visit the schaumburg go club that meets in the starbucks by the gameworks. Even though I'm currently going to the Depaul Loop campus I've never taken the time to visit some of these places like murchandice mart, which I really want to go to. I know there is a little place called Taste of Japan rig

#13 User is offline   harana 

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:42 PM

Wow, thanks so much everyone for all of the responses. Since we'll be staying out in Rosemont for the con we'll probably hit up Mitsuwa and the sushi place before heading into the city to check out the other places suggested.

My other major concern is learning the CTA and its various lines. I imagine coming from Rosemont we'd basically the blue line into the city, either from the Rosemont or the O'Hare stop, right? Are a lot of things accessible by the blue line? Is it relatively safe for a couple of women in their mid-twenties (one of which walks with a obvious limp)? We'd like to check out Chinatown too, and from what I can tell it looks like we'll need to switch to the red line for that. I've ready iffy things about CTA after dark, but it seems like the blue line at O'Hare is pretty safe during the day time.

Are there any must see places that are better to drive to?

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Posted 25 April 2013 - 09:52 PM

To get to some things you will need to take buses rather than the El, but speaking as a girl who visited Chicago MANY times with her female best friend, you should be fine as long as you pay attention. :) Switching lines is pretty painless and the Red line does drop off right at Chinatown. A LOT of lines go into the Magnificent Mile/Downtown area too. All of the museums save the Science and Industry can be easily accessed by train, and unless there is a Cubs/Bears/Sox game letting out in the area, the trains run pretty regularly.
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Posted 25 April 2013 - 11:05 PM

Here's a map of the CTA: LINK It's not too scary on the El, especially when you have a friend with you :) If you take the blue line to Clark you can get to every line, but the red *see loop details XD*! And getting to Chinatown is really easy, take the blue line to jackson, transfer to red, and get off at Cermak-chinatown! I lived in Chicago for a few years and never had any issues riding alone on the El at night *as a 20 something year old female*. It shouldn't take too long for you to get comfortable with the transportation (depending on how long you'll be around the area after ACen)
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Posted 26 April 2013 - 01:46 AM

A tip about the art instute, go see the silk screens first in the back, they're actually politically humor.

Has anyone mentioned the Oriental instutue by UIC (University of Illinois at Chicago)? this is a great place for an easy to look at museum that not only covers Japanese stuff but also various other oriental cultures (Middle East, China, Turkey, etc) and shows a lot of interesting art and peices from long ago.

If Gameworks is too expensive for you then there are two places that I can recomend.

1. Nickle City, it's in Northbrook and yes you would have to drive there, but...it's awesome as every game is a nickle.
http://www.nickelcitygames.com/

2. Galloping Ghost in Brookfeild. It's fiffteen dollars to get in but you can play any game that you want and can leave and come back later.
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Posted 26 April 2013 - 10:34 AM

Thanks for the heads up on Sushi Station.

I'll second the recommendation of Galloping Ghost. There's a wide variety of both retro and new cabinets, and lots of multiplayer options, so bring friends. Plus the fee gives you unlimited plays on all the machines, which is a great deal.
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Posted 26 April 2013 - 12:35 PM

View PostSayuri-chan, on 25 April 2013 - 12:31 PM, said:

^Why you mention Hanako roll?! That is my favorite as well. T_T I want some now...!~



BECAUSE THE HANAKO ROLL IS HEAVEN ROLL. I had like three plates of 4 rolls a piece when I went. I'm just making you & me both hungry for it T__T


View Postjrbestler, on 26 April 2013 - 10:34 AM, said:

Thanks for the heads up on Sushi Station.

I'll second the recommendation of Galloping Ghost. There's a wide variety of both retro and new cabinets, and lots of multiplayer options, so bring friends. Plus the fee gives you unlimited plays on all the machines, which is a great deal.


I haven't been there yet but I'm supposed to be going tomorrow with Teebs, Supreme Kai, and maybe a few others. Hopefully I make it. That doesn't sound like a bad deal at all =] I've heard nothing but good things about Galloping Ghost so I'm expecting good things.
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Posted 26 April 2013 - 02:17 PM

View PostC2Queen, on 26 April 2013 - 12:35 PM, said:

BECAUSE THE HANAKO ROLL IS HEAVEN ROLL. I had like three plates of 4 rolls a piece when I went. I'm just making you & me both hungry for it T__T


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Posted 26 April 2013 - 04:43 PM

View PostC2Queen, on 26 April 2013 - 12:35 PM, said:



I haven't been there yet but I'm supposed to be going tomorrow with Teebs, Supreme Kai, and maybe a few others. Hopefully I make it. That doesn't sound like a bad deal at all =] I've heard nothing but good things about Galloping Ghost so I'm expecting good things.


It's a cool place to go. They have pixal art there too. I would recomend though that rather then spend a lot of money on the snack food there, there's a nice family resturant across the street called Tony's. Good food for not too expnsive and the servers there are nice. Also you get a full meal and can go right back across the street when you're done.
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#21 User is offline   feuerwerke 

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Posted 28 April 2013 - 10:03 AM

I've been stalking this thread since I can never find nerdy places to go when I'm in downtown Chicago. Pretty much the only place I know of that's cool is the kpop shop in Chinatown and that's technically still not relevant since kpop isn't necessarily a thing anime fans care about (though it obviously can be). Thanks for the tips, guys <3
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#22 User is offline   ranmas 

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 09:58 AM

Heh, talking about Kpop, there is a somewhat newer store in the Woodfield mall that is a Kpop music store. I've gotten a couple of cd's from there, and learned some of the Kpop groups even have Japanese versions of their songs so they are not too far off topic, and could even be considered on topic. I know a few of them are even on Amazon's mp3 store.

Very close to the Gameworks there is a Starbucks. In that Starbucks the Schaumburg Go club meets. If I'm not mistaken the club still meets on Thursdays and starts at around 6:30 and they go until around 10 or so depending on who is there. You can check out their webpage here: http://schaumburggoclub.org/ but they don't have much more information on it than what I just gave you.

There has been some good information in this thread, and I've learned of some places that I've never heard of before, and intend to at least visit now, and is yet another reminder that I need to make another trip to Mitsuwa here soon.

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Posted 29 April 2013 - 11:35 AM

The Japanese Mahjong group also hangs out at that Starbucks on Wednesdays usually 7:30-close or when the last round ends in the 11 o'clock hour.
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Posted 29 April 2013 - 07:50 PM

View Postfeuerwerke, on 28 April 2013 - 10:03 AM, said:

I've been stalking this thread since I can never find nerdy places to go when I'm in downtown Chicago. Pretty much the only place I know of that's cool is the kpop shop in Chinatown and that's technically still not relevant since kpop isn't necessarily a thing anime fans care about (though it obviously can be). Thanks for the tips, guys <3


Not to go off topic here, but can you tell me what the shop is called/where it's located? I didn't know there was a place that sold kpop stuff in Chinatown.
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Posted 30 April 2013 - 11:43 PM

mitsuwa marketplace is a good place to go, before and after the convention. before to get some snacks for your room, and after (or anytime) for lots of other stuff
they sell more than just food, they are like a mini mall.
you could go here for your meal fix as well, it has a cafeteria
however they are located in a suburb of Chicago

its address is
100 E. Algonquin Road,
Arlington Hts., IL 60005
so you either need a car or a taxi because pace runs very infrequently.
Mitsuwa Marketplace - Arlington Hights

i dont think the trains have access to mitsuwa

View PostCellomanlove, on 24 April 2013 - 10:14 PM, said:

You could always head to Chinatown! There's always a lot of good restaurants there and fun stores. There's also the museums and Shed aquarium if you're looking for something more tourist-centric.


careful with chinatown there are stores that sell bootleg products, one even was selling home burns in plain sleeves

This post has been edited by mer2329: 30 April 2013 - 11:44 PM

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#26 User is offline   dorkatlarge 

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 04:08 AM

I was in Chicago's Chinatown not long ago, and browsed its small Korean pop store. But when I tried to find it online today, I didn't have much success. It will be at least a day or two before I can make time to look around Chinatown in order to find it again.

View Postranmas, on 29 April 2013 - 09:58 AM, said:

Heh, talking about Kpop, there is a somewhat newer store in the Woodfield mall that is a Kpop music store.


It existed for just a couple months, and left Woodfield in February 2013 to find a better location.

#27 User is offline   YoungBirdcall 

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 11:47 AM

View Postdorkatlarge, on 01 May 2013 - 04:08 AM, said:

It existed for just a couple months, and left Woodfield in February 2013 to find a better location.


Do you happen to know if it has re-opened in a new location?
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#28 User is offline   rondo 

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 12:54 PM

View Postmer2329, on 30 April 2013 - 11:43 PM, said:

i dont think the trains have access to mitsuwa


There is a PACE service close by I believe.

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:34 PM

How to get to Mitsuwa from the Hyatt and convention center in Rosemont.

Total travel time, 30 mintues on a good day.

Rosemont CTA Station
5801 N River Rd
Rosemont, IL 60018

Walk to Rosemont CTA Station
About 3 mins (0.1 mi)


Rosemont CTA Station
606 Bus towards Woodfield Corporate Center
2:35pm - 2:58pm(23 mins, 28 stops)
Penultimate Stop: Arrive Algonquin/Tonne


Algonquin/Tonne
Walk to 100 E Algonquin Rd, Arlington Heights, IL 60005
Walk About 4 mins (0.2 mi)

Go northwest on E. Algonquin Road towards S. Tonne Drive
Turn right onto S. Tonne drive, then make a left then a right then a left again
and then you will be at Mitsuwa. You can't miss it, it's huge.
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#30 User is offline   Roark 

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Posted 01 May 2013 - 01:42 PM

Skip Sushi Station. It's mostly gimmick with mediocre sushi, generally drowned in sauce or mayonnaise. Overpriced and overcrowded for what you get.

Two best places for Chicago sushi:
  • Katsu (Northwest side, on Peterson): Incredibly fresh fish. Great presentation
  • Arami (Ukrainian Village, on Chicago Ave): Make reservations now, if they're still available. Ask for omakase. Prepare for an amazing meal.


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