When you all say 'natural history museum' do you mean the Field Museum? I missed that on our trip there last fall, and I still regret it. We went to the Art Institute, which was plenty cool, but I had wanted to go to the Field Museum since I was a kid.
As far as restaurants go, one of my all-time favorite restaurant meals was at The Purple Pig
in the Magnificent Mile area of Michigan Ave. This place cooks my favorite type of food to eat and cook - what I like to call 'high-class farmhouse fare'. For example, they have an entire section of the menu devoted to 'smears'; rich, high-fat things you spread on toasted crusty bread like pork liver pâté, lardo and bone marrow. Their menu changes frequently ('seasonal' means more than summer, fall, winter, spring), so a lot of the dishes we had in October are not available now. It's not the least expensive place you could ever go, but it was given a Bib Gourmand award in the 2011 Michelin Guide for Chicago (as was Frontera Grill, haters
) which is a recognition for restaurants who deliver exceptional quality food for under $40 for two entrees.
I've also heard really good things about The Girl and The Goat
restaurant, tho I've not eaten there myself. But I've read enough consistently high remarks about it that it is now on our to-do list for the next time are in Chicago. Similar style of food as The Purple Pig.
If that's not your speed, Rick Bayless has a newer restaurant that's devoted to Mexican street food. Place is called Xoco
, and to give you an idea what you're in for there they make their own chocolate in-house by grinding their own cacao beans. (Remember, hot chocolate was once the drink of choice among Europe's rich in the colonial days, because explorers reported that the native Aztec and Mayan royals drank it as a sign of wealth and power. Then coffee came along and screwed everything up.)
Had deep dish at Giordano's. Do not recommend. The filling was great, but the dough was badly undercooked and gummy.
For general sightseeing, we took a river walk and then booted around Millennium Park and hung out at the Bean and Frank Gehry concert band shell. There was some sort of fashion exhibition going on when we were there that I found mind-numbingly boring, but the Spousal Unit seemed to quite enjoy herself.
All in all, I absolutely loved Chicago and would go back at the drop of a hat.