Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Chicago Gets Its Ship Out! AKA The Worlds Guide!

So as some people are aware, because FFG Organized Play wrote it on Twitter...
I'm gonna need a training montage!

Chicago is hosting Armada Worlds next March! WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAA!
Wait WHAT?
That's right, Adepticon in March is now Armada Worlds! 100 spots on Day 1 (Thursday) for 4 rounds that get cut down to a Top 40 cut for Day 2, with a final round after 4 rounds that Friday.  So if you make it all the way up the Armada Aggro Crag, that's 9 games in 2 days.
Do-do-do-do YOU HAVE IT???
So, it's gonna be EPIC.  We might have Super Star Destroyers available, we might have more rumors or hearsay or what have you unveiled, we might be jockeying with Warhammer nerds for space that day.  There's a team tournament that Sunday, and Team Pretzel should be there I think.  But that leaves a Saturday open for sure and Friday possible if you don't hit top 40 on Thursday (which will be the case for most people).  If only there was a pair of locals who could offer you some things to do, places to go, restaurants to eat at.....

This is all a set-up bit for you, isn't it?
You know me so well.  Eric and I have been putting this together over the last few days, and just a few notes before I get into this.

First, this is coming from Eric's and my perspective.  We're 2 30ish year old males and not a Zagat guide.  I'll mention a few things that we've enjoyed doing in the city, and I'm sure there's a bunch more, but I'm not covering EVERYTHING.  Second, you're certainly welcome to hang out at the Convention all 4 days and all, but I'd feel remiss about welcoming you into our home and not mentioning the amenities, you know? Chicago has some AMAZING things and I know there's got to be SOME interest among our readers attending this year.

Before I begin talking about all of these things, we need to talk about where things happen.  Adepticon is being held in Schaumburg (on the map below).

Speaking of Schaumburg, our friend Jack, who is a Schaumburg local, wrote a companion article for things to do in Schaumburg.

Eric lives in the Google logo!
This is NEAR Chicago but not IN CHICAGO.  Important distinction there.  Make sure you have a car/way of getting TO THE CITY, because the Blue Line is fine but takes forever.  You're all also going to want to fly into O'Hare if you can, as it's a lot closer to the convention center (not Midway unless you are staying with me.  That.... isn't an invitation, guys).  Try not to get a hotel in the city, as that will cost you an arm, a leg, and your firstborn.  If you don't really care about the firstborn, go ahead, but some decent cities close by to get hotels in:

Darien, Schaumburg, Rosemont, Elk Grove Village, Wheaton, Glen Ellyn.

These cities may get updated when one of our readers/my friends points out that I just invited you all to go get a hotel in Murder Central.  But easy, good option is Downer's Grove.  Our local game store is in the area, and it's a nice little spot.  Hopefully you have all traveled enough to know not to stay right next to the airport, but... don't get a hotel within spitting distance of O'Hare.

Aim west of the city/airport for your hotel, it'll give you a better chance of being closer to the convention center and not getting screwed over by morning traffic that Thursday morning trying to get to the convention center.  Everyone in Chicago will tell you it will take 15 minutes to get from the city to Schaumburg.  Everyone is lying to you.

Sign may be different, but I liked the colors
There are several really good museums in Chicago, and the absolute leader is the Field.

Just off the top of my head, it has the Egyptian exhibit, the Hall of Jade, the Gems exhibit, the Hall of Birds, and dinosaurs.  Much Dinosaurs, and you can see Sue the T. Rex who once fought off an entire zombie horde.
It's more fun when I DON'T explain it.  Go read Harry Dresden.

The other museum that's super solid is the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI).  They have an exhibit where you can see what it's like working inside a Coal mine, a giant train set, life-time weather experiments, the U505 submarine we captured from Germany, exploration of the human body.
The submarine is very cool, but it's worth paying them to see it, of course!
It's tempting to say that the Field is more grown up than MSI but that's not especially true.  The exhibits at the MSI are more kid-friendly, but I promise I have taken several dates to MSI and had a great time.
The lions may or may not be wearing hats/costumes.  That is not a joke sentence, I swear.

The Art Institute is also great, with Nighthawks, American Gothic, some El Greco, a little Van Gogh and if you feel like being Cameron, La Grande Jatte is there too.  Just don't fall into the swimming pool later, man, Ferris isn't around to save you.

Space! The final frontier! The wrong series quote!

I haven't been to the Adler Planetarium since grade school, but it's a planetarium and you're all giant Star Wars nerds who read our blog.  Who wouldn't be interested?

Fight me, you leg-having scrub!

The Shedd is also super fun and is one of the largest aquariums in the world.  If you're looking for cuteness, the otter exhibit and the dolphins/whales are good.  Especially the Belugas.

There's a bunch of famous restaurants, and I can go tell you to eat at them all downtown on the Magnificent Mile (Tours and Shopping below....).  Little Goat, Au Cheval, Purple Pig, Billy Goat Tavern (shout-out to my John Belushi fans for that one).  But the little gems? Those are the good stuff.

I WANTED to put up a picture of the food, because it's amazing, but I also wanted you all to find it.  Dilemmas!

If you're near the University of Chicago (it's also right next to MSI) there's 2 restaurants we'll highlight there, both because Eric and I went to school there and because neither of them get enough love.  If you like Thai food, the Snail in Hyde Park has the best Thai food either of us has ever eaten.  Get the golden bags appetizer, you won't regret it.


If you're after more American fare, the Medici on 57 is an amazing little diner that serves some of the best pizza and burgers I've had.  It's a college diner that Obama used to eat at, and it's right off campus.  It may be packed Saturday night is all I'm saying, but it's worth the wait.

Tell 'em Joe sent you!

Another two great pizza joints that no one has ever heard of (Giordano's and Malnati's are both great, yes) are Aurelio's and Pequod's.  Aurelio's is a local chain where you should get the thin crust (this is one of the few times I'll recommend this!), and Pequod's is just a slightly more hidden hole in the wall.  Pequod's is ALSO right near Second City (shows, below) if you need a dinner idea beforehand.

Greektown has a lot of good Greek food, and I would have recommended Greek Islands to you, but I LITERALLY just found out its a chain as I was writing this.  However, delicious saganaki....All the restaurants are good, I promise.

As for other food? I'll let Eric talk Chinatown, and there's some decent restaurants right near the Convention Center, but come on, man, go into the city.  Try something new!

Chinatown (I'm letting Eric take over here)
(Forget it, Jake...) It's Chinatown. There are a lot of knick knack shops and bakeries that you can get lost in (and the bakeries are legit!). Beyond that, a lot of restaurants, many of them fairly authentic (as in Chinese Chinese food, not American Chinese food). If you're not sure about restaurants, I recommend Joy Yee Noodle, as it has a huge amount of selection and you can find something that's just your right amount of Americanized or authentic or somewhere inbetween. Also, look everywhere in Chinatown for the Guan Yu shrines (generally known as Kuan Kung hereabouts), there's one in nearly every shop. Just don't touch them if you do find them, it's a religious shrine. I just enjoy playing Where's Waldo with Guan Yu.

Sweet robes and armor? Check. Awesome long beard? Check. Badass glaive (guandao, named after him)? Check.
Shows (John's back now!)

Partially founded by David Schwimmer! I have nodded a "what's up" at him and he did the same to me!
Chicago has some great local theater.  Eric and I often go to the Looking Glass Theater, right downtown near Water Tower Place, and I've seen ONE bad show there out of the 20 I've been to.  Great theater and wonderful production for a small space.

The Goodman is great too, as are a zillion other shows in the theater district (you'll know you're near when you see the big Chicago Theater sign).  Go see Hamilton, get half the jokes I make!
There's always something good playing here

I'll also point out that Second City is downtown as well, and I've yet to see a bad show THERE, either.  Improv and some scripted bits lead to amazing comedy, and so many famous comedians and comediennes got their start here.  If you like them on SNL, they came from here.  Or are Kenan.  Secret tip: I've seen some good shows at all three different Second City theaters, so if the one you want to see is sold out, there's other great ones nearby, too.  It's improv, so go in expecting to help contribute to the show, you'll have a better time.  Just don't be a jerk about it, haha!
Cheeborger cheeborger no pepsi only coke

See that metal lump around 10 o'clock in the picture? Congrats, you've found the Bean!
It's going to be cold (it's end of March), but I'll mention 2 things.  First, the Bean is... a thing.  It's fine.  If you're killing time, great, go to it.  You're not missing much.  Sorry, phaseolusophiles.  It's not terrible, but I've never understood the people who are like "YOU HAVE TO SEE IT!" I have.  It's nice.  Millenium Park (where it's located) is pretty cool, but I'm not sure if they'll be having any concerts or whatever outdoors nearby.
Yarr, the sea be a harsh mistress, she be- oh, it's family friendly now.

Navy Pier is similar, in that it's... fine.  The Ferris wheel is great, but there's so much better and so many more things to do and see that I'm not a huge fan of recommending it if you're in town for like a day or two.  Very family friendly, though, so if you have kids?  There's a Shakespeare theater there I keep meaning to get to...

I always love that sign...

Wrigley Field is.... home.  It's comfortable.  It's a DUMP, but as Oscar the Grouch would say, it's MY DUMP.  There's creaky infrastructure and it's probably held together with Old Style cans, frat boy sweat, and bubble gum, but.... it's got a magic to it.  I was there for Game 5 of the World Series (not even humble about my brag) and it was the most intense thing I've ever seen (up until Game 7 like 3 nights later!)  There's a great bar scene around the area, but... Mecca.  Home opener is April 8, guys.

As much as I dissed Navy Pier before for a tourist trap, it's a good place to do some shopping.  I'm not claiming that shopping is fully my bag (pun FULLY intended), but I'll try my best here.

That's actually Looking Glass theater on the right there, and John Hancock in the middle right there

Magnificent Mile, AKA downtown Michigan Avenue, has some really nice stores you can walk up and down the street on, and some of those fancier Chicago restaurants are on Michigan as well.  You'll be waiting for a table, probably, but again, they have some GREAT food down there.  It's hard to find a bad restaurant on Michigan, basically, and while the stores are mainly name-brand, it's a real nice area.

Water Tower Place (835 N Michigan) and 900 N Michigan Shops are right near each other and both have a bunch of great shops inside.  900 N Michigan has a Sur La Table inside, if you want to do a cooking class with you and a partner ("Thank you sweetie for letting me spend vacation days playing plastic spaceships") while Water Tower Place has Wow Bao (so delicious.  Get the chocolate!) and BOTH are right near the Looking Glass Theater. There's also a horsedrawn carriage Chicago tour nearby that's quaint and romantic if you're there with a significant other.
Your partner won't say "Neigh" to this idea! (Ducks thrown tomato)

Graceland Cemetery in the middle of the city is also really cool, and you can see a whole bunch of dead industrialists.  You can consider yourself better than them because you're alive and they aren't! Take THAT, George Pullman! I'm not going to need to be buried in concrete so my workers won't exhume and desecrate MY body because I'm a murderous piece of shit (seriously, screw that guy, but the cemetery is great!)
NOT the Paul Simon song, apparently

And if you just want to see the entire city, the Architectural Boat Tour is pretty great.  Bring a coat, you're going to be on the river in March.  But you get to see all the buildings and its super fun.

That was a lot of information!
Sure was.  But there's a lot to do in the city and it's ALL enjoyable.  If you have specific interests that aren't covered, feel free to ask in the comments and Eric and I will do our best!  See you all in March! 


  1. Another good place to eat is Ricobene's. The breaded steak sandwich is fantastic. and I second Pequod's, some of the best pizza I've ever eaten.

  2. This is why CGYSO is so good, letting the world know that Sue once fought off an entire zombie horde. Keep up the good work!