If the only thing you care about in a gym is the equipment, then Bally's is great. They have plenty of machines and free weights with lots of open space. Bally's, however, is clearly a corporation. I often get the feeling that business comes far before customer service. Speaking with friends, we have been able to figure out that Bally's quotes different rates to people for memberships and training dependent upon how nicely the people are dressed on a given day. They have also pulled tricks like bolting all the cable machines so they can't go under 40 pounds. That is fine for the heavy lifters who can handle that weight, but for females like myself just getting started, I need to be able to lift 20 pounds. I found that move to be very inconsiderate on Bally's part. I will, however, give star marks to my personal trainer, Ciahnan Darrell. I highly recommend working with him. He really attempted to give me a routine that would work with me and my body type, and is very motivational. I have gone from a size 12 to a size 6 working with him!
This place is a great store to buy cheap books. They have an eclectic and varied collection. Prices are much lower than retail, so those of us with book fetishes can feed ourselves reasonably! The store is well laid out and easy to manuever around, although to keep prices low they have not done much (anything) with decor. That is part of the charm though, I think.
My husband attends the Divnity School at UChicago. The classes are intense, but of high quality. The University community can become a bit pretentious, which would be the biggest complaint, but overall, the academic experience is wonderful. The students are exceptional, so the admissions office does a fabulous job finding people who will work together cohesively as a class.
This store is a hike for us, but they have the best grooming prices around. They were very caring and treated Haas, our Great Dane, well. My only complaint would be that they did not inform us at the beginning that the procedure would take over three hours. We also shop there occasionally for pet supplies, and the store is always clean, well-stocked, and very reasonable. All-in-all, I highly recommend PetSmart. I just wish they would build a location closer to Hyde Park.
Having heard rave reviews of the aquarium before going, I have to admit that I was a little disappointed. The aquarium was nice and had lots of fish, but wasn't all it was cracked up to be. I realized later that my expectations were higher having grown up on the east coast, where all the aquariums (notably the Boston aquarium) benefit from being right on the ocean. No inland aquarium will match that. But given its restrictions, it does make for a fun afternoon. The aquarium is also much more expensive than the other museums in the Chicago area.
I was really nervous before this haircut, because I was taking very long hair and asking for a very short cut. I showed my stylist a picture and for the first time in my life, actually got the haircut I asked for! It looked so cute and I am so pleased with it. She also took the time to show me how to style it, since it was clearly very different from what I was used to. I highly recommend this salon.
We were first time homebuyers, and they helped the process move along very smoothly. Two weeks after we first spoke with our broker (we used Michelle White, and I recommend her highly) we had found our property. Just two weeks! Every person they recommended to help with the process (the lawyer, inspector, etc) was of the highest quality. The mortgage broker we used gave us some problems, and Michelle was awesome about going above and beyond her job description to help us resolve those issues.
I have to admit, I do not see the excitement about Trader Joe's. Many of my friends swear by it, but when I went, I was disappointed. Yes, they sell unusual foods, but overall, the selection was small and the prices high. I would rather shop somewhere where I can get all the food I need and pay less at the same time. It is a good place to find those unusual items, though.
I stop by the grocery store occasionally, since it is convenient, but I won't make my major shopping runs here, since it is very overpriced. When they run sales, you can find good deals, and they usually have a wonderful yogurt selection, but otherwise, stay away. I spend much more when I shop here than at other places like Village Foods, Jewel-Osco, or the Produce Market. The store layout can also be confusing, as many items are stored behind the checkout counters so you don't see them nor can you access them until after paying for the rest of your order - what is the sense in that?!
PROS: yogurt, good sales
CONS: expensive, poorly laid out
This grocery store is a little smaller than some others, but is generally well stocked. The prices on most items are cheaper than at the Co-op and even cheaper than Jewel-Osco, usually. Their meat is especially reasonable. The only thing I don't buy here is produce; for that, I recommend the produce market on 53rd.
PROS: value, selection