Crowded, seats too close and too expensive. I don't think movie going should be such an ordeal. In general I prefer smaller more private theaters, like Laemme in Santa Monica. The seats are farther apart, so you're not elbowing the stranger next to you for arm rest space in the darkness. The pricing is the same, which isn't to say that movies should cost 9.00 or 11.00 to watch. It's just that I think I'm getting better value in a more intimate setting. This one was the same as all the others, same crowd, same everything. My hosts wanted me to see Batman Begins because none of us had seen it, yet and also because when I'm in Los Angeles my boyfriend doesn't allow me to watch anything but independent films. Okay, was that too much? That was too much information, wasn't it. You can say it.
PROS: great surround sound
CONS: too many people, seats too close, too pricey
I guess UPS stores are the same everywhere. This one is store #3878. There were two guys there, both kind of flustered looking and hassled, but they helped me as soon as I was ready to purchase the stuff I wanted. I had to mail some postcards and pick up other postcards as well. I also purchased stamps. Not a big deal. I gave them a satisfactory because I waited in a line of two people while the other guy just kind of stood there and stared at me. It wasn't until the guy helping the customer-that-could nudged him that he decided to becon me over and ring my stamps and postcards up on the register he was standing right in front of.
PROS: all the stuff you need, great location
CONS: small store
If you've ever been to a Ritz Camera on the West Coast, you know what kind of folks they hire. Usually prepubescent teens with half their attention on you and half on the magazine that looks like either Anime or a Japanese Punk clothing catalog for children. They usually don't pay any attention to you until you flag them down, airport style. I think my overall experience in Chicago was nice as far as customer service went, but I didn't expect any different. I walked in looking for film and someone actually acknowledged my presence when I looked like I had questions. She was helpful, actually knew something about film and cameras and the other related stuff I inquired about.
PROS: helful, friendly & knowledgable service
CONS: sometimes spendy
This small museum is mostly focused on the history of the Mexican culture, Mayans and Mexicans in the military, Aztec royalty and the revolution de Mexico. There is no admissions fee, which is nice especially because most of their educational programs are targeted toward children. I think I was expecting something much larger and more elaborate because of the richness of the Mexican culture and history. I would have liked to have seen more diverse books available in the Libreria Mexicana Bookstore (every single book there is only on Mexican culture, history, etc.). They also hold poetry readings there as well as host book signings. I think that more exhibitions would be nice and more focus on the current cultural impact of Mexicans migrating to the U.S. should be covered as well. I think a photograph exhibit would have been really nice as well.
PROS: educations, family oriented
CONS: small, seemingly incomplete
If you've ever been to Souplantation, which has a large presence on the West Coast, you've been to Sweet Tomatoes as well. In fact, the layout and food selections are identical, which makes me wonder if they are in fact owned by the same company. How it works is you line up and pile on whatever toppings and type of salad greens you'd like. Then you pay for whatever you've chosen. Meats, beverages and other such things are extra. It comes out to about $10. This one was neat, clean and well organized. I've been to many Souplantations and they sometimes leave stuff sitting out for a long time and the food looks rubbery and oily. I think if you're not sure what you'd like to eat, this place is a good choice. You eat your salad first, then move on to pizza, lasagna, a wide selection of breads and rolls, a wide selection of soups and desert. Not the best food, but, again, a good selection and a good choice for a decent meal if you have 15 minutes or an hour to dine.
PROS: economical, wide selection, clean, family atmosphere
I was walking up Wacker drive with a heavy backpack and a camera in what felt like 120 degree weather when I saw this place quirkily called Cereality. I'd actually seen it the day before, but I wasn't really in the mood to explore new places because I had a list. And I had to stick to the list. I wish I'd gone in earlier. I walked in and was promptly greeted by cool air, cushy couches, several televisions playing Saturday morning cartoons (it was Tuesday around noon) and a guy, somewhere around my age (28) saying something like, "Hi! Welocome to Cereality..." I guess the idea is like this: You can be a 7 year old again and sit there on couches with your favorite cereal concoction watching any cartoon you'd like any time you'd like. It's smack dab in the middle of Chicago on Wacker drive right before a bridge. It was chock full of business people, sitting there eating fruit loops with strawberries and coco puffs with soy milk and an orange juice. You can pick any toppings you'd like to go on your cereal. You can mix any several serials you enjoy. Like Chex and Life in one bowl. You can also get chocolate syrup on your oatmeal or get apple cinnamon oatmeal with real apples in it. It's GGGGGREAT!
PROS: fun, new, cool
Okay, so I didn't see the movie White Castle. But, I have heard quite a few accounts of people who would live and die by a White Castle burger. I've never really travelled outside of California or the West Coast until last month when I was in Chicago visiting friends / on vacation. People from areas where they grew up with White Castle said it should be on the list, so I dutifully dropped in. Okay, let me first say that the burgers are palm sized. Little tiny appetizer burgers. They sell them in 3's or 6 packs. You can get, like, 12 at once and it's okay. It's on the menu, so that makes it okay to eat 12 of these greasy little burgers. They were pretty good and I didn't have any of the typical side effects that go with greasy food, so I am glad I ate them after feeling how soft and mushy they were. The fries weren't all that great, but I would recomment that if you're in an area of the United States that they have a White Castle, take a risk and try one. They aren't all that bad for fast food.
I wasn't really looking for anything particular, but did want to find a bag to carry all the extra stuff I bought while on vacation there. I didn't exactly find what I needed, but that wasn't a big deal. My rating is based solely on the great customer service they showed me while I was there. The woman who assisted me while I was at the counter asking her if I could look at a wide assortment of coach wallets and their new line with mauve and lime green was very helpful and nice. Yes, I know. They work on commission. But she wasn't dripping with desperation or indignation like the cliche department store sales person. She was nice and kind and it was pleasant shopping there. I must say that I abhor shopping in department stores, so this is really saying a lot.
PROS: pleasant people, nice aura
I was vacationing in Chicago last month and my friends had enough foresight to land tickets for a Cubs game. I haven't been to a baseball game in a while, so it was a nice surprise. After the game, being a tourist, I wanted to find some Cubs stuff. There were a few stands, but there was one actual store open on a corner with so much stuff and official merchandise it didn't take me long to make a beeline across the sea of people. I was looking for one of those Gilliagans/fishermans hats, some sort of bag or back pack and a pink hat for my friend. I found everything there, right up front. They have a huge selection and the merchandise is official. The prices were as can be expected and the customer service, despite the crowded madness that was the store, was excellent. The casher and I had an interaction that went something like this - Customer 1: "Hey, I'm looking for Cubs thongs!" Cashier: "They're right in the back next to the foosies." Me: "HA!"
PROS: official merchandise, great customer service
The public transporation in Chicago is amazing. I think besides the EL train, this trolley system tops the list in being efficient and on time. First, I must say that it is FREE. During the Taste of Chicago, 4th of July Celebrations it was so disconcerting to figure out where things were because of the sheer volume of people wandering around. I was fortunate enough not to have gotten lost at all while I was visiting and this trolley really helped. Each trolley line had a corresponding shape on each side so you could clearly see where one might go if you got onto it. There were people at each stop who handed you a color coded informational brochure on the trolley including the map and list of stops for each one. A person. Someone's job was just to stand there and wait for people to walk up and ask about the free trolley. Oh, isn't that great?
The folks driving the trolley's were comedian's or very nice or very informational. I was never lost while in Chicago. During my stay there, I rode the Yellow Star Metra/Navy Pier to get to the 4th of July Celebrations, the Metra Station. I also rode the Green Triangle to get to Museum row, which has the Field, the Observatory and The Museum of Science & Industry. If this would have been Los Angeles, I probably would have spent hours on several buses to go a few miles and still not have gotten to the right destination. Every time I was right on the doorstep of every destination. I would highly reccomend for it's convenience, ease of use and efficiency. Because, who wants to waste time getting lost in a city you aren't familiar with on your vacation?
PROS: convenience, ease of use, free and efficiency