Travel Guide: Chicago / Notre Dame

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2017 brings a much-anticipated trip to South Bend as the Dawgs take on Notre Dame. The nearest travel hub to South Bend is Chicago, and all reports are that Georgia People will be painting the Windy City red starting Thursday night.

The PMGN has caught up with a few experts (Tour Mid-Am and Drew Butler) on Chicago to bring you the rundown on what to do (and what to avoid) in one of America's great cities.

The Thompson Hotel

The Thompson Hotel

1. Where to Stay:

Tour Mid-Am only stays at The Peninsula, but Drew recommends The Virgin Hotel, the Thompson (you may run into the Poor Man at this spot), Chicago Athletic Club, or if you are an Airbnb person, target Wicker Park or Lincoln Park.

Swift and Sons

Swift and Sons

2. Where to Eat:

For Chicago Steaks: TMA recommends Swift and Sons (look for the glowing retro neon sign) where the Beef Wellington was the ONLY entree on listed on the Tribune's "Most Chicago Things" list. He elaborates that "Real Chicago people are there, not the celebrities, wanna be cool young losers spending their weeks paycheck on flashy suits and used car leases." Also check out Chicago Cut, a "Harvey Specter"-style place downtown. (Note - You may catch a big crowd of DGD's at Swift and Sons on Friday night after the Cubs game.)

For a Fancy Date Night: Check out The Girl and the Goat and Duck Duck Goat, two West Loop small-plate spots vetted by Drew and TMA, but they warn to "get reservations yesterday". Gilt Bar is a "true old school Chicago style place straight out of Mad Men. Momotoro is the place for sushi. Lena Brava is a newer place straight out of California's Baja region. And if you really want to check an item off the Chicago culinary bucket list, go ahead and start bribing people for a Thursday reservation at Alinea. TMA explains, "it was featured on the Netflix series Chefs Table, and is the often rated the #1 restaurant in the country."

Au Cheval

Au Cheval

For Pizza / Burgers / Etc.: Apparently they have a great Texas BBQ place called Green Street Meats. TMA says "Its the perfect game day BBQ, they even have a sandwich named the Warren Moon which adds some football flare to the place.....the North's version of Southern Soul. Yes thats a huge comparison for all you die hard Barbecubanor Philly Soul fans, but Green Street Meats will live up to the hype." Go to Lou Malnati's for the rare tourist-trap that "is the place to go for the real deal" Chicago deep-dish pizza with pies that are "Leonard Pope-sized". Au Cheval is an upscale diner known for their burgers. Apparently a line forms at 4pm as soon as they open so "get there early!"

For Doughnuts: We have it on good word that the doughnuts in Chicago are bona-fide. Some local favorites include Firecakes, Doughnut Vault, Glazed and Infused, and Stan's.

3. Where to Drink

Game Room at Chicago Athletic Club

Game Room at Chicago Athletic Club

The Aviary tops everyone's list of places to get a cocktail in Chicago. "Instead of a restaurant being centered around food with a great cocktail list. It's 100% centered around cocktails with a food list"..."Crazy inventive", and "You'll leave mind blown, having absolutely no idea what you just consumed, but feeling amazing and ready to get the night started." Our experts also assure you "Don't be scared because you aren't quite sure if you'll "like this place" because of its interesting off-the-wall kind of drinks, that's the point, and thats what makes this place amazing." (If you want to avoid the crowd, you can shell out $140/person for a spot at the speakeasy in the basement where your private bartender will do your ordering for you.) Cindy's at the Chicago Athletic Club (Rooftop bar) "is a must" with it's "views of the bean and the lake". Also check out Kaiser Tiger: TMA says "It's in the "cool" part of town called the West Loop...a short Uber ride away. Indoor and outdoor area, great for all day all night drinking...Nice enough that you don't feel like you're on bourbon street, but laid back enough that you can order your bud light and scream at a bad call like you want to scream at Greg McGarity..."

4. What to Do:

Leonard Floyd is rumored to make an appearance at Friday's Cubs-Brewers Game.

Leonard Floyd is rumored to make an appearance at Friday's Cubs-Brewers Game.

CORRECTION: VINCE DOOLEY IS THROWING THE FIRST PITCH AT THE FIRDAY CUBS GAME. (7/27)

As you probably already know, The Cubs are playing at Wrigley at 1:05 pm CT Friday, and the hot rumor is that so many UGA fans have bought tickets that the Cubs are bringing in Leonard Floyd to throw out the first pitch. Don't miss your chance to Call The Dawgs amidst a bunch of confused Yankees that afternoon. Boozy boat tours come recommended and if you are a birds fan, the Falcons take on the Bears at noon local time Sunday at famous Soldier Field.

5. What to Avoid:

Our experts warn to stay away from Ditka's Steakhouse "an over priced Longhorn with his name on it", Michael Jordan Steakhouse "an over priced Texas Roadhouse with his name on it", any Italian restaurant with more than 30 seats in the place, and notably The Trump Hotel "whether you like Trump or not, the Chicago Folk does not, so don't stay there unless you want to watch closed minded liberals/Notre Dame Fans protest anything they can come up with all day and night".