Thank you to Chris Schmit from Loyola University Health Sciences Library! This is a great post on navigating a new city.
Navigating a New City
Visiting a new city can be overwhelming at times. It can be tempting to just sit back in your hotel room and order some room service or head down to the hotel restaurant. But I encourage you to venture out into the city and try some of the great dining options that Chicago has to offer. In order to help you find some hidden gems in addition to well-known establishments, I will be highlighting some fantastic tools to use in order to make your stay in Chicago more pleasant, and to keep your stomach full of local eats. The majority of the tools that I am highlighting are available to you both in a smartphone format and by using a computer.
Once you have figured out where you’d like to go for food, you’ll need to figure out how to get there. If you are driving, walking or taking public transportation, Google maps/Apple maps is a must. Just enter your start and end points and choose the method that you will be using. If you don’t have a smartphone, use a computer to get the basics of how you will get to your destination and make note of the major street names. If you have a smartphone and are walking, I recommend using your headphones and allowing the app to direct you with audio directions.
If you’d prefer to take a taxi to your destination and you have a smartphone, the über app will be very convenient. You can just type in your destination’s address, and the app will use your smartphone’s location to dispatch a car to you. The fare and tip will all be paid via the app (using a credit card). For more information, check out Uber’s website: https://www.uber.com/cities/chicago
You can also use a local taxi company like Yellow Cab 312-TAXICAB or use the app they support called Taxi Magic.
Food & Events
Now that you have your transportation in order, time to find where you are going to eat. If you have a smartphone, many of these apps will send the address to your smartphone’s maps app, which will make your travels much easier. Don’t forget to take a look at the online map of the recommended restaurants located here: http://goo.gl/mT1cEU
Yelp is a website/app to use to find a spot to eat at when I am visiting a new city, or just want to try a new place in a familiar neighborhood. No matter what kind of food you’d like to eat or for what price, you will be able to find a restaurant using yelp. Definitely look through the reviews to see what people have recommended to order (or avoid) at a particular place. Also, check the hours listed on the restaurants page to be sure they are open when you visit.
foursquare is also a great place to check for local places to visit. In addition to finding great places to eat, foursquare will also have information on other items of interest like events, entertainment and shopping. Just like Yelp, Foursquare is very customizable. You can filter results based on distance, food type, and price. It also contains information about the hours of a location.
If you don’t want to venture out, you can use grubhub to order food for delivery (or pickup if you still want to go out). Similar to the other sites/apps, you can filter your results based on cuisine type, delivery options or takeout. Many of the restaurants featured on grubhub will also list their most ordered items to let you know what others have been eating.
If you are heading to a spot that seems trendy or you have a bigger group, use opentable to reserve a table ahead of time so you won’t have to wait. You can specify the time you’d like to eat and the size of your party and opentable will show you restaurants that have availability. Some will even offer discounts to lure you to their establishment and ensure they have a full house.
Finally, if you’d like to view the menu of a restaurant before visiting, or just to help you decide, Menupages is a must visit. You can either use the cuisines listed or click on a neighborhood/area to see what is available for you.