Around Evanston & Chicago
Evanston is the first town north of Chicago, situated along the shores of Lake Michigan. In addition to Northwestern University, the city has a vibrant downtown area filled with many boutique shops and cafes. Scattered around the university and downtown area are many historical homes and local parks, some of which run right up against the lakeshore.
Food and Drink: Although Evanston was a dry community from its founding until the early 1970s, today it offers a huge variety of food and drink and is home to four breweries and a distillery. The highest concentrations of restaurants are found in downtown Evanston along Sherman, Orrington, Chicago, Church and Davis streets.
For a list of lunch/dinner options in Evanston, check out http://tinyurl.com/evanston-lunch
Chicago is the third largest city in the United States, with a population approaching 3 million and is well known for blues, jazz, and comedy, in addition to a magnificent skyline towering over the waters of Lake Michigan.
Downtown: Downtown Chicago is often referred to as the Loop, named for the famous elevated rail "L" train that circles around downtown. The Loop is easily accessible from Evanston on the CTA Purple/Red lines, and is home to a huge variety of dining and shopping. Perhaps the most famous shopping is along the stretch of Michigan Avenue known as the Magnificent Mile, just north of the Chicago River. Other Chicago landmarks include the Willis Tower (formerly the Sears tower), which is the second tallest building in the United States, and the John Handcock Center, both of which have wonderful observation decks.
Millennium Park: Millennium park is a bit south of the Chicago River along Michigan Avenue. It is home to the bean-shaped sculpture, Cloud Gate, and directly adjacent to the world-famous Art Institute of Chicago. Just south of Millennium Park is Grant Park, which features Buckingham Fountain and unobstructed views of the Chicago skyline.
Museum Campus: Just south of Millennium and Grant park toward the lakeshore is the Museum Campus, home to the Field Museum of Natural History, the Adler Planetarium, and the Shedd Aquarium, all world class museums.
Lakefront Trail: The scenic Lakefront Trail runs for 18 continuous miles along the city's beautiful shoreline, from Hollywood Beach in Edgewater to the magnificent South Shore Cultural Center. A bike ride along the Lakefront Trail is a common activity for visitors and locals alike. There are numerous bike rental shops close to downtown and the trail that offer all-day bike rentals.
For more inspiration regarding activities in Chicago, check out http://www.lonelyplanet.com/usa/chicago
Currency: The currency of the United States is the dollar ($). US dollars can be obtained at ATMs. Money can be exchanged for a fee at a variety of locations including banks and currency exchanges.
Time zone: During the conference Chicago will be on Central Daylight Time (CDT). This is one hour behind New York, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) and five hours behind universal time. (UTC -5:00).
Weather: Temperatures in late-June depend on the direction of the wind off Lake Michigan, and range from 55 F (13 C) degrees at night to 85 F (29 C) during the day. Summer months can bring thunderstorms and quick changes in climate so it may be wise to bring an umbrella and a light jacket.
Electricity: Electrical outlets in the United States provide 60 Hz 110V AC power. The plug is a standard NEMA-5 two- or three-prong design.
Gratuity: At most restaurants with wait staff it is customary to tip 15-20% of the subtotal bill (before tax), rounding up to the dollar. Some restaurants when serving groups of five or more may automatically include a gratuity of up to 20%. For Taxi Cab service it is customary to tip between 10-15%. For all other services, such as grooming, concierge, etc., it is customary to tip between 10-20% depending subjectively on the value and quality of service provided.
Smoking: Smoking is prohibited by state law at all restaurants, bars, workplaces, and public buildings. It's also banned within fifteen feet of any entrance, window, or exit to a public place, and at CTA train stations.