Saturday, January 7, 2012

Thrifting afield

It's a pretty busy week here at the 2ndhand casa, and I'm preparing to leave Sunday for a week in Chicago for software training for work, so I have a question for anyone who might be reading:

Anyone have any thrift and/or thrifty suggestions for my down time while I'm there?

I must preface this by saying that when I say Chicago, I really mean I'll be somewhere way outside of Chicago, so instead of this:

Chicago's nifty mirror-bean!

My view will be more like this:
Random industrial park

My class is in Oak Brook, apparently across the street from a giant mall (yawn!), and my hotel is a couple of miles away in Westchester, which seems from google maps to be home to mostly golf courses and cemeteries.  I'm guessing I'm at least a 40 minute drive outside of Chicago-proper, and will be in class 9:00-5:00, so the question is what to do in the exurbs, in the January cold, after hours when it gets dark early, on my own?  I'm a wanderer by nature and very much enjoy exploring by myself, but the conditions for this one are challenging even for me.  I'm sure I'll find a thrift shop or two to check out, and drive around looking for interesting neighborhoods and whatnot, and I'll definitely venture into the city a couple of evenings but I'm sure there's plenty to do outside of the city too; I just don't know what it is!  So if anybody knows that area and has suggestions to get me started (particularly suggestions of the free-to-cheap kind), I'm all ears!

I will have the Saturday after the class free before heading back to the 'Lou, and I'm torn.  Some of the things I've thought of:

Shedd Aquarium (which I'd like to see, but is low on my list because 1. It costs money and 2. I'm not sure how much fish will hold my attention, and there's a whole world of who-knows-what around any given corner I might miss to look at fish...

Checking Craigslist for estate sales - a chance to see Chicago neighborhoods and houses I never would otherwise, and the possibility of some vintage bargains of the exotic non-St. Louis-y nature for the shop.

A proper wander in some interesting, real (as in not too touristy, not too mass-market) neighborhoods in the city.  Not sure what neighborhoods those might be yet, but that's part of the fun!

So, again - any suggestions are welcome - got some?

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