Woot, I'm up for this! And it's a Sunday so that's my official day off (the store where I work is closed Sundays...they keep trying to make us work on Sun though
Lifelong Chicagoan (well technically in suburbia but close enough!) here, so forgive me if I go on and on about my beloved city!
If anyone needs help with the public transit feel free to pm me, I'm the CTA Queen (aka the walking CTA billboard according to my mom
Too bad my riding the CTA tutorial paper from high school got eaten by my dead laptop or I'd have that to hand out (I took pictures and everything of the farebox!)
I do recommend the Visitor's Pass, especially with the current fare structure. A one day pass is $5 and that's for unlimited rides in a 24 hour period. You can order the passes from the CTA, http://www.yourcta.com
and have them in hand before you come -- the clock doesn't start ticking on the pass until you use it the first time. There's one, three, five and seven day passes, so choose what you'll need! Very worth it considering that in three cash fares you'd surpass the price of the one-day pass.
If you have time, yes do get a CityPass and hit the museums. It's good for my favourites, Museum of Science and Industry and Adler Planetarium, as well as the Shedd, Field (King Tut is there until Jan 1st!) and the John Hancock observatory. The homepage for that is http://www.citypass.com/city/chicago.html
Some more helpful websites:http://www.choosechicago.com/http://www.cityofchicago.gov
As far as places to get together, what about the Cultural Center? Easy access from CTA (I can think of at least 2-3 busses that stop by there just off the top of my head), and there's a nice open cafe area that's usually not crowded, plenty of seating and some drinks and food available. Best of all I doubt we'd have to reserve it if we're doing something kinda informal.
Let's see...there's also the Water Tower. There's a cafe area there too, not quite as large as at the Cultural Center but decent nonetheless.
Of course there's also library meeting rooms. I'd offer up my local library's but they're closed on Sunday
but I know Elmhurst PL is open Sundays and there's a Metra stop right there.
I'm sure I could come up with more ideas but it's late and I have to work tomorrow (yuk). So I'll shut up and let y'all digest everything I've babbled about so far.
Mary Jo (Ms CTA Billboard)