Chicago a la Carte: A Day of Your Own in Downtown Chicago

  • March 30, 2016
  • 10:45 AM - 5:15 PM
  • Chicago
  • 11


Guest Registration Fee: $60.00

NOTE: Members must register their Guest by completing each line in the Guest portion of the online registration form, THEN CLICK ON THE "Add guest" BUTTON AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

Registration Deadline: March 27 at Midnight
(Please note that if you cancel after the registration deadline, there is no refund.)
Registration is closed

Take the PLATO bus into downtown Chicago where we drop you at your choice of four locations so that you can explore, on your own, Chicago's world class museums and/or shop Chicago's great stores. (Click on the Red Locations/Text below for a photo preview, or website visit.)

First stop is The Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) where you can "shop til you drop" at

stores/malls like Water Tower Place, Bloomingdale's, Saks, Ralph Lauren, American Girl, Crate & Barrel, and hundreds more.  Have lunch at any of the fine eateries on The Magnificent Mile (magnifier map). 

Enjoy the sight of the "Big John" Hancock Building, and tucked in behind this landmark, take in the changing art exhibits at the Museum of Contemporary Art (admission only $7 for seniors).

If you missed our August trip to see the Dressing Downton Exhibition, it is now featured at the Driehaus Museum. Why not enhance your experience with a traditional English Tea (registration required).

History also abounds at the Historic Water Tower City Gallery and at the Pumping Station's Information Center.

Second stop is in "The Loop" at the famous State Street Macy's (formerly the historic flagship store of Marshall Field's).  At Macy's enjoy their annual, free, flower show

and other in-store activities to be announced.  Macy's offers 5 dining areas, from casual to elegant, including the famous Walnut Room.  It's just a short walk to Michigan Avenue and the Chicago Cultural Center, a historical building with 2 stained glass domes, and changing exhibits.  Admission is free, and it's worth seeing.

Third stop of the day:  The Art Institute.  

The main exhibit is "Van Gogh's Bedrooms", featuring 36 of the artist's renditions of the many bedrooms he painted.  This is a ticketed event and costs $5 in addition to general admission to the museum, which is $19 for seniors.  Other notable exhibit "The New Contemporary": 44 iconic works by the likes of Warhol, Lichtenstein, and Johns, at no extra charge.  Check out the great gift shop and the Institute's new wing.  3 indoor restaurants to choose from for lunch.  And just across the street:  Millennium Park You'll want to check it out.  Take a "selfie" while looking at "The Bean".

Fourth (and last) stop:  The Museum Campus. 

There are three world-class museums located there:  The Field Museum, The Shedd Aquarium, and The Adler Planetarium.  Take your pick!  The Field is featuring a two special exhibitions: The Greeks -- Agamemnon to Alexander the Great and Cyrus Tang House of China. Senior general admission is $19 or $25 if you want to see any 1 of the special exhibits ($30 for All Access ticket).  Choose from a bistro or a cafe for lunch.  

Go to and for more information about these museum opportunities.


Plan Your Day

It's all right if you want to visit more than one location, but transportation will be on your own between locations

During the bus ride to Chicago, your PLATO trip organizer will collect the following information:

  • Where you will get off the bus
  • Where you will get back on the bus
  • A cellphone number for at least one person in your party

If you change locations, keep your PLATO field trip organizer  informed of your return boarding location.

During the bus ride to Chicago, you will be given a handout with your organizers' names and cellphone numbers, your bus info, and the boarding schedule in Chicago, to carry with you.

Accessibility Policy. The public spaces in Chicago are handicapped accessible.  However, you must be able to board and exit the bus using its stairs. If you need assistance, we recommend that you bring a friend to give you a hand.

  ~  ~  ~   Chicago a la Carte Itinerary  ~  ~ ~        

Bear in mind that our boarding bus route is like Madison Metro or any other municipal bus service. Please arrive early at your boarding stop so you don’t miss the bus. When everyone is aboard and seated, we leave. Arrive early and we will all arrive in Chicago with plenty of time to enjoy our day.

– Don’t be late. We can wait just 5 minutes at any one location.

– Pack water bottles and snacks for sustenance on the journey.


Leave Madison

6:45 AM        Begin bus boarding at Oakwood Village University Woods

7:10 AM        Bus arrives at Capitol Lakes for boarding.

7:25 M        Bus arrives at East Towne Shopko for boarding.

7:35 AM         Bus departs for Chicago (Or, sooner if everyone is aboard)


Arrive in Chicago

 10:45 AM       Arrive at Magnificent Mile (Rush and Superior Streets)

10:55 AM       Arrive at Macy's in the Loop (State and  Randolph)

 11:00 AM       Arrive at Art Institute of Chicago

11:10 AM       Arrive at Chicago Museum Campus

Depart from Chicago

4:30 PM       Depart from Chicago Museum Campus

4:40 PM       Depart from Art Institute of Chicago

5:00 PM       Depart from Macy's in the Loop (State and  Randolph)

5:15 PM       Depart from Magnificent Mile (Rush and Superior Streets)

Arrive Madison  (Estimated)

8:15 PM      East Towne Shopko

8:40 PM      Capitol Lakes

9:05 PM      Oakwood Village University Woods


Mail-In Registration Forms:

PLATO Members

For further information, contact Chicago a la Carte field trip organizer, Sue Peterson, and 608-332-5516.





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For more info about PLATO contact:

PLATO Office Operations, ATTN: Edie or Louise
c/o UW-Madison Continuing Studies
21 N. Park St, 7th Floor, Madison, WI 53715

Phone: 608-262-5823
Fax: 608-265-4555

PLATO is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization

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