Hollywood on the Lake?
No, Mayor Daley has not ordered that the official name of the city be changed to "Gotham". But it's true that in the summer there were plenty of "Gothamites" running around, as the Chicago was the prime location for the filming of the latest "Batman" epic.
Chicago has been featured in many memorable films, from "Ferris Bueller" to "The Blues Brothers", the "Home Alone" films to "North by Northwest". 2007 was a banner year in Chicago Movie History, as a record number of films were partially or wholly filmed in the windy city.
Don't be surprised to come across "location shooting" at various sites around the city. And it's not exactly unprecedented to see "the great Stars" in Chicago - sometimes at fancy or not so fancy restaurants, shopping on Michigan Ave. - or taking their children to see "Sue" at the Field Museum. (I read that in the summer of 2007, "Brangelina & Co." were given a special private tour of the museum. Nice for them.)
FREE Chicago Air and Water Show
This largest free show of its kind is held on the lake front in August.
LOCATION: From Fullerton to Oak Street. North avenue beach is the focal point.
Friday, 17th - practice.
Saturday,18th and Sunday,19th - the actual show.
HOURS: Water show runs from 9 till 10 am. Air show runs from 11 until 4pm.
ADVICE: Bring chairs, umbrellas, food and drinks, hats and sunglasses. Come early to pick a good spot (above the ground or closer to the lake), cause it gets really crowded. Or better come see the show on the practice day - less people, same performance.
You can skip the water show part - it was just a couple of jet skis doing something on the water.. Boring.
If you want to have a better view, go to this website. It offers 5 unique (rather expensive) ways to do it. Like, watching the show from kayak on Montrose beach ($50)..Related to:
- Budget Travel
Very Popular Activities in Chicago in Summer
Chicago really comes alive in the summertime, and a multitude of people visit each year.
During August of 2007, Allan and I observed how "flocks of people" are attracted to key locations along the Magnificent Mile.
1. Riverwalk Cafe & Bar at 401 North Michigan Aveneue on the concourse level [312-229-8801] has recently received a liquor license and has expanded hours, and many tourist are really enjoying the river view, the new bar menu, and the spectacular location. You are also able to dine indoors, but in the summer it's the riverside patio that is "packed".
2. Just outside the Hancock Observatory Building [already a tourist attraction itself], hordes of people stand in line or sit in the patio area to enjoy the ambience and the famouse cheesecake at the Cheesecake Factory at 875 North Michigan Avenu [312 337-1101]. I must say that the architecture of this restaurant is quite odd with all its curving surfaces and colorful light fixtures. Plus, I don't think that I have ever seen a larger, more diversified menu anywhere else.
Wow...the last page of the menu [and it's a large page] is devoted to their cheesecake list. Be warned, it will take time to make decisions about which of the many cheesecakes you wish to try. YOU SHOULD MAKE RESERVATIONS.
3. On Saturday mornings, there is a huge Farmer's Market on Division Street north and west of the Magnificent Mile. The street is closed to traffic, and a large number of "booths" are set up that sell fresh produce. We purchased delicious corn-on-the-cob and tantalizing red peppers. If we had not had such a long walk back to our hotel, we would have purchased much more. They have pastries, breads, cheeses, meats, candles, perfumes, flowers, and assorted other items.
- Food and Dining
- Women's Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Jack BrickHouse Memorial
While walking down Michigan Avenue, we observed a rather new memorial of Jack Brickhouse, broadcaster for the Chicago Cubs for 40 years and the Chicago White Sox for 24 years as well as the Chicago Bears for 24 years.
This memorial is located in Pioneer Court at the Equitable Plaza just south of Tribune Tower. It is on the northeast corner of Michigan Avenue and the Chicago River. We noticed that the statue is gadjacent to JackBrickhouse Way sign. [see photo #3]
Jack's wife took his Baseball Hall of Fame ring to sculptor, Jerry McKenna, so that he could sculpt the ring on the Brickhouse statue's finger. It's a very authentic sculpture.
Jack was born in Peoria, Illinois in 1917, and at the age of 18 became the youngest sports announcer in the USA. He was the first voice on WGN-TV, and in 1979, he reached a personal milestone of 5,000 broadcast for WGN Radio and TV. Jack was also the 1st TV voice for the Chicago Bulls. He retired from the broadcasting book in 1981.
Jack Brickhouse was inducted into Media Wing of Baseball Hall of Fame in 1983 and in 13 other Halls of Fame throughout the country.
All this information about Jack Brickhouse is found engraved on the base of his sculpture. That is where I learned that he broadcast interviews with 6 Presidents. He had 4 Honorary Doctorates, and he wrote two Autobiographical best sellers called:"Thanks for Listening" and "A Man for All Seasons".
I was very fond of the man and remember his famous "Hey, Hey" when he broadcast Chicago Cub Baseball Games.Related to:
- Historical Travel
What the heck is the "loop"
Before going to Chicago I kept reading about the loop, I had no idea what it was exactly until we made it to the city. The loop is pretty much how the train loops around downtown, going down one way and coming up pretty much the same way making a loop. So the Loop, for all those that are curious is actually the downtown area.
Say Goodbye to Marshall Field Retail
One of the saddest days for many people in the Chicago area was the day we learned that New York's Macy's was to replace our beloved Marshall Field's.
Fields really began as "Field, Palmer, Leiter & Co but when Levi Lieter and Potter Palmer left the company, it became known simply as Marshall Field & Co..
As time passed, great additions such as the wonderful display windows, the famous tea room, and the huge Christmas Tree became legends. Fields remained an independent Chicago company until 1982. Since that time, it has been transfered to many companies, the last one being the May Company Thus, all the Marshall Field's have now been renamed Macy's.
Thank goodness, Macy's decided to keep the famous clock (which you see in my pictures) and keep the tradition of the Christmas windows.
I went into Macy's for the first time on Februay 9. It seemed brighter than it did the last time I visited Fields; however, I still felt sad. Even though Fields had slipped in the "service" department of late, it was still the place to go in Chicago. It will take a great deal of time for me to feel comfortable in Macy's, but at least the beautiful building was saved, and, for me, that's very important.Related to:
- Historical Travel
Resurrection Mary is Chicago's most famous ghost. She is supposed to be the spirit of a young woman who was struck by a car along Archer Ave and along Archer Ave is usually where she is seen. The oldest stories tell of her jumping onto the running boards of cars as they drove along that street, tryign to get back to Resurrection Cemetery. Since cars no longer have running boards, the newer stories tell of her either hitchhiking or found wandering dazed along the road. Mary has been known to talk to the people she apprears to, often telling that she had a fight with boyfriend at the dance hall and decided to walk home, which is a retelling of the events which led to her death.
No one knows Mary's real name but no matter whom she appears to or what she says or does, Mary is always trying to get back to Resurrection Cemetery, and at least one attempt has been made to catch her. That event culminated with her grasping the bars at the gate and then disappearing into a bright flash of fire and light. For years after that, the bars appeared burned with a human grip on them, scars which resisted every attempt at removal until the Church finally removed the bars altogether.
So... if you should be wandering down Archer Ave and see a young woman in outdated clothes, possibly still wearing dancing shoes, give her a lift, especially in the cold weather when she normally appears. Mary usually appears to people in the coldest months of winter, not Halloween. Sightings of her have become fewer over the years, or maybe we just don't recognize her any more.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
ice sculptures at Michigan Avenue
Once in a while/often and in particular in winter at long periods of freezing temperatures ice sculpturer make the finest pieces of ice art, which are standing along the Magnificient Mile and eventually melt away...yeh really they do....unfortunatly.
Though this is done in other cities and places too, it contributes enormously to Chicago's unique atmosphere at Michigan Avenue. Who sponsors? No clue do I have...Related to:
- Family Travel
- Luxury Travel
- Romantic Travel and Honeymoons
Cheap Activities in Chicago
Enjoy bargains? Chicago, like other large metropolises, use free & inexpensive activities to lure locals & tourists.
Low-& no-cost options:
A wonderful no-cost place would be the CHICAGO CULTURAL CENTER because of the elegant architecture, beautiful mosaics, free information, & knowledgeable personnel.
See the CHICAGO PUBLIC LIBRARY, if for no other reason than for the architecture & art displayed inside
Lincoln Park Conservatory & Lincoln Park Zoo are both FREE. Closely located , they are compact, easy to maneuver, & visitor friendly.
The MUSEUM OF CONTEMPORARY PHOTOGRAPHY is quite a bargain; it is FREE.
During summer months, be sure to catch the Loop Tour Train which offers a 40-minute tour with Chicago Architecture Foundation docents who give interesting tidbits about the history of downtown Chicago. Get tour tickets in advance from the Chicago Visitor Information Center at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Or, be paired up with a Chicago Greeter [a Chicago resident] who will take you on a walking tour that usually has a theme such as ARCHITECTURE, A CERTAIN NEIGHBORHOOD, OR SHOPPING. Greeters also will teach you how to use public transportation.
For other FREE treats, note the day & time for the following:
Monday: Chicago Historical Society.
Tuesday: Adler Planetarium, Museum of Contemporary Art [5-8 pm], National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum, & the Art Institute of Chicago.
Sunday: DuSable Museum of African-American History.
You can always save a good deal if you remember to purchase a CITY PASS. With this pass, you will get activities at half the price of combined individual admissions.
Not free, but a real bargain:
Eli's Plant at ELI'S CHEESECAKE WORLD gives a tour for a mere $3.00, & you get to taste-test from a selection of cheesecake flavors.
If you think Chicago is expensive, think again. With a little planning & the information on this page, you can see lots for just a little money.Related to:
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
Driving/Driving CELL PHONE LAWS/Common driving
Driving in any large city is a skill, but nothing to me is more terrifying then a white knuckled tourist, or suburbanite, trying to manuver their rented mini van on the expressway. First of all, if you're not going as fast as the flow of traffic GET IN THE RIGHT LANE for God's sake. Secondly, PLEASE know where you're going. BEFORE you get in the car for the day, MAP your plan out. Realize what exits you need to get off at, "OK, I'm going to the Cubs game, it looks to me that I should get off at ADDISON. So, if I'm coming from the O'Hare area, I should make sure to look for the Addison exit AFTER I see the Irving Park Rd. exit. It also looks like the exits for the highway are located on the RIGHT side of the road, so when I see Irving Park, I'm going to get to the right so I can get off at the next exit Addison, then I won't be trying to cross 6 lanes of traffic because I'm NOT PAYING ATTENTION!!!!!!!!!!!" (that seemed more like a rant than a tip, sorry)
AS OF 7/1/05 the CHICAGO POLICE DEPARTMENT will be ticketing people $50 for talking on your cell phone while driving. Use the ear piece.
Tolls: Paying tolls is a way of life here. They promised they were temporary, and they're still here. SO. Make sure you know how much the tolls are, if you're paying cash, most of them are $1 or .80 . Please don't freak out when you see the toll, realize you don't have your money ready, slow down to a crawl and drive goofy. Have change ready, READ THE SIGNS ON THE TOLL one side is manual, one side is a change machine, and the other is IPASS (which if you're a tourist, you don't have, although your car rental company could give you one I bet, ask them, it's much easier)
Apparently, some people think that the CPD can not pull you over on the expressway because it's the State Police jurisdiction. NOT TRUE. If a CPD officer sees you doing something stupid on the highway, they are more than likley going to pull you over (as long as they aren't on their way home).
Northsiders vs Southsiders
There are 2 kinds of Chicagoans....Northsiders who love the Cubs and Southsiders who love the Sox. Both factions when separated from each other are perfectly jovial, but when the cross-town classic occurs things get ugly. Both sides claim that they are nicer than the other but when they are loaded up with beer, let's just say I've learned some creative insults. Its all in good fun.
Flowers in the Loop
The Mayor of Chicago Richard Daley likes flowers. And so flowers abound. Recent years have witnessed a profileration of flower beds in and around the city - perhaps nowhere as dramatically as in the Loop. They add color and vibrancy to the streetscape, even making this parking garage entrance a thing of beauty.
Where the locals get the info!
So how do you find THAT bar, THAT restaurant or THAT activity that makes your trip extra special. Well all the locals get there info from the listings. Paper versions like 'The Reader' you can pick up downtown at Virgin or other music / trendy stores. Else you can check it out online at www.chireader.com or www.metromix.com. i tend to prefer the latter as the pictures are nicer!
Mayor Daley Brings Trees, Flowers, & Parks
Since Richard M. Daley has been Mayor of Chicago, the city has certainly become more beautiful. He has insisted on more parks, more art, more trees, and lots more flowers.
It is truly amazing to see the huge hanging baskets of flowers along the Miracle Mile, near the Water Tower, and in the nearby areas. In addition, several streets have a "flower strip" down the middle! The last time that I was in the city, I noticed the beautiful plantings along the sidewalks on Michigan Avenue. The photograph is in front of the Terra Museum of Art, a Shoe Store, and Garrett Popcorn.
Some buildings have beautiful flowers hanging out of boxes on windows. I keep asking myself, "Who takes such great care of these plantings?" The flowers always look good, well watered, and without wilted leaves of dead flowers. As a gardener, I know how much time that takes. Amazing.
However, it certainly adds a "touch of class" to an already beautiful city.Related to:
- Arts and Culture
A bit of Europe on Michigan Ave.
The mimes have arrived in Chicago -- reflecting the tradition I have seen myself in Paris & Antwerp.
What is odd about this picture is that the mime [all in silver] looks like a black& white photo in the middle of a color one!
The Peninsula Hotel in Chicago is an absolutely wonderful hotel! Every detail is thought through and...more
One of the prettiest, sleekest, nicely designed hotels i've been in.more
I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone who wants to discover Chicago on foot! It is located...more
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