Friday, April 4, 2014

Play Ball!

Believe it or not, baseball season is already upon us and in full swing! Baseball is one of the most popular sports in Chicago, and people come from all over to enjoy the games.  There are two major league baseball teams which represent Chicago, which is only true of four metro areas in the U.S. 


 The Chicago Cubs are a part of the National League, and they play at Wrigley Field on the north side.  The Cubs have been playing at Wrigley Field since 1916, but the field is celebrating its 100th season this year.  Actually, they are hosting a “Party of the Century”, which will take place all year long and feature throwback uniforms, free gifts, food treats, special guests and more. Though the Cubs are not exactly known for a great winning record—they have not been to a World Series game since 1945, to be exact—but that does not stop their dedicated fans.  From its ivy-covered outfield walls to its old-fashioned bleachers and hand-turned scoreboard, Wrigley Field provides an old-fashioned, all-American atmosphere for baseball fans to enjoy. 

The other team, the Chicago White Sox, reign over the south side.  The White Sox are part of the American League, and their stadium has a much different atmosphere.  They play at the U.S. Cellular Field, which has been and continues to be renovated and improved. It is one of the nicer ballparks in MLB.  The White Sox won the World Series fairly recently in 2005, which was their first championship win in 88 years. 













Tickets for both teams can be bought online, and the prices are very reasonable, depending on where you would like to sit.  Which Chicago team will you root for? 

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Traveller Spotlight: Michael

Today I was able to talk to a guest named Michael who is visiting us from San Francisco.  He is in town reuniting with a group of 12 friends that he met while participating in AmeriCorps in 2007-2008. AmeriCorps is an organization that engages Americans in service related activities all over the country, which can range from working at a school to a state park.  Michael said his team was able to help with the reconstruction after devastating Hurricane Katrina, among other projects.  He joined AmeriCorps after college and really liked being able to travel all over and meet new people.
            
    At this point, Michael has only been here for a few days, but he still saw a lot! His weekend activities included seeing the ‘bean’ at Millennium Park, heading over to Navy Pier, enjoying some deep dish pizza, and hearing some live music over at the House of Blues. He said the evening at House of Blues was nice because it was much more mellow than the liveliness of the Saint Patrick’s Day festivities. Though he enjoyed his time, he said he was just ‘along for the ride’ and his favorite part of the trip was catching up with the friends he hadn’t seen in about six years.
Even though he has been in the city for a few days, this is his first night at the hostel.  We hope you have a great stay, Michael!
               

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Saint Patrick’s Day 2014


We hear a lot about “going green” these days. But Chicago takes this idea to the next level.  On Saint Patrick’s Day—and all throughout the month of March, Chicago celebrates Irish culture and tradition through several outlets.  There are pub crawls, parades, an Irish Film Festival, and more!

But, the biggest event would have to be the Dyeing of the Chicago River.  At 10:45 am, 45 pounds of eco-friendly vegetable dye are poured into the river, transforming it into a gorgeous emerald green color.  This grand tradition has been taking place for more than 50 years, and it is a perfect kick-off for the rest of the day’s festivities.  The river will only stay green for about five hours, so be sure to check it out before heading to the parade!

Downtown Chicago’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is one of the largest in the country! It begins at Columbus Drive, goes north through Grant Park, and ends are Monroe Drive.  The parade includes vibrant floats, Irish step dancers, marching bands, and bagpipes.

In case you aren’t ready for the St. Patrick’s Day fun to end, don’t worry; the fun isn’t over yet! On Sunday, March 16, the South Side Irish Parade will take place at 12 noon at Western Ave between 103rd and 115th street.  Also on Sunday is the Northwest Side Irish parade, starting at 12 noon and located at Onahan School at 6634 W. Raven Street. 

Have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day and don’t forget to wear green!

Friday, February 21, 2014

Summer Events in Chicago

If you are anything like me, you are getting really anxious for spring and summer which are just around the corner.  Mark up your calendars, because there are many things you will not want to miss! From smaller-scale neighborhood festivals to some of the biggest events in America, Chicago hosts it all!


Chicago’s 177th Birthday Celebration

Where: Daley Plaza
50 W. Washington St.
When: March 4, 11am-7pm
Cost: Free
   
Creative Chicago Expo

Where: Chicago Cultural Center,
78 E. Washington Street
When: March 14-15, 10am – 4pm
Cost: Free
Are you a professional or aspiring designer, musician, filmmaker, artist, chef, or involved in another creative career field? Come to Creative Chicago Expo! There are over 30 workshops and 140 exhibitors coming together for this event.

Palestine Film Festival
May 1, 2014 (begins April 19)

The Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors as well as films about Palestine at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Movies and Music Festival
May 1 - 4, 2014

The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival (CIMMfest) is “where movies and music meet.” See films with a music connection by day, and hear live music with a film connection by night at Wicker Park and Logan Square.

Cinco de Mayo



May 2 - 4, 2014

Cinco de Mayo Festival features live music, authentic foods, arts and crafts, and activities for families on W 26th St. at Kostner. Free.



 

Polish Parade
May 3, 2014
Polish Constitution Day Parade celebrates ratification of the Polish constitution in 1791 and is billed as the biggest Polish parade outside Poland. Begins 11:30 at Buckingham Fountain. Goes up Columbus. Free.

    Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
Where: Montrose Harbor, Lincoln Park
When: May 3, 10am – 4pm
Cost: Free
In the effort to celebrate the joys of being a kid, Chicago Kids and Kites is a wonderful event for the whole family to attend. Activities include face painting, balloon art, kite flying and instruction, and crafts.

Mayfest
May 16 - 18, 2014
Mayfest is bands in a giant tent, festival food, pretzels, and beer. Saturday is kids’ day. Sunday is a pet pageant & expo. At 3100 N Ashland Ave. Cost. (Don’t confuse with Maifest on May 29.)

Maifest
May 29 - June 1, 2014
8 miles NW
The German festival known as Maifest Chicago serves beer, brats, sauerkraut, and music in Lincoln Square at Lincoln Ave. and Leland Ave. Free. (Don’t confuse with Mayfest on May 16.)






Chicago Memorial Day Parade
Where: State St. from Lake Street to Van Buren
When: Saturday, May 24 at 11am
Cost: Free
The Chicago Memorial Day Parade is one of the largest in the nation. At 11am, the Wreath Laying Ceremony will begin at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. The parade will step off at noon.

Millennium Art Festival
May 30 - June 1, 2014
0.5 mile south
The Millennium Art Festival features artwork, food from local restaurants, and live easy-listening music on Lake Street at Michigan Avenue. Free.

Millennium Park Music Series
   
Where: Millennium Park
When: Loops and Variations – Thursdays from May 29-July 3
Downtown Sound: New Music Mondays from June 2 – August 11, no concert 7/28
Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz – Thursdays
Cost: Free


Division Street Festival
May 30 - June 1, 2014
4 miles NW

Do Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale has rousing live music, a sidewalk sale, a fashion show, and a family fun fest (Sat. & Sun.) on Division Street between Damen and Leavitt. Donation.

Festival of Cultures
May 17 - 18, 2014
15 miles NW

Experience ethnic folk music and dance, exotic food, unique arts and crafts, international children’s games, beer tasting, a bazaar, and cultural exhibits at the Skokie Festival of Cultures in Oakton Park. Free.

Craft Beer Week

May 2014 (undated)
Chicago locations

Chicago Craft Beer Week features hundreds of craft beer events in the greater Chicago area, from special $4 tastings of rare beers to beer dinners. It’s sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.




Millennium Art Festival
June 1, 2014 (begins May 30)
0.5 mile south

The Millennium Art Festival features artwork, food from local restaurants, and live mellow music on Lake Street at Michigan Avenue. Free.


Turkish Fest

June 6 - 7, 2014 (uncertain)
Downtown Chicago

Experience the art, music, dance, and cuisine of Turkey at the Chicago Turkish Festival in Pioneer Court at 401 N Michigan Ave. Free.







Midsummer Festival
June 6 - 8, 2014
7.5 miles north

Andersonville Midsommarfest is a street fair with music, dancing, handmade crafts, and ethnic; donation requested. Swedish American Museum has a Maypole dance on the weekend.

Book Fair
June 7 - 8, 2014
1 mile south
Shop from 200 booksellers and attend 100 literary events and signings on the south end of Dearborn Street at the Printers Row Lit Fest, billed as the largest free outdoor literary festival in the Midwest.




Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
June 7 - 8, 2014

Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with local bands, food, drink, and street vendors at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival on N. Sheffield from Belmont to School. Donation.





Wells Street Art Festival
June 14 - 15, 2014
1.5 miles north
 See works by 250 juried artists, hear live music, and enjoy beer and local restaurant food at Wells Street Art Festival on N. Wells St. from North Ave. to Division. Morning crowd is better behaved. Donation.

Old Town Art Fair
June 14 - 15, 2014
3 miles north

See drawings, paintings, photography, ceramics, jewelry, and works in metal, stone, glass, and wood by 250 juried artists at Old Town Art Fair on tree-lined Lincoln Ave. at Wisconsin. Donation.


Chicago Summer Film Series
Come to Millennium Park on Tuesdays between June 24 and August 29 for FREE summer film screenings at the Jay Pritzker Pavillion in Millennium Park. Don’t forget your picnic dinner!


Chicago SummerDance

Where: Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park      
When:  June 27-September 14 (Thursday, Friday, Saturday, & Sunday), Time TBA
Cost: Free
This dancing event includes a one hour dancing lesson taught by a professional and followed by two hours of live music and dancing. And the best part is—it’s free!

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Where: Multiple Locations, including the Chicago Cultural Center
When: June 27-29
Cost: Free
The Chicago Gospel Music festival features well-known and up and coming artists from the Chicagoland area including groups, soloists, praise dancers, mimes, and more. 


Country Music Festival
June 28 - 29, 2014
3 miles north

Chicago Country Fest has 20 hours of live country music, line dancing, artisan booths, and barbecue on Clark Street at Armitage. Donation.

Southport Street Fair

June 28 - 29, 2014 (uncertain)
6 miles north

Summer on Southport is a mellow event with live music, vendors, food, and a children’s festival on N Southport Ave. at Waveland. Donation.


Pride Parade

June 29, 2014
Chicago Pride Parade for gay and lesbian pride has 200 floats, decorated vehicles, performers, and marching bands that pass 800,000 spectators on N. Broadway. Free.





Ravinia Music Festival
June 2014 (undated)
23 miles north

Ravinia Festival is billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival, with a long series of performances at Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Cost.

Comedy Festival
June 2014 (undated)
Chicago locations
Just for Laughs Chicago is six days of stand-up comedy and sketches by more than 100 comedians.



Classical Music Festival

June 11 - August 16, 2014
Chicago locations

Grant Park Music Festival is an outdoor classical music series at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, normally on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Free.

Puerto Rican Festival and Parade

June 12 - 15, 2014
5 miles west

The four-day Puerto Rican Festival at Humboldt Park has carnival rides, music, and Puerto Rican foods like arepas (corn cakes with cheese). The Puerto Rican People’s Parade is Saturday on Division Street from Western to Sacramento. Both free.



Blues Festival

June 13 - 15, 2014
1 mile south
Chicago’s biggest music festival, Chicago Blues Festival, brings top-name talent to multiple stages in Grant Park & Millennium Park. After the show, music continues late into the night at city clubs. Free.


Taste of Randolph
June 13 - 15, 2014


The highly acclaimed Taste of Randolph offers six blocks of artisan and restaurant booths plus three music stages on W Randolph Street from Peoria St. to Racine Ave. Donation.

Electronic Dance Music Festival
June 13 - 15, 2014

Spring Awakening Music Festival draws 75,000 to Soldier field to hear the best in electronic dance music (EDM) by some of the world’s top DJs. Cost.


Art fair in Grant Park
June 21 - 22, 2014

The Gold Coast Art Fair at Grant Park has 350 juried artists and an improved layout this year separating music and food. Butler Field on E Monroe St. Free.

Green Music Festival
June 21 - 22, 2014

Green Music Fest features environmentally friendly vendors and cutting-edge music on N Damen Ave. between North and Schiller. Donation.

Pride Festival

June 21 - 22, 2014
6 miles north

Chicago Pride Fest is a huge weekend street festival for gay and lesbian pride with dance and pop music on two stages, food, drink, arts and crafts vendors, and a pet parade at Waveland & Halsted. Donation.


Taste of Chicago

Where: Grant Park
When: July 9-13
Cost: Free
What better way to experience Chicago than tasting a little bit of everything? Come enjoy the food and festivities.


West Town Street Fair
July 12 - 13, 2014
3 miles west
West Fest has cutting-edge music on 3 stages, a kid fest on Wolcott Ave., a dog fest, and local vendors on W Chicago Ave. from Damen to Wood. Donation.


Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival
June 2014 (undated)
Lincoln Park Arts and Music Festival offers art, live music, food, drink, and kids’ activities on Racine Ave. from Fullerton to Webster. Donation.


Burger Festival

July 12 - 13, 2014
5 miles NW

Enjoy fine beef, veggie, and turkey burgers with toppings or BBQ, plus music, arts & crafts, and a kids’ zone at Roscoe Village Burger Fest on Belmont at Damen. Donation.

Irish fest

July 12 - 14, 2014
9 miles NW

Irish American Heritage Festival has Irish music and dance on five stages, a folk tent, food vendors, beer & wine, clothing & jewelry artisans, contests, and family activities at Irish American Heritage Center.

Craft Beer Fest

July 19 - 20, 2014
3.5 miles NW

The Chicago Craft Beer Festival is a Belgian beer fest at N Sheffield Ave. & Webster.

Clark Street Festival
July 19 - 20, 2014 (uncertain)
10 miles north

Enjoy multi-cultural food, art, music, and dance at Celebrate Clark Street Festival on N Clark St. from Morse to Estes. Kids’ activities. Donation.

Chinatown Summer Fair

July 20, 2014

Chinatown Summer Fair features a dragon and lion dance procession, street vendors, live music, martial arts, and a children’s area on S. Wentworth Ave. at Cermak Rd. Free.

Taste of Lincoln Avenue
July 26 - 27, 2014
3.5 miles north

Shop 250 vendors, hear 35 music acts on 3 stages, see juried art, and take the kids to a free afternoon carnival with pony rides and a petting zoo at Taste of Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton to Wrightwood. Donation.

Latino festival

July 31 - Aug. 3, 2014

Fiesta del Sol delivers live entertainment, local art, diverse cuisine, carnival rides, but no alcohol on W. Cermak Rd. between Morgan and Ashland. Free.


Ravinia Music Festival
July 2014 (undated)
23 miles north
Ravinia Festival is billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival, with a long series of performances at Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Cost.


Dragon Boat Races

July 2014 (undated)
3 miles south

Watch teams compete in colorful boats on the river, hear music, see dance, shop vendors, and attend an awards ceremony at Dragon Boat Race for Literacy at Ping Tom Memorial Park, 300 E 18th Street. Free.














Taste of River North
July 2014 (undated)
1.5 miles NW

Enjoy food from local restaurants, shop local vendors, and hear live music at Taste of River North at Ward Park (Kingsbury & Erie). Donation.


Movies at the Zoo
July 2014 (undated)
2.5 miles north

Zoovies are Lincoln Park Zoo free outdoor movies.

Sheffield Avenue Festival
July 19 - 20, 2014
3.5 miles NW

The Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival features live music, self-guided tours of 80 gardens, guided architectural tours, food and drink, and kids’ activities at N Sheffield Ave. & Webster. Donation.

Greek Festival
July 2014 (undated)
15 miles NW

The Big Greek Food Fest of Niles features authentic Greek food, live music, and dancing in Niles. Cost.

Thursday Jazz
July 2014 (undated)
0.5 miles south
Enjoy a concert every Thursday at Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz in Millennium Park. Free.

Wicker Park Music Festival

July 2014 (undated)
3.5 miles NW

Wicker Park Fest brings cutting-edge local and national acts to three stages on Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Paulina St. Go early for the best shopping and best-behaved crowd. Donation.




Lollapalooza

August 1 - 3, 2014
1.5 miles south

Lollapalooza is a three-day music festival with more than 100 popular alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and hip hop bands; comedy and dance; and craft booths in Grant Park. Cost.



Classical Music Festival
August 1 - 16, 2014 (begins June 11)
Chicago locations

Grant Park Music Festival is an outdoor classical music series at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, normally on Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday. Free.


Wrigleyville Summer Festival
August 2 - 3, 2014
5 miles north

Wrigleyville Summerfest has food, drink, music, and a kids’ zone at 3300 N Seminary Ave. Donation.


Latin American Festival
August 2 - 3, 2014
6.5 miles NW

Taste of Latin America: Food, Wine, Art Festival is a neighborhood festival with cooking demonstrations, food, world music, beer & wine tents, a kids’ area, and arts & crafts on W Armitage Ave. from Central Park Ave to Avers Street. Free.


Edgewater Festival

August 2 - 3, 2014
8 miles north

Edge Fest is known for its bacon theme, but it also serves art and local bands on N Broadway from Thorndale to Ardmore. Donation.





Taste of Andersonville


August 6, 2014 (uncertain)
9 miles north

A ticket gets you samples at 12 local restaurants during Taste of Andersonville Dinner Crawl. Cost.






Northalsted Market Days
August 9 - 10, 2014

Northalsted Market Days is a popular gay-friendly street fair and music festival with 400 food, art, and craft vendors plus musical acts on 6 blocks of North Halsted Street from Belmont to Addison. Donation.

Retro on Roscoe

August 9 - 10, 2014

Watch top entertainment on 3 stages, shop 6 blocks of art and antique vendors, and see 50 classic cars at Retro on Roscoe in Roscoe Village. Donation.

Air and Water Show

August 16 - 17, 2014
2 miles north
The Chicago Air & Water Show features daredevil pilots, parachute teams, and jets flying in formation, plus water-skiing and boat jumping. See it from the waterfront near North Avenue Beach. Free.

Dance Festival
August 20 - 23, 2014
Downtown Chicago

See ballet, dance, and dance films in multiple venues at Chicago Dancing Festival. Free.

Food Truck Festival
August 23 - 24, 2014
2 miles NW

Enjoy a meal from a mobile eatery and listen to live music at the Chicago Food Social at 900 N Branch in the Kendall College parking lot. Cost.

South Loop Street Fair
August 23 - 24, 2014 (uncertain)
2 miles south

Bash on Wabash offers musical acts, arts & crafts, a big kids’ area, food trucks, and beer on Wabash Avenue at 13th Street. Donation.

Taste of Greece

August 23 - 24, 2014
2 miles SW

Enjoy Greek restaurant food, traditional music and dance, handcrafts, and children’s games at Taste of Greektown at 400 S Halsted Street. Free.


Bucktown Arts Festival
August 23 - 24, 2014
5 miles NW

Bucktown Arts Fest is an arts celebration that showcases 200 artists, musicians, dancers, poets, and performers at N Oakley and Lyndale. Free.


Jazz Festival

August 28 - 31, 2014
0.5 miles south

The Chicago Jazz Festival is Labor Day weekend at Millennium Park. No dogs. Free.

Eco Art & Music Festival

August 30 - 31, 2014
6 miles NW

Remix Chicago (was Ravenswood Remix) is an art and music festival featuring artists who use recycled and re-purposed materials, with food trucks, green workshops, kids’ activities on Milwaukee Avenue from Fullerton to California. Donation.

Polish Festival
August 29 - Sept. 1, 2014
10 miles NW

Taste of Polonia features 32 bands, 70 vendors, and 12 food booths (polska kielbasa, pierogi, potato pancakes, beer) at Copernicus Center. Cost.








Ravinia Music Festival
August 2014 (undated)
23 miles north

Ravinia Festival is billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival, with a long series of performances at Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Cost.

Thursday Jazz
August 2014 (undated)
0.5 miles south

Enjoy a concert every Thursday at Made in Chicago: World Class Jazz in Millennium Park. Free.

Cuban Festival
August 2014 (undated)
12 miles NW

Festival Cubano promises Cuban music, Latin American food, vendors, and a kids’ area in Riis Park at Narragansett & Fullerton. Cost.


Italian Festival

August 2014 (undated)
3.5 miles SW

Taylor Street Festa Italiana has music on four stages, Italian cuisine, a local artisan market, and the Momsay Kids Stage on W Taylor Street between Ashland and Racine. Donation.



Latin American Festival
August 2014 (undated)
12 miles NW

The National Latin American Festival features Latin American food, music, culture, and a beauty pageant at Riis Park at Narragansett & Fullerton.

Polish Festival

September 1, 2014 (begins Aug. 29)
10 miles NW
Taste of Polonia features 32 bands, 70 vendors, and 12 food booths (polska kielbasa, pierogi, potato pancakes, beer) at Copernicus Center. Cost.





Craft Fair & Bazaar

September 6 - 7, 2014
3.5 miles NW

Shop from artisans, chefs, and merchants of vintage household goods when The Renegade Craft Fair and The Vintage Bazaar team up in Wicker Park. Free.


Berghoff Oktoberfest

September 10 - 12, 2014
1 mile south

Berghoff Oktoberfest serves bratwurst, sauerkraut, chicken, pretzels, and apple strudel plus German music at W Adams St. and Dearborn. Free to 9 p.m.





World Music Festival
September 11 - 21, 2014
Chicago locations

Chicago World Music Festival features artists and ensembles from all over the world. Free.

Mexican Independence Festival
September 12 - 14, 2014
10 miles SW

Thousands attend Festival de La Villita for authentic Mexican cuisine, music, artisans, carnival rides, and family entertainment on W 26th St. at Kostner. Free.


Old Town Festival
September 13 - 14, 2014
2 miles north

Previously called Wells Street Fall Festival, it’s now Crush in Old Town that offers fine art, beer and wine tasting, music, a children’s area, and local-restaurant food including macaroni & cheese at Wells St. & North Ave. Donation.
Lakeview East Art Festival
September 13 - 14, 2014
4 miles north

Meet 175 juried artists selling paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, and jewelry at Lakeview East Festival of the Arts on Broadway Avenue, north of Belmont. Donation.

Apple Festival

September 20, 2014 (uncertain)
7 miles NW

Get some apple pie and cider, listen to local music, or visit the kid zone at Apple Fest on N Lincoln Avenue from Leland to Lawrence. Donation.


Taco Festival

September 20 - 21, 2014
5 miles north
Try tacos from 8 restaurants and vote for the best, try a dozen different beers, hear live music, see arts & crafts plus a kids’ area at Lakeview Taco Fest at N Southport Ave. & W Addison St. Donation.



St. Alphonsus Oktoberfest
September 26 - 28, 2014
6 miles NW
Enjoy beer, bratwurst, pretzels, live music, and arts & crafts at Oktoberfest Chicago on N Lincoln Ave. at Southport. Children’s “Kinderfest” on Sunday afternoon. Cost.

Hyde Park Art Fair
September 27 - 28, 2014
8 miles south

Meet friendly artists at the juried Hyde Park Arts & Crafts Adventure in the courtyard of University of Chicago’s Hyde Park Shopping Center. Free.

Family Haunts
September 27 - Oct. 30, 2014

The Haunted Barn at Bengtson’s Pumpkin Farm in Homer Glen is appropriate for mature kids. The Fun Barn will entertain even the youngest children. Cost.


Rock Festival
September 2014 (undated)
6 miles west

Riot Fest is an affordable outdoor punk, rock and alternative music festival at Humboldt Park. Cost.



Logan Square Beer Festival

September 2014 (undated)
7 miles NW
Try 40 beers from 20 breweries at Logan Square Beer Fest in Logan Square Auditorium. Cost.



Edgewater Art Fair

September 2014 (undated)
8 miles north
Edgewater Fall Art Fair features 60 local artists, live music, a beer garden, fashion show, kids’ corner, and pet parade on W Granville Ave. at Broadway. Donation.