Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Chicago in the Summer top 10 list (part 2)

This week I would like to introduce you to four more "to-do" things in Chicago during the summer. Once again, they are listed in no particular order.

Visit the Art Institute-Since the World Exposition, nearly a century ago, the Art Institute has been compiling precious works of art from all over the world. The works at the Art Institute are primarily from the impressionist and modern era. The list of famous paintings at Art Institute of Chicago is endless and you are sure to find a piece of art by Renoir, Monet, Picasso, Cezanne, Degas, Gaugain, and Van Gogh amongst many others. Entrance is free on Thursdays between 5pm and 8pm, otherwise there is a $12 entrance fee for students. From the Art Institute take a stroll south to Millennium Park, or go north for shopping on Michigan Avenue also known as the Magnificent Mile.


Attend a Street Festival – An activity that almost any Chicagoan will tell you is a must during the summer is attendance of one of the numerous Chicago street festivals. Nearly every weekend a different neighborhood of Chicago sets up a street festival drawing crowds of young Chicago residents. To enter the festival organizers often ask for a donation of about $10. The festivals are great way to mingle with the locals while enjoying the nice weather, beer and street food. Many festivals also feature live music which attracts large crowds. A festival worth looking into is the Old Town Street-fest on Wells, (between North and Division), this festival features local art-work, live music, and is one of the most popular festivals in the city. For more information about various street festivals which occur almost every weekend, visit http://chicago.metromix.com/events/article/chicago-festival-guide-2010/339943/content

Play Volleyball at North Avenue Beach – Us Chicagoans have long admired our beautiful lakefront. During the summers the beach is gathering place for young people looking to party, exercise, and people watch. One activity that is a must when visiting Chicago is playing volleyball at North Avenue Beach. Any day of the week, you are sure to find tons of people at the numerous volleyball courts set up on the beach. Although some courts are reserved for league play, don’t be shy about asking strangers to join in a casual game. Chicagoans are a warm bunch, and we are always happy to meet new people, especially those from out of town. After a long day of beach volleyball and sunbathing, you must visit “Castaways”, a bar/restaurant in a shape of a boat, yards away from the lake. At “Castaways” you will always find a crowd of young people, enjoying a few beers and live music. To get to the beach I recommend a 15 minute stroll from the Clark and Division Red Line stop. Walk East on Division until you are at the lake and follow the bike/jogging path straight to the beach at North Avenue, about half a mile north of Division Street. Bring your camera as the backdrop of the city skyline presents a great opportunity for picture taking. In addition, North Avenue Beach, is only a short walk away from Chicago's Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the oldest "free" zoos in the country. Lincoln Park Zoo is perfect for a leisurely stroll through the park and is a great opportunity to admire some of nature's amazing creatures.

Go to a Roof-Top Party-What I love about the summer nightlife in Chicago is the abundance of outdoor venues, and when the outdoor venue is on a roof many stories above the city, it has a potential to turn into a favorite of mine. Chicago is the home of the original skyscraper, so it is no wonder that such marvelous architecture is prevalent throughout the city. To get a great view of the city I recommend visiting one of the many roof-top patio lounges/bars in Chicago. The Wit Hotel, Vertigo, and C-View provide patrons with a great atmosphere, music, and of course a wonderful view of Chicago at night. Please note that due to city ordinances open air venues usually close no later than 12am, so make sure to visit these places early in the evening. For those of you considering a trip to the top of the Sears Tower or Willis Tower as it has recently become known, I would encourage you to visit the Signature Room at the top of the John Hancock Building instead. The Signature Room, at the top of the 4th tallest building in Chicago is a restaurant with an amazing panoramic view of the city. Although the price of a drink at the Signature Room might be relatively pricey, it will surely be less than the price of a ticket to the Sears Tower observation deck.

Next Tuesday, look for the conclusion to this brief series (items 7-10). Enjoy your stay in Chicago!

-Peter Razumovskiy, volunteer

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