Friday, August 27, 2010

Young Internationals Night ~ Latin America

(open to young professionals, graduate students AND those young at heart)

Charla, Comida y Compras! Great discussion, Latin American food and shopping!
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Hostelling International-Chicago
24 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago

Enjoy Latin American sandwiches and savories while learning about empowering Guatemalan women through economic development and fair trade sales.

Naomi Czerwinskyj is the product manager at MayaWorks and has worked for the fair trade organization for almost 4 years. As an anthropology student, she participated in an independent study project while living in an indigenous village in Guatemala for a semester. In the village, she experienced the deep poverty and lack of job opportunities that many Guatemalans, especially women, face. This experience motivated Naomi to work directly with a nonprofit working to empower Guatemalan women through economic development.

Join us to hear her stories and for the opportunity to purchase cool and unique fair trade items from MayaWorks!

Cost: WorldChicago Members, $25; Non-members, $30

Register at

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Neighborhood Spotlight: Magnificent Mile

The Magnificent Mile isn't really a neighborhood; it's more of an attraction. Chicago’s equivalent of New York City’s Fifth Avenue or Paris’ Champs Elysées, the “Mag Mile” spans Michigan Avenue’s 8 blocks from Wacker Drive to the lake. It is home to over 460 stores and boutiques, from Gucci to The Disney Store, and more than 200 restaurants. Michigan Ave is the place to go for Chicago’s famous eateries - Chicago Style pizza, Garrett’s Popcorn, and Ghirardelli Chocolates. The Mag Mile is home to Chicago’s famous yellow brick Water Tower, one of the few buildings that survived the great fire of 1871. The Mag Mile also boasts the Water Tower place mall, which features 8 levels of shopping and restaurants, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the historic Fourth Presbyterian Church, and the sky-high John Hancock building.

> KNOWN FOR: Famous shopping and dining; shiny skyscrapers; the historic Water Tower & Water Place Mall; and the John Hancock Building.

> DON’T MISS: The 95th Floor Signature Lounge at the John Hancock building (875 North Michigan Avenue) for drinks before, after, or instead of going to the Observatory ($11 tix at the HI-Chicago front desk; the lounge is free); the Museum of Contemporary Art (220 East Chicago Avenue), especially on Tuesdays when it’s free and open until 8pm!

> GET THERE: By foot: Walk 25 minutes north on Michigan Avenue; By bus: Take bus #147 (north) from State and Van Buren to Chicago and Michigan; By train: Take the Red Line (towards Howard) to Chicago and walk east.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Itinerary Ideas: Under 21 in Chicago

Under 21? Here are some options for a night out in Chicago:

Hookah Bar:
Samah (18+)
3330 North Clark Street, CTA Brown/Red/Purple Line à Belmont
Enjoy the magical décor and a cozy lounge environment at this Lakeview Hookah Bar. Call for reservations (773-248-4606) if you plan to go with a group.
Hours: Mon-Thu 5pm-1am, Fri-Sat 5pm-3am, Sun 5pm-12am

An All-American Baseball Game:
Chicago has two Major League Baseball teams; the Cubs, representing the North Side, and the White Sox, representing the South Side.
· Cubs àWrigley Field (all ages), 1060 West Addison Street, CTA Red Line (towards Howard) à Addison
· White Sox à U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W 35th Street, CTA Red Line (towards 95th/Dan Ryan) à Sox/35th
Visit the teams’ websites to see game dates/prices. Cheaper tickets can sometimes be found on StubHub or Craigslist. and www.

Live Music:
Uncommon Ground (18+)
3800 N. Clark, CTA Red Line (towards Howard) à Addison
A relaxing coffeehouse with great live acoustic acts almost every night of the week. Most music starts around 8pm. Call for reservations if you would like to enjoy a meal during the performance. Call (773-929-3680‎) or check out their website for performance details.
Hours: Mon-Thurs, Sun 9am-12am, Fri-Sat 9am-2am

Concert Venue:
Metro (all ages, 18+)
3730 N. Clark, CTA Red Line à Addison
All early shows (6pm) are all ages, later shows (9pm) are usually 18+ to enter. Concerts range from Indie bands to punk rock to hip hop and more! Visit their website for concert listings.

Chris’s Billiards (18+)
4637 Milwaukee Avenue, CTA Blue Line (towards O’Hare) à Jefferson Park Transit Center
Play some pool, grab a bite to eat and spend some time at this local hangout. Chris’s have a vintage pool hall feel and over 40 tables. Parts of the movie “The Color of Money” was filmed here too! Call (773-286-4714‎) to ask if there is a waiting list for tables.
Hours: Mon-Sun 9am-2am

Comedy Clubs:
Experiencing this historic comedy club should definitely be on your list of things to do in Chicago. Check out these great venues:
· Second City, 1616 North Wells Street, CTA Brown Line à Sedgwick, (312) 337-3992‎, All ages (minors must be accompanied by an adult).
· Improv Olympic, 3541 North Clark Street, CTA Red Line à Addison, (773) 880-0199. You must be at least 21 years old to attend mainstage shows. Shows in the Del Close Theater and The Loft are all ages.
· ComedySportz, 929 W. Belmont, CTA Red/Purple/Brown Line à Belmont, (773) 549-8080, All ages.

Be sure to bring your ID and passport! Even 18+ venues require official identification for entry.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A Trip to Dubrovnik

After a whirlwind tour through London, Lisbon, and Geneva in one week, my friends and I were looking forward to a relaxing week on the Adriatic coast. We arrived in Dubrovnik on an early morning Easyjet flight from Geneva, but our sense of exhaustion was quickly overcome during our ride from the Dubrovnik Airport into town. The road carved out of the hills, common place all along the coast, provided breathtaking views of sea and old town of Dubrovnik. Dubrovnik itself is a very busy small town, filled with tourists coming ashore off of the many cruise ships that dock nearby. However unlike many other European cities that serve as a tourist attraction (such as Venice) only a short walk away from city center yields an undisturbed local neighborhood where daily life goes on as usual.

We booked our accommodations at Hostel Marker (Apartments Lovrijenac) through, and stayed what in essence was an apartment just outside the city gates. At first we were disappointed by the lack of hostels in the town, as we were all looking forward to the community atmosphere that a hostel may offer. However, upon meeting our host, Marko, any sense of a lack of community was quickly overcome. Marko was the best host we have ever had, and quite possibly one of the nicest people I have ever met. Not only did he offer ample advice on what to see and where to go, one night he actually took us out and showed us the town from the local’s perspective. Marko arranged a rental car for us, transport to Montenegro, and even helped us retrieve a lost photo camera after my friend forgot it back in Dubrovnik, all in all cannot say enough good things about him.

During the day we took Marko’s advice and spent time at the Banje beach, walked along city walls, and took a ferry to the island of Lokrum.

Banje beach is located directly south of the old city. Although small, and a bit rocky it offers a cozy place to relax, take a dip, and have a drink along the water.

The city walls, are probably one of the biggest attractions of Dubrovnik. Very well preserved and very imposing, the walls take about two hours to circumnavigate and cost €7 to enter. The views of the old city and its distinctive orange roof tops present and excellent photo opportunity.

Lokrum is a nature preserve popular with hikers and nature lovers, the island is teeming with wild peacocks and offers beautiful vistas from its many cliffs. To get to Lokrum, simply board a 15 minute ferry by the south city gate.

For a small town, Dubrovnik offers a lively nightlife, although it is mostly limited to the weekends. Dubrovnik has two night clubs, East-West and En Fuego which are located on the opposite sides of town, about 1 km apart. The clubs charge a cover fee after 11, so make sure to arrive early if you don’t feel like paying cover. East-West appealed to my friends and I much more as it stands right above Banje Beach about 100 meters from the water. East-West has an open-air and an indoor section, I highly recommend staying in the outdoor section if you do not want to smell like smoke (smoking indoors is accepted here).

Food in Dubrovnik is more expensive than elsewhere in Croatia, but is still relatively cheap by American standards. Many restaurants line the main street of Dubrovnik which spans no more than a few hundred meters. It is worth noting that only a few meters away from the main street, restaurants tend to be 25%-30% less expensive. Expect to pay between €6-€7 for a main course, beer is about €2.00-€2.50 for half liter of domestic brew.

Overall, we greatly enjoyed staying in Dubrovnik and the people we have met along the way. I cannot wait to go back to Croatia, which is an inexpensive, fun, and beautiful destination that I highly recommend to everyone.

-Peter Razumovskiy, hostel volunteer

Monday, August 9, 2010

Traveler Spotlight

Amber and Kylie interview Christopher from Los Angeles at the Lollapalooza Mixer:

Is this your first time going to Lollapalooza?
Yes, this will be my first Lollapalooza and first time in Chicago. I came a few days early to see the city and will attend the festival all weekend. I was not able to go to Coachella in southern California this year so Lollapalooza is sort of redemption for missing that.

I’ve always wanted to go to Coachella!
What bands are you most excited about seeing?

I’m going to Lady Gaga on Friday night and also excited to see Arcade Fire, MGMT, and The XX.

We ‘re hoping Gaga puts on a crazy show, but we’re sure she’ll do something surprising.
So, how did you travel to Chicago?

I took a Greyhound bus from Los Angeles. It took 40 hours. It was a long ride but it was worth it.

Did you at least travel with anybody to keep you company?
A friend rode with me and is also at the mixer. We’re going to make this an annual thing where we go around to a different music festival every summer. We’ve both been to a couple of others around the States so far.

Sounds like good way to spend summer vacation to me! Are you staying around Chicago after the festival?
I have to head back to L.A. on Monday.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

It’s that Time of year in Chicago: Lollapalooza Weekend

Chicago has hosted its fair share of concerts and festivals this summer, not unlike summers past. Hailing from a small, but near suburb, I have traveled the slow Metra ride a number of times, seeking the excitement of the city that just can’t be found in smaller towns around mine. This is the first year that I am actually living in the city, blocks away from the concert series at Millennium Park, special events such as the Taste of Chicago, and upcoming Lollapalooza in Grant Park. With all of the hype going around about this year’s bigger and better Lollapalooza music festival, I could not be more excited. Concerts and festivals seem to slow down quite a bit during the month of August, as summer season is more than half way over and many young people like me are returning to school. This just means there is no chance of Lollapalooza being over shadowed, especially when it includes performances by Lady Gaga, Arcade Fire, Phoenix, MGMT, and The Black Keys. I am also just as excited to see smaller names such as Flosstradamus, the DJ duo who’s native to Chicago, and I’ve been following for a couple years, along with other artists that have taken over my iPod this summer like Wavves, B.o.B., Rusko, and Chiddy Bang.

Lollapalooza seems to evolve every year, further from the typical multi day festival that I picture my parents going to in their “cool” days, with limited greasy food choices, and less than cleanly conditions. Past years, I’ve snuck in granola bars and fruit snacks to keep me going to avoid ending up eating the food there or have left and had to waste time by finding a place to eat outside the park. But this year, the new Chow Town offers 15 different restaurants! Lollapalooza has also consistently emphasized their Green initiative and this year I am going fill a trash bag with recyclables in exchange for a free Lollapalooza T-shirt as incentive. After some deep consideration of the menu, I will definitely be opting for the Portobello Wrap from Crescent Foods, the White Bean Hummus with Pita and Veggies from Rockit Bar and Grill, and a frozen pomegranate kefir with granola and fresh blueberries from Starfruit. More importantly than food, the beer and wine selection ranges considerably from Stellas to Pinot Grigio. I highly doubt my parents’ festivals had anything comparable. Fittingly, my custom line-up allows me a perfect gap for lunch from 1 – 3 PM in between seeing Wavves, and The Big Pink on Friday.

If there is a talked about celebrity at the moment, it’s Lady Gaga. She is notorious for her bizarre outfits and behavior on stage and off. Having never witnessed a Gaga concert yet, I cannot wait for what crazy antics she has in store for this Friday. No doubt she will be hanging around the city for the remainder of the weekend too, so maybe if I am lucky enough, I will spot her watching another performance or at an after party. She is not likely to blend into any crowd whether it’s on Earth or on Mars. This weekend is sure to be filled with wicked tunes, energetic performances, good eats (and drinks), and memories to take back to school at the end of August.

- By HIC Intern Amber O’Leary