If there’s anything Chicagoans love more than trying a hip new restaurant, it’s exploring Chicago neighborhoods, and Chicago Restaurant Week is a great way to get out and fall in love with new pockets of the city. Chicago Restaurant Week 2023 features 335 restaurants in 34 Chicago neighborhoods as well as 37 restaurants in the Chicago suburbs and runs through February 5th. During Chicago Restaurant Week each participating restaurant offers one or multiple prix fixe menus to give patrons a sample of their best featured dishes, often for a great value. Here are some of the top Chicago Restaurant Week fan favorites.
With its eclectic decor and creative, fully vegan menu, Bloom Plant Based Kitchen fits right in with the character of Wicker Park. Their $59 Chicago Restaurant Week menu includes four courses. Diners will have a choice between the plum and celery ceviche or cashew requeson for their appetizer, an aguacate or choice of taco as their second course, yuca gnocchi, spatzle, or forest pot pie as their main course, and a dessert trio to finish.
Chez Joel serves up traditional French fare (including coq au vin, steak frites, escargots, and an exceptional wine list) with ambiance that will make you forget that you’re not in a bistro in the south of France. For restaurant week, their $42 prix fixe menu includes three courses: a choice between French onion soup or a goat cheese salad to start, steak, ravioli, salmon, or roasted chicken as a main course, and chocolate mousse, creme brûlée, or profiteroles for dessert.
Beatrix is the perfect spot for any time of day or night. Their coffee bar, brunch menu, and lounge area are popular for morning meet ups and their bar, dinner menu, and trendy ambiance make it the place to be after the sun sets. Beatrix’s Restaurant Week lunch menu is $25 for a starter (like whipped feta with truffle or avocado ceviche), an entree (like a prime burger or craft salad), and a dessert (as healthy as chia seed pudding or decadent as chocolate lava cake). They’re also offering brunch a ($25) and dinner ($42) menus with a wider selection of dishes and a cocktail.
Even better, Beatrix is a Lettuce Entertain You concept so you can download the Lettuce app to earn rewards and get your first reward just for signing up.
See all participating restaurants here.
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Whether you’re visiting from out of town and looking to check out some of the classic holiday events, or if you’re a local Chicagoan looking to switch up the same traditions you do every year, here’s our guide to the top holiday events near downtown Chicago!
Christkindl Market (The Loop)
The Loop is the place to be if you’re looking to soak in all of the holiday spirit and check all of the holiday events off your list. Beyond the ornately designed rows of lighted trees lining the streets and the familiar names of annual holiday shows on the theater marquees, the holiday events in the Loop seem endless. However, year after year Christkindl Market proves to be a Chicago favorite.
Christkindl Market is held annually at Daley Plaza. Dozens of small wooden houses are set up to resemble 16th century Germany and filled with vendors that include artisan ornaments, handmade candles and soaps, mulled wine (Gluhwein) and spiced cider served in festive souvenir mugs, and traditional German fare. You can also catch live music, dancing, and pop up events in the main dining tent.
Check out this festive market any day through December 24th.
Click here for more information about Christkindl Market and all the holiday things to do in the Loop.
Live Jazz at Timeout Market Chicago (Fulton Market)
On Monday, December 12th or Saturday, December 17th head to Timeout Market in the Fulton Market part of the West Loop for live jazz to celebrate the holidays. Timeout Market is a food hall (think upscale food court) with outposts of the trendiest Chicago restaurants, coffee, and cocktails. The main level is a great place to grab a bite and the rooftop level is a popular neighborhood hangout.
The Market spans 50,000 square feet with 18 different restaurant concepts.
Igloos at IO Godfrey (River North)
There’s nothing Chicagoans love like a good rooftop. At IO Godfrey, enjoy rooftop season even in the winter as their rooftop transforms into a winter wonderland. Reserve bottle service in an igloo to stay warm as you enjoy the stunning city views.
Catch a Classic Holiday Film (Logan Square, Lakeview)
The Music Box theater in the Southport Corridor in Lakeview and the Logan Theater in Logan Square are both charming, old time cinemas. Head to either of these boutique movie theaters for classic holiday films like It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas all season.
Winterland at Gallagher Way (Wrigleyville)
Switch up your typical holiday events at Winterland. Head to Gallagher Way at Wrigley Field for rides, ice skating, hot chocolate, games, and even ice bumper cars through January 8th. Tickets are required in advance and available to purchase here.
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The weather is getting warmer and Chicago’s COVID restrictions are getting looser, which means this Memorial Day Weekend is the perfect time to jump back into the summer activities you’ve missed over the past year. If you’re looking for things to do this weekend, here’s some inspiration!
Cubs or Sox Game
This week, Guaranteed Rate and Wrigley fields will increase their fan capacity to 60%, up from just 20% on opening day, with additional seating areas for people who are fully vaccinated. Whether you’re a north side or south side baseball fan, you’ll be able to catch your team playing this weekend!
Lakefront Water Rentals
Nothing says summertime in Chicago like a day on the lakefront. Rent motorized boats, kayaks, jet skis, and even windsurfing gear at one of Chicago’s many beaches, like North Avenue beach.
If you’d rather just sit back and enjoy the water rather than playing captain for a day, enjoy one of many chartered or guided boat tours. Switch up the typical architectural river boat tour with a lakefront speedboat tour with Seadog.
Although you can catch fireworks at Navy Pier on Wednesdays and Saturdays, this week will also feature a special Memorial Day firework display. Enjoy them from the pier, atop the iconic Ferris wheel, or from one of many local Streeterville rooftops. While you’re at it, grab some top notch cocktails and fresh seafood at Lirica, a new Central American inspired restaurant concept at Navy Pier.
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Gioia Ristorante and Pastificio is one of the newest restaurants opening on Restaurant Row in the West Loop at 1133 W. Randolph St.
Gioia will serve 12 to 15 pastas made fresh daily, featuring both modern, innovative dishes as well as classic regional favorites. The chef for Gioia, Federico Comacchio, got his “chops” at Michelin Starred restaurant, Ristorante Sadler in Milan, as well as the time he spent as the executive chef at Phil Stefani’s Coco Pazzo and 437 Rush. According to a spokesperson for Gioia, Italian native, Comacchio has been visiting Italy regularly and wants to serve what he’s learned back home.
Gioia was slated to open its doors in spring of 2020, but for obvious reasons, that didn’t happen. Signage on their storefront says they expect to open in the coming weeks. Given how great their menu sounds, we can only hope it’s not much longer!
Randolph Street is known locally and internationally for its high density of top notch restaurants. From Michelin Starred culinary experiences to “the best burger ever”, you can find it all on Randolph Street.
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Looking for things to do near the West Loop this weekend? Artopia is one of the newest attractions coming to Chicago’s West Loop starting April 17th!
The avant-garde installation is opening in Morgan Manufacturing’s 32,000 square feet of event space, bringing “a month of kaleidoscopic immersion” and “blending the creativity of renowned artists with the wonders of modern technology” according to a recent article in Secret Chicago. Artopia will be a one hour guided experience with craft cocktails afterward. Highlights include interactive projection mapping, sound reactive LED pieces, 20 murals by Chicago street artists, eight sculptural pieces, large scale light art, and holographic pieces.
Much like the West Loop’s beloved WNDR Museum, Artopia also promises “Instagrammable” photo opps in one of a kind settings.
Artopia will run every Thursday through Sunday through May 15th at Morgan Manufacturing (401 N Morgan Street). COVID precautions include mandatory mask requirements, hand sanitizer in each room, a 50 person capacity, and a one-way guided tour route. Click here for tickets!
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Chicago Restaurant Week begins this Friday (albeit, it may look a little different this year than in previous years). During Restaurant Week, over 250 participating restaurants in and around Chicago offer multi-course prix fixe menus for lunch ($25) and dinner ($39 or $55). This year, you’ll get to enjoy restaurant week through indoor or outdoor dining, carry out, and even delivery. Here are some of the notable additions to this year’s Restaurant Week roster in addition to tried and true favorites.
Avec River North
The new River North location of this beloved West Loop restaurant will be offering a five course dinner menu ($55). The tasting menu will include house-marinated olives and ciabatta to start, followed by chorizo-stuffed medjool dates with bacon and piquillo pepper-tomato sauce, a course of shaved brussels sprouts with calabrian chili and golden raisin, wood oven paella with confit chicken, escargot sausage, mussels and tangerine aioli, and lastly a raspberry rose tart. Enjoy dishes inspired by Greek and Spanish cuisine for indoor dining or on the outdoor patio.
Odyssey Chicago River
This dining experience is taking riverfront dining to a whole new level. Enjoy Chicago’s stunning architecture during a dinner cruise along the Chicago River. The menu ($55) includes a selection of soup or salad, an entree (with dishes like root vegetable fricassee, broiled salmon, grilled chicken, or scallop and shrimp scampi), as well as a dessert.
Aba is a West Loop favorite amongst many Chicagoans. This year, Aba’s $55 dinner menu will include a choice of a wide selection of appetizers (like charred eggplant, striped bass crudo, or house made stracciatella), an entree (like braised short rib, king salmon, or grilled cauliflower with dates and turmeric), a dessert (like pistachio or chocolate cake or creme brûlée), and even a craft cocktail (like a kiwi gin and tonic or a Mediterranean mule). Enjoy Aba’s Mediterranean fare from their stylish and intimate outdoor rooftop. Aba will also be offering a prix fixe brunch menu for $25 which includes two courses plus a choice of cocktail, beer, or wine.This definitely tops the list as one of the best Restaurant Week deals!
Girl and the Goat
Girl and the Goat is another tried and true West Loop favorite. In addition to the high quality food and experience, the world renowned restaurant rose to prominence because of it’s owner and chef, Top Chef winner, Stephanie Izard. This year’s menu ($55, dinner only) will offer contemporary dishes like brioche with goat liver mousse and relish, roasted bosu oysters with yuzu Harissa butter, shio kombu, and lime, and crispy short ribs with avocado and grape fruit chermoula. Don’t worry– we had to google a few of those ingredients, too. Girl and the Goat’s Restaurant Week menu will be exclusively available for indoor dining.
Chicago Restaurant Week runs March 19th through April 4th. Click here to make reservations and see a list of participating restaurants.
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The West Loop is full of upscale and innovative salons and blowout bars. Here are a few of our favorite west loop salons!
Art + Science – 1144 W Randolph St
The stylists at Art + Science each specialize in a particular area including coloring, cutting, barbering, and styling. Each stylist on the floor has been through Art + Science’s competitive apprenticeship program, so it’s no surprise Art + Science was ranked “Best Salon in Chicago” by Chicago Reader for three years. If you’re craving a change and need some inspiration, check out their “cutting” edge look book here!
In 2016, Art and Science also started Hair Cares, a nonprofit that gives back to underserved people in the community through fashion shows, coat drives, raffles, and more.
Salon DJ Hairtography – 300 N Elizabeth St
Salon DJ is a full service salon and one stop shop for great headshots, offering hair and make up services, products, brow, nail, and aesthetic services, and portrait photography all under the same roof! Located in a very spacious timber loft, there’s plenty of room to space styling stations far apart for social distancing.
*Residents of The Mason get 20% off services for a limited time! Contact us for more information about The Mason!
Blowout Junkie – 1219 W Madison St
If you need to get in an out quickly and look polished for days, Blowout Junkie is worth checking out! With high water pressure for extra clean hair and state of the art dryers for a quick styling time, this West Loop blow-dry bar is a neighborhood favorite for a reason!
*For a limited time, receive $5 account credit for every service you receive in February 2021!
Trixie Girl Blowdry Bar – 237 S Halsted St
It’s difficult to find West Loop salons open on Mondays, early in the morning, late at night, or on holidays. Fortunately, Trixie Girl West Loop Blowdry Bar has you covered! Trixie Girl is open seven days a week including early morning and late evening hours, so you can get that last minute perfect hair day in or start your work day with a fresh ‘do.
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Although it may look a little different this year, there are still plenty of holiday festivities and things to do in Chicago! Here are some socially distant holiday activities in and near downtown Chicago.
Christkindlmarket is a Chicago staple for holiday activities. This year, instead of its traditional pop up location in the Loop, the market has gone virtual. Browse goods from all over the world and check out virtual events, like cooking classes, Sunday story time, and German language lessons, all through the end of December.
Zoo Lights (Lincoln Park)
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo runs select dates from 4-10pm through January 3rd, 2021. Stroll along Lincoln Park Zoo’s winding paths to see hundreds of luminous holiday displays comprised of 2.5 million bulbs and indulge in some seasonal fare. With reduced capacity admissions, Zoo Lights can be a great option if you’re looking for outdoor socially distant holiday things to do!
Mag Mile Lights Festival (Loop)
Watch downtown Chicago transform into a winter wonderland with over 1 million lights lining the Magnificent Mile. Knock out your holiday shopping list while perusing the grand illumination trees lining Michigan Avenue now through Christmas Day.
Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park (Loop)
Skate along the winding ribbons of ice rink at Maggie Daley Park, surrounded by the backdrops of the serene lakefront to the east and the striking Chicago skyline in all other directions. The icey path is twice the length of a lap around a traditional ice rink. Admission is free, but you’ll need a reservation, as capacity this year is capped at 180 skaters. Ice skates are also available for rent starting at $16. Maggie Daley Ice Rink is open now through March.
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Chicago is home to some of the world’s greatest museums. If you’re looking for a fun way to spend the day during the holidays, check out these Chicago museum exhibits!
Immersive Van Gogh – Lighthouse Art Space (Old Town)
Lighthouse Art Space is a new art venue in Old Town dedicated to “merging the boundaries between entertainment and culture.” “Immersive Van Gogh” is a an hour long walk-through digital art experience that will allow visitors to step inside Van Gogh’s world. The exhibit is coming to Chicago February 11th, 2021 with tickets starting at $39.99 for adults and $24.99 for kids.
Superpower Dogs – Museum of Science and Industry (South Loop)
Explore the incredible dogs and their humans who fight crime, protect endangered species, and save lives in natural disasters around the world. In a film at the Giant Dome Theater at the Museum of Science and Industry, you’ll learn about the remarkable abilities of dogs and the science behind those abilities. Screening times are Wednesdays through Sundays at 10:40am, 1:00pm, and 2:20pm. Tickets are $12 for adults and $9 for kids.
Monet and Chicago – The Art Institute (The Loop)
The Art Institute’s 46 Monet paintings and drawings constitute the largest collection of his work outside Paris. In addition to his well known popular pieces, many of his rarely seen pieces are also on display. Visit Monet and Chicago through January 18th 2021.
Can’t make it in person? The Art Institute is operating with limited hours (Thursday-Monday from 11am to 6pm) so they currently have expanded virtual offerings. Check out one of The Art Institute’s many online talks on an array of topics from gratitude, Impressionism, Chicago stories, and the timely talk on isolation, which explores current social questions and current events through a dialogue about art.
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Does the recent stay at home order have you wondering what this Thanksgiving will look like? Don’t fret! These downtown Chicago restaurants are offering incredible Thanksgiving dinners for carryout and delivery!
Aba – West Loop
Give your celebration a Mediterranean twist with Aba’s Thanksgiving dinner. For $48.95 per person, you’ll get pumpkin hummus, truffle baked orzo, grilled kababs, crispy Brussels sprouts, and creme brûlée, with an option to add a bottle of wine.
Duck Duck Goat – West Loop
In the spirit of everything this holiday season being somewhat…atypical…ditch the turkey and opt for duck! Renowned chef, Stephanie Izard’s Chinese inspired menu includes peking duck, soy-roasted sweet potatoes, green beans with black bean sauce, char siu bao buns, mashed potato spring rolls and veggie fried rice. Duck Duck Goat’s Thanksgiving menu starts at $175 for four people.
Maple and Ash – Gold Coast
If a decadent holiday meal is your thing, look no further. Maple and Ash’s package includes a whole turkey, lobster bisque, shrimp cocktail, plenty of sides and salads and apple pie, with an option to add the IDGAF add-on, which includes caviar, king crab, filet mignon, truffle jus and more, starting at $70 per person.
etta – Wicker Park and River North
Etta’s prix fixe menu features Thanksgiving favorites with an elevated touch (can you say, cacio e pepe mac and cheese?) For $85 per person you’ll also get a bottle of wine, focaccia, salad, turkey breast, bolognese stuffing, veggies and pumpkin cake with spiced cream cheese frosting.
Bang Bang Pies – Logan Square
Are you making dinner yourself but looking for an extra something? Bang Bang Pies is a Chicago favorite for Thanksgiving classics like pumpkin, apple, chocolate, pecan, and key lime pies. Call ahead to order! Their pies go quickly!
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Even though it may look a little different this year, Halloween is still on! We know you’ve already been wearing a mask and eating candy for a few months now, but if you’re still looking for ways to celebrate the fall festivities, here are some Halloween activities near downtown Chicago!
Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for seasonal activities including a pumpkin walk, a haunted trail, themed food, seasonal cocktails, and a socially distant movie. The outdoor animal exhibits will be open (with nocturnal species most likely to be active during the event). The Great Pumpkin Glow is Thursday, October 29th 6:30 to 10pm. Grab a hot cider and get your tickets here!
The Music Box Theatre will take over Chi-Town Movies Drive In through October 31st for screenings of horror movies, ranging from classic favorites to rarely screened films as well as filmmaker Q & A, pre-show entertainment, live trivia with prizes, and double features on Fridays and Saturdays. Admittance begins 30 minutes before the film’s scheduled start time. Although the event is technically a “drive in” you can still attend without a car by bringing your own lawn chair and purchasing a ticket online.
“I Put a Spell on You” is a new Halloween pop up bar is now open at the Homestead rooftop in West Town. Chefs Chris Teixeira and Christo Vlahos named menu items after the most quotable lines in the 1990s cult classic film, “Hocus Pocus”, like the “Amok!” cocktail and “The Devil Himself” fried chicken dish. The “I Put a Spell on You” pop up is open evenings through November 8th with a special themed brunch menu on weekends.
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Now that Chicago is in phase four of reopening from COVID-19, there’s even more to do while socially distancing. Phase four allows reopening of museums and zoos, both outdoor and indoor seating at restaurants, tourist attractions, and the reopening of movie theaters and live performance venues. Here are some of the attractions that are now open near downtown Chicago for your entertainment!
Chicago Architecture Center, Wendella, Chicago Lakefront Cruises, and Shoreline Site Seeing have all resumed their boat tours. Hear expertly trained docents share fascinating stories about Chicago’s history, interesting details about over 50 of the buildings that line the Chicago River, and how Chicago from being a small settlement to one of the world’s largest and most prominent cities in the span of 100 years. If you visit the Chicago Architecture Center and book through them, you’ll save on admission!
Lincoln Park is now open near downtown Chicago! Lincoln Park Zoo is home to 200 unique species of wildlife from around the world. Enjoy strolling the zoo’s winding paths surrounded by the tranquil setting of trees, ponds, and glimpses of the city. Upcoming events hosted by Lincoln Park Zoo include virtual penguin feeding, virtual haunted history tours, and Zoo Nights, where you can enjoy fall decor, food, and beverage by Levy Restaurants on Saturdays, all of which run through October 31st. Lincoln Park Zoo admission is still free of charge but to limit the number of people on site, the zoo is requiring online reservations ahead of time.
Chicago offers one of the richest cultural scenes in the world and the extensive list of museums, across many mediums, is a big reason why! The Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry, and Shedd Aquarium are now all open and require tickets in advance. The Field Museum, American Writer’s Museum, and Museum of Photography are open and offering tickets at the door. The Museum of Contemporary Art is open on weekends only with limited hours. If you’re looking for things to do or places now open near downtown Chicago, start by checking out one of Chicago’s many museums!
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River North is one of Chicago’s cultural hubs, filled with boutiques, galleries, music venues, restaurants, and design studios. It’s no wonder River North is chalk full of top tier furniture stores. Here are a few neighborhood favorites!
Luminaire – 301 W Superior St.
Luminaire Chicago features modern designer furniture, lighting, and accessories in a timber loft show room. Luminaire’s show room is located in the gallery district of the River North neighborhood, which features the largest concentration of art galleries outside Manhattan.
The Golden Triangle – 330 N Clark St.
The Golden Triangle is a hidden gem for one of a kind rare finds. From furniture and decor, art work, lighting, and sculptures, to jewelry, artifacts, European and Asian antiques, and custom work, it’s easy to get spend an afternoon perusing the uniquely curated collection. The Golden Triangle is offering virtual tours of the show room and inventory via Matterport.
Casa Spazio – 222 W Hubbard St
Casa Spazio has a collection of luxury home decor designed and made in Italy. Their collection includes custom pieces, upholstery, office and bedroom furniture, and other modern home furnishings. Casa Spazio also provides space planning and interior design services and is currently offering a virtual tour of their show room.
Manifesto – 808 N Wells St.
Manifesto in River north carries custom designed furniture, imports from Italy and Austria, and contemporary accent pieces. The chic, spacious showroom features a large selection of decor in neutral colors, wood furnishings, rugs, and accent lighting.
Looking for luxury apartments for rent near Chicago’s River North neighborhood? Contact us today! One of our neighborhood experts will be happy to answer your questions. We are now offering virtual, in person, and self guided tours. Be sure to ask about any move in specials!
Whether you’re looking for a contemporary accent piece, functional furniture for your small space, a timeless antique, or a whole new eclectic midcentury collection for your apartment, these furniture stores near Fulton Market are a must!
Knoll – 811 W Fulton Market
Knoll has distinct collections for both commercial and residential spaces, including their hybrid work from home collection. Knoll’s style could best be described as contemporary, minimalist, and functional (think “IKEA’s upscale cousin”). If you’re partial to mid-century modern design or are a big believer that “less is more”, Knoll’s Mies van der Rohe collection might have just what you’re looking for. Knoll recently moved from Merchandise Mart to their new Fulton Market showroom, which was designed in collaboration with Gensler.
Make a reservation and visit their trendy new showroom. If you can’t make it to the showroom (or don’t have a car and can’t stomach carrying your new desk and sofa all the way home), most items from Knoll ship free within 1 to 3 business days.
Primitive – 130 N Jefferson St.
There are some furniture stores where it helps to know what you’re looking for before you go. This is not one of those places. Primitive, on the eastern end of the West Loop, features both modern and antique furniture, accent pieces, jewelry, artifacts, lighting, paintings, textiles, and more from over 100 different cultures around the globe. According to their site, Primitive’s collection is “from some of the world’s hardest to reach places and everything has been carefully selected for its inherent merit and meaning”. Although it is temporarily closed, their “Buddha Room” is a popular event venue. Primitive can feel more like a museum than a store. This is the place to go to find one in a million curated pieces, not to find bargains. Browse their site to get an idea of how extensive this world class collection truly is!
Morlen Sinoway Atelier -1052 W Fulton Market
Morlen Sinoway is a multi-disciplinary design studio representing over 60 brands. Their show room features contemporary furniture, lighting, and various accents for the home. If you find yourself overwhelmed by their extensive 60 brand catalog, Morlen Sinoway’s interior design staff will be happy to lend a hand (or an eye, rather). Whether you’re looking for an individual piece to tie your loft together or a complete redesign of your space, Morlen Sinoway Atelier is worth checking out.
South Loop Loft- 685 N. Milwaukee Ave
“South Loop Loft” is kind of a misnomer, as this hidden gem furniture store is located in the River West neighborhood, just blocks north of Fulton Market. South Loop Loft is the place to go for 20th century furnishings and decor from around the globe, custom designed pieces, and an ever-changing inventory of hand picked pieces. Make an appointment to check out their showroom!
Looking for luxury apartments for rent near Fulton Market? Contact us today! One of our neighborhood experts will be happy to answer your questions. We are now offering virtual, in person, and self guided apartment tours. Be sure to ask about move in specials!
Although we’re in the second half of the summer, there are still plenty of socially distant things to do in downtown Chicago! Here are some ways you can make the most of the rest of these Chicago summer nights!
Drive in Movie
The Davis Theater is hosting Chicago themed drive in movie nights (with flicks like Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Blues Brothers) at Lincoln Yards in Lincoln Park. If you’re looking for things to do near the South Loop, head to Soldier Field for nightly entertainment including screenings of classic movies like Groundhog Day and Grease, live music, and singalongs. No car? Check out movies in the park at Navy Pier in Streeterville or a floating cinema September 9th-13th (location to be determined), where you and up to 7 friends can watch a “drive in” movie from your own small boat!
Whether you’re a born and raised Chicagoan, new to the city, or visiting from out of town, a boat tour on the Chicago River is a must, so we had to include it in our list of socially distant things to do. See the skyline from a new perspective while you catch some sunlight and learn some facts you can spout to sound more cultured at your al Fresca dining later. The Summer of George 90 minute boat tour, praised for having extremely knowledgable and personable guides, showcases all three branches of the Chicago River, northeast to Lake Michigan, south to Tom Ping park and the vertical bridge, and west past the Groupon building. Summer of George architectural boat tour boards from 900 South Wells St. by the Southbank development and asks that you bring a mask.
Have a Picnic
Downtown Chicago is chalk full of spacious, gorgeous public parks, which is rare for such a large city. Each neighborhood has its share of great picnic spots, but it’s hard to compete with Promontory Point. Promontory Point is a human made peninsula at Burnham Park that juts out into Lake Michigan, just south of downtown. Get some fresh air and take in the city and stunning lake views from a new perspective. If you’re looking for socially distant things to do near downtown Chicago, a picnic at Promontory Point is hard to beat!
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Illinois is now in phase 3 of reopening post COVID, meaning that infection rates are stable or declining, which allows residents to gather in groups of 10 or less and continue to wear a mask in public. Here’s an overview of what’s open and allowed in downtown Chicago as part of phase 3 of Illinois’ post COVID reopening plan.
Although restaurants have already been open for carryout, phase 3 allows restaurants to offer outdoor dining and drinking for groups of 6 or less with social distancing measures. Some restaurants that did not previously offer outdoor dining, like Smyth and The Loyalist of the West Loop, have made accommodations on the surrounding sidewalks and outdoor areas to offer outdoor seating.
As of June 17th, bars that do not serve food were allowed to open for outdoor seating as well.
If you’re looking for summer activities, many outdoor attractions in Chicago are reopening, if they haven’t already. Walking, biking, and hiking as well as boating with no more than 6 to 10 people (depending on boat size) are already allowed. Parks are open with 25% maximum capacity for indoor facilities. The Lakefront Trail is set to reopen on June 22nd with hours from 6am to 7pm, while other parks and beaches east of Lakeshore Drive as well as the 606 trail will remain closed. Pools, playgrounds, beaches, museums, theaters, and zoos are to remain closed for the time being as well.
For more information on what’s reopening near you, here’s a comprehensive list of what each phase means for each type of site and which phase your area is currently in by zip code.
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Even with the shelter in place order, you can still enjoy many of the West Loop’s greatest restaurants. Here are some of the West Loop restaurants offering curbside pick up.
Aba- 302 N. Green St.
Aba is a favorite when it comes to Mediterranean fare. With an assortment of spreads and hummus, meat, fish, and vegetarian options, there’s something for everyone. Aba is offering both carryout and delivery (including bottles of wine)
Au Cheval- 800 W. Randolph St.
Au Cheval isn’t going to let anything stand in the way of its customers getting their hands on it’s world famous burger. With a high quality patty, dijonnaise, thick cut bacon, fried egg, and even fois gras, it’s easy to see why this burger has developed quite the following. Thankfully, it’s available for curbside pick up.
Monteverde- 1020 W. Madison St.
If homemade pastas, gnocchi, and dishes with truffle galore are your cup of tea, try Monteverde. The menu includes traditional classics like spinach and ricotta ravioli or gnocchi with pesto and innovative creations like wok fried arrabiata with shrimp and tagliatelle.
Momotaro- 820 W. Lake St.
Be as involved or uninvolved as you’d like. Momotaro offers an a la carte menu with sushi, ramen, and other favorites if you’re looking for standard pick up, but you can also spice things up with one of their meal or cocktail kits.
Little Goat- 820 W. Randolph St.
If you’re looking to enjoy your Sunday brunch ritual from home, picking up carryout from Little Goat Diner is a good place to start! Try their beloved hash browns, unique waffles (like the Fat Elvis, which comes topped with peanut butter flavored butter), and in typical West Loop fashion, an assortment of breakfast meats.
The Loyalist- 175 N. Ada St.
The Loyalist serves American favorites with an upscale twist. Order dishes like the homemade biscuit with n’duja butter and honey, beet and avocado salad, or their signature dish, the cheeseburger, complete with cartelized onions and seasoning.
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It’s going to be at least another month before fitness centers start to reopen, but that doesn’t mean you have to get off track with your health goals. If you’re looking for ways to get or stay healthy during the COVID-19 Shelter in Place Order, here are five fitness programs you can do from home for free with minimal equipment!
Although ClassPass is normally a paid membership, free fitness classes are available to all users for free through the app, including HIIT, yoga, pilates, and more.
If you’re already a ClassPass user, you can roll over an unlimited amount of credits for when in person classes resume or use your existing credits for livestream classes anytime.
Pure Barre is offering free live classes! Can’t make the live classes work with your schedule? Classes are recorded and uploaded to the Pure Barre Facebook page to watch anytime. Classes will call for some equipment, like hand weights, but feel free to get creative with household items! (Tip– a can of Bush’s beans weighs exactly 1 lb.)
Barry’s Bootcamp is streaming it’s HIIT workouts twice daily on IGTV. Check out the 20 minute work out sessions on the @Barrys Instagram account. Some of the sessions will call for equipment (like elastic bands).
Peloton’s on demand app offers an assortment of classes in their 30 day free trial, including yoga, running, strength training, outdoor workouts, meditation, and more, no bike required!
Corepower is making select online classes available for free during the coronavirus stay at home order. Choose from CPY favorites like C1, C1.5, C2, Hot Power Fusion, Yoga Sculpt, or guided breath meditations. You can also get unlimited access to all classes for $19.99 monthly.
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Looking for places to grab breakfast in Old Town? Check out these Wells Street restaurants!
Kanela Breakfast Club– 1552 N. Wells St.
The name Kanela (which means “cinnamon” in Greek) is apropos for this restaurant, which serves up brunch favorites with a Greek twist. Everything on Kanela’s menu is made from scratch with local and organic ingredients wherever possible. Menu favorites include chia seed pudding, loukoumades (Greek donuts), red velvet French toast, the California Benedict (made with avocado mash and vegetarian bacon), and the impossible burger.
The Vig– 1527 N. Wells St.
Brunch by day; bar scene by night. The Vig keeps a full house in it’s prime Wells Street location around the clock. With a brunch menu that includes lobster and waffles, breakfast nachos, and ginger donut holes, a dinner menu with king crab bar, superfood salad, and cauliflower au gratin, a large dessert menu, full bar, and a late night menu that even includes a bone in ribeye and roasted eggplant Bahn mi, you can find pretty much anything you’re looking for at The Vig.
Nookies-1746 N. Wells St.
Nookies has been a neighborhood favorite for over 47 years and still has original items on the menu! (Where else can you order a phosphate?) Nookies doesn’t just serve breakfast and brunch. Their eclectic menu also includes dinner entrees like steak, pasta, salads, stir fry dishes, and innovative sandwiches like their salmon pita.
Hashbrowns Cafe-1155 N. Wells St.
In addition to being a beloved and cost friendly neighborhood place to meet for brunch or a coffee meeting, Hashbrowns Cafe is known for pioneering sweet potato hashbrowns. Menu items are named after Chicago neighborhoods and are made from all fresh ingredients. Stop by for breakfast or lunch favorites all day. Gluten free options are available.
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Old Town Spice House has graced Wells Street for over 60 years. From Michelin starred chefs to people who only know how to make pasta, the Spice House is a neighborhood favorite. The Spice House was founded in 1957 by Bill and Ruth Penzey and over the years has scaled into a global brand. Because they have such a broad global network of suppliers, Spice House has built a reputation for having some of the highest quality products and widest selection. The Spice House is also a go-to resource on recipes and all things spice. Although the business has grown, Spice House has still retained its quaint character.
After a fire last July caused significant damage to the original structure, which was constructed in the 1800s, Spice House used it as an opportunity to blend modern renovations and repairs with elements of the original building, and even preserve some of the original features. For instance, the reclaimed wood rafters that were previously covered have now been painted and cleaned so they could be left exposed. The building’s original exposed brick has also been refurbished. They also uncovered two of the windows at the back of the store to add natural light. Gensler architects led the way on the renovations.
The historic charm, loyal neighborhood customer base, wafting spice aromas, and overall engaging experience of visiting the Spice House has kept the brick and mortar store competitive in an age of increasingly popular e-commerce. The brick and mortar store is also central to their wholesale business, which supplies to local restaurants, bakeries, and breweries in Chicago.
Whether you’re looking for a specific rare form of truffle oil or just looking for a unique place to stop in and “spice up” your weekend stroll, be sure to check out Old Town Spice House (and grab a sample of the delectable crystalized ginger while you’re in there)!
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Whether you live in the South Loop or are looking for places to eat before you visit Museum Campus or Grant Park, here are a few of the top breakfast and brunch places in the South Loop.
Yolk- 1120 S Michigan Ave
Yolk offers breakfast, brunch, and lunch options with creative twists on classic favorites, like the smoked salmon scrambler, the brisket breakfast burger, and red velvet French toast. Diners love the sizable portions and reasonable pricing. Yolk even has their own private label coffee and house made Greek yogurt.
Eleven City Diner- 1112 S Wabash Ave
Eleven City Diner was created in the vision of the “classic friendly diner”. The black and white family photos on the walls, nostalgic “band box”, neon signage, counter seating, milkshakes with barbershop straws, subway tile, and ice cream parlor style tables and chairs create the reminiscent ambiance. Eleven City Diner offers breakfast all day (including vegan and vegetarian breakfast options) as well as a walk up deli to go.
Spoke and Bird- 205 E 18th St
Spoke and Bird is a rustic chic breakfast spot that uses local, organic, and fair trade ingredients sourced from over 30 local and urban farms. The employee owned restaurant strives to offer delicious and healthy food at a reasonable price in a welcoming environment. Try a homemade quiche or Spoke and Bird’s many pastries.
Meli Cafe- 500 S Dearborn St (in Hotel Blake)
Meli serves up favorite American breakfast and lunch dishes with a Greek twist and is known for its farm to table dishes, fresh squeezed juice, large portions, and homemade marmalade. Meli has great daily specials and full service juice, espresso, and liquor bars. If you can’t decide whether to get a corned beef hash Benedict or a wheatgrass shot, get both.
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The South Loop is a cultural hub in Chicago’s art scene between the high density of museums on Museum Campus, the city’s top art and film schools, and the history of creativity established by Printer’s Row. The South Loop is also home to some of the most long standing live music venues, like Buddy Guy’s Legends, Jazz Showcase, and Reggie’s Music Joint.
Buddy Guy’s Legends- 700 S. Wabash St
Buddy Guy is a 7 time Grammy winner, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inductee, 37 time Blues Music Award winner, the Presidential National Medal of Arts recipient, ranked 23rd on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”, and a major influence on prolific musicians including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and Stevie Ray Vaughn. At 82, he still performs on a regular basis at his blues club, Buddy Guy’s Legends, which hosts live music 7 nights a week as well as free acoustic shows during lunch and dinner. Looking for a great open mic? Stop by for the Blues Jam every Monday night at 9pm.
Jazz Showcase- 806 S. Plymouth Ct
Jazz Showcase has been one of Chicago’s premier jazz clubs since the 170 seat venue first opened in 1947, and is currently the oldest in the city. See live music 7 nights a week with a Sunday matinee event at 4pm geared towards an all ages audience. Discounts are available for students and musicians. Click here to see the calendar of upcoming performances and events.
Reggie’s Music Joint- 2105 S. State St
All under one roof, Reggie’s Music Joint hosts a rock venue, a bar and grill, a a record store, and dog friendly patio and rooftop with outdoor games. The venue was formerly an auto repair shop until Reggie’s opened its doors in 2007. Between the live music, walls lined with memorabilia, calendar of events, and the in house recording studio, Reggie’s is every rock fan and musician’s dream come true.
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Museum Campus is a 57 acre park in South Loop along Lake Michigan and encompasses some of Chicago’s most notable museums as well as Soldier Field and Northerly Island. If you’re in the South Loop and looking for things to do near you, here are the days these museums offer free admission to Illinois residents in 2020!
Did you know that in Chicago’s dark sky you could see 4500 stars with the naked eye? The Adler Planetarium is the first planetarium in the United States and has exhibits and sky shows that are “out of this world”! Even better, Adler Planetarium has plenty of events to keep your attention so you don’t “space” out. Check out monthly events like Sun Salutations Yoga or Adler After Dark with upcoming dates on Saturday, February 1st and Thursday, February 20th.
The Field Museum houses over 30 million historical, cultural, and scientific artifacts and collections designed to “inspire curiosity about life on Earth”. Right now, check out the exhibit, “Fantastic Bug Encounters”, which includes hands on activities and workshops for all ages.
The Museum of Science and Industry is located in South Loop’s Jackson Park, the historic site of the 1893 Columbian Exposition World’s Fair.
Learn about the differences between the genetic versus epigenetic factors that play into an animal’s physiology as you watch chickens hatch right before your eyes. “Invent the Future” in the Fast Forward exhibit, as you surround yourself in a world of tomorrow’s inventions. In addition to numerous exhibits, the museum also features interactive experiences like a submarine simulation and a virtual reality space walk.
The Shedd is a 5,000,000 gallon aquarium housing over 32,000 animals. Visit Annik, the new born Beluga whale, get some quality time in a meet and greet with a Magellanic or Rockhopper penguin, touch a stingray, or see the aquarium at night during one of the “Asleep With The Fishes” events.
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A record breaking 430 restaurants, 16 of which are in South Loop, will offer special prix fixe menus during Chicago’s annual Restaurant Week, from January 24th to February 6th. Here’s where to dine during Restaurant Week in the South Loop.
CheSa’s at the Bureau Bar & Restaurant
724 W. Maxwell St
CheSa’s at the Bureau, in the heart of University Village, stands out on the list because of it’s dietary restriction friendly menu and kitchen. Whether you’re looking for vegan, vegetarian, nut allergy or gluten free options, all are served up in the allergy friendly kitchen at CheSa’s. (Of course, be sure to check with your server if you have any dietary restrictions or allergies). The $24 brunch menu includes an omelette bar, chicken and waffle station, fruit and pastries, shrimp and grits bar, and other southern favorites like collard greens, buttermilk biscuits, and country sausage gravy. The $48 three course dinner menu includes modern twists on classic southern meat, fish, and pasta dishes.
Grant Park Bistro
800 S. Michigan
Take in the stunning views and lively energy of Grant Park at this contemporary American bistro. The $36 dinner menu includes three courses. Choose from wild mushroom soup, burnt endive salad, or ceviche for your first course, duck breast, seared scallops, roasted butternut squash, or celeriac steak for your entree, and either a teurgoule tarte or dark chocolate entremet for dessert. Grant Park Bistro also features a selection of desserts from local bakery, Vanille Patisserie.
Mercat a la Planxa
638 S. Michigan Ave
Enjoy modern, Catalan style tapas, meats, seafood, vegetarian fare, and charcuterie at Mercat a la Planxa for either the $24 3 course brunch menu or $48 4 course dinner menu. Mercat a la Planxa is located just across from Grant and Millennium parks and is perfect if you’re looking for a trendy, semi-casual spot in a lively location.
Check out the complete list of participating South Loop restaurants here.
With the holiday season behind us, lights and decorations disappearing, and social calendars calming down, January can seem cold, dark, and uneventful. Fortunately for Chicagoans, there’s restaurant week, a bright light in the Chicago winter. Each year Chicago foodies (and really anybody who likes going to restaurants) look forward to restaurant week when over 400 Chicago restaurants will offer multi-course prix fixe menus and specials to diners over the course of 17 days. Here are some of the top places to eat in the Loop during restaurant week!
Atwood- 1 W Washington St
Atwood serves all day upscale American cuisine. Diners enjoy the imaginative menu, lively location off State Street, and modern decor juxtaposed with the 19th century historic Reliance building it’s located in. Atwood’s restaurant week menu includes appetizer, entree, and dessert courses for both lunch ($24) and dinner ($36).
Cherry Circle Room- 12 S Michigan Ave
This James Beard Award winning concept is located on the second floor of the Chicago Athletic Hotel and is a hidden gem with an old time Chicago ambiance. The three course meal offers a choice of soup or salad, a fish, burger, or chicken entree, and apple tart by pastry chef, Angela Diaz and is available both for lunch ($24) and dinner ($48).
Prime and Provisions- 222 N Lasalle St
For a classic steakhouse dinner, satisfying lunch, or a more extensive brunch menu than you could imagine, Prime and Provisions has it all. Choose between the very wide selection of brunch options ($24), a 2 course lunch menu ($24), or a 3 course dinner menu, complete with a starter, entree, side, and dessert ($48) while you enjoy views of the Chicago river and skyline off Wacker Drive.
Restaurant week begins January 24th and runs until February 9th. Click here for a list of all participating restaurants in the Loop.
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Seeing downtown Chicago is fun, but there’s nothing that can’t be made more fun by bringing your dog along! Here are some dog friendly places and activities to do with your pet near the Loop!
312 Chicago is located in the heart of the theatre district in the Loop and serves northern Italian fare, brunch, bakery items, and craft cocktails. The charming patio is dog friendly and even offers homemade dog treats on Saturdays and Sundays 11am to 2pm. Insider tip– bring your Christkindl Market mug to 312 Chicago for a complimentary refill of mulled wine with purchase through January 15th, 2020!
O’Brien’s Riverwalk Cafe
Enjoy waterside dining with your dog at O’Brien’s Riverwalk Cafe. O’Brien’s regularly hosts live music and is a festive place to celebrate favorite Chicago holidays (like dyeing the river green on St. Patrick’s Day) as well as lesser known Chicago holidays (like Cheeseburger day). If you’re looking to switch up the traditional patio scene, you might enjoy bringing your dog for a day on the Riverwalk!
Mercury’s Canine Cruise
What’s even better than the classic architectural boat tour? One that your dog can enjoy, too! Sightsee in Chicago’s Loop along Lake Michigan and the river with your furry friend as you get a detailed tour of Chicago’s architectural marvels. The 90 minute tour departs from 112 E Wacker Drive. There are dog water bowls and relief stations on board to keep the ride comfortable for your pet!
Small Dog Tea Party at the Drake Hotel
February 9th, 2020 stop by the Camellia Room at the Drake Hotel from 1 to 3pm for the Small Dog Tea Party, hosted by the Dog Moms of Chicago. The tea party will have a Valentine’s Day theme and all proceeds will go to local dog rescue organizations.
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Whether you’re a Chicago resident looking for a downtown “stay-cation” or in from out of town looking to explore Chicago, there are so many ways to spend New Year’s Eve in the Loop!
360 Chicago is the 94th floor observation deck at the John Hancock Center. 360’s New Year’s package includes unlimited rides on TILT, a firework display, a live DJ, party favors, drinks, and stunning views of downtown Chicago from over 1000 feet above the Magnificent Mile.
ROOF on the Wit
From 9pm to 1am on New Year’s Eve, ROOF will be transformed into a French Riviera and Monte Carlo themed extravaganza, featuring gaming tables, acrobats, French cuisine from award winning chefs, an open bar, and music. This 27th story Loop rooftop bar is a great place to watch all of Chicago’s lively festivities, city lights, and fireworks.
The Hilton is the happening place to be on New Years in Chicago! This multiple ballroom soiree features seven party areas, twelve acts, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails and champagne, celebrity DJs, live casino, live video mixing, a confetti “storm” at midnight, table service, discounted hotel rooms, and more! It will be hosted by Kiss FM and televised by NBC 5.
New Year’s Eve Blast
New Year’s Eve downtown in any city can get pretty pricey. Looking for free things to do for New Years in downtown Chicago? Look no further! Enjoy fireworks and celebrations along the Riverwalk from Wolf Point to Lakeshore Drive with New Year’s Eve Blast. You can also watch the midnight fireworks live on WGN.
Travelle at the Langham
If you’re a foodie, head to Travelle at the Langham hotel for your New Year’s Eve celebration. Enjoy a five course fine dining experience at Travelle, followed by an Andy Warhol’s “silver factory” themed celebration at the bar. The dinner menu includes: Butternut Squash Soup with crème fraiche, Ossetra Royale Caviar, and chanterelle conserva; Rohan Duck Confit with beets, citrus, frisée, radicchio, braised salsify, and black truffle; Monkfish with Manila clams, bouillabaisse, braised fennel, and saffron touile; Wagyu Short Rib with pommes mille feuille, cippolini agrodolce, horseradish, and celery root; and Citrus Pavlova with grapefruit granita, black currant ice cream, and yuzu curd.
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If you’re looking to see holiday lights in downtown Chicago, the Loop is the place to be! Here are some of our favorite places in the Loop to get in the holiday spirit.
City of Chicago Christmas Tree
The 106th annual Christmas Tree in Millennium Park was celebrated with a lighting ceremony in late November. However, the 60 foot evergreen will be brightening up the city every nigh through January.
Menorah Lighting at Daley Plaza
The annual menorah lighting in Daley Plaza is a great way to celebrate Hannukah! Enjoy food, drinks, and entertainment by AD the DJ and Charlie the Rapper.
Museum of Science and Industry Holiday Lights & Christmas Around The World
The 45 foot tree is adorned with 30,000 lights and surrounded by over 50 smaller trees, each decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s different communities to reflect their cultures. The occasional indoor “snow” flurries add to the charming holiday ambiance.
CTA Holiday Train
Ever wonder why the downtown area is called “The Loop”? The neighborhood gets its name because the CTA L train tracks make a “loop” around the center of the city. During the holidays, hop aboard the CTA’s holiday train for meet and greets with santa and his reindeer and holiday cheer. The special holiday trains are covered in multicolored lights, red bows, garlands, and candy cane striped ribbon. The tradition started in 1992 and has grown in popularity and decadence over the years. Click here for a schedule of when to check out the CTA holiday train.
Macy’s on State Street
Macy’s on State Street is known for having eye catching, festive windows. Step inside and head to historic The Walnut Room, where you’ll see the Great Tree and enjoy a holiday themed cocktail. With the whimsical decorations in the Macy’s windows, Christmas music coming from speakers in the flower beds, and tree covered lights, hopping along State Street takes on a whole new atmosphere
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The Loop is home to Chicago’s vibrant theatre district. Between Broadway in Chicago, live musical performances, dance, and smaller theatre productions, there are plenty of exciting and thought provoking shows to see. Here are some of the most popular holiday performances in the Loop.
Joffrey Ballet’s Performance of “The Nutcracker”
The Joffrey Ballet’s annual performance of The Nutcracker is a longtime holiday tradition. The classic ballet, composed by Tchaikovsky, follows the story of a young girl and her mother preparing for a Christmas dinner in 1892 just before the World’s Fair. When everyone has gone to bed, the girl is transported to a dreamlike world where her Christmas gifts come to life.
The Nutcracker runs through December 29th at the Auditorium Theatre in the Loop. Click here for tickets.
“Merry, Merry, Chicago!” at Chicago Symphony Orchestra
In Merry, Merry, Chicago! the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chorus perform holiday favorites, carols, and an appearance by Santa Claus. The performance will be conducted by guest conductor, Emil de Cou, and runs December 14th-23rd.
See below for the program!
“A Christmas Carol” at the Goodman Theatre
A Christmas Carol has been a holiday favorite for over forty years. The story, originally written by Charles Dickens, follows Ebenezer Scrooge as he learns about compassion, kindness, and redemption. Tickets are available through December 29th.
Irving Berlin’s “White Christmas” at the Cadillac Palace Theatre
Broadway in Chicago’s White Christmas is sure to leave you full of holiday cheer! Choose Chicago says White Christmas is full of, “dancing, laughter, and some of the greatest music ever written”. Don’t miss out! This Broadway musical only runs through mid December.
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Your furry friends shouldn’t have to “sit” and “stay” home while you soak up all the West Loop has to offer. Bring them with you to these dog friendly spots in West Loop.
Saint Lou’s Assembly- 664 W Lake St
The patio at Saint Lou’s Assembly is a prime pooch social spot. Bring your dog for a “dog beer”, which comes in a regular beer-esque bottle. Stop by for one of many dog oriented events, like the dog halloween costume contest!
Wishbone West Loop- 161 N Jefferson St
Chef Joel Nickson serves up southern classics and a mix-and-match menu of side dishes. Wishbone has been a West Loop favorite for 30 years. Their dog friendly patio is a great place to go for Monday through Friday happy hour light bites, including fried chicken sliders, jambalaya, and catfish nuggets.
City Mouse Chicago- 311 N Morgan St
Looking for great brunch in West Loop? Look no further! City Mouse Chicago serves up seasonally inspired fare in the Ace Hotel. Dogs are welcome in the indoor lounge, where both you and your pet can order food. The pet menu includes meat based items and water is served in doggie bowls. The “human” lounge menu has great selections and happy hour specials as well.
A reservation is recommended for the dog friendly lounge area.
Kuma’s Corner- 852 W Fulton Market
Kuma’s Corner is known both for serving up some of the best burgers in the city with unique twists, as well as their support of local heavy music artists. Bring your pet to their dog friendly patio to check out their eclectic menu and hear a great mix of Chicago heavy musicians. You can also listen to the Kuma’s playlist on Spotify.
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Looking for a place to eat with friends can be tricky in West Loop because there are so many great options– it’s hard to agree on just one! That’s where Time Out Market comes in…If you haven’t already jumped on the food hall trend, it’s not too late to start! Food halls are essentially a trendier take on the classic food court, with kiosks where patrons can get their favorite items from a variety of local restaurants.
Time Out Market Chicago is the second largest Time Out Market, after the Lisbon location and will be opening soon in Fulton Market. The 500,000 square foot, three story food hall will house 18 kiosks which will vary in cuisine and style, from fast casual to high end Michelin starred fare. The venue will also have three bars, a demonstration kitchen, and event space, complete with bleacher seating.
So far, the chef roster includes Jimmy Bannos Jr. of Purple Pig, Thai Dang of HaiSous, Brian Fisher of the Michelin starred Entente, Bill Kim of Urban Belly ramen, Dana Salls Cree of Pretty Cool Ice Cream, Zoe Schor of Split Rail fried chicken, Edward Kim of Mott St., and Art Shabez of The Art of Pizza.
Chefs have one year contracts, which they can renew, but Time Out is looking to keep bringing in new dishes and concepts to keep things fresh and interesting for customers. Time Out also shared a vision for the space to function as a multipurpose venue for private events and weddings. According to Chicago Eater magazine, customers can expect to spend about $20 to $30 on lunch or dinner.
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It’s that time of year– it’s too cold to do fall things and not quite holiday season. Fortunately there are plenty of things to do near West Loop this weekend!
Try rock climbing at Brooklyn Boulders with or without ropes. Brooklyn Boulders offers intro classes for beginners as well as memberships for more regular climbers. Gear rental and climbing shoes are included with your reservation.
Emporium Fulton Market
Spend your evening having some nostalgic fun at Emporium bar and arcade. Enjoy pool tables, pin ball machines, air hockey, ski ball, arcade games, and a full live music events calendar.
Bad Axe Throwing
Looking for a new activity to spice up your usual weekend plans? Check out axe throwing! (Think: a heavier version of darts). Walk ins start at $27 per hour, or book a group ahead of time for $35 per person flat rate. Get in free on your birthday!
Open Books is a nonprofit book store with a selection of over 50,000 donated books. Stop by the location at 651 W Lake for the Snowy Soiree holiday party on November 20th at 5pm to support literacy. Your tickets get you half off any books you purchase plus free gift wrapping!
Bottom Lounge has a full calendar of live music. Check out Jaymes Young and Phil Good this Saturday or click here for a full schedule of upcoming concerts
National Hellenic Museum
The National Hellenic Museum on Halsted Street is the first and only major museum in the nation dedicated to Greek-American culture. Try one of the weekly event offerings, like Greek dance classes, or attend one of their annual events, like the gala or golf outing. Take a tour of the museum which concludes with a visit to the building’s rooftop overlooking the skyline, weather permitting.
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Whether you’re looking for a place to work from home, dive into a good book, or make a quick caffeine stop on your morning commute, these West Loop coffee shops are worth checking out!
Fairgrounds is located on Fulton Market and Ada and features unique takes on coffeeshop favorites. This West Loop coffee shop can be your one stop shop around the clock. Stop in for all day breakfast, super food elixirs, an expansive variety of coffee, and great happy hour specials each day of the week in the evenings. If you’re looking for coffee shops open late, Fairgrounds stays open until 8pm on weekdays. Are you a fan of last year’s big trend, nitro cold brew? Check out Fairgrounds’ nitro matcha.
Limitless Coffee’s bright interior is both energizing and tranquil– perfect for focusing. Whatever you’re looking for in a coffee shop, from something conducive to large meetings to a place where you can spread out in peace and quiet, Limitless has all the bases covered. Each high top table has its own small dry erase board. There are plenty of outlets along the booths and comfortable lounge chairs, as well as several large meeting tables, one of which has a large dry erase board.
The menu features classic coffeehouse favorites as well as “instagrammable” unique lattes, like the popular rose beet and charcoal glitter lattes pictured below. Limitless also offers smoothies, kombucha, tea, bulletproof coffee with MCT oil and collagen protein add ins, and a great keto friendly menu featuring multiple stellar avocado toasts and an avocado and egg umami biscuit that will leave you both full and wanting more.
Sawada Coffee is owned by world renowned latte art expert, Hiroshi Sawada, and is located at 112 N Green Street, near many of the new office developments that house tech companies and notable headquarters in the area. Patrons love the industrial aesthetic and quirky charm (namely the pinball machine, ping pong table, and punching bag).
Pro tip: Tired of waiting in line every Saturday morning at River North’s Donut Vault for your donuts? Grab your Donut Vault favorites at Sawada Coffee!
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Looking for things to do in downtown Chicago this weekend? From Lincoln Park to the South Loop’s Museum Campus, here are some great ways to enjoy what downtown living has to offer!
Spice Up Your Morning Yoga
Looking for mix up your Saturday morning yoga practice? Get more grounded at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park. Every Saturday morning at 8:30am, join all varieties of butterflies in the Butterfly Haven for butterfly yoga. Tickets are $15 in advance.
Elevate your yoga practice (to about 1,000 feet) with a 60 minute vinyasa style class in the 94th floor Hancock Observatory in Gold Coast. Stop by every Saturday or Sunday at 9am to take in unobstructed views of the downtown Chicago skyline and lakefront. Bring your own mat to class. Tickets are $18 in advance and include a day pass to the observatory.
Fall Festival at Maggie Daley Park
Fall is in the air! Head to Maggie Daley Park of Michigan Avenue in the Loop for this free outdoor event, 12pm to 5pm on Saturday, October 19th. Enjoy games, crafts, and fare along the skating ribbon. Afterward, head to the Arts in the Dark parade on State Street.
Imagine the Moon Sky Show at Adler Planetarium
This show is the Adler’s newest addition and explores how the moon has been the inspiration for human creativity. The run time is 30 minutes and tickets can be purchased here.
Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art
This annual festival at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Gold Coast celebrates the cultural exchange between writers and visual artists from Mexico City and Chicago. Stop by Saturday, October 19th for readings, artist talks, performances, showcases, and a magazine finale to conclude the event.
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It’s officially fall! Although summer may be technically over, there’s no shortage of festivals in downtown Chicago this weekend. Whether you’re looking for indoor or outdoor live music or all the gourmet you’re your heart desires, these Chicago festivals won’t disappoint!
World Music Festival
This week enjoy live music by 50 artists from over 20 countries across multiple venues at the 21st annual World Music Festival. The eleven day event will run through Sunday, September 29thand is free to attend. With participating venues in multiple neighborhoods, including Navy Pier, Pritzker Pavillion, Old Town School of Folk Music, Concord Hall in Logan Square, Beverly Art Center, and more, the World Music Festival is a great way to see the city. Click here for the official program.
Chicago Gourmet, presented by Bon Appetit, features over 250 Chicago restaurants, chefs, and international breweries. From tastings to book signings, this event is a foodie’s dream come true. Rick Bayless and Stephanie Izard will be among featured talent in attendance. The main event will take place on Saturday, September 28thfrom 12pm to 6pm and Sunday from 12pm to 5pm at Millennium Park. However, there will be after parties, additional showcases, and other off-site gourmet events throughout the weekend. Click here for the full schedule, packages, tickets, and list of events.
Hyde Park Jazz Festival
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The 13th Annual HPJF Benefit Concert is happening on Thursday, June 20th and features the Etienne Charles Sextet! Members include: Etienne Charles (trumpet), Savannah Harris (drums), Godwin Louis (saxophone), Barry Stephenson (bass), Brett Williams (keyboard), and Alex Wintz (guitar) Check the link in our bio to scoop your tickets! ✨You won’t want to miss this one✨ #hydeparkjazzfest #jazzcommunity #etiennecharles #savannahharris #godwinlouis #barrystephenson #brettwilliamskeys #alexwintz #chicagojazz #jazz #benefitconcert #southsidejazz
Stop by the 13thannual Hyde Park Jazz Festival to enjoy live performances from over 36 artists. The 14 stages around the neighborhood will showcase local Chicago artists as well as national and international talent. The event will run on Saturday, September 28thand Sunday the 29thfrom 1pm to 10:30pm. Click herefor the full lineup. No tickets are required.
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There’s never a shortage of things to do in downtown Chicago. If you’re looking for events happening this weekend near you to add to your calendar, check these out!
Printer’s Row Art Festival
This second annual art festival will take place in South Loop on Dearborn Street (between Harrison and Polk) on 9/14-15, and will showcase of a variety of art. The selection will include paintings, street art, beauty products, crafts, jewelry, up cycled art, photography, and other mixed media pieces, as well as food vendors from local restaurants, like Magic Circle Crepes and Judy’s Pizza, and live music by Cirrus Falcon.
Bourbon and Barbecue Festival
Stop by this lively event for fare from local vendors like Lexington Betty Smokehouse, Big Joe’s Backyard BBQ, and I-94 Ribs. The event will feature live music from Chicago based tribute bands, including 16 Candles and the Trippin Billies. The Chicago Bourbon and Barbecue Festival will be held in Roscoe Village on Damen Ave 12pm to 5pm on 9/14-15.
2019 Blackhawks Training Camp Festival
The Blackhawks Training Camp Festival will open at 8am on Sunday, 9/15 and will include appearances by former Blackhawks, live music, and other entertainment. At 11am, attendees can head inside to watch a scrimmage on the ice. The Blackhawks Training Camp Festival will be in Lot C at the United Center (1901 W. Madison St) in the West Loop. There is no cost to attend the outdoor portion. Tickets for the indoor scrimmage are $5 and can be purchased here.
All three of these events happening this weekend will be held outdoors and is free to attend.
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Looking to keep your workout fresh? Whether you’re in River North, West Loop, Old Town, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, the Loop, or Gold Coast, these downtown Chicago boutique fitness studios will never let you get too comfortable or bored in your workout.
This megaformer class is different each time and is sure to keep you on your toes (or elbows and knees if you need a little rest from holding the seemingly endless planks in this class). Solidcore aims to target your slow twitch muscle fibers with slow, high resistance movements. Solidcore has downtown Chicago locations in the retail spaces of The Hudson in River North, 1611 West Division in Wicker Park, and 727 West Madison in West Loop. Click here to get your first two classes at a discounted rate (save $25).
Retreat from the hustle and bustle of downtown Chicago city life in the tranquil oasis of Chill Chicago. Upon arrival, you are greeted by the chic, soft-loft, bright, and minimalist aesthetic, lots of craft candles, and given a cup of tea by the friendly desk staff. Unwind by the waterfall fountain or with a short massage before yoga class. The dimly lit yoga studio is a perfect place to decompress. Stay for a 30 minute guided meditation session following select yoga classes and be sure to check out the unique “chilling” swings after class. Chill Chicago is located on Kinzie Street near Merchandise Mart in River North.
For those of you who are a little “out-spun” from enjoying the last few years’ boom of new spin studios, RowHouse offers something new in a similar SoulCycle type atmosphere. RowHouse has locations in the retail spaces of 1225 Old Town on Wells in Old Town and The Parker Fulton Market in West Loop. Click here to try a free workout class!
For those of you who are still “riding” the wave of trendy spin studios, be sure to check out Cycle Bar. You’ll enjoy all the best parts of spin class (like the great leg and cardio workout, awesome playlists, and cool lighting) with the added “bar” bonus. The weighted bar is used to make sure you get in a solid upper body workout while spinning. Cycle Bar is located in the ground level retail space at Exhibit on Superior in River North and The Parker Fulton Market in West Loop. Get your first unlimited week for $29 here.
HIIT all the muscle groups at Sweat! These high intensity interval training sessions are a total body workout. The 8 exercise circuit makes the hour fly by and feel like you got a killer workout by the end. Sweat has locations in the SoNo area of Lincoln Park and in Gold Coast. Click here to get your first class at a discounted rate.
Looking to live near one of these awesome downtown Chicago boutique fitness studios? Contact us today! We’d be happy to keep you in the Loop!
Enjoy your last few weekends of Chicago summer with these unique Gold Coast brunch spots!
This gem is hidden in plain sight on the first floor of the Viceroy hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Somerset is a Boka Group concept with a focus on American cuisine. Ever seen oysters and pop tarts on the same menu? The eclectic brunch spread at Somerset includes the best of breakfast, like benedicts, avocado toast, and skillets, lunch favorites like burgers and salads, as well as a great selection of pastries. Click here to see a brunch menu.
James Beard award winning chef, Michael Mina, brings this 1920s inspired Parisian concept to the Waldorf Astoria hotel in Chicago’s Gold Coast. Meargeaux Brasserie offers locally sourced ingredients and a rotating selection of French cocktails. The brunch menu features classic French favorites like escargot, croque madame crepes, and a rotating quiche of the day, as well as an extensive seafood selection. The tin ceilings, dark leather booths, live jazz trio, and pewter topped bar contribute to the charming ambiance.
3 Arts Club Cafe
This posh brunch spot is a garden courtyard located inside Restoration Hardware offering brunch, dinner, wine, and coffee selections. Exposed brick, lavish chandeliers, manicured greenery, and of course, signature RH accents give 3 Arts Club Cafe its upscale atmosphere.
Blue Door Kitchen and Cafe
Blue Door Kitchen offers farm to table fare with a seasonal menu. The brunch menu has a New Orleans flare with classic dishes like beignets, biscuits and gravy, shrimp and grits, andouille eggs and hash, and chicken and waffles. Locals love the quiet but spacious patio for al Fresca dining in the summer and fall.
Looking for luxury apartments for rent near Chicago’s Gold Coast? Contact us today! We’d be happy to keep you in the Loop!
Summer time is coming to a close, but Chicago’s event calendar isn’t showing signs of slowing down anytime soon. Looking for things to do near downtown Chicago this weekend? Check out some of these events!
Air & Water Show
Saturday and Sunday, August 17th-18 at 9am
The Chicago Air and Water Show showcases aerial maneuvers and rescue simulations from the U.S. Navy and Airforce as well as Chicago police department. The U.S. Leapfrogs (active duty SEALs and Special Forces crew members) will be doing a parachute freefall and the Chicago Fire Department Air and Water Rescue Unit will perform demonstrations as well.
This year will also feature a guest performance from the U.K.’s Royal Airforce Red Arrows. The headline attraction will be the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, featuring over 100 enlisted members of the Navy and Marines.
You can watch the Air and Water Show from one of many places this weekend, including for free at North Avenue Beach or aboard the Anita Dee II boat cruise for $60, which boards at Dusable Harbor.
Saturday Night Standup Comedy at Laugh Factory
Saturday, August 17that 7:15, 9:15, and 11:30pm
Laugh Factory is located in the new Belmont Theatre District in Lakeview. Seasoned comedians as well as brand new faces have graced the stage at Laugh Factory. Featured guests have included Das Chapelle, Bob Hope, Tim Allen, Jim Carrey, George Carlin, Adam Sandler, Wanda Sykes, Eddie Murphy, and many more. Stop by for one of three comedy sets for free with registration prior to the show, or $10 at the door.
Chicago Westside Music Festival
Saturday, August 17that 2pm
Check out the Westside Music Festival this weekend in Douglas Park! The headliner will be Faith Evans and the event will feature a collection of local artists. The Westside Music Festival is sponsored by the West Side Cultural Foundation and is free to attend.
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Whether you live downtown and have guests coming to visit, live in the Chicago suburbs and are looking for a downtown stay-cation, or are a visitor yourself, check out our “24 Hours In Each Neighborhood” posts. Here’s a great way to spend a day in Lincoln Park!
9:00 AM Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is a unique place to experience the juxtaposition of the concrete jungle and natural jungle or “see gorillas climb trees as the Willis Tower looms in the distance” as LPZ’s website puts it. See a wide variety of species, enjoy the tranquil paths, or rent a paddleboat on the zoo’s pond. Lincoln Park Zoo has a full events calendar between Fall Fest, ZooLights, Fitness at the Zoo, Breakfast with Animals, and more. Lincoln Park Zoo has free admission and is open 365 days per year.
12:00 PM Chicago History Museum
The Chicago History Museum features multiple rotating exhibits as well as educational programs and events. One currently featured exhibit is “Modern By Design: Chicago Streamlines America”, which features 300 objects, photos, and other various materials, like Radio Flyer wagons and Wrigley Gum, from the 1930s to 1950s that highlight Chicago’s role in shaping popular American designs and products.
2:00 PM Shopping on Armitage
Armitage Street is lined with boutiques, cafes, novelty gift shops, juice bars, galleries, medspas, and even a cryotherapy bar. Stop by Cynthia Rowley, Art Effect, or Lori’s Shoes to get a taste of Armitage Street shopping in Lincoln Park.
Lori’s Shoes is a boutique with specialty shoes known as the “sole” of Chicago. Lori’s customers come for the shoe selection, personally curated by Lori herself in her world travels, and keep coming back because of the personalized experience. Lori’s customers feel as though they are working with a personal shopper and leave with a uniquely curated look.
4:00 PM Happy Hour at Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba
In your new shoes, walk around the corner to Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba on Armitage and Halsted Streets. Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba serves Spanish tapas and paella, both of which are great for sharing, as well as a great selection of sangria. Stop by from 4-6pm on weekdays for excellent happy hour specials.
5:00 PM Dinner at Alinea
Food, art, and live entertainment collide at Alinea. The multi-sensory, multi-course tasting menu gives fine dining an experimental twist. Reservations are required in advance and seatings are available at 5pm and 9:30pm nightly.
See the gallery at the below for some of the sensational creations at Alinea!
9:00 PM Live Theatre
Lincoln Park is a prime location for excellent theatre in Chicago. Go to Second City to see some of the best improv in the country. Steppenwolf Theatre is also known as one of the best theater companies in the country and shows feature-length plays in an intimate setting. Tickets are required well in advance for Steppenwolf.
11:00 PM Live Music
Wrap up your day in Lincoln Park with some live music at Kingston Mines or Lincoln Hall.
Kingston Mines blues club features live bands on two stages until late at night. Kingston Mines is more of a bar setting that has live music as opposed to Lincoln Hall, which is a designated music venue. Shows at Lincoln Hall typically range from $15-35 per ticket. Click here to see Lincoln Hall’s upcoming schedule.
Whether you live downtown and have guests coming to visit, live in the Chicago suburbs and are looking for a downtown stay-cation, or are a visitor yourself, check out our “24 Hours In Each Neighborhood” posts. Here’s a great way to spend a day in Old Town!
The neighborhood was dubbed “Old Town” in the 1940s with an annual art fairs called “Old Town Holiday.” The name Old Town is still around today and the art fair is, too.
9:00 am Group Fitness Class
Whether you’re looking for a high intensity energy blast or a zen way to start the day, Wells Street in Old Town is a prime spot for boutique fitness studios. Check out CorePower, OrangeTheory, SoulCycle, Shred415, Kickboxing, or one of a number of smaller boutique studios, many of which offer introductory specials for first-timers!
10:00 am Real Good Juice Co
This juice bar serves up avocado toast, smoothies, bowls, juice, and other vegan snacks. The punny menu includes pop-culture inspired names like the “Punky Juice-ster”, “Juice Springsteen”, or the “RAMBOwl”.
11:00 am Spice House
The Spice House is a daily shopping stop for many of Chicago’s top chefs as well as for the Chicago Food Tour. Stroll through Spice House to get a whiff of the eclectic variety of spices or to soak up the charming ambiance. The store’s back garden is a charming hidden gem in the warmer months.
12:00 pm Small Cheval
The West Loop’s Au Cheval is home to the world famous Au Cheval Burger, but it comes with a long wait (usually to the tune of 2+ hours). At Small Cheval in Old Town, try the burger without the wait! The reclaimed wood, strands of lights, and neon cursive lettering make it a very instagramable spot.
2:00 pm Old Town Aquarium
Old Town Aquarium is a small storefront opened by Jim Walters and Ian Schakowsky in 1975. The two owners are environmentally conscious marine life enthusiasts and have spent years doing deep sea dives and research. Their knowledge is reflected in the eclectic selection of marine life on display. Stop by to see rare marine life.
4:00 pm Divvy Bike Ride
Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood is full of green space with plenty of access points to the lake front, making is a great area to see on a bike. Check out Divvy bikes using the Divvy app on your smartphone for 30 minute intervals and return them at any Divvy port around the city.
6:00 pm Orso’s
Orso’s is a family-owned Italian restaurant and one of the first to open in the original historic Old Town neighborhood. Orso’s has great specials every weeknight and live piano music on Fridays and Saturdays.
8:00 pm Live Show
Old Town has plenty of live entertainment. See a comedy show at Zanie’s, which has been one of Chicago’s most notable comedy clubs since 1985. Zanie’s also offers comedy classes and has played an instrumental role in the careers of comics including Jay Leno, Lewis Black, Emo Philips, Richard Lewis, Jerry Seinfeld, Frank Caliendo, Kathy Griffin, Larry Reeb, John Caponera, Hal Sparks, Bobby Slayton, and Roseanne Barr.
If you’re looking for live music, check out the Old Town School of Folk Music, which hosts live shows most evenings at 8pm as well as classes for all ages. Pete Seeger, Mahalia Jackson, Arlo Guthrie, and Steve Goodman are all among notable musicians who used to perform at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Click here for a schedule of concerts.
10:00 pm Old Town Pour House
Stop by Old Town Pour House to try a selection of over 90 beers on tap and American fare. If you’re ever looking for things to do near Old Town on a weeknight, be sure to check the events calendar here for events like Friends-themed trivia night or football game viewing events.
It’s the holiday season which means Chicago has a lot of visitors. Whether you live downtown and have guests coming to visit, live in the Chicago suburbs and are looking for a downtown stay-cation, or are a visitor yourself, check out our “24 Hours In Each Neighborhood” posts. Here’s a great way to spend a day in South Loop!
10:00 AM- The Bongo Room
Start your day on the town at the Bongo Room for breakfast or brunch, where you can find new, unique takes on brunch classics. Some favorites include the lobster roll Benedict and the chocolate mousse French toast. The Bongo Room also offers a great vegetarian selection and strong coffee.
11:00 AM- The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, or Museum of Science and Industry
Spend the first part of your day at one of the incredible museums in South Loop’s Museum Campus. The Field Museum is home to Sue, a world famous Tyrannosaurus Rex.
Stop by the Museum of Science and Industry to watch chicks hatch, try your luck at a maze of mirrors, test out a rocket, submarine, or coal mining experience, or visit the current featured exhibits in honor of the 50th anniversary of Apollo 8. The MSI also has a temporary exhibit on the science behind Pixar films.
The Shedd Aquarium features a multitude of aquatic ecosystems, from the Amazon to the Caribbean and down to the Arctic. Watch a live penguin or whale feeding or get a chance meet and greet an animal daily at 4pm.
Looking for free things to do near downtown Chicago? Below are some dates you and your guests can get free admission to the Field Museum, Museum of Science and Industry, or Shedd Aquarium.
February 1, 4-8, 11-15, 18-22, 25-28
January: 7–10, 14–17, 21–24, 28–31
February:4–7, 11–14, 19–21, 25–28
3:00 PM- Lunch at Flaco’s Tacos
Flaco’s Tacos is a neighborhood favorite. If you’re looking for somewhere fast and casual with high quality food and an interesting menu, Flaco’s is worth checking out.
4:00 PM- Chicago Helicopter Experience
See the Chicago skyline from a whole new perspective with a helicopter tour! You’ll start in the 2400 block of South Halsted Street head North through the Loop, River North, and Lincoln Park to Wrigley Field, then back South and East over the lakefront and Navy Pier. Knock out all your site seeing in one tour! Even if you’re very familiar with Chicago, this is a great new way to see all your favorite landmarks.
6:00 PM- Adler After Dark
Each third Thursday from 6pm to 10pm, stop by Adler Planetarium for an exclusive event (21+) and access to all exhibits, unlimited sky shows in all three theaters, live entertainment, and educational outer space programs. Tickets are $20 with advance purchase or $25 at the door.
What if it’s not the third Thursday? Catch some live music at Brando’s!
8:00 PM- Karaoke at Brando’s Speakeasy
Brando’s Speakeasy is regarded as one of the best karaoke bars in Chicago, loved for its “classic Chicago” ambiance and phenomenal song selection (over 40,000!)
10:00 PM- Reggie’s
Is karaoke not your thing? Feeling shy? Looking for live music (by someone other than your friends)? Stop by Reggie’s Rock Club for events like bingo and trivia, as well as live rock music.
It’s the holiday season which means Chicago has a lot of visitors. Whether you live downtown and have guests coming to visit, live in the Chicago suburbs and are looking for a downtown stay-cation, or are a visitor yourself, check out our “24 Hours In Each Neighborhood” posts. Here’s a great way to spend a day in Gold Coast!
John Hancock Center
Stop by the John Hancock Center’s 360 (the new name for the observatory) where you can view Chicago and beyond the horizon from the 94th floor glass lookout. The observatory also includes the Tilt display– floor-to-ceiling windows that tilt out from the building for an even more exhilarating view of the Gold Coast and city.
Want to enjoy a drink over 1000 feet above the city streets? Come back later in the evening to take in the view from the Signature Room, a high-end restaurant on the 96th floor and cocktail lounge on the 95th floor.
Water Tower Place
Water Tower is host to 111 shops as well as the Chicago Sports Museum, Broadway in Chicago Playhouse, and the American Girl Doll experience.
Tourists and Chicago residents alike enjoy dining at Ralph Lauren in the Gold Coast. Come for the dover sole or crab cake and stay for the upscale ambiance!
The Museum of Contemporary Art features minimalist, surrealist and conceptual photography collections, and permanent works by René Magritte, Cindy Sherman and Andy Warhol. The exhibits change frequently and often include interactive installations, like tunnels lit to simulate the experience of being inside a black-and-white film, making anything inside them turn grey (including your clothing and friends). The MCA features pieces from 1920 and later. Illinois residents get free admission on Tuesdays (just be prepared with your zip code at the door). The gift shop is also a fantastic place for chic, minimalist housewares and quirky books and jewelry.
In the summertime, the MCA hosts free live jazz music on the terrace 5:30 to 8pm every Tuesday.
Happy Hour at Lux Bar- Rush Street
Lux Bar’s happy hour is one of the best deals in Gold Coast. Stop by Tuesday through Friday from 4pm to 7pm for $5 wines and drafts as well as great food like the $5 avocado kale salad (which is massive), $5 burger, or $3 truffle fries. Sit inside near the social bar or dine al Fresca along the flower boxes that line Rush Street’s sidewalks.
Shopping on Rush Street
Rush Street is arguably one of the best shopping strips downtown. Between Vera Wang, Versace, Dior, Tom Ford, and many boutique appointment-only design houses, you’ll be able to find many high end shopping options. Additional shops like Aritzia and Lululemon have stores on Rush Street as well.
Dinner at Gibsons
If you’re looking for an old time, classic Chicago steak house, Gibson’s in the Gold Coast is the place to be. As one of the most famous dinner spots in the city, there is a scene every night at this local original. Gibson’s is famous for its steaks, martinis, oysters, and large lobsters.
Night Life on Division Street
Grab a beer at one of many dive bars or dance the night away at the Hangge Uppe. Many bars on Division Street are open until 4:00 AM on weekends.
The holiday season is a great time to be in downtown Chicago! Here are a few of our favorite seasonal festivities.
Stop by the Art Institute for a holiday treasure hunt followed by a tea party. Attendees will make 5 stops in the museum’s galleries and Ryan Learning Center.
The event will conclude with a tea party with live entertainment in the Stock Exchange Trading Room. Each child will receive a holiday themed gift bag.
When: December 9th at 10:45am
Admission: $50 for adults, $25 for children, free for children under 2
The Christkindl Market, inspired by German tradition, takes place annually at Daley Plaza in the Loop. Unique vendors with many handcrafted and specialty goods make for great holiday gift shopping. Grab a souvenir mug of spiced wine (and bring your mug back for discounted refills)!
Christkindl Market is a primarily outdoor event. However, between the live music and traditional German fare in the food hall and the specialty ornament shop, theres plenty to do indoor whatever the weather.
When: November 16 – December 24
Click here for more free things to do in the Loop this holiday season.
Each winter Lincoln Park Zoo is illuminated by over 2.5 million lights. Photos with Santa, 3D displays, warm spiced wine and snacks, holiday gift shopping, live ice-sculpture carving, carnival rides, light shows, games, and zoo animals are just some of the holiday festivities available at Zoo Lights. In addition to the regular open admission days, there are also several holiday events like Brew Lights, a beer tasting event on December 6th.
When: Click here for a Zoo Lights calendar, BrewLights is December 6th
Admission: Free admission for Zoo Lights (all ages), $49 ticket for BrewLights (21+)
Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest hosts music, ice skating, carnival rides, games, and refreshments. In addition to admission, tickets include a ride on the Centennial Wheel anytime before March 31st 2019.
When: December 3, 2018 – Jan. 6, 2019
Admission: $20 for adults, $10 for children under 42″, free for children under 36″
Randolph Street Market is a great place to knock out your holiday gift shopping! The eclectic selection of both vintage and modern items ensures you’ll find unique gifts no one already has. Enjoy shopping through an array of housewares, clothing, art, and trinkets from over 125 vendors. Refreshments include a Bloody Mary bar, an assortment of beverages, and food from local eateries. Free parking for attendees!
When: December 15 – 16, 2018
Admission: $10 in advance or $12 at the gate, discounts available
‘Summer time Chicago’ is one of the best times of the year to be downtown on the lakeshore. With endless possibilities of exciting adventures, be sure to check out some of the cities favorites!
Enjoy a beautiful summer day or evening paddling down the shores of Lake Michigan in a kayak! Kayak Chicago offers multiple locations at North Ave Beach, Montrose Beach and the Chicago River to set off on your great adventure. Enjoy multiple tours including sunset rides, firework shows, day time skyline tours and city light night paddles down the Chicago River. They also offer stand-up paddleboards as well! Grab your friends and hit the water this summer with these exciting tours.
Don’t forget about your furry friends, they want to enjoy the summer weather as well! Bring them by the Montrose Dog Beach for a great day splashing in the water and digging in the sand. As one of the only dog-friendly, off-leash beaches in the city, your dog will love interacting with all the others as well as making new friends! Open till around 9 pm during summer hours, stop by and check this place out, your dog will surely thank you.
For a full day of fun in the sun, check out Oak Street Beach located just minutes from Michigan Ave. In the heart of the city, Oak Street Beach has a ton to offer to those looking to catch some rays and take a break from the bustling downtown area. Sunbathing and swimming aren’t the only options– take your workout outside and exercise along the paved path lining the beach. Grab a bite to eat at the Oak Street Beachstro, located at the Southern end of the beach. Enjoy options from their breakfast buffet, full lunch and dinner menu or their full bar. Beachgoers can take in the views while diving into delicious cuisine.
For an exciting day on the water, many Chicagoans flock to the playpen for an amazing boating day and plenty of nautical things to do. Don’t worry – if you don’t have your own boat rentals are available through through many companies, including Chicago Boat Rentals. Experience the thrill of boating by renting sailboats or power boats. Head over to Jet Ski Chicago at North Ave beach to rent jet skis for some more fun in the sun if you don’t want the hassle of a boat!
Located within walking distance from Navy Pier is the well known Ohio Street Beach. With its sheltered curve of the shoreline, the calm waters are great for all swimmers. Enjoy the conveniences of being centrally located near the city while taking in the beauty of lake
Michigan and the sand between your toes. Bike rentals on-site offer additional things to do to make the most of your beach days! Also along the lakefront trail, many go for jogs or walks parallel to the water!
Don’t miss all the fun happening on the shores of the lake this summer and be sure to check out some of these amazing beaches and some of the great activities they have to offer to everyone!
Downtown Chicago has a reputation for being home to a wealth of events and activities. From music and food festivals to summer rooftops and outdoor activities, there is something for everyone!
If there’s one thing Chicagoans enjoy most about summer – it’s enjoying some cocktails at the city’s best rooftop bars. These sky-high bars offer unparalleled views combined with tasty bites and divine cocktails. Some of the favorites include Cindy’s, Raised, and London House!
Cindy’s is located in downtown Chicago’s Loop directly across from Millennium Park, offering unbeatable views and outdoor fire pits if it gets a little chilly. Raised is an indoor/outdoor garden lounge located on top of the Renaissance Hotel. Serving craft beers, exquisite cocktails, small plates and stunning views there’s no doubt why it’s a local favorite. Located in the Loop along the Chicago River is the ever-popular London House.
Another renowned Chicagoan summer activity is the Taste of Chicago hosted in Grant Park. It’s the nations premier outdoor food festival displaying the diversity of Chicago’s cuisine. Dishes range from classic local dishes to specialty cuisines from the array of eclectic neighborhood restaurants! The festival is complemented by outstanding music and exciting activities perfect for the whole family. Foodies, be sure to check out this extravagant, massive food festival!
If you’re a fan of BBQ and country music – stop by the Windy City Smokeout! With 20 of the world’s best pitmasters, there isn’t a dish here that won’t leave you lickin’ your fingers clean! Enjoy exquisite brisket, ribs, chicken, and more! Award-winning country music stars mixed with great up-and-coming artists create a spectacular show all day long! Some of the main headliners this year include Brett Young, Midland and Brett Eldredge. While eating the BBQ, refresh with some craft brews for the perfect downtown Chicago summer day.
Every year, the annual Chicago Air & Water Show has remained one of downtown Chicago’s most popular festivals. The show is a free event that takes place at North Avenue Beach that showcases daredevil pilots, parachute teams, and jets flying in formations. The water show displays incredible water-skiing and boat-jumping. Viewers can enjoy from the beach or head to Castaways to dine while enjoying this spectacular summer show! The U.S. Army Golden Knights participate each year while the U.S. Navy Blue Angles and the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds alternate each year as the headliner. Be sure to check out this amazing show!
The near West Loop neighborhood is a hustling and bustling area that has tons to offer to the downtown experience! In addition to year round nightlife, this neighborhood hosts some amazing summertime fests and fairs Randolph Street, perfect for everyone to visit! Check out some fabulous options below.
The Randolph Street Market Festival kicks off summer with the indoor + outdoor garden party! During the weekends starting May 26th & 27th, enjoy the day shopping with the Chicago Antique Market, Indie Designer Market, Modern Vintage Chicago and the Holiday Market. The festival has been dubbed “a mecca of cool”, “the Barney’s of vintage” and celebrity designer Nate Berkus says, “I love this market… the quality is incredible!” Check out incredible finds throughout the Chicago summer!
One of Chicago’s most iconic street fairs is the Taste of Randolph Street! Located in the heart of restaurant row on Randolph Street in the West Loop, come on down between June 15th-17th for activities for everyone to enjoy! For the 22nd Anniversary, the biggest names in Chicago cuisine will create delectable menus and incredible flavors. There will be two stages and a DJ stage for live music to complement the culinary experience. Some of the big name participating restaurants include Bar Siena, Mad Social, Belly Q, City Winery and many many more.
The annual summer music festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, is coming back to the near West Loop neighborhood this July. The primary focus is on artists and bands from alternative rock, rap/hip-hop, electronic, and has also included hardcore punk, avant-garde rock and jazz in it’s lineups making it the perfect festival for all music lovers. The fest also includes incredible food, drinks and art making it the perfect summer activity. Located off of Randolph Street in Union Park, the Pitchfork Music fest should definitely be on your radar.
The West Loop Art Fest is returning to Chicago for its third annual event! During the weekend of September 16th and 17th, the hugely successful fair will bring even more art and entertainment this year. Featuring four blocks of vibrant art, live music bands, interactive art demonstrations including hot glass blowers, muralists, and fire dancers. Enjoy delicious food from the best food trucks the city has to offer! Now located on the desirable Fulton Street, over 120 of the countries top artists this perfect fall fest has something for everyone to enjoy!
All summer long, enjoy the incredible all-ages Movies in the Park located in Heritage Green & Mary Bartelme Park to be entertained by great movies while relishing in the amazing summer weather! Interactive activities are available prior to the movie start time for a fun filled evening. Movies start at dusk with varying end times.
Looking for luxury apartments for rent in the West Loop’s Randolph Street? Contact us today! We’d be happy to keep you in the Loop!