June 30, 2009

Chicago Fourth of July 2009

Get ready for some fun in the sun for the Fourth of July weekend in Chicago.' There are many things to see and do for the holiday weekend no matter what your taste.' If you are visiting the area for the fourth, we have quite a bit in store for you.' Chicagoans will enjoy a ’stay’cation of sorts by staying home for the holiday.' Choose from:

  • Fireworks and more fireworks.' Friday will have fireworks coming from Grant Park.' As you know the “Taste” is going on so the Mayor has stated that you can’t camp out waiting for the fireworks until after 10:45am.' I hope they know that it will be hard to tell who is doing that and who is just enjoying the festival.' The fireworks on Friday begin at 9pm.' There will also be a soundtrack to the fireworks which I think is really neat.' The music will ebb and flow just as the fireworks do.' Tune to 101.9 FM to take in the sounds.' Saturday’s fireworks will be at the Navy Pier beginning at 10:15pm.
  • The Taste of Chicago wraps up for the holiday weekend (see Taste post) so if you have not already attended (or want to come back) please make sure you head down to Grant Park this weekend.' Let me know what you think of the food.
  • The Cubs are in town this weekend playing Milwaukee.' It is always an experience to go to a Cub’s game at Wrigley.' Wrigleyville will be all a buzz with parties and bar hopping.

Of course, you can also just grill out or check out one of the “Cheap Eats” restaurants.' Whatever you do, you will enjoy all that we have to offer here in Chicago.' Check it out.

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June 26, 2009

Taste of Chicago begins Today

If you live in Chicago or are here visiting, you have to stop by the Taste.' The 29th Annual Taste of Chicago Festival begins today and goes through July 5th.' It is one of the largest festivals I have ever attended.' So big that it stretches through two weeks.' The Taste of Chicago as a festival began'in 1980.

Today’s festivities include Charlie Wilson and the Gap Band along with Cameo.' There will be children’s activities and sports in addition to the yummy kinds of food that will be available to try out.' In the Cooking Area, Emeril Lagasse will be sure to BAMM the crowds.' The Taste is held in Grant Park.' Make sure you take in the fireworks because they are awesome.

Sample of Previous Fireworks

June 18, 2009

Chicago Cheap Eats

Here in Chicago, I’m always looking for a great place to eat.' For the next few Thursdays, we will scope out great places to eat in Chicago that are recession proof.' You won’t have to spend all of your money.

I have put together (with a few of my friends) a recession proof list of places that will allow you to stretch the dollars you do have.' During the summer, we always find that things increase.' Gas, food and activities hit us in the wallet.' It’s time for the newest list of Chicago places to eat cheaply or reasonably priced.' The following is'a list of places where you can eat very well and save money:

  • Mahoney’s Pub and Grill offers a $7 all you can eat taco bar on Monday and $2 sloppy joes on Thursdays.' Mondays will never be the same again.' If you love taco’s it is the absolute best.' It is a very clean bar.' You know how you can go to some taco bars where some of the items are mixed.' You don’t have to worry about that at Mahoney’s. (Julia Shell PR)
  • Pompei’s Oakbrook location has a family night on Tuesday.' You can get pizza gelato and drink for $5.' Also on Monday nights there, kids eat free.' You would be surprised how much you save when you eat out when the restaurant has freebies for kids.' You can’t beat it.
  • McCormick and Schmick Seafood Restaurants have ten menu items for $10 or under for lunch.' You can get a sandwich, pasta or a few soup/sandwich combos.' Now I know you are looking funny because it’s lunch but you can let them know that you are on lunch and get served in 45 minutes or less.' Perfect for a lunchtime treat.' I personally prefer the soup/sandwich combo.
  • Theory Chicago will begin some summer specials on the 22nd of this month.' You can get half price appetizers from 5pm-8pm.' On Tuesday you can get half prize wings and on Thursday you can get chicken fingers for $7.' My personal favorite is the $6 fish tacos.' I admit that I was a little afraid of the fish tacos.' It’s not a combination that I would normally choose, but I had to try it.' It is so good.' The taste combination is unexpected and unique but very tasty. (Carolyn Pelissero, PR Theory Chicago)
  • 312 Chicago has a great Tuesday special.' From 1pm-10pm, the bar menu (food and drinks) is half price - $5. (Jenn Galdes, Grapevine Public Relations, Inc)
  • Sweets and Savories have a $10 burger with a famous name - The Kobe Burger.' If you have not heard of this burger, you are truly missing out.' It was also featured on the cheesburgershow.
  • Cozy Noodles is a great place to hang out and enjoy some awesome Thai food.' It’s at Davis and Oak Street.' You will always get a good helping of food which of course helps where the wallet is concerned.' And they'will throw in some free appetizers if you order a certain amount.' I have only experienced Thai cuisine in the past 5 years and I could kick myself for not trying it sooner.' It has an awesome taste and you can always get full from it. (Heidi Walter)
  • The'Cheesecake Factory is running a “Small Plates and Snacks” menu.' All of the prices for this part of the menu runs from $3.95 to $6.50.' Choose from Garlic Sausage, Baked Pizzettes or any of the other 14 items on the list.'

Each restaurant listed here has been sampled by me.' Chicago doesn’t have to be an expensive place to eat if you know where to go.'


Photo Credit:' Flickr

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June 14, 2009

Free Admission to Shedd’s Aquarium

It’s summertime and you are looking for things to do.' I’m not sure about you but since gas prices seem'be on the rise again, I am looking for more and more free things to do when I finally get out and about.' This one is a no brainer.'

If you have not been to Shedds Aquarium, you are truly missing out on a spectacular day out.' Shedds Aquarium is also listed on my “10 Places to Go in Chicago for 2009.”' It is family entertainment that is even ‘date friendly.’' I brought my family there the last time I went, but you also see many couples walking around taking it all in.' When you arrive at Shedd’s you cannot help but marvel in the look of everything.' Now you can enjoy it for free.' from now through the 19th of June, Shedds is having Community Discount Days.' General admission is free.-There are'3 more'times'this year when they will have free admission which are September, October and November.' You can also buy a discounted pages to the Wild Reef as well.

If you decide to go Tuesday with your preschooler, Shedds offers “Tots on Tuesdays” which includes a story, craft and other activities that are age appropriate.'

Shedds Aquarium is open 9am-6pm each day. 1200 South Lake Shore Drive.

Don’t forget to also check out Jazzin’ at Shedds on Thursday.' See there you go.' I already planned your Thursday for you.' Enjoy!

June 10, 2009

Chicago Blues Festival 2009

I can hardly contain my excitement.' It’s finally time for the Blues Festival.' Grant Park comes alive once again June 12th through the 14th.' If you like Blues or just like a great party, you have to attend.' You cannot be in Chicago and not attend at least one day of the festival.' And once you have attended one day, you will be back.

There will be six stages where everything will take place.' For 24 previous years, the festival has been very popular.' You can even bring a cooler if you are outside of the shell (No alcohol please).' Every since Muddy Waters graced the stage in 1984, many others have come to rock the house.

This is the largest free blues music festival ever with over 90 different performances.' The area will be one big party and you just sit back and listen to the Blues Greats on stage.'

Now get ready for the traffic and the people because there will be a lot of both.' Plan to get there early.' I know I will.' I hate a lot of traffic (ok more than usual Chicago traffic) so getting there early means you will have some time on your hands.' The earlier acts begin at 12pm so this is definitely an all day event.' You can buy food and drink tickets which are sold in 12’s for $8.' I’m going to brink a few items that won’t go bad in the cooler after being there all day like snack items.' The weather forecast is calling for sunny skies but we know that can change in an instant.' Make sure you are prepared.

Friday’s line up includes:

  • Andrew Jr. Boy Jones
  • Mary Lane’s Blues All Stars
  • East of the Edens Soul Express
  • Sam Lay
  • Eddie C. Campbell who will be celebrating his 70th birthday

Saturday’s line up includes:

  • Ray Allison
  • Travis “Moonchild” Haddix
  • Samuel James
  • Little Dave Thompson
  • Bettye LaVette

And then rounding out the Sunday line up:

  • Vernon Harrington and the Atomic Blues Band
  • Lee Boys
  • Ben Payton
  • Grady Champion
  • Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

Here is just a little sample of what you will find.' This is from the'preview that happened on June 6th.

Photo Credit:' Flickr

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June 7, 2009

Free Admission to Adler Planetarium

There is a great opportunity to visit Adler Planetarium.' Beginning today through June 12, Adler will celebrate Charter One Telescope Days.' This is part of their celebration of the International Year of Astronomy.' It is a fantastic way to enjoy the Planetarium for free'and learn a little about Astronomy in the process.

Each day through the 12th, there will be telescope - themed activities between 1pm-3pm for family.' You can participate in hands on activities which I feel is much better than listening to a lecture.' There is also an exhibit called Telescopes:' Through the Looking Glass where you enjoy seeing the timeline of the first telescopes through today and how much they have changed.

Of course, the best part is that during these days, you can get in for free.' There are a lot of other things to see there.' The Planetarium is open from 10am until 4pm.'

Adler Planetarium 1300 South Lake Shore Drive

Photo Credit Adler Planetarium

June 5, 2009

Chicago Botanic Garden Wine Festival

Want to learn more about wines and sample them also' The Wine Festival is your place to be on Saturday June 6th and Sunday June 7th.' The festivities begin at Noon and last until 6pm.' There will be many seminars and experts that will help you learn all about wines.'

You may be just learning wines and want to know which wines go with what type of food.' You may even want to learn how to make your own wine.' This is a perfect opportunity for you to gain a great education.' Be sure to stop by the vendor’s tables which will include Chicago restaurants and caterers.' There will also be a live band playing each day.

Sampling will include 200 or more wines from around the world.' Tickets are $22.50 in advance.' This gets you a souvenier wine glass, 10 tastings, seminars, cooking demos and a discount on your wine purchases.' Are you the designated driver' If so you'can pay for'a Designated Driver ticket'for $10.-You will get all of the items your'wine taster friends will get but it includes'2 non-alcoholic drinks.' Don’t put your safety or others in jeopardy after a fun time.' Don’t worry about it and have'your designated driver drive you home.

A portion of the Wine Festival’s proceeds will go to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Photo Credit:' Chicago Botanic Garden Wine Festival Website

June 5, 2009

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

Chicago will host the 25th Annual Gospel Music Festival at Millennium Park on Saturday June 6th and Sunday June 7th.' Get ready to get your praise on with more than 50 groups performing over the course of the two days.

In addition to great music, you will also be able to participate in family centered activies and an art fair.' The festivities begin at 11am and go through 9:30pm.' Admission is free.'

The Saturday line up for the stages will include Maurice Griffin who was a Sunday Best contestant and rounding out the evening will be Donnie McClurkin beginning at 8:30pm.' The Sunday line up includes The Gospel Crusaders and the final show is none other than Kirk Franklin.' Fantasia will also make an appearance at 7:20pm.

Photo Credit:' Kirk Franklin Website

June 4, 2009

Free Krispy Kreme Friday June 5th

If you love Krispy Kreme donuts as much as I do, tomorrow is your day.' Tomorrow is free Krispy Kreme Donut day.' You will have to drive a bit depending on where you are coming from in Chicago.' There are two locations that are the closest which are in Midlothian and Elk Grove Village.' Do you want to drive a bit for a free donut' Hmmm maybe, but you know once you get there, you will get more.' Of course the do have other things, but to be honest, I have never had them.' I go for the donuts, period!

If that Red light is on they are hot from the oven.' Grab a dozen to help console you for driving so far.' It is rare that a dozen donuts make it back all the way home.' I’m just sayin.

Enjoy Free Donut Day!

June 4, 2009

Jazz on Thursdays at Shedd’s Aquarium

It’s almost the weekend or Friday eve as some of us call it.' Sometimes you want to find something to do to get you ready for the weekend.' If you like Jazz, you will love Jazzin at Shedd’s Aquarium.' Beginning today through August 27th on each week on Thursday.' Ticket sales begin at 5pm.

Jazzin at the Shedd will spotlight local Chicago talent.' It’s perfect for a summer evening complete with a line up of light refreshments and drinks.' Each band will play on the North Terrace of Shedd’s which gives you a beautiful view of the skyline.

Of course, since you are at the Aquarium, you can take in some of the exhibits there including the Oceanarium and the Wild Reef.' They will be open until 8pm with Jazzin sounds going until 10pm, give or take.' If you are a Shedd’s member you get in free.' Another good reason to become a member.' Admission is $12 so if you plan to come every week, a membership makes sense.' In addition, you can use it for the entire year.

Take in some Jazz tonight and make an evening of it.' Bill Porter Quintet is on the stage tonight.' It’s cooler so it’s a great time to get dressed and make a night of it.

John G Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive

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