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Category Archives: What Makes Chicago Special

Calling all foodies! Your favorite Chicago summer event is here again—the annual Taste of Chicago!

Every summer since 1980, Chicago’s beautiful Grant Park has been host to the world’s largest outdoor food festival, with upwards of 3 million visitors attending the event every year!

From July 11-15, visitors and locals alike can choose from a wide variety of the Windy City’s most popular cuisines, featuring 70-plus local restaurants and more than 300 menu items. Each vendor will be serving six items, two of which are special “Taste of” sample-size portions, so there will be something to please everyone—even the pickiest eater.

Need to take a breather in between sampling dishes? There will be live music (featuring headliners: Jennifer Hudson, Death Cab for Cutie, Roshon Fegan, Chaka Khan and Dierks Bentley), and fun family activities, too!

While admission is free, food and drinks are purchased through tickets sold at the Taste of Chicago (strips of 12 for $8).

This is an event not to miss! With tons of food and great music in the country’s most beautiful city, how could you not have a great time?

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With the hot temperatures and countless number of barbeques, Memorial Day Weekend is a great way to kick-off the summer season. Many families are packing up their suitcases and heading out of the city for some fun, sun and relaxation. But why plan a trip out of town when there are beautiful beaches and warm weather right here in Chicago?

The wide variety of Chicago’s beaches along the stretch of Lake Michigan officially open this Friday, May 25. With 26 miles of sand and lakefront, residents and visitors alike can enjoy a multitude of fun outdoor activities—jogging, volleyball, rollerblading, swimming, sunning etc.—all while taking in that gorgeous Chicago skyline. And with free admission, you won’t have to spend a penny to have a good time!

With the temperatures already heating up, it looks like there are many fun days ahead at the lake this summer!

For more information regarding Chicago’s 25 beaches, visit Chicago Park District.

Are you vacationing in Chicago for the holiday weekend? Whether it’s with City Suites, The Majestic or The Willows Hotel, book a room with Broughton Hotels!

Chicago will soon host some of the world’s greatest thinkers for the inaugural Chicago Ideas Week. The event, powered by the Innovation Foundation, TIME Magazine, Microsoft and JP Morgan Chase & Co., takes place October 10 – 16 and will be a mind-broadening celebration of creativity.

Chicago Ideas Week will spotlight across the city at locations like NorthShore University HealthSystem, Millennium Park, the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago History Museum and many more cultural landmarks. This event will be a platform for more than 100 speakers of diverse backgrounds and varied fields of study. Some key speakers include: Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Suze Orman, the LifeLens Team and Bruce Mau.

The Illinois Innovation Foundation was founded by Brad Keywell, co-founder of Lightbank and Groupon, and supports the furthering of technology, business, and of course, innovation. Some topics of the week include: Global Community Development, Education, Health & Wellness and Reimagining the Future Economy.

Chicago Ideas Week offers a rare chance to explore a world of intellect, innovation and global expertise along with some of the brightest minds in Chicago.

For more information about Chicago Ideas Week, check out their official site. Don’t forget to visit our Facebook as well!

“Go play outside, it’s a beautiful day,” our parents were right, it is beautiful and there is no better way to experience a nice day in Chicago than spending it in the park. You’ve probably heard of the more popular Millennium Park or even visited “Chicago’s front yard” Grant Park, but you may not realize that The Windy City has a thriving park system containing 7600 acres of parkland, 534 baseball fields, 25 beaches, 6 golf courses 518 playgrounds 90 gardens and 2 world-class conservatories.

These summer months are the perfect time to go out and explore the acres and acres of parkland Chicago proudly maintains. Feel the sand between your toes at Fargo Beach, smell the flowers at Rainbow Park Victory Garden, or watch the beauty of historic Buckingham Fountain . In fact, do all three. There is so much to experience in Chicago’s more scenic areas you’d be hard pressed to fit it all into one summer. Now is the perfect time to enjoy the simple tranquility of nature in Chicago’s parks.

Besides their inherent visual appeal, Chicago’s parks boast a wide variety of free and low cost attractions. From Kayaking to Dancing , the park system has something to fit everyone’s interests. Movies in the Parks , for example, are just one of the unique attractions that make the greener side of Chicago so great. Millennium Park even has its own event list and hosts a wide variety of events and attractions including fitness events, concerts and festivals.

So go play outside! Get some fresh air, exercise and experience scenic Chicago!

There are a lot of factors that come together to give a city its individual personality. The skyline, people, location, culture and countless other attributes combine to create a city’s unique atmosphere. There’s definitely a lot to be said about a city that boasts impressive architecture or is known as a cultural hotspot, but one of the most underrated yet appealing characteristics a city possesses is its food!

Here in Chicago we have a diverse cuisine to be proud of, and it’s not all about pizza!  That’s why Taste of Chicago exists. Taste of Chicago is a food festival where a wide range of restaurants from the city come together to give people a true taste of what the city’s food is really all about.

This year Taste of Chicago begins on June 24th and goes through July 3rd, and will take place in Grant Park. Admission to the event is free, although food vendors will be selling special “taste of” items at two dollars or less ensuring that event goers can sample Chicago’s foods without spending too much money. If you want to get the full experience plan on attending multiple days though because a whopping 59 restaurants will be participating this year!

Besides food, Taste of Chicago will be featuring musical acts, to help give a good sound track to your tasting pleasure. Chef demonstrations, family activities including games and crafts, also make up some of the additional non-eating activities during the event.  There will even be a 5K Run so you can burn off some of the calories you are sure to consume during the festival!

Whether you’re just visiting Chicago for a few days or have lived here your whole life, chances are you haven’t seen all there is to see in this great city. It could be the hassle of planning your day simply seemed too daunting, or that you just don’t know where to look to find the Windy City’s best-kept secrets.

Well, fortunately, Daycations exists to do all of that for you. Each Daycation is centered around a particular neighborhood, allowing for the ultimate one-day adventure! Daycations is a self-guided exploration that maps out an itinerary, yet still empowers “Daycationers” to make choices and act on their impulses.  Truly a one-stop-vacation-shop, a Daycation includes interesting, unique, and local restaurants, retail shops, and architectural, historical, and recreational sights to see.

Explore the retailers, restaurants, and points of interests that are unique to the neighborhood. You won’t find box stores or big chain restaurants in any of our Daycations — only businesses indigenous to that neighborhood. Each Daycation also includes interesting facts and history to add to your knowledge of the area. Simply buy your Daycations, print it off, or put it on your mobile phone.

Daycations is Your Day. Your City. Planned.

Over the past few days, one of the worst snowstorms in history swept across the nation and hit some major cities big time. Chicago, among others experienced several feet of snow in some areas. This storm is said to be the third largest on record.

Not only did many businesses and services close their doors to wait out the storm, but area schools and large universities canceled classes as well. The massive amounts of snow, left thousands of people without power, and hundreds became stranded and were forced to leave their cars.  Thousands of flights were canceled at both O’Hare and Midway, and train services were at a standstill as well.

Although everyone’s sights are set on spring, the snow isn’t done yet. Here are some winter weather survival tips to keep in mind.

Simple Guidelines

-Listen to your radio, or watch your TV for constant weather updates.

-Keep your residence cooler than normal to conserve fuel.

-Eat and drink regularly, but avoid caffeine and alcohol.

Driving Safety

-Remain in your vehicle where rescue squads are most likely to find you.

-Turn on the inside light at night so rescuers can see you.

-Pull off the highway and turn on your hazard lights.

-Take turns sleeping. One person should be awake at all times.

Severe weather is nothing to mess around with. There have been seven reported deaths from winter weather, and several injuries. Be sure to always stay updated on the latest news reports, and stay safe. For more helpful winter tips check out Do’s and Don’ts on Handling a Severe Storm.

Looking for some family fun to start off the new year? Then the Museum of Science and Industry is the place for you! There are tons of exciting events and exhibits for everyone to enjoy!

Some popular exhibits going on now, include the following.

Smart Home: Green + Wired (ends January 9, 2011)

This “Smart Home” is a fully functioning, eco-friendly environment perfect for anyone looking to GoGreen. Some of the highlights include the great spaces for entertaining guests, and an awesome home office. The home fully embodies the natural elements and harmony with the earth. This is a must-see exhibit for individuals who are looking for a smarter, more efficient, and in tune with the environment kind of place.

Jim Henson’s Fantastic World (ends January 23, 2011)

Peek into the imagination of the creator of some of our favorite childhood friends including Kermit the frog, Big Bird, and Miss Piggy. This exhibit features original drawings, cartoons, and storyboards by Jim Henson. Also, view the famous puppets themselves and enjoy fun hands-on activities.

Christmas Around the World and Holiday of Lights (ends January 9, 2011)

This exhibit is 69 years old and includes dozens of decorated trees for everyone’s enjoyment. It features holiday singers and dancers, as well as a 45-foot Grand Tree covered with more than 30,000 twinkling lights. All the trees were decorated by volunteers from Chicago’s ethnic communities to represent the various cultures and holiday traditions.

To purchase tickets and find out more about the exhibits be sure to check out the Museum of Science and Industry today. Some exhibits are closing soon, so hurry and get there before they’re gone!

Looking for fresh local cuisine made just for you? Then you need to check out Happy Bodega! It is a Chicago-based gourmet mobile foodie truck. It brings the things you want to you!  Its menu consists of quality products that are locally made. It offers coffee, tea, and French-style baguette sandwiches. Some of these sounds great, don’t they? Ham & Gruyere, Turkey with Aged Cheddar & Mixed Greens, and Brie Cheese with Tomato & Basil! Also, on the menu you’ll find seasonal fruits, banana bread pudding, croissants and more.

The Happy Bodega has reasonable prices, and a knowledgeable staff. They strive to bring happy food to happy people morning, afternoon, and night. Also, as a special touch, they offer fresh-cut flowers and the morning paper for your convenience.

Not only can you get you daily meals from the foodie truck, but also plan a meeting, party or event with them as well. They can pull up and cater an event to your liking. Sounds pretty great!

For more information on where they stop be sure to check out their weekly schedule, and also their catering form for that special event.

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which means Chicago will be participating in its Pretty in Pink Fundraiser. The city is celebrating 31 days of $31 beauty deals. In order to treat the women of Chicago, spas and salons are offering beauty treatments at a great value.

This is just one of the many things to look for during the month of October. Over the next few weeks, pink is no longer just a color, but a symbol of the fight so many women go through. It’s a way to show support for family, friends, and the fight for a cure.

Businesses and individuals are showing their love, and even the NFL has joined in too! For every game played during the month of October, a special football with a pink ribbon will be used. Also, players will have the option to jazz up their uniforms by wearing pink sports gear during games.

If you’re looking to join in the fight against cancer, find out how you can get involved today. Check out the Susan G. Komen Foundation to read more.