Spring is not getting off to as slow a start as we think. (See Related below for earlier listings including Earth Day events). There is enough to see and do in and around Chicago for several outings. So here are more activities to add to the April Calendar.
An Iceland festival is coming to a few Chicago clubs, a restaurant, theater and collaborative space during Taste of Iceland April 11-14. Presented by Iceland Naturally, the festival is a check-it-out experience of spirits, food, film and music. The events are free except a dinner at Elske but may need reservations.
Elske, 1350 W. Randolph St. will do an Icelandic dinner each of the festival days. For reservations visit elskerestaurant . For more information go to Facebook/events.
Other Icelandic festival activities:
Spirits of Iceland: Cocktail Class, April 11, 6-8 p.m. at LH on 21, (Rooftop) London House Chicago, 85 E. Upper Wacker Dr., Floor 21. For more information visit Facebook LH Events/.
Iceland After Dark, April 12, 10-11:30 p.m. with craft cocktails, music by Solveig Matthildur and Kaelan Mikla at The Underground Chicago, 56 W. Illinois St. For reservations go to Evenbrite.
Reykjavik Calling, April 13, at Martyrs’, 3855 N. Lincoln Ave. beginning at 7 p.m. Concert at 8 p.m. Sets feature Hildur and Kaelan Mikla. Visit Facebook Event Page.
Shortfish Film Screening at the Logan Theatre 2646 N. Milwaukee Ave., followed by cocktails of Brennivín and Reyka Vodka and chat with Icelandic winning bartender Tóta. Doors open at 11 a.m., the screening begins at 11:30 a.m. For more information visit this Facebook event page.
The Icelandic Literature Scene, April 14, 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. at evolveHer, 358 W. Ontario,3W to visit with Ambassador Stella Soffía Jóhannesdóttir and Words Without Border Editorial Director Susan. For more information visit this Facebook event page.
In the burbs
Lake Forest/Lake Bluff Foodie Fair Pop-Up, April 14, 1-4 p.m. at the West Lake Forest Train Station, 911 Telegraph Rd. at Everett, Lake Forest. Some of the vendors are Bonique Corp, Cake My Day, Elawa Farm, Foodstuffs Lake Forest, Flowers by Katie Ford, Full Belly Foods and Hungry Monkey.
Villa Park Spring Arts & Crafts Festival, April 12-14 at The Odeum , 1033 North Villa Ave. Hours: Fri. 11am-9pm; Sat. 9am-6pm; Sun. 10am-5pm. Tickets: Adults $10; Seniors $9; Children Under 10, free. For tickets and more information visit Spring Festival Tickets.
Summer events are not as far away as we may think when it comes to planning which Ravinia Festival concerts we want to attend. The Ravinia organization just released its summer schedule and it is jammed with pop, classic and rock concerts.
Lionel Richie June 11-12, Buddy Guy June 14, Tony Bennett June 21, Jennifer Hudson July 14 to Gershwin Concerto in F July 13, Renée Fleming July 28, Ringo Starr and the Beach Boys Aug. 3 and Sting Aug. 23, there’s something for everybody. Of course there’s the Tchaikovsky spectacular, 1812 Overture Aug 18
So the first question is where to see the schedule.
Go to Season at a Glanceto print an easy to copy Ravinia program to put on the bulletin board (or into your mobile devise). For an easy to read schedule visit Ravinia.
Next question is when tickets are available.
According to the Ravinia website, the first opportunity goes to patron and higher donors, March 19–28. Next, affiliate donors have access to tickets April 22–25. Then, tickets are available to Friend donors April 26–28 and Bravo and Encore donors can order Lawn tickets April 29–30.
Tickets will be available to the public beginning May 7 for the May/June/July concerts. Then the tickets open for August/September concerts on May 8. Visit Ticket Info.
No, you don’t have to plan what to bring now but you might want to decide if you and family or friends are going to try one of Ravinia’s dining-in or take-out options.
Just reading over all the choices at the Ravinia Market, the new Lawn Bar, the Park View and the Tree Top makes me want to try all of them just to see which I prefer and experience something different than “I will bring dessert.”
Finally, print out the schedule or put dates on the calendar so you don’t miss the concert you really want to see.
Go as a couple or go as friends but just do something appealing. Either way works if you want to share good food or a really nice experience. Our three suggestions combine food with a fun evening.
Dinner and a Show
Three Embers, Lincolnshire Marriott’s upscale restaurant has a Valentine’s Day Dinner Special but you can also order off the regular menu. However, go early to include “Million Dollar Quartet,” the show currently getting rave reviews in the resort’s theatre. It’s more than just a show. It’s a terrific concert.
Expect chocolate to be part of the meal at The Chocolate Sanctuary in Gurnee. You can have chocolate bread, chocolate butter and a chocolate dessert if you’d like, but also get a box of zodiac chocolates from the boutique up front. The restaurant has a special menu for Valentine’s Day but you can also order from the menu. If you want you can go early for dinner and stay for the entertainment, “Eaglemania.” Ask about a dinner and show package price or when it’s best to go just for dinner.
Navy Pier has free Centennial wheel rides Feb. 14 from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. but pre-registration is needed. Don’t worry about the cold, you can cuddle but the gondolas are also heated. There will also be a drawing that combines dinner, dessert and gift basket. Free rides are limited so register as soon as possible. After the free tickets are gone there will be paid ticket rides on a first come, first serve basis.For information on reserved VIP gondolas call (312) 595-5021. (Note: The wheel temporarily closes when weather gets really bad)
To enter the dinner for two and other Valentine Day gift drawing, complete this form. After the Pier has preselected three finalists, he grand prize winning couple will be chosen by public votes via poll on Navy Pier’s Facebook page. Runner-ups will also receive a small package to be redeemed at a later date.
Several other Navy Pier retailers and restaurants will offer discounts. For more information visit Navy Pier Valentines Day .
For more wheel information call (312) 595-PIER (7437) and visit Navy Pier.
312-595-PIER (7437) or following Navy Pier on Twitter (@NavyPier). For more information, visit Navy Pier.
If you have a Chinese restaurant near you it is likely decorated for the Chinese New Year and offering a special menu. During the Chinese New Year celebrations Feb. 4 through Feb. 17, 2019.
Go. Enjoy. And look at the paper placemat that might be at your place setting because it likely has the Chinese Zodiac on it or information that this is the Year of the Pig.
Then, if looking for something special to eat or do here are some suggestions.
The Furama Restaurant in the Uptown Argyle neighborhood is holding the Lunar New Year Celebration for the South-East Asia Center at 11:30 a.m. Feb. 9, 2019. The special event features entertainment and a 10-course traditional, Chinese-style banquet of seafood chowder, taro duck, roast chicken, walnut shrimp, mushrooms, vegetables, noodles with beef and broccoli, plus dessert. Cost $25.
Entertainment will be cross-cultural music and other performances representing Asian and non-Asian cultures because the South-East Asia Center strives to “Build Bridges” of understanding between all cultures. For reservations visit SE Asia Center New Year. Furama Restaurant is at 4936 N. Broadway at Argyle.
Hing Kee Restaurant holds its annual New Year Dumpling Making Dinner at 3:30 p.m. Feb. 9 and Feb. 16, 2019. The event includes storytelling, Lion Dance, dumpling making and a 10-course, traditional Chinese meal. Cost is $40 adults, $35 children under age 12. Call (312) 842-1988 or visit Chinese New Year Dumpling Making Dinner Eventbrite.
Hing Kee Restaurant is at 2140 S. Archer Ave., 2nd floor. For more Chinese cultural information visit ChicagoCCI .
Celebrate the Year of the Pig with a Chinese New Year themed afternoon tea in The lobby at the Peninsula Chicago Feb . 4-10. There will be a Lion Dance show. For tea reservations call (312) 573-6695 or visit Peninsula Chinese New Year. The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at Michigan Avenue.
Two shopping centers, Fashion Outlets of Chicago in Rosemont, and The Shops at Northbridge, Chicago, will be handing out Chinese New Year-style red envelopes with special store offers Feb. 2-17, 2019.
At Fashion Outlets go to Concierge Services on Level 1 near Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5TH for an envelope containing : Year of the Pig Savings Pass that provides up to $800 in savings and a complimentary bag. For more information visit Fashion Outlets of Chicago . Fashion Outlets is at 5220 Fashion Outlets Way, Rosemont.
At the Shops at North Bridge go to Concierge Servies on Level One near Nordstrom for the red envelope. In addition, North Bridge visitors can see the Huaxing Arts Troupe and visit activity booths from 1 to 3:30 p.m. Feb. 3. The Shops at North Bridge is at 520 N. Michigan Ave. For more information visit Shops at North Bridge.
Wear walking shoes because the more than 600 booths at the One of a Kind Show Chicago has taken over the 7th Floor of The Mart and they are worth investigating.
From gourmet foods along one wall to artists selling jewelry, glass, ceramics, paintings, interesting wall art, quilts, wooden objects, hats and bags, the One of a Kind Show is fulfilling holiday shoppers’ gift list.
They’re also finding items for their own jewelry box, given the number of shoppers trying on earrings and necklaces at the Patricia Locke (she was there for the opening) booth during “early access” hour Thursday.
BTW, The Locke booth also featured Rook + Crow jewelry, a less expensive line that didn’t go in for colored stones but was well designed.
This is not a quick walk-through show.
It’s a chance to chat with Midwest artists and gourmet food purveyors such as Wisconsin quilter Kathleen Johnson who brought gorgeous pieces that easily qualify as art work, Chicago multi-media artist and designer Emmy Star Brown who is also in demand as muralist and Chicago suburban artist Danuta Loane about her fine ceramics.
And there are the Flaherty’s from Moline, IL to talk to about their yummy Irish Toffee and sample their hot Buttered Rum.
Opened Dec. 6, the show continues through Dec. 9, 2018 for holiday shopping and returns April 26-28, 2019 to start the spring-summer art fair season indoors.
The Mart is on the north side of the Chicago River between Orleans and Wells Streets. For ticket, hours and other information visit One of a Kind.
In Chicago, food and music just go together. Ergo, no surprise that two big food festivals also feature bands and two mega music festivals include food vendors. Even a free summer jazz series is steps away from a slew of food counters and restaurants.
Diet after Labor Day. Head over to Grant Park July 11-15, 2018, to taste more than 70 restaurant favorites that have made Chicago a foodie town. The festival is free but tasting is by tickets. They are sold in strips of 14 for $10 (expect a $3 charge for Taste amenities). Also available are 1-6 tickets for smaller “Taste of Portions” from each food vendor. Look for pop-up restaurants, food trucks and five-day regular booths. New this year is the Taste Oasis tent, a cool AC place in the park’s Butler Field to hang out and taste. Taste Oasis is $50 for the day you choose.
Great a great mix of country music and food at the Windy City Smokeout, July 13-15, 2018. The event stretches between Grand Avenue and the Chicago River. What to expect: barbeque flavors and styles from all over including Nashville and Chicago plus such folks as Renee Blair and Brett Young. For tickets, hours and other info go to Windy City Smokeout.
Just found out there are a few free Lollapalooza tickets waiting to be won. The Boundary at 1932 W. Division St. and the Old Town Pour House at 1419 N. Wells St. have a raffle going for impossible-to-get tickets to Lolla-land.
The deal is that patrons at either bar who purchase a Red Bull anytime from July 28 through July 30 will be entered into a raffle for a pair of tickets to Lollapalooza, Aug. 5-6, 2017. For more information visit the Boundary and Old Town Pour House.
Picture yourself sitting on a deck above The Park at Wrigley, a cold glass of Goose Island Green Line in one hand and a tasty buttermilk fried chicken sandwich in the other. I did that this week after a Cubs game at the just opened Brickhouse Tavern.
I loved the old baseball personality photos and Jack Brickhouse memorabilia around the upstairs bar. I’m also in love with the “Tuna Poke.” It was a great starter of diced raw tuna, mango, watermelon and other stuff.
The Brickhouse Tavern is at 3647 N. Clark St. But you can forget the address. Merely look for it at the north end of The Park. For more info visit Brickhouse Tavern.
Writers tell their secrets
If at all interested in penning a book and selling it go over to the American Writers Museum on Michigan Avenue near Lake Street from 6:30 to 8 p.m., July 27, 2017 to hear five writers who know from experience what it takes to succeed.
Sue Baugh will talk about “Five fiction techniques for compelling non-fiction.” Cyndee Schaffer will give “Five pointers you need to know about memoir writing”
Barbara Barnett will discuss “Five reasons you need an editor.” Reno Lovison offers, “Five important tips related to book marketing.” Cynthia Clamitt will cover “Five rules of nonfiction writing.”
You might also be inspired by the exhibits in the museum. Enjoy! The American Writers Museum is on the second floor of 180 N. Michigan Ave.
Taste of Chicago has been here and gone but there are lots more festivals to feed our culinary, cultural and musical cravings this summer. With a city as rich in ethnic neighborhoods and interest in music as Chicago you would expect an almost endless list. But here are a few of the festivals to enjoy before fall’s back-top-school and cooler temps change the social calendar.
July 14 Ravenswood neighborhood
Think revolution. The French celebrate their rising up not July 4 but July 14 when the populace took over the hated Bastille prison in 1790. In Chicago, Bastille Day, also called French National Day is celebrated in French restaurants but also on the grounds of the French School translated as Lycée Français. Located at 1929 W. Wilson, the festival includes the game, pétanque to watch and learn, children’s activities, music, a DJ, a waiters’ race with trays and a child appropriate film. Attendees bring their own food for a picnic. Wine and beer will be sold nearby because the public cannot bring alcoholic beverages on the school property. Hours are 5:30 to 10 p.m. For other information visit Bastille Day.
July 14-16, West of River North
The popular Windy City Smokeout is back with more beer, barbeque booths and bands. VIP tickets are sold out but individual tickets of $40 and $45 plus three-day $110 tickets are still available. The event is at 560 W. Grand Ave.nue a block west of the Chicago River. For more information visit Windy City Smokeout.
July 14-16, Near West neighborhood
Chicago’s famed Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Union Park at Randolph Street and Ogden Avenue. The festival’s reasonable prices and predilection for featuring good bands draws about 50,000 music lovers from across the world. For hours and tickets visit Pitchfork.
July 21-23, River North
Taste of River North spreads across Kingsbury and Erie with music stages and food booths the fourth weekend of July. Hours are Friday 5 to 10 p.m., Saturday, noon to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For other information visit Taste of River North.
July 22-23, Sheffield Neighborhood
Now in its 29th year, the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk has become a much anticipated summer event. Entered at Sheffield and Webster,the community festival asks for a $10 donation. Hours are noon to 10 p.m.. For other information visit Sheffield.
July 29-30, Wicker Park Neighborhood
Wicker Park Fest is all about neighborhood fun with music, food, crafts and children’s activities. For other information visit Wicker Park.
Aug 4-6, Jefferson Park neighborhood
Jeff Fest features is a music festival in the northwest Jefferson Park area of Chicago around 4822 N. Long Ave. For the band lineup and more information visit Jeff Fest.
Aug. 12-13, Boystown
The street-filling North Halsted Market Days returns to Lakeview with food, music and crafts centered at 3400 N. Halsted St. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. For other information visit North Halsted.
Aug. 18-20, Taylor Street
Go to Festa Italiana to enjoy the culture. There will be traditional food, music, folk dances and games and, of course, meatballs. The festival is on Taylor Street from Ashland Avenue to Racine Street. Hours are Friday, 5 to 11 p.m., Saturday, noon to 11 p.m. and Sunday noon to 10 p.m. For other information visit Starevents.
Aug. 19-20, North Avenue Beach
The Chicago Air and Water Show, a wonderful, free event that draws folks to North Avenue B each and anywhere along the near north shoreline, features the U.S. Navy Blue angels this year along with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights and other heart-stopping aerobatics. For more information visit City of Chicago.
Aug. 31-Sept 3, Downtown Chicago
The Chicago Jazz Festival ends the summer in Millenium Park and at the Chicago Cultural Center. Headliners include Jon Faddis, the Dr. Lonnie Smith Trio, Allison Miller Boom Tic Boom and Rebirth Brass Band. For line-up locations and times visit Chicago Jazz.
From bike riding to strawberry munching and concerts in a garden to music on a lawn, summer fun is tempting us to find our outdoor muse during or after work.
Bike to work
First, don’t be surprised if you see more groups of bikers around Chicago, this week. The annual Bike commuter Challenger is upon us asking people to ride a bike to work instead of a train or car. To participate in its fun events and “pit stops” go to Bikedown to register.
TGI M/T after work music
Then, for a different way to enjoy a balmy early evening, check out music with a Latin or Swing beat at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Different nights and different weeks feature different musical sounds and bands. For example, Mondays at 5:30 p.m. there are carillon bells and Tuesday, the music shifts over to the Esplanade for bluegrass or big band sounds.
Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Evenings for more information. The concerts are free but unless you are a member there is a parking fee per car. The Chicago Botanic Garden is east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe.
After-work stress-relieving music
Or get a lawn ticket (best price is ahead of time, not at the gate) to hear perfect after-work music at Ravinia Festival in Highland park.
The Julliard String Quartet is June 20. It’s in the Martin Theatre but usually those programs are broadcast on the lawn.
In the Pavilion are Gypsy Kings June 23, Common June 24, Michael McDonald and Boz Scraggs June 27 and Diana Krall June 28.
The City of Chicago is stirring some more exotic, well, at least, international and trendy, flavors into Taste of Chicago but is not neglecting comfort food or desserts or forgetting long-time faves.
Settling in along Columbus Drive (closed for the event) in Grant Park will be 67 vendors that include these 17 new-to-Taste places: American Glory, Aztec Dave’s Food truck, Ben’s Bar Be Cue, Bob Bar Truck, Brightwok Kitchen, Broken English, Cheesie’s Pub and Grub, Doom Street Eats, El Patron, Hakka Bakka Indian Kati Rolls, Just Salad, Lawrence’s Fish & Shrimp, the Little Beet table, Seoul Taco, The Cajun Connoisseur, Ukai Japanese Restaurant and Warm Belly Bakery.
Just hearing the names of these “fooderies” is mouth-watering enough to put stars on the calendar for July 5-9, 2017. But Taste aficionados can still count on getting their ribs at Robsinson’s, a slice of pizza at Lou Malnati’s and dessert fix at Eli’s Cheescake’s booths.
Yes, the event has been billed as the world’s largest free food festival but that just means no gate charge shape shifting into a crumb-snatching pigeon. Food and beverages are gotten by handing over the number of tickets required for each item the booths. Since a strip of 14 tickets cost $10, visitors would do well to purchase more than one strip.
However, checking out some of Chicago’s wonderful culinary choices is just part of Taste. There are good bands, excellent celebrity chef dinners, wine and beer gardens, dance and art events and cooking demonstrations.
Tickets starting at $19 can be purchased now for concerts at the park’s Petrillo Music Shell by Alessia Cara, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, The O’Jays, Café Tacvba and Passion Pit. There will also be local bands playing on the Bud Light Stage.
A different celebrity chef will do a three-course, sit-down dinner in an air conditioned tent each night. Tickets are $45 and must be purchased in advance.
For more Celebrity Chef dinner information and tickets and concert tickets visit Taste of Chicago.
Taste of Chicago, July 5-9, 2017, is in Grant Park on Columbus Drive from Monroe to Balbo. Hours are 11am–9pm Wednesday through Friday and 10am–9pm on Saturday and Sunday.