But an alternate to going the day before or milling with the crowds during the show is to watch from somewhere between Ohio Street and Fullerton Avenue such as the places listed below where you can eat lunch or brunch during the show.
Think Spring. It’s time after chicago’s rough winter to think about blooms and maybe adventure. The blooms can be found at two Chicago shows. Adventure of the fantastical kind will be discovered at one of them.
Flower & Garden Show
Now that Spring is officially here with the marking of the vernal equinox we can be thinking of what to grow on our rooftop, around the patio, in the yard or in our window boxes, or how to expand or improve out landscape.
The ideas are all laid out in several gardens at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier through March 24, 2019.
There’s even a kids activity garden, water features, sculptures, cooking demos and how to grow your own produce including hydroponic systems.
Also don’t miss the Racine Zoo/Stein Garden section of animal encounters and how to attract birds.
The Chicago Flower & Garden Show is produced by Flower Show Productions in collaboration with the Get Growing Foundation – a non-profit organization dedicated to cultivating the next generation of gardeners.
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Festival Hall A & B Chicago. For more information visit Chicago Flower.
Flower Show Journey
Journey to outer space as you walk through Macy’s On State, the downtown Chicago store, March 24 to April 7 for an innovative, fun Garden Show.
Its about color: blue hydrangeas, white calla lilies, Prince of Orange philodendron. It’s about an orchid forest. And it’s about creatures including aninhabited cavern.
But before entering the store, get an idea of what’s going on inside by looking at the windows at the corner of State and Randolph Streets and also State and Washington Streets.
Go upstairs to the 5th floor Kids Department for fantasy florals and characters by Homewood Suites.
Check out the events that begin on Supernova Sunday. They range from nail designs, aura readings and spaceship building to glitter freckles, interesting lipstick applications and dance performances.
Monday’s feature is “Flowers of the Universe” presented by the Adler Planetarium from noon to 1 p.m. Tuesday features roaming galactic characters from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday has “Modern Floral Design” from noon to 2 p.m.
For the full listing visit Events. Macy’s downtown store is at 111 N. State St., Chicago.
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 the new year that began Jan. 1, 2019 didn’t bring much luck so far or you really enjoy celebrating a new year, join in the fun and good luck of Chinese New Year 4717 that begins on Feb. 4.
Chicago celebrations kick off with a pre-New Year’s celebration Downtown Feb. 2, continue Feb. 5 and beyond until they end Feb. 16. However, Chinese New Year celebrations do go from Feb. 4 through Feb. 17 and end in some places with a Lantern Festival.
There is a lot going on in the city to celebrate the Chinese Zodiac’s lunar year sign – the Year of the Pig.
Also known as the Spring Festival, this Lunar Festival (there are others, particularly in Asia,) begins the eve before the first day and is often a time for families to get together.
Think “new moon” to know when it begins. The Chinese New Year begins on the new moon between Jan. 21 and Feb. 20, 2019. This year, the new moon is Feb. 4, 2019.
Head over to the Art Institute at 111 S. Michigan Ave. on Feb. 2 for music, crafts, stories, games and some talks in English and Mandarin about the museum’s Chinese art collection from 1 to 4:30 p.m.
Then, cross Monroe Street to Millennium Park and the Lurie Gardens for more activities. A Lantern Procession will line up about 5 p.m. and wind with a lion dance over to Maggie Daley Park about 5:30. Crafts and ice skating take place there until 7:30 p.m. The event is a partnership of the Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Choose Chicago.
Celebrate the Year of the Pig with the Chinese Fine Arts Society at noon Feb. 5 at the Chicago Cultural Center. Watch lion dancers, Silk Road pipa master Yang Wei, martial arts and the Flying Fairies dance troupe. A special feature will be the China National Peking Opera Company including a sneak peak of comedic and acrobatic “At the Crossroads,” a famous opera based on a story from Water Margin.
The event is co-sponsored with Choose Chicago and the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events. Preston Bradley Hall is up the south stairs of the Chicago Cultural Center at 78 E Washington St Chicago Find more information at (773) 935-6169
Join Chicago’s Uptown neighborhood festivities Feb. 9 for the Chinese New Year parade of dragons, lions and floats. It starts at 1 p.m. at Argyle and Winthrop near the Argyle “L” stop then goes east on Argyle Street to Sheridan Road, south to Ainslie Street, west to Broadway and then back to Argyle.
At the Apple store on north Michigan Avenue there will be Music Lab of Chinese Instruments with Yang Wei, artist-in-residence at Chinese fine arts society on Feb. 9. The event, running from 1 to 3:30 p.m. also includes hands-on GarageBand on the iPad for the digital version and Sound-of- Wishes Ensemble. Plus, calligrapher Yijun Hu will draws to the music on an iPad. Apple is at 401 N. Michigan Ave.
Chinatown’s Lunar New Year Parade attracts thousands of folks from all over the Chicago area. The celebration takes place at Wentworth Avenue and 24th Street in the heart of Chinatown from 1 to 3 p.m. Feb 10. Cosponsors are the Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation and Chicago Chinatown Chamber of Commerce.
Celebrate the Chinese New Year at Symphony Center’s fifth annual concert at 3 p.m. Feb. 10. The event features the China National Peking Opera Company and the Hubei Chime Bells National Chinese Orchestra. This is a ticketed program.
A pre-concert performance is in Buntrock Hall at 1:30 p.m. featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts Association, Yellow River Performing Arts and the Chicago Chinese Qipao Association. These performances are free to ticket holders of the 3 p.m. concert. Orchestra Hall is at, 220 S. Michigan Ave.
Navy Pier celebrates the Chinese New Year with colorful performances and crafts and food booths in its AON Grand Ballroom, Feb. 16 from 1 to 5 p.m.
Performing are the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, pipa master Yang Wei, Mongolian throat singer Tamir Hargana, the Flying Fairies dance troupe, Beidou Kung Fu, Zhong Hua Kung Fu plus traditional Chinese music by the Eight Tones Chinese Instrument Ensemble, Cheng Da Drum Team and others from Chicago’s Chinese community.
The Chinese Marketplace opens at 12:30 p.m. Performances are at 1 P.m., 2:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.
Don’t let Chicago’s Brr-rated temps keep you from going out when you could be enjoying beach and equator-like weather and fun. One of the places you can shed coats, hats and gloves and sit in a deck chair is The Beach at Navy Pier. The other place envelopes you in tropical warmth and greenery at The Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.
You know you experience is going to be interesting when one of the rules to enter The Beach is to empty pockets of keys, jewelry, phones and fit-bits because they can be lost, not in the sand but in an ocean of a million plastic balls.
Play, relax and watch youngsters uninhibitedly dive because this ocean is safe. BTW, no shoes allowed so wear fun socks.
Designed by Snarkitecture founder Daniel Arsham and his crew, The Beach is a fun architectural installation that has gone into an arena in Tampa, a national museum with a large lobby in Washington D.C. and now, the large ballroom at Navy Pier.
Opened Jan. 19 and going through Feb. 3, 2019, The Beach is just in time to counteract Chicago’s icy winds.
But check rules ahead of time for dos and don’ts such as no strollers, eating or drinking or throwing the balls and do use self-service lockers for valuables.
Presented by Navy Pier and Expo Chicago, entry to The Beach is free. For parking fees and locations and public transportation check Navy Pier. To see the Tampa installation visit Youtube TampaBeach. To learn more about the beach installation visit Snarkitecture. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL 60611. For more information call 1-800 595-PIER (7437) and visit The Beach Chicago.
Escape to temperatures between 75 and 85 degrees (Fahrenheit) in the Semitropical Greenhouse surrounded by ferns, delightful gardenia and bougainvillea. Look for penguins and cranes. They won’t waddle or fly off. The Semitropical Greenhouse has topiaries around each corner.
Then feel the warmth of the Tropical Greenhouse and breathe in its wonderfully moist air. Look for cocoa pods on the “chocolate tree,” orchids growing on the Botanic Garden’s constructed trees and bromeliads hanging from other constructions. Look for the large leaves and maroon-colored flowers of the banana plants.
Go from moist to dry climates in the Arid Greenhouse. Daytime here is really warm between 80 and 90 degrees but when the sun goes down these plants like cold so the temperature drops to half that. Look for interesting cacti shapes but don’t touch. Many of these plants are prickly.
Entry to to Chicago Botanic Garden is free. For parking fees and public transportation suggestions (about half a mile from the Braeside Metra stop) visit Chicago Botanic. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For more information call (847) 835-5440.
Lace up the figure skates, top the head with a jazzy knit hat and glide around a scenic rink. From city skyscapes to twinkling lights, Chicago area has fun places to skate and play for families, couples and girls’ New Year’s Week time off before the holiday ends.
Navy Pier Winter Wonderfest Ice Rink is open through Jan. 6. Because the rink is part of Wonderfest, the general activity ticket price applies of $13 for youngsters under 42 inches in height and $28 for visitors 42 inches and taller. For tickets and more information visit Navy Pier.
The good news is that skating is free,skate rental is only $8 and parking is free with validation from Park entertainment venues. There also are restaurants to try after skating. Skating hours are listed for the holidays on website. The sorta bad news is that now is the best time to go there because hockey starts Jan 8 so that open public skating will only be on Sundays except for special holiday such as Martin Luther King Day. Parkway Bank Park is at 5501 Park Place west of River road in Rosemont, IL. For holiday hours and other information visit Skating in the Park.
For a delightfully different view of the Mag Mile, skate on Peninsula Hotel’s fourth-floor terrace through the first week of March. Warm up with beignets and cider from the Chalet. The cost of $20 adults, $10 children includes skates and benefits children’s charities. Call (312) 337-2888 for hours. The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. and North Michigan Avenue, Chicago. For more information visit Peninsula Chicago Sky Rink.
It doesn’t matter how skillful you are when you skate frontwards, backwards, or holding gloved hands around the rink in Millennium Park. There’s a warming house, a stand for hot chocolate, and a place to rent skates $14 holidays and weekend $12 weekdays, but the rink is free. New Year’s Day, Jan. 1, 2019 the hours are 10am–10pm. There’s no lesson that day but other days feature lessons an hour before the rink opens. The rink is at Michigan Avenue between Randolph and Monroe Streets. But officially Millennium Park is 201 E. Randolph St. For hours and other information visit McCormick Tribune Ice Rink.
Or take on the challenge of the skating the dips and curves of Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon next to Millennium Park.at 337 E. Randolph St.. Admission is free but you can rent skates. For hours and other information visit Maggie Daley Park.
With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.
Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information visit Lyric Opera.
“Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.
“Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show) For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.
“Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.
We had a great time visiting the Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier.
The event is sponsored by Fifth Third Bank and even though it is geared primarily toward the little ones there is plenty of fun for the whole family.
Essentially this is an indoor carnival. In fact the brochure claims “thrills without the chills.”
For the little tykes, designated as under 46 inches tall, there are two bouncers and other games in the Jingle Jym Junior area right by the entrance.
Of course the Kringle Carousel which is the first thing you see when you enter is fun for anyone looking for a classic carnival experience. My wife never misses an opportunity to ride a carousel.
There’s mini golf artic style and an artic plunge is a giant inflatable slide topped by an enormous polar bear.
The Lighthouse takes those 36” and taller up a roughly thirty foot lighthouse then unexpectedly drops them repeatedly for a bit of a thrill.
The Winter Tube is a slippery snowless toboggan-like slide, only rather than a sled, you ride a kind of colorful inner tube style ring.
I think a feature for many is the star spangled ice skating rink. This seems like it might be an attraction for teens looking for a fun date night, especially if mom makes you take your little brother along. But indoor ice skating is actually my idea of enjoying the sport.
Kids love to climb and what could be more fun than making your way to the rafters via the Snowy Summit Climbing Wall?
The gigantic Christmas tree is beautifully decorated offering a perfect back drop for a photo or just to be enjoyed from virtually every vantage point within the fair.
The Cliff Hanger is certainly the most visual and most exciting offering, whirling you at break-neck speed in a kind of hang glider looking contraption, ultimately landing you gently back the ground.
The psychedelic lighting of the Winter WonderWhirl adds a lot to the sense of excitement.
There are bumper cars, an excursion train, Tilt’a Whirl and spinning Hot Cocoa Cups.
Enjoy plenty of holiday photo ops which you can do yourself or take advantage of the photo package available for purchase on site.
There are snacks, additional rides and attractions and as a nice bonus each ticket also includes a ride on Chicago’s very own Centennial “Ferris” Wheel.
This is a good excuse to get off the couch and do something together as a family or just another nice way to enjoy a trip to Navy Pier.
DETAILS: You will find the Fifth Third Bank Winter WonderFest at the West end of Navy Pier on the Lakefront at Illinois Street through Jan. 6, 2019. For tickets and information visit NavyPier.org
This year get into the Halloween spirit with an unusual parade and event downtown Chicago Saturday, Oct. 20. Follow up tasty treats the following Saturday, Oct. 27 and Wednesday Oct. 31 at Navy Pier.
First, get thyself and friends down to State Street between Lake and Van Buren Streets between 6 and 8 p.m. for “Arts in the Dark” to see floats, dancers, lantern carriers and a weird assortment of performers parade by. The fun procession is co hosted by the Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Loop Alliance.
Then , from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. be at the ”Bean” (Cloud Gate Plaza) in Millennial Park for music, circus-style side-show characters, magicians, video projections, fortune tellers and even a kids station for the younger crowd hosted by DCASE. Best stairway into the park is at the east end of Washington Street and Michigan Avenue.
Continue the fun in Maggie Daley Park east of Millennial Park (337 E. Randolph St.). Here, the Chicago Park District is passing out candy and showing the movie “Beetlejuice. For more exercise try Mini Golf at $11 or the Skating Ribbon and Climbing Wall with a $20 package price.
Next Saturday bring a treat bag to Navy Pier, receive a candy passport at Guest Services Desk at the main entrance for list of treat stations and participating businesses from 1 to 5 p.m. Then liten listen to music by different bands in “Sequence Chicago’s free fall/winter performance series.
The Halloween celebration ends at the Pier Oct. 31 with more candy handouts from 3 to 7 p.m. and bands. (Registration for the free Centennial Wheel ride is full)
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago. For more info visit Navy Pier.
October has enough food, music, art and fall events to fill several calendars. Here are just a few of the events to tack up on the board.
Two art shows
“Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys1917-1918” is at Navy Pier beginning Oct. 5 and continuing through Nov. 18, 2018 in Polk Bros Park (across from the Pier’s entrance). A free exhibit, the works are by photo journalist Michael St. Maur Sheil.
Taken over eight years, the compilation tells stories of battleground transformations, peace and remembrance. It works well with Navy Pier’s history. Originally called the “Municipal Pier” it was later renamed Navy Pier in honor of naval veterans who served in World War I. (It became a training center for the U.S.Navy in 1941before returning to public use for an education institution and then an entertainment destination).
An opening commemorative event is at the Pier Oct. 5 at 5:15 p.m. followed by the Navy Band Great Lakes Wind Ensemble that plays at 6 p.m. in the Crystal Gardens. For more information call (800) 595-PIER (7437 and visit Navy Pier. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.
The Chicago Creative Coalition (C3) is holding its 20th Annual Gallery Walk Oct. 18 2018 at four River North galleries. Basically a semi- private tour, the Gallery Walk requires registration. C3 members $15, general admission $20, students $5. Visit Gallery Walk Registration.
All-Inn fest, a three-day indoor music festival will be at Halsted Street bars from aliveOne to The Store from Oct. 11 through Oct. 13, 2018. Admission is free with a wristband gotten from aliveOne, Tonic Room or The Store. Bar and band hop beginning at 8 p.m. For more information visit Lincoln Park Chamber All Inn.
Randolph Street Market goes indoors with Octoberfest Oct. 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An indoor venue featuring more than 125 vendors, the Market is at 1341 Randolph St. The Octoberfest celebration will have pumpkins but also antiques and clothing. For more information visit Randolph Street Octoberfest.
Two spooky-ish fall color destinations
Visitors to the Morton Arboretum can combine leaf looks with the scarecrows, cider and scary adventures of the season at the Morton Arboretum during the Fall corol festival. Also, look for the Glass Pumpkin Patch and Jack o Lantern Hikes dates.The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Hwy 53. Lisle, IL For more information go to Morton Arb.
Pumpkins at the Chicago Botanic Garden will be lining the walkways Oct. 24-28, 2018 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. during the annual Night of 1000 Jack o Lanterns. Take photos for some ideas of how to carve your pumpkin next year. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd. Glencoe. The event has timed tickets. For tickets and other info visit Chicago Botanic.