Three Valentine’s Day ideas

 

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.

 

Celebrate Valentine's Day at Lincolnshire Marriott resort's Three Embers and Marriott Theatre's Million Dollar Quartet. Photo courtesy of Lincolnshire Marriott Resort)
Celebrate Valentine’s Day at Lincolnshire Marriott resort’s Three Embers and Marriott Theatre’s Million Dollar Quartet. Photo courtesy of Lincolnshire Marriott Resort)

 

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.

For tickets visit Box Office. For more iknformation call 847-634-0100 or visit Lincolnshire Marriott Resort. Lincolnshire Marriott Resort is at 10 Marriott Drive, Lincolnshire.

 

A dessert at the Chocolate Sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Chocolate Sanctuary)
A dessert at the Chocolate Sanctuary. (Photo courtesy of Chocolate Sanctuary)

Dinner, Chocolate and Band

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.

Call (224) 944.0808 or visit The Chocolate Sanctuary. Also visit Chocolate Sanctuary Boutique. The Chocolate Sanctuary is at 5101 Washington St., Gurnee.

 

Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)
Centennial Wheel at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy Pier)

Navy Pier Centennial Wheel and 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.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Chicago celebrates Chinese New Year

Chinatown New Year's Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)
Chinatown New Year’s Parade (Photo courtesy of Chicago Chinatown Community Foundation)

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.

Here are some events that honor the Chinese culture and arts. More information is at Choose Chicago Chinese New Year   and  Chinese Fine Arts Society. Unless otherwise noted, the events are free.

 

Art Institute of Chicago pre-New Year celebration followed by a Lantern Procession

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 Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)
Celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Cultural Center Feb. 5,2019 (Photo courtesy of Chinese Fine Arts)

Official City kickoff at Preston Bradley Hall, Chicago Cultural Center

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

 

Annual Argyle Lunar New Year Parade

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.

Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization
Argle Chinese New Year Parade. (Photo courtesy of Uptown organization and the Argyle Parade organization)

 

Today at Apple

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

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.

 

A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)
A concert at Symphony Center will feature Hubei Chime Bells. (Photo courtesy of CSO)

 

Chicago Symphony Center Fifth Annual Chinese New Year Concert

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.

 

Global Connections: Chinese New Year Celebration at Navy Pier

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.

 

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

Where it’s summer: No plane ticket needed

 

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.

 

Go to The Beach at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy PIer)
Go to The Beach at Navy Pier. (Photo courtesy of Navy PIer)

The Beach Chicago

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 wintery winds at the Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses. (Photo by J Jacobs)
Escape wintery winds at the Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses. (Photo by J Jacobs)

Chicago Botanic Garden Greenhouses

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.

Jodie Jacobs

 

Five places to ice skate New Year’s Day/Week

 

Skating in the Park at Parkway Bank Park Rosemont. (Photo courtesy of Parkway Bank Park)
Skating in the Park at Parkway Bank Park Rosemont. (Photo courtesy of Parkway Bank Park)

 

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.

 

Skating in the Park at Parkway Bank Park in Rosemont

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.

 

Sky Rink at Peninsula Chicago

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.

Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Events)
Skating at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park (Photo courtesy of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Events)

 

McCormick Tribune Skating 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.

 

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon

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.

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

Around town: Not gone yet

 

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.

Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera
Siobhan Stagg in Cendrillon at the Lyric Opera

Shows

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.

Women of Soul” at the Black Ensemble Theatre goes to Jan. 27. See tickets and more information at Black Ensemble Theater.

“ A Midsummer Night’s Dream“ at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier, opens this weekend (Dec. 14 2018), and runs through Jan. 27. Tickets and more information at Chicago Shakes.

At Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted, “Familiar” continues through Jan. 13 and “”La Ruta” goes through Jan. 27.  Visit Steppenwolf.

 

Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Zoo Lights at Lincoln Park Zoo

Festivals

Illumination” at the Morton Arboretum, 4100 Il Hwy 53, Lisle, goes through New Year’s Day, Jan. 1.

Winter Wonderfest” continues at Navy Pier, Chicago, through Jan. 6. For tickets, parking and other information visit Navy Pier.

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.

Read More

Winter WonderFest

 

Navy Pier celebrates winter
Navy Pier celebrates winter

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.

WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)
WinterFest at Navy Pier is a fun family experience (Photos by Reno Lovison)

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.

Ice skating at WinterFest
Ice skating at WinterFest

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.

Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.
Gaze up at the wonderful Christmas tree.

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

Reno Lovison

 

 

 

Two different Halloween celebrations

 

Halloween Parade on State Street
Halloween Parade on State Street

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.

 

Downtown

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.

For more info visit Arts in the Dark.

Trick or Treat at Navy Pier (Photo by James Richards IV)
Trick or Treat at Navy Pier (Photo by James Richards IV)

 

Navy Pier

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.

Jodie Jacobs

Around Town in October

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.

The photography exhibit is in Polk Park across from the entrance to Navy Pier. (Jodie Jacobs photo)
The photography exhibit is in Polk Park across from the entrance to Navy Pier. (Jodie Jacobs photo)

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.

Music on Halsted All-Inn event
Music on Halsted All-Inn event

Two Festivals

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.

 

A pumpkin guards the path at the Chicago Botanic Garden (J Jacobs photo)
A pumpkin guards the path at the Chicago Botanic Garden (J Jacobs photo)

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.

Enjoy October!

Jodie Jacobs

 

 

 

 

 

Three Labor Day Weekend choices

Who wants to celebrate Labor Day Weekend falls into the debatable category. If returning or starting school is on the can’t wait list than OK. Same goes for “I love fall.” But if it means the end of summer free time, maybe not so much.

So what makes sense on how to say goodby summer, hello labor? Here’s three ways (actually more if you count all the days of the weekend listening to different bands at the Chicago Jazz Festival) to take advantage of now. Two of them won’t be available again until next year.

 

A pair of Zebra Longwings are attra ted to this cluster of flowers in the Chicago Botanic Garden Butterflies and Blooms exhibit. (Jodie Jacobs photo)
A pair of Zebra Longwings are attra ted to this cluster of flowers in the Chicago Botanic Garden Butterflies and Blooms exhibit. (Jodie Jacobs photo)

Chicago Botanic Garden Butterflies and Blooms

Go before the annual butterfly exhibit leaves the Chicago Botanic Garden Sept. 3. The garden is basically open from sun up to sun down but the butterfly house hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a ticketed exhibit with the last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m.

For this exhibit the best parking lot is the first one visitors come to left of the first traffic stop sign after the parking lot booth (not the “if someone is in the crosswalk” warning signs). The exhibit is next to the Regenstein Learning Center and outdoor children’s hilly play area.

The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe. For more information call (847) 835-5440 and visit Chicago Botanic or Chicago Botanic Butterflies.

 

Enjoy music and drinks at the Beer Garden on Navy Pier (Navy Pier/Miller
Enjoy music and drinks at the Beer Garden on Navy Pier (Navy Pier/Miller photo)

Miller Lite Beer Garden

The popular Miller Lite Beer Garden on Navy Pier is doing its “Live on the Lake” music series from Friday through From Friday, August 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Come Friday to toast the weekend with special Happy Hour prices from 4 to 6 p.m. then stay for the music. Or return Saturday for music and stay for Navy Pier’s fireworks at 10:15.

Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., The Beer Garden is considered 700 E. Grand Ave. For more Beer Garden info call (312) 595-5446 and visit Beer Garden. For Navy Pier information cal (800) 595-Pier (7437)and visit Navy Pier.

 

Orbert Davis Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is among the headliners at the Chicago Jazz Festival. (Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special events/Orbert Davis photo)
Orbert Davis Chicago Jazz Philharmonic is among the headliners at the Chicago Jazz Festival. (Chicago Dept. of Cultural Affairs and Special events/Orbert Davis photo)

 

Chicago Jazz festival

Good jazz is happening right now in Chicago venues as it does every week but this last week of August and first weekend of September are special. The Chicago Jazz Festival is happening downtown and around the city through Sept. 2, 2018. The festival is celebrating its 40th year with several area bands and headliners Ramsey Lewis, Kurt Elling, Dianne Reeves, Maceo Parker and Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic.  See the schedule to catch the jazz artist or band  you don’t want to miss or just go over to Millennium Park and enjoy the concerts. They’re all free. Programming is by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. It’s produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.

Aug. 29

Jay Pritzker Pavilion 6:30-9pm – Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Legends and Lions

Aug. 30

 Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 5pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 5:25–6:15pm – Geof Bradfield Nonet; 6:30–7:25pm – Nicole Mitchell and Mandorla Awakening; 7:45–9pm – Kurt Elling featuring Marquis Hill and Jeff “Tain” Watts.

Chicago Cultural Center: 11am–12pm – What Is This Thing called Jazz? Ernie Adams: Insights on Improvisation 12:30–1:30pm – Carmen Stokes Quartet, in collaboration with the South Side Jazz Coalition; 2–3pm – Paul Giallorenzo Trio, in collaboration with the Elastic Arts Foundation; 3:30–4:30pm – Chicago Cellar Boys, in collaboration with the Iliana Club of Traditional Jazz.

Park Grill Plaza: 12–2pm – Julius Tucker, 4–6pm – Thaddeus Thukes Vibez

Aug. 31

Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45 pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn) 4:15–5:05pm – Tribute to Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams; 5:25–6:15pm – Sabertooth Organ Quartet 25th Anniversary 6:30–7:25pm – Louis Hayes Quintet: “Seranade for Horace;” 7:45–9pm – Dianne Reeves.

Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Junius Paul Quartet; 12:40–1:35pm – Quin Kirchner Group 1:50–2:45pm – Chris Speed Trio 3–4pm – Greg Ward and 10 Tongues.

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): Noon–1pm – Gayle Kolb Sextet 1:30–2:30pm – Roy McGrath Remembranzas Quintet 3–4pm – Million Brazilan Project featuring Sarah Marie Young and Guy King.

Park Grill Plaza Stage: 12–2pm – High Hat; 4–6pm – Bomanville.

Sept. 1

Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 4:15–5:0; 5pm – Tribute to Willie Pickens 5:25–6:10pm – Kenny Barron Quintet; 6:25–7:25pm – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society; 7:45–9pm – Ramsey Lewis.

Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Black Diamond; 12:40–1:35pm – Dustin Laurenzi and Natural Language; 1:50–2:45pm – Matthew Shipp and Ivo Perelman; 3–4pm – Amina Claudine Myers Trio.

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): Noon–1pm – Bruce Henry; 1:30–2:30pm – The Chuck Webb Band featuring Margaret Murphy; 3–4pm – Nolatet.

Park Grill Plaza: 12–2pm – Petra van Nuis; 4–6pm – Isabella Sherwood.

 Young Jazz Lions (Harris Rooftop): 11–11:30am – ChiArts Jazz Combo; 11:45am–12:15pm – Morgan Park High School Jazz Combo; 12:30–1pm – CYSO Jazz Combo; 1:15–1:55pm – Eric Solorio High School Jazz Ensemble; 2:10–2:50pm – Whitney Young High School Jazz Ensemble; 3:05–3:45pm – Kenwood Academy Jazz Band.

Sept. 2

Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 4:15–5:05pm – Matt Ulery’s Loom Large; 5:25–6:10pm – Arturo O’Farrill Sextet; 6:25–7:25pm – Charles McPherson-Barry Harris Quartet; 7:45–9pm – Maceo Parker.

Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Tribute to John Wright; 12:40–1:35pm – Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die; 1:50–2:45pm – Jason Stein Quartet; 3–4pm – Eric Revis Quartet featuring Ken Vandermark.

Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): 12–1pm – Quentin Coaxum Quintet;1:30–2:30pm – Alejandro Urzagaste’s Flow featuring Bill Carrothers; 3–4pm – Fareed Haque and his Funk Brothers.

Park Grill Plaza Stage: 12–2pm – Lucas Gillian; 4–6pm – Irvin Pierce.

NextGenJazz  (Harris Rooftop): 11:15am–12pm – Derek Duleba Quartet; 12:15–1pm – Cesar Martinez’s Cuicatl;1:15–2pm – Morgan Pirtle+5; 2:15–3pm – Greg Uhlmann’s Typical Sisters; 3:15-4pm – Jahari Stampley Ensemble.

Neighborhood venues, visit City of Chicago Jazz  Neighborhood. For more Jazz Festival information visit CityofChicagoDCA Jazz Festival.

Jodie Jacobs

 

For summer fun do Taste of Chicago or Windy City Smokeout and Pitchfork or Lollapalooza

 

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.

 

Taste of Chicago shows off some of Chicago's best eats. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)
Taste of Chicago shows off some of Chicago’s best eats. (Photo courtesy of City of Chicago)

Taste of Chicago

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.

Get a discount by visiting a participating restaurant before Taste begins.. See Taste of Chicago discount info. For hours, map and guides to all the Taste-Of activities visit City of Chicago/Taste update.

 

Windy City Smokeout

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.

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