The outdoors beckons now that Chicago and Illinois has entered Phase 3 of its COVID-19 fighting strategies. Just know that restrictions such as social distancing and face coverings are still part of the experience.
Also note where reservations and permits are still required.
The Pier at the eastern end of both Illinois Road and Grand Avenue, among Chicago’s most popular destinations, is opening its outdoor spaces excluding rides on June 10, 2020
Parking garages will have free access during the opening phase. Polk Bros Park across from the entrance and the Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion will open and some boat tours will be operating. There will be access to North and South Docks.
Several restaurants and retailers will have outdoor spaces such as Harry Caray’s Tavern, McDonald’s, Margaritaville Chicago, Billy Goat Tavern, Rainbow Bone and the large Offshore Rooftop & Bar. For updated information
The Morton Arboretum, a 1,700 acre park and outdoor plant and research museum, is open now on timed visit, reserve-ahead tickets through Jujne 14. Visits will be available to nonmembers on a restricted basis beginning June 15.
Located at 4100 IL Hwy 53 in west suburban Lisle, IL, the park is interlaced with walkway and hiking and biking trails. For membership, admission fees and hours visit Know/visit/information.
Lake County Forest Preserves dog park
Off-leash dog exercise areas begin opening second week of June, 2020 to annual permit holders. Dog Exercise Areas using COVID-19 guidelines and restrictions.
“Once reopened, modified use practices will be in place for the health and safety of Forest Preserve staff, dog owners and their pets,” said Chief Operations Officer Mike Tully.
“Access will be limited to annual permit holders only. To help prevent overcrowding, daily permits will not be sold at this time. Additional signage will remind permit holders to do their part and abide by safety rules and protocols to help prevent the spread of COVID-19,” said Tully.
Of course we try to employ good recycling practices year round but we’re also used to helping out in volunteer clean-up groups on beaches and rivers on Earth Day.
Started in 1970 by U.S. Senator Gaylord Nelson,, WI, to encourage conservation and environmental awareness, Earth Day became an internationally observed day with a variety of related activities in 1990.
Typical Earth Day activities have generally been canceled in 2020 to avoid getting and spreading the Covid-19 virus. However Earth Day is still April 22 so think recycle but also take a couple of moments to virtually visit two of the Chicago area’s largest nature centers: The Chicago Botanic Garden in north suburban Glencoe and the Morton Arboretum west of Chicago near Lisle. They are sharing what’s blooming, garden tips, stay-at-home Earth Day activities and views of their grounds.
Chicago might as well be called Holiday Central given all the fun, light-filled events taking place across the city and suburbs. So, to make it easier to figure out the where and when, we are dividing up the what.
Part One listed some of the holiday shows and date specific events such as parades because shows need tickets and some events are only one day or weekend.
Part Two is about light shows in and around Chicago. Most go through Jan. 5, 2020. Lights typically are on from about 4:30 to 9 p.m. Check each event’s site for hours and dates either not on or by holiday limitations. Continue reading “Holiday Happenings Part Two”
In Chicago’s western suburbs, seasonal bites, spirits and shopping the Morton Arboretum way with botanical designer showcased “tablescapes” and browsing the store, welcome the coming holiday season. The event is Nov. 8 from 5 to 9 p.m. and includes a Patricia Locke Trunk Show and mixology demonstrations. Tickets are members $45.00, nonmembers $50.00.
The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Highway 53, Lisle, IL 630-446-0537.
In the northern suburbs, an annual show benefiting the Winnetka Community Housegoes the whole weekend of Nov. 8-10, 2019. But a fun preview party known for its buffet stations and open bar is Nov. 7 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.. This is when collectors and people in the know go for the first peek at exceptional jewelry, furniture and art. Tickets are $150 but $30 of the ticket price will be donated back to the North Shore Art League.
The Winnetka Community House is at 620 Lincoln Ave. Winnetka, IL , 847-446-2870 or 847-446-0537.
Downtown Chicago, Chill, an international wine and culinary event co sponsored by Luxehome and Wine Spectator Magazine, features terrific food from Chicago chefs and excellent wines from around the world. It’s held Downtown Chicago at theMART, Nov. 14 from 6 to 8:30 p.m.. Tickets are $145. Funds raised go to different charities.
the MART is at 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago.
Of course visitors to the Morton Arboretum in Lisle and the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe would expect to see trees changing their summer colors to seasonal autumn rose, gold and bronze.
However, both popular Chicago area destinations also annually welcome fall with ales, pumpkins and more.
Go this weekend to find hand-blown glass pumpkins. Art fair goers have been collecting these delicate pieces for the past few years but the Glass Pumpkin Patch that is going on now through Oct. 13, features about six thousand choices.
On the spookier side, do the Troll Hunt which is still going on. These giant-sized, artistically crafted, wooden creatures can be found through June 2020 but are a fitting addition to a season filled with other-world spirits. Sculpted by Danish artist Thomas Dambo, the trolls are supposed to protect the environment.
April is filled with things to do and places to go. Some events cater to families, others to adults. Here are a few events to put on the calendar. And yes, go even if it’s in the children category unless specifically stated for ages 5-12.
Mummies and more
Learn about mummies and ancient “earth day” style practices at two free Oriental Institute Museum April events for ages 5 through 12.
The Oriental Institute Museum is at 1155 E. 58th Street, Chicago, IL For more information than what is found above in “Mummies” and “Earth Day” call the Oriental Institute’s Public Education Office at 773-702-9507.
Chicago Botanic Garden is holding a hands-on science fair with seeds, flower pollination and other activities on April 13-14, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Some activities such as making your own seed necklace and how to see it sprout are free. There is a parking fee for nonmembers. For details visit Chicago Botanic Garden Science Festival.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe just east of Edens Expressway.
Huge trolls have populated the Morton Arboretum and will still be around to check them out if visiting during the Arboretum’s daily Arbor Day activities in april and special Arbor Day events April 26-27. Anyone dressed as a tree on April 26 will be admitted free.
For admission and hours visit Visit-Explore. The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Hwy 53, Lisle.
Lyric Opera of chicago celebrates its Ryan Opera Center with the Rising Stars in Concert April 7 at 2 p.m. Sopranos Whitney Morrison, Emily Pogorelc and Ann Toomey will be singing arias, duets and other pieces with Mezzo-soprano Kayleigh Decker, contralto Lauren Decker, tenors Eric Ferring Josh Lovell and Mario Rojas along with baritones Christopher Kenney and Ricardo Jose Rivera plus bass-baritones Alan Higgs and David Weigel. Pianist is Madeline Slettedahl.
The One of a Kind Show, open to the public (as opposed to the trade) takes place at the Merchandise Mart in early winter in time for the holidays and mid-spring in time for Mother’s Day. This Spring it happens Ap;ril 26, through April 28. Handmade items range from paper, ceramics, paintings and photography to jewelry, sculpture, fiber Art, meta, glass and wood. Plus there are gourmet treats for sale.
The Merchandise Mart is at 222 Merchandise Mart plaza between the Chicago River and Kinzie and between Wells and Orleans. For tickets visit One of a kind/spring/tickets.
Green City Market opens in Lincoln Park May 4. A popular farmers market that features chef demos, fresh produce and many local products, operates Saturday and Wednesday through Oct. 26, 2019 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Green City Market in Lincoln Park is at 1817N Clark St. For more information, visit Green City Market.
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.
If you don’t want to be saying “Oops” this holiday season then 1. Don’t wait to get tickets to the shows you or your family want to see and 2. Do put those holiday events you want to go to on the calendar.
The good news is that there are numerous great holiday shows and happenings in the Chicago area. The problem news is that the many places to go, things to do and see make it hard to narrow down the choices to what is doable.
Tip: Be realistic when weighing what is manageable with kids, tired feet and meal breaks.
The following suggestions offer three Chicago area choices in each category – shows, shopping and spectacular lights and sights:
Where: In Goodman Theatre’s Albert Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago
Why: Goodman’s production of Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol” is a Chicago tradition that never gets old with new staging often added. But the show is also a talking point for families on what is important.
Where: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. (50 E. Congress Pkwy) at Michigan Ave.
Why: Going to the Joffrey’s “Nutcracker” is also a Chicago holiday tradition. It was beautifully re-imagined last year by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as a visit by Marie and her mother to the 1893 World’s Fair. The mysterious Great Impresario turns the visit into an adventure. And it is all set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous music.
Where: Lookingglass theatre is in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago.
Why: Lookingglass productions are highly innovative, well acted and engrossing. This tale based on a Hans Christian Andersen story is being staged as an exciting spectable by ttalented, creative Mary Zimmerman.
Where: On line and at the museum, front entrance at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern Wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe St.
Why: Gift shop entrances do not need admission fees or tickets. The shops carry one-of-a kind gifts that won’t bust the budget. The Modern Wing has good glass items and the main gift shop has excellent jewelry and ties. Both shops have Frank Lloyd Wright items and gifts inspired by other artists. Also visitors like to take holiday photos with the wreathed lions in front.
Where: In Lincoln Park at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago
Why: See the animals while strolling among 2,5 million lights thanks to Com Ed and Invesco. Also visit Santa, watch ice carving, sip warm spiced wine, snack on holiday treats and watch a 3D light show.
Why: the Garden’s event is called Wonderland Express but before going into the building that has trains zipping through Chicago landmarks, see trees and walkways lit by thouands of lights and visit the greenhouses’ topiaries and poinsettias. Then don’t worry about the “snow” falling on shoulders inside the exhibit building. It’s all about fun and winter wonders.
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.
Think green and clean or flower power or planet health equals earth’s wealth.
Two April days, which isn’t much in the year’s calendar, are particularly set aside by people and organizations that care about planet Earth to keep it healthy and beautiful. Earth Day is April 22 and Arbor Day is April 29.
For Earth Day, enjoy gardens and community projects in the Andersonville neighborhood. Join with Lake County Forest Preserves naturalists for Bat Monitoring or a Woodpecker Walk. Take the Cardboard Challenge at Vernon Hills’ Hawthorn Mall. Or Party for the Planet at Brookfield Zoo.
The following weekend, head over to the Morton Arboretum for a Build-a-Tree workshop, Dress like a Tree or pick up a plant during a special sale.
These are a few of the activities to put on the April calendar.