Mother’s Day isn’t until May 9 in 2021 but reservations fill fast, so figure out something special, now. The ideas listed here: Stay, Play, Eat, Treat, Spa and Ooh La La are merely a guide.
Book a package deal at the 5 star Peninsula Chicago, among the city’s top luxury hotel. It has an exceptional spa, large lap pool with great views and a great roof-top lounge.
Or get a room with a view at Sable, a new Hilton hotel. You will be staying on Navy Pier, Chicago’s No. 1 attraction that re-opens April 30, 2021. Plus the hotel has Offshore, the world’s largest roof-top bar.
Stroll Lincoln Park with stops at the Zoo to talk to the animals and the Conservatory for its Spring Garden show, opening May 9. Reservations are needed because of COCID protocols.
Or snag tickets for an architectural tour on the Chicago River. Two popular tours are the Wendella and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise’s First Lady.
Do brunch at longtime favorite, the Signature Room at the 95th. The restaurant is atop of what was formerly called the John Hancock Center, a skyscraper now known as 875 N. Michigan Ave.
Or reserve a table (may be on a heated patio) at Shaw’s Crab House in Chicago or Schaumburg.
Or look one North Shore suburb north for Gerhard’s, a European style bakery in Lake Forest.
Get Mom a gift certificate for a spa experience. There is likely a spa in her neighborhood but if going downtown Chicago and the oriental-flavored Peninsula is booked consider the spa at the Langham an upscale Chicago hotel with a British accent.
Ooh la la
Flowers and candy have traditionally said “We love you.” The Chicago area has several good florists. Check out Blossoms or AshlandAddison, two popular and highly rated choices.
For candy, a top stop is Windy City Sweets in the Lakeview neighborhood. The only problem is that everything looks so good you’ll end up with stuff to also take home.
Or go to Long Grove Confectionary in suburban Long Grove. A longtime destination, the store also has factory outlets in Buffalo Grove, Wauconda and Chicago. Go back for a factory tour, good sale items and for holiday goodies.
Restaurants and neighborhoods are celebrating Chinese Lunar Year of the Rat for 15 days. Lunar New Year’s Eve is Jan. 24 and the first day is Jan. 25, 2020. Here are some celebrations that may not have made your radar.
Asian-based Peninsula Chicago Hotel celebration
Go to the Peninsula Chicago, Jan. 25 at 3 p.m. for a colorful lion dance, complete with noises to scare away evil spirits. Then follow the dance inside to the lobby where you see lanterns, red flowers and tangerine trees. The outside of the hotel will be illuminated in red for the season. Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St. at North Michigan Avenue.
South-East Asia Center celebration
Make a reservation for a family-style lunch Feb. 1, 11:30 a.m. at Eurama Restaurant. Hosted by the South-East Asia Center in Uptown the event includes cross-cultural entertainment. Cost is $25. Eurama is at 4936 N Broadway. For reservations and more information visit seasiacenter.
Chinese American Museum celebration
Reserve attendance ahead for the annual Chinese American Museum of Chicago Lunar Celebration Feb. 9 from 2 to 6 p.m. There will be music, food, arts, crafts and the Chinese Lion Dance. Cost ahead is $10-$15. Same day walk-in is not guaranteed but will cost an extra $5. The museum is at 238 W. 23rd St. For more tickets and more information visit Eventbrite or Chicago Cultural Alliance event.
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.
Special dinners, teas and parades mark Chicago’s Chinese New Year celebration of the Year o the Dog 4716.
With a vibrant Chinatown and several excellent Chinese restaurants plus venues such as the Chicago Cultural Center and Navy Pier promoting Chicago’s ethnic groups, there are plenty of places to learn more, see more and enjoy more Chinese dancing and dishes.
Often called the Lunar New Year and sometimes known as the Chinese Spring Festival, the Chinese New Year in 2018, begins Feb. 16 and ends 15 days later. However, tied to the Chinese lunisolar calendar, celebrations start the eve of the first day and culminate in the Lantern Festival.
If you go to any of Chicago’s Chinese festivals or restaurants, expect to see lots of red and the words “happiness” and “good fortune.”
Here are some Chinese New Year events to put on your go-to calendar.
Decorated with red lanterns and a décor that celebrates the Year of the Dog, The Peninsula Chicago is a thoroughly Asian hotel (it is celebrating its 90th anniversary in Hong Kong).
This is a good place to stop in for Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea in The Lobby where tangerine trees and red flowers wish everyone good fortune. The tea includes special savories and sweets for $65. The Peninsula is at 108 East Superior Street.
In addition, there will be a Lion Dance that weaves through The Lobby during Afternoon Tea at 3:30 pm., Feb. 17. Children can “feed” lettuce to the lion for good luck in the coming year. The Lion Dance begins at the hotel’s front entrance amid drumbeats and cymbals (scares evil spirits) at 3:15 p.m.
For an authentic, eight-course Chinese dinner, reserve a table at The Peninsula Chicago’s award winning Shanghai Terrace. It includes, among many other dishes, ginger wild chicken, seafood siewmai with black truffle, pan-fried prawns and kung pao beef tenderloin. Cost is $138.
For more information please call (312) 573-6620 or (866) 288-8889 and visit Peninsula Chicago.
Feb. 15-Feb. 28
Stop in at Koi Fine Asian Cuisine in Evanston for dishes from its “Lucky Menu.” Different dishes represent wealth, long life, happiness, prosperity, good relationships and family. Reservations will be needed for the Lion Dance there Feb. 24. Koi is at 624 Davis St., Evanston. Call 847-866-6969 and visit Koi.
Preston Bradley Hall at the Chicago Cultural Center hosts Chinese dancers, martial arts and music from noon to 1 p.m. There will also be a peek at the Chongqing Chuanju Theater Troupe which performs at Symphony Center the next day. The Chicago Cultural Center is at 78 E Washington St. For more information visit Chinese Fine Arts Events.
See acrobatic choreography, gorgeous costumes and enjoy Chinese arts during an afternoon at Symphony Center, home of the CSO. Performances featuring the Dong Fang Performing Arts and the Yellow River Performing Arts are from 1:45 to 2:30 p.m. in Buntrock Hall.
This is followed with opera segments by the Chongqing Chuanju Opera Theatre and folk music by Zhejiang Symphony Orchestra at 3 p.m. in Orchestra Hall.
The first program is free to ticket holders of the second program. Symphony Center is at 220 S. Michigan Ave. For tickets and other information visit CSO tickets.
Head over to Navy Pier’s Aon Grand Ballroom for Chinese activities, shows and food. Navy Pier partners with the Chinese Fine Arts Society to present the Chicago Chinese Cultural Center Lion Dancers, Martial arts, Chinese music and the Flying Fairies dance troupe from 1 to 5 p.m.
The event is part of Navy Pier’s free Global Connections sponsored by ComEd. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave. For more information call (800) 595 Pier (7437) and visit Navy Pier Global.
The Uptown neighborhood’s Argyle Street has a parade with floats, dragon dancers and marchers from 1 to 2:30 p.m. The procession goes from Argyle and Broadway Streets to Winthrop Avenue. For more information visit Explore Uptown.
Go to Chinatown for the community’s annual lunar parade and to celebrate this neighborhood’s 106th anniversary. It’s a fun, colorful event featuring lion and dragon dancers, marching bands, floats and Ronald McDonald. The parade starts at 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue at 1 p.m. then goes north on Wentworth and west on Cermak. For more information visit CCC Foundation.