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VIDEO: Spencer’s Jolly Posh, “Brigadoon,” & Chicago Cut

Posted on July 31st, 2014 by

Karen Farmer, concierge at the Four Seasons Chicago, is this week’s concierge correspondent and shares her top three things to do in Chicago. Check out the short video clip, below, to see what she recommends.

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Only One Month Left of Navy Pier Fireworks

Posted on July 30th, 2014 by


Where has the summer gone? How did August get here so quick? It’s time to savor every warm moment and Navy Pier’s fireworks are a must every Wednesday and Saturday night.

Navy Pier’s summer fireworks are truly spectacular and light up the night sky high above Navy Pier all summer long. The Navy Pier fireworks are accompanied by music and there are numerous vantage points along the pier to take in the experience.

Be sure to check the schedule for additional shows added throughout the year. Whether viewing from the dock or on-board an evening cruise, fireworks is the perfect way to end your day at Navy Pier!

2014 Summer Fireworks at Navy Pier Schedule*

  • Wednesday, July 30: 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 2: 10:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 6: 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 9: 10:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug.13: 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug.16: 10:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 20: 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 23: 10:15 p.m.
  • Wednesday, Aug. 27: 9:30 p.m.
  • Saturday, Aug. 30: 10:15 p.m.

*Schedule subject to change or cancellation

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James Brown Tribute Night at The Back Room

Posted on July 30th, 2014 by

BR James Brown Tribute Night Flyer 4x6-1

So you couldn’t get or can’t afford Lollapalooza tickets and now your sad. Wake up. This is Chicago, and you can catch great music every night of the week all across the city. Let the hip kids sweat it out in the heat while you enjoy some cool classics.

To coincide with the release of the biopic “Get on Up,” The Back Room will be hosting a James Brown tribute night. The Godfather of Soul’s influence on music is still felt today and you can learn all about it watching the biopic, but if you really want to understand the intricacy, power, and earth-shattering groove then you have to listen to his music live and get on the good foot.

To give life to James Brown’s music The Back Room has enlisted Euphony Band who are known to do excellent covers and can play on the one just like James Brown liked it.

The tribute will take place Friday, Aug. 1 at The Back Room located at 937 N. Rush Street. Doors open at 8 p.m. and the show starts at 9:30 p.m. If you arrive before 9 p.m. the entrance is free and after 9 p.m. it is $20. Visit for more information and how to get discounted advance tickets.

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There’s Still Time for Lollapalooza Tickets!

Posted on July 29th, 2014 by


Seeing the sets begin to go up in Grant Park is the final sign that Chicago’s biggest festival of the summer is right around the corner. With 138 bands in the line up and after party shows scheduled all around the city, music enthusiasts buy their weekend passes months in advance for this three day festival, August 1-3, and each year the hype grows. However, if you weren’t one of the lucky few who made it to the purchasing stage the day tickets went on sale, it doesn’t mean all hope is lost.

Abandoning print passes and hard tickets, all admittance to this years Lollapalooza will be monitored by wristbands; so, if you’re taking to resale ticket websites to grab a pass, keep this in mind. Stubhub, Craigslist, and VIP tickets are places to visit if you’re looking for last minute tickets to this weekend’s event, and prices can range from $299- $450 for a three day pass, and $100- $200 for a one day pass.

With an event that is so largely popular, and the high demand for tickets, unfortunately something you must be sure to look out for is ticket fraud. Lollapalooza’s website warns against using ticket resale websites, saying if you want “100% confidence, you must purchase passes at every time.” Some businesses, like Connie’s Pizza, are giving away tickets. However, when it’s just days before the festival begins and the official website is all sold out, broker ticket sites are sometimes the only option. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when visiting Stubhub or any other site to purchase tickets:

  1. If a wristband has been worn and removed, it is automatically voided. Sometimes people who can’t attend just one day of the festival will try to sell their wristband for that day, but if you buy a removed or tampered with wristband you will not be able to attend. Security will be checking for wristband tampering each day, and being suspected can get you escorted out.
  2. Wristbands are the only ticket option available. As mentioned before, Lollapalooza is no longer doing print passes or hard tickets, so if someone tries to sell you anything other than a wristband: do not buy it.
  3. Be wary of Craigslist. Many people take to Craigslist when searching for Lollapalooza tickets in the hope of finding a cheaper option than what is offered on Stubhub, but Craigslist also allows for a higher risk of buying a fake ticket. If Stubhub or VIP Tickets prices are a little too high for your budget, try checking Facebook for friends or friends of friends selling tickets. Sometimes the cheapest and safest way to get tickets is through a friend you know who just can’t make it to the show.

Lollapalooza is a Chicago experience, and has blown up to be one of the most nationally popular music festivals in just the last 4 years. This years line up includes big names like Eminem, Outkast, Kings of Leon, Skrillex, Lorde and the Arctic Monkeys in addition to smaller up and comers like Pretty Little Demons, The Q Brothers and Ryan Beatty.

For day by day lineups, schedules and information on all things Lolla visit:


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VIDEO: HotTix, SummerDance, & Farmers Markets

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by

Sheila Garg, concierge at the Hard Rock Hotel Chicago, is this week’s concierge correspondent and shares her top three picks for things to do around town.

  • From the iconic Steppenwolf and Goodman theaters to Chicago’s non-equity storefront companies, HotTix makes the city’s myriad productions accessible through half-price tickets for same day and future performances.
  • Chicago SummerDance features free dance lessons in Grant Park, followed by awesome live bands and an open dance floor every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday during the summer. This weekend features Brazilian rhythms and a House music night, both of which are sure to get you moving.
  • We may be a big city, but we’re still the Midwest and we’re surrounded by great farms. Farmers Markets are held all over the city. From the Green City Market to the four downtown staples, here’s a look at Sheila’s favorite farm-fresh finds.

Looking for additional ideas from Sheila? Check out her feature story on how to cycle through the Second City and what stops to hit along the way.

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Beer Camp Across America Rolls Through Chicago

Posted on July 23rd, 2014 by


Calling it the “largest craft beer celebration in history,” Sierra Nevada kicked off their Beer Camp Across America tour last Saturday and is bringing the hops to Navy Pier on Sunday, July 27. 

In addition to their 12 collaboration brewers, Sierra Nevada has invited every craft brewer in nine Midwest states ranging from Wisconsin to Kentucky, tallying up to over 600 brewers for their Midwest addition. Chicago is the 4th city of seven that will be hosting the tour, which started in Chico, California, and will end at its final destination in Mills River, North Carolina. Beer Camp Across America has over 2,800 brewers involved nationally, and aims to be the perfect space to bring together brewers and the fans that have helped them thrive.

Craft beer enthusiasts, or anyone 21 and up looking to try new things this Sunday, can purchase tickets online for the festival at Navy Pier for $65. Tickets include tons of beer to try, a commemorative tasting glass, and live music. In addition, for those responsible types in your group, a discounted “designated driver” ticket is also available for $30, which allows entry into the festival, but does not give access to any of the beer tasting. All ID’s are checked at the door. 

If while at the festival on the Pier you begin to wish the fun would never end, grab some friends, load up the truck and hit the road with Sierra Nevada’s season festival pass for $400. Yes, three of the seven festivals will have already ended, but there are still three to go!

Proceeds of Beer Camp Across America benefit the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild to keep craft brewing alive and well. For more information on the festival and to purchase tickets visit:


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Frank Lloyd Wright Trust presents “Wright Around Oak Park”

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by

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Frank Lloyd Wright left his architectural mark all over the city of Chicago, but Oak Park is the place he called home.

Now offering their most exclusive tour, Frank Lloyd Wright Trust presents “Wright Around Oak Park.” This three-hour comprehensive tour presents Wright’s development as an architect, as a personal interpreter leads intimate group sizes through the Wright Home and Studio, on an expanded tour of the neighborhood where the architect lived and worked—including stops outside seven Wright residences—and on a tour of his greatest public building of the Prairie period: Unity Temple.


Starting in Wright’s Home and Studio, visitors have the opportunity to learn more about Wright as a person, an architect, and a family man. Walking through the house he designed for his wife and children, tour guides offer an inside look into how the family lived, and how the architectural design choices, such as his functionality principles and dedication to compression and expansion of space, fit their life. Beyond learning why Wright chose to build a piano into a wall so that it’s body hung above the stairs, guides also provide interesting facts on his life such as how Wright helped shape his children’s imagination with block toys, and how much Catherine “Kitty” Wright enjoyed sitting on her balcony each morning.

After the home and studio tour, the three hour exploration takes a short 15 minute break before adventuring down the streets of Oak Park. Beginning with four Wright-designed homes just next door and across the street from his own, visitors will get to see examples of Wright’s design principles, material use, and even the Japanese influence on his designs; although, as the guides joke, Wright swore any connection to Japanese style must have been something learned from him.

Finally the tour concludes with an exterior and interior look at Unity Temple. A National Historic Landmark since 1970, this is the last surviving public building from Wright’s prairie period. Promising to create a bold design on a modest budget, which in true Wright fashion he did not stick to, Wright created a unique concrete space that, despite doubt from a board member who resisted the design, offers great natural lighting and even better acoustics.  Unity Temple was Wright’s contribution to modern architecture and as he remarked it made “an entirely new architecture, and is the first expression of it.”  Unity Temple is currently beginning the process of restoration, giving tour participants the opportunity to hear some of the restoration decisions and plans while they explore the building.

Optimized-afterlight (1)“Wright Around Oak Park” tours are offered Monday through Saturday at 9:30 a.m. and begin at the gift shop of the Wright Home and Studio. Ticket prices are $65 for members, and $70 for non-members, and include special discount coupons to Oak Park restaurants to use for lunch after the tour ends. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone ahead of time and picked up at the gift shop before the tour begins, which participants are recommended to arrive 15 minutes early to. Those interested in taking this tour should keep in mind that the three hour tour requires being on your feet for the majority of the time, but know the inside look is well worth it.

For more information on “Wright Around Oak Park” and to purchase tickets visit:


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The Taste of Lincoln Avenue is Back!

Posted on July 22nd, 2014 by


Those who are already missing the Taste of Chicago have something to look forward to this weekend as the annual Taste of Lincoln Avenue returns to Lincoln Park with live music, a kids carnival, and the Lill Street Craft Fair.

Save the dates July 26 and 27 to head up to North Lincoln Avenue between Fullerton and Wrightwood to catch music acts from The Gin Blossoms, Rusted Root, Trippin Billies, 16 Candles, and many more. Between three stages of over 25 music performances, you’ll be able to munch on tastes from more than 250 vendors before heading over to Lill Street to check out handmade and DIY crafts at the fair.

Kid’s fun won’t be in short supply from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. at the Kid’s Carnival, where tickets can be purchased to play games and participate in crafts and activities throughout the day, including inflatables, pony rides, magicians, and more. Entering the carnival through the Halsted entrance is free, but those who enter from any other entrance will be asked to give a small donation, giving parents the perfect opportunity to give back to the community while their kids run around on a Saturday afternoon. Win win!

The Taste is open from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. both days and admission is $8 at the gate. As their annual fundraiser, all admission proceeds will  benefit the Wrightwood Neighbors Association, who have been hosting this event since 1984 in order to benefit schools, outreach programs, and food pantries in the area. If you’re interested in being more involved in this event and giving back to the community, the Neighbors Association is still looking for volunteers. Sign up online here to get  free admission, a t-shirt, and the community’s gratitude in exchange for a few hours of your time.

For more information on the Taste of Lincoln Avenue and a lineup of the performances check out:

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Concierge Picks: High Five Ramen, Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen, Caffe Oliva

Posted on July 15th, 2014 by


Our director of concierge relations and services Joyce Fong is this week’s concierge correspondent and shares her top picks for this weekend.

Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen is all about fresh-casual. They didn’t follow the trend; they started it. With a focus on fresh, local and housemade their approach to customizing your dining experience is truly a delight. From traditional burgers and sandwiches – the tuna sandwich is truly #1 – you will also find crisp salads and gelato sandwiches. Want a little spirit to go with that sandwich? They have a full bar too. Their newest location in River North welcomes you with a clean open atmosphere and deliciousness. Think of Doc B’s as an extension of your own kitchen – comfortable, flavorful, and fresh!
Doc B’s Fresh Kitchen River North
55 E. Grand Ave., Chicago, IL

It is summer and everyone gravitates to outdoor seating as much as possible. Consider Caffe Oliva at Ohio Street Beach. You will see the wooden gazebo-like structure as you walk or ride your bike along the lakefront path. Settle in and wait for casual delicious food to grace your table. Open daily with brunch on Saturdays and Sundays the menu ranges from grass-fed beef and lamb burgers to salads and flatbreads to some very adult treats.
Caffe Oliva
Ohio Street Beach, Chicago, IL

Wait in line? Never! Unless it is for some of the best ramen noodles in town. Advocates of fresh ramen, tasty miso and fresh ingredients will wait for over an hour to slurp down a bowlful at High Five Ramen. Just west of Halsted on Green St. at Randolph, the aromas waft through the door enticing you and teasing you into ordering more than you r stomach can handle. Don’t worry. A bowlful is filling and, oh, so satisfying – spicy or not. Once you get through the door, grab a stool and enjoy. A little hidden but worth the wait!
High Five Ramen
112 N. Green St., Chicago, IL

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Discover the Dinosaurs!

Posted on July 14th, 2014 by


Starting today, Navy Pier is going Jurassic with “Discover the Dinosaurs,” an interactive exhibit that promises fun for the whole family.

All ages can explore pre-historic life through discovery and interactive activities that include a Dino Dig, Dino coloring station, and scavenger hunt in addition to the main exhibit. However, the main exhibit is sure to be enough to entertain even the most “educational activity resistant” in your group with dinosaur replicas that come to life with movement and sound, all controlled by you! Visitors will learn about the Dino they control as they make it move, breathe, and even roar to life. The entire exhibit includes 40 moving and static museum quality dinosaur replicas playing out scenes from a day in the life of a dinosaur, and aims to be a hands on learning opportunity for those interested in all things Jurassic.

Spend the entire day at Navy Pier Hall B and escape the hot sun with this all indoor event, which will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. With a purchase of an exhibit plus ticket visitors will have access to unlimited dinosaur rides, inflatables, and even mini golf on top of all the activities included in an exhibit only ticket. Activities also offered include gem and fossil mining, and children’s face painting, which tickets must be purchased separately for.

For more information on “Discover the Dinosaurs” and ticket pricing visit:

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