Gwendolyn Ramsey, concierge at the Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, shares her top things to do in Chicago this Memorial Day weekend.
From exploring the historic hub of the city’s Swedish immigrant community at the Swedish American Museum in Andersonville to delving into vegetarian cuisine at its finest at Green Zebra, it’s all here in this short video clip.
Ladies and gentlemen start your pedals!
MB Financial Bank’s Bike the Drive is clearing Lake Shore Drive of cars and opening all lanes for bicyclists on Sunday, May 26th. Strap on your helmets for the 30 mile ride and enjoy the best lakefront and city views Chicago has to offer along the legendary road starting at the intersection of Columbus and Jackson Drive before heading south on Lake Shore Drive.
The ride officially begins at 5:30 a.m., but participants are encouraged to start no later than 7:30 a.m. in order to ensure full opportunity to finish the course, which can be adjusted depending on riding skills. Riders are able to sign up until the day of the race but the sooner you sign up, the more money you save so get your packet now to participate in one of the best rides in the nation.
After bikers cross the finish line, the party will just be getting started at the post-ride festival. Starting at 8 a.m. until 12 p.m. and will feature a delicious breakfast from Goose Island, booths to purchase biking gear and even a performance from rock group Trash Martini. Since the bike ride is for all ages, so is the festival, so don’t leave out the kids who can enjoy Playworks’ Kid Zone.
The fest will be located in Butler Field in Grant Park (between Jackson Boulevard and Monroe Street, Columbus Drive and Lake Shore Drive) which is close to the start/finish line.
It can officially be deemed summer in Chicago now that Millennium Park’s Downtown Sound free concert series has arrived. It all begins this Monday, May 27, at the outdoor Jay Pritzker Pavilion with Sonic Youth member Lee Ranaldo and rock artist Marc Ribot who will feature his latest project titled “Ceramic Dog”.
The free series continues each Monday evening through June 29 with two bands beginning at 6:30 p.m. and has a large lineup of nationally recognized music. Highlights this year include Irish artist Glen Hansard—who won an Oscar for his hit song “Falling Slowly” from the film “Once”—performing on Monday, June 10, and Grammy award-winning folk band Carolina Chocolate Drops performing on June 24. So grab your chairs, blankets, snacks and whatever else you feel necessary and be sure to arrive early in order to snag your spot for some of summer’s greatest live music acts.
But wait! There are even more free concerts at Millennium Park this summer like the Loops and Variations concert series that begins Thursday, June 13, at 6:30 p.m. with two band performing. On almost every Thursday until July 13, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion will also feature newer music mixed by a variety of artists including Dan Deacon, Olafur Arnalds and many more.
Located right off the Belmont Red Line El stop, Lakeview’s streets will be lined starting on Saturday, May 25, with food, drinks, artwork and live performances from infamous cover bands from the likes of Wedding Banned to Trippin Billies!
The fest runs from 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 25, and from 12 p.m. until 10 p.m. on Sunday, May 26. The event is free, though there is a suggested donation which will benefit the Central Lakeview Merchants Association.
The 2013 Lineup includes:
Some might say they cannot dance because they have two left feet, but how about trying to dance if the floor was vertical?
Although this might sound too crazy to be true on May 25, at Navy Pier, you can witness Viennese dancers do just that as they put on a dazzling—yet daring—performance on a vertical stage titled “Vienna From a Different Angle.” The mind-blowing acrobatics will have four performances throughout the day starting at 1 p.m. until 7:30 p.m. all free of charge.
The show will not only make you look at dancing in a different perspective, but also the city of Vienna itself with influences from its modern music all the way to iconic artist Gustav Klimt. If the show is not enough of an Austrian experience, luckily Austrian Airlines has just announced a brand new direct flight from Chicago to Vienna which makes the popular destination that much more accessible.
Even if you do not consider yourself a world traveler—let alone a daredevil—the vertical act is also giving viewers a chance to take a face-first horizontal stroll down the stage itself in between shows. Do you have the guts to do it?
In its fourth year, the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild’s Chicago Craft Beer Week (May 16-26) has more than quadrupled since 2011 with over 250 locations involved this year.
An almost overwhelming amount of events at both new and familiar craft breweries, brewpubs, beer bars and bottle shops will feature special beer releases, tastings, and local chef and brewer collaborations. The lineup is available here.
Highlights this year include:
Enjoy a warm evening out on their patio from now through May 19th and enjoy their succulent Milk and Cookies Sundae on the house from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. The tasty treat is built with homemade chocolate chip cookies (just like moms) and topped with creamy vanilla ice cream and fudge sauce that tastes as sweet as summertime feels.
Located in the Talbott Hotel at 10 E. Delaware St., in the center of the Gold Coast neighborhood, Little Market Brasserie is open all day whether it be for a quick meal, brunch or even a free summer sundae.
Our trusty concierge correspondent, Philippe Gills, shares his top picks for what to do this week in Chicago.
From where to find globally-inspired fare (and over 360 beer taps) on the Magnificent Mile and how to get inside the McCormick Bridgehouse & Chicago River Museum to a Wine and Cheese boat tour with the friendly folks at Wendella – there’s no reason not to get out there and explore all that Chicago has to offer this weekend.
It’s a Sunday in late April. The clock sits directly to the right on your wrist, in the most central of time zones, in the third largest city, in the great U. S. of A. Where are you right now?
I’ll tell you where I am; I’m at the happiest little place in all the Villages, in all of the Ukrainian territory. I’m at a little gem that sits on a quiet corner just East of Damen Avenue and a bit South of Division Street. Maybe you have ridden your bike by it. Or perhaps you blinked past in a very hazy taxi ride home to the Gold Coast. Whatever it is, Happy Village has been patiently waiting for your arrival since the summer after The Beatles recorded their first album and Sandy Koufax and the Los Angeles Dodgers struck out fifteen Yankee batters in Game 1 of the 1963 World Series.
Whether you walked from the #70 bus, or quickly found a street sign to lock your Roadie to, you curiously enter this corner treasure to be greeted with cans of Hamm’s and shots of Jeppson’s Malört in containers reminiscent of sick days on the couch.
The two employees working are carrying a conversation at the end of the rail and, in case you hadn’t had lunch, two warming trays of hot dogs anxiously await your arrival. Speaking of dogs, you’re in luck because Happy Village’s idea of a Happy Hour consists of weekend afternoons kicking it with Man’s Best Friend.
Walk past the bar (no, you’re not entering your weird Uncle’s basement) and your eyes will bask in the glory of the Windy City’s premiere Gnip Gnop parlor, where the black and white wallpaper seems to project from the walls like a Magic Eye painting. And, unlike the Sigma Chi house on campus, there is no beer pong allowed.
On weekend evenings, it is not uncommon to see both tables with standing queues of patrons waiting to play. While it may seem like a friendly affair, do not slouch because the competition is fierce! Either saddle up, or move aside, because Table Tennis has officially been made cool again.
On cold, dark, winter days that Chicago unfortunately has become so accustomed to, sees the end of the majesty of Happy Village. But all that changes when the weather breaks and Happy Village opens its back door, revealing the Greatest Graduation Party in Hipster History. Honestly, the crowd and surroundings are a caricature of themselves. The guy in the now-popular “Canadian Tuxedo” (you know, denim on denim), talking to the hot girl group with two pugs, a chihuahua and half of the Anthropologie catalog between them, with enough neon to light up the space inside Laser Quest, alongside multiple doppelgangers of Noah Bennet, (a.k.a. HRG, from “Heroes”) make this place something out of a commercial for the Pitchfork Music Festival and as awesome as the music video for a ha’s “Take on Me”.
This scene is set against a backdrop of shaded cobblestone, and comfortable lawn furniture, all anchored by a lavish lagoon inset for reflecting and sheltered by canopy.
During the evening friends and neighbors, illuminated by floating orbs above this seemingly secret garden, share stories, fellowship, and perhaps even a casual Euchre contest. The patio is open daily and is commonly referred to as not only one of the best beer garden’s on the west side, but as one of the premiere outdoor drinking establishments this great city has to offer.
Happy Village is a magical place where memories are made, and forgotten, and should be enjoyed by every Chicagoan at some point before we all decide to move back to Michigan or closer to the Ikea in Schaumburg. However you find your way here, please do so and come back often.
About the Author: Sean Patrick Wagner is a concierge at the Wit hotel and contributes to the Chicago Travel Blog each week uncovering hidden gems around town.
The traditional seven minute ride on Navy Pier’s Ferris wheel is not long enough for Chicagoan Clinton Shepherd who will attempt to break the world record for the longest marathon on a fairground or theme park attraction on Friday, May 17. Shepherd’s goal of lasting more than 30 hours on the Ferris wheel will break the current world record of 25 hours and will begin at 2:30 p.m.
As Armed Forces Day falls on the following Saturday, May 18, Shepherd has dedicated his ride to the Armed Forces and his father who was in the U.S. Marines. The military theme will last throughout the weekend with a patriotic Navy Pier firework display in at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday. Military families are also encouraged to spend the weekend at Navy Pier where they will receive free and discounted offers just by grabbing a wristband at the United Service Organization (USO) center. There will also be free refreshments and children’s activities provided by PepsiCo for the military families, and special Pepsi Pack gift bags for the first 250 families to check in at the USO booth located on Navy Pier’s South Dock.
Throughout the Armed Forces festivities, Shepherd will be sitting comfortably in his specialized gondola where he will be accompanied by his television and a PlayStation 3 which will hopefully keep him occupied until 2:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19, where he is scheduled to disembark the Ferris Wheel.
The Ferris wheel will remain open to the public throughout the entire record-breaking spin so individuals are encouraged to come witness history, or even join Shepherd as he brings the record home to Chicago.