With the sun slowly setting on the 2015 summer season, there are only a handful of weekends left to enjoy the beautiful weather among friends, and what better way than some of the last remaining festivals of the season.
Hot Dog Fest
For as long as most anyone can remember, Chicago has been synonymous with superior hot dogs, even donning the Chicago-style hot dog that has become a nationwide success and a Midwest favorite. To celebrate hot dogs and all things bun related, come out to Hot Dog Fest, a newly expanded three-day festival. While the unquestioned star of the festival will be the aforementioned Vienna Beef Chicago-style dog, there will be countless other varieties and styles of hot dog and even many other different types of food to please any visitor made fresh by vendors that will include Chicago Classic, Flashy Hotdogs, Boricua Dog, Chubby Weiners and many more. A wide variety of musical genres will be covered as well in live music featuring headliners, Wedding Banned, Kashmir, and 97 Nine.
Hot Dog Fest will be held August 7 – 9 at 1701 N. Stockton Dr. near the intersection of Clark and LaSalle, it will go from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Sunday and admission to this event is free, for more information go to chicagohotdogfest.com/
Retro on Roscoe
Has nostalgia been getting the best of you lately? This weekend you can take a three-day trip back to the past at the Retro on Roscoe fest in Roscoe Village. Three stages will host musical acts like The Breakfast Club, PJ and Soul, and Eric Lambert, covering oldies and throwbacks as well as today’s hottest jams at this event, which has been referred to as “Generation X heaven” by some. After checking out the music and grabbing a bite to eat from some local restaurant’s that will be in attendance be sure to grab a seat for the Antique and Classic Car and Motorcycle Show. This retro car show will showcase over 50 antique, classic, and muscle cars throughout the festival weekend.
Retro on Roscoe will be August 7 – 9 and is free admission though a small donation is suggested upon entrance to support the community. It will be held on Roscoe St. between 2000 and 2300 and will be open 5 – 10 p.m. on Friday and 12 – 10 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. For more information go to starevents.com/festivals/retro-on-roscoe.
Chicago Bears Family Fest
If you want to get a first look at the 2015 Chicago Bears then come out this Saturday for the Bears Family Fest at Soldier Field when the Bears will give fans an initial glimpse of what the 2015 version of the team will look like. Activities will include alumni autographs, a live band, inflatable games, and food and drink leading up to the chance to watch the Bears practice and scrimmage.
Chicago Bears Family Fest will be on Saturday, August 8 at Soldier Field 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr. from 9:30 a.m. – 1:30 p.m. Tickets will range from $8 – $12 and can be bought online. For more information, go to chicagobears.com/events/family-fest.
Northalsted Market Days
In the bustling and culturally rich neighborhood known as Boystown, this festival is one of the largest outdoor events in the country. Extremely popular in the LGBT community, this Saturday and Sunday event will have live music throughout the day and into the night on two stages featuring acts like En Vogue, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, and Aaron Carter. Attracting talent and visitors from across the country, the Northalsted Market Days have become known for its unique vendors, local art, and craft food and beer. Be sure to come out and shut down the streets of Boystown this weekend with more than 150,000 others at the largest two-day street festival in the Midwest.
The Northalsted Market Days will be this Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Halsted Street between Belmont and Addison. Admission to the event is free however a $10 donation is suggested upon entrance, for more information on the event, go to northalsted.com/pages/northalsted_market_days__2015/.
Home to the Chicago Cubs, and one of the Windy City’s most popular neighborhoods, Wrigleyville is always happening and lively and this weekend will be no different with Wrigleyville Summerfest. Featuring all the usual suspects, the event will offer craft beers on tap paired with delicious local vendors selling their favorite savory treats. Headliner acts Too White Crew and Hairbanger Ball will ring in both days of the two-day event.
Wrigleyville Summerfest will be this Saturday from 12 p.m. — 10 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. at 3300 N. Seminary Ave. Admission to the event is free, however a $5 donation is suggested at the gate. For more information on Wrigleyville Summerfest, go to starevents.com/festivals/wrigleyville-summerfest.
The Chicago Cubs take on the Milwaukee Brewers Saturday, May 17 and instead of just catching the game and heading back to the hotel why not explore everything Wrigleyville has to offer. Hop on the Red Line, get off at Addison, and get ready to explore Cubs Land.
2014 marks the 100th birthday of one of Chicago’s iconic landmarks: Wrigley Field. The ballpark has been commemorating the occasion with throwback uniforms, retro toys, specialty foods, performances, and entertainment. Get a behind the scenes look with their daily tour. On game days you don’t get a look at the club houses but you do get to check out the seating bowl, bleachers, indoor batting cage, and the field. Along the way learn cool fun facts you can drop on friends like that until 2003 Wrigley Field held the record for the most NFL games played in a single stadium? If you just said out loud, “Wait, what,” then check out the tour to learn more.
Wrigley Field Tour
1060 W. Addison St.
So you probably only had orange juice before your Wrigley Field tour and at this point you’re starving. Head down the block to enjoy a fried egg, applewood smoked bacon, cheddar cheese, tomato, spinach for brunch. Of course, you’ll be tempted to have one Rockit Burger Bar’s amazing black angus burgers. If you want to continue with the breakfast theme get the Huevos Rancheros burger, which comes with a black angus patty, fried egg, chihuahua cheese, corn tortilla strips, roasted salsa roja, jalapeño aioli all served with curly fries. Why not wash it down at their Bloody Mary bar?
Rockit Burger Bar
3700 N. Clark St.
You got a behind-the-scenes look, and now it’s time to see Wrigley Field in its element. With Milwaukee being under two hours away it’s inevitable that the Brewers are a rival of the Chicago Cubs. It also doesn’t help that the Brewers lead the National League Central Division and the Cubs are in last place. The Cubs are just in a slump and it might take the energy of this rivalry to turn it around, but what has always made Wrigley special is that it doesn’t matter how the Cubs are doing because the fans are always passionate. Its hard to beat sitting in history.
Chicago Cubs v. Milwaukee Brewers
1060 W. Addison St.
If you couldn’t get tickets to the game don’t worry because Cubs games don’t just happen at Wrigley Field; they happen all over Wrigleyville. If you’re the type that screams at the television and think you can bat better than the professionals then you might want to check out Sluggers. Along with a great beer selection, party atmosphere, and countless televisions, Sluggers houses batting cage upstairs. Yes, alcohol and batting cages don’t seem like a good idea until you step into the batters box at Sluggers and ask why more sports bars don’t do the same.
If you’re looking for a place with an outdoor space then head over to Casey Moran’s. Not only do they have an outdoor beer garden but they also have a rooftop Ivy Lounge that overlooks Wrigleyville. With this beautiful weather it’s hard to say no to that.
3540 N. Clark St.
3660 N. Clark St.
The activities aren’t over, but pace yourself you party animal. Head back to your hotel, take a shower, close your eyes for a few minutes, and change for the night ahead.
The best way to start up your night after a restful nap is with some laughs and ComedySportz has that with a twist. Instead of the typical improv show, The ComedySportz Theatre makes their show interactive by making it part of a game. The performers are separated into two different teams and the team that gets the most laughs out of the audience wins. The content is friendly for all ages so if you have children 7 years old and up feel free to bring them along.
The ComedySportz Theatre
929 W. Belmont Ave.
After spending all day in a t-shirt with beers, it’s nice to get a little gussied up and grab some cocktails at Deuce’s & The Diamond Club. Take the escalator up to the Diamond bar and relax on their comfortable couches sipping on a Deuce’s Sidecar, and if you need a bite to eat try their pulled pork or Cuban sandwich. Head out to the balcony with your friends and loved ones and take a look at the neighborhood you just conquered.
Deuce’s & The Diamond Club
3505 N. Clark St.
Normally Wrigleyville is a haven for all those who bleed “cubbie blue” or anyone wandering down Clark Street looking for a nice adult refreshment. This weekend, however, it’s hosting its annual Wrigleyville SummerFest which begins Saturday, August 3rd, in the infamous northern neighborhood.
From rockers to rappers, dancers to deacons, all will be featured at this year’s festival. The weekend lineup is filled with a variety of performances from local artists including Too White Crew and Hairbangers Ball as the headliners. On Sunday be sure to join the worshiping sponsored by Bethel Lutheran Church on Seminary Avenue at 11 a.m. (perhaps for the sinning you plan to do at the festival, like indulging in Fannie May candies). The food vendors are set to provide a plethora of food from some of the neighborhood’s popular digs like John Barleycorn and Moe’s Cantina alongside local vendors. Bring the little ones as well to the Kids’ Zone which has 26’ slide, obstacle course, face painting and more.
The festival begins on 12 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday and ends on Sunday from 12 p.m. to 9 p.m at 3300 N. Seminary Avenue. There is a $5 suggested donation with proceeds benefitting local organizations and ministries. For more information visit www.wrigleyvillesummerfest.com.
Looking for a fun distraction that takes you away from the already photographed skyscrapers of Chicago’s downtown? If so then find time to head over to SausageFest Chicago in the Lake View neighborhood this Saturday and Sunday (June 15th and 16th), where a catalog of macho meats await.
Returning for its third year, SausageFest Chicago hosts an arrangement of exclusive vendors that continue to display their craftsmanship in an open market setup. Masters in every sense of the word, these retailers will best any stomach.
Known by its association with the historic Wrigleyville area, SausageFest Chicago is accessible by taking the Red Line to the “Addison” stop on the CTA’s “L” system. Hopeful attendees/commuters will find themselves enticed by the hints of smoke coming from West Addison Street. Live entertainment is also included, providing a backdrop to the sizzling grills. These sights and sounds, coupled with some tickets to the exciting matchup between the Cubs and Mets this weekend, make for a unique evening in Wrigleyville.
For those feeling a bit more masculine than the rest of us, the title for “Sausage King of Chicago” is up for grabs and is fit with an entire crowning ceremony. The title encourages at both times boasting and appreciation among only the most serious of meat lovers. In some respects it has the ability to rival even the most deserving of awards.
Let it all go once in a while. This weekend allow yourself to indulge in the likes of kielbasa, polish sausages, BBQ pork, hot dogs, roasted duck and the rest that are sure to be as hearty as you are faithful in being a carnivore. The ridiculousness that is sure to ensue and the comfort of taking it easy for a day in Wrigleyville make SausageFest Chicago worthwhile. Running from noon to 10 p.m. the festivities should be convenient and rewarding for families, friends and even the occasional passerby.
Get ready for the first pitch of the season on the North Side on Thursday, April 5, as the Chicago Cubs take on the Washington Nationals at the Friendly Confines. Whether you’re looking to pre-game, post-game or just kick back a while watching outside the ballpark, here’s a roundup of local spots that bleed Cubbie blue.
The Cubby Bear: This venue, located right across the street from Wrigley Field, is a great spot to hang out or have a post-game party. Enjoy live music or watch the game on one of their five projection screen TVs or 75 plasma TVs throughout the bar. It’s ensured that you won’t miss any part of the action. And, hey, you’re just a long foul ball’s distance from the ballpark; so the atmosphere can’t be beat.
The Sports Corner: This tavern and grill has been a neighborhood favorite since opening 1976. Enjoy a nice draft and a burger fresh off of the grill while you take in 9-innings and welcome the spring/summer season!
Vines on Clark: For a more intimate spot to watch the game, head up to Vines on Clark. They have an outside patio and a spacious dining room dotted with flat screen TVs, this offers up a less pub-like game-watching experience.
Casey Moran’s: They guarantee no bad seat in the house – sounds like a reason to take in the game to me! Watch the game on their 30, 52-inch plasma TVs throughout the entire bar and even out on their garden café. Hungry? Casey Moran’s offers up juicy burgers, cold salads, and even sushi!
Rebel: If you’re feeling rebellious and want a great nightlife experience after the game, this is the place to be. Rebel Bar and Grill is a year-round destination that features daily food and drink specials, private party rooms, and excellent service! Head there after the game to loosen up and dance!
Benchmark: Located in Old Town, this chic tavern is Chicago’s “first convertible beer garden”, meaning that the highlight of this venue is its fully-retractable roof. There are 46 TVs, so you won’t miss any of Dempster’s pitches!
Kirkwood: This is a one-of-a-kind bar offering plenty of seating on their expansive patio (complete with TVs) and cozy, shady spots courtesy of their trees and umbrellas. If you’re with a group of friends, you’re in luck! Kirkwood has sharable drinks and dishes like fishbowls and skillet cookies!
Schoolyard Bar: Head to Lakeview for upscale bar food and catch the game inside or out in this cozy, small bar. Got the kids in tow? No worries! This is a family-friendly destination, so bring them along!
Rockit Ranch Productions recently announced the transformation of Rockit Wrigley to Rockit Burger Bar, taking place on the Chicago Cubs Opening Day on April 5.
It’s also perfect timing for the expansion of Rockit’s burger selection, having recently received best burger praise from “Good Morning America”, among others. Chef Amanda Downing welcomes the new season—and new menu—by indulging patrons with mouth-watering gourmet burgers of all kinds!
Sink your teeth into creative burgers like Downing’s “The Hottie” made with breaded, cream cheese-stuffed peppers on top of a patty with pepper jack cheese and ghost pepper aioli or the “Johnny Apple Burger” featuring gala apples, melted brie, apple wood-smoked bacon and pecan aiolito.
Rockit Burger Bar’s hours: Tuesday-Thursday from 5 p.m. to 12 a.m.; Friday from 5 p.m. to 2 a.m.; Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 a.m.; and Sunday from 10:10 a.m. to close. Weekend brunch will be available Saturday and Sunday from 10:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Rockit Burger Bar will also open two hours prior to every Cubs home game.
Casey Moran’s, at 3660 N. Clark St., will be hosting Casey’s Country Night every Friday starting in November. The tavern will have DJs playing the best country music, and better yet they will take requests. You can sing along to country favorites with everyone at the bar on a Friday night in Chicago’s Wrigleyville neighborhood.
Other than the music, Casey Moran’s has some deals, too. Pabst Blue Ribbon tall boys are $3, and Jeremiah Weed Lemonades and Wild Turkey Shots are $5.
And you can take part (by either entering or judging) in the “Best Lookin’ Cowgirl” contest, where winners will receive free parties and gift certificates. But really, everyone who attends Country Night will be a winner for those contests.
Casey Moran’s has a very eclectic menu, with standard pub fare like burgers, wraps and sandwiches, but they also have Panini and sushi. The tavern has drink specials on Thursdays and Saturdays as well, plus they have thirty 52-inch plasma TVs, an outdoor bar and rooftop garden (weather permitting).
While it seems that other Major League teams are moving into a new stadium every few decades, the Chicago Cubs have been playing ball at Wrigley Field since 1916. Unlike the other sterile, brand new, state-of-the-art ballparks, Wrigley has an inordinate amount of charm and history.
And you can take it all in with a behind-the-scenes tour.
Wrigley Field Tours will be running through the end of October, virtually every day. Tours are held rain or shine, and whether or not the Cubs have a home game that day. On most September days, sessions mainly occur every hour from around 9 or 10 a.m. to 3 or 4 p.m. October is a little different, as there will only be two or three tours per weekday, mostly in the afternoons. Weekends will still have hourly tours most days from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The full schedule is available on Cubs.com.
For $25 (or less, if you attend with a group of 20 or more), you will get to see everything that makes Wrigley special. The 75-minute session lets fans see the Cubs clubhouse, visiting clubhouse, press box, bleachers, dugouts, on-deck circles and a part of the field. Wearing a Cubs jersey and reliving dreams of being Ryne Sandberg is optional.
The tours are a hit (no pun intended). Visitors love stepping on the field, and, as Samantha Morris, the Coordinator of Tour Experiences says, “being able to sit in the same dugout where Ernie Banks did, stepping in the same on-deck circle just like Aramis Ramirez and taking in Wrigley from the best vantage point around is usually a once in a lifetime experience.”
Ironically, the most unique part of the tour is going into the visitors’ clubhouse, where the likes of Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Vince Lombardi’s Green Bay Packers, Paul McCartney and Elton John have prepared for their baseball game, football game, or concert.
In fact, it’s not impossible for some real major leaguers to be present on game day. Tour groups may see broadcasters getting ready on game days, and you just may see players getting their cuts in the batting cage before the first pitch.
The tour involves a good deal of walking (1.5 miles) with parts of it outdoors, so dress accordingly. Cameras and video cameras are acceptable for personal use.
Guests are encouraged to buy their tickets in advance, and one can do that by ordering from Cubs.com, calling 800-THE-CUBS, or visiting the Wrigley Field Box Office at the ballpark.
Complementary parking is available for tour guests on non-game days in the purple lot on the southeast corner of Clark Street and Waveland Avenue. The best way to get to the park by public transportation is to take the Red Line to the Addison stop, or the Brown Line to the Southport stop and walk a few blocks northeast to the park.
One of the latest additions to the Wrigleyville landscape, Club 162 (3551 N. Sheffield Ave.) will be broadcasting the much-anticipated bout as Manny Pacquiao defends his welterweight belt against former champion Shane Mosley on Saturday, May 7 at 8 p.m. CST.
Boasting 53 high definition televisions, including an impressive 10-foot-screen, Club 162 will open their doors at 7:30 p.m. The $15 cover charge includes one complimentary drink and half priced appetizers throughout the night. Club 162 will accept table reservations for groups (there is a $125 minimum per table).
Located just a stone’s throw from Wrigley Field, the Chicago Cubs will be playing an afternoon game against the Cincinnati Reds, so make sure to reserve your table now by calling 773-327-7800.
You’ll never look at a box of mac & cheee the same way again. In fact after Mac Madness Week at Rockit Bar & Grill, you will gain an entirely new appreciation for this universal comfort food.
Beginning March 14th and coinciding for March Madness Week, the second annual Mac Madness kicks off with Chef James Gottwald and Chef De Cuisine Amanda Downing concocting delicious variations of this baked pasta and cheesy delight for every day of the week.
Expect to see unique variations like French Onion Mac, with caramelized onions and Gruyere cheese; Oyster Mac-a-Fella, with creamed spinach, fried oysters and pecorino; and in lieu of St. Patrick’s Day, Rockit will be serving up Corned Beef & Cabbage Mac, with Irish Cheddar and whiskey mustard cream.
Mac Madness runs from March 14 through 18 at Rockit’s River North location (22 W. Hubbard Street) and from March 17-19 at the Wrigleyville location (3700 N. Clark Street).