About Michael Flynn

I began my hospitality career in Nashville, TN just over eight years ago. Originally from Baltimore, I had moved down to Nashville to pursue my dream of being a country music superstar. It was there that I found my true talent in being a hospitality rockstar. I am an avid sports fan, and my favorite teams are the Baltimore Ravens and Washington Capitals, however I do find myself cheering for the Bears each Sunday during football season, largely due to the great amount of respect and admiration I have for Jay Cutler. While hospitality is my true passion I do have other interests including crocheting, cycling, and elongated penny collecting. I enjoy spending time with my tea-cup poodle “Cutsy” and hanging out at the 31st Street Harbor. If you see me running around the hotel make sure to say hi!

Comedy – A Must Do!

Just moving to Chicago from the east coast, the greater Washington D.C. Metro area, the expectation for city greatness has been set quite high. For those of you who have traveled to the greater DC area know there are very few cities that can rival the tourists “hoopla” of DC. Over the last six months I have challenged myself to explore and experience everything that the city has to offer. I can honestly say that I have not been disappointed and Chicago is not only a city that rivals but may prove to be a better city for tourists, in my humble opinion.

There are so many great things to do in Chicago, but the one thing that I have found that is unique to Chicago is the Comedy Club Scene. While well known for its exquisite Hot Dogs, Deep Dish pizza and the city’s pride and joy ‘Da Bears, their comedy scene is a hidden treasure that all must experience. Within 5 miles of the Hampton Inn and Suites Downtown Chicago, there are some world famous comedy clubs that has produced some of the world’s most talented funny people.

The Second City is one of the most famous clubs we have in Chicago, providing comedic relief for the masses seven days a week. I first experienced this “Gem” over the Christmas Holiday with my parents. Truly a treat for us all, although my parents and I have very different comedic pallets the stellar cast made the experience both memorable and enjoyable. Producing some of the greats such as Stephen Colbert, Bill Murray, and the blues brothers Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi you know you are in for some good quality fun.

The Second City

The Second City

If you find yourself in the mood for a more intimate setting with some comedy that has some “bite”. Then look no further then The Comedy Bar located in River North. Just a few short blocks from the front doors of the Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago Downtown, there truly isn’t a better deal in the River North area for an evening of entertainment. At $10.00 a ticket you can see some of the most promising new comers to the Comedy Scene. After you are done with the laughs if you feel like busting a move look no further than the bar\club they have on the second floor. Cover included with admission.

The Comedy Bar

The Comedy Bar

There are so many great clubs to just stop in on any given day and catch a laugh or two, so come on down and experience one or two for yourself.

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Streets of Chicago

 

 

“Cities have the capability of providing something for everybody, only because, and only when, they are created by everybody.”

 

― Jane Jacobs, The Death and Life of Great American Cities

 

 

Marina City

 

It wasn’t until moving to Chicago did this ring so true. Until you experience the majesty of street life in a big city, it is hard to truly understand it. You definitely can feel it visiting, you may even notice that there is something different, but can’t quite put your finger on why. I noticed that my vacations from my home town of Memphis were always large cities: Chicago, LA, New York, London… I knew that I wanted to be in the cauldron of street life. Its being part of city life that you are actually shaping the city.

 

The built environment has a lot to with the vibrancy of street life as well. Think of a typical suburban strip mall. There is a lot of activity, but walking down the sidewalk you don’t get a sense of lively cohesion.  One of the most important parts of this built environment in modern North American cities is the Grid.  Chicago is one of the largest cities with a continuous grid throughout the city.

 

River North grid On Google Maps (Hampton Inn & Suites is marked)

Chicago’s grid is 1.3 degrees off true north.  If you travel northbound on a north/south street, you will travel just slightly west.  Not bad for the engineers that laid out the Chicago grid system using 19th century tools. You can actually see this on Google Maps! Take a look at the photo above, Find Chicago Ave in the upper left, notice how it jogs north the further east you go.

 

  • Some things to remember about the Chicago grid:
  • Every 8 Blocks equals 1 Mile & you will find an arterial Street
  • Every 4 Blocks is a major Secondary Street.
  • A Block is about 480 Feet. In downtown with the older blocks, it is closer to 400 feet
  • Even Numbered Addresses are on the West and North sides of each street
  • Odd Numbered Addresses are on the East and South sides of each street
  • Odd Numbered Addresses are on the East and South sides of each street
  • The intersection of State (0) and Madison (0) is the 0 / 0 block. If the original numbering system were done today, I am sure that the 0/0 block would be much further west. There are no east numbers north of North Ave because of Lake Michigan. I don’t think the 19th century planners could even to begin to imagine how much futher the city would grow. The city could only grow west because of the lake!

Look for the Chicago grid when you fly into the city.

 

 

 

 

 

The grid is part of street life in Chicago, but the grid would be nothing without the people that live in work in it. Think of the entrepreneurs with their business ideas, the actors & techs with their art in the theatres, the workers in the shops, the tourist with their cameras, the bar patron enjoys one last beer before getting on the train… The lively street life is why people come to big cities like Chicago. Just walk around River North for a few hours you see it all: world-class architecture (Trump Tower, Wrigley Building, Boyce Building, Marina City), fine dining (Sunda, Sushi Samba), the hippest of hip clubs that as so cool, they don’t even need a sign (Underground) & a lively street scene. This is why Chicago is always sure to surprise. 

 

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Lookingglass’ hit production of The Great Fire has now been extended through December 4th! See my earlier blog post for my review! Go see this show, you have 4 more weeks.

http://blog.hamptonsuiteschicago.com/?p=164

Even better, you can get exclusive  HALF PRICE TICKETS half price tickets for every Thursday 3pm matinee for the rest of the run.  To redeem, simply use code THUMATBOGO when buying online at lookingglasstheatre.org or by phone at 312.337.0665.

Half price, need I say more?

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The Great Fire Chicago of 1871 inspire a play at Lookingglass Theatre

“The Great Fire” is the newest production at The Lookinglass Theatre in the Waterworks Building on Michigan Avenue. If you don’t know, these buildings are just a few of the buildings that were not destroyed by the Great Chicago Fire of 1871. The fire started buying on October 8th, 1871 destroying 4 square miles of Chicago, burning the neighborhoods now known as the Loop, River North, Streeterville, & the Near North. The fire burned the site where the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago – Downtown now stands.

To commemorate the 140th anniversary of that tragedy, Lookinglass member John Musian has reworked his 1999 play. Expecting pure tragedy, I was quite surprised at the many humorous numbers interspersed in the story. That is not to say that this is a lighthearted comedy, at it’s heart the show still tells the story of the fire that claimed hundreds of lives of the young city of Chicago. You will learn the fate of two families: the family of a rich & highly influential judge & poor immigrant family. Needless the say, the fire does not discriminate.  You will learn that the phrase “fiery red-head” will take on a whole new meaning as you see a young redhead as the personification of the fire. She torments her victims with dance, fighting & choking them with smoke. This abstract way to show the fire gives some interest in the story even showing a very interesting “death waltz.”

I would highly recommend this show to history buffs (I learned a few new facts about the fire). The show is even more enjoyable if you are familiar with either the fire of Chicago history. I would say kids as young as 10 would also understand and enjoy the show. Running about an hour & 30 minutes with no intermission, you will be surprised how quickly the show is paced. Through November 20th, you can buy tickets at the Lookingglass Theatre.

Just a 15 minute walk from the hotel, the Water Works & Water Tower are a Chicago landmark are work a look. The Chicago’s Visitor Information Center is even located in the Pump House along with the theatre & the still in use pump, pumping in the city’s drinking water.  The tower is the 2nd oldest waterpower in the US. From a time when public buildings were built not just for their use, but as an icon for civic pride.

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Broadway Playhouse: Great theatre for a Girls’ Night on the Town!

“Love, Loss & What I Wore” is currently playing at the Broadway Playhouse through December 4th, 2011. A group of monologues by women telling how that clothes that they wore affected the memories of their lives. The show starts off quite poignant, describing clothes that have some important meaning in the their lives. I was quite surprised how much I was enjoying the show with these poignant moments. The second half had quite a bit more humor, including at bit called “my first bra.” The humor definitely moved the intermission less show along, but I longed for the stories found earlier in the show. The bra stories were part of the show called “the clothesline” where all 5 women on stay spoke telling their story.

 

I would highly recommend this she for women whether they be fashion concious or not. I would say that the crowd was easily 12 to 1 women to men. I undoubtedly was sure that the men in attendance were the supportive husband that tagged along or the brave soul that surprised his wife with tickets. Perhaps there were some gentlemen, like myself, that were there seeing the show as part of his Broadway In Chicago subscription. I am glad I saw the show, although I would not have without my season tix! This show is also very easy for the non-theatre goer to see since it is a collection of vignettes. The show is about an hour & 40 minutes with no intermission, so keep this in mind when buying drinks beforehand (I had two beers 7 could not make it all the way though)!

 

Playing through December 4, 2011, tickets are $68 & can purchased at Broadway in Chicago  Photos from opening night

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Eat at EATT

Seafood Salad

The Summer Seafood Salad at EATT

Last week I had lunch with Chicago City Clerk Susana Mendoza (susanamendoza.com). One of Clerk Mendoza’s goals when she took office in May of this year was to modernize the way the City Clerk’s office does its business. To do that, her office ran a contest to win lunch with the clerk when Chicago residents to purchase their city stickers online. For those of you not familiar with parking in Chicago, residents must purchase & display a City Sticker on their car to avoid paying a fine… yet another reason to rely on public transit when moving to (or visiting) Chicago! Well I was selected as one of the winners of this contest, how exciting is that?!
Clerk Mendoza, the other winners & I ate at EATT restaurant for lunch (eattchicago.com). EATT is just one block from the hotel at 6 W Hubbard (take a right of the hotel, right onto state st, EATT is on your right). It is one part of Rosebud, the famous restaurant group of Chicago. EATT is a great place to stop in for either lunch or dinner. It has a classic American menu. The chef had a special salad dujour with seafood & sesame crackers. It was quite refreshing for a summer day. In fact, EATT is one the many places to enjoy outdoor dining spring through autumn.


The menu at EATT is varied from an omelet with fries to an “Old School” Porterhouse. Since it is a Rosebud restaurant, they of course have the classic “R-Burger,” the 10oz burger on a pretzel roll. You get all this as well as a full bar. Eatt is at the corner of State & Hubbard just one block from the hotel. Once on Hubbard, you will see the variety of bars & restaurants that are so close… You can spend the rest of your time in Chicago trying them all: Mother Hubbard’s (motherhubbardschicago.com), Theory (theorychicago.com), Vermillion (thevermilionrestaurant.com), Rockit (rockitbarandgrill.com), Howl at the Moon (howlatthemoon.com/locations/location-chicago), O’Callaghan’s (ocallaghanspub.com), Dos Diablos (dosdiabloschicago.com) & Sullivan’s (sullivansteakhouse.com) are all on the 1 block stretch of Hubbard. You can make an entire weekend of patronizing all the bars & restaurants on the entire block!

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