Baby, It’s Cold Outside!

Winters in Chicago have a bad reputation. Even Bravo made a reality show called “100 Days of Summer,” which follows 6 hard working Chicagoans who have less than 3 months to accomplish their personal and professional goals before the brutal winter approaches. Apparently after summer ends and the first snowflake falls, the city and the people living in it go into hibernation. This perception couldn’t be more false. Actually, winters in Chicago give us time to focus on our goals, boost our motivation, and challenges us to find the perfect balance between staying warm and looking trendy. So don’t let the TV shows and weather reports scare you from traveling to this beautiful city during the winter months. Below is a list of activities and events you can experience while visiting ChiBeria:
Chicago Restaurant Week – January 24-February 6th – Everyone loves a deal, especially when it comes to dining out in Chicago. Make your reservations now to enjoy a pre-fixed lunch or dinner menu at one of 286 finest restaurants’. Reservations must be made in advance. Check out http://www.choosechicago.com/things-to-do/dining/chicago-restaurant-week for the Restaurant Week lineup this year.
Chicago Auto Show- February 8th – 17th- If you are looking for a fun indoor activity, check out the 2014 Auto Show at McCormick Place. You will get to “oh and ah” at all of the newest cars that are so hot right now. Don’t miss out; go get your tickets to the car show.

Auto Show

Auto Show

Ice-skating in Millennium Park- Late November to March 10am-8pm- You don’t have to be a Chicago Blackhawk to twirl around at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink at Millennium Park. It is a fun, exhilarating, activity for families, friends, or even a date night. It is free if you bring your own skates and $10 for rentals.

Millenium Park

Millenium Park

Museum Free Days- January & February- If you want to stay warm and toasty during your time in Chicago, check out the Shedd Aquarium, Field Museum, Art Institute, and Museum of Science and Industry to see when their free admission days are. There is nothing better than a free education.

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

 
If you have a love for the arts, come see the following shows that are running January – March:

Phantom of the Opera: Cadillac Palace Theater- January 6th – March 3rd
Disney on Ice: Allstate Arena and United Center January 22nd – February 9th
The Joffery Ballet: Auditorium Theater February 16th – March 12th
Chicago- The Musical: Bank of America Theater February 25th – March 2nd
Rock of Ages: Bank of America Theater March 11th – March 16th
Joseph & the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat : Cadillac Palace Theater March 18th – March 30th

For a full list of productions in Chicago, visit http://www.chicago-theater.com

Chicago is still a wonderful place to visit, even if it is under snow. So pack your snowsuit and stay with us in one of our warm and toasty king or double bed rooms. To make a reservation, please call 312-832-0330. We will have the hot chocolate waiting for you!

Share

It’s Electric!

It’s time to say goodbye to the hot and humid summer and say hello to the cool crisp fall. It is also time to retire the excuse “it’s too hot to run” like I have used on numerous occasions this year. Chicago has a reputation for its “hustle and bustle.” In this lively city you will always see someone running the lakefront, biking on a Divvy, or training for one of the many races hosted throughout the year. Normally on Friday night I like to grab a nice end of the week beverage, make some dinner, and sit on my couch watching a Redbox movie. This particular Friday was the complete opposite of my normal routine.
On September 6th I ran in the Electric Nighttime Run, which was hosted at McCormick Place. This 5K course was illuminated with laser light shows and glowing trees that changed color to the beat of club music. It was an electric wonderland with the runners dressed head to toe with glowing necklaces, flashing sunglasses, bright neon outfits, and slathered in glow in the dark body paint. I was on a sensory overload, which made the 3 mile run seem effortless. At the finish line, you walk into what looks like a nightclub, but during the day is exhibit space at McCormick Place. Local DJ’s kept the party going while the runners danced the night away. Words can’t describe how much fun we had, so feel free to check out the video and prepare to be electrified:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQhChpneq3U
If you are interested in being a part of this psychedelic experience, registration will begin next July-August. This run is sponsored by Neff and Rock Star Energy Drink, who partner with the Special Olympics Chicago.

Electric Nighttime Run

Electric Nighttime Run

Listed below are some upcoming fun runs happening in Chicago. You can also find out more information by visiting this website: http://www.runguides.com/Chicago/runs . Now go and get your run on!

Electric Nighttime Run

Electric Nighttime Run

September 15, 2013 Talkie Trot 5k, Other
September 15, 2013 Bucktown 5k 5k
September 19, 2013 Oktoberfest 5k 5k
September 28, 2013 Chicago AIDS Run and Walk 5k
September 28, 2013 Crosstown Classic 10k
September 28, 2013 North Shore Turkey Trot 5k, 10k
September 29, 2013 The Color Run Chicago Fun Run
October 6, 2013 Comer Kid’s Classic 5k
October 13, 2013 Bank of America Chicago Marathon Marathon
October 19, 2013 St. Eugene Trot n Treat 5K 5k, Other
October 20, 2013 Chicago Monster Dash 5k, 10k, Half-marathon
October 26, 2013 Pumpkins in the Park 5K 5k
October 26, 2013 Halloween Hustle 5k 5k
October 27, 2013 Thriller in Schiller 5k
November 3, 2013 Hot Chocolate 15k/5k Chicago 5k, 15k
November 9, 2013 Chicago’s Perfect 10 10k, Other
November 28, 2013 Chicago 8K Turkey Chase 8k
November 28, 2013 Chicago Edison Park Turkey Trot 5k
November 28, 2013 Lifetime Turkey Day 5K 5k
November 30, 2013 Chicago Grant Park Turkey Trot 5k
December 7, 2013 Chiller 5k and 10k 5k, 10k
December 15, 2013 Rudolph Ramble 8k 8k, Other
January 1, 2014 Commitment Day 5k Chicago 5k
January 12, 2014 Chicago Polar Dash 5k, 10k, Half-marathon
February 2, 2014 Chi-Town Big Game 5k and 10k 5k, 10k

Share

Feeling HOT – HOT – HOT

This week in Chicago the temperatures are scorching and the humidity is full force. Not to sound dramatic, but a snow storm sounds nice right about now. I guess it is safe to say, it is summer time in Chicago.

Even though the heat is on, it doesn’t stop people from coming to this beautiful city to catch some rays at the beach, check out some festivals, and lounge around on a rooftop or patio.

Here is a list of neighborhood music and food festivals going this weekend. So ladies, throw your hair in a sock bun and boys rock your board shorts, because there is a lot of fun things happening in Downtown Chicago.
TASTE OF RIVER NORTH: This is one of your best bets for a neighborhood street fest this weekend. Enjoy two stages of music, food from a variety of area eateries, a Kids’ Zone for the little ones and tons of art and merchandise from vendors. July 19-21, Ward Park (Kingsbury & Erie), $5-$8

PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL: One of Chicago’s biggest music festivals takes over Union Park with its usual crop of indie darlings along with some familiar names. July 19-21, Union Park, $50-$120

Pitchfork Music Festival

Pitchfork Music Festival

11TH ANNUAL SOUND SYSTEM BLOCK PARTY: Every year, Wicker Park’s The Silver Room takes the party outdoors for a diverse homegrown block party with three stages and more than 50 music and visual art performances. You’ll only want to go here if you’re prepared to dance!
July 20, 1442 N Milwaukee, 12-10 pm, FREE

SHEFFIELD GARDEN WALK & MUSIC FESTIVAL: Visit more than 100 neighborhood gardens on a self-guided tour or join in with select guided group tours. July 20-21, Sheffield Ave. and Webster St., Noon till dusk, $7-$10

SHEFFIELD GARDEN WALK & MUSIC FESTIVAL

SHEFFIELD GARDEN WALK & MUSIC FESTIVAL

Whatever you decide to do make sure you apply your sun screen, keep hydrated, and stay cool because it is HOT- HOT- HOT!

Share

Mother’s Day

April showers bring May flowers, so pick those flowers and give them to your mother on May 12th for Mothers Day. We should be thankful for our mothers every day for changing our diapers as babies, supporting us during our awkward middle school years, loving us during our rebelling high school years, not judging us during our college years, and being so proud of us when we finally got a job.

Mother's Day

Mother’s Day

If your mom is like my mom she doesn’t want gifts for Mother’s Day, she just wants to spend some quality time with her kids (but secretly wants a handmade card and possibly some flowers). Rather than getting a tattoo to show how much you love your mom, check out these websites for some great and inexpensive ideas:
www.groupon.com- Mom’s never like their kids to spend their hard earned money on them. Groupon has a Mother’s Day tab which has a variety of gifts at a great deal. There is a time limit on every item, so make sure you grab the one you want before time runs out!
www.etsy.com- If “do it yourself” art projects are not your thing, this site is loaded with creative, hand crafted, one of a kind gifts. Hurry though; since items are personalized, it might take a few days to ship.
www.pinterest.com- If you have a creative bone in your body, check out Pinterest for some Mothers Day projects. Nothing says “I love you, Mom” like a handmade flower pot or picture frame.
If you really want to “WOW” your mom, take her to Chicago for a nice relaxing weekend. We have rooms available for Friday and Saturday night at great rate! Check out our website at www.hamptonsuiteschicago.com for availability and pricing.
Make your momma’s proud; get them something memorable this Mothers Day!

Share

Ready, set, Shamrock!

As everyone gets back on track after excessive celebrating over St. Patrick’s Day, one thing that you can do to burn off the calories you drank is the Shamrock Shuffle. There is no better way to kick off the running season than participating in this 8K (5mile) race is on Sunday, April 7th. Now, don’t be fooled because shamrocks are associated with St. Patrick’s Day, which is on March 17th. If you are familiar with Chicago its inconsistent weather conditions, running in 20 degree weather is not desirable.
People of all ages join bright and early on Sunday morning in Grant Park in their finest of green outfits. The race loops through the Loop as all the runners vigorously try and make it to the finish line for the post race celebration. Along the way you get to see all the great attractions Chicago has to offer, while complete strangers cheer you on!
Don’t be intimated by the idea of running 5 miles. This race is for all types of runners. My mom, sister, and I ran the race last year and it was so much fun we signed up again this year.

Shamrock Shuffle in Chicago

We also have some of our Hampton Team running this year, so if you are in the area come cheer us on!

Happy running!

Share

Happy Thanksgiving!

Although it is quite unusual that Chicago is in the mid 50’s this late in November, I am not one to question this phenomenon. With that being said, for all of those who are traveling this way for the Thanksgiving Holiday, you can leave your snow suite at home!

Yes I said it, Thanksgiving. That time of year where we get together with all our family members, eat so much food you have to put sweat pants on, sprawl out on the couch watching football in attempts to make room for not one, but two pieces of pie. Well, at least that what my Thanksgiving is like.

Thanksgiving Crafts

As a kid I always loved Thanksgiving because we got to make cool crafts. Some of you might recall using a profound amount of glue and construction paper to make your Pilgrim hat and Indian headdress. The most genius (and easiest) craft was making your very own Turkey by tracing your hand. Now that Pinterest exists, there are millions of other great craft ideas that you can do with your family or for your home. If you have not heard of Pinterest, then I suggest you join the millions who are “pinning” their hearts out. That way, you too can create your own board full of your favorite fall crafts and food ideas this holiday season. Check it out at www.pinterest.com and prepare to spend countless hours following, liking, and repining.

If you are downtown Chicago Thanksgiving Day and feeling ambitious before the feast, head to State Street for the Thanksgiving Day Parade from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. You can also tune into WGN Channel 9 for full coverage. If you are feeling brave enough to fight the crowds, don’t forget to check out the Black Friday sales that will be going on in your area.

Now, as we all know Thanksgiving isn’t about the buttery turkey, creamy mashed potatoes, and the decadent pie, although they are delicious. It is about gathering together, expressing your gratitude, and what you are thankful for. On behalf of everyone at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago, have a very happy Thanksgiving!

Share

Chicago Marathon Weekend

It’s that time of year when you need to unpack your fall fashion collection, Bears football jersey, and grab yourself a pumpkin spice latte, because it is officially fall in Chicago.  It is also that time of year thousands of people from 50 states and over 100 countries have dedicated their blood, sweat, and tears in preparation for the Chicago Marathon.

The race starts at Grant Park and loops through the beautiful downtown neighborhoods. If you have friends or family running in the race, the course map will help you navigate through the city.

Times of each wave are as follows:

Location- Grant Park, Columbus Dr. & Monroe St.
Marathon Wheelchair Start – 7:20am
Marathon Hand-cycle Start – 7:21am
Wave 1 Start- 7:30am
Wave 2 Start – 8:00am
Spectator Access to Grant Park- 8:30am

If you are staying with us at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown this weekend, to either run in the Marathon or to cheer someone on, we will have a station set up in the lobby filled with bananas and Gatorade. This will be available starting at 5:30am. While you are there, check out each poster every department of the hotel staff created to root on the runners. We also have a complimentary full American breakfast starting at 6am in our Daniel Burnham room on the second floor of the hotel. If you have any questions or need any information regarding the Marathon, please don’t hesitate to ask a front desk representative.

Good luck runners as you concur 26.2 miles on Sunday. You are an inspiration to us all!

For those of you who didn’t run the Marathon this year, but are determined to try it in 2013, download Nike’s 15-week Bank of America Chicago Marathon Training Program to get you started. As my General Manager, Andrew Scarlett always says when we are working our way toward a certain goal “It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

 

Share

Upcoming Summer Events

June 20th was the official date that we could say it was “summer” in Chicago. Of course with the change of season come temperatures over 100 degrees and humidity so thick you could cut it with a knife.  If you want to beat the heat, there are many places you can visit that will be blasting their air conditioning. However, for those who are willing to defeat the heat check out some of the “cool” outdoor events going on in this sweltering City.

Taste of Chicago offers a variety of Chicago cuisine to be sampled

Taste of Chicago. This epic food festival brings in over 1.2 million people to the Chicago to experience all the amazing food and entertainment this city has to offer. This year, Huffington Post said that “attendees consumed 17,600 slices of deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s, 15,000 funnel cakes from the Churro Factory, and 30,000 rainbow cones.” Along with the food, there were many performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park that hosted bands like Death Cab for Cutie, Jennifer Hudson, Dierks Bentley, and Chaka Khan. If you ended up missing the Taste of Chicago this year, don’t worry it will be back in full force next year.

Lollapalooza, 2010
Lollapalooza, 2010. Image courtesy of PBS

Lollapalooza. This 3 day music festival turns Chicago into a mini Woodstock. This event started back in 1991 and established its territory in Chicago’s Grant Park in 2005. Lollapalooza means “an extraordinary or unusual thing, person, or event.” Over 16,000 people of all ages come to Chicago to take park of this wondrous music event to check out their favorite bands and to discover new ones.  You have the option to purchase a 1 day pass for $95 or a 3 day pass for $230. With 8 stages and over 100 bands to choose from, each day you will be exposed to a different type of music from Rock, Indie, Punk, and Techno.  This year you will see performances from The Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, Avicii, The Black Keys, Florence and the Machine, Jack White, and Kaskade. For more information on Lollapalooza and the lineup, check out their website at http://www.lollapalooza.com. If you need hotel accommodations, please contact the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown direct at 312-832-0330.

Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago Air and Water Show, Image courtesy of the CCTB

Air and Water Show. Pack your lawn chair, a cooler, some sunscreen, and ear plugs if you plan on heading to Chicago’s Lakefront to watch the Air and Water show.  This show attracts millions of prospectors each year to check out the amazing tricks performed by aerobatic teams and the U.S military. A cool factoid about the show is that most of the planes fly to and from Gary Jet Center in Gary, Indiana. They have to time their flight down to the second so they can fly over the show at an exact moment. The show is from 10am-3pm on Saturday August 18th and Sunday August 19th at North Avenue Beach. Since it is free to the public, if you have trouble finding seating at the show center then head to Ohio Street beach or Oak Street Beach and bring your binoculars. You can also check out more information about the Chicago Air and Water Show on Explore Chicago’s website at http://www.chicagoairshow.com.

Share

Memorial Day Weekend things to do in Chicago

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. And no, I am not referencing winter, since us city dwellers find nothing wonderful about the cold, snow, and everything in between. I’m talking about summer in Chicago! Now that the weather gods have finally stopped torturing us with the rollercoaster weather changes, we can now enjoy everything that this beautiful City has to offer.

I can’t think of a better way to celebrate the 80 degree and sunny weather, like a 3 day weekend for Memorial Day. Since the NATO Summit has left the building, the City is now a favorable place to visit. So for those who are not skipping town or coming in from out of town, check out all the great things going on that will keep you busy this weekend.

If you are looking for a little R&R and to soak up some sun, head over to one of Chicago’s 23 beaches along the lakefront. Beaches open this Friday and lifeguards are on duty from 11am-7pm daily. The best part, they’re free!  One of the main hot spots if you are spending the day at the beach is Castaways Bar and Grill. This giant shipwrecked boat, looking North Avenue beach, serves lunch and dinner every day from 11a.m. to 11p.m. Drinks from noon to 11p.m. All weekend Castaways offers live music from noon to 6p.m.

For all you music lovers and foodies out there, go check out the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival in Wrigleyville and/or the Randolph Street Market Festival in the Loop this Saturday and Sunday. Spend your day jamming out to tribute bands, eating some delicious food from local vendors, shopping for vintage treasures, while enjoying a refreshing beverage on a hot summer day!

Now, let’s not forget the true essence of why we celebrate Memorial Day. To show remembrance for loved ones we have or for those who have served our country, head over to Daley Plaza to watch the Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade. This will be on May 26th starting at 11am. After the parade, head over to Navy Pier to watch the free firework show starting at 10:15pm.

However you decide to celebrate, everyone at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago wishes you a safe and enjoyable Memorial Day!

 

Share

Go CUBS Go!

Holy Cow! Baseball season is finally upon us and for we die hard cubbies fans that means another chance to be the World Series Champions. Last night, in preparation for the home opener on April 5th 2012 vendors were out setting up their stands, Clark Street was flooded with people, and Wrigley Field’s Stadium lights were shining brightly. Early this morning on my way to work, there was an eerie silence that swept over Wrigleyville, almost like it was the calming before a big storm.

That storm hit around 9:00am this morning when every news station was buzzing about opening day. Wrigley was already swamped with fans waiting outside the stadium ready to watch their beloved cubbies play the Washington Nationals at 1:20pm. With the first crack of the bat, first hot dog of the season, and an ice cold beer in hand; we hope our Cubs can bring home a win and wave that “W” flag.

Tickets for today and this weekend’s game are still available. If you want to get in on the action, feel free to visit the Cubs website here.

Also, if you would like to support your cubbies and a good cause, sign up for the Race to Wrigley 5K Run on April 14th 2012 at 8am. This race is the kick off to the Baseball Season and proceeds go to Children’s Memorial Hospital. The course route will take you thought Lakeview neighborhoods and back to Wrigley Field, where you get to run through the stadium. Online registration is available until 4/12/2012 for $35 dollars. You can purchase your race packet and t-shirt at http://www.race-cubs.com.

Share