Chicago Events July 12-14, 2013

Whoever says there is nothing to do in Chicago on the weekends is a flat out liar. The summer is definitely heating up in Chicago, and summer festivals are in full swing.

If you want to avoid the TASTE OF CHICAGO crowds this weekend these top pick might be perfect for you.

VOLLEYWOOD BEACH BASH: For several years, the only event you could legally drink on the beach was Volleywood, Chicago Sport and Social Club’s annual ode to beach volleyball and fist-pumping good times. While others have since entered the arena, Volleywood remains one of the best beach party scenes the city has to offer. If you’re not playing, hang out, sip a cocktail, ogle the scantily-clad bodies and check out a special performance by Nelly. July 13, North Avenue Beach, $30 GA, $50 VIP

Volleywood Beach Bash

Volleywood Beach Bash

ROSCOE VILLAGE BURGER FEST: Some of Chicago’s best burger spots will be firing up their grills at this annual festival. Two stages of music, a kids zone area, plenty of arts and craft vendors and a contest for the best burger. July 13-14, $7 donation

WINDY CITY SMOKEOUT: Popular River North country & western BBQ spot Bub City hosts this first annual event featuring — what else — live country music and BBQ! Other Chicago restaurants like Smoque and Lillie’s Q will also be on hand. Oh, and there’ll be plenty of beer to wash it all down. July 12-14, $30 for one-day pass, $60 for three-day pass.

WEST FEST: One of the best street fests of the year. More than 60,000 people came out for this Chicago Avenue soiree last year, and this year should be no different. Enjoy a live music and a DJ stage, as well as a stage just for kids, along with a special area for dogs. July 13-14, $5 donation

SQUARE ROOTS FESTIVAL: Head up to Lincoln Square for this annual festival that includes more than 60 acts on four stages, along with art vendors, food and more than 30 craft beers available.

Square Roots

Square Roots

ASHORE THING: A new kind of parade sets sail in Chicago Saturday. Ashore Thing, presented by Michigan Avenue Magazine and the Chicago Yacht Club, will celebrate the start of the famous Race to Mackinac Island boat race with a parade of sailboat sensations. A wave of prestigious sailboats preparing to embark on the 105th Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac will sail through the shores of Chicago offering seaside admirers a close-up view of their “floats.”

A good tip would be if you’re heading to the beach or to the parade; to make sure to bring plenty of water and sunscreen because we might be in the windy city but that sun can be brutal and if you heading to a food fest make sure to bring the pepto!!!

There’s something for any mood you may have.

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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!

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Chicago Transit Authority Gets Into the Holiday Spirit!

I have lived in Chicago for the past 7 years, and this is the first time that I have been able to experience the Holiday Train. For the duration of my commute home from The Hampton Inn & Suites I could not help but smile. Generally my work commute consists of me playing words with friends and listening to Pandora on my phone. But this time it was different, as I mentioned I could not help but smile.

As the train pulled into the Grand station, one block away from the Hampton Inn & Suites, my eyes widened and I felt a wave come over me of true holiday cheer. The train is a little bit shorter than a regular train, roughly about six-cars long. It is decorated with holiday seasonal images and thousands of multi-colored lights on the outside of the cars as well as on top. It is truly amazing how a little holiday cheer brightened up my day on my way home from work.
The best part about the experience is that Santa and his elves were also riding the train with me. As we pull into each station, Santa would waive to the boarding passengers from his sleigh on an open-air flatcar carrying his reindeer and decorated holiday trees. There were a lot of families and children so it was a little crowded, but their faces truly made my experience that much more pleasant. Santa would stop to visit with the children on the train and his elves would help him pass out candy canes and season’s greetings.
When coming to Chicago with your family, I would recommend taking one ride. It is definitely worth it! According to the CTA, the holiday train operates from about 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. on weekends and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on select weekdays and will be running through the rest of December as part of regular rail service. Normal CTA fares apply.

Happy holidays, and I hope to see you on the train!

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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!

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Hampton to host charitable event this evening

Today, Thursday September 20th, 2012, the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly Young Professionals Advisory Board will host an event at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown from 6:00pm to 9:00pm.  The event titled “engAge,” is a fundraising event benefiting Chicagoland Seniors. The mission of the Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly is to provide services and companionship for the Elderly that may not have close social connections, i.e. family or friends, due to death or distance.

A silent raffle, along with refreshments and music will be enjoyed by all patrons this evening. If you would like to learn more about the event, please click here. engAge is open to people 21+ years of age.

We hope to see you at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown! The event will be on the 2nd floor in the Daniel Burnham Room. 100% of the proceeds go directly to Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly.

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Cinco De Mayo on Uno De Mayo here at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown

Mark your calendars and get ready for a celebration! The Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown will be hosting a fiesta in honor of the upcoming Cinco De Mayo holiday from 5:00pm to 7:00pm on Tuesday, May 1, 2012. The reception will take place on the Outdoor Terrace, located on the 2nd floor via the Pool or Fitness Center. All clients and affiliates are invited to attend.

The Cinco De Mayo Fiesta will take place on the Terrace, May 1, 2012 from 5 to 7pm

The Cinco De Mayo Fiesta will take place on the Terrace, May 1, 2012 from 5 to 7pm

Guests attending the event can expect refreshments of Cerveza, Signature Margaritas, and Virgin Strawberry Daiquiris. For those needing a little sustenance, a make-your-own nacho bar filled with fresh beans, sour cream, cheese, fajita chicken, chili, salsa, sliced black olives, guacamole, jalapenos and more will be available. Not to mention large portions of Southwestern Salad catered by NYC Bagel will be on hand for those Salad Lovers. Have a taste for seafood? Passed shrimp will be served courtesy of our Hampton employees.

Finally, what Cinco De Mayo fiesta would be complete without a piñata? Candy will fill a pink horse and blue bull piñata for nostalgic charm. Attendees can take a whack and attempt to break the piñata for sweet treats! Cookies and fresh fruit will be provided, also.

If you plan on attending the event, please RSVP directly to Kristen at 312-396-5234 or kreeves@fhginc.com no later than Friday, April 27.

Gracias!

 

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Metro Chicago, a Chicago tradition in Music

As the resident independent music lover in the office, I attend a concert at least once a month. I love seeing live shows, hearing new bands and usually end up traversing around the city of Chicago in search of good tunes.

One of the earliest venues I visited (even before I became a Chicago resident) was Metro Chicago. Metro Chicago is housed in an 85 year old building that used to be a Swedish Community Center. The exterior architecture is unassuming, unpretentious; even in a neighborhood populated by CUBS fans and young urban professionals. Since 1982, Metro Chicago has been cranking out good music and introducing some heavy hitters in the musical forefront. Namely, Chicagoans The Smashing Pumpkins, Urge Overkill, Local H, Liz Phair and Veruca Salt. All of whom began their careers on the Metro stage.

Today, great artists and upcoming new talent showcase their skill set at Metro Chicago. Some of the shows I’ve personally seen there include: Catfish Haven, Dan Deacon, The Psychedelic Furs, Die Antwoord, Hot Chip, Girl Talk and more than I can remember. I enjoy climbing to the 2nd floor and having an aerial view of the stage, the band at work.

Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er performing at Metro Chicago February 15, 2012

Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er performing at Metro Chicago February 15, 2012

During the Die Antwoord concert I was witness to crowd-surfing twice and glad for the safety and security of the 2nd level! During less enthusiastic shows, I prefer to be front and center on the lower level where close proximity to the artists is relatively easily.

Metro Chicago boasts 2 bars, one on the lower level and one on the 2nd level. Metro allows a more intimate experience than the larger dome entertainment centers, such as Allstate Arena or the United Center. A bird’s eye view or front row accessibility are pros to this smaller venue.

Metro Chicago is located on Clark Street, a short train ride from the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown. Simply hop on the EL at the Red Line Grand Stop and head North towards Howard. Exit at the Addison Red Line Stop and walk 2 blocks north of Wrigley Field. If you get the chance to visit this iconic Chicago music venue, please do! Odds are you’ll see some great upcoming artists or maybe an old favorite.

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Hank the Tank the Traveling Hampton Bear

Hank the Tank scouting out his next trip

Hank the Tank scouting out his next trip

As some guests may have noticed, the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown is home to a loveable, large size bear that resides in the lobby. No, you’re not seeing things. This over-sized teddy-bear is the Hampton’s very own traveling mascot and his name is Hank the Tank!

Hank the Tank and the Team at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown

Hank the Tank and the Team at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown before shipping off to Hampton Inn & Suites Carson City, Nevada

Since his adoption to the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown Family, Hank has been hanging out with guests, taking pictures, sharing smiles and hugs and even been shopping on Magnificent Mile. One guest even dared to steal Hank away to his room exclusively-causing quite any uproar on Hank’s whereabouts. Thankfully the staff here at the Hampton was able to rescue Hank and with just that change of scenery from the lobby, Hank longed to see new things and travel to Hampton hotels all around the U.S. He details his travels via facebook, twitter and with pictures and postcards. Ever seen the movie “The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants?” Well Hank is to Hampton what a pair of jeans were to a few girlfriends. The friendly spirit of camaraderie and hospitality!

Hank the Tank and the Nevada Commission and Chinese Delegation

Hank the Tank and the Nevada Commission and Chinese Delegation

Nevertheless Hank has had some amazing opportunities to visit some awesome Hampton hotels, namely the Hampton Inn & Suites Carson City, Nevada, and the Hampton Inn Raleigh-Capital Blvd. North.  Currently, Hank is traveling to Hampton Inn Gretna/Altavista/Chatham. Do you work at a Hampton nationwide and wish to have Hank at your property? Email me at kreeves@fhginc.com for Hank opportunities!

The Team here at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown hopes you enjoy Hank the Tank’s travels across the United States. Don’t forget to check out pictures and more detailing his trips. If you have suggestions for his next visit, please let me know!

 

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The Vic Theatre: A Musical Mecca in Chicago

As Chicagoans, we’re spoiled. There’s so much to do in this vibrant city, so much to explore, so much to see and share. I don’t think any one person could experience all the city has to offer in one lifetime. I got my first taste of the Windy City culture when I was in College at the University of Kentucky. I remember road-tripping it 6 hours with friends to catch the Hot Chip concert at Metro in Wrigleyville. The next day as my friends and I drove back to campus I realized it was too late; I was hooked. Chicago was to be my new musical mecca. I would make any pilgrimage to see whatever show, wherever, just so long as it was in Chicago.

Fast forward 4 years. I live in the city now and one thing that hasn’t changed has been my love of music. I’ve seen countless shows (Dan Deacon, Feist, Jimmy Eat World, The Sounds, Lykke Li, Hot Chip, 30 Seconds from Mars, Lollapalooza 2010, etc.) at countless venues (The Riv, Aragon, Metro, Shubas, Martyrs’, Kingston Mines, etc.) and yet one of my favorite spots to listen to tunes remains the Vic Theatre at the Belmont and Sheffield intersection.

The Sounds performing at the Vic Theatre

Lead singer of The Sounds, Maja Ivarsson, performing at the Vic Theatre

There’s just something about the Vic that makes you feel alive. Contrary to the mass super-dome centers of Allstate Arena and the likes, the Vic is a more intimate, small venue rich with character and history. According to Wikipedia, the Vic Theater was built in 1912 by Architect John E.O. Pridmore. The five-story venue, originally named Victoria Theatre, took 3 years to build. The beauty of this establishment is that this vaudeville house still operates today for the enjoyment of countless people just as it did nearly 100 years ago.

Opening the double doors that lead into the standing room, lights stream, pulsating bass beats resound in the air and guitar rifs can be felt from the floor to your core. It’s an amazing experience. Mostly due to the close proximity of the stage to the crowd. Musical entertainment is so near, you feel like you’re front and center even if you’re in the back of the room.

Lykke Li performing at the Vic Theatre

Lykke Li performing at the Vic Theatre

Heightened standing areas allow for multiple vantage points, even for the vertically challenged. And let’s not forget the 2 liquid subsidence stations (aka bars) located immediately to your left and right as soon as you enter the standing room. Priorities, people. And speaking of priorities, seeing a live show at the Vic Theatre should definitely be one of yours. Not interested in music? Easy. The Vic Theatre does a Brew and View movie showing weekly. So now you have no excuse not to go. So get going, already!

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L.A. traffic versus Chicago traffic

I have always heard that the best cities in the United States are New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta….what about Chicago??? After doing a little research I was able to pull some statistics that were online and yes they do also include Chicago, but it’s all very blah stuff. It is nothing that will really get anyone excited about coming to the city. So….. because I am such a wonderful person and although not originally from here (originally from L.A.) I have grown to appreciate and love the city and the easily accessible transportation options.

I moved here about 5 years ago and I didn’t really know what to expect after moving here from L.A. I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised at what I saw and experienced in the city. First and foremost I want to say that the transportation is AMAZING!!! Being from L.A. where transportation is non-existent, well,  it is a life saver! No more being in my car and wanting to kill someone because I can’t seem to go faster than 7 miles an hour. AHHHH I mean really it is a life saver to be able to hope on the ‘EL’ and travel from the north side of the city to the south side of the city in an hour or less. If I attempted to travel that distance back in L.A. it would seriously take me 2 hours. So anyone that tells you that it is a drag or that they would rather drive, well then you can just call them a “DIVA” ‘cause this is one of the best parts of Chicago. I mean there are lines and buses that run 24 hours!!! What is better than that?!? In a city that is alive 24 hours a day there is never a shortage of things to do.

 

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