Check out this new video courtesy of Lightswitch!
All too often the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown has families looking for activities to do in the evening. One of my personal favorites is FREE… Movies in the park. From classic movies like “The Wizard of Oz” and “Ferris Bueller’s Day off” to new movies like “Puss in Boots” or “Iron Man 2” play in park venues all over the city from June 11th to October 24th. Bring a picnic basket and a blanket and have a nice enjoyable relaxing evening watching a movie in one of Chicago’s 125 parks.
“New” releases this summer that will be available:
- The Dark Knight (shot in Chicago) – June 23 at Churchill Field, 1825 N Damen
- Grown Ups – July 1 at LaFollette, 1333 N. Laramie Ave
- Inception – July 1 at Margate Park, 4921 N. Marine Dr.
- Iron Man 2 – June 20 at Jackson Park, 6401 S. Stony Island Ave.
- Salt – July 19 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
- The Social Network – July 5 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
- True Grit – July 28 at Amundsen Park, 6200 W. Bloomingdale Ave.
- Twilight: Eclipse – July 22 at Meyering Park, 7140 S. Martin Luther King Dr.
Animation for the Kids:
- Despicable Me – June 17 at Winnemac 5100 N. Leavitt St
- How to Train Your Dragon – Aug 9 at Touhy Park, 7348 N. Paulina St.
- Megamind – June 23 at Graver Park, 1518 W. 102nd Pl.
- Shrek Forever After – June 17 at Shedd Park, 3660 W. 23rd St.
- Tangled – Sep. 9 at Athletic Field Park, 3546 W. Addison St.
- The Princess and the Frog – Aug. 9 at Fulton River Park, 601 W. Kinzie St.
- Toy Story 3 – Sep 16 at Independence Park, 3945 N. Springfield Ave.
- Up – Aug. 2 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
- Wall-E – Aug.31 at Willye White Park, 1610 W Howard St.
- Airplane! – June 14 at Montgomery Ward Park, 630 N. Kingsbury St.
- Back to the Future with Michael J Fox – Aug. 6 at Harold Washington Park, 5200 S. Hyde Park Blvd.
- E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial – July 12 at Fulton River Park, 601 W. Kinzie St.
- Ferris Bueller’s Day Off – July 13 at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.
- Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom – July 16 at Jonquil Park, 1023 W. Wrightwood Ave.
- JAWS – July 12 at 63rd Street Beach, 6300 S lake Shore Drive
- The Karate Kid – Aug 30 at DuSable Museum, 740 E. 56th Pl.
- Raiders of the Lost Ark – Aug. 25 at Lake Shore Park, 808 N. Lake Shore Dr.
- Sixteen Candles – Aug. 17 at The Chicago History Museum, 1601 N. Clark St.
- Top Gun – Aug. 18 at Mary Bartelme Park, 115 S. Sangamon St.
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!
As we gear into the wonderful Chicago Summer there are certain attractions that everyone must try at least once! The most common things to do in Chicago are going to Navy Pier, Millennium Park, city tours, The Art Institute, the Museum of Science and Industry, the architectural cruise plus many more.
My personal favorite activity is the architectural cruise; the tour is 90 minutes and it will make you think twice about our beautiful city of Chicago. At first when I agreed to go on this cruise (took much persuasion from my friend who was visiting from out of town) I was hesitant about going. To spend $35 to ride around in a boat when I already live in the city seemed like money I didn’t want to spend. Eventually I put myself in my friend’s shoes about coming to a city she had not been before and I agreed to go on the cruise.
The tour will take you from the aftermath of the great Chicago fire in the late 1800s, to how the city chose to rebuild itself using the surrounding water to their advantage. From there you will see some amazing buildings, the Merchandise Mart; you will go under several of Chicago’s movable bridges and to Navy Pier. After I got off of the cruise I was really glad that I had decided to go. It made me have a different type of appreciation for Chicago.
My recommendations for the tour; go on a sunny and warm day, make sure that you wear a hat if you are going to sit on the part of the boat that is not covered, make sure you grab a beverage and watch out for the shooting fountain, you just may get more than you bargained for! The best way to book this would be to do it on line (as it is cheaper), if you are staying here at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown, just ask one of our Front Desk Associates to book the tour for you and they will be happy to give you all the details and just let you know where it is that you need to show up! You’re here on vacation; let someone else do the work for you.
It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit us, if you have a clear day, you need to take the time and visit the Willis (formerly “Sears”) tower Skydeck. On a clear day you can see Indiana, Michigan, Illinois (of course) and Wisconsin. Sitting 108 stories in the air, at the time it was completed it was the tallest building in the world.
The Skydeck is located on the 103rd floor and has 360 degree views of the city. In 2009 they added “The Ledge” which is a retractable glass box. You can stand out over the edge of the building in these glass boxes looking south and west. It is a bit of a rush with your head saying you should be falling and your feet staying right where they are.
Prices are reasonable for standard admission
- Adults 12 and up is $17.50
- Children 3 – 11 is $11
- The Hampton Inn & Suites also offers a Skydeck Package for an all inclusive option!
If you are here from Labor Day to Memorial Day, go when the sun is starting to set. If you are here during the summer months, go and watch the fireworks. It is a spectacular site.
Another tip: if you are looking for a romantic date night, try going to the Skydeck then hitting the Metropolitan Club on the 67th floor. The only catch is that you have to make your reservations through opentable.com. Either way it’s a good time.
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.
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 email@example.com no later than Friday, April 27.
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.
Joe Shooman, a Travel Writer for The Observer in the Cayman Islands, stayed here at the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown and wrote an article on his experience in Chicago. I am re-posting below for your enjoyment.
By: Joe Shooman | firstname.lastname@example.org
25 March, 2012
Snow. I’d forgotten all about it. But it’s beautiful, it’s soft and it’s very, very cold. But that’s what you get when you decide to visit Chicago in February, I guess. And whilst the rest of the Chi-town population is wrapping up against more days of the blimmin white stuff, Suzy and me are like kids cause we’ve not seen snow in four years.
Chicago is a city with seemingly endless possibilities for entertainment, sight seeing, eating and drinking and it’s great to land somewhere where nobody knows your name.
After a quick trip up the Willis (formerly Sears) tower we spend our first evening in the Illinois city watching the Chicago Bulls at the mighty impressive United Center along with 20,000 other people. Whilst we may be up in the gods at least we’re near the beer; that, allied to the fact that the Bulls ease past the challenge of local rivals Milwaukee Bucks by 110 to 91 with a triple-double from Joakim Noah, makes a very happy bunch of visitors. And whilst Derrick Rose remains the team’s star, I’ve got a new hero – Carlos Boozer. We return to our brilliant, centrally-located Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago Downtown in the River North district, the choice of which proves a smart move on our part due to it being right in the heart of downtown, just north of The Loop.
It’s also near the Red Line of the easily navigable El Train underground railway system; we buy day passes and start to make our adventures the next morning. It’s always much easier to get an idea of a city’s layout and size during the day and so it proves.
Checking the bean
We end up at Millennium Park, which is something of a centre of entertainment, nature and art. Because it’s winter there’s an outdoor ice rink and we toy with getting our skates on, but we have more important things to do, one of which being checking out the famous Cloud Gate.
It’s a sculpture by Anish Kapoor, a British artist born in India, and it’s a masterful, huge, distended, polished steel jelly-bean blob in which the downtown scenery is beautifully reflected. The skyline looks quite extraordinary and lends the city a contemporary regality. Of course, the colloquial nickname is The Bean, which shows the humour of the locals. But it’s a brilliant piece that plays with perception – so much so that my wife Suzy clonks her head into it whilst trying to take a video. Oops! But no harm done, so we skip through the rest of the park – no music on the Great Lawn today, but in the summer you can tell that open-air concerts would be awesome there. It gets lovely and warm come July here, with temperatures kissing the 80s with some ease.
Back to the frozen icicle dripping from my chin, however. It seems we need to warm up which we duly do with a visit to the excellent Art Institute of Chicago which for 150 years has presented the good stuff.
It’s a comprehensive museum with Old Masters alongside plenty of contemporary, decorative and visual arts and the one million square feet make it the second-biggest in the States (only the Met in NYC is bigger). Of the many famous works, Edward Hopper’s study of aloneness, Nighthawks, and Grant Wood’s American Gothic are highlights as is the ancient Egyptian gallery. Best of all, I buy an awesome pen in the shape of the heavy metal salute on the way out.
There’s one thing you have to eat in Chicago and that is pizza. Famous for its deep dish, buttery crust, this is a long way from the mostly traditional Italian thin crust style. It truly is a wonder to behold and a wonder to eat, too. We round off the evening with a visit to the cinema to watch The Artist; a couple of post-movie drinks and we’re done – despite planning to head to one of the many awesome blues clubs which are just getting started. But that will have to wait for another visit.
Despite my best efforts, our third day is spent downtown shopping on the Magnificent Mile – every store you could want is here for clothes and stuff apparently. I’m more interested in trying to find a decent set of darts to bring back to Cayman, but sadly I fail. I do, however, manage to snag a pretty sharp set of Nike trainers that I didn’t know I was looking for until I saw them, so it ain’t all bad.
A bit about food
We lunch at Crisp, a North Broadway eaterie that is famous for its Korean-tinged fried chicken. I’d seen it on one of those celebrity cooking shows previously and if it’s good enough for Guy Fieri then it’s gotta be worth a shout. And it comes up trumps; the Seoul Sassy adds a great ginger/garlic slight heat to the very tender chicken which, yes, is crispy on the outside. The salad that comes with it – Buddha Bowl – is a mix of vegetables with rice and topped with a fried egg. Strange, but outstanding nonetheless. A quick trip to the ace Myopic Books yields brain food that afternoon and we round off our trip with a final-evening visit to another awesome food place.
The Purple Pig is located on the Magnificent Mile and can be best described as a kind of pig-worshipping tapas-type bar. We’re a little late due to unforeseen wine, so we have to wait, salivating, for half an hour before the table is ready. But by god it’s worth it; plate after plate of extraordinary dishes are brought out for us to sample and share. There’s fried pig’s ear with crispy kale, braised pork shoulder and mash, turkey leg confit and the absolute star of the show – roasted bone marrow. The interior of the bone is a buttery delight; smeared on brioche it is delicate, rich and something that everyone needs to taste at one time in their lives. The Purple Pig’s menu is great but this is something very special.
And so, a quick few beers later, we’re packing to come back. Yes, it’s cold in the winter, but that’s no bad thing in itself; when you live in beach paradise it’s great to get a dose of opposites once in a while. Chicago is as fast and furious as you want to make it, the inhabitants are friendly and the food is great. With the direct Cayman Airways flight taking around three hours, it could well be the ideal city break.
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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.
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.