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

Ruth’s Top 5 things to do in Chicago

Whether you are visiting Chicago or from Chicago there are always things to do:

1. Visit Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a bustling 1.5 mile-long boardwalk that will please every member of your family. Attracting well over 8 million visitors per year, Navy Pier is lined with restaurants and studded with small shops selling everything from apparel to toys to Chicago souvenirs. While the shops alone can keep you occupied for hours, there are plenty of other activities at Navy Pier to fill your day.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier

2. Go to the “Taste of Chicago”.

While Chicago is host to dozens of festivals each year, the Taste of Chicago is easily the most widely attended. What was once a small food festival on July 4, 1980, has grown to be the biggest festival in the city. It is hailed as the world’s largest food extravaganza, attracting 3 million people annually.

Taste of Chicago

Taste of Chicago

3. Take a tour of the city.

One of the best ways to see Chicago is by tour; you get a unique perspective of the city, often with an expert guide who will tell you the history and story of each place you encounter. You can tour by boat and carriage or by foot. You can take a tour with a theme; some tours take you through certain historic or ethnic neighborhoods, such as Old Town or Greektown.

4. Visit a Museum

Chicago is a cultural city. You can find museums dedicated to every interest and every passion. In addition to the major, well-know ones, there are a number of smaller but excellent choices available. Chicago’s Museum Campus is a somewhat recent addition to the city’s lakefront. In 1996, the northbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were moved so that the three museums in the area, the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the Adler Planetarium, were no longer separated by a median and were brought onto one campus and joined by a lush green field with a view of the lake.

Shedd Aquarium

Shedd Aquarium

5. Shop!!!

Just a few blocks from our hotel, you will find Chicago’s Water Tower Place, a perfect location for shopping. With 7 different levels, you certainly have a wide selection for you and your loved ones. One of my personal favorites is CUSP by Neiman Marcus. They always have a wide variety of styles, from everyday relaxed fit clothing to a dresses for a girls night out. For the in between shopping, Water Tower Place, also offers dining options. This will allow you to relax and enjoy your meal and continue to shop all in one convenient location.

Water Tower Place

Water Tower Place

Share

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.

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

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!

Share

Did you know Chicago got a facelift?

I have always heard that the best cities in the United States are New York, Los Angeles, Washington DC, Atlanta….but what about Chicago??? After doing a little research I was able to pull some statistics online and yes, they do include Chicago, but it’s all very blah stuff. It’s 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.

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 the transitions I saw and experienced in the city during this time. For being a city in the Midwest it is quite lovely because of Lake Michigan and its constant beautification which includes the lake paths. Anyone can enjoy the lake paths while running, biking, or even just walking. These paths are accessible from anywhere.

The city has hired some amazing artists to transform the underpasses with murals and my favorite one is located at the Belmont exit off of Lakeshore Drive. Not trying to be biased because that is my neighborhood, but it is by far the coolest mural I have seen around the city thus far.

Our city is really trying to make Chicago one of the best cities in the U.S. and I really think that they are on their way. Between the amazing transportation, the lake paths, the clean city and the really awesome murals, what could be better?

Share