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!

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Is Nothing Sacred?

Well after seeing the play Book of Mormon, in this case, no nothing is. It may not be for everyone and I could see how some might be offended, an average of fifty people walk out of a performance, but really Book of Mormon is from the creators of South Park. You have to know what you are walking into; surely one is not expecting a sequel to the Sound of Music. This play is not one for the kiddies.

Book of Mormon

In any case, be prepared to laugh until it hurts, and at other times to shake your head in in utter amazement, at what you are hearing and seeing. But remember, Book of Mormon is live theatre and weren’t you fortunate to get one of the hottest ticket on Broadway. If you think you are going to be offended – you probably will be. So my suggestion would be to not to go and let someone who will appreciate it – to have chance to nab one of those tickets. For me, it was a night of laughing until it hurts and shaking my head in utter amazement, at what the creators got away with.

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Nothing’s Sacred

Kristen and I got back from the Big Apple in early March – after beating those mean streets.  The purpose of our visit was to make travel agents in NY aware of the Hampton Inn & Suites Chicago/Downtown, for business and leisure travel.  Twenty – one appointments and touching 500+ agents in a week, we returned back to our home and our home away from home, Chicago and the Hampton Inn and Suites Chicago/Downtown.

Now you know what kept us busy during the day – but the evenings were ours for the asking.  What comes to mind when some people think NYC – if you resemble me – the theatre would be number one. And pray tell (no pun intended) what did I see “The Book of Mormons”.

The title of my “Blog” describes the tone of the play in a nutshell.  If you cannot take a joke – for no matter who you are you are going to get slammed.  No one is left unscathed.  It is written by the creators of South Park – come on – would you expect anything less – and no TV censors.

Performances in Chicago start in December of this year and I urge you to get your tickets now- because the run will sell out quickly.  Just remember “Nothing’s Sacred”, and do bring something to wipe away those tears of laughter.   This review does come with a warning – not for the easily offended.

Andrew Rannells plays the central character Elder Price in the Broadway...

Broadway in Chicago.

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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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