Chicago Restaurant Week

by Michael Keating

Chicago Restaurant Week


Savor the masterful creations of some of the city’s finest chefs by dining during the 10th annual Chicago Restaurant Week. This year’s culinary celebration began January 27 and will continue for the next six days and nights, until February 9. Restaurants around the city are offering prix fixe menus: $22 for lunch and brunch and either $33 or $44 for dinner. With an astounding number of restaurants participating (over 350!), the process of sleuthing through the options can be overwhelming. We’ve put together a list of eight neighborhood favorites with particularly phenomenal menus.


1. Bar Pastoral

Just down the street from our Lakeview leasing office, this favorite neighborhood bistro features artisanal bread and cheeses and offers a wide range of wines to pair with your plates. For brunch, we’re excited about Gruyère scones with jam and butter and their bloody mary. Dinner also promises to deliver deliciousness with their Sage Gnocchi with leek, fennel, lemon cream sauce, and Rosa Maria (goat)–think Manchego cheese or a Spanish Pecorino, floral and earthy with tangy notes. Be sure to visit their shop next door and pick up a jar of Pear Tree Preserves–made in Chicago, these are produced with fresh, local, and organically grown produce–it’s just another one of their exceptional products.

Restaurant Week - Bar Pastoral

image via PastoralArtisan

 2. Ixcateco Grill

Southern Mexican cuisine is featured at this restaurant in Albany Park. The chef and owner, Anselmo Ramirez, previously worked under the instruction of Rick Bayless. At Ixcateco, Ramirez uses “fresh, locally sourced organic or sustainably raised ingredients when possible,” and we’re looking forward to his Restaurant Week menu. The Puerco en Mole Rojo entree, wood grilled pork loin, red mole, white rice microgreens, is certain to delight as many reviews tout best mole in the city. For dessert, tres leches, need we say more?

Restaurant Week - Ixcateco Grill

image via IxcatecoGrill

3. Piccolo Sogno

With easily one of the best patios in the city, the romantic and classy interior of Piccolo Sogno might often get overlooked, so pay them a visit in West Town this Restaurant Week. Participating for both lunch and dinner($33) and with gluten-free and gluten-free upon request options for both meals, this is a sure bet to pleasing all. Wine lovers will also appreciate the extensive selection of fine wines. Besides the Panna Cotta, which has candied lemons and raspberries, we are excited about the Pappardelle con Cinghiale, made with spiced wild boar ragu. The owners’ humility can be inferred by a name that means “little dream,” but reviews online assure us to have big expectations.

Restaurant Week - Piccolo Sogno

image via Piccolo Sogno Restaurant

4. Demera Ethiopian Restaurant

This popular destination in Uptown is participating in lunch and dinner, and the prices are exactly half of the other restaurants. The plates are shared, however, a $22 lunch for two or $33 dinner for two is quite a value–tack on a bottle of house wine or honey wine with dinner for only $11. We’re excited about their Ye-Beg Wot, which is flavorful, cured lamb stewed in either their spicy or mild sauce. Demera is across the street from the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, where you’ll find live jazz, swing, and spoken poetry depending on the night.

Restaurant Week - Demera Ethiopian

image via DemeraEthiopian

5. Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

Right in the center of Roscoe Village, this romantic restaurant beckons all. Each of the four courses offered for $44 dinner this Restaurant Week has us salivating! Key items include: Pork belly on-a-stick served with maple mustard; Steak Tartare with quail’s egg; Duck Confit in a red wine reduction; and an incredible sounding slice of cheesecake. If you are not able to go this week, make sure to mental tag it for when the warmer months return–the patio is everything a restaurant patio should be.

Restaurant Week - Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

image via Volo Restaurant Wine Bar

6. Yusho

Inspired by Yakitori street food, this Japanese restaurant mimics the fresh fish markets in Tokyo with the big, bold flavors that Chicagoans love. The executive chef, Matthias Merges, former executive chef at Charlie Trotter’s, has taken the burden of decision-making out of your hands. The $44 dinner prix fixe menu has only one option for each course–and we love all of them. From Sashimi Big Eye Tuna to Crispy Pork Belly Udon, the difficulty of deciding what to choose has been completely eliminated, and all that’s left is a wonderful, bright meal to remember.

Restaurant Week - Yusho

image via Yusho-Chicago

7. Big Jones

Devil Crabs, Fried Mullet, Sea Island Benne Cake–just because we may not be familiar with these items, doesn’t mean we aren’t excited about them. Since April 2008, Big Jones in Andersonville has been serving Southern heirloom cooking, sourced sustainably from farms, a list of which is available on their website.

Restaurant Week - Big Jones

image via ChicagoMagazine

8. Presidio

This contemporary American restaurant in Bucktown has the ideal Restaurant Week brunch menu–start with a Breakfast Burrata, enjoy one of their main courses, a side, and your choice of coffee, juice, or mimosa. You’ll be fortified for the day and, like us, be looking forward to the return of the fortnight of restaurant prix fixe menus next year.

Restaurant Week - Presidio

image via Presidio Chicago

Click here for other participating restaurants. Enjoy!

7 Notable January Holidays

by Michael Keating

7 Notable January Holidays


From at least Thanksgiving on, the whirlwind of holiday festivities and company parties can produce a sense of ceaseless celebration as well as the welcomed stress associated with celebrations. With the exception of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day on Monday, January 16, it seems the days can be as monotonous as they are unseasonably warm or terrifyingly cold this time of year. We’ve put together a list of a few notable holidays to mark these next few weeks.


1. National Glazed Doughnut Day/Donut Fest Chicago 2017

While National Glazed Doughnut Day is celebrated on the 12th, consider that a warm-up for the event on January 29. Donut Fest features some of the best doughnut offerings “from some of the city’s best bakers and finest coffee purveyors,” including Glazed and Infused, Doughnut Vault, and Big Shoulders Coffee. Hosted at 1st Ward at Chop Shop in Wicker Park, the event still has tickets available at 8am ($50 VIP) and 12pm ($35), proceeds support local charities and also consolidate all our favorite sweets at one venue.

7 Notable January Holidays- National Glazed Doughnut Dayimage via Pexels

2. Organize Your Home Day 1/14

Sure, you can wait until Spring to deep clean, but soften the inevitable blow by starting to get things in order now. This link is useful for the well-being of your closet, which translates into an overall well-being. Use today to put away the decorations you’ve had out since last month and integrate any new acquisitions into your home. According to early forecasts, it’ll be cloudy and either just above, but mostly below, freezing that day–consider . Have the Netflix documentary Minimalism playing in the background, and you might have an easier time letting go of clutter. According to the National Association of Professional Organizers (NAPO) 15 to 20% of the average American household’s budget is spent on buying duplicates of misplaced or lost items and getting rid of clutter reduces housework by 40%. Imagine all the possibilities with time and money saved!

7 Notable January Holidays - Organize Your Home Dayimage via Pexels

3. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day 1/16

Honor the voice and spirit of non-violence and civil rights. “Faith is taking the first step even when you can’t see the whole staircase” and “The time is always right to do what is right” are only a very minor fraction of the incredible lessons from this beloved activist.

7 Notable January Holidays - Martin Luther King, Jr. Dayimage via LeviMaaia

4. Soup Swap Day 1/21

Gather a circle of friends, family, co-workers, or neighbors and organize a soup swap. Everyone brings at least 1 quart of homemade soup for every attendee and everyone leaves with as many quarts as there is company. Prepare a large batch in a crockpot or on the stove and clear some space in your freezer to make room for all the varied and special soups you’ll bring home. Share your favorite recipe for chowder, borscht, gumbo, or stew. Looking for inspiration? Soup & Bread at the Hideout takes place on Wednesday evenings from 5:30pm to 8pm through March 29. While it isn’t a true “soup swap,” the selection of soup is tasty and the company is grand.

7 Notable January Holidays - Soup Swap Dayimage via Giphy 

5. Compliment Day 1/24

Everyone wins when you share kind thoughts. Make this day about spreading joy to others by offering sincere compliments to those around you. Remind your partner that he or she has a great laugh. If you have coworkers that inspires you, tell them so. Thank your parents; sometimes a simple Thank you is a profound compliment. Be charitable on this day, and you might be inclined to practice this every day.

7 Notable January Holidays - Compliment Dayimage via Giphy

6. Chocolate Cake Day 1/27

Because, why wouldn’t you want to celebrate it? Cafe Selmarie in Lincoln Square has a plethora of sweets worth enjoying. Other notable bakeries around town can be found here.

7 Notable January Holidays - Chocolate Cake Dayimage via Pexels

7. Chinese New Year Kickoff 1/30

It will be the year of the Rooster. Jackie Chan’s Long Yun Kung Fu Troupe has traveled from Beijing for the 33rd celebration in Chicago. The Chicago Cultural Center hosts festivities highlighting Chinese music, dance, and martial arts. One astrologer postulates: “I don’t know about you, but this Chinese astrologer is exhausted from the shenanigans of this past Monkey year! Following 12 months of the wit and hyperactive Monkey, the New Year of the Fire Rooster is going to bring fresh challenges requiring quick wit and practical solutions!”

7 Notable January Holidays - Chinese New Year Kickoffimage via Giphy

I am alert,  ready to take action

The first on the scene, the last to leave

I take chances…. But I am precise

I know where things belong

I am orderly and fastidious

Nothing escapes me, I am always prepared

I never give up or in…….


We hope that your January is full and bright with celebration and relaxation!

Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving

by Christine Hadley

Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving


Thanksgiving dinner can be a lot of work, especially if it’s just for a couple people. Sometimes preparing a big feast can be stressful and it can take away from the time families should be spending together. If you’re looking to have a relaxing/stress-free holiday, there are plenty of restaurants offering their own twist on Thanksgiving. Skip the mess this year and enjoy your company!

Here are a few places that will be open on Thanksgiving:

Wilde Bar & Restaurant

3130 N Broadway

Lady Gregory’s

5260 N Clark

These restaurants are offering a 4-course prix fixe menu for $42. This includes butternut squash bisque, holiday salad, featured entrees with sides (turkey, salmon, New York strip steak), and dessert (pumpkin pie, toffee pudding).

Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Wilde Bar and Restaurantimage via 10Best


Drew’s on Halsted

3201 N Halsted

$49 for a four course meal at this Lakeview restaurant. Appetizers include lobster bisque, beef skewer, duck confit risotto, butternut squash ravioli. For salads, there’s mixed gathered greens and arugula roasted beet goat cheese salad. Main courses include turkey, fish du jour, farfalle pasta, New York strip steak, pork chops and a vegan vegetable plate. Last but not least, dessert options include apple pie, pumpkin pie, cheesecake, white chocolate dried cherry bread pudding and chocolate molten lava cake.

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Drew's on Halstedimage via LakeviewEastChamberofCommerce


Kit Kat Lounge and Supper Club

3700 N Halsted

Available November 23rd to 25th

The Club is giving a 50 percent discount off martinis and cocktails, and 33 percent discount off the dinner tab with a canned good donation. These donations support Heartland Health Outreach. The Thanksgiving meal includes a martini, salad, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, green beans, cranberry and pineapple relish, and pumpkin pie tart. This meal is $50 without a donation and $25 with canned good donations.

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Kit Kat Loungeimage via KitKatChicago

The Signature Room

875 N Michigan

If you’re looking to celebrate in elegance, with stunning city views, this is the place for you. This unique experience is $80 for adults and $35 for children. At this price you’ll get sparkling wine and a buffet of seafood, soups and salads. The entrees include turkey, scallops and lamb chops with classic sides. The best part of all, you’ll finish the night with a dessert buffet.

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Signature Roomimage via ChicagoNow

Hard Rock Café

63 W Ontario

$27 for adults, $12.95 for kids – Dinner includes turkey, garlic smashed potatoes, stuffing, vegetables, cranberry jam, cinnamon pumpkin pie. Come by after the parade to see Santa and Mrs. Claus!

Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Hard Rock Cafeimage via Expedia

Bub City

435 N Clark

For $17 per person, you’ll enjoy hickory-smoked turkey breast, homemade cornbread and sage stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy and cranberries. Bub City is also offering a Thanksgiving carryout menu for your convenience.

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Bub Cityimage via BubCity


Parson’s Chicken and Fish

2952 W Armitage

Thanksgiving for 2 – to go!

Pre-order this dinner for two for $50. This carry-out option allows you to lounge at home in your comfy clothes. This meals includes 1 whole fried amish chicken, 2 pieces green chile cornbread, 1pt tomato and bacon braised green beans, 1pt Thanksgiving elotes, 1 qt mashed potatoes with gravy. If that isn’t enough, you can pay a little more for some optional extras.

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Parson's Chicken and Fishimage via Parson’s Chicken and Fish

Furious Spoon

Wicker Park location – 1571 N Milwaukee

Furious Spoon will be helping those in need on Thanksgiving by giving away free bowls of ramen! (11 A.M. to 4 P.M or until they run out)

 Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving - Furious Spoonimage via EaterChicago


If you like any of these options, call and make your reservation today! Also, if you plan on being downtown, don’t forget about the Thanksgiving Parade!

And have a HAPPY THANKSGIVING!!!! Hope everyone has a stress-free holiday!

Chicago Restaurants Open on Thanksgiving image via TheDailyDot

T minus 3 days until turkey time!

Haunted Houses around the Chicago Area

by Christine Hadley

Haunted Houses around the Chicago Area


Happy Halloween everyone!! With the distraction of the World Series, I think a lot of us have forgotten that it was even Halloween. Today we get a break from baseball, so get into the holiday spirit! For those who love getting scared, prepare yourself for some of the scariest places near the city.

Here’s a short list of Haunted Houses (Note: Some of these places go until November 5th):


Statesville Haunted Prison:

Find your way through 23 maximum security cells and then through caves/mines with the graves of past inmates.

Address: 17250 S. Weber Rd, Crest Hill

Last Day: October 31, 2016

Haunted Housesimage via StatesvilleHauntedPrison


Disturbia Screams in the Park

This year it includes an underground sewer, swamp filled with creatures and a new exit.

Address: 5501 Park Place, Rosemont

Last Day: November 5, 2016

Haunted Housesimage via DisturbiaScreams


13th Floor Haunted House

You get to see for yourself if the legends of the 13th floor are true. Your ticket gets you into the Bloodlines: Legacy of Darkness and Dead End District: Fallout.

Address:  1940 George St, Melrose Park

Last Day: November 5, 2016

Haunted Housesimage via Pexels


House of Torment

Attraction 1: The Frenzy – The city is on lock-down as a gang of evil spirits has taken over the streets.

Attraction 2: Nightmare High – The high school has been overrun by a zombie cheerleader and undead teenagers.

Address: 8240 N Austin Ave, Morton Grove

Last Day: November 5, 2016

Haunted Houses image via Unsplash

Midnight Terror Haunted House

The venue has decided to extend its season by hosting a two-day-only Clown Takeover on November 4th & 5th. This event will have over 100 clown characters, with unique personalities & costumes.

Address: 5520 W 111th St, Oak Lawn

Last Day: November 5, 2016

Haunted Houses image via Unsplash

For those who can’t handle the terrifying torment, watching a Halloween movie at home sounds like a better idea. Everyone have a safe and happy holiday!!

Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties

by Michael Keating

Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties


Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties

A total Halloween celebration calls for not only an outstanding costume, bushels of candy, and a haunting tale or two, but also a smiling and/or terrifying carved pumpkin. Whether cut with horror in mind or with notions on demonstrating brilliant artistry, some aspects are undeniable and universal: choice pumpkins can be hard to find and the process can be a slime fest. This year, we want to highlight a few spots around the city hosting carving events, all of which provide necessary supplies. Work out any feelings about the upcoming election or celebrate the Cubs! Anything is possible on the surface of a pumpkin.

Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties image via Tumblr

The 6th Annual Great Punk’n Party includes punk music, pumpkin themed food specials, and even pumpkin beer poured through pumpkins. For $20, Fountainhead at 1970 W Montrose will provide a pumpkin and carving kit. Winners of the best  jack-o’-lanterns are selected by their Pumpkin Carving Peers. Reserve early! Party commences at 7PM on Tuesday, October 25.

 Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties

Every year Sheffield’s Beer & Wine Garden brings “in a huge truckload of pumpkins”; they provide carving tools and ask that you show up with your imagination. Event takes place at 6PM on Thursday, October 27. They’ll even display creations throughout Halloween for everyone to enjoy. They’re expecting quite a turnout so be sure to arrive early and try their selection of seasonal craft beers and cocktails.

 Chicago Pumpkin Carving Partiesimage via Tumblr

Gaslight Bar & Grille at 2450 N Clark is hosting a free pumpkin pumpkin carving night on Thursday, October 27 at 7PM. Specials include half price salads and wraps and discounted wine. RSVP here.

Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties image via ChicagoEvents

A prize of $100 for the best jack-o’-lantern! Schoolyard Tavern is hosting a pumpkin carving night at 8PM on Thursday, October 27. Pumpkins and carving supplies are complimentary and pumpkin beer specials will be in full swing.

 Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties

And what to do with all those gouged out gourds? Gene’s Sausage Shop in Lincoln Square hosts their 3rd Annual Pumpkin Carving Contest on Sunday, October 30 starting at 12PM. Carved pumpkins may be dropped off as early as Wednesday, October 26 and they will be displayed in Gene’s windows until the event. The celebration will also mark the closing of their rooftop for the season. Halloween costumes are encouraged, not required.

According to, it is believed that the custom of making jack-o’-lanterns at Halloween began in Ireland. Lanterns, carved from gourds, were said to represent supernatural beings or to assist in warding evil spirits off. All Hallows’ Eve is just around the corner, so be sure to take advantage of these fun-filled, pumpkin hollowing events!

 Chicago Pumpkin Carving Parties image via Giphy

Experience Lincoln Square Chicago

by Christine Hadley

Experience Lincoln Square Chicago


Lincoln Square is like a mini Bavaria with its numerous German inspired businesses. The heart of the neighborhood is a picturesque strip down Lincoln Avenue. The area is full of local shops, restaurants, music venue, bars and an old school move theater (currently under renovations).  It’s also conveniently located off the Western Brown Line Station. You get a small town feel from Lincoln Square that’s kind of comforting. Though this may be a quieter neighborhood, it frequently hosts festivals/events such as Mayfest, Square Roots Festival, Apple Fest, German-American Festival, etc. You’ll find a variety of events held at the Old Town School of Folk Music. Spend a day in Lincoln Square and see for yourself what it has to offer.

Experience Lincoln Square

Here’s are a short list of places to check out in Lincoln Square:

Old Town School of Folk Music – A wide variety of classes can be found at the Old Town School of Folk Music. They offer everything from guitar to belly dancing. If you’re worried about costs, Old Town offers financial aid and numerous volunteer opportunities. Don’t want to buy an instrument? No worries, Old Town offers different rental options. The school is also a venue for a variety of concerts & events. Be sure to stop at the Old Town shop for all your music needs.

Experience Lincoln Square - Old Town School of Folk Musicimage via Christine Hadley

The Book Cellar – The Book Cellar is part café and part independent bookstore. The café offers a variety of food, coffee, as well alcoholic beverages. Grab a good book, a glass of wine and curl up on a comfy chair, does it get much better? The Book Cellar also hosts numerous book clubs. For those who are anti pumpkin spice and want to get in the fall spirit, The Book Cellar’s caramel apple cider is one of my favorites!

Experience Lincoln Square - The Book Cellarimage via Christine Hadley

Chicago Brauhaus – To get the full German experience, the Chicago Brauhaus serves a variety of traditional German dishes, wine & beer, as well as music & dancing 6 days a week. The restaurant was also included on an episode of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives on The Food Network. A beer & brats sounds pretty amazing, doesn’t it? I guess my German background could make me a little biased.

Experience Lincoln Square - Chicago BrauhausTake a look at this fine, young gentleman…. he seems to be enjoying his boot of beer at the Chicago Brauhaus – image via Christine Hadley

The Davis Theater – This is one of Chicago’s oldest and longest operating movie theaters. You’ll find the Davis on the National Register of Historic Places. The theater is currently being renovated and according to their website, should open sometime this fall. The theater welcomes the addition of The Carbon Arc Bar & Board, a full-service bar/restaurant. This is a great place to catch a flick on the big screen and soon enough it’ll be a great place to enjoy food & drinks with friends and/or family.

Experience Lincoln Square - The Davis Theaterimage via Christine Hadley

Gene’s Sausage Shop – Gene’s Sausage Shops is a European market that offers gourmet foods, homemade smoked meats, butcher shop, cheeses, baked goods, fresh produce, imported beer, wine and so on. When there’s good weather, be sure to visit Gene’s Rooftop Bar & Wine Garden! The bar has a simple menu, but the perfect outdoor experience to enjoy a Brat with a cold beer.

Experience Lincoln Square - Gene's Sausage Shopimage via Christine Hadley

Some additional shops to check out: Urban General Store, Sacred Art, A Secret Closet……..

For those of you who didn’t grow up in a big city, Lincoln Square is like a home away from home. There are numerous other great bars, restaurants & shops in the neighborhood, so get out and explore!

Explore Bucktown Chicago

by Michael Keating

Explore Bucktown Chicago


Just slightly north and west of the city’s center, Bucktown frequently gets grouped with Wicker Park and sometimes Logan Square, leaving us wondering exactly what characteristics one might expect from this thriving, trendy neighborhood. On a map, the neighborhood resembles the top of a grand piano, anchored by Western Avenue on the west, the recently modernized 606 trail along the south, and follows the curve of the Chicago River.


Primarily residential west of the Kennedy Expressway (90/94), which cuts through the neighborhood diagonally and provides a direct route to downtown or the suburbs and O’Hare Airport, Bucktown is also home to several boutiques and independent restaurants as well as big box chains, like Target and Costco. The history of the communities within Bucktown is rich. Along Oakley and Damen Avenues are some of the city’s most ornate and majestic churches.

Explore Bucktownimage via CatholicReport

Be sure to check out:


  • The Hideout, which hosts literary shows and concerts several nights a week

  • On Tuesdays, The Map Room serves their astounding selection of beers and offers free food. Arrive early, as it tends to be quite an attraction.

  • Coast Sushi Bar, a BYOB restaurant with glowing reviews

  • Explore your ability to create at Arts n Spirits!

Explore Bucktownimage via ChicagoStories

Popular Bucktown Events

 Explore Bucktownimage via ChicagoNow


  • 90/94 or the Kennedy Expressway provides easy access to Downtown Chicago or to O’Hare and the northern suburbs.

  • A number of CTA buses carry passengers along the main thoroughfares; the Western Avenue Blue Line Station transports riders to O’Hare and the Loop; the Clybourn Metra Station connects citydwellers to several suburbs.

  • The 606 is a major development that runs along Bloomingdale Avenue from North Ridgeway to North Ashland Avenues. The dog-friendly, elevated trail was recently modernized and features a path for bicyclists, runners, and walkers. Open daily from 6am to 11pm.

  • According to walkscore, “Daily errands do not require a car” for Bucktown residents.

Explore Bucktownimage via Curbed Chicago

Apartment People Bucktown Properties

Bucktown/Wicker Park Rent Ranges: 1 Bedroom $950-2000, 2 Bedroom $1400-3000, 3 Bedroom $1800-3500

  • ID #21987 – $2,200 for a 2 bedroom, 2 bedroom gut rehab with parking included and in unit laundry.
  • ID #27912 – $2,100 for a 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom walk-up with a dishwasher and laundry in the building.
  • ID #32510 – $1,475 for a 2 bedroom, 1 bathroom flat with hardwood floors and laundry in the building.
  • ID #37723 – $2,800 for a 3 bedroom, 2.5 bathroom flat with in unit laundry and beautiful finishes throughout.

For more listings in this area, click here

While less densely populated than the Lincoln Park and Lakeview neighborhoods, there is no shortage of community and culture in Bucktown. Its richness and diversity is influenced by the variety of immigrants from Poland to Cuba and everywhere in between. According to The Chicago Neighborhoods, “The neighborhood’s origins are rooted in the Polish working class, which first began to settle in the area in the 1830s.” In fact, the neighborhood was named after the goats raised there in the 19th century. Today, you’ll find a neighborhood invested in the arts and innovative cuisine, as well as a community appreciative of nature.

Explore Bucktownvia Unsplash


Fall Activities to do in the Chicago Area

by Christine Hadley

Fall Activities to do in the Chicago Area


The first official day of fall is September 22, 2016! Goodbye summer, hello sweaters, boots, scarves and pumpkin flavored everything.  Soak up what we have left of summer because winter is creeping up quickly. There are plenty of things to do to get you excited for fall….. it’s not winter just yet.

Here are a few suggestions for fall activities in or near Chicago:


Pumpkin Patches: Take family/friends out on a day trip and escape the city for a bit. If you own a vehicle, perfect! If you don’t, maybe try Zip Car or some other rental service.

Here’s just a few places to look into:

Bengtson’s Pumpkin Fest:

Goebbert’s Pumpkin Patch:

For a closer option, the Chicago Park District does pop-up pumpkin patches across the city. Check the website for a location near you:

Fall Activities in Chicagoimage via ChicagoParent

Apple Orchards: Hold onto that rental car, apple picking is another fall activity that can’t be done in the city. There’s plenty of other activities to keep the whole family busy, so make a day of it!

Apple Holler:

County Line Orchard:

Fall Activities in Chicagoimage via CondorLiving

Football: Football & tailgating are some of the best ways to get in the fall spirit! Even if you’re not a Bears fan, you’re sure to find a pub around the city that’s playing your favorite team. For those who don’t like sports………. there’s beer.

image via Tenor

Check here for the Chicago Bears schedule:

Da Bears


Festivals: There definitely aren’t as many festivals, but there’s still quite the variety to get you in the fall spirit.

Oktoberfest Chicago: (September 23 – 25, 2016) Southport & Lincoln Ave

Rocktober Beer Fest: (October 7-9, 2016) West Loop, Randolph & Ogden

Here’s a link to other events around the city:

Fall Activities in Chicagoimage via CityOfChicago


Chicago Half Marathon & 5k: (September 25, 2016)

Chicago Marathon: (October 9, 2016)

Pumpkins in the Park 5K: (October 22, 2016)

For more information on these races and others, refer to this link:

Fall Activities in Chicagoimage via RunnersWorld

 Hope this short list helps get you excited for the fall season!

Festival Frenzy

by Christine Hadley

Festival Frenzy


As festival season is winding down, there’s still plenty of options out there. Take advantage of these events before that frigid weather comes back and you forget what your fingers/toes feel like. A lot festivals typically just ask for a suggested donation (check the links for more info). Festivals are great entertainment if you’re looking to get out of the house, eat good food, listen to music or just people watch. There are so many festivals around the city this time of year, it’s hard to keep track of them all. Thankfully, there are numerous websites and apps that break them down for you. Don’t put those festival clothes in storage quite yet, there’s still plenty of good weather to take advantage of.

Here’s just a few festivals to look forward to:


Retro on Roscoe: This event takes you back in time with live music, food, the Antique & Classic Car and Motorcycle Show, and so much more.

When? August 12-14, 2016 (Friday 5 P.M. – 10 P.M. & Saturday/Sunday 12 P.M. – 10 P.M.)

Where? 2000 W Roscoe St

For more information:

Retro on Roscoeimage via DNAinfo


Northalsted Market Days: This event is the largest outdoor street festival in the Midwest! There’s a variety of vendors & musical artists, that’s sure to keep you entertained.

When? August 13-14, 2016 (11 A.M. – 10 P.M.)

Where? Halsted Street between Belmont & Addison

For more information:

 Northalsted Market Daysimage via Chicagogirltravels

Chicago Air & Water Show: This event features daredevil thrills in air & water. Witness some of the top civilian and military pilots as they perform amazing tricks & stunts.

When? August 20-21, 2016 (10 A.M. to 3 P.M.)

Where? North Avenue Beach

For more information:

Chicago Air & Water Showimage via ChooseChicago

 Lakeview East Festival of Arts: This festival showcases over 150 artists!! Artists will feature everything from paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture and jewelry. You can also expect to see music, activities and of course food!

When? September 9-11, 2016 (Friday 6 P.M. to 10 P.M., Saturday 10 A.M.  Festival of Arts to 7 P.M. & music to 10 P.M. & Sunday 10 A.M. Festival of Arts to 6 P.M. & music to 7 P.M. )

Where? Broadway, from Belmont to Hawthorne

For more information:

 Lakeview East Festival of the Artsimage via HotelBlake

Oktoberfest Chicago: A festival with brats, beers and stylish lederhosen, count me in!

When? September 23-25

Where? Southport & Lincoln Ave

For more information:

Oktoberfestimage via themmacommunity


Check the link for other festivals in your area:

This is just a small list of what this city has to offer. Maybe you can’t hit them all because let’s face it, you’ll break the bank just on drinks. Do your research and find the ones worth spending an extra few bucks. Chicago has a variety unique neighborhoods full of art & culture, jump out of your comfort zone and experience something different.

Summer Fun without Breaking the Bank

by Christine Hadley

Summer Fun without Breaking the Bank

It’s officially summer and we only have a short period of time to enjoy good weather. Take advantage of it! We’ve been hibernating for far too long and it’s time to get some color on that pasty skin. There are definitely added costs to living in a big city, but on the upside, living in a big city means there’s plenty of things to do.  Don’t let money hold you back from having a little fun this summer. It could be a matter of months before we’re back in hibernation (sorry to be the bearer of bad news). If you’ve lived in the city for a while then you know that there’s plenty of inexpensive things to do (some are even free!). If you’re new to the area, get ready to take notes.


Here are some inexpensive ways to enjoy summer around Chicago:


Museum Free Days: How can you pass up free?! A lot of museums around the city have free days for Illinois residents.

Art Institute of Chicago: Every Thursday, 5 to 8 P.M.

Museum of Science & Industry: The next free days will be in the fall

Shedd Aquarium: The next free days will be in the fall

For more details:

IMG_0564image via Christine Hadley

Fireworks on Navy Pier: Looking for a date night idea? Cuddle up under a blanket on Navy Pier, for the Aon Summer Fireworks. Not only is this display free, but it’s held biweekly on Wednesdays & Saturdays throughout the summer. Don’t worry, this isn’t a couples only thing; this is a great outing for friends & family as well.

For more details:

In the words of Katy Perry……..’Cause, baby, you’re a firework…..

image via Giphy

Beach: This is probably the best way to take advantage of the summer weather. The best part about it is it won’t cost you a thing………… unless you find yourself hanging at the bar. Grab some friends/family, some snacks, a volleyball…….. a speedo. It can also be a great place to relax by yourself with a great book.

For information on a beach near you:

beachimage via Christine Hadley

Millennium Park: You’ve got less than 2 months to take advantage of all the free events that Millennium Park has to offer. This is a perfect spot for those of you that work downtown.

–          The Summer Film Series is every Tuesday through August 30th at 6:30 P.M.

–          The Millennium Park Music Series is every Monday & Thursday till August 25th at 6:30 P.M.

–          Family Fun Festival is 10 A.M. to 2 P.M. until August 21st

–          Millennium Park Summer Workouts – 45 minute sessions are offered every Saturday 7 to 11 A.M. – Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates & Zumba. Last day is September 3rd. There are also Yoga sessions offered Wednesdays, 7:30 A.M. to 8:15 A.M. Last day is August 31st.

For more details:

millparkimage via Christine Hadley

 If all else fails there’s always Groupon…. You’ll find deals for a Sunset cruise, stand-up paddle board rentals, Jet Ski Rentals or spice it up with some Salsa lessons…. the options are endless.

Bored?!…………….. Not anymore. Hurry and enjoy some of these while you can, winter is just around the corner.

jackimage via OurGoldenAge

 If this won’t make you get outside, I don’t know what will…….

You really can enjoy summer without spending a lot 🙂