Chicago’s had an on-again-off-again relationship with spring this year. This week it’s been more than off since it snowed two days and the temperatures have generally been in the lower 40s. I decided to find myself a little spring and summer in the only place it stays all around. Also, this was one of the items on my bucket list.
Garfield Park Conservatory
Each year I make a New Year’s resolution and as I’ve said before, I take it quite seriously and pride myself on not breaking it. For 2010 I did Christine Kane’s exercise of picking a word that’s your theme for the entire year. Mine was reclaim and I loved it.
I figure I’ve got too many life-changing adjustments to make in 2011 with the new baby, six months of maternity leave and other things to adequately pick a theme for the entire year. So I chose to make a bucket list of Chicago sites that I want to visit this year.
For the record, I’m not dying or anything like that, I just think living in such a fantastic city, it’s easy to take for granted all the great experiences at our fingertips. I want to make a focused effort on hitting up some Chicago favorites.
My list consists of some personal faves and other ideas were gleaned from my friends who told me about what they love to do in the city. I consider my friends to be fun, smart and pretty damn cool but unpretentious, so I added the rest of their suggestions at the bottom of my bucket list in case you’re curious.
- Millennium Park. I want to come here on a warm summer day, let Logan splash around in the oversized television fountains and enjoy the rest the park has to offer.
- Art Institute of Chicago and Museum of Contemporary Art. Spend the morning at the Art Institute, my favorite Chicago museum, then have lunch at the MCA and tour the exhibits.
- Take the family to the beach. Logan loves the water and this would be a guaranteed great time.
- Go to a sing-a-long movie at The Music Box Theatre. I’ve always wanted to do this, but never have. I’ve lived here since 2001, it’s time.
- Run the Chicago Half Marathon. Chicago is a great racing city, the running community here is so supportive, it’s amazing. I am a novice runner, but one year my New Year’s resolution was to run a marathon and the support I received from running friends and strangers was stupendous. Besides having children and getting married, the marathon was the third best event of my life. I don’t feel committed enough to carve time for a full, so the half is much more manageable.
- Afternoon tea at the Drake. I never considered myself an afternoon tea kind of gal, after all I don’t even like tea. I recently went to a baby shower that was afternoon tea at the Peninsula and had a wonderful time, I want to duplicate the experience.
- Lyric Opera House. I’m 33 years old and I’ve never seen an opera, but I work across the street from the opera house. I’m long overdue. I even know what dress I’ll wear, it’s a vintage black dress that I’ve nicknamed “Jackie” after Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis and we bought it at a Michigan boutique, though it was handmade in Evanston, Ill. in the early 1960s.
- Dim Sum in Chinatown. It’s been five years since I’ve done this. Again, long overdue.
- Second City. I’ve seen a fair amount of live theater and comedic troupes while here, but I’d like to go to Second City downtown. The troupes in the suburbs that I’ve seen have been great, but I’d like to go to the heart of the storied institution.
- Dessert at Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock Center. I used to go here after dinner with girlfriends or when visitors were in town. Hubby and I need a night out where we end our evening about 1,040 feet above the city. (As a side note, clearly these are *the* best bathrooms in the city where opposite of the stalls is a glass wall with a spectacular view.)
- Garfield Park Conservatory. I’ve never been here, but have heard how it’s so beautiful with its six large greenhouses and two grand exhibition halls. Parts of it are very ornate as it’s 100 years old and on the National Register of Historic Places.
- Cubs game. Sure they’re losers, but it’s always fun to give Wrigley Field some love.
Favorites from my friends:
- Shedd Aquarium
- Children’s Museum on Navy Pier
- Chicago Architectural tour
- The DuSable Museum
- Gourmet restaurants
- The Polish American Museum of History
- Eating the best Mexican food ever in the Pilsen neighborhood
- Eating the best soul food ever at Army & Lous or Pearl’s Place on the South Side
- Dancing under the stars in Grant Park
- Jokes and Notes Comedy Club
- The Backroom Jazz Club
- Lucky Strike
- Green Farmers Market in Lincoln Park
- Walking through Michigan Avenue shopping area with hot coffee on early summer morning
- Walking through any Chicago park after a snow fall
- St. Patrick’s Day Parade on the South Side
- Coffee/pastries and/or sandwiches at Pastoral or Julius Meinl
- Browsing books and wine at The Book Cellar
- Find great half-price shows on Chicago theater web sites
*Updated to note that unfortunately Army & Lou’s recently closed, check out the article here. Also one of my smart readers pointed out that the South Side parade was canceled because it got too rowdy.