Category Archives: What’s Up This Month

Riot Fest: Squeeze in One More Outdoor Music Fest Before the Season is Over

Riot Fest: Squeeze in One More Outdoor Music Fest Before the Season is Over


Chicago has so many different music festivals throughout the summer, and the sad fact is sometimes we have to pick and choose which ones we should go to. Summer’s almost over, but there’s still time to make it to one more!


Riot Fest (September 12 – 14, 2014) is a punk, rock, and alternative music festival that hit Chicago in 2005 and has gained a name for itself. Remember those bands you used to fan girl over in high school?  Riot Fest showcases all your favorite bands from then and now, and even offers genres like rap and electronic. There’s something for everyone to see, really.



What to Expect at the Festival


Riot Fest is an outdoor event, located in Humboldt Park. This creates a large yet intimate atmosphere – everyone is very welcoming and diverse, but it is easy to stay in your own world with your friends as well. The park is large enough so that two bands can be playing at once and there is no sound overlap. You can sit comfortably away from people and enjoy the music as well as dive into the crowd. It is a very relaxed setting, with people wandering to and from different concerts throughout the day. However, at every concert you can always find someone dancing and singing along. Knowing what bands are playing really isn’t even necessary, you’re bound to find one you can enjoy or recognize simply by walking around the park, or at least find some tunes worth moving to!



What to Bring


Unfortunately, alcohol is not allowed into the festival, but there are various vendors that sell different types of food (even vegan) as well as drink options. An umbrella or poncho is recommended as it has been known to rain in past years (yes, bands still play in the rain!) but summer appropriate apparel is recommended, especially if you plan on seeing the bands up close and personal. Bringing a jacket or sweater of some sort, something that you can easily take on and off, is smart if you plan on staying for the concerts at night. A water bottle is also a good option for days that it may be hotter, you can never be too careful!


Even if you don’t know any of the bands playing, there’s something for everyone to enjoy. I mean, who doesn’t love music, beer, and dancing? But we recommend checking out the lineup anyways, ya know, just in case!


Friday, Sept. 12th Saturday, Sept 13th Sunday, Sept. 14th


Buying Tickets


The good news is that Riot Fest offers a layaway plan for your tickets! To create your layaway plan, click here! Tickets can be purchased for all three days (September 12, 13, and 14), a combination of two of the three days, or just one day.


Riot Fest takes places in Humboldt Park (W. Division and N. Sacramento) on the West Side of Chicago.


To find out more information about Riot Fest Chicago,



{Image credit: Header}


Why Millennium Park is Your Go-To Spot for the Summer

Why Millennium Park is Your Go-To Spot for the Summer


Don’t look now, but summer is blowing by! It’s hard to believe, but there’s still time to fit some cool activities into your summer. Millennium Park hosts a wide range of free events throughout the summer and we’ve got deets for you. Check out our August calendar and schedule your plans now!


Each free Millennium Park event has something different to offer. Love to workout in the mornings? Millennium Park’s scenery offers the perfect setting for a relaxing morning workout. Check out the Millennium Park Workouts to try new activities like yoga and get moving!


Millennium Park also offers a wide host of music events, for lovers of Jazz (Chicago Jazz Festival, Made In Chicago) to electro indie (Loops & Variations, Downtown Sound) music to classical Brahms (Grant Park Music Festival).


Movies for everyone! Get your movie fix at Millennium Park Summer Film Series, with a different movie every Tuesday. Check out movies like Avatar and Dream Girls to top off those sweet summer nights.



What To Bring:


A blanket or something to sit on is definitely recommended, but some go the extra step and bring little tables and chairs.  Snacks are a must and open alcohol is allowed within the event perimeters. Great spots such as Mariano’s across from the park (333 E. Benton Pl.) offer a wide selection of picnic fare and drinks. Don’t be afraid to have a little fun! Bring your wine, bring your friends, and bring your dancing shoes, because your summer just got a lot fuller!


Millennium Park Concerts, Free Concerts Chicago, Loops and Variations



Book Your August Calendar Now with these Fun Free Events:

(Click on the links to find out more! Information courtesy of City of Chicago.)



Monday, August 4, 2014

6:30 pm  Downtown Sound featuring Maps & Atlases + Wooden Shjips


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring The Birdcage


Wednesday, August 6, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring The Seven Deadly Sins


Thursday, August 7, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring John Moulder’s Earthborne Tales of Soul and Spirit


Friday, August 8, 2014

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Northern Lights


Saturday, August 9, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Northern Lights


Sunday, August 10, 2014

6 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Chinese Fine Arts Society Rhythms of China 2014


Monday, August 11, 2014

6:30 pm  Downtown Sound featuring Russian Circles + Colin Stetson


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring American Graffiti


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Bolcom and Mozart


Thursday, August 14, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Matana Roberts: Coin Coin Chapter Two: Mississippi Moonchile


Friday, August 15, 2014

6:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Daphnis and Chloé


Saturday, August 16, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Grant Park Music Festival featuring Daphnis and Chloé


Monday, August 18, 2014

6:15 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Broadway In Chicago Summer Concert


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring Dreamgirls


Wednesday, August 20, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

7 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Harris Theater + Chicago Dancing Festival: Chicago Dancing Festival Simulcast


Thursday, August 21, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Fareed Haque – Chicago: Crossroads of the World


Saturday, August 23, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

7:30 pm  Millennium Park Presents featuring Chicago Dancing Festival Celebration of Dance


Tuesday, August 26, 2014

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series featuring Wizard of Oz


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

7:30-8:15 am  Mid-week Yoga with Rachel Bers of Bloom Yoga Studio

6:30 pm  Millennium Park Summer Film Series Bonus Film featuring Avatar


Thursday, August 28, 2014

6:30 pm  Made In Chicago: World Class Jazz featuring Homage to Nelson Mandela: Ernest Dawkins’ Memory in the Center, an Afro Jazz Opera


Friday, August 29, 2014

Chicago Jazz Festival


Saturday, August 30, 2014

7-11 am  Millennium Park Workouts

Chicago Jazz Festival


Sunday, August 31, 2014

Chicago Jazz Festival



To find out more information about these events and summer in Millennium Park, visit



10 Things to Do in Chicago in July

10 Things to Do in Chicago in July

There are an incredible amount of things to do in Chicago in July! Find your top bets here:


1. Get out and go for a walk, jog or run!

Summer days in Chicago are limited, so take advantage of the sun. Enjoy this beautiful city while working out.

TIP: During the summer I enjoy running by the lakefront. I drop my stuff off at the gym and head out for a lakefront jog. I find myself jogging a longer distance because I am focused on the scenery instead of treadmill distance calculator.



2. It’s Festival Season. 

Nothing says summer like the city festivals. In Chicago we find any excuse to throw a good festival. Rub on a good layer of sunscreen and get out there! Good food, good music and good drinks.

TIP: Find a full list of city festivals at Most of the festivals are free with a suggested donation and fun for the entire family.



Dance Festival


3. Kayak or Jets-Ski…decision…decisions.

There’s nothing like the present to conquer fears. The first time I kayaked I was mortified but within a few minutes I felt as if I had been kayaking my entire life.  During the summer sites such as Groupon and LivingSocial have amazing deals.

TIP: Check out for $25 for a two-hour weekend kayak rental (a $40 value) or $49 for a 30-minute jet-ski tour Friday–Sunday ($95 value).



4. Go for a bike ride.

Don’t own a bike? No problem, just Divvy! A new bike sharing system, Divvy, featuring thousands of bikes at hundreds of stations from Andersonville to Hyde Park, available 24/7, 365 days a year. Grab your helmet…ready? Set…GO!

Learn more about Divvy at

Divvy bikes


5. Dine in Style.

After all that physical activity you’ll need to fuel up. The best way to do this is in style with Chicago legendary deep-dish pizza at Gino’s East. Layer on layer of cheese melted to perfection, that’s what you’ll find at Gino’s. Once you’ve had Gino’s East, no other pizza will compare.


6. Chicago Adventure.

Why not take a day to enjoy what the city has to offer? We live busy lives and don’t always have time to enjoy the city. Plan a Chicago getaway; Segway through downtown, learn about the incredible architecture or simply relax and watch a movie in Grant Park.


7. Free Movie?

A movie in the Park is a great way to bring the whole family together. Bring a picnic basket, a blanket and friends and family for a great outing.  The Chicago Park District offers over 250 screenings in parks across the city. To find a full listing of screenings at your local park visit


8. Catch a Game.

Cheer on your favorite baseball team at a home game. Celebrate a century of Wrigley Field by attending a Cubs game. If you’re a Sox fan check out the game night fireworks.  Not a baseball fan? Go for the food!

Wrigley Field


9. Fun at the Pier.

Fourth of July at Navy Pier, the fireworks show is scheduled for 9:30 pm. Can’t make it on the fourth? No worries, Navy Pier has firework shows every Wednesdays and Saturday. While you’re there enjoy the other attractions Navy Pier has to offer, such as the Ferris Wheel, shopping, restaurants and museums. Make it a day at the Pier. For fireworks show times visit


10. Have fun!!

No matter what you do this summer…just have fun under the sun!


Meet the New Wave of Chicago’s Influencers at Glappitnova

Meet the New Wave of Chicago’s Influencers at Glappitnova


What Chicago needs is a movement – a dose of inspiration and change injected into our daily routines. Imagine young influencers, entrepreneurs, and characters across many industries all coming together to share their wisdom. Austin, Texas claims its South by Southwest fame, Eden, Utah claims its Summit Series fame – now it’s Chicago’s turn. Making its second annual appearance on July 14 – 17, Glappitnova presents the city’s most unique storytellers, performers and teachers. Wrapped up into one big party, the summit takes networking and interactive learning to the next level.


Co-Created by Nick Brown and Mike Webb, Glappitnova began as a small underground culture perfecting the concept of storytelling from different young industry leaders. Now with the expansion of the team, and activities, it’s grown into a festival bringing influencers from around Chicago together, Glappitnova is an event where people can share their stories and join a community of diverse perspectives. I had the pleasure of interviewing Nick to find out the story behind the scenes. Here’s what I learned:



How did Glappitnova begin?


The first wave of the organization, called Glappit, sought out tech talent to help build the initial product that would automatically share products, ideas, and information surrounding your location. But when building our product there has to be a physical presence which is developing the community. Reaching further – “to the stars,” as Nick says, the designation “Nova” was born. The first Glappitnova festival was held in February 2013 – a small gathering, just for a few hours, along Milwaukee Avenue. It was all about executing a small idea, and getting better the next time.


Reacting to a high level of enthusiasm, curiosity and demand, this year’s festival expands to nearly a week of performances, storytelling and learning (and don’t forget the partying!). Mark July 14 – 17 on your calendar and purchase your tickets here.



What can we expect at this year’s Glappitnova?


Come with an open mind – you’ll have a great time and walk out having learned something new. Your perception of diversity across industries will be altered once you see and hear the creative, intelligent and fun contributions of the presenting influencers.


This is an interactive festival – we’re not setting up in an auditorium. Literally fostering an open environment by hosting the event in a loft space, the audience will have the opportunity to interact and engage with the speakers.


This will be a memorable experience and no doubt you’ll have lessons to take back to your own life.



Who are the most unique or inspirational influencers you’ve worked with?


Actress and dancer Elizabeth Adler of Chicago Dance Theatre Ensemble encouraged me to be more open and accept different perspectives. She encourages us to truly see what’s around you by listening to others. This is a great lesson we can all live by.


Another influencer I worked with left his corporate lifestyle to pursue what he was truly passionate about. Having that courage to start fresh by transitioning into something new was quite the inspiration.



Thanks Nick!




Now’s your chance to get to know Chicago’s young influencers – join the party this July and buy your Glappitnova tickets here before they sell out.


{Image from Glappitnova}



Your Guide to Living The Chicago Lifestyle: Summer 2014

Your Guide to Living The Chicago Lifestyle: Summer 2014


Our blessed Chicago summer has finally arrived and we all have one goal: Make the most of it! Don your sunglasses and head out the door to enjoy Chicago’s best summer experiences. Because Chicago is so vast and I still have plenty of places I want to try, my list of things to do in Chicago this summer is broken down into two parts – “What I Love” – my own recommendations – and “What I Want to Try” – the places I’ve been dying to go. If you’ve experienced any of the things I want to try, please comment below and let me know how they are!



Al Fresco Dining

outdoor restaurants chicago, chicago summer


\\ What I Love \\

  • The Southern (1840 W. North) – This outdoor, partly-shaded patio gets sweeter every time I go. Refreshing seasonal cocktails are paired with a rotating southern menu, allowing you to try something new each time. When weather permits, the second story opens up with breezy cabanas for hosting your best group of friends. My favorite experiences have included Johnny Cakes, hushpuppies and even an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil.
  • Oak Street Beach Bistro (1001 N. Lake Shore Drive) – While most know about Castaways, Oak Street Beach Bistro is a tamer version at the next beach over. Don’t worry if your feet are covered in sand, stop in for a beer and some fish tacos while you people-watch the afternoon away.
  • Derby (1224 W. Webster) – Also featuring southern fare and drinks, Derby is fun year-round. When it’s a sunny Saturday in the middle of the summer, Derby is my first choice when I’m looking for outside seating – I’ve been lucky enough to get a seat each time! While the brunch menu isn’t that large, their main menu has an extensive list of choices, all of which you can top off with a Mint Julep, Beermosa or Cool as a Cucumber.



\\ What I Want to Try \\

  • RM Champagne Salon (116 N. Green) – Paying homage to one of my favorite drinks, RM Champagne Salon has a courtyard strung with party lights (gorgeous in the pictures). The restaurant opens up at 5 p.m. each night and 11 a.m. on Sundays for brunch. I can see myself lounging under the sparkling lights, ordering a cheese plate while sipping a glass of champagne…
  • Elle on the River (330 N. Wabash) – Situated on the patio outside the Langham Hotel and restaurant Travelle, this sweet new spot is serving up Mediterranean tacos, craft sodas (with the option to add your liquor of choice), and summer-flavored punch bowls titled “Better than a Bradford,” “Elle a Noir” and “Down by the River.” Don’t forget the lovely view of the city over the river.



Rooftop Party Hopping

rooftop bar chicago, chicago summer


\\ What I Love \\

  • ZED451 (739 N. Clark) – While ZED451’s rooftop is only two floors high, it still offers great city views of the surrounding buildings. You’ll enter through the restaurant’s first floor bar, climbing a set of stairs to get to the top. With a number of seating options – long benches, two-seater high-tops and mini cabanas for groups – you can sit down and order a bite off the restaurant’s lighter Cravings menu. This is a great spot for a special event or a night out with friends.
  • J. Parker (1816 N. Clark) – The drinks may be expensive, but the view makes up for it. Take the special elevator up to the top of Hotel Lincoln and step out to incredible visibility of Lincoln Park and the lake. The view encompasses some of Chicago’s best natural beauty and reinforces your love for this great city. Expect a hip see-and-be-seen crowd, and don’t expect to get a seat during peak hours.



\\ What I Want to Try \\

  • I|O Urban Roofscape (127 W. Huron) – Swanky hotel The Godfrey boasts an indoor/outdoor rooftop space serving up food and drinks to its fabulous visitors. Open from breakfast/brunch through late night, the restaurant/bar sits under a retractable roof that allows for year-round entertaining – and they even take reservations! My apartment window overlooks the hotel, leaving me wanting to go every day. One of these days I will make it happen!
  • 52Eighty Rooftop Lounge (166 E. Superior) – Several of my fellow Chicago bloggers made me jealous with their recent pictures from Mile North Hotel’s new rooftop, 52Eighty. Twenty-eight stories up, this brand-new space looks like it’s going to be one of the summer’s hottest rooftops!
  • Little Goat Rooftop (820 W. Randolph) – My Mom and I stumbled across this little gem while waiting to be seated in Little Goat’s main dining room. This cozy space offers cushioned benches, an outdoor bar, and even a few manicured plants and flowers to enhance the atmosphere. Perched on top of the main restaurant, this rooftop offers a great view in the middle of the West Loop. Since it is adjacent to the dining room that can be rented for private events, the rooftop is only open for very specific hours – please check their website for more details.



Fresh Air Fitness

outdoor fitness chicago, outdoor workout chicago, chicago summer


\\ What I Love \\

  • Running the lakefront trail – In my Chicago Marathon training days, I conquered approximately 10 miles (out and back to get in a total of 20!) of that well-worn trail. While the stretch between Fullerton and Oak Street is especially popular due to the beaches, this congested area is not the only scenic part of the route. Heading north between Montrose and Foster you’ll take in expansive fields, nearly empty beaches, and plenty of peaceful spots to camp out for the afternoon. Heading south, you’ll pass by beauties such as the Buckingham Fountain, incredible skyline views by the museum campus, and ultimately more sandy shores looking back up on the loop.
  • The Color Run – Read about my experience at The Color Run and enter to win 2 tickets here.



\\ What I Want to Try \\

  • Yoga at Lincoln Park Zoo’s Nature Boardwalk – Held under the unique wooden sculpture modeled after a turtle shell, weekly yoga classes bring your workouts back to nature. In addition to the picturesque view of the city skyline, you’ll be surrounded by wildlife living in the boardwalk’s ecosystem. Curious? You can even try it out for free – on Saturday, May 31 from 9 – 10 a.m. and Sunday, June 1 from 10 – 11 a.m.
  • Stand-up Paddleboarding – If you haven’t seen pictures of this unique sport, it’s a cross between surfing and kayaking – you’ll stand up on a board and paddle around in the lake. Chicago SUP offers rentals, lessons and even crazy classes such as SUP-Yo (yoga on the board) and SUP-Fit (cross training on the board). Who wants to sign up with me??



Low-Cost Culture & Events

free events chicago, chicago summer


\\ What I Love \\

  • Navy Pier Fireworks – Seeing a spectacle in the sky is not just for 4th of July anymore – in Chicago, you can be dazzled with fireworks every Wednesday at 9:30 p.m. and every Saturday at 10:15 p.m. While you can go directly to Navy Pier to view the fireworks shows, I would recommend finding a rooftop to watch them from, or go out on a fireworks cruise on a boat or kayak.
  • Movies in the Park – Movies in the Park is entering its 14th season, bringing communities together to view classic and modern movies under the stars – for free! Bring your blanket, chairs and picnic to enjoy a balmy evening with friends. I had the pleasure of seeing my favorite movie, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, at the Chicago History Museum last year. Favorites this summer include:
    • July 5: Gravity at Jonquil Playlot (1001 W. Wrightwood)
    • July 9: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off at Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark)
    • July 17: The Sandlot at Wicker Park (1425 N. Damen)
    • August 8: The Goonies at Wrightwood Park (2534 N. Greenview)
    • August 12: The Blind Side at Montgomery Ward Park (630 N. Kingsbury)
    • August 23: Wizard of Oz at Oz Park (2021 N. Burling)
  • Arlington Racetrack – Bring your floppy hats, your sundresses and your bowties to spend a day in the sunshine at Arlington’s beautiful horse racing track. Unlike some of the other horse racing experiences you may have had, you can actually see all of the horses at this track. Even though this location is in the suburbs, it’s easy to take the Metra from Clybourn station and you can even drink on the train. With tickets typically only $12, you’ll get to see the horses race every 20 minutes and grab some food/drinks or place a bet before the next one. The track’s biggest race, the Arlington Million, will be a big party on Saturday, August 16.
  • Farmer’s Markets – There’s nothing like finding fresh inspiration for your dinner from the bountiful produce, meats, cheeses and more flowing from local farmers at Chicago’s many Farmer’s Markets. While my favorite remains the Green City Market in Lincoln Park, many neighborhoods host their own markets on various days of the week, including lunch hours in the Loop. Visit the link above to find one near you.



\\ What I Want to Try \\

  • Jazzin’ at the Shedd – I still haven’t made it to this weekly (every Wednesday 5 – 10 p.m. from June 25 – September 3) summer event, but not for lack of trying! I bought tickets/Groupons the past two years but had conflicts both times. This year I am determined to enjoy the concerts featuring rotating artists outside the Shedd Aquarium. Attendees can choose from various food and beverage options for purchase. Bonus points for fireworks in the background and extended hours on select museum exhibits.
  • Free Concerts at Millennium Park – The gorgeous Jay Pritzker Pavilion hosts free concerts throughout the summer, another great spot to bring a blanket and set up a picnic. There are several sets of concerts – Loops and Variations, which features new music mixed with electronica on Thursdays at 6:30 p.m., and Downtown Sound, which features varied genres of artists every Monday at 6:30 p.m.



Festivals, Concerts and Tours

chicago summer festival, chicago summer concerts, chicago summer


\\ What I Love \\

  • Chicago Pride Parade – This has got to be one of the city’s most fun one-day events. While the Pride Fest takes on a full week of festivities, the parade on June 29 guarantees color, spirit and a whole lot else! Warning: there might be sights you can’t un-see. But don’t let that stop you – the costumes, floats and performances make this a huge street party running for blocks and blocks in Boystown.
  • Chicago Food Planet Tour (Bucktown/Wicker Park) – In addition to getting your fill of Chicago-based delicacies, you’ll be treated to a neighborhood history walking tour. I had the opportunity to learn about the “Beer Baron Mansions,” the painted lady houses, and the history of the park (Wicker Park) itself. This tour also provided my only “official” tutorial on the history, components and principles of the Chicago-style hot dog.
  • Taste of Lincoln Avenue – One of Chicago’s most popular street festivals, Taste of Lincoln Avenue attracts a gathering so large you might end up crowd-surfing. To avoid the congestion, attend at off peak hours, catch one of the local cover bands (such as my favorite 80s cover band, 16 Candles), and sample the flavors of nearby restaurants you’ve never tried. This year’s festival is scheduled for July 26 – 27.



\\ What I Want to Try \\

  • Do-Division Street Fest – Held this upcoming weekend, May 30 – June 1, West Town’s street festival hosts concerts, a sidewalk sale of artisan vendors, local food options and even a fashion festival (runway show!). Centered on the unique businesses and shops that make up the area, this festival gives true neighborhood flair and welcome to visitors from all over.
  • Chicago Blues Fest – I feel like I’ve never fully taken advantage of Chicago’s history of blues music. From June 13 – 15, we can experience numerous blues and honorary acts in Grant Park for free. Headliners include Billy Boy Arnold, Bettye LaVette, Dr. John and more.



Follow The Chicago Lifestyle’s summer adventures around town on Twitter and Instagram.



Which of these have you tried? What tips would you give us for the places we haven’t been? Please comment below!



Popping Up All Over Chicago: Art, Music, Fashion and Shopping

Popping Up All Over Chicago: Art, Music, Fashion and Shopping


While it’s fun to shop at year-round stores or visit permanent exhibits, it’s exhilarating to take part in Chicago’s “pop-up” events – shopping, art, music or food experiences that happen just for a brief moment – and then they’re gone. If you’re in the know about these happenings – thanks to reading The Chicago Lifestyle, of course – you can take advantage of these fleeting events. You’ll have a unique experience, and you might find some unique items, that you’ll never find anywhere else.





Chicago is a city full of incredible art, visible in many museums, neighborhoods and galleries. Here are some new ways to experience art this month.


ACTIVATE Pop-Up Loop Art Party


The Chicago Loop Alliance, which manages the art and sculptures shown in the loop, is hosting an innovative event called ACTIVATE – which they describe as “part spectacle and part happy hour – featuring art and live music in a unique urban setting.” On Thursday, May 1 from 5 – 10 p.m., the Sullivan Center Alley will be overtaken for the ACTIVATE party, featuring art curated by Johalla Projects and a Zipcar DJ booth. Artists will use lights and lasers to simulate the “death of winter and the rise of spring.” The event is free and beer and wine will be served for $2 (cash only). Sullivan Center Alley can be accessed from Monroe between State and Wabash. RSVP here and get a free drink ticket.



Red Bull Canvas Cooler Project – Showcased in Chicago Restaurants and Bars


Red Bull Cooler Canvas Project


20 emerging Chicago artists were recently selected to each create a masterpiece on a Red Bull cooler covered in canvas. Paired with owners of Chicago’s hottest bars and restaurants, the artists were challenged to create their cooler in fitting with the theme of one specific venue. The artists were only given one day to execute on this creative project, and the coolers were submitted to judges to vote on the best piece, for submission into SCOPE Art Fair in Miami. The remaining creations will go on display in the next few weeks in locations including:

  • Hub 51
  • Three Dots and a Dash
  • Bub City
  • Chop Shop
  • Empty Bottle
  • The Brixton
  • And many more!


Red Bull Cooler Canvas Project




Red Bull Cooler Canvas Project


When you visit any of these locations in the next month, be sure to ask (and watch out for) these unique pieces of art. You’ll be able to surprise your friends when you know where they came from!


{Photos courtesy of Red Bull}





Listen in for this one-of-a-kind concert coming up next week!


Kaleidoscope Concert Featuring Lawrence University Musicians


Lawrence University Kaleidoscope Concert


Imagine a kaleidoscope of jazz, bluegrass, classical and opera music – all converging in one performance. Talented musicians from Lawrence University travel to Chicago to perform for one night only at Park West Theatre (322 W. Armitage) on Tuesday, April 29 at 6:30 p.m. The performance will feature acts such as Cuban drumming, a bluegrass quartet, an operatic aria and even a didgeridoo. Past shows have sold out and have amazed concertgoers with the fast-paced variety of music compiled into one event. Tickets are $20 and can be purchased here. A pre-show reception with hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will begin at 5:30 p.m.


{Photo courtesy of Lawrence University}





Get ahead of the curve with Chicago designers’ brand new clothing lines.


Chicago Designer Spring Showcase


Sine Qua Non Salon (2766 N. Lincoln Ave.) is hosting a spring trunk show featuring Chicago’s top designers this Friday, April 25 from 6:30 – 9 p.m. You’ll have the opportunity to see hot new clothing lines as well as preview new style bar services. Enjoy wine and treats from Paper Moon Bakery while taking advantage of retail promotions and salon booking deals. Fourteen unique vendors will show off their goods at this one-time event. The first 20 people through the door will receive a free blowout!





Vintage Garage Flea Market


Sunday, April 27 will mark the 3rd season of the Vintage Garage flea market. From 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., visit 5051 N. Broadway for a wide selection of vintage clothing, jewelry and mid-century furniture from 100 of the finest vintage dealers in the Midwest. Admission is $5. The event will also feature a “Vintage Style Ride” at 11:30 a.m. – bicyclists dressed in vintage clothing riding along the lakefront.



Randolph Street Market


Randolph Street Market


The classic Randolph Street Market (1350 W. Randolph) will return this weekend, April 25 – 26 from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. both days. A treasure trove of all kinds of goods, from clothing, posters, furniture, home goods and more, the Randolph Street Market encourages hours of browsing to pick up just the right item that no one else has. This month the market is indoors, and admission is $10. As a special offering at this month’s market, Tandem Felix Letterpress will be offering classes to learn how to use a wooden letterpress for printing. Classes are $25 (including market entry) and tickets can be purchased here. Bonus! Show your entry ticket receipt after the market for a free glass of Prosecco at Nellcôte.



What’s Up This Month: April 2014

What’s Up This Month: April 2014

With the sun starting to shine, the weather heating up, we can finally come out of hibernation! Plan your social calendar with these top picks for April:



Fondue Cooking Class at Geja’s Cafe
Time: 1 – 3 p.m.
Location: Geja’s Café (340 W. Armitage)
Cost: $25 (proceeds benefit Greater Chicago Food Depository)


To celebrate National Cheese Fondue Week, you have the pleasure of learning the decades-old artistry of Geja’s swiss fondue. Learn from the best and enjoy wine pairings, and even take home samples of the fondue!



4/11 – 4/12
Dance Shelter Performance at Stage 773
Time: 8 p.m.
Location: Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont)
Cost: $15


In honor of Chicago Dance Month, go see the performances directed by risk-taking choreographers at Stage 773. This contemporary dance show features the work of six choreographers.



Pastoral Artisan Festival
Time: 11 a.m. – 3 p.m.
Location: Chicago French Market (131 N. Clinton – in Ogilvie Train Station)
Cost: Free


Discover new artisanal meats, cheeses, craft beers, liquors and more directly from their creators. Held at the French Market, this festival allows you to taste lots of local treats for free!



Grapes to Bottles Wine Tasting Party at Floating World Gallery
Time: 3 – 6 p.m. or 7 – 10 p.m.
Location: Floating World Gallery (1925 N. Halsted)
Cost: $38


This month’s innovative wine tasting is held at a unique gallery in Lincoln Park. Surround yourself with art at this urban loft space while tasting wines and bubbly in the social bubble wine room. Of course, the cheese plate will be a main feature.



Minds Matter Spring for the Students Gala
Time: 8 – 11 p.m.
Location: Chicago History Museum (1601 N. Clark)
Cost: $95


Party for a cause at the Spring for the Students Gala, benefiting Minds Matter, an organization that pairs students from low-income families with professional mentors, helping them achieve their college preparation and acceptance dreams. Money raised covers the students’ educational needs such as Kaplan prep books, summer school programs, and college application fees. The party features a DJ, open bar, appetizers and desserts as well as a silent auction and raffle.



Sign Up for Chicago Sport and Social Club Volleyball


Work on your tan all summer with your friends by joining Chicago Sport and Social Club’s volleyball leagues on North Avenue Beach. With options for all skill levels, the volleyball league is a great way to meet new friends and get some fun in after work. While there is no deadline to sign up, registration is open now and will sell out.



Baconfest Master Class at Whole Foods Lincoln Park
Time: 7 – 8:30 p.m.
Location: Whole Foods Lincoln Park (1550 N. Kingsbury)
Cost: $5


Join in the #BaconMonth craze at Lincoln Park’s flagship Whole Foods while Barn & Co.’s Pitmaster Gary Wiviott demonstrates new ways to enjoy bacon. The chef samples are paired with Lagunitas beer samples. Follow the link to buy tickets or call 312-587-0648 to reserve your spot.




Ravinia tickets go on sale at 5 a.m.

Time: 5 a.m.

Cost: Varies


The ultimate summer concert venue, Ravinia encourages long nights of picnicking on the lawn with friends. An easy train ride from the city, Ravinia features hundreds of concerts throughout the summer season. Some of this year’s headliners include One Republic, ZZ Top, Rufus Wainwright, and Willie Nelson. Tickets go on sale at 5 a.m. – headliners sell out quickly but many concert options are open throughout the summer.



Wine and Wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo
Time: 6 – 8 p.m.
Location: Lincoln Park Zoo Regenstein Small Mammal – Reptile House
Cost: $17


Enjoy a glass of wine while learning about the zoo’s conservation efforts with rare prairie and reptile species.



4/25 – 4/27
Gilt City Warehouse Sale
Time: Shifts vary
Location: MCA Warehouse (1747 W. Hubbard)
Cost: $10 – $20


Get your high-end fashion fix at this annual warehouse sale hosted by Gilt City. Expect racks of clothing, shoes and accessories to choose from. Hint: go early before all the good stuff is gone.



Triathlon Gear Swap
Time: 2 – 5 p.m.
Location: Centered Chef (177 N. Ada Suite 101)
Cost: Free admission


Runners, bikers and swimmers alike can browse and buy used gear at the Triathlon Gear Swap. Suit up for your next race or just your summer workouts. Curious about competing in triathlons? Come early for the “Tri 101” class and meet athletes who are happy to share their tips with you.



Enjoy Chicago this April!



5 Ways to Ensure St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans

5 Ways to Ensure St. Patrick’s Day Shenanigans


St. Patrick’s Day is one of Chicago’s favorite holidays – so big in fact, that the city drops 45 pounds of vegetable dye to color the Chicago River the honorary emerald green. With crowds spilling out into the streets, St. Patrick’s Day is one big party you do not want to miss. Here are the top 5 things you need to do to make your holiday complete:



1. Toast your friends with a green drink in hand

In true Irish fashion, St. Patrick’s Day should be enjoyed with a drink (or many). Join your friends early in the day (by 10 a.m. is recommended) and enjoy some breakfast favorites along with these themed drinks:


Green Jell-O Shots (make the night before)

Green Jell-O Shots









  • (4)  0.3 oz. packages lime Jell-O (sugar-free is better so your friends don’t have a sugar crash)
  • 6 cups chilled vodka
  • 2 cups boiling water

Pour the gelatin mix into a large bowl. Add the 2 cups boiling water, stir until completely dissolved. Stir in the 6 cups chilled vodka. Arrange 1 or 1.5 oz. plastic shot glasses on a tray. Use a liquid measuring cup with a spout or a funnel to carefully pour the mixture into the shot glasses. Chill in the fridge overnight and enjoy in the morning!


Irish Coffee

In a mug, drop in 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Pour 1.5 oz. Irish whiskey over the sugar. Fill the remainder of the glass with coffee, stirring as you go. Top with fresh whipped cream and optionally, shavings or sprinkles of chocolate.



2. Head to the river to see the green dye (but don’t fall in!)

After your morning breakfast and drinks, gather up your crew and head to the river. The 50-year old tradition of dyeing the river green draws approximately 40,000 people, as it’s definitely a sight to see! The best places to see the green river are over the bridges between Columbus and Wacker Drive. The riverwalk between Michigan Ave and Columbus is one of the best viewing spots. The dyeing begins at 10:45 a.m. and is visible for about 5 hours, so catch it while it lasts.

This year, the polar vortex weather has called into question whether the frozen river can actually be dyed green. According to the parade coordinator, if there’s a will, there’s a way! The plan is to send a large tugboat through the river to break up the ice. Even if there are chunks of ice floating on the surface, the river can still be dyed. This may be the first time in the history of the tradition that weather has impeded the process. No matter what happens, St. Patrick’s celebrations will carry on.



3. Feast on corned beef and cabbage

After you’ve had your fill of the green river, head to River North to continue your spirited adventures. Most bars and restaurants will have food and drink specials, and the trick is finding a place to convene that isn’t already spilling out into the streets. I can’t go a year without tasting corned beef and cabbage, and as luck would have it, many restaurants are serving this year!

  • Green Door Chicago (678 N. Orleans) – Serving up corned beef and cabbage and offering prizes for the best outfit
  • Rockit Bar and Grill (22 W. Hubbard) – St. Pat’s Burger topped with corned beef, bacon, sauerkraut, 1000 Island dressing on a pretzel bun, also serving Guinness Potato Cheddar Soup
  • Harry Caray’s (33 W. Kinzie) – Everything from Beer Cheddar Soup to a Corned Beef Sandwich to Fish & Chips



4. Take part in a mid-afternoon dance party

Once you’ve refueled, heat things up with a dance party – the following bars are hosting music all afternoon:

  • The Grid (351 W. Hubbard) – 4 DJs all day, live band The Hot Sauce Committee playing 1 – 4 p.m., Irish stilt walkers, bagpipers and more
  • Timothy O’Tooles (622 N. Fairbanks) – Events will feature beer chugging contests, bagpipers and an Irish-inspired menu all day
  • D4 Pub (345 E. Ohio) – Celebrate in heated outdoor tents, with a $10 cover you will receive a t-shirt and party favors



5. Find a leprechaun

You will see many a St. Paddy’s fan dressed up – in the bars, on the streets, and maybe even swimming in the river. If you see your favorite leprechaun costume, take a picture and post it to Instagram – make sure to tag thechicagolifestyle!

What’s Up This Month: March 2014

What’s Up This Month: March 2014

Top events and ideas to keep you entertained this month:



  • Take advantage of an exclusive opportunity to wine and dine with top chefs in Chicago at the Fear No Art Dinner Party Series. Held March 31 at City Winery (1200 W. Randolph), Chef Carrie Nahabedian of Naha will be cooking for Chefs Rick Bayless and more, and it’s all filmed live! Tickets, $45, will get you in as an audience member of the show’s filming, as well as samples from the chefs, and wine and chocolate. If you can’t make the event in person, watch the show live on the Sun Times – Splash Section site from 7:30 – 9:30 p.m.
  • Learn about all the inner-workings of food, farming and restaurants in Chicago at the Good Food Festival. Head to the UIC Forum (725 W. Roosevelt) from March 13 – 15 for chef demos (Paul Virant, Rick Bayless, Jason Vincent), workshops, tasting vendors and more. Tickets range from $10 – $300 based on how many specialized events you attend. The “Localicious” party will take place on Friday night, March 14
  • Test your cooking skills by submitting your own recipe to Bespoke Cuisine, for a chance to win two spots in a hands-on cooking class! Enter the Customer Cook-Off Competition by submitting your best recipe for inclusion in upcoming mix-it-up cooking classes. For more information, contact




  • Ride the “Urban Bourbon Trail” Saturday, March 1 starting at 1 p.m. on a bar crawl through Four Corners Tavern Group (Kirkwood, Schoolyard, Crossing and Benchmark). Put a stamp on your bourbon passport for each taste of Jim Beam, Makers Mark, Four Roses, Woodford Reserve and more. A fully stamped passport earns you entry to the grand raffle to win a custom bourbon barrel and a bottle of fine bourbon. Tickets, $35, provide bus transportation to each of the bars, your passport, a t-shirt and a water bottle
  • Grapes to Bottles hosts their “Wine Socialist” events monthly encouraging a social, mingling aspect to the traditional wine tasting. The Saturday, March 22nd event, “Old Against New Wine Tasting,” adds a new social flair with a funny photo booth, wine bottle photo shoots and of course, adding your talents to Instagram with hashtag #grapestobottles. The event features a tasting of old world and new world wines, and most importantly, a cheese bar. The event is $35 at the Dana Hotel (660 N. State) and has two time slots: 6 – 8 p.m. and 8:15 – 10:15 p.m.



Concerts & Comedy

  • Several big names are performing in Chicago this month, including:



Learn & Create

  • Artists, musicians, designers, chefs, filmmakers and more should head to the Creative Chicago Expo March 14-15 at the Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington) from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. (free admission). The event features networking, workshops and speakers such as fashion designer Mario Pinto, Chef Carrie Nahabedian, film producer Robert Teitel and U of C Director of Arts and Public Life Theaster Gates



Cultural Events & Tours

  • Explore the hidden stories behind several of Chicago’s top theaters, including the Oriental Theatre (March 15) and Cadillac Palace (March 22). Broadway in Chicago offers tours every Saturday at 11 a.m., providing insight to the history, architecture and technology behind some of the country’s most renowned theatres
  • This month’s First Fridays at Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a “spring break” theme featuring Latin dance music from DJ collective Sonorama. Expect live performances and interactive art on Friday, March 7 from 6 – 10 p.m. at this monthly museum 21+ mixer. Tickets $14 – 18 for admission and cash bar inside



Where to Celebrate Mardi Gras


Fat Tuesday is coming up on Tuesday, March 4 – here are several venues offering New Orleans-themed dinner and drink specials:

  • Municipal Bar (216 W. Ohio) – $6 beignets, $13 shrimp and sausage gumbo, $20 hurricane bowls
  • Benchmark (1510 N. Wells) – $12 Etouffee, $11 Cajun-style po-boy, $9 spicy hurricanes, rum runners and Sazeracs