Sports and activities
From the famed Magnificent Mile to the Theater District to Lincoln Park and beyond, Chicago offers limitless opportunities for fun and adventure. The city is home to several professional sports teams, including the White Sox, the Cubs, the Fire, the Bears, the Bulls and the Blackhawks. Golfers can enjoy a round at Waveland Golf Course along the lake, or hone their skills at the Diversey Harbor driving range, which also offers clay tennis courts. The Chicago Park District operates a expansive collection of city parks that feature everything from running tracks to swimming pools to baseball diamonds, as well as playgrounds, fitness programs and summer day-camps, all no-cost or minimal cost to city residents. In the winter, ice skating rinks proliferate around the city.
Theater and comedy
Chicago is frequently ranked among the best cities in the country for local theater, comedy and improv. The Victory Gardens Theater, Second City, Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier and the Steppenwolf Theatre enjoy national recognition. The Theater on the Lake at Fullerton Parkway and Lake Shore Drive is a unique, open-air summer venue, the Briar Street Theater presents the famous Blue Man Group and the Apollo Theater of Chicago is in the midst of a multi-year presentation of “Million Dollar Quartet”. All are an easy walk, train ride or drive from a Chicago home. To top it off, the “Broadway in Chicago” series brings the best of New York and London to the downtown Theater District.
In the summer, Chicagoans are able to take advantage of “Movies in the Park,” an outdoor series in Millennium Park. The city is home to the Gene Siskel Film Center and Facets Multimedia Theatre in Lincoln Park, as well as many local cinemas that offer foreign and independent movies throughout the year.
For museum-lovers, Chicago boasts some of the best museums in the country, including the Art Institute of Chicago, the Museum of Contemporary Art, the Adler Planetarium, the John G. Shedd Aquarium, the Chicago History Museum, the Chicago Children’s Museum, the Museum of Natural History and the Museum of Science and Industry. In fact, Niko, his wife, Jacque, and Edie and her husband just became founding members of the new National Hellenic Museum of Greek history, the only one of its kind in the nation.
Frequently called the home of the blues, Chicago has a vibrant live music culture that offers everything from a world-class symphony to experimental garage rock. Enjoy classical music year-round with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra and the Lyric Opera of Chicago. During the summer, explore the Grant Park summer music series in the new Millennium Park band shell or visit one of the many summer festivals like Lollapalooza, one of the largest rock festivals in the country. Throughout the city, local clubs book a steady calendar of blues, pop, jazz and everything in between.
Both Chicagoans and visitors to the city love to take advantage of the attractions at Navy Pier and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Navy Pier is home to both the Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Chicago Children’s Museum. Several skyline and dinner cruises launch from Navy Pier locations, and the pier is home to a wide variety of dining and shopping option, as well as a huge Ferris wheel.
Entrance to the Lincoln Park Zoo is free of charge thanks to community fundraising efforts. During the winter holidays, the zoo operates the popular “Zoo Lights” presentation, which includes caroling with the animals. Niko is currently on the Zoo Auxiliary Board and Edie is a member of the Lincoln Park Conservancy, which focuses on park beautification and preservation.
In the summer, the city features a full roster of festivals that are sponsored locally by neighborhood associations. Kick off the summer with a visit to the Old Town Art Fair, a juried event bringing artists from all over the country to the north side of Chicago for a weekend-long exhibition. The Sheffield Garden Walk and the Dearborn Garden Walk offer visitors a look at the engaging city gardens of neighborhood homes and offer ideas for landscaping on a miniature scale. Park West Association and the Mid-North Association both host popular music festivals, the Hyde Park Art Fair is a popular event in the University of Chicago neighborhood, and the Printers’ Row Book Fair draws thousands of visitors to the near South Loop community each summer.
On a bigger scale, the City of Chicago sponsors the annual Air and Water Show which is viewed along the beaches and parks from Navy Pier to Fullerton Parkway. Annually, the World Music Festival and the Taste of Chicago festival bring thousands of visitors to the downtown lakefront. During the winter holidays, the Christkindlmarkt in the Civic Center Plaza celebrates Chicago’s German heritage; in fact, throughout the year, there is no shortage of parades to celebrate the city’s multi-ethnic heritage: the Columbus Day parade, the St. Patrick’s Day parade, and the Greek Independence Day parade, just to mention a few.