Best Kept Secrets of Chicago: Theater, Music, and Dining

Filed in Gather Travel Essential by on May 8, 2010 0 Comments

Theater, Music, and Dining in Chicago

There are plenty of things that people associate with the Windy City that ring true. The city has some interesting politics. It’s a great sports town, not only for “Da Bears,” but basketball, baseball, hockey, and more. There’s some interesting history to be told (Al Capone stories included). What most tourists don’t know about CClick Herehicago, however, are some of its best hidden secrets. For example, it’s a great town for theater, music, and food…and not just pizza and hot dogs.

Chicago has a great cultural scene. While many visitors crowd its museums during the day, there are a lot of interesting things to do when the sun goes down as well. To get an overview of some of the activities going on during your visit to the city, any tourist’s first stop should be at the Chicago Cultural Center (at the corner of Michigan and Randolph Streets). Inside you will find some of the most extensive tourist information in the city. Helpful guides will supply you with maps, brochures, and information about all the activities going on at the city at any given time. While you are there, enjoy a free lunchtime concert or take a stroll through one of the free art exhibitions. Don’t miss the Tiffany stained glass dome; it’s the Chicago Cultural Center’s secret treasure.

Chicago Theater
What many tourists to Chicago may be surprised to find out is the rich theater tradition of the city. Many of today’s television and movie stars once got their start in the Windy City. There’s a rich tradition of theater performances, so much so that Chicago is often a testing ground for Broadway productions before they hit the Great White Way. “The Producers” is just one example of a musical that made it first in Chicago before it hit New York. One recent show, “The Addams Family” is getting its shot, and playing to packed houses.

Some of the most popular theaters in Chicago include the Goodman Theater, The Steppenwolf, The Chicago Shakespeare Theater (at Navy Pier), and The Lookingglass Theatre Company, a theater group co-founded by Chicago alum David Schwimmer of “Friends” fame. One of the newest is The Harris Theater in Millennium Park, which provides stages for both music and dance.

Blues and Jazz, Classical Too
Chicago is a music town. No matter what type of music you like, there’s a place for you in the city. Traditionally Chicago’s roots are in blues and jazz. Not only does the city hold free outdoor festivals for each of these genres of music, but there are plenty of nightly offerings of live music in clubs around town. Some of the best include Kingston Mines (the oldest club in the city for jazz and blues), Buddy Guy’s Legends (a premier blues club), and Blue Chicago (a great place to hear blues, conveniently tucked into nearby Ontario Street’s restaurant row). For those who favor conversation with their music, check out the piano bars of Pops for Champagne and The Redhead Piano Bar. The Chicago Symphony plays in its concert hall on Michigan Avenue from fall to spring, and outdoors at Ravinia (an easy Metra train ride from central Chicago) during the summer.

Chicago Chefs Make Their Mark
Many a chef has made their mark on the city of Chicago. Like New York, restaurants open and close at an astonishing rate. Every kind of food and every price point for dining is available, but some of the most outstanding chefs (those with TV shows or cookbooks or even their own lines of food products) include Charlie Trotter, whose restaurant, Charlie Trotter’s can be found in Lincoln Park. French chef Jean Joho serves up formal Alsatian cuisine at Everest, and café offerings at Brasserie Jo’s. Mastering the art of Mexican cuisine is TV star and master chef Rick Bayless, whose cooking appears nightly at Frontera Grill and Topolobampo. Molecular gastronomy can be sampled at Alinea, where James Beard Chef of the Year Grant Achatz cooks. A favorite of mine and a rising star in American cuisine is Paul Kahan’s Blackbird. Finally, one last Chicago secret, the restaurant Blackbird gained its name from the French slang term for the Merlot grape, not the feathered creature.

Where to Stay

Magnificent Mile Penthouse
Beautifully rehabbed penthouse located on the 55th and 54th floors. This condo has a magnificent location and the most spectacular views in Chicago! Step outside your door and enjoy world class shopping on the Magnificent Mile. Stroll over to the best restaurants in town. Walk to Chicago’s famous Oak Street beach. Visit Chicago landmarks and hot spots like the John Hancock Building, historic Water Tower, Holy Name Cathedral, American Girl Place, all just blocks away. Take a carriage ride down Michigan Avenue and along the lakefront. Luxuriate in this beautifully appointed home away from home. The stylish bedroom has a queen-sized bed while the living room’s customized Italian leather sleeper sofa comfortably accommodates 2. The kitchen and bath feature extensive use of stone and granite and are fully equipped with your convenience and comfort in mind. All for a fraction of what you’d pay for a downtown hotel. You won’t be disappointed! For more information, Click Here

Magnificent Mile – Gold Coast Luxury Brownstone Downtown!
Another First Class Chicago property! You’ve found it! Location, Location, Location! A historic 1890’s brownstone in the heart of the exclusive Gold Coast where Chicago’s elite reside. You absolutely cannot beat this location at E. Cedar St. between Rush and Lake Shore Drive. An artful blend of elegance and tradition housed in an original Brownstone building. Classic heritage, with charming decor that is tranquil and soothing with all new contemporary furnishings. The building is a national historic architectural landmark that blends romantic, 19th century ambiance with modern comforts for today’s traveler. Add your own chapter to the rich heritage of this storybook brownstone and experience a true classic when you stay at East Cedar. For more information, Click Here

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