Whether crispy or juicy, lean or greasy, crumbled or whole, everyone loves bacon no matter its shape or size. For generations bacon has been a salty staple in countless dishes, and this year is no exception. On Friday, March 31 through Saturday, April 1 head to the UIC Forum for Baconfest.
Starting March 31, chefs from over 140 restaurants will fill the UIC Forum with every bacon concoction imaginable, from bacon-based cocktails to bacon biscuits and gravy. On March 31, a dinner session will be offered 7 – 10 p.m. and on April 1 a lunch session (12 – 3 p.m.) and dinner session (7 – 10 p.m.) will be offered. One hour before each session is the VIP Hour, when attendees with VIP tickets can peruse and enjoy all of the bacon without the hassle of long lines. The restaurants represented will be different for each session so that guests are able to have a new experience each day. Restaurants include places like Primehouse, named the “#1 Steakhouse in Chicago”, and The Bad Apple, a gourmet burger joint. While the 2017 menu has yet to be release, it is guaranteed that each venue will be offering something unique. For right now, you can check out the menu from last year’s Baconfest for an idea of what you can expect to see at this year’s convention!
Feeding All Hungry Stomachs
While Baconfest serves endless plates of food to its loyal attendees, it also feeds those that do not attend. Every year, Baconfest partners with the Greater Chicago Food Depository in an effort to help end hunger in Chicago. A portion of the event’s proceeds are donated to the organization and guests are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items that are then given to the Food Depository and eventually distributed to those suffering from hunger. Since 2010, Baconfest has made 1,102,111 meals available to hungry Chicagoans.
General Admission to Baconfest is $100 per ticket (for one session), plus fees while VIP Admission costs $200 (for one session) plus fees. All ticket holders will have access to their selected session, including unlimited bacon dishes, seven drink tickets, a Baconfest tote bag and up to $10 in Lyft credit. Special tickets are also available for attendees that are unable to drink or uninterested. These tickets are $60 per session and include unlimited bacon and soft drinks, but exclude alcoholic beverages. For more ticket details and links to purchase, check out the Baconfest website.
Once you’ve had your fill of all that Baconfest has to offer, consider staying at the City Suites Hotel where you can relax and rejuvenate for day two of treats. Don’t wait, buy your tickets soon and prepare for the best fest of the year!
If you love cars, then you have to get to Chicago this February for the Chicago Auto Show. Taking place February 11th through the 20th this event is the perfect way to spend your day in the Windy City. Just a short cruise up the shoreline, rest your head at City Suites Hotel after zooming through the show.
Not only is the Chicago Auto show the largest auto show in North America, it is also the longest running. With the first event taking place way back in 1901, the Chicago Auto Show has grown to become a tradition for many and a must-see event for car buffs young and old. Explore over 1 million square feet of hot rods and hot rides of the future.
Get to McCormick Place and be the first to see the newest offerings from domestic and foreign car makers such as Chevrolet, Ford, BMW and Mercedes. Stare in awe at futuristic concept cars that look like something straight out of a movie. If classic cars are more your thing, antique and collector cars will be on display as well.
You’re sure to get hungry while walking the expansive auto show and luckily there are plenty of great dining options near McCormick Place. Acadia is the place to go for American dishes, while Connie’s Pizza claims to have the best pizza in Chicago. If you’re craving something a bit more adventurous, Opart Thai House will do the trick offering pad Thai and curries.
Tickets for the show are just $13 for adults and $7 for children and seniors. Children 6 and under get in for free with a paid adult ticket.
Chicago gets cold in January. Really cold. There’s no hiding it. So why not come to enjoy the warmth of a good laugh? The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival is back for its 16th year and everyone is invited. After a night of hilarity, rest your head at City Suites Hotel. Located just down the street from Stage 773, City Suites is the perfect place to spend your night.
In 2002, 35 sketch comedy groups from the Chicago area came together to throw a festival celebrating their craft. In the years since The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival has grown to what is now the largest sketch comedy festival on the planet. For two weekends in January, sketch groups from around the country will convene in Chicago. Stage 773 will feature four performance spaces with shows beginning at the top of every hour.
Sketch comedy is entertainment at its finest and the groups at this year’s festival will have you in stitches all night: you may need a doctor! You never know what to expect. Song and dance, stunts, games and magic await. Be on your toes as you just might get pulled up on stage to participate in the show.
This year’s festival features 180 shows over two weekends. With so many acts performing, there is truly something for everyone. All-festival passes go for $250 and can be purchased on the festival’s site. Just going for the weekend? Weekend and one day passes are available as well.
To stay up to date on all things Sketchfest, like them on Facebook and follow on Twitter!
Truly a sight to see, ZooLights at Lincoln Park is sure to place you and yours in the Christmas state of mind. Travelers come from around the country to view this Yuletide spectacle. Located just two miles north of the Zoo, City Suites Hotel is the perfect place to stay after your holiday adventure is complete!
Round up those that matter most and head on down to the Lincoln Park Zoo this holiday season. With lights as far as the eye can see, the folks at Lincoln Park transport guests to a Christmas wonderland fit for Santa himself. Kicking off Friday, November 25, ZooLights is more than just a visual display; it consists of special events taking place through New Year’s Day.
Friday, November 25th
Be there as the lights are turned on for the first time! At 4:25pm the switch will be flipped and the Christmas season will officially kickoff. The ceremony takes place next to Café at Wild Things.
Tuesday, November 29
Come shop at ZooLights first ever Holiday Market. More than 30 artisan vendors will set up shop throughout the grounds. A ticket is required for admittance to the market. Tickets are available here.
BrewLights Presented by Louis Glunz Beer
Thursday, December 7
The Auxiliary Board of Lincoln Park Zoo have partnered with Louis Glunz Beer for a one-night only craft beer fest. Enjoy a local craft brew or take your taste buds across the pond for an international beer. This is a 21 and older event. Get tickets here.
Adults Night Out Presented by Kalahari Resort
Thursday, December 8
If you’re looking for a night out with your significant other, this is when to go! Animal chats, fantastic food, a DJ and cash bars throughout the zoo make this a great date night. Tickets are required and can be purchased here.
The Chris White Trio Tribute to “A Charlie Brown Christmas”
Thursday, December 15
Take in the seasonal classics from A Charlie Brown Christmas performed by Chris White’s Jazz Trio. Taking place in Café Brauer, the tribute to Vince Guaraldi’s 1965 soundtrack will have you clicking your fingers and humming along. Tickets can be purchased here.
Cost: $25 General Admission, $40 VIP
New Years Eve at ZooLights
Saturday, December 31
Get your New Years Eve started at ZooLights. This all ages event is perfect for the whole family. Hats, horns and party favors are complimentary while supplies last!
Can’t make it to a special event? Not a problem! There’s still plenty to do on non-event nights. Photos with Santa, free children’s crafts, live ice-sculpture, musical light shows and more take place every night at ZooLights. Arrive early as the first 1,000 people to enter receive a free pair of glasses that bring the lights to life!
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Dates: November 25-27, December 2-4, 9-23, 26-31; January 1, 2017
Turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing and pie. Time-honored traditions of one of America’s favorite holidays: Thanksgiving. What Thanksgiving would be complete without a parade? Hosted by the city of Chicago and the parade’s Grand Marshal himself, Ronald McDonald, the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade brings joy to hundreds of thousands of people attending and many more watching live across the country.
The parade route runs along State Street from Congress Parkway to Randolph Street. Anywhere along the route will ensure a great view, but get here early to secure a spot as spectators arrive one to two hours prior to the 8:00am start time. Be sure to check the weather as this is a rain (snow) or shine event. ChapStick is also highly recommended; they don’t call it the Windy City for nothing!
Lights, cameras, action! The 52nd Chicago International Film Festival will bring the Windy City to life October 13th-27th. Located just 5 miles from the heart of the event, Broughton’s City Suites Hotel is the perfect place to stay for a week of pure entertainment.
About the Chicago International Film Festival
The 52nd Chicago International Film Festival is presented by Cinema/Chicago: a year-round non-profit cultural and educational organization dedicated to fostering better communication between people of diverse cultures through the art of film and the moving image. The Chicago International Film Festival was started in 1964 by filmmaker and graphic artist Michael Kutza in an attempt to provide an alternative to the commercial Hollywood movies that dominated theaters. Celebrating its 52nd year of success in 2016, the Chicago International Film Festival continues to grow and thrive.
The majority of film screenings and panels for the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival will be held at the AMC River East 21, with the exception of Opening Night, Industry Days and some special presentations. The full schedule of events will be announced sometime this month, so make sure you check the festival’s website for details. Passes/tickets are available in the following options:
Click here for more information on tickets and where to buy them.
Industry Days is a 4-day gathering where filmmakers and industry professionals can connect, share ideas and find inspiration. October 20th-23rd will have a full schedule comprised of networking events, master classes, panel discussions, workshops, parties and an invite-only competitive pitch session juried by a distinguished panel of industry professionals. A Badge is required for access, and is offered in the following options:
Industry Badge: $100
Industry+ Badge: $150
Industry Student Badge: $50
Register for Industry Days and learn more about it here.
Learn more about the 52nd Chicago International Film Festival by following them on Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Stay up-to-date on all of the latest screenings, interviews, releases and information by subscribing to the Chicago International Film Festival’s newsletter.
XPLORE Chicago is back! Race through the city, solve clues and complete wild challenges in this urban adventure race; coming to the city on Saturday, September 10th. Get in on the action, book your stay at Broughton’s City Suites Hotel now and let the races begin.
XPLORE is the first-ever nationwide mobile race with real-time checkpoint verification, innovated in 2014 by Xperience Adventures. Although the company did not officially launch until 2013, the team behind Xperience Adventures have been designing community-wide scavenger hunt races since 2001. In the summer of 2015, their first global event titled The X-Race was born. But the adventure doesn’t stop there- plans are pending for the launch of another unique and exciting event sometime this year.
XPLORE Chicago is just one race in a series of XPLORE races that take place throughout the United States in cities such as Seattle, San Francisco, Denver, New York, Philadelphia, Houston and Washington DC. The race is scheduled to begin at 12pm on Saturday, September 10th in downtown Chicago, lasting an average of 2-4 hours. Register now- nurture your adventurous soul and experience the city like you’ve never seen it before! Fees are as follows:
Team (now until 9/3)- $35/person
Team (9/3- race day)- $45/person
Season Pass- $55/pass
How it Works
Upon registration, teams will begin receiving clues days before the event. These clues help teams discover the race day “Access”- a location in the city that will get you access to all of the race checkpoints. Clues involve puzzles, multi-media, local knowledge and everything in between, so don’t be afraid to interact with the locals. Start the race from any location that you think will give your team the best advantage. Checkpoints are scattered throughout the city; travel by foot for a good workout or hop on the train to save time.
Challenges are located at checkpoints and scattered sporadically throughout the city. Each team must complete every challenge they encounter with the exception of 1 designated skip. Challenges are fun, social and will most likely incorporate the city landscape, local businesses and creative technology (bring a change of clothes, there’s a good chance you’ll get wet, dirty or covered in something along the way!). Upon completion of challenges or after each checkpoint, teams should submit a photo or video to the race headquarters to be verified in real-time. The top 3 teams to finish the required number of checkpoints or challenges will win prizes, and the top 25 teams to finish will receive points toward the leaderboard and cash prize.
There is one universal leaderboard based on points that incorporates teams from all of the XPLORE races. At the end of the season, the top team with the most points and highest domination factor will take home the X-Prize: a cash prize that grows throughout the entire season based on the total number of registered racers in every city (last year’s top team took home $4,022!).
Be a part of one of the largest triathlons in the world! The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon will take place on Sunday, August 28th in downtown Chicago. Conveniently located just 5-miles from the race’s starting point, Broughton’s City Suites Hotel is the perfect place to stay for the weekend of the race.
About the Transamerica Chicago Triathlon Weekend
Triathletes from all over the world have been gathering on the shores of Lake Michigan for over 30 years to run, bike and swim their way through one of America’s favorite cities. The Transamerica Chicago Triathlon is Chicago’s only city-based triathlon and has taken place during the last weekend of August since it began in 1983. The 2016 Transamerica Chicago Triathlon will begin at 6am on Sunday, August 28th in the Monroe Harbor. The schedule for the day is as follows:
4-5:45am. BigRing Transition open (Monroe Harbor)
6am. International waves start
6:30-8:30am. BigRing Transition re-opens (Sprint)
8am-3pm. Transamerica Trolley service runs
8am-2pm. Post-race party and picnic (Columbus & Balbo)
8:45am. Sprint waves start
10:15am. Last swimmer enters water
10:45am. Last swimmer exits water
10:54am. Last athlete enters bike course
11am. Awards ceremony
12pm. Last athlete exits bike course
12:05pm. Last athlete enters run course
1:45pm. Last athlete finishes
The triathlon course features a swim in Monroe Harbor followed by a biking and running course through the city. The participants are divided into 3 separate categories designed to accommodate athletes of every ability, interest level and goal: SuperSprint, Sprint and International/Olympic. These categories determine the length of each individual event. Participants in the SuperSprint division will swim .23 miles, bike 6.2 miles and run 1.5 miles for a total distance of 7.95 miles. Participants in the Sprint division will swim .47 miles, bike 15 miles and run 3.1 miles for a total distance of 18.57 miles. Finally, participants qualifying for the International/Olympic division will swim .93 miles, bike 24.8 miles and run 6.2 miles for a total distance of 31.93 miles. In addition to the triathlon, there will be a number of other exciting events happening that weekend:
Recognized as a top show in the sport, the Expo will feature 150 exhibitors and over 200 booths. It is also the site of the mandatory packet pickup, body marking and course talks for all registrants. Free and open to the public.
The perfect launching pad for children to get into the sport! The Life Time Kids Tri Series is composed of a number of youth triathlons nationwide designed to encourage a healthy lifestyle and fun by physical activity in the youth. Each year, over 1,000 children athletes participate in the race. Open to boys and girls 7-14 years old. Includes a finisher medal, race t-shirt, swim cap, bib number and more.
Register online before August 5th and save! Fees are as follows:
Sprint Individual- $140
Sprint Relay- $235
International Individual- $175
International Relay- $285
SuperSprint Relay- $95
Kids Tri- $55
Kids Relay- $85
First time triathlete? Have no fear! You can find out everything you need to know about the race in the 2015 Athlete Guide or by visiting the FAQ’s page on the triathlon website. Due to the high volume of people participating in the event, road closures and traffic reroutes will be active during the weekend of Friday, August 26th. The Transamerica Trolley will be providing complimentary transportation from the transition area to the post-race party and back again for athletes and spectators. Catch the trolley at the northeast corner of Balbo and Columbus and the southwest corner of Lakeshore and Monroe anytime between 8am-3pm. Parking options include:
Come to the Windy City and rock out while you run at Humana Rock n’ Roll Chicago! Located only 6-miles from the fun, Broughton’s boutique City Suites hotel is the perfect place to stay for the weekend of July 15th-17th.
About Humana Rock n’ Roll Chicago
Humana Rock n’ Roll Chicago is a part of the Rock n’ Roll Marathon series. The series started in 1998 with the simple idea of placing live bands along a marathon course to cheer on participants as they run and has since transformed into a lifestyle. The entertainment combined with the energy of the event are what define the experience, and past performers include some of the biggest names in music such as Macklemore, Goo Goo Dolls, All-American Rejects, Flo-Rida, Train, Lady Antebellum and more. Since it’s inception, runners have raised more than $310 million for participating charities.
The Rock n’ Roll Series will be coming to Chicago for it’s eighth run the weekend of July 15th-17th. The weekend will be comprised of 3 different races:
Upon registering, each runner will receive an official participant t-shirt, a gear bag, refreshments at the start/finish line and along the course, a finisher’s medal and certificate, live course entertainment and admission to the Finish Line Festival and post-race concert. Online registration closes on July 10th, so don’t forget to reserve your spot now.
Get the music pumping in Grant Park! Starting with Hello Heart from 7:30-9:30am, followed by the Awards Ceremony from 9:45-10am. The headliner for this year’s Rock n’ Roll Concert series is Echosmith, playing from 10-11:15am. Closing off the finish line festival is a DJ set from 11:15-12pm. Some other bands you can expect to see along the course route include:
The Health & Fitness Expo will take place July 15-16 at McCormick Place. The expo is free and open to the public from 12-7pm on Friday and 9am-5pm on Saturday. This expo features the latest in running technologies, fitness apparel, health and nutrition information and interactive displays. All participants must visit the Expo to pick up their race packets prior to the race.
Come to the “Blues Capital of the World” the weekend of June 10th-12th for the 33rd Annual Chicago Blues Festival!
About Chicago Blues Festival
The Chicago Blues Festival is the largest free blues festival in the world and remains the largest of Chicago’s music festivals. Since the initial show in 1984, the Chicago Blues Festival has grown into 3-days, 5 stages, and over 500,000 fans from all over the world coming together to experience the blues. The festival will be held June 10th-12th on different stages throughout Grant Park. Headlining shows are scheduled to take place from 6-9:30pm, Friday-Sunday at the Petrillo Music Shell, featuring:
Friday, June 10- Alligator Records 45th Anniversary Celebration
A salute to Chicago’s Alligator Records for 45 years of what the label describes as “genuine houserockin’ music.” Deeply rooted in the blues, several of the label’s renowned recording artists will perform at the Petrillo Music Shell to kick-off the festival:
Complementing the headliners at the Petrillo Music Shell, live performances from local and national blues musicians will be taking place on 3 additional stages: Bud Light Crossroads Church (11:15am-5:30pm), Jackson, Mississippi Rhythm & Blues (11:30am-7:45pm) and Pepsi Front Porch (12-5:30pm). For more detailed information on headliners and day stages, click here.
Admission to all performances is free, and food and beverages will be available to purchase on festival grounds through participating food vendors. Parking will be available for $35 at the Millennium Garages- conveniently located right below the music at 5 S. Columbus Drive. Additional parking will be available at Grant Park North Garage (25 N. Michigan Avenue) and Grant Park South Garage (325 S. Michigan Avenue) where the normal rates will still apply. Have more questions? Check out FAQ’s on the festival’s website for answers.
For more information on the Chicago Blue’s Festival and other upcoming events, follow the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.