German American Services, Inc., the producers of Chicago’s beloved annual Christkindlmarket, deliver another truly authentic cultural experience with Germany’s Best & Oktoberfest, running now through October 10, 2011 on Navy Pier. This two-part festival showcases the best of modern Germany alongside the much–celebrated traditional aspect.
So don your Lederhosen, grab some friends and make your way to Navy Pier to “O’zapft is!” Guests will be transported to Munich as the smells of Bratwurst, made using authentic German family recipes, waft through traditional blue and white Oktoberfest tents filled with wood topped Bavarian-style garden tables and great German music.
The second part, Germany’s Best, highlights modern Germany’s many strengths including innovative manufacturing, education and green technologies, along with cultural offerings in literature, music and film.
Located at 600 E. Grand. Event runs thru Oct 10th, and is open Sun–Tue 11am-9pm, and Wed-Sat 11am-10pm. For more info, call 312/377-6122.
With the changing of seasons and cooler temps in Chicago, comes the urge to celebrate all things that go bump in the night. Here is an early preview of activities sure to get any family in a ‘ghoul’ mood. Explore the unexplained with Supernatural Chicago, an interactive theater featuring spirits, psychics and frightening surprises hosted at one of the city’s most haunted locations--Excalibur. The show depicts some of Chicago’s most well documented paranormal events through storytelling and demonstrations of mind reading and magic by resident Necromancer Neil Tobin. Price of show admission includes two beverages and the entrance fee to Excalibur’s nightclub for a hauntingly good time. 632 N. Dearborn. Fridays at 7:30pm. $25. For more info, call 800/979-3370. Chicago wouldn’t be Chicago without infamous characters like Al Capone, Johnny Torrio, and Jim Colosimo. Kayak over the Chicago River’s haunted locations and learn how Chicago’s notorious “underworld” came to be with Wateriders Shady Chicago: Ghosts and Gangsters of Hustlertown! Tours depart daily (weather-dependant) at 10am & 2:30pm, and select Thursday-Sundays at 7pm. Please call to confirm schedule. $60. 950 N. Kingsbury. For more info, call 312/953-9287. Continue your quest to uncover Chicago’s dark side with Absolutely Chicago Segway’s 2-hour Haunted Tour. Learn the stories behind the city’s famously haunted hotels and the city’s most shocking murders and tragedies. As you ‘hunt’ for ghosts along side your tour guide, be sure to keep an eye out for Al Capone’s haunted yacht. Tours depart on Thursdays at 8:45pm. Departs from 337 E. Randolph.Tickets range from $60-$65. For more info, call 312/552-5100 or toll free 877/866-0966. Meanwhile, for the faint of heart, we suggest one of the great nighttime floats offered by Wendella. The popular Architecture cruises will give you a little more information about the city, while the 2-hour Chicago at Sunset Cruise, departing on Saturdays at 7:45pm, offers front row seats for the stunning Buckingham Fountain Water and Lights Show in Monroe Harbor. 400 N. Michigan, lower level of Michigan Ave. Bridge, NW corner. For more info, call 312/337-1446.
Chicago’s unofficial “fifth season” gets underway this weekend, a season that has more to do with long-term civic pride and devotion than anything remotely meteorological. It’s time once again for Chicago Bears football, of course, as the home team takes on the Atlanta Falcons to open the 2011 schedule with a noon kickoff Sunday at Soldier Field, 1410 S. Museum Campus Drive. Of course, the game itself is only one part of what should be a full weekend of excitement around the city. After all, given the fact that there’s only room for about 60,000 fans in the actual stadium, the remaining hundreds of thousands throughout the area have to find places to gather and cheer on their team. Luckily, they won’t have to go far for some great tailgating options around the city: Look for game-day drink and appetizer specials alongside the year-round traditional Irish favorites and lively atmosphere at Emerald Loop(216 N. Wabash; 312/263-0200). For a Chicago tradition that rivals the Bears, head north to the Old Town neighborhood for the great vibe and even better barbecue at The Fireplace Inn (1448 N. Wells; 312/664-5264). Finally, take in the game on TV or try to catch a glimpse of the stadium itself across Lake Michigan from a seat at the sports nirvana of Harry Caray’s Tavern (700 E. Grand; 312/527-9700). In fact, if you happen to have a ticket to the game, you can even board a Shoreline Water Taxi from the Harry Caray’s tailgate to the front gate at Soldier Field!
Yes, it’s time once again for the 33rd Annual Chicago Jazz Festival, a three-day celebration of so many great things about our fair city – fantastically swinging music, beautiful parkland wedged between Lake Michigan and the glittering skyline, and one last chance to get together for a citywide party. This year’s slate is typically impressive, with a solid combination of high-profile outsiders and hard-charging locals set to keep the weekend swinging. The fun starts Friday night in Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph) with a star-studded Saxophone Summit, while Saturday and Sunday are full-day affairs across the street in Grant Park (Jackson & Columbus) featuring music on multiple stages beginning around noon each day – including sets from singer Cassandra Wilson, saxophonist David Sanchez and trumpeter Roy Hargrove. Call 312/744-3315 for more information and a complete talent lineup. Outside of the Fest, don’t be surprised to find plenty of jazz happenings all around town. To hear even more live music, pick up CDs or vinyl albums by some of the artists or just hang out amid the vibe of this great weekend, be sure to hit the legendary Jazz Record Mart (27 E. Illinois; 312/222-1467), a one-of-a-kind cultural treasure in the Midwest and a must-stop experience for jazz fans and anyone else who enjoys the tactile pleasure of an afternoon spent digging through the stacks. Or for a historical take on Chicago’s jazz legacy, take a walk through the past on the Jazz and Blues Tour from Chicago Detours (25 E. Washington; 312/350-1131).