St. Patrick’s Day isn’t the only time that Chicagoans think green. As the plants and trees emerge from their winter hibernation around this time of year and the warmth of spring returns, it’s time once again to recognize Earth Day on April 22.
The purpose of this annual observance may be to raise awareness of environmental issues and call attention to ways that we can take better care of our planet and its precious resources, but while that explanation may sound rather academic and boring, actually getting out and celebrating those ideals and putting them into practice needn’t be boring in the least. Here are a few “green” possibilities.
Start with getting around town. In honor of Earth Day, skip the cab or the bus and opt for a little pedal power instead. Biking is probably one of the most enjoyable ways to practice environmental responsibility – not to mention one of the best ways to see and enjoy this incredibly bike-friendly city.
At the various outlets of Bike and Roll Chicago all over town (including 239 E. Randolph; 312/540-1700), visitors can rent an eco-friendly two-wheeler and hit the wonderful lakefront path for a great day of exploration. There are plenty of available rentals from which to choose as well at Bobby’s Bike Hike (465 N. McClurg; 312/915-0995), where riders can opt for either a day of independent riding or a guided bike tour of the many sights and scenes around the city.
One great place to take a bike this month is up the lakefront to Fullerton Avenue for a stop at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (2430 N. Cannon; 773/755-5100), where the new exhibit Bikes! The Green Revolution arrives just in time for Earth Day.With an emphasis on Chicago’s own bike culture, visitors will learn more about one of the most sustainable forms of transportation known to man.
Another possible biking destination requires a healthy ride along the southern portion of the lakefront path, a peaceful and less crowded journey that will wrap up at the massive Museum of Science and Industry for the seasonal re-opening of the fascinating Smart Home: Green + Wired (57th Street and Lake Shore; 773/684-1414). This full three-story eco-friendly home outside of the museum’s main buildings features re-used and refurbished furniture and décor, state-of-the-art energy systems, and the latest high-tech home gadgets.
Cap your Earth Day explorations with a ride back north to downtown for an eco-friendly meal at one of the city’s hottest casual eateries, Chef Rick Bayless’ Mexican street food joint Xoco (449 N. Clark; 312/334-3688). From the LEED-certified building design to the chef’s insistence on locally grown and sourced ingredients, this is one good meal that an environmentally responsible diner can feel good about.