Very soon your parents, siblings, grandparents, friends, lovers, etc. will be descending on Chicago like a swarm of buzzards, ready to spend the last weekend of your MAPH career asking you about job searches, moving plans, and your love life. Even those of you who are secretly (or outwardly) excited to have your parents here in a few days might just be clamoring for them to leave by the end of the weekend, especially if you don’t plan ahead. Chicago is a bustling city and it’s going to be even more bustling this weekend with the huge annual Blues Festival and the CPAC conference (which is why we were bugging you to book hotels so early).
So, our advice is to start thinking now about how to entertain your guests this weekend during the actually extensive downtime between convocation events. Oh, and right off the bat, if you haven’t made reservations for dinner Friday or Saturday yet, DO IT NOW. We put some restaurant recommendations in the Convocation timeline post, but come see us if you’re still deciding.
In the meantime, here are some helpful ideas for actual places to go and things to do (not restaurants) around town with your folks this weekend:
1. Chicago Blues Festival: The festival runs from June 8th-10th in Grant Park and is phenomenal for so many reasons. First, it’s FREE. You can wander into Grant Park pretty much anytime between 10:00AM and 9:00PM any day of the festival, pop-a-squat on a plot of grass and listen to some high quality blues music. Or, if you do feel like spending some money, you can buy some food tickets to get Robinson’s Ribs (Remember that delicious food we served you during the Opening BBQ last summer? Yeah. That was Robinson’s.), complete with corn on the cob and mac and cheese. Yum. Or, go classy and bring a blanket and a little cooler with a bottle of wine, some brie, and some baguette for your very own “outdoor mini-Social Hour” with your folks. They’ll be so impressed.
2. Green City Market: Hands down one of the best farmer’s markets in the area. It runs on Saturdays from 7:00AM-1:00PM and it located at the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1790 N. Clark if you want to map it). Seriously the best thing about the market is the location because there are so many other great things to do in the Lincoln Park area. Go to the market and grab a crepe or some pizza bread, maybe some fresh, local strawberries (just out as of last week) then sit and listen to the little jazz band that plays in the late morning. Then, you can wander over to the Lincoln Park Zoo or the little shops that line Armitage in Lincoln Park (Francesca’s, Paper Source, Art Effect, just to name a few). Oh, and if you’re stopping at Art Effect on Armitage, you HAVE to go to Annette’s right across the way. They have peanut better cup cookie dough ice cream. Yes, it’s all one flavor.
3. The Lichtenstein Exhibit at the Art Institute: You really can’t beat the Art Institute in terms of impressing your parents. It’s in the heart of downtown Chicago, right by Millennium Park and the building alone is worth a 15-minute ogle. Add the fact that they currently have an amazing Roy Lichtenstein retrospective up right now and you can get in for free with your UChicago ID. Your parents will marvel at their little cultured, frugal child. And, if you want the icing on the cake, hit the Chicago Architecture Foundation gift shop afterwards (right across the street on Michigan Ave.) for some early holiday shopping. Yes, I think about Christmas all the time.
4. Old Town Art Fair: This is one of the better summer art shows that comes through Chicago. First, it’s pretty huge (as in over 260 artists). Second, it’s in one of the cute, ritzy, old Chicago neighborhoods so it’s fun just to wander and look at the architecture, even if you’re not shopping for art. The main entrance is at the intersection of Lincoln and Wisconsin and it runs both Saturday and Sunday of this coming weekend.
Hopefully these suggestions will give you a jump start on plans this weekend. Don’t forget that Chicago is also home to a ton of amazing museums and a fantastic theater scene, so we’re always happy to give you more ideas if you need them!