Thanksgiving in Chicago

November 21st, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

Elmo takes in the view on State Street

For those of you spending the holiday in the city it is wise to make sure that you spend at least one or two days not doing coursework.  Sure meet up with other MAPHers and make a feast, but if you are looking for some diversions here are a few options.

Like Crowds?

If you don’t want to drive to the suburbs and participate in early morning black Friday pillaging there are other options for being in a mass of people.

Love the cupcake costumes!

Thanksgiving Parade on State Street. On November 24th you can head downtown. This is not quite Macy’s Parade in New York but there are floats and balloons and bands and your usual parade festivities. From 8:00-11:00 am on State street between Randolph and Congress.

Christkindl Market

The Christkindl Market in Daley Plaza lets you feel like you are visiting Germany over the holiday. A traditional style German market offers candied nuts in paper packets, gluwein, potato pancakes and bratwurst. There are also traditional blown glass ornaments, cuckoo clocks and other crafts. The market opens November 23rd. They light the tree at 4:30 on the 24th.

An Art Institute Lion gets its wreath on.

If you are already downtown you might as well check out the Macy’s windows (not as good as when in was still Marshall Field’s). You can then drop in on ice skating at Millennium Park or stop into the Art Institute to check out some art.  Also they will be putting wreaths on the lions at 10:00 am on November 26th.

Yes, the Zoolights are lovely. . .

A little further north, The Lincoln Park Zoo starts Zoolights on November 25th.  More mulled wine and hot pretzels are available as you take in the light display and see some zoo animals. Don’t forget to pick up some plastic mold-a-rama animals. They make great stocking-stuffers or Hanukkah presents . . .

Look, you could put a tiny wreath on your own Mold-A-Rama lion.

 

Crowds are not your thing?

You can still get out of Hyde Park and enjoy time outside.  The weather is supposed to be warm. Visit the lakefront. In fact, there are groups that meet up just to go for walks. The Museum of Science and Industry has their Christmas trees from around the world up and the Muppets (okay those will be croweded) but avoid the crowds and look a the U-boat exhibit instead. (MSI has mold-A-Rama machines too, who knew holiday shopping would be so cheap and easy.) See a movie or go see live theater. There are often cheap theater tickets the weekend after Thanksgiving or use your Artspass.

Give Back

This handy guide features a variety of charities in Chicago who are taking volunteers over the holiday weekend. University of Chicago has group service days on the 24th and 26th. Check out the calendar for details.

 

Free (or cheap) Autumn Entertainment

August 25th, 2011 § 0 comments § permalink

So it seemed like it was time to update the blog with a new batch of free or cheap ways to entertain yourself as a graduate student.  Courses haven’t started so there is no excuse for not trying out a few of these options before you are drowning in reading.

First for incoming students it is great to know that your University of Chicago ID serves as your arts pass to get you in free or discounted to many area museums and theaters.

The Chicago Cultural Center

Ceiling at the Chicago Cultural Center

Festivals and Lectures

There will be many fantastic lectures on campus. However, the Chicago Humanities Festival hosts events all over the city in October and November. Most of them free or very cheap for students there is no excuse not to go see Steven Sondheim, Laurie Anderson or Jonathan Franzen speak.

Many Chicago street festivals are still happening in September and October.

Check out the Renegade Craft Fair September 10-11, Oktoberfest, September 23-24 or the Hyde Park Jazz Festival, September 24-25. A full list is here. Don’t miss free concerts in Millenium Park or Grant Park.

Theater

Discounted theater tickets are available the week of performances at hottix It is always worth asking for a student rate or checking your arts pass discount at most theaters.

Be sure to check out my guide to Chicago theaters here.  There are over 200 small theaters in Chicago covering ever style, taste and price range, many small companies still have industry nights, or pay-what-you-can nights.

More free things after the jump . . .

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