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Adventures in Chicago


Frank Brichetto

Chicago correspondent

WOW!  It certainly got cold quickly, didn’t it? This has not been typical October / November weather for Chicago, where football weather, before December, anyway, means cool and sunny days in the mid 40’s and 50’s (Farenheit, about 4 – 13C).  But this has never stopped us before and it won’t this month either, because it’s time for ADVENTURE.  And what an adventure awaits us?

We haven’t seen Hamilton yet, and each of you, dear readers and friends, are invited to see it with us, at the 2:00 pm show on November 10th. Hamilton, as I’m sure you’ve heard, has received universal acclaim, numerous awards and reviews such as “This is one time where all the hype and hoopla is not only justified, but doesn’t come close to suggesting the grandeur of the work on stage. A Triumph.” (The Chicago Sun-Times). HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now.

Afterwards, there are many fine restaurants within an easy walk.  The Grillroom is right across the street, while the Italian Village is just down the block, and you know how I love Italian cooking.  Today, let me suggest that perhaps fine German dining, accompanied by a stein of excellent beer, is in order.  If you agree, then let’s stroll down to The Berghoff Restaurant, at 17 W. Adams (312) 427-3170, and indulge ourselves there, where we can sit in a quiet booth to talk and talk, drink a bit and enjoy the cooking from Chicago’s finest German restaurant.  Did you know that The Berghoff received Chicago’s first liquor license after Prohibition ended in 1933? Wow!  Adventure around every corner, yes?

On Sunday, the 11th, let’s meet again, how does 10:00am sound? We’ll have breakfast at Cornerstone Cafe, 2753 N. Western Ave., where the food is delicious, prepared properly and very reasonably priced.  I’m thinking about an omlette or Belgian waffles, maybe Eggs Benedict?  It’s all good.  Perhaps I’ll just tell the waitress to surprise me.  (773) 235-1155).

After that delightful breakfast we’ll continue downtown to Expo 72, at 72 E. Randolph, an exhibit space run by the City of Chicago.  On display, now through March, 2019, is Keep Moving: Designing Chicago’s Bicycle Culture, which will tell us of when Chicago was the center of bicycle manufacturing, engineering and culture in America.  This nearly forgotten aspect of Chicago’s history is not to be missed, and admission is free.

You do realize that the holidays are upon us, don’t you?  Oh my, I’m just not ready.  But we will definitely be in Millennium Park, at Randolph and Michigan Avenue, for the 105th Annual Christmas Tree Lighting  at 6 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16. We’ll hear the usual speeches, see the mayor and a few celebrities smile for the cameras, and then the lights go ON.  Chicago’s tree, for those not familiar, is at least 55 feet (almost 17 meters) tall, and will be covered in brilliant LED lights, and decorations.  At the conclusion there’s FIREWORKS! Isn’t that wonderful?

Get here early, because, for the first time, the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Columbia College Chicago and After School Matters are hosting a Holiday Art Market, which will be in the big heated tent we’ll find, very close by the tree. Sculpture, jewelry, fashion, painting, prints and drawings from more than 150 student artists. Let the holiday shopping begin!

The very next day, Saturday, November 17, at 5:30 pm, Mickey and Minnie Mouse will take their places ans the Grand Marshalls of the Magnificent Mile Lights Festival , on N. Michigan Avenue, starting at Oak St., and continuing to Wacker Dr., lighting over one million lights along the way, transforming the Michigan Avenue luxury shopping district for the holidays and the winter beyond.  And, hey, at the end, MORE FIREWORKS!  If you’re bringing the kids, come anytime during the day because Pioneer Court, 400 N. Michigan, has been transformed into an interactive, engaging and fun place for all off us kids of all ages, including a visit from Santa Claus, and sample treats from Eli’s Cheesecake, Garrett Popcorn and a host of others.

Thursday, November 22 is Thanksgiving, of course. The Parade, Chicago’s magnificent Thanksgiving Day Parade, starts promptly at 8:00 am, from State St. & Congress up to Randolph, and this short march takes a full three hours, to 11:00 a.m. Check out all the parade floats and groups represented for you might be surprised – Hromovytsia will be on stage in the first hour, and of course, that wild Ukrainian Cossak dancing is always something to behold!  You’ll be home in time for dinner, promise. Chicago proudly sub-titles the parade “Where Grateful Hearts Gather” and that certainly is the reason for this most happy and sincere of our holidays.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all, dear readers and friends, and to your loved ones!

Holiday family traditions are marvelous ways to share experiences and the memories that keep us all together, through all our troubles and our joys.  For those of us with big families we really should consider visiting, annually, the Chicago Botanical Gardens, Wonderland Express.  The Wonderland Express is “an annual holiday extravaganza featuring magnificent model trains, magical and glittering indoor snow, and meticulously crafted Chicago landmarks in miniature…intricate ice carvings and beautiful music from carolers.” They are located at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL. (847) 835-6801.

Next weekend is December already, do you believe it?  Let’s plan now to head down to the Museum of Science and Industry for the annual Christmas Around the World on Sunday, December 2nd, can you make it?  I’ll fill you in with details next time, but in the meantime, visit https://www.msichicago.org/explore/whats-here/exhibits/christmas-around-the-world/ to get a glimpse of the many deep and interesting nuances that cultures around the world bring to the Christmas celebration.  Until then, my friends, celebrate the adventure of life.