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Kids Corner: Looking for one more fun-filled day with the family in Chicago this summer? We’ve got ideas

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Meghan is a pediatric social worker and mother of two (soon to be three) children. Despite being avid travelers, she and her family are most content being tourists in their hometown of Chicago; specifically, exploring outdoors and enjoying the city’s delicious food scene.

Love the Garfield Park Conservatory. At this stage, we’re looking to go places where our boys can run around without safety concerns and explore without big, annoying crowds. Garfield is much bigger than the Lincoln Park Conservatory. Admission is donation-based, and they always have family programming and lots of hands-on experiences for children: spray bottles to help water plants, snakes and other animals on display, a slide and designated kids’ areas. 300 N. Central Park Ave. read more

Here’s Hyde Park: We asked three University of Chicago students to break down the best of the famous south side neighborhood

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By Jeremy Lindenfeld, Brooke Nagler and Jonathan Mandel


When you walk into Valois, you might be tempted to believe that you’ve stepped into a time capsule. One expects to see Jack Kerouac and Muddy Waters hunched among the infinite array of tables. There’s certainly some sort of magic going on behind the scenes at this old-school cafeteria: In the minute between placing your order at one end of the counter, and paying at the other end of the counter, they’re somehow able to cook all the food you could possibly want and pile it high on your tray. Omelettes, steak, pancakes, sandwiches — they serve it all, from 5:30 a.m.-10 p.m. every day of the week. The staff isn’t made up of university students or locals trying to make some tip money: They’re adults in their 40s and 50s who have been working there for decades, and aren’t going anywhere any time soon. Valois is as affordable as it gets, and it welcomes a true cross-section of the local community at any given time. From its walls painted with scenes of Hyde Park to its menu of President Obama’s favorites — it’s his breakfast spot of choice — Valois is a heavenly bite steeped in the history of Hyde Park. 1518 E. 53rd. read more

Chicago Insider Michelle Fasano on dinner at Ada Street, jazz at the California Clipper and the rooftop at the Robey Hotel

California Clipper

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Michelle Fasano

How long you’ve lived here: I grew up in the Chicagoland area, but I’ve lived in Chicago for the past four years, in both in Lincoln Park and Lakeview.

What you like best about Chicago: Chicago has all the perks of a major city while also being approachable. I love the various neighborhoods, each with their own feel and charm — all accessible by public transit! And no city does summer better. read more

Coffee craze: I visited 52 Chicago coffee shops in 52 weeks, and I have a few favorites to share

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By Michelle Fasano

In January of 2017, I got the idea to visit 52 coffee shops in 52 weeks. As any Chicagoan knows, January-March is a time for hibernation. To escape my apartment, I started hanging out in local coffee shops and got hooked. Some may call that a caffeine dependency, but I think there’s something more to it. Maybe I’m just trying to find my own Central Perk. read more

Small sounds: Eight intimate music venues in Chicago that enhance a concert-goer’s personal experience


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By Jina Bute

For me, nothing beats live music, and what makes it even better is listening and experiencing the sounds of a band in an extremely intimate setting. Here are some smaller music venues that are great if you’re looking for a place to enjoy live music by up-and-coming bands.

2011 W. North

Background: Located in Wicker Park, Subterranean, or “SubT,” has two rooms for music performances: Subterranean Music Hall and “Downstairs.” Downstairs has a capacity of only 100 people and has hosted concerts and events I’ve personally attended like Best Ex, Have Mercy, Aaron West & the Roaring Twenties and the DJ concert tour, Emo Nite. read more

Outdoor eats: Chicago food blogger Amanda Topper’s favorite alfresco dining spots in the city

With alfresco season suddenly upon us, asked Amanda Topper, founder of food blog, for her favorite spots to eat outdoors in Chicago.

St. Lou’s Assembly: Just west of downtown, you’ll find St. Lou’s Assembly, a “meat and three” spot with a large, casual patio. Enjoy comfort food like pickled brined chicken and mac & cheese while washing it all down with a house-bottled cocktail or boozy float. 664 W. Lake. 312-660-0600. read more

The Big City Blog: North Coast Music Festival lineup, ROOF on TheWit’s Monday Movie Series, Shore Club expansion and more

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By Jeremy Lindenfeld

The lineup is out for the ninth North Coast Musical Festival, which takes over Chicago’s Union Park from Aug. 31-Sept. 2. The three-day festival will feature notable musicians in many genres from R&B to rock and roll. With established, world-renowned bands like Miguel, DJ Snake, Jamiroquai and many more performing on four different stages, the festival promises to have music for every preference imaginable. See the full lineup and ticket options at read more

Local Corner: Exploring Chicago’s popular Six Corners intersection in Wicker Park

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Exploring Chicago’s neighborhoods one intersection at a time
Featured Corner: Milwaukee, Damen, and North in Wicker Park

By Jonathan Mandel

Publican Anker
1576 N. Milwaukee Ave.

With an aesthetic mixing industrial and modernist styles, Publican Anker, a new addition from the popular One Off Hospitality Group (think Publican, Avec, Big Star, The Violet Hour, etc.), is a creative take on the classic gastropub. Inventive American cuisine, mostly meat- and fish-focused, is priced in the $10 range. With a good selection of local craft beers and a full bar, this makes for a great date spot. But make sure to reserve a spot — by 6 p.m., it’s packed! read more

The Big City Blog: Randolph Street Market, Mamby on the Beach lineup, Mercadito’s Mixology Academy, Blue Man discounts and the new Parlay at Joy District

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By Brooke Nagler

Parlay at Joy District is now open at 112 W. Hubbard, expanding past the Joy District rooftop and second-floor nightclub to feature this first-floor “ultramodern sports parlor.” The elevated bar-fare menu lists many rich and delectable options such as foie gras fries, lobster roll sliders, chickpea fries and a massive ice cream submarine sandwich to top it off. read more

Good Eats at Artango Bar & Steakhouse: Authentic Argentinian dishes, wonderful ambiance, live entertainment (tango!) and more in Lincoln Square

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By Trent Modglin

Where it’s at: 4767 N. Lincoln Ave. in the heart of Lincoln Square. (872) 208-7441.

The scene: Artango is built around a shared passion for quality steak, fine wine, art, Argentine tango and good company. Maria Casanova, who in 2008 opened Artango Center, a dance studio in Ravenswood, fell for one of her students, Buenos Aires-born artist Sebastian. The now-married couple’s goal with their establishment is to transport visitors back to the Golden Age of Argentina, when Buenos Aires was flourishing with restaurants, nightlife, tango clubs and stunning neo-classical and art nouveau architecture. read more

Winter neighborhood markets: Where to escape the cold and do a little local shopping around Chicago

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By Brooke Nagler 

Hyde Park Handmade
5311 S. Lake Park Ave. West

Filled with beautiful original crafts, Hyde Park Handmade is a great place to visit over a weekend. Located in the event space on top of The Promontory restaurant, the bazaar brings together local artisans in a room illuminated by the large, sunny windows. The ambiance is relaxed, with soulful music playing in the background curated by DJ Sean Alvarez. read more

The Big City Blog: Hope you’re hungry because Chicago Restaurant Week 2018 is on

Time to get your grub on. The 11th annual culinary celebration that is Chicago Restaurant Week returns from Jan. 26-Feb. 8 with two weeks of dining deals sure to get your taste buds revved up.

This event is perfect for sampling a variety of what 370 participating Chicago restaurants have to offer, featuring special prix-fixe menus starting at $22 for brunch and lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity). read more

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