Chicago Travel Guide

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American Airlines' New Lounge Design Hits the Mark

May 20, 2015 at 10:05 AM | by | ()

It's not often that we find ourselves saying that we actually enjoy a U.S. air carrier's choices for an airport lounge. But our tune might be changing after experiencing first-hand how American Airlines is taking their #NewAmerican mantra seriously. On a recent flight out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, we were pretty impressed by the fresh design and approach behind the sliding door of American's Admirals Club. It's all part of the carrier's larger rebranding strategy, which has also included overhauled menus, refreshed cabins, a plan for new uniforms, and now some lounges that are comfy enough for any frequent flier.

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This Non-Art Gallery in Chicago is Purgatory for Masterpieces That Turned into Hot Messes

Where: 1100 East 57th Street, JRL 203 [map], Chicago , IL, United States, 60637
May 8, 2015 at 10:00 AM | by | ()

On Thursday, April 23, a cemetery of sorts opened up in Chicago for the public to gawk at.

No Longer Art is the brainchild of Salvage Art Institute (SAI), a faux museum on the University of Chicago campus located at the Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society. Taken from the glossary of art insurance, the term “salvage art” refers to works of art that have been removed from circulation due to accidental damage. When artwork is classified in this manner, it is dubbed as a total loss (that’s a formal expression, by the way) and officially devoid of value.

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Street Food Friday: Crepe in the Park Serves Sweet and Savory French Pastry on Chicago's North Side

Where: 2333 W. Sunnyside [map], Chicago, IL, United States
April 24, 2015 at 2:40 PM | by | ()

Good news for Chicagoans hoping Crepe in the Park would return for its third season near Welles Park in Lincoln Square: the Parisian-inspired food stand at Lincoln and Sunnyside is back and better than ever. We're long-time fans and visited yesterday to do some taste-testing, opting for the sweet side of the menu which offers a choice of three ingredients such as fruit, chocolate and nuts topped with whipped cream and powdered sugar.

The "savory" side of the menu is more like a meal than dessert -- and everything on it is near perfection, particularly the chicken pesto with parmesan and the spinach, tomato and feta with olive tapenade. The chicken mole also tops our list. It's entertaining to watch the crepes being made, usually taking only a minute or two. Sweet crepes go for $4 while the savory ones are $6, which based on their size and quality is a bargain.

Crepe in the Park will be open every day from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm with the exception of rainy days through October 1. This small operation can get crowded on weekends, especially when little league games are going on at the park. Hop in line -- it's worth the wait.

[Photos: LindaM]

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Watch How The Chicago River Gets So Green for St. Patrick's Day

March 17, 2015 at 8:10 PM | by | ()

🍀 Happy St Patrick's Day! 🍀 If you're still able to see straight, then check out this excellent time-lapse video, shot by YouTube user Frootis, of the Chicago River as it gets dyed green for the Irish holiday.

According to Chicagoist, forty pounds of green vegetable dye was released into the river on Saturday by the Plumbers Local union. That was enough to keep the river looking shockingly bright green for about five hours but today, it's calmed down into a murky green color. Below are a few shots of what it looked like this afternoon. Meh. Now as you were with your Guinness.

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What's That Smell? Oh, That's Just United's New 'Landing' Scent

March 16, 2015 at 4:00 PM | by | ()

Just the other day United was on our radar, as the airline was talking about the newest additions and what not to their United Club menu—like pita chips. Now they are back once again, as United is trying out some new ideas when it comes to the boarding area.

Over at Chicago-O’Hare the carrier is changing things up within Terminal 1, as gates B4, B8, and B10 are getting the new look. Stuff like new seating areas, mood lighting, more power outlets, and even gate agent podiums are all part of the new look. We’d imagine it’s been decades since any thought or design has been put into the boarding area over at United, so we’re thinking that change is a good thing.

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Cruising to Chicago is Possible But It Will Cost Ya

February 24, 2015 at 12:46 PM | by | ()

As you sit dreaming of cruising right out of winter weather, a voyage to Chicago probably hasn’t entered your mind. But starting in July, Great Lakes Cruise Company will begin offering itineraries from Montreal to Chicago with the inaugural trip leaving Montreal on July 5 and porting in Chicago on July 14.

With only 105 state rooms, the ship, the M.S. Saint Laurent, is teeny tiny compared to typical cruise vessels due to Great Lakes size limitations. But this vacation won’t come at a teeny tiny price. The company says the price for the trip will range from $4,199 to $7,999 per person. Ouch.

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One Chicago Artist Has Turned The City's Potholes into Art

February 19, 2015 at 2:50 PM | by | ()

Anyone living in the snow-covered northern states knows that, among the many annoyances of winter, are the potholes that seem to pop up everywhere as snowplows wreck havoc on frozen streets.

But, for one Chicago street artist, what most people see as a nuisance, he's turned into the perfect canvas.

Jim Bachor began to fill Chicago’s potholes with original works of art in 2013. His mosaics, which feature flowers, flags, and other reminders that spring is right around the corner, are a bright spot in the often long and dreary winters.

To help people find his pothole pieces, Jim has created a map of the installations around Chicago. A good reminder that, if you want to see his street art, you shouldn't wait too long. As Chicago Now recently pointed out, Bachor’s pothole mosaics will likely, eventually, be covered over as the streets get patched up by the city.

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Beijing Comes to Chicago at The United Terminal at O'Hare

January 27, 2015 at 3:32 PM | by | ()

The United Terminal at Chicago O’Hare International Airport just got a little artsier.

“City Windows,” a permanent art installation has been unveiled near gate B19, It was created by Chinese artist Qiao Xiaoguang and it’s pretty awesome. So awesome, it might not make us so pissed off to fly United anymore.

The ancient art of Chinese paper cutting was used to create a panorama of iconic images from Chicago and Beijing. The images highlight landmarks like Navy Pier and the Willis Tower in Chicago, and Tiananmen Square and the Olympic Stadium in Beijing. The display symbolizes the deep friendship and cultural and business connections between Chicago and China, and can also be viewed from outside the airport when approaching the terminal.

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Wish We Were There: American Airlines Flagship Check-In

January 19, 2015 at 7:15 PM | by | ()

Normally, our recurring travel snapshot series is called "Wish You Were Here" where we show off amazing travel destinations that we think you should go to. But today, we're reversing the roles and saying, "Wish We Were There".

That's because while flying out of Chicago O'Hare the other day, we noticed an exclusive zone amidst all the other lowly check-in desks-- The American Airlines Flagship Check-In . This writer had never seen an AA Flagship Check-in the wild but thanks to Jaunted's inside look at the AA Flagship lounge at JFK, I now know exactly all the luxury traveler shenanigans that are happening behind this walled-off entrance, such as: checking-in, changing seat assignments, and checking luggage. However, fancy pants Flagship travelers still have to go through TSA. Hah, suckers.

Think you can access the Flagship private check-in and the lounge once you're past security, check yourself. Do you meet the following requirements?

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Virgin Hotels is More Virgin Atlantic Than Virgin America But Very Virgin, Nonetheless

Where: 203 N. Wabash Avenue [map], Chicago, IL, United States, 60601
January 16, 2015 at 6:09 PM | by | ()

Virgin Hotels officially opened their doors to guests in Chicago yesterday and our sister site, HotelChatter, has the first look inside a Virgin guest room, excuse us, chamber for those visiting Chi-town. But if you were expecting to find a replica of a Virgin America airplane, complete with purple mood lighting and singing and dancing employees, you might be disappointed.

The historic building on Wabash has been done over into a very Virgin property, with lots of bright red touches everywhere, from the red tiles in the shower to the red SMEG mini fridge in the chambers, and the bright red coats worn by the lovely lady greeters at the entrance.

And even though the hotel is an American company, there are quite a few tributes to its British heritage--like the London Bridge depicted on the chamber rugs, the Birds and Blokes signs for the bathroom, the bright red telephone booth that serves as the hostess station at the not-yet-opened Miss Ricky's All-American Diner and the Union Jack on the dog bed at check-in. And for some reason, the chamber bed reminds us of Upper Class on Virgin Atlantic.

There's even a wall devoted to Sir Richard Branson in the 203 Coffee Bar (opening in a few weeks) and the history of his Virgin multimedia company, featuring photographs of Branson and his various companies, including Virgin Cola. (RIP.)

While the staff is incredibly happy and relaxed, no one has busted out a robot rap...yet. So if we're talking airlines here, Virgin Hotels feel more Virgin Atlantic than Virgin America but at the end of the day, Virgin Chicago actually wants to be a hub for locals.

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Why the Best Buy 'Geek Squad' is on the Scene at Chicago-O'Hare

December 16, 2014 at 9:40 AM | by | ()

If your electronics and mobile doodads aren’t behaving this holiday season there’s a new way to get things repaired and fix while on the go. Best Buy is sending their Geek Squad unit into the airport, as the brave women and men will be stationed at Chicago-O’Hare for the next few weeks.

When your phone just isn’t keeping up its end of the bargain make your way over to Terminal 3 near the Concourse H food court. There you’ll find the Geek Squad, and that’s where they will be providing tech support for free through December 23.

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Henry Cavill and Amy Adams are Chicago Tourists When the Camera's Off

November 10, 2014 at 2:59 PM | by | ()

Henry Cavill is proving he can do it all while filming Batman v Superman in Chicago.

On Friday, Henry filmed a scene in which he was suspended from a wire high above the streets of Chicago just hours after carrying his co-star Amy Adams, aka Lois Lane, to safety. And, he did it all while squeezed into that iconic Superman suit.

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