IL Travel Guide
According to Mother Nature it’s not technically summer for at least another month, but we go by the calendar and the season starts with Memorial Day weekend. Thankfully theme parks also seem to follow the calendar, so the last few weeks of May are always a good time to enjoy that new roller coaster smell. That’s especially the case over in Gurnee, Illinois, as Six Flags Great America is celebrating the start of the amusement park season with a new take on an old ride.
BATMAN: The Ride has been doing its thing for plenty of summers now, and it’s proud to be known as the world’s first suspended looping coaster. Well this year things are a little different for the ride, as after a winter filled with upgrades and improvements the thing is now heading backwards.
How To Get Tickets To / Music Festivals / Chicago Travel / Summer Travel / Events / Live Music Travel / → All Tags
The Pitchfork Music Festival returns to Chicago’s Union Park July 19-21, and it's not too late to get tickets.
The independent summer fest will once again bring together 40 bands that highlight the "best in new and emerging music", specialty fairs, local food, and artists. The 2013 line-up includes Solange, Frankie Rose, Low and M.I.A., Angel Olsen, Pissed Jeans, Trash Talk Frankie Rose, The Breeders, Low, DJ Rashad, Treem and headliners, Bjork, Belle & Sebastian, and R. Kelly.
The crazy popular young adult novel Divergent, about a teenage girl named Tris who lives in a dystopian Chicago, is headed to the big screen. And, even though filming has just begun, fans are already buzzing about which Chicago landmarks mentioned in the book will make it into the movie.
On top of the list of potential filming locations (and future, inevitable movie tour stops) is Millennium Park which “used to be a park” in the book, John Hancock Center, a now abandoned building Tris ziplines from, Navy Pier’s Ferris Wheel which Tris climbs at one point, and Michigan Avenue, where the production was already spotted setting up.
Airline Lounges / Airports / Airport News / United / ORD / United Club / Design Travel / → All Tags
2013 probably won't be the year of the airline club since that designation really belongs to 2012, but don’t tell the designers and organizers over at United that. After changing the name of their lounges following their merger with Continental, it looks like United is going all in with a little bit of a revamp and renovation to the United Club.
It all starts with one of the clubs over at Chicago-O’Hare, as the airline has released a sneak peek of what things will look like in Terminal 2.
To our eyes, the new design mimics the stylish lounges for long-haul travel, and by that we mean that they’re skipping the domestic carrier coffee-machine-and-a-comfy-chair look. Think a dash of Virgin's panache, but without all the additional features—and food and beverage—that come along with a true international airline lounge experience.
Hm. So airports actually read comment cards.
One year ago, we published a tiny rant on airport coffee and the severe lack of quality coffeeshops within terminals, despite the recent trend toward adding gourmet, organic burger joints and wine bars and Top Chef-backed sit-down eateries. Where were the pour-over coffee bars and anything-other-than-Starbucks, we asked.
Chicago's two airports have answered.
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This year's fest will continue the tradition of "Taste What They See on the Screen" and include five special events with food by Chef Phillip Foss of EL Ideas, Pleasant House Bakery, Seattle’s Top Pot Doughnuts, Hoosier Mama Pie Co., Kingsbury Street Café, Mickle’s Pickles and more. You can check out the full line-up here.
Airport News / Airports / DTW / ORD / Shopping Travel / Airport Restaurants / Coffee Travel / → All Tags
Look at that. Just look at those photos above. Chicago-O'Hare Airport is moving on up, yo.
Come Fall 2013, travelers heading out of O'Hare's Terminal 5 will find 15 new dining and retail vendors, plus fresh passenger amenities thanks to a massive transformation of the terminal, which was built in 1993 and has 24 airlines operating from it. The airport is using words like "luxurious," "sophisticated," and "lavish" to describe the new design, which isn't hard to see given the before-and-after images up top.
Right away we'll confess that we're most psyched for the arrival of an Intelligentsia coffee bar, especially seeing as how we ranted about bad airport coffee last winter after flying out of O'Hare. Still, there's more to get excited about...
The Intelligentsia rendering for ORD Terminal 5
Charity Travel / Active Travel / Airports / Running / Marathon Travel / Events / Chicago Travel / ORD / → All Tags
Every time we hear about an airport Runway Run we’re motivated to lace up our sneakers and register for the race, and now it looks like we’re ready to potentially sprain an ankle once again. The huffing and puffing will happen to the finish line over in Chicago, as O’Hare is getting ready to open up for a 5K and a Community Day.
This year’s O'Hare 5K on the Runway and Community Day is set to start its day at 8am on October 20, and the fun will run—literally—until around 1pm. After that they’re shutting things down, as obviously there’s a need to use the airport for more pressing issues. United Airlines and the Chicago Department of Aviation are teaming up to organize things, and—warm and fuzzies warning—all proceeds will go to the Wounded Warrior Project.
Today, Steve Harvey launches the first of this season's four new celebrity-hosted daytime talk shows from Chicago. Next week Katie Couric, Jeff Probst, and Ricki Lake will join him in the battle to be the next Oprah but until then, Steve will reign supreme.
Steve Harvey is based on the comedian's books which offer a man's perspective on relationships, sex, and love. The talk show will air back-to-back with The Ellen DeGeneres Show in most major U.S. markets.
Airport News / WiFi / Travel Tech / Airports / Chicago Travel / ORD / MDW / → All Tags
Ugh—we love us some free airport WiFi, but unfortunately there’s still plenty of places where we’re asked for our credit card digits in exchange for some access. One of these locations is Chicago, as the airports of the Windy City, both O'Hare and Midway, aren’t yet down with the complimentary WiFi scene. Thankfully things are getting a little bit better—at least for a bit—but it’s still not going to be free of charge.
Google is coming to the rescue, throwing down some cash—probably in exchange for some advertising—to bring cheaper WiFi access to data hungry travelers and passengers. The price is being cut in half for a 24-hour period, with the rates dropping from around $6.95 to just $3.48. The discount will be available to users after watching a 30-second commercial, so just be prepared for a little distraction before getting down to business.
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It's Thursday! That means...it's almost almost the weekend, right? And we can spend half an hour distracted by a video from 1963 showing Chicago-O'Hare and United Airlines in all their Mad Men historic glory?
The video below circulated 'round the Twitter #avgeeks yesterday, but it's so delicious that we can't not share it here as well.
We won't spoil it all for you, but here are some things to take notice of:
· The airport at the very beginning, from which the helicopter departs. It's Meigs Field!
· Drooling over that TWA SuperJet livery
· So. many. men. in hats.
· Nice mild Chicago accent on that United co-pilot
Bike Travel / Active Travel / Airports / Airport News / Chicago Travel / MDW / → All Tags
Long ago, we declared Portland International Airport to be the most bike-friendly airport in all the US. Well, since then, we've gotten around a bit more and would also lay some laurels on both Nantucket Regional and, now, Chicago-Midway International.
One of the really brilliant things about Chicago's two airportsboth O'Hare and Midwayare their easy accessibility by public transportation. We're talking $2.25 on the El Blue Line (to O'Hare) or $2.25 on the El Orange Line (to Midway), total. Last week, while on said Orange Line to MDW, we disembarked at the airport and ran smackdab into the welcome sight of this large bicycle rack.
It's free to park and within the El gates, so it's far safer than your average rack. Bring your own lock, hook up your bike here and take off for a long weekend's vacation (most likely on Southwest Air). Easy peasy, lemon squeezy.