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Update: 12pm EST Flights into and out of Chicago are resuming at a "reduced rate." It has been stated that the fire which caused today's interruption was deliberately set, but was not an act of terrorism. It was set by a man found with self-inflicted wounds, in the basement of the facility.
Early this morning, smoke began billowing out of an FAA facility in Aurora, IL. The fire, whose cause remains suspicious, nonetheless made an impact on US air travel as all flights set to travel into or out of Chicago's O'Hare and Midway Airports were delayed or cancelled, along with many others simply set to fly through the Chicago control area. As of 10am EST, FlightStats.com was reporting upwards of 400 cancelled and 300 delayed flights for the airports.
As expected, lines within the airports stretched along with phone wait times for further information. One gate at O'Hare was reported to quote "30 minutes or 3 hours" for the delay, which demonstrates the uncertainties at the time.
If you're scheduled to fly anywhere in the United States today, please check with your airline (we'd recommend via their official Twitter account or website, with posted alerts) before heading to the airport. As always, be sure to embark on travels today with fully-charged electronics, packed snacks, and some flexibility and patience for the tens of thousands of other stuck in a similar position or worse.
Hundreds of people in line at American Airlines check in at O'Hare. Passengers say the 800 # has a 2-hour wait also. pic.twitter.com/IZyRsTSPoC— Tony Briscoe (@_TonyBriscoe) September 26, 2014
Train Travel / High-Speed Rail / Chicago Travel / St. Louis Travel / Trains / Siemens / Amtrak / Train Stations / → All Tags
Riding the rails out of Chicago will not only get easier, but a whole lot faster thanks to a plan to run a high-speed rail link between the Midwestern metropolis and the Gateway to the West, St. Louis. Just last week, Illinois Governor Pat Quinn allotted a whopping $102 million from the state's budget for improvement of the rail corridor between the two cities.
The plan for the sped-up Amtrak line will allow higher speed trains to travel up to 110 mph between St. Louis and Dwight (about 75 minutes from Chicago). The final leg to Chicago will also be ready to go fast in 2017.
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Some furry friends are now back doing their thing over at Chicago-O’Hare, as they do their best to keep the airport grounds in tip-top shape.
We’ve mentioned unique airport groundskeeping crews before, but the herd that tends to the land in and around O’Hare might just be one of the best. They’re back at work this year, as goats, sheep, llamas, and donkeys are all doing their thing. They’re hungry and there’s apparently plenty to eat, as they work to eliminate all kinds of vegetation—even poison ivy.
Live Music Travel / How To Get Tickets To / Riot Fest / Music Festivals / Chicago Travel / Events / → All Tags
Lollapalooza is now just a memory and summer is winding down, but that doesn't mean the Chicago music festival scene is over for 2014.
On Sept. 12-14 Riot Fest returns to Humboldt Park with a lineup that includes The Cure, Jane's Addiction, The National, Rise Against, Weezer, The Flaming Lips, Wu-Tang Clan, Samhain, Tegan and Sara, and dozens more.
Confirmation that the Lucas Cultural Arts Museum will be built in Chicago has some wondering if Mayor Rahm Emanuel performed a Jedi Mind Trick on George Lucas.
Since the museum was announced it was largely assumed it would be built in San Francisco, near the LucasFilm headquarters. So, many were surprised this week when Bill McCaffrey, a spokesman for Emanuel, announced Lucas' decision to build the facility in Chicago, over San Fran.
Theme Parks / Six Flags / Amusement Parks / Chicago Travel / Coasters / Roller Coasters / Summer Travel / → All Tags
This big and bad new coaster isn’t a usual hi-tech coaster offering either, as this thing is a wooden coaster—so expect all of that moving and shaking that goes along with a timber track. With its opening comes world records, as Goliath will feature the longest drop, the steepest drop, and the highest speed of any wooden coaster. Top speed is 72mph.
How To Get Tickets To / Food Festivals / Taste of Chicago / Chicago Travel / Summer Travel / Food Travel / Events / → All Tags
For most of the US summer means good weather, good music and, of course, good food.
Taste of Chicago is one of world's largest annual food festivals with dozens of restaurants, vendors, and food trucks serving up the best of the Windy City's food scene over five days.
Airport Security / TSA / ORD / Chicago Travel / Airports / Airport News / Marriott Hotels / → All Tags
Those departing Chicago on the way to their summer vacation are about to have another reason to smile, as heading through airport security at O’Hare just got a little better and little more bearable. For most the shoes still need to come off and the laptops will need to go on the belt, but the whole scene will be more enjoyable thanks to some sponsorship and decoration from the folks over at Marriott and SpringHill Suites.
We’ve seen something like this before, but we certainly can’t complain about anything that makes the airport security process that much more enjoyable. Through a partnership with the aforementioned hotel chain as well as the TSA and the airport authority things are a little bit different over at checkpoint number three within the airport’s Terminal 1.
Sports Travel / Events / ORD / MDW / Chicago Travel / Marathon Travel / Running / Runway Runs / Airport News / Airports / → All Tags
It's that time of the year again, when airports welcome people, in place of planes, to run on their runways while the weather is sunny and the skies are blue. While other airports are still ironing out the particulars, Chicago's double whammy of runway runs is already asking you to "save the date."
It's only the second year for a run at Chicago's second airport, Midway. The Midway Fly Away 5K will be sponsored by Southwest and will benefit Chicago Childrens Charities and the Special Olympics. The run on what MDW calls "the world's busiest square mile" will happen September 21, and other runways will most definitely still be active.
Across the city, Chicago's own United Airlines will once again host the O'Hare Run on the Runway, with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project. You've got more time to train for this race, as the 5K doesn't hit the calendar until October 5. Fingers crossed United rolls an aircraft out to the finish line for photo ops, as they've done in past years. Expect over 3,500 fellow runners of all ages and abilities (and walkers are welcome), so be ready when registration opens soonish.
Airports / ORD / Chicago Travel / Chicago Restaurants / Airport News / Airport Dining / Airport Restaurants / Airport Shopping / → All Tags
If your travels have brought you through Chicago O'Hare's International Terminal, then you may have noticed that it's hardly the nicest place to spend some pre-flight time. Alas, that was then and this is now, because as of last week, passengers are now being welcomed into a totally refreshed Terminal 5, featuring Chicago hometown brands and international boutiques.
The project totaled $26 million and two years of overhauling, but the terminal now boasts a wider variety of airside activities. Chicago restaurant masters, Lettuce Entertain You, have opened several of their mainstay eateries (Big Bowl, Wow Bao, Urban Olive, Hub51 and R.J. Grunts) and, if you need a pick-me-up, there's Intelligentsia Coffee for delicious brews and Wicker Park deli, The Goddess and Grocer for nibbles. No drama if you've got your heart set on Frontera Grill's tortas, since Rick Bayless has this terminal covered as well.
This weekend moviegoers will get their first look at dystopian Chicago as Divergent hits the big screen.
The movie is based on Veronica Roth's books set in a Chicago where the population has been split into five factions based on virtues.
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Tomorrow is Fat Tuesday, aka the last day before Lent, and a time to fill your bellies in the spirit of final excess. For anyone of Polish heritage, however, the last Tuesday before these few weeks of going without is considered Paçzki Day. This holiday celebrates deep-fried goodness filled with fruit preserves (traditionally: prune, apricot, raspberry, cheese or custard) and topped with powdered sugar or glazed.
The traditional reason for making paçzki (pronounced: poonch-key) was to use up all the lard, sugar, eggs and fruit in the house, since those were forbidden to consume during Lent. What better way to empty the house of the food you can't eat but to use it all to make a delicious little doughnut? Traditionally eaten on Fat Thursday (the Thursday before Ash Wednesday), the treat has since taken over Mardi Gras.
If we've enticed you enough to sniff out the doughy goodness, here are some of the best bakeries to score a taste of an iconic Polish treat;