Get comfortable. It’s time to visit some of the places that have intrigued you or are on your someday list. Don’t dress for travel.
Lots of destinations have added virtual tours. Some are OK even though they expect you to read French, such as on the 350 degree Louvre exploration or Spanish such as with the Guggenheim in Bilbao videos on Mark Rothko’s “Untitled” and Jeff Koons’ “Puppy.”
Others, like the ones here, have videos and cams that make visitors feel they are there.
So warm-ups or jammies are OK as you visit outer space, a zoo, an amazing garden, a Royal home and an aquarium. Just remember if looking at a cam that the place may be in a different time zone so might have different action at a later or earlier hour.
Yes if you saw a mostly full moon Saturday night it did appear larger and brighter than usual. It was your first glimpse of the first 2020 supermoon which is at its fullest on Monday, March 9 at 1:48 p.m. EDT. However, it’s fine to look for it Sunday night.
The reason it looks larger is because its elliptical course brings it closer to earth on March 9.. The close point is called the perigee as opposed to the far point which is the apogee.
At 222.081 miles from earth it looms large but the next full moon an April 8 will be even closer at 221,851 miles.
This March supermoon has several nicknames including the “Worm Moon” because worms are said to begin to come out of the soil about this time.
Don’t wait for the first robin or crocus to pop up to plan what to do or where to go for a spring vacation. Hotels and good B and B’s may already be booked and airlines will have few seats at the price you want. Make plans now
Good as Washington DC is, student groups may already have plane seats and hotel rooms so consider that destination for another time. Instead, Spring Break is a good chance to splash in a pool, visit and cross off a presidential museum or find an unusual children’s museum in a town not yet visited.
The suggestions listed here are Midwest destinations within a day’s drive of Chicago. The city’s schools are out April 6-10 and most suburban districts are out March 23-27 in 2020.
Arguably among the best indoor water parks are the ones at the Kalahari Resorts. If living in the Midwest, consider the African-themed one at the Wisconsin Dells. The resort really is a combination amusement park, movie and dining destination and games emporium.
I like the Dells as a summer or fall escape when the weather is predictable but spring is a good time to enjoy a resort that has so much to offer, guests might not feel the need to leave. Also check out other Wisconsin Waterparks for a spring Break.
Across the road is the Grand Rapids Public Museum which has fun explorations and a merry go round ride. From American Indian displays to inventions, an old-time streetscape and a giant clock, there is enough here to spend the day.
Where a dinosaur and orangutans hang out
People outside of Indianapolis may not know the city has a remarkable Children’s Museum charmingly guarded by a huge dinosaur and that the Indianapolis Zoo is one of the few places in the country that boasts a specialized orangutan center where visitors can watch these intelligent animals play and practice their cognitive game skills.
I love the Childeren’s Museum’s Take Me There exhibits. When I visited it was to China. Currently it is to Greece. And there really is a simulated flight there. And I was fascinated by everything the orangutans could do.
Camelback Ranch in Glendale is the spring home of the Chicago White Sox. A suburb of Phoenix, visitors get all the advantages of Phoenix’s museums, hotels and its famed Botanic Garden but are close to White Sox action.
The Sox have a home game against the LA Angels Feb. 22 and are awayh against the Cincinnati Reds Feb. 23, LA Dodgers Feb. 24, have a split squad against the Indians away and the Giants at home on Feb. 25, then away against the KC Royals,Feb. 26, are at home against the Mariners Feb. 27, Indians Feb. 28 and away against the Rangers on Feb. 29.
The excellent Sheraton Mesa at Wrigley West places you right at Sloan Park. But check Visit Mesa to see other accommodation choices. It’s also a good referral to restaurants and attractions.
While in the area try to get to the Desert Botanical Garden and hike Camelback Mountain or Pinnacle Peak Park. Do visit the famed Heard Museum for fine Native American arts.
While visiting one of the Cub’s or White Sox’s away games in or near neighboring Scottsdale, browse fine art galleries in Old Town and visit Scottsdale’s Museum of the West.
So get away from Chicago’s winter. Relax outdoor with a margarita or cold draft beer while shouting Hey! Hey! at Wrigley West. You will feel right at home because the border streets are Waveland Avenue, Clark Street and Sheffield Ave.
Or enjoy a Chicago hot dog (no ketchup please) at Camelback Ranch and watch the newly rebuilt Sox team take on old rivals.
Experts predicted that Kansas would win the super bowl this year and they were right. But what are the odds that two famous groundhogs (or woodchucks) have correctly predicted when winter will end?
Pretty good if you know that one of them is right.
After several days of gray gloom, the sun finally shone in northern Illinois Sunday, Feb. 2, the official Groundhog Day. That the sun shone and the weather was a balmy 51 degrees, good news for outdoor activities but bad news in Woodstock where Willie saw his shadow, wanted to go back to his dark hole and so predicted six more weeks of winter.
However, in Pennsylvania, Punxsutawne Phil didn’t see his shadow so stayed out and predicted an early spring.
However, loosely collected records show that Phil has had less than a 40 percent correct record and Willie has been right half the time.
Considering that local weather forecasters sometimes have trouble accurately predicting even a week away, maybe 50 percent isn’t bad.
If not sure where to travel this year, check out the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, Feb. 8-9, 2020.
Hundreds of destinations from Alabama to Amelia Island and Africa to Australia plus cruise lines will have exhibitors with suggestions on where to stay, when is the best time to go and what are the cost options.
It’s a fun show where guests can listen to and ask questions of Rick Steves, writer and host of Rick Steves Europe and Travel with Rick Steves, Josh Gates, host, The Travel Channel’s Expedition Unknown, Pauline Frommer editorial director of Frommer’s Guides and Peter Greenberg, TV reporter, producer and CBS News Travel editor.
Just don’t be surprised at what you’ll see there, including camel rides, chef demonstrations, Nordic, Polynesian and Taiwanese folk dancers, an obstacle course and Trikkes.
Tips: Enter the drawings for a door prize and pick up a bag there to carry all the handouts home to peruse.
Hours: 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday. For ticket and other information visit TravelShows/Chicago. The Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont.
They start work midweek when snow is delivered to their stations in the Riviera Plaza , 812 Wrigley Drive abutting Geneva Lake (Yes, that is the lake’s name).
The teams sculpt their creations through Friday night to be ready for the judging after the “tools down” bell at 11 a.m. Saturday. Visitors can vote for the People’s Choice Award, Saturday until 2 p.m.
The snow sculptures are amazing but also stay to see ice sculptures in town. Youngsters may want to stop at a children’s tent at 201 Wrigley Dr. in Flat Iron Park where there are games and the Boy Scouts are selling cider donuts and hot dogs.
Visitors who stay over Saturday will want to see the free Laser Light Show on the ski slopes of the Grand Geneva Resort, just south of the downtown at WI7036 Grand Geneva Way.
Thanks to some trunks, the Winnetka-based Kaehler Luggage chain was born 100 years ago. Now the company is inviting the public to celebrate its century mark at its Mag Mile store, 900 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, at 11 a.m., Jan. 28 2020. The celebration includes a champagne toast, packing demonstrations and a 100-year history.
To find out more about the company and how the stores are relevant to today’s travelers, Travel Smart talked with owner Wallace Kaehler Jr. popularly known as “Buzz.” And yes, there will be a trunk at the anniversary party,” said Buzz.
Cities from LA to Memphis and Chicago and New York to Washington DC and Atlanta are celebrating MLK Day today, the third Monday of January. The day has been officially observed to honor the civil rights leader in all 50 states since 2000. It is an American federal holiday so schools, banks, post office and some business are closed.
Celebrations to honor Martin Luther King Jr range from service projects and parades to concerts and free museum visits.
If in DC go to the Marin Luther King Jr Memorial and watch the Peace Parade from 11 a.m to noon ET on Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue and Milwaukee Place. The annual Martin Luther King Jr. Parade features musical performances, dancers, and members of civil rights organizations fighting for equal rights.
If in Chicago, you can spend quality time at one of the following events:
Ask a friend, ask a lover or ask a few people to join you to celebrate the Feast of Saint Valentine Feb. 14. It’s just nice to have a fun day in the middle of winter. Since Feb/ 14 comes on a Friday in 2020, celebrate the end of the week or the beginning of a fun weekend.
The ideas listed here are for Chicago but they could be adapted anywhere by substituting a local cooking class for No. 1, a decadent chocolate dessert for No. 2 and a different activity for No. 3. They range from pricey but yummy to free.
The Peninsula Chicago’s Shanghai Terrace is doing a Dim Sum for Lovebirds cooking class and dinner from Feb. 10 through Feb. 16. It includes a Chinese tea degustation, a class led by Chef de Cuisine Elmo Han and ends with a three-course dinner. The cost per couple is $888 but there is a less expensive option Feb. 15 only. It’s the two-hour Valentine’s Day Cooking Experience. At $480 a couple it includes tortellini making and a three-course lunch of oysters, pasta and dessert in The Lobby. (Gratuity and tax not included).
Peninsula Chicago is on Superior Street at Michigan Avenue. To make reservations or for more information call (312) 573 6620, toll-free at 1 866 288 8889, visit Peninsula Chicago or email reservations
The restaurant is not just among Chicagoan’s fave when it comes to hot dogs or Italian beef. It’s chocolate cake ranks among the town’s top dessert choices. So Portillo’s is shaping it famous cake into a heart for Valentine’s Day. A the single-layer chocolate iced cake, the treat will be available at Chicago area locations Feb. 7-16, but can be pre-ordered beginning Jan. 14, 2020 by visiting portillos.com or calling 1-866-YUM-BEEF.
In addition, 100% of the purchase price of each Portillo’s Heart-Shaped Chocolate Cake sold between January 14 and February 16 (capped at $25,000) will be donated to the American Red Cross. Portillo’s is supporting the American Red Cross Biomedical Services to ensure a safe and reliable blood supply is available for patients in need.
Heart-Shaped cakes will be available for purchase in-store February 7-16. Guests are encouraged to pre-order the cakes beginning on January 14 by visiting portillos.com or calling 1-866-YUM-BEEF.
Skate against the Chicago skyline or skate under the stars. Ice skating at Chicago’s Millennium Park below Cloud Gate (The Bean) is a popular winter activity encouraged by background music and a concession stand of hot chocolate. The skating is free. Visitors can bring their skates or rent, or use the rental free of charge if staying at a Hilton.
The historic Palmer House at Wabash and Monroe Streets, just west of the Art institute and Millenium Park is a Hilton. So is The Wit, a popular millennial hotel by Doubletree at State and Lake, a couple of blocks west.
Up the experience by doing lunch at Terao Piano which is a short walk up the bridge from the park to the third floor of the Art Institute of Chicago or an elevator ride up from the museum’s Monroe Street entrance. Those entrances to the restaurant don’t have a museum charge. Or do dinner in the Park Grill right there at the skating rink.