Now is a good time to plan a visit close to home, a day’s drive out or a little further away because lots of travel destinations are beginning to open and gas is still in the budget range.
Restaurants and bars have opened their outdoor seating areas. Among them is The Loyalist at 177 N. Ada Street near Randolph Row. It has had walk-ins but will likely be taking reservations beginning Wednesday, June 24,2020. If you go: expect more French style choices.
Millennium Park and Lakefront
Yes, you can visit Cloud Gate (The Bean). If you go: take selfies and don’t touch it. Most of Millennium Park is open but masks are encouraged as is social distancing.
The same goes for the lakefront which isopen as of today, June 22, 2020 to movers, not sitters. that means walkers, joggers, cyclists.
Tucked into northwestern Illinois near the Wisconsin and Iowa borders is the charming town of Galena. There are lots of good B&B and restaurant choices because rolling hills, historic homes and fun shops make the town a popular summer (and fall) destination.
Memphis, TN has a lot to offer as vacation destination. However, if interested in understanding more about the global Black Lives Matter movement then visit to the famed museum based at the Lorraine Motel, 450 Mulberry St, where Martin Luther King Jr was shot. The museum plans to reopen July 1, 2020.
If you go: you will need a timed ticket and have to wear a face covering. For tickets and other information visit National Civil Rights Museum.
You don’t have to be staying at the Marriott Lincolnshire Resort north of Chicago to relax on its recently re-done Lakeside Plaza. You don’t even have to call its popular, reservation-only Three Embers Restaurant. Just go over there at sunset to sip a glass of Pluto’s Fury Pinot Noir from the Russian River Valley or a house recommended Merlot and nibble on the restaurant’s Burrata appetizer around the Plaza’s fire pit or at its high-top double-sided, fire-lined bar.
There is usually live music on Tuesday and Wednesday evening but the resort will also be doing Bourbon & Bonfires a special dinner and drinks event Aug. 15, 2018 that pairs Jack Daniel’s and Woodford Reserve with gourmet bites by Executive Chef Yo Chang. This event does need a reservation (Eventbrite).
Marriott Lincolnshire Resort is at 10 Marriott Drive off Milwaukee Avenue south of IL Hwy 22, Lincolnshire. For more information call 847-634-0100 and visit Three Embers food.
Not all the Lincoln Park Zoo sights are found through the main gate. South of that gate is the historic Prairie-School-style Café Brauer (2021 North Stockton). Go around behind the landmark building to discover the Patio.
Here you can sip the Patio Muscle made up of Two Brothers Vodka, Chambord, ginger beer and lime or a refreshing glass of Villa Sandi Proseco while resting the eyes on a pond, boardwalk and the Chicago skyline.
Resolve your after-work food craving with crispy calamari or tomato mozzarella pizza twists.
Reservations are suggested. Café Brauer is at 2021 N. Stockton, Chicago. For more information call (312) 507-9053 and visit The Patio.
A popular, fun trend among Chicago hotels is to open a roof-top bar. They offer good city views, interesting cocktails and are a place to meet after hours. However, one that takes on the sophisticated vibe of its globally-known hotel is the Z Bar that just opened at the Peninsula Chicago Hotel.
Go up to the sixth floor to settle comfortably with a view of Michigan Avenue. Then study the drinks menu with an eye for something special designed by Cocktails & Culture Director Vlad Novikov.
Whether you choose a classic cocktail or one inspired by Novikov’s travels it will be an experience.
The same is true with the small-plates-food menu that includes the Daikon Frites with Chinese lap cheong, garlic and an unusual jam.
The Peninsula Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St., For more information call (312) 573-6888 and visit Z-bar.
How picky are you when it comes to eating outdoors when you want to take advantage of Chicago’s often too -short summer season?
If not at all picky, you might not mind cars pulling into the spaces close to your sidewalk café table. After all, sidewalk cafés are not just a Parisian thing. As soon as the weather turns balmy, lots of restaurants set out tables. Sometimes the space is marked off by planters.
However, here are a few places to consider if looking for a bumper-free, emissions-free outdoor experience when you want to relax over brunch lunch, dinner or cocktails. in or around Chicago . The places may not be what you would expect but they’re nice for relaxing, meeting friends, lovely views and good food.
At Market House on the Square in north suburban Lake Forest, guests favor the historic building’s (former fire station) British-style bar and dining room when there is a chill in the air. But when summer comes, it’s all about lunching or dining out on the patio. Nothing is typical here. From a tempura fish sandwich and a “griddled” burger with wild mushrooms and red pepper ranch or a poached pear salad at lunch to PEI mussels with frites or a short ribs shepherd’s pie for supper, the offerings are delish and creative. Many of the menu items come from Executive Chef Dan Marquis’ Mill Road Farms.
Market House on the Square is at 655 Forest Ave., Lake Forest, IL. For reservations call (847) 234-8800 and visit Market House.
Instead of only going to the Chicago Botanic Garden to walk among the flowers or visit the Brazilian butterflies that are there now, plan to do breakfast, brunch or lunch ton the outdoor deck of the Garden View Café. There is also the Garden Grille for burgers and brats and the new Rose Terrace Beer Garden that has craft beers when looking for a place to lunch or for later dining and relaxing with a garden view.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe just east of the Edens Expressway. For more information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG and Chicago Botanic Outdoor Dining.
Chicago’s Mag Mile
Walk into Shanghai Terrace at the Peninsula Chicago and relax outdoors with a terrific cocktail and wonderful dim sum (think shrimp, Peking duck and barbecue pork). The restaurant a few floors above North Michigan Avenue, spreads outside with comfortable seating and tables as soon as weather permits.
The Peninusla Chicago is at 108 E. Superior St., Chicabgo. For reservations and other information call (312) 573- 6695 or 312-337-288 and visit Peninsula.
Who would have thought a public golf course would also be known as an event venue or for its cuisine or for its wonderful patio. But if in the Wheaton area at meal time, stop at the Arrowhead Golf Club and ask for an outside table. The club ss a public facility operated by the Wheaton Park District that just happens to have great food and views of the course from its terrace like patio.
Arrowhead Golf Club is at 26W151 Butterfield Rd., Wheaton, IL For other information call (630) 653-5800) and visit Arrowhead Golf Club.
There often is a wait list to sit on Fiora’s patio overlooking the town but people who go early and during the week can usually snag an outdoor table. The restaurant is in a historic building where food and ambiance make it a popular choice.
Fiora’s is at 317 Third St., Geneva, IL. For reservations and more information call 630-262-1317 and visit Fiora’s.
BTW Please feel free to add your own favorite Chicago area place for dining outside.