Visitors to Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Orchid Show walk around a profusion of color before seeing what looks like a tunnel leading to the greenhouses. But they should consider the title of the 2023 Orchid Show – “Magnified.”
The floral covered structure is one way to interpret or introduce visitors to another way of looking at and appreciating orchids – through a lens.
Past shows have featured such aspects as orchid occasions and locations. “Magnified” suggests viewing a variety of orchids through lenses to better see different characteristics.
Jodi Zombolo, Botanic Garden associate vice president of programs, pointed out that “Magnified” showcased the beauty of orchids through “immersive” experiences.
“This show provides a playful opportunity to connect with and admire each orchid part,” said Zombolo. She hoped the experience would leave visitors “inspired and wowed.”
Visitors can view up close and personal, single orchids through strong lenses across from the greenhouses. Next to them are labels that suggest what to look for.
Then, when strolling through the greenhouses they will get the larger picture. Some orchids like to grow in columns and others, individually and in bunches.
To turn the Orchid show into a special event, come to After-Hours or when a sale is taking place.
After-Hours: Feb. 14 and Thursdays 5-8 p.m. (Requires different tickets) Sales: Venders are there March 25-26 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Illinois Orchid Society Spring Show and sale are March 11-12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
The Post Orchid Show Plant Sale is March 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Even though Mother’s Day isn’t until May 9 in 2021, reservations fill fast so now is the time to figure out something special. The ideas listed here: Stay, Play, Eat, Treat, Spa and Ooh La La, can also apply elsewhere so consider them a guide. For parts two and three in this series visit Chicago Theater and Arts and Dining Out-Eating In.
Book a room or suite at the Deer Path Inn, a historic 1929 hostelry that would fit well in a British town but actually is in Lake Forest, IL. Ranked No 1 Resort Hotel in the Midwest and 18th in the world, according to Travel & Leisure, it s a block from the town’s historic Market Square and Metra train station.
Or reserve a room with a view at Sable at Navy Pier. A new hotel in the Hilton Curio Collection it features Offshore, supposedly the world’s largest roof-top bar. Outside the door, stroll Navy Pier which reopens April 30, 2021 and ride its famed Centennial Wheel (Check ahead for ride tickets).
Relax on a scenic boat ride that starts on the Chicago River near Michigan Avenue. Among the choices are the popular architectural tours on Wendella and the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s River Cruise on the First Lady.
Or stroll the paths, scenic water features and see what’s blooming at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Go online ahead of time to get a parking pass because there is timed entry and Mother’s Day is very popular here.
Or enjoy a French Toast Flight at Batter and Berries in the Lincoln Park neighborhood. BTW they also have delish omelets, breakfast sandwiches and waffles.
Pick up a cake, torte or pastry from a great patisserie. Hard to decide what to get when looking at the lineup of cakes, croissants and chocolate treats at Ambrosia, a European style patisserie in the northwest suburb of Barrington.
The same is true of Vanille a French patisserie in the Lincoln Park neighborhood.
Get Mom a gift certificate for the Peninsula Spa Chicago. She can use the pool before or afterwards or just sit along side it to view the Magnificent Mile. Hotel.
Or get a gift certificate for the Midtown operated spa at the Hyatt Lodge, Oakbrook. The Lodge has nice grounds and spa.
Ooh la la
Say Happy Mother’s Day as if it were Valentine’s Day with candy and flowers.
The Chicago area has several good candy shops. Among them is Sweets in Lake Forest that is also known for its ice cream and Amy’s Candy Bar in Ravenswood. Both are local favorites that may become your new go-to place.
For flower arrangements and plant pots with a little oomf to them check out Phillip’s and Athena.
Chicago has been named by several publications among the country’s top three destinations. Among the reasons: great theater, good food choices, world-class museums and friendly people who are willing to help with directions.
However, if visiting family or friends they also have some ideas of what to do and where to go. The problem is how to fit everything in a limited time and what ought to be done ahead of time.
A lot of Chicago holiday events start Thanksgiving weekend even when it comes early such as this year, 2018, when it feels like it is arriving ahead of time on Nov. 22.
Tip: The day after Thanksgiving is a mad shopping scene downtown and on the Magnificent Mile (North Michigan Avenue) so work up a turkey-sized appetite by spending Thanksgiving Day downtown, instead. Then, head to where-ever your feast is for your yummy reward. The next couple of days see a play or explore an area near but outside Chicago.
It’s OK to watch on TV but to do something different, splurge and reserve a seat in the VIP section in front of Macy’s State Street store. Visit Chicago’s Thanksgiving parade to reserve seats. The parade is 8-11 a.m. on State Street.
Do Macy’s State Street store holiday windows. If at the parade, take time to ooh and aah at the magical scenes in Macy’s windows. Started in Chicago by Marshall Field’s the department store windows have charmed shoppers State Street. Decorated with toys since 1897 and transitioned to holiday windows with Uncle Mistletoe in 1946, peering into the windows to see the stories and themes that Field’s and then Macy’s have is a beloved Chicago-area holiday tradition.Macy’s State Street windows will be decorated from Nov. 1, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019.
No, don’t leave downtown yet. Walk a couple of blocks west on Washington Street (south side of Macy”s) to Daley Plaza between Clark and Dearborn Streets to browse eat and shop at the Christkindlmarket. Based on the holiday market in Nuremberg, Germany, the Chicago version has also become a Chicago tradition since 1995. In 2018 it is up from Nov. 16 to Dec. 24.
Over the weekend, use the Thanksgiving theme to see and then discuss “It’s a Wonderful Life: Live from Chicago.” The production, based on Frank Capra’s film, has also become a holiday tradition at American Blues Theater, Stage 773, 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago. The show features an original score and holiday carols. Plus, the Bedford Falls “residents” treat the audience to milk and cookies. The show runs from Nov. 15, 2018 to Jan. 5, 2019. For tickets visit American Blues Theater.
Drive north to the Chicago Botanic Garden to fall in love with the Wonderland Express. The train themes sounds like it maybe for kids but adults love it just as much because it includes terrific mock-ups of the Chicago area’s highlights from skyscrapers and Millennial Park’s “Bean” to Wrigley Field and from Frank Lloyd Wright’s Robie House, South Shore’s Cultural Center and the B’hai temple in Wilmette. Don’t worry about the “snow falling inside on your shoulder, its harmless. Do stop in the adjacent greenhouses to see poinsettias and topiaries. The Botanic Garden is just east of Edens Expressway at Lake Cook Road bordering Highland Park.This is a timed and ticketed event so for tickets go to Chicago Botanic WEX.
Walk among flowers, trees and interesting plants in the winter? Yes if the garden has been transformed with lights.
From the Chicago Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum in the Chicago area to Bellingrath Gardens and Home near Mobile, AL and the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, several gardens across the United States are putting on their holiday evening finery with lights and sounds to say enjoy the season no matter what the temps.
Whether you take a a “staycation” or go out of town, there’s likely to be a garden near by dressed up for the holidays.
If near Mobile, AL do get tickets to explore Bellingrath Gardens and Home. The 65-acre estate of Walter and Bessie Bellingrath treats visitors to breathtaking light displays and the home is decorated for the holidays.
Called Magic Christmas in Lights, and running Nov. 24 through Dec. 31, 2017, the holiday event has about 15 scenes, 1,100 displays and three million lights to surprise visitors around every corner and off in the distance.. Weekends feature choral groups on the home’s South Terrace.
Bellingrath Gardens and Home is at 12401 Bellingrath Gardens Rd., Theodore, AL. For tickets, hours and more information call 800) 247 8420 and visit Bellingrath Magic.
Chicago Botanic Gardens
In the Chicago area trees sparkle with thousands of lights outside and trains toot around city landmarks inside during the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Wonderland Express celebration, Nov. 24, 2017 through Jan. 7, 2018. BTW there is gently falling snow in the main train area and poinsettias in the greenhouses.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe. For tickets and other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit Chicago Botanic Wonderland.
Also, go over to the Morton Arboretum where colored lights spectacularly light up the grounds during Illumination Nov. 17, 2017 through Jan. 1, 2018. The lights are interactive with some lights moving to music and some trees changing color with a hug or song. A medallion will also be sold that reacts to the sights and sounds.
The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 IL Hwy, 53, Lisle. For tickets and other information call (630) 968-0074 and visit Morton Arb Illumination.
Tip: Tickets to the Botanic Garden and Morton Arboretum holiday shows need to be bought in advance because they are time and date specific and sell-out early.
Desert Botanical Garden
If vacationing in the Scottsdale/Phoenix area go over to the Desert Botanical Garden for Las Noches de las Luminarias, Nov. 24 through Dec. 30, 2017. Wander the paths lit by thousands of luminaria bags and twinkling lights. In addition the garden will be featuring the work of Japanese American sculptor Jun Kaneko.
The Desert Botanical Garden is at 1201 N. Galvin Parkway, Phoenix, AZ. For tickets and other information call 480-941-1225 and visit DBG Luminarias.
Next in the holiday series will be zoo lights but if you have a favorite holiday garden visit not mentioned here please tell us in Leave a Reply.
Just about everyone in the Chicago area knows that the moon will block out most of the sun midday, Monday, Aug. 21, 2017.
And most of them have heard that they need the certified glasses to watch the event or watch through a hole aimed at the ground where they see the event’s shadow.
Chicago will be in about 87 percent darkness during the height of the eclipse by 1:19 p.m. which is enough to feel the temperature change and that night has come.
So, the question is where to watch. Certainly Chicago’s TV channels, including WGN, will be broadcasting. But to experience the event with others check the places listed here and your local library, park district, forest preserve district or junior college.
Adler Planetarium on the Museum campus at 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, provides the best overall experience because along with giving out the proper glasses at no charge, it will have free general admission so visitors can see its “Chasing Eclipses exhibit. The Adler will also have lots of outdoor activities. For details visit Adler Eclipse Fest.
Chicago Botanic Garden at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, is holding a viewing party from about 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on the Esplanade and in the Krasberg Rose Garden. The event includes free solar glasses (one per family while supplies last) that will begin distribution at 10 a.m. There will also be other activities. For details visit Botanic Garden Eclipse.
Chicago Park District will host eclipse events at 20 parks and include glasses provided by the Adler Planetarium until they run out. For park locations visit Chicago Park District Eclipse.
Chicago Public Library will host viewing events at several branches. For the one nearest you click CPL Events.
Evanston Public Library, 1703 Orrington Ave., Evanston, will have a viewing party at its main location on Orrington Avenue from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more details visit EPL.
Lake County Forest Preserve District has a solar eclipse viewing party at Ryerson Woods, 21950 N. Riverwoods Rd, Riverwoods, from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.. It’s free and for all ages but adult supervisions required for children.. Viewing will be by indirect projection. Viewer supplies and instruction available. Visit LCFP.
Naper Settlement, 523 S. Webster St., Naperville is having a viewing picnic from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.. Naperville residents and members free. General admission is $5. Bring lunch. Limited space so first come basis. Viewing glasses are complementary. More information at NaperSettlement.
Park District of Oak Park and Oak Park Public Library will host a viewing party at Scoville Park, 800 Lake St., Oak Park. They will have some solar glasses and instruction on pinhole viewers. If conditions dictate the event will be at the library. For more information visit PDOP.
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.
Go to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a really unusual night time path walk, this weekend or go next weekend to see the Model Railroad Garden turn ghostly for its seasonal farewell.
Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns
For a different Halloween experience you can still snag a ticket to the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Jack-o’-Lantern celebration. That is if you and your kids don’t mind going late. Tickets still available tonight, Oct. 22, from 10 to 11 p.m. and Sunday Oct. 23 from 9:30 to 11 p.m.
More than a thousand pumpkins, all hand-carved as Chicago places, Halloween characters and garden “oh, ohs” (think Willis tower, Dracula and Venus flytrap) plus Day of the Dead-style artwork, will line a festival path. The path also passes Halloween dressed characters and goes through the Model Railroad garden where there are ghostly trains. Goodies can be bought on the Esplanade before taking the path. More food is available at the Fruit and Vegetable Garden.
Best plan is to buy tickets online ahead of time and bring the confirmation with you. The website says “sold out” but a call to the garden revealed that some tickets were still available at this printing. But tickets may be purchased at the Garden’s Information desk if still available.
Tickets are $14 adult members, $16 nonmembers, children ages three to 12 are $12 and $14, free to children age 2 and under. Parking is free to members. Nonmember parking can be bought in advance. Visit Night for 1000 Jack-o’-Lantern for more info.
Trains, Tricks and Treats
Or celebrate Halloween at the Botanic Garden next weekend, Oct. 29-30. The event marks the last chance to visit the Model Railroad Garden this year. Expect more than the usual trains. It will be decked out with spider webs, ghosts and goblins. Look for tiny trick-or-treaters and even bats in the scenery. Families can dress for trick or treat and find treats and treasures along the way.
Adults $ 6, seniors $5, children 3–12 yrs $4 age 2 and under, free. Members get $1 discount. For other information visit Trains. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG
Drive into the Chicago botanic Garden on Lake Cook Road in Glencoe but instead of trying to park in the lot closest to the Information entrance, turn left into Lot 6. That’s because the Garden, a 385-acre fun destination any time of year, has a new attraction worth exploring as of Sept. 10, 2016.
Its new, three-plus acre area bears the lofty title of Regenstein Learning Campus, however, the grounds are a place to play and explore.
Youngsters roll down grassy mounds, wriggle through tree trunk tunnels and splash along a shallow, winding rivulet in the Nature Play Garden reminiscent of TV’s “Teletubby” landscape.
Other connected outside areas can be visited but are used for pre-school and older activities and for aquatic learning. Inside the Learning Campus building are preschool spaces, a room outfitted with microscopes and a kitchen for food demonstrations.
This is where some of the family drop-in activities will happen Saturdays and Sundays Sept. 17 through Oct. 23, 2016 and probably the family weekend classes that make gingerbread and coca in December.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, IL 60022. For parking and other information call (847) 835-5440 and visit CBG.
Take advantage of that extra day off work for a last-minute vacation.
Take advantage of that extra day off work for a last-minute vacation.
Door County, a Wisconsin peninsula separating Green Bay from Lake Michigan, is about 3 ½ hours north of Chicago. This is a place to just kick back, hike and bike the state parks and visit art galleries.
However, for a special treat, try to snag a ticket to “Grand Eloquence,” the peninsula’s last classical chamber concert of the summer season, Sept. 2 at 3 p.m. and plan to return home late Monday afternoon.
The concert is a repeat of one that sold out early in the series that is held in a fabulous, Gatsby-style, 35,000 square foot Ellison Bay estate. The program is Gustav Mahler’s Quartet Movement in A minor for Violin, Viola, Cello, and Piano.
A dressy casual (no shorts or flip flops) event, catered by Alexander’s of Door County, the concert benefits United Way of Door County and Midsummer’s Music Festival. Tickets are $150. For more information call 920-854-7088 and visit Midsummer Music.
Or, for summer’s waning days, plan trips to the northern suburbs of Chicago.
Fit in a visit to Long Grove. A historic village, settled in the mid-1800s, the town is home to such tasty shops as Long Grove Confectionery. However, it also has stores that carry wares from Italy, Ireland and other countries. Labor Day weekend features “Long Grove Around the World” to celebrate those shops.
At Ravinia, hear violinist Johnny Gandelsman play selections by Bach, Stravinsky, Glass and Biber Sept. 1 or pianist David Fung play Ravel, Scarlatti, Rachmaninoff Beethoven Sept. 2. Both concerts are 6 p.m. in Bennett Gordon Hall. Dinner packages are available. For tickets and more information visit Ravinia.
April and May are fine times to make Chicago a vacation destination. Paths along Lake
Michigan are not yet crammed with beach-goers. The Magnificent Mile of North Michigan Avenue isn’t jammed with shoppers and lookers. The theater and symphony seasons are still in full swing. Museums don’t have lines out the door.
And about a half hour drive north, colorful blossoms line the Chicago Botanic Garden entrance, paths and surprise visitors around every corner.
As a convention city, Chicago is blessed with more than 100,000 hotel rooms so finding one that meets budget, style and location specifications is usually easy.
Hotels with special stay and play packages usually list their current deals at
Parking in Chicago is pricy so look for a package that includes parking.
A recent check of hotel deals listed W Chicago Lakeshore which is convenient to Navy Pier, the Amalfi Hotel which is convenient to North Michigan Avenue shopping and the Hyatt Regency which is near Millennium Park.
What to do:
Check the Chicago Symphony Orchestra schedule. Symphony Center is across Michigan Avenue from Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.
See “Kings, Queens and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France” at the Art Institute of Chicago through May 30, 2011.
The exhibit ends with a work by Leonardo da Vinci and his studio.
While there, be sure to explore the galleries either side of the special exhibit’s Regenstein hallways to see fine Whistlers and works of other famed artists.
Also take the elevator from the modern wing upstairs to the rooftop patio. Visitors can snap a great view of Millennium Park and the skyhline even if they aren’t eating in the adjacent restaurant.
Go over to the Merchandise Mart on the Chicago River, a few blocks west of Michigan Avenue. The main floor has showrooms open to the public with great home decorating ideas. If at the Mart April 29 through May 2 see Art Chicago, an international fair that showcases contemporary and modern works.
Take a Chicago River Architectural Tour. Spring is the start of the boat tour season and Chicago is known as an architectural destination. Several organizations and companies offer good tours.
Drive north to Glencoe on I94 to Lake Cook Road and turn east for half a mile to the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Spring is a fun time to explore its paths. Just about every turn uncovers another bulb opening or another plot of color. Take paths through the Japanese Islands and other islands to watch birds returning north and see trees beginning to bloom.
Stop in the Circle Garden to see colorful foxglove set against artistic fountain sprays and see what’s blooming in the English Garden and in the vegetable gardens.
Even though the weather is fine for walking outdoors, save time to visit the greenhouses to see cute topiaries and find out what is blooming indoors.