Chicago Indoor Sports' full-size field has enough turf to make a cow's spots turn green with envy. But that same animal would be disappointed if it took a bite. The surface is actually a carefully designed, imitation grass made of millions of tiny rubber pallets and a crushed stone base, which helps absorb shock. That last feature is key, since the indoor play area supports crowds of running athletes during competitive or casual games of soccer, lacrosse, field hockey, and ultimate frisbee. The field is also home its own youth and adult soccer leagues, such as Liga Latino Americana.
Throughout many of their services, Chicago Indoor Sports places special emphasis on children. During their SoccerTots and SoccerTouch programs, instructors use soccer as a way to build motor skills and encourage mental development. Meanwhile, an arcade and three giant inflatables give kids a break from sports.
It's no secret that street food requires lots of creativity: not only are people working in smaller spaces without the furnishings of a full kitchen, but they're hoping their food will stand out amid Chicago's many food trucks and street vendors. StreetFood Artistry celebrates their creativity, inviting hundreds of mobile food artisans to show off their culinary treasures in one convenient space. In that same spirit, the culturally conscious affair also gives visibility to local artists—whose work will be on display—and musicians, including DJ Alvin Black III, who will perform throughout the day. General admission include non-alcoholic beverages and access to the entertainment.
But StreetFood Artistry is more than just one annual event. The not-for-profit corporation was founded by Patrice N. Perkins, an attorney who works with creative-minded entrepreneurs. This year, she's introducing Stand Out Creative, an initiative that will help support one of SFA's participants: one participant will win a financial award to help grow their brand and will be set up with 50 hours of pro bono legal services. The winners will be chosen in part by fan-favorite votes at the event.
Located within the Bridgeport Art Center, Wet Paint Chicago offers instructional art classes in a social setting. In the evenings, BYOB art classes invite adults to congregate, paint, sip on beverages, and mingle as they equip themselves with provided brushes, aprons, and materials. Meanwhile, afternoon classes invite students of all ages to paint in family-friendly sessions.
Chicago Boxing Club enhances strength, endurance, and self-control through invigorating boxing, wrestling, muay thai, and jujitsu classes led by professional instructors. More than 3,000 square feet of training space houses all the necessary equipment to complete full-body workouts, and professional trainers work to instill proper training techniques in students or bitter discarded teddy bears. Cardio machines and weights surround the facility's two championship boxing rings, where students hone speed and self-defense methods in boxing classes or tactical leverage maneuvers in jujitsu classes. Muay thai classes fine-tune flexibility and balance with fast, high-kicking techniques, and youth boxing classes keep kids in shape during off-seasons from writing symphonies or defeating chess robots.
Now in its fifth year, the Lincoln Park Arts & Music Festival has become a celebration of art both homegrown and on loan from the rest of country. As you stroll around the fest, handcrafted items from more than 80 area artists vie for attention, with many up for accolades later in a juried art competition. The festivities run from noon to 10 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, and each day the main stage features a diverse lineup of live music from Chicago and throughout the country. The schedule includes The Giving Tree, an Americana rock band that has opened for The Avett Brothers, and former Barenaked Ladies frontman Steven Page.
It might be called the Windy City RibFest, but the bosses of sauce who tend to the festival's barbecue come from all over the world. For five years running, these award-winning ribbers have been filling fest-goers with sauce-slathered ribs, frothy brews, and traditional sides, such as baked beans, coleslaw, and another helping of ribs. Tucked between the Aragon Ballroom, the Riviera, and the Green Mill, this year's RibFest welcomes local luminaries such as grillmaster Tom Ferguson, whose Chicago BBQ Company is a perennial favorite at the fest. Out-of-towners are also well-represented. Joey Sutphen of Texas Thunder BBQ whips up batches of his family's nationally known ribs, and Paul MacKay from Aussom Aussie Australian BBQ shares the piquant flavors of his native Sydney. As chefs from Porky Chick's and Famous Daves sizzle up their trademark slabs, local bands such as the funked out vocalists of Suénalo, the Top 40 cover band Hello Weekend, and Dave Matthews–mimickers Trippin' Billies keep crowds sufficiently entertained.
Groupon Guide rounded up some of the best barbecue joints in the country. See who made the cut.