Built in 1925, the newly refurbished and richly historic LaGrange Theatre has shown captivating entertainment on both the stage and the screen. Upcoming features include The Social Network, a Facebook biopic, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1, the latest installment of the popular wizard series. Walk past the theater's signature marquee and renovated murals, then relax with a snack from the concession stand, such as buttery popcorn, an ice-cold soda, or a seared ginger duck breast with peach-chili aioli personally served by a tuxedoed Martin Scorsese.
The Southside Polish Fest is said to be the largest of its kind in the country, an honor it has earned by attracting not just the local Polish community, but by welcoming Chicagoans of all ethnicities. Whether familiar with the culture or not, revelers can immerse themselves in it by sampling traditional foods and beers and by taking in the live performances scheduled to fill all three days of the festival. This entertainment includes polka bands, Polish musicians, traditional dancers, the unceasing movement of the sun, and even a pierogi-eating contest. Kids will be drawn to the 25 carnival rides, which riders can enjoy by purchasing wristbands good for either 4-hour blocks or all three days of the festival.
Watching a movie should be a magical experience, one that transports the mind to places it wouldn't otherwise go. Nothing undercuts that faster than traipsing down a sticky aisle to squeeze into a creaky seat and watch a movie where some guy just staples paper for an hour. The experience couldn't be more opposite at Hollywood Blvd. and Hollywood Palms Cinemas, where people might start an action-packed new release or cult classic by meeting the film's stars. Fans of the theater have written tons of appreciative letters, recalling their experiences hobnobbing with Tippi Hedren before a showing of The Birds, or seeing a cast reunion of Back to the Future, which one mega-fan wrote was "one of the best experiences of [their] life."
But it's not just these meet-and-greets that elevate the experience at Hollywood's theaters. Instead of cramped row seating, there are high-backed swivel chairs encircling tables, and instead of concession stands, there're servers ferrying food and beverages to tables throughout the show. The extensive menu is mostly upscale casual dishes, including the Whoopi Goldburger with Angus beef, bacon, and barbecue sauce. From the bar, guests can order Rat Pack–inspired martinis, craft beers, or specialty cocktails such as the Tequila Mockingbird margarita with raspberry liqueur.
At each location, the architecture and decor rivals that of a film set. The lobby at Hollywood Blvd. is a replica of Grauman's Chinese Theater, and at Hollywood Palms, individual screening rooms pay homage to Marilyn Monroe and The Wizard of Oz. Not surprisingly, the Hollywood Blvd. theater has an on-site museum with real movie artifacts, including costumes worn by the Munchkins, whom the theater successfully petitioned to receive their own star on the Walk of Fame.
Beneath the historic Tivoli Theatre lies Tivoli Bowling Center, an underground playground with a dedicated staff and 12 family-friendly lanes with automatic scoring. At the base of an inconspicuous staircase, slick wooden surfaces greet multicolored balls as they careen toward unsuspecting pins. During "glow bowling" sessions, lights go down and music cranks up, lending lanes a luminescent ambiance. Along with adult and youth leagues, open gutters and protective bumpers accommodate different age and skill groups. While waiting for turns, bowlers can hit the lounge area, where 50-inch televisions assist relaxation along with comfortable, theater-style seating. Pinball, arcade games, and pool round out afternoon retreats to downtown Downers Grove.