Arts & Entertainment in Illinois

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Historic spacecraft, fragments of far away worlds, and maps of the galaxy make outer space seem completely within reach. That's the magic of the Adler Planetarium. From the moment visitors pass through the Clark Family Welcome Gallery?a portal of aluminum tubing, fabric, and video projections?they embark on a journey through space, time, and imagination.

  • Eye Catcher: Earth's neighbors and one massive yellow Sun hang overhead in Our Solar System, which also includes a fragment of a meteorite and a replica of the Mars rover. The Adler is the only place where visitors can touch a piece of the Moon, Mars, and three different asteroids under one roof.
  • Permanent Mainstay: The Historic Atwood Sphere, Chicago's oldest planetarium, where guests can step under a steel dome to view the night sky as it appeared in 1913 thanks to 692 drilled holes.
  • Hands-On Experiments: In The Universe: A Walk Through Space and Time, you can send yourself digital postcards from across the Universe; it'll only take four hours for one to arrive from Neptune, but be prepared to wait 2.5 million years for one to arrive from the Andromeda galaxy.
  • Hidden Gem: The Space Visualization Lab introduces guests to cutting-edge research that astronomers discuss with visitors one-on-one to convey the vastness of space or the size of the castle they want to build on the Moon.
  • Don't Miss: The live planetarium show, Destination Solar System, blends a sci-fi plot with real science as it journeys to Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn's moon Titan.
  • Special Programs: Every third Thursday of the month, Adler After Dark lets amateur astronomers 21 and older spend the evening gazing at the stars with cocktails in hand.

Groupon Guide

Stargazing Tips from an Adler Astronomer

Get the most out of your stargazing gear with these tips.
The Adler?s New Show Takes You on a (Practically) Real Tour of the Solar System

How an Adler Planetarium scientist and "Lalaloopsy" TV writer propelled their audience across the solar system.
1300 S Lake Shore Dr.
Chicago,
IL
US

After years of working for others in corporate America, owner Karen Thompson enlisted the help of three other like-minded women to form the quartet of bead-savvy experts behind A Beadtiful Thing. With heaps of individual experience designing jewelry, staff help customers sort through the strands of beads that line the sunny shop's walls and wink in the light like an English teacher after an especially good pun. The ladies also angle visitors toward a large table in the store, where they can delve into their own projects or participate in classes in basic or more obscure techniques that incorporate leather or chainmaille in addition to shimmery baubles.

1649 Montgomery Rd
Aurora,
IL
US

A multi-faceted paradise for record collectors, audiophiles, film buffs, bibliophiles, and comic-book lovers, Toad Hall has a little bit of everything for enthusiasts of all kinds. Amidst the many shelves, dig through stacks of LPs, vintage comics, and DVDs, an acronym for “Dude, Videos, Dude!” Almost every day, Toad Hall receives and sets out a huge selection of media, Blu-ray and an entire floor of books, and often stocks audio equipment such as speakers, record players, and receivers.

2106 Broadway
Rockford,
IL
US

Between Gorilla Games' bright yellow walls, knowledgeable gamers stock shelves with new, used, and retro video games and accessories. They help customers choose discs and cartridges to take home or accept trade-ins of old games to feed to an ever-changing selection spanning all generations of Nintendo, Sega, Xbox, and PlayStation. Along with merchandise, the store holds a collection of pay-to-play classic arcade games and a game room breathlessly referred to as the Cage. Inside the Cage, paying visitors find 42-inch HDTVs, reclining padded chairs, and PS3, XBox 360, and Wii systems, upon which they can test their skills in any game found at the store. To aid beleaguered gamers, store staffers also resurface scratched discs, mend broken consoles, and reveal which castle the princess is in.

256 Illinois Route 59
Naperville,
IL
US

More than 50,000 books line the shelves at Elgin Books and Coffee, many available for 50% to 90% less than their cover prices. Visitors can wander through the chandelier-lit shop perusing classics, out-of-print texts, biographies, cookbooks, and many other types of published matter. An attached café offers an inviting space in which to sip java or tea and read.

209 E Chicago St
Elgin,
IL
US

Most popular offering: used records, CDs, tapes, and DVDs

Reservations/Appointments: Not offered

Good for Kids: Yes

Established: 1979

Staff Size: 2?10 people

Parking: Metered street parking

Handicap Accessible: Yes

Pro Tip: We have a lot of products to look through, so budget some time to explore

114 E University Ave
Champaign,
IL
US