Running in Illinois

Select Local Merchants

The Chicago Academy of Sciences created a library and collection of flora and fauna specimens that burnt in the Great Chicago Fire in 1871, just 14 years after its inception. By 1894, the academy had regrouped and rebuilt its collection in Lincoln Park, where it stood for more than 100 years. In 1999, the academy turned it into the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, a family-friendly museum filled with exhibits that let visitors explore the flora, fauna, and ecology of the Great Lakes region.

The 6.35-acre campus hosts more than 15,000 plants, 13,000 birds, and 22,000 amphibians and reptiles in its specimen collections. As visitors walk through Popular attractions include the Judy Istock Butterfly Haven, where visitors can stand in a swirl of 1,000 exotic butterflies, and Mysteries of the Marsh and the Istock Family Look-in Lab, which feature dozens of living creatures, such as turtles, snakes, and giant bugs. The two-story Extreme Green House offers a hands-on look at the materials and technologies that surround us.

In addition to educating the public, the museum is a local leader in wildlife conservation. It's nestled in acres of restored prairie, where visitors can spot migratory birds and other native critters and plants. Outdoor exhibits include 17,000 square feet of green roofs, a restored-prairie nature trail, and a rooftop birdwalk.

2430 N Cannon Dr
Chicago,
IL
US

The Smart Race's formula is simple: the challenge of a scavenger hunt plus the thrill of a competition equals one fun day of citywide adventuring. Teams of two download the race's iPhone app, then head to one of the starting areas revealed on the day of the event. The app also marks the finish line with a red pin—the only question is how to get there. To navigate, participants puzzle over a series of knotty riddles, each pointing to a location in the city. They mark their maps with pins at each of the decoded spots, planning out their route before setting off on foot or by public transit. At each stop, an app-enabled challenge asks teams to perform such tasks as searching out hidden spots by compass or chase an invisible rabbit by onscreen radar. After completing every challenge, racers head to the finish line, located at a bar stocked with beverages and outlets to recharge both phones and users.

451 Newport Drive
Naperville,
IL
US

Whose Line Is It Anyway? stars Colin Mochrie and Brad Sherwood tickle ribs in an evening of improvised comedy. Starting with suggestions form the audience, Mochrie and Sherwood fashion witty sketches that free guffaws from bellies and remind sad clowns what they've given up for their craft. Interactivity spices up the evening, with the comedic pair calling audience members to the stage to assist in chuckle-making scenes. The Hemmens Cultural Center ensconces guests in main-floor seats guaranteed to be within 100 feet of the stage, affording straight sightlines to onstage action and comfortable distance from the occasional gargoyle infestations of the balcony.

150 Dexter Ct
Elgin,
IL
US

Cosmic Run provides a multisensory experience that pushes the limits of participants' imaginations with a mind-bending journey through a setting flush with dance music and fluorescent pops of color. As you run, witness futuristic, animated lighting effects before dancing the night away as world-famous DJs spin. During the festivities, you become a part of the cosmic canvas as glowing lights fill the space and the crowd takes on their otherworldly bright hues.

3501 S Laramie Ave
Cicero,
IL
US

The finish line is a blur of color. Every runner and walker that arrives at Active Care ColorBlast 5K's end point looks like he or she just escaped in slow motion from an exploding chalk factory. In addition to sporting this prismatic new fashion statement, they all seem to have smiles on their faces. That's because the event is more of a celebration than a competition?getting as much color as you can takes precedent over getting the best time you can. In fact, lingering at key points along the 5k route is encouraged. It's at these locations, named color stations, that volunteers toss colored powder?which is made from completely natural and biodegradable food-grade cornstarch?towards the participants, turning their white t-shirts into something akin to tie-die.

More hues wait at the finish line, where group color throws begin immediately after the race's end. As the vibrant cloud rises above the crowd, it announces a collective victory, not just for each participant but the community as a whole. 100% of proceeds from each Color Blast 5k benefits Clearbrook's programs and services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Annually, the charity supports more than 6,000 individuals as well as their families in 13 counties, in over 160 communities and 50 locations throughout Chicago and the suburbs.

500 E Miner St.
Arlington Heights,
IL
US

Coaching at every level of the workout world, CrossFit Shoreside owner Michelle Larson and coach Will Howard share more than two decades of motivational fitness experience. They devoted more than 10 of those years to mastering CrossFit-specific instruction, know-how that they now puts to use with the help of their talented team of fellow instructors. At a studio nestled amid the shops and restaurants of downtown Evanston, the team leads intense 60-minute sessions built on exercises designed to increase functional mobility and flexibility. Although the experience is always challenging, it's also for everyone; thanks to the classes' small size, coaches can scale and modify the workouts to integrate students of all ages and ability levels. The gym even offers CrossFit classes for kids, where age-appropriate exercises encourage healthy habits at a young age, teaching students the benefits of an active lifestyle.

1703 Darrow Ave Unit 2
Evanston,
IL
US

Illinois Scene