Darkhouse Entertainment's Murder Mansion, one of the largest haunted houses in the suburban Chicagoland area, scares visitors witless in "Blood Feast," an unsettling tale of cannibalism set in the Victorian era. After skipping the line with their R.I.P. passes, thrill seekers form bonds with other guests during fear-induced embraces as they find their way through the mansion's darkness, fog, strobe lights, banjo duels, and professional special effects to discover where the show's turn-of-the-century restaurant gets its supply of human flesh. The convincing costumes, makeup, imaginative lighting, elaborate sets, blood, and gore create intensely real scenes of violence designed for mature audiences. Hydrophobes and wicked witches may wish to wear raincoats, as the show promises wet surprises. Consult a list of frequently screamed questions to prepare for the bloodbath.
Sprinkled across Chicago from Evanston to the West Loop, the Chicago Athletic Clubs set a modern and user-friendly gym experience in urbane neighborhood settings. The various facilities are equipped with all the required equipment for losing weight, putting on muscle, or building flexibility on cardio equipment, weight machines, and free weights. Group fitness classes such as yoga, spinning, and Zumba fill the schedule, and the several locations with indoor pools host water aerobics and family swim classes. The personal-training staff can also help tailor workouts based on your particular goals and share encouragement with you as you transform from chrysalis to Dwayne Johnson. In addition to the exercise areas, the gyms also sport such amenities as kids' clubs and sauna and steam rooms. Three locations even offer indoor rock-climbing facilities. As beginners and experienced climbers traverse craggy surfaces while protected from the elements, additional challenges crop up on the gym's endurance routes and in the bouldering cave where climbers defy gravity without being strapped in by ropes.
Originally part of architect Daniel Burnham's ambitious "Plan of Chicago" drafted in 1909, Navy Pier was designed to handle both recreational and freight traffic for the burgeoning metropolis. Its role quickly changed when it began serving as a barracks and training facility during two World Wars—it earned its nickname because of the more than 200 planes that littered the lake bottom around the pier, lost during exercises and sunk to intimidate fish with military technology. In the decades that followed, the pier was home to a University of Illinois campus, a convention center, and a venue for citywide festivals before falling into disuse. This ended in 1989, when the state moved to transform the venerable pier into one of Chicago's foremost tourist attractions.
Reopened in 1995, the revamped Navy Pier boasts 50 acres of parks, restaurants, shops, and entertainment, scenically located along Lake Michigan and the mouth of the Chicago River. The pier's most striking denizen is its 150-foot tall ferris wheel, whose glittering lights slowly rotate above the water and frame a beautiful view of the city's skyscrapers for riders. Other attractions include a towering IMAX screen that shows educational films and Hollywood blockbusters, and the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, which treats audiences to bold stagings of the Bard's greatest hits.
Sponsored by Men's Health, the coed Urbanathlon race and festival is a fitting representation of the magazine's "work hard, play hard" mentality. Indeed, the courses are hard work. Whether competitors run the 3- to 5-mile sprint course or the 10- to 11-mile classic course, occasional obstacles, such as monkey bars, stairs, tires, barricades, and stacks of unfinished tax returns, stand in their way. But don't be too intimidated?Urbanathlon has created 4- and 12-week training plans to help participants get in shape for the race.
All the hard work will pay off though, thanks in part to a post-race party with DJ sets, refreshments, and swag from sponsors. Plus, competitors will have the opportunity to donate to the Challenged Athletes Foundation upon registration or with the $15 suggested donation for hair trims at the Paul Mitchell tent.
Brooklyn Boulders is a far cry from a typical rock gym. Though the 25,000-square-foot facility does feature towering rock walls with marked routes and safety harnesses, its capabilities go far beyond climbing pursuits. The unconventional venue is part gym and part collaborative workspace, where community members can come together to share their ideas with other creative individuals. The ultimate goal is to bring fitness, music, culture, business, and the arts together under one roof, allowing entrepreneurs to think of their next big idea and graffiti artists to tag the next big entrepreneur.
Since 1988, the deal-hunters at Dry Clean Super Saver have connected customers with a trustworthy network of dry-cleaning and automotive-repair technicians. Armed with easy-to-use punch cards, clients save huge amounts money on dry cleaning and automotive maintenance, the two costliest household expenses after plumbing repair and poltergeist removal. The association of participating cleaners and garages stretches across the country, ensuring that cardholders can remove stains from a dress shirt or change an oil filter wherever they happen to be.