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Groupon GUIDE TO CHICAGO

Give the Gift of Budget-Friendly Chicago Activities BY: GROUPON EDITORS | 11.12.2015

Eight Chicago activities as gifts that will make your loved ones smile and your bank account sigh in relief.




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A Chicago Itinerary to DIY “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”
Ferris Bueller used everything from a mannequin to a keyboard loaded with recorded coughs to plan his one day of hooky. Dragging his best friend and girlfriend along for the ride, he headed straight for the heart of Chicago in search of the perfect adventure. By most accounts, he succeeded. Ferris drove a Ferrari, caught an elevator to the top of the Sears Tower, studied renowned masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago, and took in a game at Wrigley Field. But his adventure wasn't quite perfect. Without the help of cameras, extras, and fictional locations, not every activity in Ferris’s itinerary stands strong. We’ve taken the liberty of rerouting Ferris Bueller's Day Off to help you explore the city in even more style.
The Top 9 Kids Activities in Chicago
Explore everything from fossils at the Field Museum to pirate cruises on the Tall Ship Windy.
Venue Spotlight: The Metro Thrives in an Ever-Evolving City
Still riding the wave of its 30th anniversary, former Wax Trax! hub and venerated venue the Metro prides itself on the “little moments” in ‘90s rock history.
Beyond the Museum Campus: Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven and the Former Home of Chess Records
Once the primary recording studio of Chess Records, Willie Dixon’s Blues Heaven is a shrine to some of the best and most legendary music ever laid to wax.
Young at Heart in Chicago: A City Guide for Your Inner Child
Bookended by traffic jams or sardine-can L rides, the 9-to-5 workday can take a toll on your inner child. You may have outgrown moon bounces and ball pits, but it’s still important to cut loose once in a while. Until it’s socially acceptable to schedule girls’ night at Chuck E. Cheese’s, these childish Chicago hot spots will have to suffice.
Explore Chicago with These Unique Gifts for Men
On the hunt for gift ideas for guys who have everything? Gift them an experience instead, with our gift guide to Chicago.
Chicago Activities That Make Great Gifts for Women
Chicago activities to gift any woman, whether she’s into looking good, eating well, or doing something unusual.
Pulling Back the Steam Curtain: A First-Timer’s Guide to Wicker Park’s Revamped Russian Bathhouse
Indulge in a relaxing sweat, steam, and soak inside Red Square, a modernized revamp of Wicker Park's century-old Russian and Turkish bathhouse.
A Neighborhood Guide to Chicago's Lincoln Park
Chicago's Lincoln Park neighborhood: more than a menagerie.
Tips for a Memorable Chicago Skydive, According to Science
Why that inevitable burst of adrenaline means skydivers should bring a first date and save the five-course feast till after the jump.
A Tour of Chicago Pubs with a Criminal Past
The founder of Pocket Guide to Hell tours created a self-guided crawl of five bars with craft beers and checkered criminal pasts.
Eight Reasons We Love Edgewater
Chicago's Edgewater neighborhood is filled with historic buildings, delicious eateries, and outdoor fun.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, October 11, to Friday, October 17
On this week’s agenda: Rob Zombie's Great American Nightmare, a behind-the-scenes tour of the Shedd, Chicago Ideas Week, Japanese ghosts at the Art Institute, and a play for the start of hockey season. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, September 20, to Friday, September 26
On this week’s agenda: fall at the Museum of Science and Industry, an all-star hip-hop fest in Union Park, a trip to the '80s with WhirlyBall, Lifeline Theatre Company's Jane Eyre, and the hats of Dr. Seuss. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, September 13, to Friday, September 19
On this week’s agenda: a drag show at Hydrate, Chicago's Bloody Mary Competition, the last of this year's Cubs games, the Goodman Theatre's season opener, and a visit with the Lemonheads. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, September 6, to Friday, September 12
On this week’s agenda: the Renegade Craft Fair, Natalie Merchant, and festivals celebrating wine, wild animals, and wicked German beers. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, August 30, to Friday, September 5
On this week’s agenda: tours on the Tall Ship Windy, vintage shopping at the Randolph Street Market, the debut of Arcade Brewery, Strawdog Theatre Company's season premiere, and Death Cab for Cutie. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, August 23, to Friday, August 29
On this week’s agenda: Star Wars burlesque, a tour of Chicago’s jazz clubs, the music of the Arcade Fire, big art, and a classic Leonard Bernstein musical. Enjoy yourself, and as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, August 16, to Friday, August 22
On this week’s agenda: the Air & Water Show, Strand of Oaks at Schubas, a bus-sized art gallery, the Music Box’s Summer Music Film Festival, and Wizard World’s geek culture summit. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Chicago Improv for Every Night of the Week
As the birthplace of modern improv, Chicago boasts a theater scene teeming with off-the-cuff comedy troupes. Laugh at the best of them with this weeklong itinerary of long-standing local improv shows.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, August 9, to Friday, August 15
On this week’s agenda: the 85th Bud Billiken Parade, Kite Festival at the Chicago Botanic Garden, the moody pop of Hooray for Earth, Magritte at the Art Institute, and every Greek tragedy. Ever. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Ranking Chicago’s Best Neighborhood Parks
The Chicago Park District ranks as the largest municipal park manager in the nation. In this city, you can hardly cast a fishing rod or throw a basketball without hitting a patch of parkland, but we wanted to know which parks truly qualify as the best of the best. So, without daring to leave our air-conditioned office, we asked our supercomputer to dial up the best parks in Chicago based on picnicability, fishability, and other scientific criteria.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, August 2, to Friday, August 8
On this week’s agenda: Fiesta del Sol, a barbecue/craft-beer team-up, the unmistakable Lil Bub, Chicago’s next huge rock band, and a Chicago Public Schools–themed play from Theater Wit. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Five Kid-Friendly Bands That Aren't Kids' Bands at Lollapalooza
Every year, music-festival juggernaut Lollapalooza caters to the parental crowd with Kidzapalooza, a stage dedicated solely to acts appropriate for children. But with no disrespect to School of Rock or the pop-punk whimsy of bands like Play Date, there are plenty of other artists at Lolla that appeal to all ages without being specifically geared toward kids. Here are five of our favorites.
Chicago Comics' Favorite Non-Marvel Superheroes
The Avengers. Captain America. X-Men. The Amazing Spider-Man. Marvel Comics has been dominating the box office with a slew of summer blockbusters in recent years, and the trend continues this Friday, August 1, with the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy.  So, in the name of anyone feeling burned out on Marvel, we asked Eric Thornton, chief executive operating officer of Chicago Comics, to pick his favorite non-Marvel superheroes.
Things to Do in Chicago: Saturday, July 26, to Friday, August 1
On this week’s agenda: the Newberry Book Fair, a winemaking class at City Winery, the first-ever Physical Festival Chicago, and honky-tonk country from yesterday and today. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
The Best of Pitchfork Music Festival 2014
Compared to previous years’ rainstorms and heat waves, 2014’s Pitchfork Music Festival was all sunshine and cool breezes. The idyllic weather helped set the vibe for the 43 performances spread over the three-day event. Here are our highlights of the festival’s best moments (both musical and non-musical):
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of July 21, 2014
On this week’s agenda: Seussical at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the old-school flows of Jurassic 5, laughs with SNL’s Jay Pharoah, and festivals honoring carrots and Wicker Park (in that order). Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Deaf Artist Christine Sun Kim Interacts with Sound on Her Own Terms
On July 15 and 16, artist and TED Fellow Christine Sun Kim will lead two workshops for UIC’s Free Art School. Each will conclude with a public performance at the Chicago Cultural Center, during which participants will have the chance to showcase their workshopped ideas. It’s tempting to label these performances “concerts,” save for one small detail: they involve almost no sound.
Hip-Hop Artist Malik Yusef to Unveil New Poem at The Simple Good’s City of Big Dreams
The people at The Simple Good believe that enacting change in Chicago is, well, simple: art makes people feel better and helps them discover the beauty within themselves. The nonprofit organization adheres to this creed by curating public art projects and youth art programming.
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of July 14, 2014
On this week’s agenda: 20 years of Jazzin’ at the Shedd, the return of the Argyle Night Market, a Pitchfork after party next to the festival itself, the longest annual freshwater sailing race, and the Chicago Craft Beer Festival. Enjoy yourself and, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Which Apes at Lincoln Park Zoo Are Most Likely to Take Over the Planet
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes comes out this weekend, and though the sequel to Rise of the Planet of the Apes—itself a prequel/reboot of the original series—is more rooted in reality than the '60s and '70s films, we still wondered if a global ape revolt could actually happen. So we turned to Steve Ross, director of the Lester E. Fisher Center for the Study and Conservation of Apes at Chicago’s own Lincoln Park Zoo.
Travel Tip Sheet: Devil’s Lake State Park
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Things to Do in Chicago: Week of July 7, 2014
Check out the following reasons we all put up with the Snowpocalypse: a revamped Brigadoon at the Goodman, street festivals celebrating bikes and bouzoukis, the Ed Paschke Art Center, and a neighborhood tour by the comics at Second City. And, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
What’s the Deal with Breakwater Chicago? Yacht-Island Overlord Beau D’Arcy Explains.
Imagine a massive, domed complex that’s part yacht and part island. It sounds like the secret lair of a comic-book supervillain, but it’s actually the not-so-secret dream of a businessman named Beau D’Arcy.
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of June 30, 2014
Rockets are glaring, bombs are bursting, and America’s celebrating yet another birthday. Show the country you know how to party. This week, check out the following: fireworks at Navy Pier, ‘20s-style Hamlet in Oak Park, a house-music picnic, the latest exhibition at the Art Institute, and the indefatigable Maxwell Street Market. And, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Chicago's Best Outdoor Concerts (That Aren't Lolla or Pitchfork)
Not Eminem. Not Beck. And not Weezer. For some people, there’s no ‘90s-era headliner with enough star power to convince them to spend three days baking in the hot Chicago sun—not to mention the hundreds of dollars dropped on tickets, drinks, and festival tees. But Lollapalooza, Pitchfork, and their rapidly growing cousin Riot Fest aren’t the only outdoor-music-makers in town. Put these less-hyped outdoor shows on your concert radar, and make the most out of the city's short-lived summer. And, as always, be sure to check Groupon for even more concerts in Chicago.
24 Hours in Matthiessen State Park
Starved Rock State Park is certainly not starved for attention. Located along the south bank of the Illinois River on State Route 178, the park hosts more than 2 million visitors annually. The same cannot be said for its close neighbor to the south, Matthiessen State Park.
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of June 23, 2014
The summer solstice just ended, and Pride is on the horizon. It’s going to be a busy week. In addition to the parade, check out the following: break dancing and Bach courtesy of Red Bull, a Hitchcock-inspired show at the Annoyance Theatre, Sandra Oh in Death and the Maiden, and a good old-fashioned drive-in movie. And, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Five Tips for the Beginner Rock Climber
Midwesterners who dream of scaling mountains are largely out of luck. Prairies and plains are the region’s predominant geological features, and neither makes for the best rock climbing. But there’s one glaring exception to all that flatness: Wisconsin’s Devil’s Lake State Park, where rocky outcroppings and quartzite cliffs rise hundreds of feet above the glassy waters of Devil’s Lake.
Bike Maintenance Tips from Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles
“I’m not the leading edge of making bicycles,” said Heritage Bicycles owner Mike Salvatore, crossing his arms and shaking his head. “We’re trying to just reproduce what people did in the States, and Chicago specifically, for a really long time. They just created bikes that worked.”
How Do I Lube a Bike Chain?
This article is part of a series featuring bike designer Mike Salvatore and mechanic Ben Fietz of Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles. Consider using these tips during Bike to Work Week, and check Groupon to discover cycling deals in your city.
How Do I Change a Bike Tire?
This article is part of a series featuring bike designer Mike Salvatore and mechanic Ben Fietz of Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles. Consider using these tips during Bike to Work Week, and check Groupon to discover cycling deals in your city.
How Do I Choose a Bike Frame?
This article is part of a series featuring bike designer Mike Salvatore and mechanic Ben Fietz of Chicago’s Heritage Bicycles. Consider using these tips during Bike to Work Week, and check Groupon to discover cycling deals in your city.
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of June 15, 2014
The longest day of the year is on Saturday. How will you spend it? This week: a play based on the works of Terry Pratchett, World Cup viewing parties in Grant Park, and festivals celebrating green living, Thai culture, and the joys of making music. And, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Travel Tip Sheet: Wisconsin's Road America
Some sounds will forever be associated with racecars: the low rumble of an engine, the squeal of tires on asphalt, the gobble of a wild turkey. That last one may seem out of place, but it’s par for the course at Road America, a 4.05-mile, 14-turn race track set amid 640 acres of Wisconsin’s scenic Kettle Moraine.
Five Beach Volleyball Tips from Olympic Gold Medalist Sean Rooney
An Olympic medal gets you in a lot of doors, as Sean Rooney learned in 2008. After his indoor volleyball team took first place in the Beijing Games, Sean got to meet basketball superstar (and fellow Olympic athlete) Dwyane Wade and shake hands with former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley, who gently teased him for being a Cubs fan. But instead of gluing the medal to every shirt he owned, Sean handed it off to his dad as thanks for all his support. “He was pretty proud of it,” Sean remembers. “He might have worn it as a necktie at work for a while.”
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of June 8, 2014
The summer doldrums can strike at any moment. Make fun plans now, just to be safe. This week: the latest take on Henry V from the Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Plucky Rosenthal’s farewell at Gorilla Tango Theatre, street festivals in the West Loop and Old Town, and fantasy improv at ComedySportz. And, as always, check Groupon for even more great things to do in Chicago.
Things to Do in Chicago: Week of June 1, 2014
It’s the first day of the rest of your summer. Make sure your calendar stays full. This week: a concert by Vampire Weekend, an immersive take on Shakespeare at Redmoon, festivals celebrating barbecue and books, and the 50th anniversary of Dr. Strangelove.
Goodman Theatre’s “Ask Aunt Susan” Loves (and Lampoons) the Internet
In Seth Bockley’s biting new satire Ask Aunt Susan, a young man becomes embroiled in a seemingly harmless act of anonymous role-play. Stepping into the shoes of a cheery Internet advice columnist named Susan, he forges connections with lonely and hopeless people across the country. With each click, read, and response, the lure of being Susan grows ever stronger.
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