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  • The Northwest Passage Chicago
    Even from a distance, you can make out the dark pockets in the sandstone cliffs next to the seaside village of Matala on Crete?s southern shore. The cliff is riddled with ancient caves, some of which are large enough to shelter sleeping nooks. Nowadays, these caves are famous for being the 1960s refuge of wandering hippies such as Joni Mitchell, who sang about "scratchy rock and roll beneath the Matala moon" in her song "Carey." Rick Sweitzer, the executive director of the adventure-tours company The Northwest Passage, fell in love with Crete during the same era as Mitchell and began designing tours to share the island's splendors. An eight-day kayaking trip explores Matala Bay and other hidden treasures along the Cretan coast. After five to six hours of paddling per day?which always includes a cappuccino break?you?ll feast on Greek specialties such as moussaka, beef stew, and stuffed grape leaves before settling into a cozy, family-run inn. Days 1?2: After catching your own flight to Heraklion International Airport on Crete's northern coast, look for a sign labeled "NWP" to meet up with staff. The trip starts with a tour of the nearby Palace of Knossos, an ancient Minoan palace that predates the Trojan War. Afterward, head on to Matala, where guides outfit you with a paddle, a life vest, and a spray skirt for basic sea-kayaking lessons in Matala Bay. Days 3?6: Each day, the group of 6?17 kayakers paddles between seaside inns and small restaurants known as tavernas, leaving plenty of free time for swimming and sunbathing. You?ll visit historic sites along the way, including Minoan ruins and Agios Pavlos, an 11th-century Byzantine chapel where St. Paul is said to have shipwrecked. Head inland to hike the Samari? Gorge, a national park filled with rare kri-kri goats. Other stops includes the coastal town of Chora Sfakia and an optional trek on the E4 European Long Distance trail, which runs west all the way to Spain.Days 7?8: The trip winds down in Loutro, a cluster of whitewashed houses accessible only via sea. On the final evening, guides will lead a sunset hike to the ruins of a Venetian fortress on top of a nearby ridge. The next morning, hop on a shuttle or hitch a lift with a passing dolphin back to Heraklion. If time allows, you can pop into the city's archeological museum before boarding your plane ride home.See the full itinerary for more information.Read the Fine Print for important info on travel dates and other restrictions.
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    1130 Greenleaf Ave.
    Wilmette, IL US
  • Fear City Chicago
    Though the haunted alleys, crumbling subway tunnels, and blood-stained storefronts of Fear City are creepy enough, they aren't the reason why visitors tend to leave screaming. This ghastly municipality has more than 100 citizens?including deranged nurses and blood-covered asylum inmates. These are just some of the scares that await within Fear City's 40,000-square-foot sprawl. The indoor attraction consistently places on hauntedhousechicago.com's top 13 rankings, and the city's always looking for new recruits: visitors are encouraged to dress up, join the madness, and take home whichever crazed clown they think would make a good roommate. Curious about what else might lie in store? Click here to see videos that delve deeper into the city's secrets. Groupon Guide A Haunted House Actor Explains the Scares A Fear City "fright actor" talks the art of haunted-house acting and the psychology of scares.
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    8240 N Austin Ave.
    Morton Grove, IL US
  • Lincoln Park Athletic Club
    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.
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    1019 W. Diversey Parkway
    Chicago, IL US
  • John Hancock Observatory
    If 360 CHICAGO?the John Hancock observation deck?had a baseball card, the stats on the back would be pretty impressive: it's perched 1,000 feet above the Magnificent Mile on the 94th floor, and on clear days, visibility stretches up to 50 miles. With the Magnificent Mile bustling below and Lake Michigan sprawling endlessly nearby, the popular attraction provides some of the best views in the country according to Travel and Leisure magazine. But stunning vistas and the chance to witness the change on the lake when its freezing aren't the only reasons to visit. In 2014, 360 Chicago opened TILT, an attraction that brings brave guests face to face with a moving set of windows that angle 30 degrees downward for a spine-tingling glimpse of the streets below. Plus, interactive multimedia stations in seven languages share loads of information about the city and its architecture.
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    875 N Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL US
  • Amazing Chicago's Funhouse Maze
    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.
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    600 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL US
  • Men’s Health URBANATHLON
    Chicago, New York, and San Francisco—three of the biggest cities in the United States are the only cities fit for the sprawling brawl of the Men’s Health Urbanathlon. Like a sightseeing tour where heavy breathing is apropos, the Urbanathlon charters more than 10 miles of each city's terrain, embarking from landmarks such as Chicago's Soldier Field, New York's Citi Field, and San Francisco's AT&T Park. From there, dry bibs become perspiration sponges as contestants vie for the finish line. Along the way, a series of daunting obstacles—such as police and tire barricades, monkey bars, hurdles, and stair climbs—test racers' mettle, before a finish-line blowout sends them hurdling taxi cabs and scaling city buses. Deservedly exhausted contestants are then treated to a post-race party full of refreshing drinks and grub from local food trucks, DJs spinning dance music for wobbly legs, and free gifts from Men's Health's stable of sponsors.
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    1410 S. Museum Campus Dr.
    Chicago, IL US

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