Chicago's flat terrain may be ideal for runners, but it can leave rock climbers in the lurch. Enter First Ascent Climbing, an indoor climbing gym with two locations in the Windy City. Though the two spaces—decked in bold, geometric patterns and a vibrant array of grips and footholds—have distinctly different offerings, they share the common goal of providing climbers a reprieve from their prairie-land surroundings.
The larger of the two, the Avondale location, boasts a full climbing wall with sustained overhangs, roofs, slabs, and cracks up to 60 feet tall. Here, a team of experienced climbers teaches guests to belay with a top rope and read routes while building footwork skills and balance. Meanwhile, the Uptown location, with its cavelike confines, focuses solely on bouldering, a more powerful style of climbing on shorter structures. Bouldering classes offered here arm students with the skills to navigate caves and overhangs. Both spaces provide unique—nay, seemingly impossible—challenges for even the most experienced climbers or bored geckos with grips on the ceiling. To keep climbers in top physical form, both locations also offer yoga and fitness classes.
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.
A Haunted House Actor Explains the Scares
A Fear City "fright actor" talks the art of haunted-house acting and the psychology of scares.
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.
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.
There are 11 challenges that stand between you and the finish line at Tandem Obstacle Race. Before gaining victory, competitors must scale walls up to 11 feet high, traverse wobbly platforms, and conquer one final challenge that won't even be revealed until the day of the event. You might think of them as daunting tasks, but luckily Tandem Obstacle Race doesn't expect anyone to go it alone. As a rule, the race requires each man or woman have a partner—someone who can carry them over a pit of water or hold a spinning log steady while the other person crosses.
To accommodate everyone, the race splits into three difficulty levels: Challenge (hard), Fierce (harder), and Legend (hardest). Spectators may also attend for free, and they have a clear view of each of the obstacles.
Premium Luxury Rentals doesn't simply provide customers with the keys to exotic cars and jet . The staff gives people the opportunity to briefly escape from everyday routines and experience an entirely different sort of lifestyle. In addition to letting patrons slide behind the wheel of a Mercedes or Bentley, Premium Luxury Rentals also gives guests the opportunity to call a condo home until the building turns back into a pumpkin at midnight. Likewise, helicopter rides and chauffeured trips around the city allow passengers to sit back and enjoy an elegant outing. The selection of activities changes depending on the season: jet-ski rentals and rock-climbing trips are available during the summer; and ski trips and snowball-packing workshops are offered each winter.