Sunday, February 3, 2013

February’s Finest Offerings

There might be snow on the ground today in front of the Millennium Knickerbocker but according to “Punxsutawney Phil” Spring is right around the corner!! We here in Chicago take Phil’s predictions quite seriously as we love our winters but there is nothing better than springtime in the city.

Luckily, there are many events happening that will make the time pass quickly.

The 2013 Chicago Auto Show runs from Saturday, February 9 – Monday, February18 at McCormick Place (2301 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, Illinois, 60616). This is the largest auto show in North America and one of the most popular attractions of the year. Hours of operation are the same from February 9-17: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m., however on the last day (Feb 18) the will close a little bit earlier: 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased directly at McCormick Place or online: and prices are as follows: $12 for adults, $6 for seniors aged 62 and older, $6 for children 7-12, free admission for children 6 and younger when they accompany a paying adult (family members only).

From February 13-15, there is a way to receive a discount on the ticket price by being charitable; bring three cans of food to the Chicago Auto Show to receive a coupon for $6 admission. All food will be donated to A Safe Haven which helps the homeless in Chicago get back on their feet. Thank you in advance for helping out the less fortunate!!

There are special events for visitors to enjoy each day/night so make sure to check out the schedule:

On Sunday, February 17th there will be college hockey games (2 to be exact) being played at historic Soldier Field for the first time. Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish will be facing off against the Miami Redhawks at Noon and then the Minnesota Golden Gophers take the ice against the Wisconsin Badgers at 3:30PM. Tickets are valid for both games and may be purchased at, by calling 1-800-745-3000 or at Ticketmaster outlets.

If you want to get out of the cold and embrace some culture, head over to the Art Institute of Chicago (111 South Michigan Ave., Chicago, Il 60603). A new exhibit - Picasso and Chicago is opening on Wednesday, February 20 and runs through Sunday, May 12. This is a very big deal for the AI as the exhibit is going to showcase a large collection of his paintings, sculpture, prints and drawings, something they have not done in over 30 years! These priceless pieces are part of the museums collection but the AI has also been able to acquire pieces from other collections throughout Chicago. This is an event not to be missed!

As we have made it through the post holiday blues that go hand in hand with January, enjoy your time exploring Chicago in February. There are so many options for those staying at the Millennium Knickerbocker, please take advantage of your concierge team to make the most of your visit!!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Turkey Time

In the month of November we celebrate Veterans Day and we at the Millennium Knickerbocker THANK all past, present, and future men and women serving in the military.

The holidays are quickly approaching but the official start in Chicago is on Saturday, November 17th. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival & Parade starts at 5:30PM on Michigan Avenue. Mickey and Minnie Mouse “turn on” over a million lights up and down the Magnificent Mile and the highlight of the parade is that Santa comes into town for a special surprise appearance!

On Sunday, November 18th bring the family to Millennium Park for a day of outdoor ice skating. There is no charge to skate if everybody has their own equipment; otherwise skate rental is $10 per person. The rink is open every day through March 11, 2013.

Bring the family to Daley Plaza (located at Washington & Dearborn) on Tuesday, November 20th for the annual Christmas tree lighting ceremony which is at 5PM. The kids will be able to visit Santa and tour his house from 11AM - 8PM every Friday, Saturday and Sunday starting November 23rd and running through December 16th. Jolly Old St. Nick takes some extra time out of his busy schedule December 17th - December 23rd to say hello to the good girls and boys and take last minute gift requests each day from 11AM - 8PM. He will even be in Chicago on Christmas Eve from 11AM - 4PM. The other exciting event that happens in Daley Plaza on the same night and runs through December 24th is the Christkindlmarket Festival. There are all types of gifts (ornaments, cuckoo clocks, jewelry, beer steins, etc) and multiple food options from all over Europe. Hot spiced wine for mom and dad is a welcome treat on a cold night, there is also hot chocolate for the kids. If you bring your appetites, there are potato pancakes, brats and various sausages, as well as a house filled with all types of European treats and candies.

On Thanksgiving Day join almost a half of a million people to celebrate the McDonald’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. The parade starts at 8AM on State Street and runs from Congress to Randolph. Do not forget to call NiX Restaurant at the Millennium Knickerbocker to make your Thanksgiving dinner reservations with chef Hagop Hagoplan (312-867-7575).

If you are motivated to help out the less fortunate, join more that 5,000 runners in Lincoln Park on Thanksgiving morning. The 2012 Life Time Turkey Day 5K will take place in Lincoln Park and benefits the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Start time is at 9AM. Please be sure to bring two cans of food on the day of the race (feel free to bring more, the extra donations will be happily accepted). Make sure to register in advance for the race:

If you are in town on Sunday, November 25th, drop by the Concierge Desk at the Millennium Knickerbocker and pick up some tickets to the Chicago Bears (8 wins, 2 losses) vs. Minnesota Vikings (6 wins, 4 losses). Kickoff time is at Noon at historic Soldier Field.

Best wishes to you and yours for a Happy Thanksgiving and during the 2012 Holiday Season!!

Friday, October 12, 2012

 Halloween Lions and Tigers and BEARS Football, Oh my!


We made it through another summer and boy this one was HOT, fall has finally arrived and the crisp, cool air is here. October is always a great month for sports, although our Chicago Cubs and Chicago White Sox did not make it to the post season this year. Sigh...

However, when visiting Chicago in the fall that also means football and who else is there to see but our beloved Monsters of the Midway -- the Chicago Bears!  They just came off of a big win against the Jacksonville Jaguars with a 41-3 trouncing! They get next weekend off as a “bye” week but will be in town on 10/22 to play the Detroit Tigers at Soldier Field for Monday Night Football; game time is 7:30PM. They are also in town the following week on 10/28 to play the Carolina Panthers at Noon.

For tickets, you can check with your Knickerbocker Concierge team or buy tickets in advance by clicking on this link:

When one thinks of October some of the first thoughts that come to mind are about Halloween, and it is just a few weeks away. The city is full of family filled events both inside and outside.

From 10AM – 1PM on October 13 and October 14, head over to Lincoln Park Zoo to celebrate the annual Harvest Days festival!  There will be a pumpkin patch for kids, pumpkin decorating, music and crafts. The following weekend (October 20) is the Spooky Zoo Spectacular. The fun starts at 11AM with family entertainment and then from Noon-2PM there is a haunted house and trick-or-treating, so costumes are encouraged.  Do not forget --- Lincoln Park Zoo has no admission fees, ever. Come and enjoy some family friendly events and take advantage of seeing the beautiful animals at the zoo.

If the kids (ages 6-12) are looking for some indoor Halloween activities, the Museum of Science and Industry is hosting the Halloween Snoozeum Sleepover on October 12. The cost is $45 per person and that fee includes overnight admission, activities, a Snoozeum patch, snack and breakfast. Parking is not included. Pre-registration is required, so please call 773-684-0844, ext. 8800.

Daley Plaza turns into Franken Plaza the last week of October. October 26-30 Daley Plaza will feature Midnight Circus (performers, acrobatics), have a showing of the movie Little Shop of Horrors, pumpkin decoration and crafts for children, plus a whole lot more. Here is the full schedule of events:

If running is your choice of exercise, the 13th annual Pumpkins in the Park 5K, located in Lincoln Park (Stockton Drive and LaSalle Drive) is on Saturday, October 27.  The kids race begins at 3PM and the 5K starts at 5PM.  Runners are encouraged to wear costumes and there will be prizes for best original costume, best zombie costume and best dead celebrity costume. There will also be pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating for children and a costume parade. There will be a post-race party with music, beer and food -- literally something for everyone.  Participants must register in advance for this event:

Whether you like sports, shopping or tricks-or-treats, Chicago has a full month of fun for visitors.  The Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago Concierge staff is always available to help make the most of your visit during your stay.  Thank you for choosing the Chicago Millennium Knickerbocker!

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lollapalooza, Air and Water Show, and More!

Summertime in Chicago Brings Lollapalooza, Genghis Kahn and the 54th Annual Chicago Air and Water Show

Summer is here and that means live outdoor music!
The biggest summer music festival of the year happens in Grant Park (Columbus Dr. & Congress Pkwy) from August 3 – August 5 from 11AM-10PM. A one day pass is $95 but kids under the age of 10 are admitted free with a ticket paying adult.
There are over 100 bands and the music genre’s range from rock, hip hop, alternative and punk rock. This year’s biggest headliners are the Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Black Keys, Black Sabbath (hello Ozzy Osbourne!) and Jack White from the White Stripes.
There are plenty of places to eat and drink as the entry policies are quite strict. There is no outside food or drinks allowed (except 2 factory-sealed water bottles, up to 1 liter each). You can bring in items like blankets and binoculars, for a list of the items that are and are not allowed at Lollapalooza go to - for more information.
If you are looking for something a little bit more low key, the Field Museum is featuring the Genghis Kahn exhibit through September 3. The Field Museum is located at: 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr. and is open 9AM-5PM. Adult tickets are $22 for adults and $15 for kids ages 3-11. However, for a few dollars more visitors can purchase an “All-Access Pass” which would give access not only to Genghis Kahn but to Extreme Mammals, The Ernst & Young 3-D Theater, Underground Adventure and all of the museum’s permanent exhibitions (like Sue, the Tyrannosaurus Rex!!).
Cost for the All-Access pass is $29 for adults and $20 for kids 3-11.
An event that can be shared no matter where you are in the city is the 54th Annual Chicago Air & Water Show on August 18 & 19, although the “warm up” show is on Friday, August 17. This is the largest (more than 2 million people) Free air show of its kind in the United States and the best seats in the house are on our very own lakefront. People swarm the beaches from Ohio Street and as far north as Montrose making a day of it as the show runs from 9AM-3PM. The prime viewing areas are from Oak Street to North Avenue but the aircrafts fly for miles around the city.

Feel free to pack a picnic basket, but if you prefer to travel light, there are food vendors from Oak Street to Fullerton. Over the years the weather has cooperated, but has been hot, so bring your chairs, blankets and sunscreen and plan to spend the day being amazed by the sights on land and water.

The show kicks off with the National Anthem while the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights jump out of planes looking like little specs in the sky and then lightly land on North Avenue Beach. Following is a day filled of airborne acrobatics by both civilian (Aeroshell Aerobatic Team and The Firebirds) and military (USAF F-16 Fighting Falcon and T-38 Talon) groups. There are also water maneuvers that include the Chicago Fire Department Air and Sea Rescue Team.

The highlight of the show is the US Navy’s Blue Angels, who roar across the sky and perform breathtaking (and Dangerous) air maneuvers. They buzz many of the cities buildings and you will have an overabundance of fantastic photo opportunities throughout the day!

Whether you spend your time inside or outside, thank you for choosing to stay at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel.

Monday, July 9, 2012

Food and Fireworks in July

Summer is finally here! All of the city beaches are officially open and the heat has brought out the swimmers in full force. There is 26 miles of lakefront and each weekend it is swarmed by walkers, runners, bike riders and roller bladers…and those are just activities on land. There is also sailing, kayaking and paddle boating for those that prefer to play in Lake Michigan. Swimming is permitted and lifeguards are on duty at all beaches from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., unless otherwise posted.

The Fourth of July will be here in a flash, so make sure to head over to watch the fireworks at Navy Pier! They begin at 9 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4 and will be accompanied by patriotic music. If you are not going to be in town over the Fourth, have no fear, there will also be fireworks on Saturday, June 30, and Saturday, July 7, at 10:15PM.

Taste of Chicago 2012

Known as one of the world’s largest food festivals (past totals have topped 3 million visitors), 2012’s Taste of Chicago will take place from July 11-15. Originally running 10 days, the fest has been trimmed to five so make sure to check out some of the tastiest restaurant offerings while in town. You can buy a whole portion of food or a “taste” portion, just enough to wet your whistle. Taste portions allow patrons to try numerous food vendors without spending a lot of money. Tickets for food and drinks can be purchased from booths set up around the festival, there are no admission fees.

Some Chicago favorites such as Eli’s Cheesecake, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria and Original Rainbow Cone will be in attendance!

Each day/night there will be a live concert, this year’s list of performers -- Jennifer Hudson, Chaka Khan, Death Cab for Cutie, and Dierks Bentley. The concerts are free to listen to on the lawn, however there will be reserved seating available for purchase.

The Taste is located in Grant Park and one of the main entrances is right by The Art Institute on Michigan Avenue. Hours are 11AM-9PM each day.

Chicago SummerDance

If you are in the mood to learn some new dance moves, Chicago SummerDance runs every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6PM-9:30PM and Sunday afternoons from 4PM-7 PM (weather permitting), from July 19 through September 16. SummerDance is located at the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, (601 S. Michigan Avenue) and has free admission. No need to be shy if dancing is not your strong suit, be adventurous and try something new; there are introductory one-hour dance lessons taught by professional instructors followed by two hours of live music and dancing.

Wherever your travels in the city take you, enjoy your stay at the Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel Chicago!!!