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Publication: Weekend GetAways
Off To The Windy City

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       WEEKEND GETAWAYS - Friday, September 14, 2007
    Make The Most Of Your Vacation - From Coast to Coast!

Greetings Getaway Lover,

Most of us who live in and around Chicago never really 
get to SEE Chicago. Even though we live so close it 
would be Nice to spend a weekend in the Heart of 
Chicago where all the action is..... 

Don't try to hang a clever moniker on Chicago -- 
America's midwestern metropolis moves too fast to be 
pinned down. What was once considered a gangster's 
paradise has evolved into an eclectic amalgam of 
transcendent architecture, world-class theater, and 
rabid sportsmanship. 

Chicago's image has changed. No longer the "second 
city," the place that three million call home has 
acquired a first-class reputation around the world, 
particularly when it comes to the arts. Carl Sandburg's 
City of the Big Shoulders is now also City of the Big 
Limos on opening nights. 

Happy Trails,


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--DESTINATION: Chicago, Illinois

Exhibitions at the Art Institute of Chicago have drawn 
worldwide acclaim. You could spend days there drinking 
in the Impressionist paintings alone, then be happily 
transported into the 21st century by works at the bold 
Museum of Contemporary Art, which overlooks Lake 

Gutsy Steppenwolf Theater productions, from True West 
to The Libertine, have jolted critics on both coasts. 
The city's scores of other theaters, including the 
Victory Gardens, the Goodman, the Court, and the 
Shakespeare Repertory, regularly showcase the talents 
of remarkable local actors who just might turn out to 
be the next John Malkovich or Gary Sinise. 

The Grammy-laden Chicago Symphony Orchestra wins stand-
ing ovations both at home and abroad. At the other end 
of the Loop (Chicago's central business district), the 
Lyric Opera's lavish productions boast world-class 
singers and conductors. The city's staggeringly varied 
architecture is lauded (and occasionally lambasted) 
around the globe. And don't forget film criticism and 
TV talk. The thumbs of Roger Ebert and the late Gene 
Siskel weighed heavily in the movie-review scale. And 
who doesn't know Oprah, Jenny Jones, or Jerry Springer? 

This is also the home of the ground-breaking Second 
City improvisation and comedy club whose talented 
performers have included the brilliantly funny Mike 
Nichols and Elaine May, Jim and the late John Belushi, 
Bill Murray, and George Wendt. And even city hall, 
headed by no-nonsense mayor Richard M. Daley, lightens 
up in March by dyeing the Chicago River green in honor 
of St. Patrick. 

Perhaps one reason Chicagoans have a sense of humor 
is the weather. As local film director Joel Sedelmaier
contends, "Colder-than-hell winters saved this city." 
In an essay in Great Chicago Stories, he wrote, "If 
Chicago had weather like Florida, we'd be L.A. and I 
wouldn't wish that on anybody." Though residents 
complain that the city's four seasons are "winter, 
winter, winter, and the Fourth of July," at least on 
a winter day, when the snow is blowing horizontally 
across the Michigan Avenue Bridge, Chicagoans can duck 
into such popular clubs as Andy's, where there's hot 
jazz even at noon. 

PET BLINKERS... The Pet Safety Light
Protect Yourself & Your Pet!

Store Price: $7.99

Pet Blinkers give you the added security and peace of mind
knowing you and your pet(s) are visible at night. Whether
you're going for a jog with your pet or if you just want
extra attention, attach the Pet Blinker to your pet's collar
and be seen a half-mile away. These eye-catching, multi-color
LEDs accessorize any pet. Requires three AG3 lithium cell
batteries (included).

PET BLINKERS... The Pet Safety Light


Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum 
Museum/Gallery, Museum Campus 
Interactive and state-of-the-art exhibits hold appeal 
for traditionalists as well as for technology-savvy kids 
and adults who can be their own navigators through the 
solar system. Opened in 1930 as the first public 
planetarium in the western hemisphere, the Adler still 
has a traditional in-the-round Zeiss planetarium (called 
the Sky Theater) that shows constellations and planets 
in the night sky. In this 1930s building is also a 
Gateway to the Universe gallery where you feel like 
you're stepping into infinite space, as well as galleries 
with special exhibits and astronomical artifacts. 

The high-tech Sky Pavilion, a glass structure that wraps 
around the old building, contains the interactive 
StarRider Theater. Through control buttons on your 
armrest, you can choose how you'd like to journey into 
space; what you see on the screen in front of you is 
based on the majority sentiment of the audience. (Part 
of the technology is based on aircraft flight simulators.) 
Also in this building are a telescope terrace and inter-
active exhibition galleries that include 3-D computer 
animations of the Milky Way and of the birth of the solar 
system. Additional charges apply for the Sky Theater 
planetarium shows and the StarRider interactive shows. 
www.adlerplanetarium.org. COST: $13 museum admission and 
1 show, $18 museum admission and 2 shows. Free Mon. and 
Tues. Jan., Feb., and mid-Sept.-3rd wk Dec. OPEN: Weekdays 
9:30 AM-4:30 PM (except 1st Fri. of month when open until 
10 PM), weekends 9 AM-4:30 PM. 

Address: 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr., South Loop, Chicago, 
Phone: 312/922-7827

Buckingham Fountain 
Fountain, Downtown South 
A centerpiece in Grant Park, this decorative, tiered 
fountain has intricate designs of pink marble seashells, 
water-spouting fish, and bronze sculptures of sea horses. 
It was patterned after a fountain at Versailles but is 
about twice as large as its model. Thanks to its size, 
the 25-foot-tall fountain can propel water 150 feet high 
and circulate 14,000 gallons a minute. Dedicated in 1927, 
the fountain was given to Chicago by philanthropist Kate 
Sturges Buckingham in memory of her brother Clarence. See 
it in all its glory between May 1 and October 1, when it's 
elaborately illuminated at night and sprays colorfully 
lighted waters. 

Address: Grant Park between Columbus and Lake Shore Drs. 
east of Congress Plaza, Chicago, IL, USA


Other Places of Interest:

John G. Shedd Aquarium 
Zoo/Aquarium, Museum Campus 
Take a plunge into an underwater world at the world's 
largest indoor aquarium. Built in 1930, the Shedd houses 
more than 8,000 aquatic animals. "Amazon Rising" takes 
you on a journey along the banks of the Amazon River with 
an up-close look at many animals including piranhas, 
snakes, and stingrays. You can walk through an underwater 
kingdom rich with marine biodiversity and coral reefs in 
the "Wild Reef" exhibit about the Indo-Pacific waters 
surrounding the Philippines, which are threatened by over-
fishing and rapid coastal development. Get up close and 
personal with the "demons of the deep" as dozens of sharks 
swim the 400,000-gallon habitat exploring one of the 
world's largest coral reefs, as well as the mangroves and 
beaches of Apo Island, Philippines. 

Another attraction is the spectacular Oceanarium, with 
pools that seem to blend into Lake Michigan, which is 
visible through the huge glass wall. In the Oceanarium 
you can have a stare-down with one of the knobby-headed 
beluga whales (they love to people-watch), observe Pacific 
white-sided dolphins at play, and explore the simulated 
Pacific Northwest nature trail. An educational dolphin 
presentation, scheduled daily, shows natural behaviors 
including vocalizing, breaching, and tail-walking. Be 
sure to check out the underwater viewing windows for the 
dolphins and whales and the information-packed, hands-on 
activities on the lower level. In the main building, a 
highlight is the 90,000-gallon Caribbean Reef exhibit, 
where you can watch divers feed sharks, stingrays, a sea 
turtle, and other denizens of the deep. A special treat 
on Thursday evening from June through September is live 
jazz on the Shedd's north terrace, with a great view of 
the lake and skyline. www.sheddaquarium.org. COST: $21 
all-access pass; $13 Mon. and Tues. OPEN: Memorial Day-
Labor Day, daily 9-6, Thurs. until 10; Labor Day-Memorial 
Day, weekdays 9-5, weekends 9-6. 

Address: 1200 S. Lake Shore Dr., South Loop, Chicago, 
Phone: 312/939-2438

Navy Pier 
Pedestrian Mall, Near North 
No matter the season, Navy Pier is a fun place to spend 
a few hours. Constructed in 1916 as a commercial-shipp-
ing pier, it was renamed in honor of the Navy in 1927 
(the Army got Soldier Field). The once-deserted pier 
contains an outdoor landscaped area with gardens, a 
fountain, a carousel, a 15-story Ferris wheel, and an 
ice-skating rink; Crystal Gardens, one of the country's 
largest indoor botanical parks; the Chicago Children's 
Museum; an IMAX theater; an outdoor beer garden; and 
shopping promenades, restaurants, and bars. The elegant 
round building with a bright neon sign is the Chicago 
Shakespeare Theatre (PHONE: 312/595-5600), the home of 
the prominent Shakespeare repertory company. The 
lakefront Skyline Stage (PHONE: 312/595-7437) is a 1,500-
seat vault-roof theater. 

Navy Pier is also the home port for a number of tour and 
dinner cruises. Prices are premium for these cruises, and 
the food's better on land, but the voyage can be pleasant 
on a hot summer night. Dinner cruise operators include 
Spirit of Chicago (PHONE: 312/836-7899) and Odyssey I 
(PHONE: 630/990-0800); the Cap Streeter and the Shoreline 
Sightseeing (PHONE: 312/222-9328; 
www.shorelinesightseeing.com; OPEN: May-Oct., daily; Apr., 
Nov., weekends) offer 30-minute shoreline cruises that 
don't require reservations. www.navypier.com. OPEN: Daily 
6 AM-11 PM. 

Address: Grand Ave. at the lakefront, Chicago, IL, USA
Phone: 312/595-7437

Sears Tower 
Architectural Site, Loop 
In Chicago, size matters. This soaring 110-story sky-
scraper, designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill in 1974, 
was the world's tallest building until 1996 when the 
Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, claimed the
title. However, the folks at the Sears Tower are quick 
to point out that the Petronas Towers counts its spire 
as part of the building. But if you were to measure the 
1,454-foot-high Sears Tower in terms of highest occupied 
floor, highest roof, or highest antenna, the Sears Tower 
would win hands down. 

Those bragging rights aside, the Skydeck is really some-
thing to boast about. Enter on Jackson Boulevard to take 
the ear-popping ride to the 103rd-floor observatory. 
Video monitors turn the 70-second elevator ride into a 
fun-filled, thrilling trip. On a clear day you can see 
to Michigan, Wisconsin, and Indiana. (Check the visibility 
ratings at the security desk before you decide to ride up 
and take in the view.) At the top, interactive exhibits 
tell about Chicago's dreamers, schemers, architects, 
musicians, writers, and sports stars. Computer kiosks in 
six languages help international travelers key into 
Chicago hot spots. Knee-High Chicago, a 4-foot-high 
exhibit which has cutouts of Chicago sports, history, and 
cultural icons at a child's eye-level, should entertain 
the kids. The Sears Tower also has spruced up the lower 
level with a food court, new exhibits, and an eight-minute 
movie about the city. Security is very tight, so figure in 
a little extra time for your visit to the Skydeck. Before 
you leave, don't miss the spiraling Calder mobile sculpture 
The Universe in the ground-floor lobby on the Wacker Drive 
side. www.theskydeck.com. COST: $11.95. OPEN: May-Sept., 
daily 10-10; Oct.-Apr., daily 10-8. 

Address: 233 S. Wacker Dr., Chicago, IL 60606, USA
Phone: 312/875-9696 
iPod Like MP3/MP4 Player (Play Music, Video & Pictures)...

Store Price: $149.99
Our Normal Price: $99.99
DEAL PRICE: $69.99

Here's an item that our Gopher Staff went crazy over. It's
the iPod Like MP3/MP4. But unlike the iPod this Digital
MP3/MP4 player is more than just a music machine. You can
store photos, playback some movies, record your voice...
even listen to the FM radio! Download text files and read
them anytime you like. It fits right in the palm of your

  *---- It has the look and the feel of an iPod Nano ----*
  *---- but it's HALF THE PRICE... HALF THE PRICE    ----*

- The 6 in 1 system plays MP3 music, movie videos, stores
  data, plus serves as photo album, digital voice recorder
  and more.
- Pre set to 20 FM stations.
- Plays up to 6 hours of music or 4 hours of video.
- Stores up to 250 songs, or 15,000 photos.

Plus the accessories are many. To see a picture, get more
details or order this amazing MP3/MP4 Player, visit:

iPod-Like 1GIG MP3/MP4 Player - $69.99


Days Inn Gold Coast 
Under $100 to $225, Lincoln Park 
Once a place of dubious reputation, this well-located 
brick building benefited from a changing-of-hands and 
a major rehab in 1999. The front desk has the retro/
futuristic feel of a '60s sci-fi movie, but the solid, 
if functional, rooms are more low-key. Try for a room 
with windows overlooking Lincoln Park. The zoo is three 
blocks east, the nightlife and shops of Old Town the 
same distance southwest. When you get hungry, there's a 
convenience store downstairs and a popular restaurant, 
Louie on the Park, around the corner.
 www.chicagodaysinn.com. 176 rooms, 47 suites. In-room: 
dial-up. In-hotel: room service, concierge, parking 
(fee), no-smoking rooms. AE, D, DC, MC, V. Continental 

Address: 1816 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL 60614, USA
Phone: 312/664-3040 or 800/329-7466
Fax: 312/664-3048

Drake Hotel 
Over $350, Near North 
Built in 1920, the grande dame of Chicago hotels pre-
sides over the northernmost end of Michigan Avenue. 
The lobby, inspired by an Italian Renaissance palace, 
envelops you in its deep-red walls and glimmering 
crystal. The sounds of a fountain and harpist beckon 
you to the Palm Court, a lovely setting for afternoon 
tea. There's piano music in the Coq d'Or most nights, 
and a jazz trio plays in the Palm Court five nights a 
week. Guest rooms and suites have city or lake views 
and are filled with neoclassic furnishings. Keep in 
mind that some rooms can be old-world tiny. 
www.thedrakehotel.com. 537 rooms, 55 suites. In-room: 
safe, ethernet, dial-up. In-hotel: 4 restaurants, room 
service, bar, gym, concierge, laundry service, public 
Wi-Fi, parking (fee), no-smoking rooms, minibar. AE, D, 
DC, MC, V. 

Address: 140 E. Walton Pl., Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Phone: 312/787-2200 or 800/553-7253
Fax: 312/787-1431

Embassy Suites Lakefront 
$150 to $350, Near North 
Every guest in this all-suites hotel has views of either 
Lake Michigan or the Chicago skyscrapers. Rooms have 
separate bedrooms and living rooms and provide frequently 
forgotten items like cotton balls and Q-Tips. The sleek, 
glass atrium bustles in the morning for complimentary 
breakfast buffet and in the evening for complimentary 
happy hour. A bonus for families on vacation is the 
location: within walking distance of Navy Pier and North 
Michigan Avenue. It's also connected to a 21-screen movie 
theater. www.chicagoembassy.com. 455 suites. In-room: 
kitchen, refrigerator, ethernet, dial-up. In-hotel: 
restaurant, room service, bar, pool, gym, concierge, 
laundry facilities, laundry service, airport shuttle, 
parking (fee), no-smoking rooms, minibar. AE, D, DC, MC, 
V. Full breakfast. 

Address: 511 N. Columbus Dr., Chicago, IL 60611, USA
Phone: 312/836-5900 or 800/362-2779
Fax: 312/836-5901

312 Chicago 
Italian, $7 to $28, Loop 
This Italian-accented dining room inside the hip Hotel 
Allegro is handy for power-breakfast meetings, Loop 
lunches, and pretheater dinners. Home-baked breads and 
yummy desserts may tempt you to bypass the in-between 
courses, but roasted sturgeon with potato-mushroom 
lasagna and salmon and tuna tartare will beg you to 
consider otherwise. Brunch is served on Sunday. AE, D, 
DC, MC, V. No lunch Sat. 

Address: Hotel Allegro, 136 N. LaSalle St., Chicago, IL, 
Phone: 312/696-2420

Atwood Café 
Contemporary, $15 to $28, Loop 
Mahogany columns, cherrywood floors, gold café curtains, 
and curvy light-blue banquettes fill this heart-of-the-
Loop charmer with color. Floor-to-ceiling windows over-
looking Michigan Avenue from the lobby of the Hotel 
Burnham provide light. The mostly American menu includes 
reliable dishes like chicken potpie and a thick pork chop, 
along with contemporary fare such as duck and manchego 
quesadillas and grilled salmon with charred tomato sauce. 
AE, D, DC, MC, V. 

Address: Hotel Burnham, 1 W. Washington St., Chicago, IL, 
Phone: 312/368-1900
 Billy Goat Tavern 
American, Under $7, Near North 
The late comedian John Belushi immortalized the Goat's 
short-order cooks on Saturday Night Live for barking, 
"No Coke! Pepsi!" and "No fries! Cheeps!" at customers. 
They still do the shtick at this subterranean hole-in-
the-wall favored by reporters posted nearby at the 
Tribune and the Sun-Times. Griddle-fried "cheezborgers" 
are the featured chow, and people-watching the favored 
sport. No credit cards. 

Address: 430 N. Michigan Ave., lower level, Chicago, IL, 
USA   Phone: 312/222-1525


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