Friday, May 20, 2011
Chicago welcomes visitors for Memorial Day
There’s no better place to spend Memorial Day Weekend than in Chicago, which Priceline.com named the most popular destination for Memorial Day 2011. Chicago’s North Michigan Avenue captured the #1 spot in the survey of the nation’s 50 most popular Memorial Day destinations. In the nine years that priceline.com has published the list, Chicago has taken the top spot four times.
Kick off the summer season by exploring new neighborhoods, swimming at lakefront beaches, catching a Major League Baseball game and more. Or visitors can honor the spirit of the weekend by enjoying the Memorial Day Parade and visiting the National Vietnam Veteran’s Art Museum.
Visitors to the city are invited to make their first stop the Visitor Information Center in the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 77 East Randolph Street. For more information on Memorial Day activities in Chicago, or to book accommodations, visit www.ExploreChicago.org.
Chicago Greeter and Instagreeter Neighborhood Outposts
Let a friendly, knowledgeable Greeter be your guide on a free, customized walking tour for groups of up to six people. Register today and choose a neighborhood or interest to explore, such as architecture, history, or ethnic Chicago. For greater flexibility with no advance registration, try an Instagreeter tour of the Loop (Fridays-Sundays), Millennium Park (daily), or at one of three neighborhood outposts – at the Hyde Park Hyde Park Art Center (5020 S. Cornell Ave.), Second City (1616 N. Wells St.) in Old Town, and the Pilsen outpost, new in 2011, at the National Museum of Mexican Art (1852 W. 19th Street). Check www.ExploreChicago.org for the Instagreeter neighborhood outpost schedule on Saturdays from May 28 - October 8.
Chicago’s Lakefront Beaches
Chicago’s beaches are open for the summer! The Chicago Park District manages the city's 29 beaches along Lake Michigan for the enjoyment of Chicago families and visitors. Chicago's lakefront is also home to a lakefront biking and running trail, volleyball, soccer, concessions, golf courses, harbors, and bird sanctuaries. Admission to Chicago’s beaches is free and open to the public, with lifeguards on duty from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., daily through Labor Day.
Visitors can also enjoy a spectacular fireworks show overlooking the lakefront when Navy Pier begins its summer fireworks season on Saturday, May 28 at 10:15 p.m.
Baseball: A Chicago Tradition
No summer trip to Chicago would be complete without a visit to Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs and the nation’s second-oldest major league baseball park. Wrigley Field is easily accessible by the Red Line “El” train, which is part of the complete Cubs fan experience. Catch the Cubs on May 27, 28, 29 and 30 against the Pirates and May 30 against the Astros.
7th Annual Randolph Street Market Festival
The internationally known Randolph Street Market Festival kicks off its seventh season this Memorial Day weekend. Located at Plumber Hall in the West Loop neighborhood, this indoor/outdoor European-style market is the largest in the Midwest. Featuring more than 200 antique dealers selling everything from high-end antiques to vintage collectibles, the Market is often compared to Paris’ legendary flea market. Open Saturday, May 28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday, May 29 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
The 27th annual Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival showcases the bustling nightlife and entertainment scene of the surrounding Lakeview neighborhood. Boasting popular national, regional and local music acts, this festival also features arts and crafts, fashion, food and drinks. Located on Sheffield Avenue between Belmont Avenue and School Street, the festival runs Saturday, May 28 and Sunday, May 29 from noon to 10 p.m.
MEMORIAL DAY-SPECIFIC ACTIVITIES
Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade
The Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade is scheduled for Saturday, May 28. The Ceremony will begin at 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza in Chicago (Dearborn and Washington Streets).
The parade steps off at noon and proceeds south on State Street from Lake Street to Van Buren Street. Chicago's Memorial Day Parade is considered one of the largest in the nation, with 10,000 people participating annually. Participants include many area high schools' Marching Bands, Drum and Bugle Corps as well as many Veterans' groups, JROTC and the military. This year’s Grand Marshal will be General Raymond T. Odierno, United States Army, Commander, U.S. Joint Forces Command.
National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum
The National Vietnam Veterans Art Museum inspires greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. The Museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans. Located in the Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood at 1801 S. Indiana Avenue, the Museum houses over 1500 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music. All works in the Museum’s permanent collection were created by more than 100 artists who chronicled their individual experiences from the Vietnam War. The Museum is open Tuesdays – Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Check the Museum’s website at www.nvvam.org for details about special Memorial Day events.
Through June 18
In the first collaboration of its kind, 22 combat journalists and military veterans from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan share their images from the battlefield through this groundbreaking multimedia exhibit. Conflict Zone is inspired by Joao Silva, the New York Times photographer who lost both legs in a landmine blast in October 2010 in Afghanistan. Brought together by the non-profit Independence Fund, Silva's colleagues from the press corps agreed to pool their work for an art exhibit that features some of the most celebrated combat journalists and photographers of this generation. Conflict Zone is the creation of the Independence Fund and is being sponsored in Chicago by the National Veterans Art Museum. It is presented in partnership with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture at Expo 72, 72 E. Randolph Street.
Chicago War Memorials
Memorial Day is a day to remember those who served, fought, and died in defense of America. Within Chicago are more than 30 war memorials located throughout the city, giving visitors an opportunity to honor those who served their country while learning about Chicago’s rich cultural history. More information about the city’s memorials can be found at www.ExploreChicago.org.
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting www.ExploreChicago.org. Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist in planning an unforgettable itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.
For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow ExploreChicago on Twitter at www.twitter.com/explorechicago and “like” us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/explorechicago, where you can also weigh in on your Chicago favorites. Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREE Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily.
The Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers, providing innovative visitor programs and services, and presenting free world-class public programs. For more information please visit www.ExploreChicago.org.