The Driehaus Museum

The Gold Coast is a gold mine (no pun intended) for history lovers, with countless museums and historical buildings to explore. One of the best places to walk through is the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, located in the former Nickerson family residence, otherwise known as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.”

 

Even before Richard Driehaus took over the Nickerson Mansion, the Chicago home had been known for its connection to the arts. The original owners, Samuel and Matilda Nickerson, had obtained an impressive art collection throughout their lives, and enjoyed showcasing the pieces at their residence. They were also interested in helping preserve the Chicago art scene at large, especially in the years following the Great Chicago Fire.

 

After the Nickersons moved back East, the mansion went through a series of owners until 1919, when a collective of Chicago residents decided to pitch in to purchase the building to save it from potential destruction. These residents then donated it to the American College of Surgeons for their headquarters, where they remained until 1963. In 1976, the former Nickerson residence was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally in 2003, a Chicago businessman by the name of Richard H. Driehaus acquired the property and promptly set about to restore the mansion to its former glory.

 

The museum was originally founded as a place to host Richard Driehaus’ decorative arts collection, namely his set of Tiffany glasswares. Today, there are exhibits that offer a glimpse into the late 19th and early 20th century-life in Chicago. The museum also offers educational and cultural programs to help visitors envision more fully what life used to be like during that time. It has been open to the public since June 2008 and features art and surviving furnishings of that era to truly look the part of a Gilded Age mansion. One of the most popular exhibits that the museum hosted was the Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times exhibit, which closed on May 29, 2016. The exhibition featured real costumes from the television drama, Downton Abbey.

 

Currently, the museum is hosting Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America and Gilded Chicago: Portraits of an Era, which both take a look into the resurgence of interest in portraiture throughout the Gilded Age. Treasures from the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 is also on display, which brings in items and memorabilia about the World’s Fair in celebration of the fair’s 125th anniversary this past year.

One of the best places to walk through is the Richard H. Driehaus Museum, located in the former Nickerson family residence, otherwise known as Gilded Age Chicago’s “Marble Palace.”

Even before Richard Driehaus took over the Nickerson Mansion, the Chicago home had been known for its connection to the arts. The original owners, Samuel and Matilda Nickerson, had obtained an impressive art collection throughout their lives, and enjoyed showcasing the pieces at their residence. They were also interested in helping preserve the Chicago art scene at large, especially in the years following the Great Chicago Fire.

After the Nickersons moved back East, the mansion went through a series of owners until 1919, when a collective of Chicago residents decided to pitch in to purchase the building to save it from potential destruction. These residents then donated it to the American College of Surgeons for their headquarters, where they remained until 1963. In 1976, the former Nickerson residence was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places. Finally in 2003, a Chicago businessman by the name of Richard H. Driehaus acquired the property and promptly set about to restore the mansion to its former glory.

The museum was originally founded as a place to host Richard Driehaus’ decorative arts collection, namely his set of Tiffany glasswares. Today, there are exhibits that offer a glimpse into the late 19th and early 20th century-life in Chicago. The museum also offers educational and cultural programs to help visitors envision more fully what life used to be like during that time. It has been open to the public since June 2008 and features art and surviving furnishings of that era to truly look the part of a Gilded Age mansion. One of the most popular exhibits that the museum hosted was the Dressing Downton: Changing Fashions for Changing Times exhibit, which closed on May 29, 2016. The exhibition featured real costumes from the television drama, Downton Abbey.

Currently, the museum is hosting Beauty’s Legacy: Gilded Age Portraits in America and Gilded Chicago: Portraits of an Era, which both take a look into the resurgence of interest in portraiture throughout the Gilded Age. Treasures from the White City: The Chicago World’s Fair of 1893 is also on display, which brings in items and memorabilia about the World’s Fair in celebration of the fair’s 125th anniversary this past year.

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Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

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The Three Arts Club Building

Chicago’s Three Arts Club building, once a clubhouse for young women pursuing an education in the arts, is no longer a sitting shell of its former glory. About three years ago, RH (then known as Restoration Hardware) saw the potential this Chicago landmark possessed, successfully resuscitating the Three Arts Club building on the forefront of the Gold Coast scene.

With chairman and CEO Gary Friedman at the helms, the Three Arts Club building was transformed from an empty historic building into the RH Chicago flagship store and gallery. Restoring and repurposing historic buildings has become a passion for Friedman over the years, so maintaining its charm and history was a key part of the restoration process. Rather than create something entirely new, RH’s goal was to breathe new life into the building, as they had done with other new RH locations, such as the former main post office in Greenwich, Connecticut, and the former Museum of Natural History in Boston, Massachusetts.

In addition to the new retail segments like the RH Modern Collection, RH Teen, RH Baby & Child, and the Ben Soleimani Rug Showroom, the RH Chicago Gallery at the Historic Three Arts Club also offers spaces for art exhibitions. By integrating both hospitality and showmanship together, RH Chicago offers a unique gathering place and breathtaking experience.

As you walk into the building you can’t miss the breathtaking Grand Courtyard, which seats the 3 Arts Club Cafe, a culinary collaboration between Gary Friedman and Chicago Foodies’ beloved Brendan Sodikoff. Guests can enjoy the delicious seasonal menu in a bright, indoor oasis of Heritage olive trees, plush RH sofas, and candle lanterns, all smartly placed around the beautifully restored historic fountain. As you explore the showrooms along the perimeter of the courtyard, you will also find the 3 Arts Club Pantry & Espresso Bar, as well as the 3 Arts Club Wine Vault, which offer a house coffee blend and premium wines, respectively, among elegantly curated furniture and finishes.

Make sure to check out the roof level of the RH Gallery, as well, which showcases stunning views of the city. Whether you are exploring the space, catching up over a cup of coffee, enjoying a glass of wine, waiting for a table at the 3 Arts Club Cafe, or all of the above, the rooftop park and conservatory is a functional vignette of RH outdoor furnishings, surrounded by elegantly organized banana palms and shrubbery.

The building restoration has already proven to be a charming addition to the Gold Coast neighborhood, brilliantly reintroducing the Three Arts Club building in a way that connects the past to the present. Whether you’re in the market for new statement pieces for your home, in search of an inspirational activity to pass the time, or craving a deliciously-crafted doughnut from the Doughnut Vault, the RH Chicago Gallery at the Historic Three Arts Club has become a prime destination for both residents and visitors of Chicago, alike.

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Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

New Year’s Eve in Chicago

As 2018 draws rapidly to a close, the festivities across Chicago shift gears into ringing in the new year. While there are plenty of events to choose from, Lincoln Park, in particular, offers a wide variety of activities for all ages to attend. Make sure to get your tickets in advance, if needed!

 

Zoo Year’s Eve

Held at the Lincoln Park Zoo, Zoo Year’s Eve celebrates the evening amidst the light displays courtesy of ComEd and Invesco QQQ. The event will feature ice sculpting, carousel rides, a live DJ, lots of carnival games to enjoy, as well as cash bars scattered around the zoo. What’s even more special is that the animal houses will also be open to event guests — a perfect opportunity for you to snap some selfies and spend quality time with the animals who call the Lincoln Park Zoo their home.

 

Keep in mind that only those who are 21 or older may attend. The zoo will reopen on New Year’s Day for general admittance, however.

 

New Year’s Eve 5K

Hosted by the Chicago Sport and Social Club, the New Year’s Eve 5K is excited for all of the proceeds of this year’s race to go towards the Special Olympics Chicago. Anyone is welcome to participate, so grab the whole family and start the day (and year!) off by getting your heart rate up while supporting a great cause. Check-in opens at 7:30 a.m. and the post-race celebration lasts until noon for participants and their supporting family and friends.

 

Theater on the Lake

Also hosted by the Chicago Sports and Social Club is the Theater on the Lake event that same night! The upscale evening will include an all-inclusive drink package, gourmet buffets, a midnight champagne toast, a hopping dance floor, and party favors. There are also options to purchase a table for five or ten people, each of which come with complimentary drinks and a semi-dedicated server.

 

The Theater on the Lake, which was built in 1920, also has the perfect view of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier’s fireworks display across the Chicago skyline.

 

New Year’s Eve at Noon

And, of course, if you have little ones, check out the New Year’s Eve at Noon Party in Lincoln Park, which  will be filled with balloons, music, and plenty of activities. You can countdown to the “noon year” with the whole family at this event!

 

Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

Butch McGuire’s Christmas Tradition

If there’s one thing Chicago does right—although, of course, there are many—it is getting properly decked out to celebrate the holiday season. From the Magnificent Mile’s Light Festival to Lincoln Park Zoo’s ZooLights, to the Holiday Flower Show and Holiday Market, it can be difficult to pick and choose what to do, but we’d be remiss to not mention the bar scene, as well.

 

Butch McGuire’s, a Chicago institution for decades, has become well-known for its Christmas decorations since Butch McGuire himself purchased Goldblatt’s Department Store’s old window display. That purchase was made the late 1960s, and the tradition continues today!

 

When the idea to decorate the bar first started, the staff themselves began hanging up the decorations around the bar, but the tradition really took off after a group of Chicago firefighters volunteered to help.Thanks to their additional help, Butch McGuire’s started hanging the decorations from the ceiling rather than using up space around the surface of the bar.

 

While the original artificial garland Butch bought has since deteriorated, the bar transitioned into using lights and a running model train, which they still use today. Since 2017, the bar has displayed 45,000 lights, in addition to the double decker trains and spinning mobiles of well-loved Disney characters and other winter staples. It shouldn’t come as a surprise, then, that their light display during the Christmas season is what Butch McGuire’s has become known for!

 

Thanks to the notoriety the decorations brought, Butch McGuire’s has been able to turn the festivities into a way to help those who are less fortunate. Butch originally helped start Santa Claus Anonymous, and was able to pass that same sense of giving back to his son, Bobby. If you visit, you can buy one of the ornaments that decorate the bar, and all the proceeds will be donated to the Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. Train sponsors – local businesses whose company logos appear on the toy trains throughout the bar – eagerly take part in the tradition by making a donation to Mercy Home, as well.

 

That’s not all, though—this year will be the ninth annual toiletry drive for the residents of Mercy Home and, of course, Butch McGuire’s is leading the charge. During the entire month of December, the bar will be accepting donations of toiletries to give to the home, as well.

 

Checking out Butch McGuire’s for the season has become a time-honored tradition for many Chicago families. It’s the perfect union of having a good time while simultaneously helping the community.

 

Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

Thanksgiving in Chicago

Before you tuck in for dinner, join Chicagoans from all over the city at the 41st Annual Art Van Turkey Trot! Presented by Byline Bank, the Turkey Trot will feature a 5k and 8k, and a Plymouth Rock Ramble for the kids, and all of its proceeds support the Greater Chicago Food Depository.

It’s a great cause, and the event kicks off right in one of our favorite neighborhoods, Lincoln Park. The races are centered around the event’s Turkey Day Tailgate, which hosts plenty of activities like corn hole, a football toss, and turkey bowling, and, of course, warm apple cider.

The event will be rain-or-shine, and it’s a great way to start off the holiday season on the right foot.

If running isn’t your thing, you will find plenty of other things to do, too! The city of Chicago hosts its annual Uncle Dan’s Thanksgiving Parade on State Street from Congress to Randolph. With the best marching bands from all over the country, to giant balloon presentations and live performances, you can either grab a seat along the parade route or hang out in your pajamas to watch it live at home.

For those who are just looking forward to dinner but don’t want to cook, plenty of options abound!  The Chicago Tribune and OpenTable have both put together helpful lists of restaurants that offer special menus just for the occasion. For something even a little more special, Odyssey Cruises is offering a two-hour Thanksgiving Day cruise, starting at Navy Pier. The event will include a holiday lunch or dinner, depending on your time of departure.

Starting on Black Friday, the Lincoln Park Zoo goes all out with their beloved ZooLights event, which has festive decorations like ice carvings and holiday lights. There’s also music, carousel and train rides, food, and shopping opportunities at the nearby pop-up Holiday Market.

Lincoln Park will also be hosting a Holiday Flower Show at the Lincoln Conservatory, from November 23 through January 26. Within the flower show, model trains will weave through the miniature village among the poinsettias. Second City will be performing “The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly Sweater” at Up Comedy Club, both before and after Thanksgiving Day, too, if you are in the mood for some good laughs.For any magic lovers out there, the historic Palmer House Hilton Hotel will be showcasing performances by an award-winning magician on Friday nights at 7:30 and 9:30, and Saturday nights at 4:30, 7:30, and 9:30. Performances begin in November, and will last through January 2019. Getting the chance to walk through the stunning hotel is merely an added bonus to being a part of this highly anticipated intimate magic show.

Whether you have the entire holiday season to spend in Chicago, or just a few days to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, there are plenty of options to accommodate everyone’s tastes.

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Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

What once began as simple tree decorations fifty years ago to signal the start of the holiday season has since developed into something truly spectacular! The 2018 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, sponsored by BMO Harris Bank, begins at 4 pm on Friday, November 16,. While the MM Lights Festival events and activities will only take place for the opening ceremonies on the 16th and 17th, the lights will remain up for everyone to enjoy throughout the holiday season! It’s a beloved Chicago tradition, and 2018 marks its twenty-seventh anniversary.

This year’s Lights Festival opening weekend is set to start with a bang. Not only will the lights go up, but the weekend will feature family-friendly activities, a tree-lighting parade down Michigan Avenue, some fantastic holiday shopping options from participating stores, and even a Fireworks Spectacular show over the Chicago River.

On Friday, November 16, the Lights Festival Lane will have fun activities for the whole family from 4 pm – 8 pm, including live music and even a visit from Santa Claus, himself. If you can’t make it on Friday, however, don’t fret! Saturday is sure to be a magical day full of holiday activities and live performances from artists like Cody Simpson, DCapella, and Cailee Rae, just to name a few. The Meet and Greet wristbands for these performers are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. More information can be found on the day of at the BMO Harris Bank Helper Tent.

Alongside the holiday activities, the Lights Festival Lane will also be offering sample treats from classic Chicago establishments like Garrett Popcorn, Frango, The Eli’s Cheesecake Company, and lots more. There will be pop-up shops across the Magnificent Mile, with lots of activities and merchandise available for purchase. Chicago’s Christmas music station, 93.9 LITE-FM, will also have a tent where they’ll be broadcasting live throughout the event.   

Whatever you decide,  make sure to secure a spot for the tree-lighting parade on Saturday evening, when Grand Marshals Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse light one million lights along their path. The procession will also feature floats, balloons, musical performances, and beloved Chicago mascots like Hubert the Lion and Benny the Bull. The parade starts at 5:30 pm, concluding with a breathtaking fireworks show just before 7:00 pm!

The parade will be broadcast live on ABC7 starting at 6:00 pm. Can’t make the event or want to relive the magic? The broadcast will be syndicated across more than 90% of the United States throughout the holiday season, so be sure to check your local listings!

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Originally posted at DeeThompson.co

Halloween in Chicago

Halloween is a fun night for all, no matter what age, and Halloween in Chicago is no exception! From bar-hopping to kid-friendly activities, Gold Coast doesn’t hold back.

Some of the city’s most notable bars take part in sponsoring elaborate costume contests, like Butch McGuire’s, She-nannigans House of Beer, Bootleggers, and more. All of these locations include rewards for participating in costume contests, along with live music and radio broadcasts from local stations. In past years, the bar crawl has culminated at The Original Mother’s, where the festivities started at midnight. This is the crown jewel of the evening, and the final destination for any bar crawlers looking to close out Halloween with a bang.

50 years ago this month, The Original Mothers first opened its doors, and has been welcoming locals and visitors alike to Division Street ever since. The bar is excited to host its 38th Annual Halloween Tour, which will take place on Saturday, October 27th. Although the events change every year, Brian Phillips, one of 101 WKQX’s on-air personalities, broadcasted live from the dance floor one year, and there’s always a performer or group to provide live music all night into the early morning. For anyone who loves getting into the Halloween spirit by dressing up and reliving their childhood, just know that people take their costumes very seriously here! The top prize is usually around $1000, and second and third place are around $500 and $250, respectively.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more family-oriented event, you can always stop by Gold Coast’s annual “Ghouly Park” event. Experience Goudy Park, at Astor and Goethe, as it becomes a Halloween paradise, compliments of the Gold Coast Neighbors Association. From 4-7pm on October 31, 2018, there will be all kinds of entertainment roaming the park, from music to stilt walkers, magicians, and puppeteers, and, of course trick-or-treating. Kids of all ages can find something fun to do, and it’s a safe and enjoyable way to make sure it’s an unforgettable Halloween for everyone.

If neither of those activities suit your style, or if you’re looking to venture a little farther out of the neighborhood, there are always a number of renowned ghost tours that take you all over the city, both walking and via bus. There’s even one that goes through all of the known locations of the country’s first recorded serial killer, H. H. Holmes. Other tours even come with ghost-hunting equipment, so you can properly record any paranormal encounters throughout your evening.

However you decide to spend the holiday, make sure to reserve your spot ahead of time if it’s a ticketed event!

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Originally posted at DeeThompson.co