To do in Chicago: a list of new-to-me possibilities for fun

Last week I was in a group of Chicago Greeters getting a tour of the Garfield Park Conservatory. Not only have I not spent enough time in the conservatory, I also had no idea there were outdoor gardens behind it.

We also went into the “Golden Dome,” the Garfield Park fieldhouse and former administrative center of the West Park Commission. Its stunning interior prompted a couple of Greeters to discuss another beautiful building, the Elks National Memorial at Diversey and Lakeview. I’ve passed it numerous times but never stopped to see the inside.

Last week I was also supposed to take my first tour of the former Hull House neighborhood, but the tour was rescheduled to a time when I couldn’t attend.

While thinking about these unexplored places, I was skimming through Chicago — not Chicago magazine but Choose Chicago’s free visitors guide — and noting things I haven’t done.

This isn’t a self-chastising act but a reminder that in this wonderful big city, there are always going to be new experiences. I’m grateful that I live where the possibilities will never be exhausted, where I should never be bored.

So, I made a list of new things to do — without a timeframe. This is about pleasure, not pressure.

In that vein, things that don’t interest me aren’t on the list. Realistically, can I expect myself to spend a long time in the Adler Planetarium when I just can’t get into astronomy and physics?

Here’s the list for now of things I might truly enjoy. It will be a changing list, with additions as ideas present themselves and subtractions as experiences are had.

• Eat an ethnic food that I’ve never eaten before.

• Spend more than an hour in the DuSable Museum.

• Buy something at Maxwell Street Market. (Even though it’s not the market of old, it must have some things of interest.)

• See a subtitled film that isn’t in Italian or French.

• Visit an area in the Field Museum that I’ve never been in.

• Browse the business district and the side streets of an out-of-the-way neighborhood.

• Attend a classical concert at Millennium Park.

• Walk the trails at Northerly Island.

• Take a do-it-yourself tour of Loop sculpture using a booklet I picked up.

• Be in the stands for a sports event that’s not a major sport.

• Hear the blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends.

• Check out an ethnic street festival.

• Sample craft beer at a brewpub.

• Go to the Hyde Park Jazz Festival.

• Stroll 26th Street in Little Village.

• Drop into the Open Studios at the Fine Arts Building during the Chicago Cultural Mile’s 2nd Fridays events.

• See the interior of the Elks Building.


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  • Hyde Park Jazz fest is on my list too. Let me know when you want to go.

  • In reply to schultz:

    Will do. It's September 24 and 25.

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    What a nice list!! I'm going to add it to give some new life to the somewhat stale list that I have for people when they come in to town. Of course a kid's and Edgewater only list would be nice too.

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