Year in review: Show Me Chicago looks back at 2015

Year in review: Show Me Chicago looks back at 2015

As Show Me Chicago looks back on 2015, we see some wins and some losses. Some of the biggest wins for Chicago were in the arts, entertainment, theater and dining columns. Big wins include the James Beard Awards coming to Chicago from NYC (where they had been forever) and blowing everyone away–so much so that they are returning for 2016.

Same for the NFL Draft that offered a festival atmosphere for fans while doing a masterful job of handling the task at hand. We look forward to even more action in 2016 when they return.

The first three phases of Chicago’s Riverwalk wowed everyone transforming the center of the city into a resort-like space to eat, drink, kayak or just hang out…and the best is yet to come.

Next summer  Chicago can look forward to the entire span of the Riverwalk from Lake Michigan to Lake St. just west of Franklin to be open with a host of new spaces and events for all to enjoy.

Looking back on the arts, dining, theater and entertainment scene as reviewed and previewed by Show Me Chicago in 2015, here are some of our favorites.

 January 2015…Free Chicago

After going way over our holiday budget–both fiscally (dollars) and physically (pounds)–in December 2014–we went on a hunt for fun freebies. Here’s what we found in Free Chicago. The best part most of these freebies are still available this January and pretty much, year round.

February 2015…The Obama Library

Last February there were some rumblings that The Obama Library may not be headed to Chicago. We had a hard time believing that and made a list of why Chicago was the best choice for the Obama Library. As it turns out we were right and the Obama Library will be built here.

Runner up for February was Chicago Tough.

In the midst of one of the coldest Chicago winters on record, we came up with a test to see who was tough enough to survive a Chicago winter.

March 2015…Summer Festival Calendar

Our annual Summer Festival Calendar is always a crowd-pleaser and reminds us why we live here.

April 2015…al fresco dining

After a very l-o-o-o-o-ng winter we are more than ready to break out of our cabins. Come April, we are on the lookout for places to dine al fresco. Lucky for us, every year it seems there are more and more places to do so. Here are some of our favorites.

May 2015…Maxwell Street

State Street may be that great street and Michigan Avenue (north of the Chicago river) may be the Magnificent Mile but Maxwell Street is where it’s at.  Maxwell Street is the heart of Chicago…the real Chicago stripped to its soul. Here’s why.

June 2015…Farmers Market Series

From the first ramps, green garlic, asparagus and radishes that trickle into Chicago’s early outdoor markets, I’m there. Chicago has a large number of farmer’s markets and each is a little different. Show Me Chicago decided to explore some of the city’s neighborhood markets and suburban markets to see what we could find in our Farmers Market Series.

July 2015…Gangsters and Chicago

Gangsters are part of the fabric of Chicago history–especially since our infamous St. Valentine’s Day Massacre back in 1929. Many of the most notorious gangland figures who conducted their “business” in Chicago lived in beautiful homes in the suburbs where they raised their families. We got the inside story and a look at some of the mob’s amazing Oak Park and River Forest residences from John Binder on his popular Gangster tour.

August 2015….The biggest story that never happened

Who knew an obscure plant, the Amorphophallus titanum, that most likely no one outside of the botanical world had ever heard of, would capture headlines and the imagination of thousands. The story, in a nutshell, was that the plant, nicknamed Spike, had been growing in a greenhouse at the Chicago Botanic Garden since 2003 (when it was planted as a little seedling) was about to put up a very BIG and disgusting stink. We watched, we waited and then nothing.

September 2015…Halloween is cause for celebration

Come September, the summer festival season begins to wind down, yet, no way, are Chicagoans ready to quit partying. Halloween and Oktoberfests take over as the default (fall) excuse to celebrate.

Halloween is more than the day, October 31, in Chicago. Halloween is a season. We put together this round up of Halloween happenings to help Chicagoans and visitors to keep the party all the way into early November when the “holiday” season takes over.

October 2015…Chicago’s answer to SundanceCiFFCelebrate-Cinema-1200x628-1

No, Chicago is not Hollywood, Caan, Telluride or Sundance but, come October (for the past 51 years), we get an impressive taste of those worlds at the Chicago International Film Festival. There’s red carpet ceremonies, judging, films from around the world, parties and stars–actors, directors, producers all in town for this respected festival.

This year we were able to see many films before they were released including “Carol,” “Spotlight,” and Michael Moore’s “Where to Invade Next,” which is positioned to open on about 300 screens, come January. In addition, there are shorts, horror films, documentaries and more. One gem that we discovered was the story of Orry-Kelly–the most famous man that know one ever heard of. We reviewed it here.

November 2015….Spotlight on Chicago Architecture

Chicago architecture got the attention it deserves with the Chicago Architecture Biennial–a three month long series of programs, tours and events that put the spotlight on our city’s world class architecture.

December 2015…food glorious food

Show Me Chicago welcomed a sibling, a new blog, Chicago Eats, in late October. Chicago Eats covers a broad scope of everything food from dining, food films, cookbooks, food festivals and food holidays. We’ve been having a lot of fun eating, cooking and trying to keep track of all the happenings in the world of food. One adventure had us making handmade toritillas with the method used by acclaimed Chef Alex Stupak illustrated in his new Taco cookbook.

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