Category: Lincoln Square

Summer in Chi Town: Don’t Miss Out on These Experiences!

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By , June 3, 2015 11:00 am

With brutally cold winters that seem to last a little longer each year, Chicago is a city that lives for its beautiful summer season. So now that summer is here (finally!) why not try something new to soak up the sun and make the most of it?

Chicago Jet Boat Experience

One of the best ways to see Chicago is from the water, so kick back and feel the wind in your hair on a Chicago Jet Boat Experience. This is a half-hour tour that combines an adventurous ride with the beautiful view of Lake Michigan and the sprawling Chicago skyline. The boat leaves from Navy Pier, and the captain will tell you all about the city’s landmarks, architecture, and hot spots. Jet boats run daily between 11 am and 7 pm, May through October.

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Photo credit: acuestareig via Flickr

Introduction to Kayaking

To get a little more active on the water, take our Introduction to Kayaking class with the experienced guides of Kayak Chicago. This is a beginner-friendly class that’ll teach you everything you need to know about paddling, boat types, proper gear, safety techniques, and rescue strategies. This expereince lasts about four hours and runs on Saturdays and Sundays from June through September.

Sailing 101 Chicago

Another great water activity to try in Chicago is sailing! Our Sailing 101 Chicago class is beginner-friendly, yet challenging and comprehensive. To complete the course, you’ll need to take four sessions, and each lesson last four hours. So this is a great experience for locals living in the city! Sessions run daily between April and September.

Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park

If you’re more in the mood for a little retail therapy, why not let a shopping expert help you focus and guide you through the city’s trendiest shopping district? Our Chicago Shopping Tour: Bucktown and Wicker Park experience will take you to unique boutiques and introduce you to fashion trends and the creations of top designers. You’ll meet your guide and fellow shoppers at a cafe and then head out to receive VIP treatment and the guidance of a personal shopping stylist. The experience lasts about two hours and starts at 1:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays.

Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb

If you’re willing to venture outside of the city to explore the surrounding area a bit, check out our Devil’s Lake Day Rock Climb experience in southern Wisconsin. This is an ideal climbing destination for beginner climbers, and experienced guides will provide you with all the gear you need. The day begins around 9:00 am and runs until about 4:00 pm. There are more than 2,000 climbing routes here along the picturesque cliffs that overlook Devil’s Lake – perfect for taking a summertime dip after a day of climbing!

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

Photo credit: stewie811 via Flickr

These are a few of the other summer-centric attractions that are must-dos in the city of Chicago:

  • Lollapalooza
  • Cubs game at Wrigley Field
  • Sox game at US Cellular Field
  • North Avenue Beach
  • Lincoln Park Zoo
  • Chicago Air & Water Show
  • Navy Pier Fireworks

For a list of Chicago’s exciting 2015 festivals, take a look at TimeOut’s 2015 Summer Festival Guide and browse through FunSherpa’s Chicago experiences to find one that’ll make your summer unforgettable!

Being Frugal in Chicago with Lisa Koivu

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By , March 15, 2010 11:42 am

Lisa celebrating a life of frugality

Lisa celebrating a life of frugality

With the tough economy still all over everyone’s mind, we’ve decided to feature Chicago’s very own frugal tip celebrity, Lisa Koivu. Lisa is the blogger behind Fantabulously Frugal, a blog dedicated to sharing how to live a life ‘On-Sale’!

F: What inspired you to start the Fantabulously Frugal blog? It must have been good timing with the recent recession when you decided to start it.
LK: I started Fantabulously Frugal when I was reaching the end of grad school and was in a bit of a panic about what I was going to do with all of my free time. I was still working full time but was worried about all of the hours I’d have free in the evenings. (I guess I’m a little crazy.) I spent a weekend just thinking about things that I might be good at, but had to rule most of them out. I mean, I love reading gossip magazines but with no access to anything Hollywood-related, couldn’t really parlay that into anything substantial. I also love eating cupcakes, but I abhor making them. It came to me literally in the middle of the night that one thing I’m quite good at is finding bargains on the internet. And thus Fantabulously Frugal was born.

F: How did you get so good at finding deals and steals?
LV: I think it goes back to have a very thrifty childhood. When I was growing up we didn’t buy anything unless we had a coupon or it was on sale. I remember standing in line at the grocery store with my dad once and complaining about how we never bought Lucky Charms and I told him it was stupid that we needed a coupon in order to buy something. I remember him asking me why I thought it was stupid to want to save money on something, and that has always stuck with me. Why would you want to pay full price for something when you can so easily get it for less? And now that I clip coupons I realize that there were probably many coupons for Lucky Charms and my parents were just ignoring them.

Their sense of frugality has always stuck with me and there are very few things for which I’ve ever paid full price. I’m a Mac gal and I even spent time trying to figure out how to get the best discount on my Mac before purchasing. I feel good when I don’t pay full price for something, and I enjoy helping others feel the same way.

F: Any particular post on FF that got the most attention ?
LK: One of my favorite posts to compile and one that people seem to find over and over again is a post I did on everything I was able to get for free on my birthday. I’d had that post in mind ever since the early days of Fantabulously Frugal and I spent those months trying to get myself onto every mailing list possible, and especially ones that asked for your birth date. I have to say – my haul was pretty good, though I have high hopes that my tally of freebies will be much higher this year! I received multiple free meals, cosmetics, and many other items – it was awesome!

F: What neighborhood do you live in? And what do you like about it?
LK: I live on the edge of Lincoln Square and on the edge of Old Irving and so I’ll cover them both. What I like about the Old Irving Part of town is that I’m just a half mile walk from the Target on Addison. I make a trip to Target every single weekend so this location has been great for that. I can combine walking with shopping! In terms of Lincoln Square, I love how walkable the neighborhood is and the large number of outstanding restaurants. We used to live in River North and so we were able to walk to all of downtown Chicago’s finest establishments. I’m not kidding, however, when I saw I prefer the atmosphere and the restaurants more in Lincoln Square. Bistro Campagne is a particular favorite of mine.

F: What are your favorite places to bargain hunt in Chicago?
LK: Target, Target, Target! Seriously, I cannot get enough of that place! One Chicago-based store that I write about on my site is AKIRA Chicago. The fashions are fun and also remarkably affordable. (And they always have a killer sale section!)
Another of my favorites is Craigslist. I know that sounds kind of silly but Craigslist has been a life saver since I moved to Chicago 6 years ago. I’ve found so much inexpensive furniture through the site and even sold some myself. You never know what you’ll find and I try to check the listings at least once per week.

F: Tell us what things that you’re not frugal with and love to splurge on
LK: For the most part, almost nothing is off limits to my frugality. This is kind of embarrassing, but two months ago my boyfriend and I bought a puppy. We picked the puppy we now have because he was on sale! However, there are really only two exceptions to my frugal ways. Like I already said, I’m a Mac gal. (The computer, not the make-up.) I was lucky when I bought my latest MacBook that I was able to figure out a way to buy it with a little bit of a discount. However, even if I hadn’t, I still would have bought the computer. Buying a much cheaper PC is just not an option. Also, I’m not frugal about restaurants. I will never choose to eat at a restaurant because it will cost less than another restaurant. Dining choices are based strictly on quality.

F: When not updating FF, what else keeps you busy in the city?
LK: I enjoy taking my new sale puppy, Bacon, out for walks in Chicago’s many parks. In the summer I enjoy hitting up different farmer’s markets around the city. I just discovered the new French Market in Ogilvie and plan on heading down there on a regular basis to do the bulk of my grocery shopping. That market is amazing and has everything from meats to cheeses to freshly baked breads to Belgian french fries! Delicious! If you haven’t guessed, my favorite thing to do in the city when it comes right down to it is eat. I’m constantly trying new restaurants and trying to find new markets!

Mixing green drinks and new ideas with Peter Nicholson

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By , July 8, 2009 8:00 am

Peter Nicholson staring down the next wave of environmental solutions

Peter Nicholson staring down our generation's environmental issues

Always in search for the answers to unchartered environmental issues, Peter Nicholson shares his thoughts on the current state of the environmental movement, easy lifestyle changes to lower your carbon footprint, and places to see in Lincoln Square.  Aside from running a design consulting firm, Peter is also the host of Chicago’s green drinks – a mixer that incorporates both a panel to discuss environmental issues and an opportunity to network with the movers and shakers in the green industry.  If you don’t know anything about sustainability, or even if know everything about it, you should definitely stop by Green Drinks and pick Peter’s brain about the next big idea!

F: How did you get involved in the sustainability movement?

P: I came to it through design.  I didn’t just wake up one day and want to become an environmentalist.  When I knew that I wanted to pursue design, I asked myself what the interesting challenges and barriers were worth addressing with this approach.  As I became more involved, I realized that I was more compelled by those issues that emphasized empowering people to lead more meaningful and fulfilled lives rather than those focused on creating more stuff to be consumed.

F: Has your work evolved much since you first started getting into the sustainability movement?

P: Definitely.  I started getting into Sustainability and Sustainable Design in the mid to late 90s when few people were talking about it. As my understanding has developed, we’ve tried to incorporate more into our projects.  For awhile, it was primarily about environmental concerns, but now we’re striving to incorporate social and economic concerns into our work as well.  Step by step we are getting there.

F: What are some of your favorite design projects at Foresight Design?

P: It is always the next one – the one that we’re not doing yet!  I like to do things that I don’t know the answer for. For me, the most exciting projects are those that are in the realm of the unknown and we have to figure it out.  The sustainability world provides plenty of opportunities. There is no set roadmap for the problems we face, it is all new.

F: Are you ever worried about being able to find an answer for these unknown problems?

P: Oh every time! Yeah, there’s an element of terror, but it is also that fear that motivates you to push you ahead and think creatively. I take that emotion to drive the answer forward.  If the answer is out there, then we won’t have any clients.

F: How has the sustainability movement changed since you first started green drinks in 2003?

P: There are a lot more people involved with it right now!  When I started there were relatively few of us. Now there are all these people involved with diverse backgrounds and experiences.  Also, the culture awareness has definitely risen.  While we haven’t reached the tipping point yet by any means, I am now able to mention the word sustainability and not necessarily get blank looks in return.

F: Can you talk to us about how the economy has affected the green movement?

P: It has slowed things down in terms of people investing in new ideas and initiatives.  But  there is also great opportunity to change and do things differently. The economic downturn we are in, offers a chance to find a better way of doing things, whatever it is.

When the economy is down, a part of us wants to “recover” and go back to where we . Another side, however may question that and seek to let go, evolve and explore new ground, to recover differently. These two impulses compete with each other.  There is a security in the familiar even though at a certain level we know it is broken and corrupt – we shouldn’t be afraid of changing and moving towards an unknown direction.

F: You once said “Green should be the mass market norm, not the high-end alternative”…can you share some examples of any green mass market norms we can inject into our lives?

P: In general, sustainability shouldn’t cost more money.  Of course anytime you do something new, you don’t have the economies of scale yet and it is going to cost more.  But how about, not driving? How about buying a bike and selling your car? Or not buying a car, and joining a car sharing program instead.  That saves a ton of money.  It is these types of choices that can save us money and allow us to live healthier lives rather than continuing down a pollution generating or carbon generating path.

To do this, though, we really need a city with the infrastructure to support those behavioral changes. Thankfully in Chicago, we have a pretty robust car sharing system, and we have made progress on bike issues. The public transit system is ok, but really needs to be improved.  It is really these kinds of things that give you both greater quality of life at potentially lower cost.

F: What is your favorite technological invention so far?

P: I just bought a Wii and I think that is pretty cool, but when I was taking it out of the box I was like, that’s a lot of packaging!  I think my bike is great, especially with the gel seat that makes riding my bike so much better.  In reality, though, to me the solutions I really enjoy aren’t necessarily technological.  Take something like a green building.  It is not necessarily about putting solar panels all over the building, but more about designing it smarter. I’m not anti-technology, but sometimes the answer is just better thinking.

F: If you were President of the world, what are the first 3 things you would do?

Wow that’s a big question.  First, I would draft a law that says until everyone has enough food to eat and clean water to drink, investments into things such as heated car seats should not occur.  There is a certain injustice in how much time, energy, and intelligence we put into things that are on the verge of ridiculous when there are a lot of people with unmet basic needs.

Number 2, is that we institute Bhutan’s idea of gross national happiness. It is a concept that we consider development in terms of how it contributes to the well-being and contentment of as many people as possible, versus creating things just to make money. It is a very different paradigm than we’re used to.

Third, I would travel a lot…while offsetting the carbon footprint. Purely self-indulgent.

F: We enjoy traveling too! Where are your favorite destinations?

P: I have this habit of going back to the same places, like the Netherlands and the UK, to see some of my friends and sustainability colleagues.  The Pacific Northwest is great to visit because my family is there and because of the sustainability movement is going strong in that area.  New York is also a great place that I use to recharge and get inspired…it is a city that fuels my creative energy.

F: Can you describe your life out in Lincoln Square?

P: Besides taking advantage of the many modes of transportation here, there are some great restaurants, like Bistro Campagne, Spacca Napoli, and Garcias, and several independently owned coffee stores like the Perfect Cup, which we call our conference room. I also love walking around the neighborhood because of the tree lined streets and many residences have converted their lawns to gardens.  There is this Dutch word, gezellig, that I like to use to describe Lincoln Square – it basically means a warm, cozy and comfortable place.

F: We like the idea of green drinks – where do you guys host it?

P: We host green drinks at Jefferson Tap and Grill (325 N Jefferson). We’ve had it there for 2-3 years.  It is near the Green Line and Union Station so it is equally inconvenient for everybody.

You guys should definitely come and check out green drinks!  It is a meeting and educational hub where you can learn something from the panel discussion.  Also, people can join our email list to learn about what we do and how to get involved.  We want people to get beyond the awareness phase into being action driven.  That’s what we are here to do in a fun and meaningful way.

F: Any green buildings you recommend we check out?

P: One place to start is the Chicago Center for Green Technology.  It is a city owned LEED platinum building. Also, right behind it, is Rancho Verde, the headquarters of Christy Webber Landscaping, which is housed in a LEED platinum building.  With regards to high rises, definitely check out Jeanne Gang’s building called the Aqua.  It is near Randolph and Columbus, right behind the Blue Cross Blue Shield building.

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