Category: Wicker Park / Bucktown

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!

Experiencing the Chicago political scene with Alderman Manny Flores

By , August 10, 2009 8:00 am

Alderman Flores

Alderman Flores

Politics isn’t business as usual at the first ward of Chicago – we talk to Alderman Flores about his environmental initiatives and Chicago’s bid for the 2016 Olympics!

F: You’ve been in office for 6 years now, how has the 1st Ward evolved since you took over as Alderman?

The 1st Ward has experienced incredible growth in residential and commercial development during my time in office. I find that more families are settling in our community, and that many of our neighbors have become more active and engaged in important neighborhood matters such as development, education, and community safety.

F: What are some of the things you’ve learned as an Alderman?

I have become a better listener and possess a better appreciation of how laws and policies affect everyday people. I also learned that we can never dream too big – we must continue to push boundaries and experiment with innovative strategies to make our city even better.

F: Chicago has a pretty bad political reputation. Are you doing anything to help change that image?

One cornerstone of my political beliefs is that government only works when citizens are informed and engaged. Two examples of legislation that I have passed to ensure transparency in Chicago politics are the TIF Sunshine Ordinance and the City Asset Lease Disclosure Ordinance. Both laws require the city to post financial agreements on the City of Chicago website for public view. In order to make Chicago a leader in transparency, taxpayers deserve to know where their money is spent.

Additionally, I host community meetings to solicit feedback on important Ward issues in the areas of community development and safety. I also hold open office hours and heavily rely on social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter to inform and engage my constituents.

F: One of the topics you are very passionate about is environmental responsibility and sustainability. How are you keeping the movement alive given the current economic challenges and perceived high costs?

I see environmental sustainability as a crucial factor in getting our economy back on track. As a result, I have focused on sustainability as we work to stimulate our local economy. While some might argue that living sustainably might have some upfront costs, those actions ultimately result in lower electricity bills, lower gas payments, cleaner air, and a more livable community. As Alderman of the 1st Ward, I continue to promote the development of “green” buildings, holding workshops for development professionals to explain the true costs associated with green construction, and to expand public incentives for businesses and developments that are environmentally responsible.

F: How can we support the green movement in Chicago?

I believe that one important way to support the green movement in Chicago is through expanding the green marketplace. We should all support local businesses that buy and build locally and are good neighbors to their communities.

It is also key that residents help build a local economy that supports these types of businesses. That is why I launched GreenEconomyChicago.com, an interactive website which serves as an online platform for citizen-driven policy making. Participants can log-in and submit their ideas, build on others’ ideas, or share links to information related to building a green economy in Chicago.

F: If Chicago gets the 2016 Olympics, you will…

I will continue to advocate for the proper management of the 2016 Olympic Games and make certain that there is transparency and accountability. I will also work to ensure that all communities benefit from the Games. The Olympic Games can be an incredible benefit to the city if they are properly managed, and I am very hopeful that we are selected.

F: As a resident of Wicker Park, can you share with us some of the things you do there outside of politics?

I like to spend time with my son Teddy and wife Georgina visiting the local parks and eating at our great local restaurants.

F: Families usually move out to the suburbs, you are obviously still in the city. What are some of your favorite activities in the city with your family?

I enjoy the lake, the parks, restaurants, museums, and all of the unique neighborhoods.

F: Chicago’s best kept secret is…

Chicago’s best kept secret is Margie’s Candies in the Logan Square neighborhood. Margie’s has been around for a long time and is not much of a secret, but deserves mention because of its great ice cream.


Entering the fashion scene with award winning designer Anna Hovet

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By , June 10, 2009 8:00 am

Anna scheming to take over the Chicago fashion scene

Anna scheming to take over the Chicago fashion scene

Fashion designer and entrepreneur Anna Hovet shares her thoughts on her style, Patty Blagojevich, and the best designed food in Chicago. Voted recently as the Chicago Reader’s best clothing designer for 2009, Anna is on her way to transforming the local fashion scene and making her mark in it. A native of North Dakota, and graduate of the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, she now lives in Bucktown with her dog, Danny.

About Anna from the designer’s mouth

F: What did you want to be when you were a kid? Why?

A: When I was a kid I wanted to be the first female president. As a child I dreamed about changing the world and I still do. Using fashion as a platform to influence the world deeply inspires me. Not by starting trends and having celebrity clients, but by putting meaning into my special collections and using fame and profits to support worthwhile causes.

F: You mentioned in a previous interview that over-stylized outfits on music videos got you started in fashion design…can you walk us through your style evolution?

A: When I was young, watching music videos was my gateway from a small city in North Dakota to an ultra cool fantasy land filled with super cool people and crazy fashion. The clothing was ridiculous and the trends were over exaggerated (think 1997 Missy Elliot, Gwen Stefani, Spice Girls, and Puff Daddy), but they were the trendiest styles for youth. My favorite group was TLC, unique and sexy, with a tomboy attitude. By the time I got to high school I was bored with music videos and haven’t watched them much since. I’m not sure I can really define the evolution of “my style” because it is continuously changing with what inspires me, what is trendy, and what is going on in my world. Overall my style is always very youthful, edgy, and feminine.

F: Who do you think would look better on Patty Blagojevich, Maria Pinto or John Galliano? Why?

A: As a politician’s wife one would expect to see her in Pinto, but with her wacky family and thirst for attention, maybe Galliano would be more suitable.

F: In an ideal world, funsherpa would have a TV show similar to the Iron Chef, except it would be a battle between fashion designers. If we gave you copper wire as the special ingredient to create something out of, what would you create/design?

A: Copper wire would be awesome to work with! I would create a strapless dress that sculpted the wearer’s body into an exaggerated hourglass shape. The wire would be twisted and braided in different ways to create a intricate texture. It would be dope!

F: 30 years from now, what do you see people wearing?

A: I think by 2039 consumers will want sustainable fabric, so much of the clothing will be organic cottons. Americans love comfort and designers will have to adhere to these demands with stylish clothing that is wearable and easily washable (example: my cotton jersey convertible dresses, which are unique and stylish yet easy and comfortable). Also be because of globalization people will be able to get their clothing online from anywhere in the world, so people will have more access to their own individual style.

High fashion low maintenance convertible dress

High fashion low maintenance convertible dress

F: As a fashion designer, what frustrates you the most?

A: It frustrates that people think what I do is easy and that I make money. As a start-up company I do everything by myself: design, finances, marketing, sourcing, etc. With the start-up costs and the poor economy I will make very little profit this year so I’m living on unemployment from my previous job for now. Plus I manufacture all my garments in Chicago, which is important to me but minimizes my profit margins.

F: Your perfect model would look like…

A: Size 4, 5’10”, pouty lips, piercing light-colored eyes, huge eyelashes, and something very unique about her, maybe a cute tattoo, beauty mark – something that makes her special.

F: When you need to escape away from Chicago, where do you travel to?

A: I love to visit Grand Forks, ND. I grew up there and my family still lives there. It is a quiet and peaceful with friendly people. While I am there I spend time eating a lot, at hockey games, snowmobiling, or relaxing at the lake.

Secrets of Chicago from the eyes of Anna

F: What neighborhood do you live in and what do you do out there in your spare time?

A: I live in Bucktown and spent a lot of time in my backyard with my dog Danny. I love the Wicker Park/Bucktown neighborhood because there are so many things to do and the people are all so interesting.

F: Best designed food in Chicago?

The Chicago-style hot dog is not only delicious but aesthetically pleasing. The color palette is great, especially the neon green sweet pickle relish. Plus the design is very convenient to hold and eat!

F: Lets say you had $10,000 to finish in a day, where would you spend it in Chicago? How about $100?

A: I’m very practical when it comes to money so I’d probably buy industrial sewing machines and fabric with $10,000. But I also love throwing parties, so maybe I’d throw a huge runway show/party! I’ve always wanted to go on a tour of Chicago in one of those double-decker buses, so I think I’d use the $100 for that, along with a map, fanny pack, and some SPF90 sunblock (I have very pale Norwegian skin that hates the sun).

F: Where do the best dressed people hangout in Chicago?

A: Wicker Park, I get most of my inspiration from the young artists in the neighborhood who invent their own style. Musicians like The Cool Kids, Flosstrodomus, Kid Sister, and Hollywood Holt attract the most creative and youthful crowds.

Hovet's blueprint to take over the world

Hovet's blueprint to take over the world

F: Is there anything unique in Chicago’s style that you wish the rest of the world would catch on to?

A: Mens Streetwear in Chicago is very unique – Leaders1354, St. Alfred’s, and Fashion Geek are all influencing streetwear fashion on a national level. I wish there were similar stores for the ladies in Chicago. The American Midwest in general is more practical than stylish, so Chicago could always be more style conscious.

F: We like your stuff. Where can we buy it?

A: One-of-a-kind pieces will be available this summer through my website. My fall ready-to-wear collection will be sold at AKIRA starting in September and through my website in October.

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