Category: Wrigleyville

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!

Ohio to Chicago – a journey on the Megabus

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By , April 12, 2010 8:54 am
Glenn Mc Bride

Glenn Blogging Chicago

Funsherpa sits down with Glenn McBride, the blogger behind And Then What, to learn his experience of moving into Chicago, the eccentricities of the locals, and his travels on the treacherous Megabus.

F: What cities have you lived in?  How do they compare to Chicago?

G: Chicago is the first “major” city I’ve lived in. I was born outside of San Francisco, moved while I was very young to Pennsylvania and moved again to Northwest Ohio before I started first grade. Really, I have no memories of anything pre-Ohio. As for how Ohio cities compare to Chicago, I guess the biggest difference is Chicago has “things” while Ohio does not. Seriously, Ohio has nothing.

F: What eccentricities have you noticed in local Chicagoans?

G: The thing that strikes me more often than anything is just how much Chicagoans know about Chicago. I know that might sound strange, but I lived in the same city in Ohio for over 13 years and I still didn’t know much about it. Maybe it’s the storied history of this town that breeds a certain civic pride or maybe it’s just more interesting. Chicagoans know their stuff.

F: You seem to have taken the Megabus a few times, do you have any ‘dream’ Megabus trips?

G: To be fair, my ‘dream’ Megabus trip would be not taking the Megabus. It’s a way to travel when your options and resources are low, but it’s no luxury. If I could plan a trip with the Megabus to my own specifications I would do a few things to make it more enjoyable: 1.) Only my friends would be on board, I’m tired of sitting next to odd strangers. 2.) I would knock out six rows of seating to increase the leg room. 3.) I would set the course for Milwaukee. Why Milwaukee? Well, it’s close enough to drive in under two hours and it’s Milwaukee. Who could argue with Milwaukee?

F: If you were to project yourself 5 years in the future, what blog articles will you be writing about Chicago?

G: Hopefully one’s that pay well. But really there are three things I would love to be able to write about on a consistent basis with a decent audience: travel, sports and culture. I love going to new places and recounting the voyage. I love following almost any sports action and giving my two cents. And I love discussing culture and adding my inane views into the mix. If in five years I was focused on any of these three I would be happy. More importantly, I hope I am not writing about the CTA. There is nothing interesting or entertaining about the CTA. Nothing.

F: Are you indifferent between The Cubs and The Sox?

G: My sports allegiance will remain with Detroit for as long as I live, or until Detroit gives up on being a city, whichever comes first. With that said, the Tigers and White Sox are bitter enemies. I hate the White Sox. Add this to being able to see Wrigley outside my apartment window and the choice is even clearer. Maybe I’m the final piece the Cubs need to make their championship run. Or I just jinxed them for another hundred years. Who knows?

F: What are your favorite bars and restaurants in Wrigleyville?

G: Wrigleyville will never run out of restaurants to try or bars to lose yourself in, that’s for sure. People complain about the bar scene down on Clark and the surrounding areas, they say the clientele are all the same and it’s like a frat party. Well, as a relatively recent college grad, I don’t mind this…yet. I will admit that most of the bars blend together and seem pretty similar.    Restaurants, on the other hand, are as distinct as they are tasty. My personal favorite is Vines on Clark. On Mondays, when the Cubs aren’t playing, all food is half off! Do yourself a favor and check that place out.

F: Are there any other neighborhoods in Chicago that you particularly like?  Why?

G: Every neighborhood has its charm. It all depends on your mood. Lakeview, Lincoln Park, Wicker Park, wherever, you can find good and bad things about all of them. I love the fact that Chicago is so diverse and has distinct, separate areas. Sometimes, thought, I think the whole neighborhood thing gets blown out of proportion. People will argue about which is the next up-and-coming place to live or where the artists are grouping or where the best food is. It’s all Chicago, you know, it’s not as if these places are like foreign countries. The similarities are much closer than the differences.

F: What crazy things do you plan to do in Chicago this summer?

G: This will be my first full summer in Chicago and I hope it’s filled with plenty of excitement. Crazy things? I would like the do some kayaking, maybe in the river. I’ll be spending a good portion of my time training for the Chicago Marathon throughout the summer. I guess that’s pretty crazy, right? Maybe I’ll skydive. Who knows? Chicago has limitless opportunities. No need to plan it all out now. The truly crazy comes out of spontaneity.

Babysitting, Opera-singing Entrepreneur

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By , July 22, 2009 8:00 am

Gensmilin'Genevieve Thiers has a head full of ideas and a voice to match. Gen moved to Chicago seven years ago to attend Northwestern University’s prestigious School of Music. At the same time, she was busy launching the country’s premier caregiving website, Sittercity.com. Since settling in Chicago, Genevieve has built Sittercity from the ground up and started an opera company on the side for good measure. In her spare time, Gen sleeps, reads, and explores Chicago…

F: You are a native of Philadelphia, and you attended college in Boston. What made you decide to base your business here in Chicago?

A few things: I love Chicago’s location—the center of the country. You can get anywhere without having to face a 7-hour flight. And it’s a gorgeous city! So clean, with lots of tall buildings. Second, my husband is from this area and wanted to get reacquainted as an adult. But the final reason is that – in addition to being a CEO – I am also a trained opera singer. I wanted to attend Northwestern University’s School of Opera night program from 2002-2004. Of all the opera schools I considered, it was the best choice.

F: Sittercity has markets in cities across the country: what characterizes Chicago in the care-taking industry?

Chicago was not different from other markets in that it desperately needed Sittercity! What was different was how the locals approached care. More families tended to hire family members: it’s a Midwestern trait. But I think when they saw Sittercity was literally safer than hiring the girl-next-door, that quickly changed. In fact I’ve seen grandparents in this area on our site to find a sitter, so that they do not have to be the primary caregiver!

F: In your opinion, what are the most kid-friendly neighborhoods in Chicago?

I think that Glencoe, Wilmette, Skokie, and Highland Park are lovely. There’s also some great areas downtown: Southport in Wrigleyville is a great place to raise kids. The great thing about Chicago is that it’s tough to find a not-so-nice place to live.

F: Babysitting – full-time or on the side – is a long-standing and respected line of work. How do you recommend parents and sitters use babysitting as a way to supplement their lifestyle?

I think babysitting and nannying should be considered full-time careers in the United States, and right now, that is not the case. In the UK it’s perfectly normal to have a career as a nanny: there are even degrees that support it. Here, it’s considered something you do on the side – a means to an end. I’d like to change that…  I know a lot of care providers who would like to feel that their work counts as a full-time career.

F: Did you ever think childcare might become your career?

No… but, thinking back, I am not too surprised it became mine! I am the oldest of seven kids and have clocked over 2500 babysitting jobs in my life. I used to reassure 2-3 moms a day that they should go out and have fun—at the age of 16! So it’s very natural that this would end up being my career. And I even sing! I’ve played both Mary Poppins and Maria in The Sound of Music.

F: What was your funniest babysitting experience as a kid or as a sitter?

M brother, sister, and I were once all booked for the same job. The mom was nervous none of us would come and so triple-booked it to be sure!

F: You’ve also opened up the Chicago opera industry by starting Operamoda, an opera company featuring innovative operas and young performers. How receptive have Chicagoans been to a revamped opera company, since opera is such a selective taste in the first place?

OperaModa’s mission is to support young emerging opera singers and American opera. Chicago seems to love the combination. We just finished a show with the Elgin Opera, actually—Menotti’s The Telephone. It was so delightful – I loved every minute of it! The Telephone was also performed by Daniel Peretto—a hyper-talented young Chicago baritone—and directed by Amy Hutchison from the Lyric Opera. I love that I’m able to sing in a great opera company in Chicago without having to travel the globe.

F: What is your favorite modern opera?

I adore Menotti’s The Telephone, but I’ve also loved playing Dorine in Kirke Mechem’s Tartuffe and Beth in Mark Adamo’s Little Women.

F: What are your favorite performance venues around Chicago?

The Athenaeum is lovely, but also rather expensive. The Harris Center here is phenomenal. It’s my dream to perform there, and also at some point on the stage of Chicago Shakespeare Theater at Navy Pier. They do stunning work.

F: Was it always opera? When did opera enter the scene?

I’ve sung since the age of 11; my twin sister played piano. We were a bit like the Von Trapp family—many of us are musical. I went abroad my junior year of college to Oxford University, and it was there that I fell in love with opera. Before that, I had mostly done musicals: The Secret Garden, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Fiddler on the Roof… But then I sang in a production of Carmen, and it was never the same. There’s something so sophisticated and complex about the opera sound. It’s like tasting fine wine after drinking wine coolers: there’s no going back.

F: What was it like going back to school in a new city? And music school, no less?

Wonderful! I was ready for a change. I launched Sittercity.com in Boston at the start of the Internet boom. It was very exciting to see how fast it caught on. But I wanted to sing opera too, so Chicago seemed like the perfect place—centrally-located with a great music school and, as a bonus, my husband Dan knew it well and was able to tour me around. It was love at first sight! The funny thing really was juggling my opera schedule with my business career. One time I had a situation where I sang Act 1 of an opera (in a nun costume, no less), changed into a suit to go downtown for a meeting, and dashed back in time to sing Act 3. It was hilarious.

F: What would you say Evanston is like relative to Chicago?

Quieter…I attended opera school there, and so drove back and forth for two years between Sittercity’s office downtown and Evanston. I think Evanston is lovely, but I’m a city girl. You can’t beat tall buildings, bright lights and a beach.

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