If apple picking is a fall tradition for you, here are some options for a day trip or to include in your itinerary for your weekend about to Lake Geneva or Harbor Country. Predictions are that early October will make for good Fall Foliage road trips. [Read more…]
Written by Jessica Ashley
Just like fresh notebooks with untouched pages, brand new sneakers and a crisp breeze that blows across an otherwise smoldering hot day at Foster beach, pumpkin spice drinks are one of the first signs that autumn is on its way.
Whether you’re a fan of the spicy-squashy $6 coffee drinks or lotions or scones, or you’re not so keen on sipping it or slathering it on your body, you can still celebrate this autumnal trend right in your own home.
We’ve harvested a few favorite ways to bring pops of pumpkin spice into your living space so you can enjoy just enough of it all season (or year) long.
Something to Stare At Longingly While Leaves Fall Outside
If you can’t have a cup of joe permanently attached to your hand, you may as well have art that’s an homage to your love of pumpkin spice coffee. Replace your summer landscapes with art that speaks right to your warmed-up and whipped-cream-topped heart. And while your seasonal latte might not be on the menu year-round, you can always opt to keep your art up until you’re able to order it again.
This pop art print, Woman Holding a Huge Cup of Coffee, is available exclusively on Art.com, and is also available framed or laminated. $14.99 and up.
Something Cheeky for Your Kitchen
Remind your loved ones that you really do adore them more than your morning fix while adding a pop of pumpkin-y orange to the place where you all gather at the beginning and end of each day. Go for even more color pow by pairing these tea towels with complimentary dish towels, scrub cloths and luxe table linens.
These sweet and spicy tea towels are available at Anthropologie (both online and in-store). $16.
Someplace to Rule the Roost
Pick your favorite flavor in a solid, craftsman customizable chair that’s just the place you need to be to oversee the year’s end. Choose a scrumptious blood orange or soothing lighter shade to spice up your living space, office or wherever your command central is located. Inspired by Danish design, pieces like this are both art and furniture and add tang to go-to neutral tone decor.
The Soto chair by Joybird pictured here in Key Largo Coral and Cordova Amber, is a best seller at District furniture boutique on the North Side of the city. Play with all your customizing options online at Joybird or visit District to ease into their furniture in person. $799 and up.
Something to Show Style on Your Shelves and Tables
If you’re not into design clichés or all-too-obvious decor that screams PUMPKIN, PEOPLE!, choose stealthy style to go alongside your first-edition book collection or after-dinner coffee service. If you need a bit more function from your nearly-hidden autumnal touches, opt for a bowl where you can eventually stash Halloween treats, your keys or gift cards to the local coffee shop.
Balloon glass vases available individually and in sets in limited quantities on Wayfair. $60 and up.
Something to Add Color to Your Blah Couch
That lovely worn leather or soft beige microfiber couch is the perfect space to create a canvas of color. Spend a few dollars on slipcovers for the throw pillows you have, or splurge on some with saturated colors, rich textiles and the same ahhh comfort in the first sip of coffee each day. Throw in a fuzzy, cream-colored pillow if you’re the kind who confidently says ‘yes’ to adding an extra dollop to your morning cup.
Find your perfect pop of pillow color in big-box retailers or exclusive online gift boutiques. Here, the orange leaf applique pillow is available at Target, the leather clutch pillow is at Pfeifer Studio, and the stand-out shag puff and embroidered fleur-de-lys pillows are at Anthropologie. $29 to $179.
Someplace to Pull On Your Leather Boots
Aside from the practicality of needing a place to lace up your cool-weather gear or stretch out while you binge-watch Ozark, an ottoman can be used in many other ways throughout the year – night stand, dry-cleaning pile holder, place to rest your belongings in the front hall. With all this purpose, doesn’t this lovely workhorse deserve to come in a sumptuous autumnal color?
If you’re ready for a statement, stretch out on this mid-century tufted ottoman bench on Houzz. The nail-head detail upholstered ottoman by Safavieh is so affordable, you may want to buy a pair, here on Amazon. Find this cozy knitted tawny-colored pouf at your local CB2. $79 – $129.
Something that Says Your Holiday Game is Strong
A wreath welcomes guests – and you, into a sanctuary of delight after a long day of spreadsheets and not nearly enough caffeine. Choose a door or centerpiece wreath crafted from fresh flowers, dried fruits and plants. Or DIY your own (and spray lovingly with the essential oils below) or invest in a lush artificial wreath you can hang year after year.
Something to Serve Up Your Own Brew
For decor or for sharing whatever you’ve just simmered, stirred, baked or brought home from the deli, add a vibrant serving tray, set of monogrammed glasses, dishware or a sweet little singing kettle to your entertainment wares. From your favorite mulled recipe to pumpkin spice martinis, or holiday hand-pies and generous slices of smoked ham – it will all taste better when served on something gorgeously orange.
The sleek and useful Zuma orange lacquer tray and ombre demi kettle by Le Creuset are both at Crate & Barrel. Monogrammed acrylic wine glasses for raucous parties, outdoor excursions or just the convenience of the dishwasher are available on Mark & Graham. Find the watercolor harvest pumpkin plate set at Pottery Barn. $29.95 – $79.
Something That’s Cheap, Scrumptious and Calorie-Free
Maybe you don’t have the budget or patience or time to decorate your home with fall touches. No judgment. You can still fill your home with as much pumpkin-inspired pampering as you like with essential oils. Add a few drops to your bubble bath, mix into coconut oil and dab on your wrists, or diffuse it in your car or wherever things smell not-so-delicious. Ahhh, divine.
This aromatherapy set is available on Etsy. $6.50 and up.
1-3 CHICAGO JAZZ FESTIVAL Millennium Park
1-3 LOBSTER FEST Navy Pier
8 MSI AFTER HOURS COMEDY LAB Museum of Science and Industry
8-9 WINDY CITY WINE FEST Buckingham Fountain
8-24 WORLD MUSIC FESTIVAL Various Locations
9-10 LAKEVIEW EAST FESTIVAL OF THE ARTS Broadway St. from Belmont to Hawthorne
9-10 RENEGADE CRAFT FAIR Division from Damen to Paulina
13-17 MODERN ART EXPO Navy Pier
15-17 Riot Fest Douglas Park
16-17 RAVENSWOOD ART WALK
16-17 LAKEVIEW TACO FEST
17-18 CITY MADE FEST Clark & Argyle
19 – 24 CHICAGO GOURMET
23-24 MIDNIGHT CIRCUS IN THE PARKS McKinley Park, 2210 W Pershing Rd
23-24 RANDOLPH STREET MARKET FESTIVAL (Antiques & Indie Designers) Lake Shore Park
23-24 HYDE PARK JAZZ FESTIVAL Multiple Locations
29-10/1 OKTOBERFEST CHICAGO Southport Ave. & Lincoln Ave.
30-10/1 FULTON MARKET OCTOBERFEST
You scream, I scream, who doesn’t love ice cream?
If you’re like us, you probably find yourself indulging in Halo Top most often but we promise you don’t wanna miss out on Chicago’s ice cream scene. Keep reading to see some of our suggestions, and let us know your favorite spot in the comments.
Jeni’s uses The Fellowship Model by working directly with their suppliers in order to offer you ice creams that have a uniquely smooth texture & buttercream body.
Jeni’s distinct flavor is due to founder Jeni Britton Bauer’s strategy of using whole ingredients & dairy from grass-pastured cows, rather than synthetic flavorings & commodity ice cream mix.
Jeni’s has four Chicago locations and you can buy online too!
Recommendation: Brambleberry Crisp
Aside from using only the freshest ingredients, what makes Graeter’s unique is the French Pot Process that they use to make their ice cream.
Graeter’s has two shops on the North Shore, but you should be able to find this in most grocery stores throughout Chicagoland.
Pro tip: Greater’s also offers a low-glycemic ice cream for those who need less sugar.
Recommendation: Black Cherry Chocolate Chip
This neighborhood favorite serves up ice cream, concretes, shakes & malts. Aside from the delicious ice cream, Lickity Split also offers Metropolis Coffee and they’ve partnered with local businesses to offer all sorts of candy & pastries.
Recommendation: PB & Fudge
With two Chicago locations, Margie’s Candies is a go-to spot for many Chicagoans when the ice cream craving hits. Margie’s ice cream & toppings are made fresh, using all natural and kosher ingredients.
Margie’s also makes their own waffle cones if that’s something you prefer. Don’t miss out on Margie’s delicious homemade candy if you do decide to make the trip.
Recommendation: The Turtle Split
There’s a reason Time Out named this place one of the best ice cream shops in America in 2015.
You can watch the frozen custard get made fresh at this Roscoe Village shop. Scooter’s uses local ingredients from the family farmers of central Wisconsin, considered America’s Dairyland.
Recommendation: Boston Shake
It wouldn’t be a true Chicago ice cream shop recommendation list if we didn’t include Original Rainbow Cone. The home of this shop is on the far south side of Chicago, but visitors can take in the rainbow goodness at their Navy Pier outpost.
The signature five-flavor rainbow cone features scoops of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House, pistachio, and orange sherbet stacked to make a mountain of goodness.
Recommendation: Rainbow Cone
The annual Chicago Air & Water Show makes its triumphant return to North Avenue Beach on August 19th & 20th for another weekend of aerial magic and water-front stunts.
In preparation for the big event, be sure you have your viewing spot settled. The beach might seem like the most rational place to watch the show, but it can get overwhelmingly crowded on the weekend.
Keep reading for some of the city’s best places to watch the show.
From the Roof
If you’ve been in need of a reason to visit a Chicago rooftop bar, this is it. There are quite a few rooftop hangouts in Chicago that will be offering prime views of this year’s show.
Photo Credit: J. Parker (Boka Restaurant Group)
Atop Hotel Lincoln is the J. Parker, a chic rooftop hangout with dazzling views of the city. Craft cocktails and seasonal small plates await you here; don’t miss the specialty cocktail, The Aviation, being served in honor of the Air & Water Show.
Perched above the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, Cindy’s rooftop in the Loop features an open-air terrace with panoramic views of Millennium Park, the Art Institute, Lake Michigan, and beyond.
It’s not quite a rooftop setting, but the views don’t get much better than the 95th floor of the John Hancock building. For $175/person, your exclusive all-day admission treats you to premium seating, a gourmet buffet, an extensive bar package and one of the best views in the city.
From the Beach
While the main hub of the Air & Water Show is North Avenue Beach, there are a few Chicago beaches that offer great views, and might have a little more room to spare.
Photo Credit: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events
North Avenue Beach | Lincoln Park
If you’re looking to watch the show from home base, you’ll want to head to North Avenue Beach early on the 19th or 20th. Prime viewing spots are sure to be taken up early.
Oakwood Beach | South Shore
Looking to enjoy the show in a more relaxed, less-crowded setting? Oakwood Beach is the place for you.
Photo Credit: Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs & Special Events
Montrose Beach | Lakeview
If you’re looking to take in the show with your furry friend, you should check out Montrose Beach. With a dog-friendly area, it’s the perfect setting for you and your pooch to enjoy the sights and sounds of this always-anticipated event.
Ohio Street Beach | Streeterville
Another popular spot to catch the show is Ohio Street Beach, where you can enjoy an all-you-can-eat-and-drink package at Caffé Olivia. For more info, head here.
From the Water
Take your beachfront view to the next level and hop on one of Chicago’s cruise lines!
All three of the Chicago cruise lines will be operating throughout the weekend for people to enjoy the Air & Water Show. To learn more about pricing and the schedules, check out the links above.
There are few places quite like Lake Geneva during the summer. From sun-filled days on the water to Saturday mornings spent perusing the lake shore path, you will have no problem finding relaxation here. Keep reading to see the best that the Lake Geneva area has to offer.
Pier 290 | Williams Bay
Looking for farm-to-table fare in a waterfront setting? You’ll want to visit Pier 290 in Williams Bay. They offer a number of upscale American options, all locally sourced.
Simple Café | Lake Geneva
Simple Café offers a variety of health-focused & farm-to-table breakfast & lunch options. Word on the street is that the Apple Crumble French Toast is a must try.
Mad Dan’s | Twin Lakes
If you’re seeking some hearty American fare, check out Mad Dan’s in Twin Lakes. Aside from regular daily specials, they also offer fish fry on Fridays as well as breakfast on Sundays.
Joni’s Diner | Lake Geneva
Looking for a homestyle American breakfast? Look no further than Joni’s Diner in Lake Geneva.
Popeye’s on Lake Geneva | Lake Geneva
This quirky Lake Geneva landmark is a great spot for those looking for a casual meal in a fun setting. Be sure to try the famous flame roasted chicken!
Kilwins | Lake Geneva
If you haven’t yet experienced the magic that is Kilwins’ Mackinac Island fudge, we highly suggest you do so. Aside from their legendary fudge, Kilwins also serves up a variety of chocolates & homemade ice cream.
Angelus | Walworth
Whether you’re a Lake Geneva local or you’re just visiting, a trip to Angelus for some design inspiration is never a bad call. If there’s anything you need in relation to your home or garden, you’re sure to find it here.
Apple Barn Orchard & Winery | Elkhorn
For those looking to try some award winning wine, Apple Barn Orchard & Winery in Elkhorn is a must-visit. The Apple Barn Winery specializes in fruit wines made from fruits & berries.
Everything Homespun | Delavan
Looking for a shopping adventure? Everything Homespun is one of the largest & most unusual primitive, country, & farmhouse shops in the Midwest. From antiques & handmade gifts to farmhouse & rustic items, Everything Homespun has it all.
Southeast Wisconsin has a number of Farmer’s Markets taking place at any point throughout the week. Check out the links below to learn more about each area’s market.
If you’re looking to elevate your trip to Lake Geneva, look no further than the Lake Geneva Balloon Company. This is the perfect outing for a couple looking for a romantic experience with breathtaking views.
The Shore Path around Geneva Lake features historic estates with well-kept lawns and gardens. This path lasts over 26 miles, so it could be a full day excursion if you’re up for it.
If you’re looking to explore Lake Geneva by water, you’ll want to check out the Lake Geneva Cruise Line. From a tour of one of the last remaining U.S. Mailboats to a full tour of Williams Bay, you’re sure to find a tour the whole family can agree on.
Consistently rated one of the best golf destinations in the country, Geneva National is the go-to for golfers in the area. With courses designed by golf legends like Arnold Palmer & Gary Player, you know you’re up for a challenge.
Rated as Lake Geneva’s top attraction on TripAdvisor, you’ll want to see what the hype is about at the Tristan Crist Magic Theater. Tristan’s show is open year-round with new illusions added every year.
6/30-7/2 WINDY CITY RIBFEST IN UPTOWN – Lawrence & Broadway
5-9 TASTE OF CHICAGO – Grant Park
7-9 MILLENNIUM ART FESTIVAL – Lake Street at Michigan Avenue
7-9 SQUARE ROOTS (Craft, Beer & Music) – 4400-4600 N. Lincoln Ave.
7-9 WEST FEST – 1800-2000 W. Chicago
8-9 ROSCOE VILLAGE BURGER FESTIVAL – 2200 W. Belmont Ave.
8-9 CHICAGO MARGARITA FESTIVAL off SOUTH SHORE BEACH – South Shore Cultural Center – 7059 South South Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60649
14-16 PITCHFORK MUSIC FESTIVAL – Union Park, 1501 W. Randolph St
15-16 SOUTHPORT ARTS FESTIVAL – 3733 N. Southport
16 DEARBORN GARDEN WALK – Noon to 5p.m. Entry at The Latin Middle School (45 W. North Blvd)
21-23 TASTE OF RIVER NORTH – Kingsbury St. & Erie St.
24 SHEFFIELD GARDEN WALK & FESTIVAL – 2200-2300 N. Sheffield Ave.
29 BITES, BLOOMS AND BORDEAUX – Lincoln Park Zoo
29 TOUR de FAT CHICAGO – Palmer Square
29-30 WICKER PARK FEST
Sweet, sweet summertime.
Now that summer is officially here, there are plenty of things to do in Chicago during everyone’s favorite season. If you want to spend even more time taking in the fresh air and Vitamin D, move your workout routine outdoors.
It’s free, it’s easy and when it comes to choosing an activity, the options are endless.
We asked four of Chicago’s leading fitness experts about how they work out under the sun and how you can, too.
Clockwise from the top left: April Sutton, Certified Personal Trainer and Professional Stuntwoman, Sutton Strong; Jeremy Walton, Co-Director of Training, Shred415; Tracy Schy, Chief Sweat Officer, WheelPower Studio; Heather Pande, Certified Personal Trainer.
What are some of the biggest benefits of an outdoor workout?
April Sutton: One of the benefits of taking your workouts outdoors is the fact that you can get more creative. I tend to work out harder simply because there isn’t as much equipment. Exercising outdoors helps expand your lung capacity, which improves endurance and cardiovascular health.
Jeremy Walton: I would say the number one benefit of outdoor training is that the options are so endless. When training outside the body adapts to the elements the outside world creates: steps, water, sand, trails, urban structures.
Most gyms [and] studios are controlled and limited in their environment, but when you take away the walls and the air conditioning you are realigned to the elements and challenge the body in ways that nothing else can compare.
Tracy Schy: You don’t always need to be in a studio with fancy equipment to get a great workout in. There is always room for versatility. [At] Bodyweight Bootcamp classes, we use our bodies and our surroundings to promote health and build muscular endurance.
Heather Pande: Getting outside and out of the gym can increase your enthusiasm and break you out of your rut. Changing your environment will expose you to fresh air, Vitamin D, and keep your workouts interesting and stimulating.
Some studies show that just spending time in nature can reduce anxiety, lower blood pressure and stress and even boost your immunity.
Some of my clients tell me they experience higher energy levels and less depression when enjoying the beauty of the outdoors.
Where do you like to work out outdoors?
April Sutton: I enjoy working out at on a hill or track for agility workouts. I can combine my isometrics circuits such as push-ups, squats, & lunges with an occasional sprint on the track or hill. I feel more athletic and free in a sense.
Jeremy Walton: The best thing about outdoor workouts in Chicago is how many options there are. I don’t have one place, I have many.
The 606 trail, Milton Olive Park, Oakwood Beach, Montrose Park, Swallow Cliff Steps, the River Walk. Even local fitness studios bring workouts outside: Shred415 outdoor workouts at the Park at Wrigley, Fitbit offers free workouts at a different location each month, Lululemon offers free yoga at Oz Park.
With all of these options, you could truly do something different every single day for the entire summer.
Tracy Schy: I love being outside and making it as diverse as I possibly can. For cardio, I like taking my outdoor workout to dirt bike paths with my mountain bike. The Des Plaines River Trail is a favorite.
Also, I usually compete in the Chicago Inline Skate Marathon every summer. So, finding paved trailed and local hilly roads on the North Shore to roller blade on is a must.
For strength workouts, I enjoy being at the playground. There are so many upper body and core exercises that can be done there.
Heather Pande: The park, the beach, the rooftop deck… the entire city has been my gym. There are Divvy bikes everywhere. Kayak rentals. Most beaches even rent out paddle boards, which is a great core workout. There are beach volleyball nets to rent for pickup games.
Feeling old school? Put on some roller skates (or roller blades) and skate along our most beautiful lakefront. Take a yoga mat and some friends and find a grassy spot in Lincoln Park. Feeling super adventurous? There are swimming lanes between Oak Street Beach and Ohio Street Beach.
Or, just explore our city on foot. Take a train five miles and walk home. Wrigley Field, Museum Campus, Millennium Park and the Riverfront all make a great background for the walking explorer.
How do you find that an outdoor workout impacts you differently than an indoor workout?
April Sutton: I feel that outdoor workouts give me less anxiety. I do not feel as confined. There are not as many people watching so I have a clearer head space when doing so.
I notice it helps clear a lot of my client’s heads after they have been in the office all day.
Jeremy Walton: It’s hard to deny the connection to the world when you are running along the lakefront in the morning and watching the sunrise over the lake, or experiencing the true beauty of our city doing a yoga session at Millennium as the sun sets over downtown. The mental clarity, freedom, and peace that come from that experience are as real as it gets.
Tracy Schy: I have always found both [indoor and outdoor workouts] to be rewarding. I really enjoy an intense indoor cycle class, and I’m able to “let go” during them. However, I find that I push myself just as hard when met with natural obstacles outdoor cycling as well. It’s a toss up really.
Heather Pande: I like indoor and outdoor workouts equally. There are definitely benefits to both. As a personal trainer, I always stress the benefits of keeping your routine fresh and regularly changing up your workout. So if changing venues can facilitate the needed variety, I say do it.
Have you found anything new or interesting about your community by taking your workout outdoors?
April Sutton: What I have found interesting about working out outdoors in my community is that there are a lot of hidden gems.
I have explored more on my cycling trips for outdoor spots to workout and I have found hills, staircases, pull up bars, chin up bars, new tracks, & new turfs that are very accessible.
Also, mentioning outdoor activities to other people motivates others to do the same. I mentioned a tennis workout to someone the other day and now they would like to meet up for outdoor tennis sessions.
Jeremy Walton: I think my favorite experience from outdoor workouts is the aftermath. Getting together with friends for an outdoor workout and then getting drinks afterward, or if it’s a morning run/workout then getting brunch.
Chicago knows that the outdoor weather months are short and the full balance of sweat and smiles is never taken for granted. It’s the reason I love this city so much.
Tracy Schy: I have found that there are numerous running and outdoor cycle groups which meet on a weekly basis. These groups seem to be growing by the minute. It’s a wonderful thing. We live in such a fabulously fit community.
Heather Pande: Dodgeball! There are numerous leagues like softball, volleyball, soccer, etc… but I was so surprised by how much fun I had playing Dodgeball. It was a great workout and the competitiveness really pushed me to try my best. Not only did I get a great workout, I had a fantastic time.
I also liked the sunset kayak tour available on Montrose Beach. And never forget the value of carrying a jump rope! Fast way to get some cardio in without lugging heavy equipment. And if you haven’t heard of The 606 [trail], I strongly encourage you to Google it and explore! A true gem.