The Inside Scoop
Learn what’s hot and what’s happening in Chicago this summer
With all there is to do and see in Chicago, it’s understandable feeling a little overwhelmed when deciding what to tackle next. For that reason, we take aim at giving you the inside scoop on upcoming events, tips, hidden gems and what’s new around town.
CIRQUE SHANGHAI EXTREME AT NAVY PIER
Imagine taking elements of the Olympics and combining them with aerial acrobatics. Thrilling twists and action-packed stunts creating a jaw-dropping experience and the ultimate wow factor. Cirque Shanghai Extreme is that and much more, and this summer, Navy Pier’s 1,500-seat, open-air Skyline Stage will host this spectacle from June 23-Sept. 5.
This show is for audiences of all ages, and a first for Chicago. The concept originated in China, and this is the sixth year this talented team of performers has come together, only this time, they’re making the act the most extreme it has ever been. Over the 75-minute performance, Cirque Shanghai Extreme gradually progresses and becomes increasingly more exhilarating.
“Americans like to be entertained one way — in your face and on your head,” company manager John Cochrane says.
A little taste of what to expect: Try four motorcyclists balancing themselves on a wire 24 feet in the air, a Shaolin Kung Fu sword fighting sequence and a floating cube aerial act featuring a five-foot-long cube suspended above the stage with artists performing astonishing balancing feats inside.
New this year, tickets for kids ages 3–12 are only $15 for any seat in the house, and adult tickets range from $17.50-$32.50. Tickets are available by calling 800-745-3000 or visiting www.ticketmaster.com/shanghai
— PHASHA SPENCER
MUSEUM FREE DAYS
Free days this summer: June: 1, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. Check www.AdlerPlanetarium.org for possible dates in July and August.
Art Institute of Chicago
Log on to www.artic.edu for possible free dates this summer.
Chicago Children’s Museum
Free for everyone on Thursdays from 5-8 p.m. Free for ages 15 and under on the first Sunday of every month.
Chicago History Museum
Free every Monday from 9:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Field Museum of Natural History
Free (general admission) June 6-10 and Aug. 31.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Free and open to the public 365 days per year from 10 a.m.-5 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art
Free every Tuesday from 10 a.m.-8 p.m.
Museum of Science and Industry
Free general admission on June 1, 2, 6, 7, 8, and 9.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
“Suggested Donation Days” every Thursday.
Community Discount Week, which includes free admission to the aquarium’s original galleries, is June 12-17. Other discounts are available as well.
SECOND CITY’S NEIGHBORHOOD TOUR
For the second straight year, The Second City will be conducting “The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour,” a humorous and historic walking tour of Chicago’s beautiful Old Town neighborhood every Sunday and Wednesday through the end of October.
Written by Margaret Hicks, an experienced Chicago tour guide and author of Chicago Comedy: A Fairly Serious History, “The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour” both entertains and informs while highlighting the architecture, history and development of Old Town as well as various Second City alumni haunts and the intriguing stories that go with them. The tour ends inside The Second City theatre and provides guests a chance to view the lobby photo display documenting more than 52 years of comedy.
Tickets for “The Second City’s Neighborhood Tour” are $15 per person and can be purchased directly from the box office at (312) 337-3992 or online at www.SecondCity.com. The tours run every Sunday at 1 p.m. and Wednesday at 4 p.m.
Reservations are recommended, and additional days and times are available for larger groups.
BLUES BROTHERS TRIBUTE HITS TOWN JULY 6-24
“The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers,” the smash hit featuring cast members from the original London run, will make its U.S. debut at the Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University from July 6-24.
Jake and Elwood Blues will once again be donning their iconic hats, sunglasses and suits to bring to life a host of the duo’s most memorable hits, including “Shake A Tail Feather,” “Think,” “Respect,” “Gimme Some Loving” and the toe-tapping classic “Everybody Needs Somebody To Love!” The hit West End show is being upgraded for Jake and Elwood’s return to Chicago with a brand new set, updated choreography and new songs.
Following its modest premiere in a small seaside pub in Brighton in 1991, “The All New Original Tribute to the Blues Brothers” quickly became a runaway success, extending from six to an unprecedented 46 weeks, playing to more than 150,000 people.
Tickets to the July 6-24 performances are $25-$55 and are available online at Ticketmaster.com, by calling (800) 982-2787 or in-person at the box office (50 E. Congress Parkway).
CLIMB ABOARD CHICAGO’S FIRST LADY AND MERCURY SKYLINE CRUISES
■ American Girl Dinner & Chicago’s First Lady River Cruise — New for 2011 and especially created for families and girls (ages 8-12) and their American Girl character dolls, the evening includes dinner in the café and an exclusive river cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises on June 26, July 10, July 24, Aug. 7 and Aug. 14. Advance reservations are required by contacting American Girl Place 1-877-247-5223.
- The Official Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise — One of Chicago’s top tourist attractions runs through Nov. 20.
- Sunday Canine Cruises — Thousands of canines and their owners have enjoyed this weekly, 90-minute lake and river cruise. Season opens Sunday, July 10.
- Sky-High Sightseeing — The John Hancock Observatory returns as a partner to double the cruising fun with some sky-high views of Chicago all summer long.
- Wacky Pirate Cruise — Little buccaneers will have a great time with Buccaneer Bob during our 60-minute cruise with games, contests and stories. Running July 29 and Aug. 5.
- Chicago by Night — Timed to coincide with the sunset, the 90-minute river and lake cruise provides unforgettable sunset views of Chicago’s famous skyline.
All cruises depart from the Riverside Gardens dock at the lower level and southeast corner of the Michigan Avenue bridge and Wacker Drive. For ticket information, call 1-800-982-2787 or log on to www.mercuryskylinecruiseline.com or www.cruisechicago.com.
TBS JUST FOR LAUGHS CHICAGO RETURNS FOR A THIRD YEAR
Taking place June 14-19, the festival will be packed with a wide array of comedians, sketch shows, specialty acts and films guaranteed to keep Chicago in stitches in some of the city’s best venues.
TBS Just for Laughs Chicago will feature comedy heavyweights like Steve Martin, Martin Short, Seth Meyers, Ron White, Rodney Carrington, Louis C.K., George Lopez, Russell Peters, Jeffrey Ross, Whitney Cummings, Tim Minchin and Jim Jefferies, as well as The Anti-Social Network, the Chicago Theatre’s opening show featuring Dave Attell, Jim Breuer, Bill Burr and host Jim Norton.
The festivities will take place across 15 locations, including many high-profile venues.
Schedule and ticket information is available at www.justforlaughschicago.com.