Category Archives: Chicago

Essential Chicago Music Festivals Guide, 2018

Chicago doesn’t receive enough credit for the sheer number of music festivals it hosts every year. We might not have the climate of Austin but we sure do make up for it between June and October. Over the course of 15 weeks, a grand total of 24 days are dedicated to some sort of large-scale outdoor music event – and that doesn’t include the city-run World Music Festival or random summer block parties.

And it doesn’t need to end at city limits. If you’re feeling ambitious and passionate about music there are more than a dozen upper midwest summer music festivals within a six-hour drive of the city.

Below you’ll find our comprehensive guide to not only Chicago music festivals, but music fest throughout the Upper Midwest. From Chicago to Wisconsin to Detroit to Iowa, we’ve got it covered. We’ve broken the festivals down by distance and within each distance cluster they’re ordered by date. Did we miss an important festival or update? Let us know in the comments.

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7 Easy Chicagoland Weekend Getaways Within 200 Miles

If wanderlust is starting to take hold put away your passports because you won’t need airfare to travel to these places. You probably won’t even need a hotel, but we’ll leave that up to you. Pick any weekend and go on a mini-vacation with these seven easy Chicagoland weekend getaways.

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7 Essential Chicago Pies

Chicago is easily one of the top pie cities in the country (and for once we’re not talking pizza). The great thing about pies is there’s a pie for everyone. And the great thing about Chicago pies is we have plenty of pies to go around. Sure there are some people who claim to “hate pies” but that’s most likely because they grew up eating pies at Aunt Nancy’s house and no one liked Aunt Nancy’s pies because she constantly chain-smoked and it infused everything she baked with the flavor of Pall Mall. Save yourself from Aunt Nancy’s pies this holiday season by volunteering to bring the pie (if you’re reading this, sorry, Aunt Nancy). 

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8 Must-Try Chicago Ice Cream Experiences

From fantastical flavors to tempting toppings to crazy cones we’ve gathered eight of the best Chicago ice cream experiences in the city to help make your National Ice Cream Day more interesting.

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13 Essential Chicago Breweries with Taprooms

The area within the borders that define Chicago is packed with breweries. However, it wasn’t always that way. Chicago was a bit of a brewing desert until Goose Island arrived barely three decades ago.  While Goose Island (now a product of Anheuser-Busch) placed the craft beer revolution tinder it would still be another decade before Three Floyds added the much-needed spark across the border in Hammond, Indiana (they’d later move to nearby Munster).

Today, according to The Hop Review‘s absolutely essential Chicago breweries list (bookmark it), there are no less than 70 breweries within the city proper (and a whopping 114 breweries in the burbs). We’ve previously documented the fact that between the dates of May 25 and July 18 no less than 12 breweries opened taprooms in Chicagoland as a whole. That’s roughly 1.3 breweries opening per week. It’s hard to keep up.

We’ve gone ahead and compiled a list of the some of the essential Chicago breweries pouring beers in tap rooms or restaurants (before someone says anything, the taproom distinction is the only reason badass breweries like Pipeworks didn’t make the cut. That will likely change once they open the new facility).

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Essential Guide to Chicago Haunted Houses, 2017

Halloween season is officially here and that means haunts all over Chicagoland are putting up spider webs, dumping dust on the crypts, and mixing up fresh batches of stage blood. Illinois and Wisconsin share the distinction of having two of the largest concentrations of haunted houses in the country. The Chicago area is especially jam-packed with more than a dozen haunts appearing from the mist during the Halloween season. Below are a lucky 13 Chicago haunted houses. We’ve listed them by opening date so you can fill your fall with as many frightful weekends as possible.

Six Flags Fright Fest
Attraction Type: Haunt/Theme Park
First Date: Sept. 16
Location: Six Flags Great America in Gurnee
Website: https://www.sixflags.com/greatamerica/special-events/fright-fest-night

Fright Fest

Fright Fest returns to Six Flags with six haunts, 10 scare zones, and dozens of rides themed for the season. Haunts have names like Big Top Terror, Apocalypse, and Infestation.

All dates: Sept. 16, 17, 23, 24, 29, 30, Oct. 1, 6-9, 13-15, 20-22, 26-31

Dungeon of Doom
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 22
Location: 600 29th Street in Zion
Website: https://dungeonofdoom.com/

Dungeon of Doom

The Dungeon of Doom is one of the oldest in the region and, at 21, is now old enough to drink. DoD promises 42,000 square feet of terror making it one of the largest terror attractions in Illinois. Completing the entire attraction can take a full 60 minutes.

All dates: Sept. 22, 23, 29, 30, Oct. 6-8, 13-15, 19-22, 26-29, 31, Nov. 3, 4

House of Torment
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 22
Location: 8240 Austin Avenue in Morton Grove
Website: http://houseoftormentchicago.com

House of Torment

House of Torment is part of the 13th Floor haunt family (see next haunt on the list). This haunt features two attractions: The Swarm and Nightmare High.

All dates: Sept. 22, 23, 29, 30, Oct. 1, 6-8, 11-15, 17-31, Nov. 3, 4

13th Floor Haunted House
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 22
Location: 1940 George Street in Melrose Park
Website: http://www.13thfloorchicago.com

Probably one of the best-known Chicago haunts, 13th Floor features two attractions this year: Cursed Purgatory and Dead End District Freakshow. This haunt and House of Torment are projects of the Austin based haunt production company Thirteenth Floor Entertainment Group.

All dates: Sept. 22, 23, 29, 30, Oct. 1, 5-8, 10-31, Nov. 3, 4

Basement of the Dead
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 23
Location: 42 W New York Street in Aurora
Website: https://basementofthedead.com

2016 was a big year for Basement of the Dead with the haunt landing on a number of best haunt lists. BoD promises the attraction will be “bigger, better, and scarier” for this year. Also on the premises is Shattered “The World’s Best 3D Nightmare.” According to the event producers, Shattered is “the world’s first and only 3D flashlight haunt.”

All dates: Sept. 23, 29, 30, Oct. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31, Nov. 4

Abandoned Haunted House Complex
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 23
Location: 2825 SE Frontage Rd, Mt Pleasant, Wis.
Website: https://abandonedhauntedhouse.com

A reason to cross the state line into Wisconsin. Abandoned Haunted House is anything but abandoned with four attractions packed into the complex. The main attractions are Hysteria Haunted House and Ambush Haunted House. Outside you’ll find the creepy Stalker Haunted Corn Field. Finally, get revenge for all of the scares at the paintball experience “Shoot-A-Freak.”

All dates: Sept. 23, 29, 30, Oct. 6, 7, 13, 14, 20-22, 27-29, Nov. 3, 4

Statesville Haunted Prison
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: September 28
Location: 17250 S. Weber Road in Crest Hill
Website: http://statesvillehauntedprison.com

FYI, Statesville Haunted Prison ha a cleverly written FAQ. In Crest Hill, you’ll find two attractions. First up is the star of the show: Statesville Haunted Prison where you’ll check in and never leave. Once you finish with the prison you’ll escape through the underground mine shafts of the City of the Dead.

All dates: Sept. 28-30, Oct. 1, Oct. 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 25-31

Midnight Terror Haunted House
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 28
Location: 5520 W 111th Street in Oak Lawn
Website: http://midnightterrorhauntedhouse.com

Midnight Terror

Two attractions are waiting for you at the Midnight Terror Haunted House. First, you’ll follow in the footsteps of Willow through Black Oak Grove as she looks for her father. Next, you’ll enter the Factory of Malum which has been overrun by demon-possessed workers.

All dates: Sept. 28-30, Oct. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31, Nov. 3, 4

Hellsgate Haunted House
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Sept. 29
Location: 3101 Canal Street in Lockport
Website: http://www.hellsgate.com

Hellsgate is a multi-level mansion filled with secret passages, giant slides, and, of course, monsters. HellsGate provides an extra challenge to guests, if you can find the key while walking the hallways you’re admission is reimbursed.

All dates: Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 5-8, 12-15, 19-22, 26-31

Reaper’s Realm Haunted Attractions
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Oct. 6
Location:626 177th St, Hammond, IN
Website: http://reapersrealm.com

Reaper’s Realm promises three floors of terror and multiple attractions. This year terrified visitors can tour Carnevil, Haunted Mansion, Reapers’ Woods, and Zombie Revolt.

All dates: Oct. 6-8, 13-15, 20-22, 27-31

Realm of Terror
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Oct. 6
Location: 421 W Rollins Rd, Round Lake Beach
Website: https://www.realmofterror.com

Chicago haunted Houses

All dates: Oct. 6-8, 13, 14, 20, 21, 27-29, Nov. 3, 4

Scream Scene Haunted House
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Oct. 6
Location: 4701 Oakton Street in Skokie
Website: http://www.screamscene.org

Scream Scene, a production of the Skokie Park District, is one of the longest-running haunts in Chicagoland. Scream Scene might be a park district haunt but it isn’t to be trifled with. They might not have the budget of some of the other haunts on this list, but a municipal building has never been scarier.

All dates: 6, 7, 13, 14, 20-22, 27-29

The Catacombs
Attraction Type: Haunt
First Date: Oct. 13
Location: 5859 Irving Park Road in Chicago
Website: http://www.scarypopcorn.com

Heads up, The Catacombs have moved down the street (as of this writing the website still has the old St. Pascal Church address). Unlike many of the haunts above, The Catacombs are a classic neighborhood supported haunted house. That means the scares are slightly more kid-friendly and the price point is definitely more wallet-friendly.

All dates: Oct. 13, 14, 20-22, 26-29

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Chicago Brewery Boom: 9 Weeks Equals 12 New Breweries

The Chicago brewery boom doesn’t show any signs of slowing down. 2017 has been hopping with new breweries and the last three months being especially busy. Here’s a quick rundown of some of the newest entrants in this constantly fermenting market.

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