Summertime Chi

There’s nothing quite like summertime in Chicago. The summer is jam-packed with events, concerts and best of all… festivals! We’re highlighting a handful of our favorites that are happening this summer in our neighborhood:

June 7-9: Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world.

June 28-29: Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party, annually attracts thousands of attendees and features musical guests the likes of Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros and Phil Vassar.

July 10-14: Taste of Chicago, our city’s iconic food festival; this year’s headlining band is the Grammy-award winning group Fun.

July 11-14: Windy City Smokeout, a celebration of country music and BBQ in River North.

July 19-21: Taste of River North, a festival of food and live music right in our beloved River North neighborhood.

August 2-4: Lollapalooza, the world-famous 3-day music festival that calls Grant Park home.

Photo Credit: Tuck Photo
Photo Credit: Tuck Photo

TODAY in Chicago

This morning you may have recognized some familiar places on the TODAY Show – and that’s because our beloved city played host for today’s episode! Co-hosts Willie Geist and Natalie Morales happily “ate their way” through Chicago by hitting all the Windy City classics:

Vienna Beef Chicago Style Hot Dog: A Chicago staple, our dogs are served on a poppy seed bun with mustard, a dill pickle spear, chopped white onion, neon green relish, sport peppers, tomato slices and a sprinkling of celery salt. Whatever you do, DON’T add ketchup! Chicago-style aficionados are firm believers that ketchup has no business being on a hotdog and a number of city hotdog vendors refuse to offer it as a condiment.

Deep dish pizza: As Natalie pointed out, this is definitely not a meal you can grab and eat on the go! Our Chicago-style deep dish pizza requires a fork and knife (and a big appetite). Unlike traditional pizza, Chicago-style is a few inches deep with chunky tomato sauce and tons of mozzarella. It’s made “upside down”, with the crust followed by a layer of cheese, followed by a layer of toppings such as pepperoni and/or sausage, then loaded with more cheese and finally topped with tomato sauce. This style was developed because the pies take so long to cook that the cheese and toppings would otherwise burn if they were placed on the top layer. Giordano’s is a local favorite and they ship their pizzas across the country so you can get your fix anywhere, anytime.

Garrett Popcorn: A bucket of Garrett’s is quintessentially Chicago, and if you really want to feel like a local go for the caramel and cheddar blend. While it may sound like an odd combination, the mixture of buttery sweet caramel with tangy, salty cheddar is pure bliss. Garrett’s ships their popcorn too and you can even design customizable bins to house your snack.

TODAY in Chi2

We are thrilled the cast of TODAY came to experience our city. We’re big fans; last Earth Month we had a blast hosting one of Kathie Lee & Hoda’s lucky fans of the week. To view clips from TODAY’s Chicago-style episode, visit TODAY’s website.

TODAY in Chi

Blogs We Heart

Happy Hump Day – we’re halfway through the week! Today we’d like to highlight a few of our favorite blogs we enjoy perusing on the interwebs. These blogs are great reads and ones we’d recommend adding to your RSS reader:

Live Happier and Healthier: Duong Sheahan is the creator behind this refreshing lifestyle blog. Visit Duong’s blog for a dose of inspiration with a generous helping of spirituality and wellness tips.

MindBodyGreen: Another fabulous wellness blog, this blog features an assorted collection of natural health articles including: “How to Get Better Sleep Naturally”, “Awaken Your Authentic Power” and “15 Easy Food Substitutions for Better Health”.

Treehugger: Don’t let the name of this blog fool you, Treehugger is a super sophisticated website filled with editorial pieces on green design, technology, science, business and energy. The beautiful photography on Treehugger is pure eye-candy!

The Green Mama: This Chicago-based blog gives a glimpse into the life of, you guessed it, a green mama! The blog posts also share tips on easy ways to green your life and cleaning the eco-friendly way.

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Green Mama

National Bike Month

While some days it feels like we skipped spring here in Chicago, one thing is for certain, we can put our snow shovels and boots away – we’ve made it through another blustery Chicago winter. As the temperatures warm up and Chicagoans gradually thaw out, the city welcomes an alternative mode of transportation: the bicycle! It’s quite fitting that May is recognized as National Bike Month because, while many brave commuters bike year-round, this is about the time when there seems to be a new wave of cyclists on the road. In honor of National Bike Month, we’d like to share a few bicycle safety tips to help everyone share the road effectively:

-Ride in the same direction as automobile traffic
-Obey all traffic signs and signals
-Use hand signals
-Follow lane markings, they are for bikes too!
-Don’t weave between parked cars
-Keep both hands ready to break

Photo Credit: Martin Gommel
Photo Credit: Martin Gommel

For more helpful tips on bicycle safety, check out this bicycle etiquette guide from the Los Angeles Department of Transportation.

Headed to Chicago in May?

If you’re headed to Chicago this month, check out these recommended events from

Share your plans with us as well!

Loren the Doorman
Photo: “Loren the Doorman” – created with love from Artist Allen Christian.

Thank you!

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Our favorite month has come and gone and we wanted to take a moment to THANK everyone who participated to make this the best Earth Month to date! We had a fabulous time celebrating what it means to be green and couldn’t have done it without the support of all of you. We’d like to thank the partners we had the pleasure of collaborating with:

Elate Yoga for teaming up to provide fantastic free yoga classes held at our hotel each Wednesday
Oak Street Design for their creative project in collaboration with Best Buy and Columbia College Chicago to encourage people to recycle old electronics
Alexandra Gnoske for her efforts to sell organic shirts at our hotel with proceeds going to the non-profit Friends of the Chicago River.
TripAdvisor for selecting us as a GreenLeader and announcing it on Earth Day!

Thank you again and cheers to being green!