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Happy 175th Birthday, Chicago!

Happy 175th Birthday, Chicago!
Chicago Sun-Times
February 29, 2012
Misha Davenport

Let’s celebrate all that the city has to offer.

1. It’s got a farm, a tornado and a submarine. And just about everything else. It’s the Museum of Science and Industry, 57th and Lake Shore Dr., A true Chicago gem.

2. The statues of the Tin Man, Scarecrow, and Lion at Oz Park, 2021 Burling (at the corner of Lincoln and Webster), . In a word? Magical.

3. “Drivin’ south on Lake Shore Drive, headin’ into town...” The classic song said it best. Check out the view of the city with John Hancock Center rising up before you. Visit the gentle giant’s observatory at 875 N. Michigan — 94 stories up — and catch a spectacular view of four states in the process. Visit

4. Grab a cinnamon-sugar doughnut at Dinkel’s Bakery, 3329 N. Lincoln,

5. Chicago’s world-class, Tony Award-winning theater scene courtesy of the Goodman Theatre,; Steppenwolf Theater,; Broadway in Chicago,; Chicago Shakespeare Theater,; Court Theatre,; Lookingglass Theatre,; Victory Gardens Theater,

6. Throw back a few over the vintage Weiss-Sontag bar at the prohibition-era Twin Anchors Restaurant & Tavern in Old Town (one of Frank Sinatra’s favorite city haunts), 1655 N. Sedgwick,

7. Jogging, biking or blading south along the lakefront path, where Chicago’s majestic cityscape comes into full view. Visit

8. A hot fudge sundae at Margie’s Candies, 1960 N. Western. A Chicago delight since 1921.

9. Spend some quality time on Lake Michigan courtesy of myriad lunch/dinner cruises aboard the Spirit of Chicago,; the Odyssey, and Mystic Blue Cruises,

10. Checking out a museum pass at the local Chicago Public Library branch that gets you and three friends into one of 14 Chicago museums and attractions. Visit

11. The free concerts, or checking out the Tiffany Dome (believed to be the largest in the world) at the Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington, .

12. A cup of hot chocolate at Mindy’s Hot Chocolate will change how you think of dessert. 1747 N. Damen,

13. Strolling through Lincoln Park Zoo (one of the few remaining free zoos in America), and taking in the animal habitats and the artwork, especially the Eugene Field Memorial and other sculptures, 2200 N. Cannon,

14. Chowing down on a Chicago-style dog at the Vienna Beef Cafe located within the Vienna Factory, 2501 N. Damen,

15. Sipping a sidecar martini in the Signature Lounge on the 96th floor of the John Hancock building, 875 N. Michigan, and enjoying the incomparable view of the city;

16. Cooling down with an Italian classic — Mario’s Italian Lemonade ice. The iconic “stand” at 1068 W. Taylor is open from early May to mid-September.

17. Hearing the Patricia Barber Quartet rock the Green Mill on Mondays, at 4802. N. Broadway,

18. Enjoying a tranquil lunch at the Waterfront Cafe in Berger Park with its tranquil view of Lake Michigan, 6219 N. Sheridan,

19. The Chicago History Museum for its collection of 175 years of the city’s history, conveniently located in one place, 1601 N. Clark;

20. Keeping the romance alive over fondue at Geja’s Cafe, 340 W. Armitage,

21. Eli’s Cheesecake, 6701 W. Forest Preserve, Talk about a yummy slice of Chicago history!

22. The Chicago White Sox home opener on April 13 at U.S. Cellular Field, 333 W. 35th,

23. Taking in the grandeur Marveling at the Great Hall at Union Station, 210 S. Canal,

24. The newly renovated Northwest Side movie “palace,” the Patio Theater dates back to 1927, and is ideal for movie night beneath a simulated sky, flickering stars and moving clouds. Films are shown on one of the largest single screens in the area, 6008 W. Irving Park, (773) 685-4291,

25. The Jackson Park’s Osaka Japanese Garden, 5800 S. Lake Shore Drive,

26. Checking off Superdawg from the list of 1,000 things to see before you die. Grab a Superdawg with a classic shake while you’re at it. 6363 N. Milwaukee,

27. Stepping out onto the glass-boxed Sky Decks — 1,353 feet up — at the Willis Tower, 233 S. Wacker,

28. Experiencing Luna Negra Dance Theater at the Harris Theatre at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph,

29. Enjoying a “Chicago Mix” (that’s cheddar and caramel popcorn) from Garrett Popcorn shop, 625 N. Michigan, .

30. Snapping a reflective self-portrait at “Cloud Gate” (that’s “The Bean”) in Millennium Park, Randolph and Michigan,

31. Need a good laugh? Take in a night of stand-up at Zanies Comedy Club, 1548 N. Wells,

32. The 64-acre South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore, . Once a posh members-only country club, it now belongs to all of us and boasts a 9-hole golf course, formal dining hall, butterfly garden, beach and plenty of wide-open spaces.

33. Boarding Chicago’s First Lady for the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s official architecture river cruise. Spring season begins April 28! Boat slip at Riverside Gardens, 112 E. Wacker,

34. This is the year! Or not. Chicago Cubs home opener is April 5 at Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison,

35. Banishing those “winter blues” with some real blues at Buddy Guy’s Legends, 700 S. Wabash,

36. Buckingham Fountain (more than 15,000 gallons per minute of Lake Michigan water are majestically propelled skyward) in Grant Park, Congress Pkwy. and Columbus Drive. One of the world’s largest fountains, it celebrates its 85th birthday this year,

37. Miller’s Pub, 134 S. Wabash,, has been a Chicago staple since 1935, serving up great burgers, prime rib, steaks, chicken and such. Not to be missed — the split pea with ham soup on Thursdays!

38. Chicago’s own Top Chef, Rick Bayless, tests his acting chops when he makes his stage debut in “Rick Bayless in Cascabel,” March 21-April 22 at the Tony Award-winning Lookingglass Theatre, 821 N. Michigan,

39. The Chicago Arts District’s “2nd Fridays Gallery Night” March 9 (or any second Friday of the month) at Halsted and 18th,

40. Watching the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 dye the Chicago River green 10 a.m. March 17 at Michigan Avenue bridge and then taking in the St. Patrick’s Day Parade at noon along Columbus Drive,

41. Tour the river and the Lake Michigan on the historic Wendella Boats,, which have been navigating the city’s waterways since 1935.

42. We can all argue over who has the best deep dish pizza in the city, but on the occasion of the city’s birthday, we should pay homage to the birthplace of the Chicago treat, Pizzeria Uno, 29 E. Ohio,

43. Taking in a performance of “The Jackie Wilson Story” playing through March 18 at the Black Ensemble Theater, 4450 N. Clark,

44. Working on our Chicago spirit as we attend “Bring It On: The Musical” through March 25 within the French Baroque-style walls of the Cadillac Palace Theatre, 151 W. Randolph,

45. Seeing George Seurat’s pointillist masterpiece “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte — 1884” on an actual Sunday at the Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan, (And take in the rest of the artwork while you’re at it).

46. Ann Sather’s to indulge in a sticky, gooey and delicious homemade cinnamon roll, 3411 N. Broadway,

47. Enjoying “Tea and Pipes,” a 30-minute concert with University of Chicago organist Thomas Weisflog, which comes with a free cup of tea and a biscuit, 4:30 p.m. March 6 at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel, home of the largest organ in the state, 5850 S. Woodlawn,

48. The Museum of Broadcast Communications for acknowledging the Chicago’s rich television and radio history. 360 North State,

49. St. Andrew’s Inn, 5938 N. Broadway, Every bar has its regulars. St. Andrew’s Inn happens to have a ghost as one of theirs.

50. A ride on the gynormous Ferris wheel at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand, Did we mention visiting the Crystal Gardens? The Family Pavilion? The kiosks? The great view of the city and the lake?

51. The Chicago French Market, 131 N. Clinton, C’est si bon!

52. Lincoln Park Conservatory, 2391 N. Stockton, The grand Victorian glass house has stood for more than 100 years, housing all species of earth plants and flowers.

53. Get your picture taken in front of the Michael Jordan statue at the United Center, 1901 W. Madison. A fitting tribute to the greatest player in NBA history.

54. More Cupcakes, 1 E. Delaware Place, Gourmet cupcakes. Need we say more?

55. Perusing the shelves at Women and Children First, 5233 N. Clark,, one of the largest feminist bookstores in the country.

56. Exploring all the fascinating artwork at Intuit, the Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art, 756 N. Milwaukee,

57. The Original Ferrara Bakery, 2210 W. Taylor, Don’t tell mama you think their cannoli is better than hers.

58. Goose Island Brewery Tours and Tastings, Saturdays and Sundays, 1800 N. Clybourn,

59. Quest Theatre Ensemble at Blue Theatre, 1609 W. Gregory, Chicago’s free theater, Quest is presenting the musical “The People’s Barnum” through March 18.

60. Al’s Italian Beef has been called the world’s greatest beef sandwich by some — and frankly, who are we to argue? Visit 169 W. Ontario, (312) 943-3222, .

61. Empty Bottle, 1035 N. Western, A shrine to everything hip and cool about Chicago’s music scene.

62. Gorilla Tango Theatre, 1919 N. Milwaukee, One of the best fringe theaters in the city and the only one dedicating a bulk of its season to burlesque.

63. Acting like we’re about to be gobbled up by Sue the Tyrannosaurus Rex at the Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore, While you’re there, stop and visit with “Ghengis Khan” and 20 or so mummies “unearthed” from the museum’s vaults.

64. Celebrating the Great American Songbook at Davenport’s Piano Bar and Cabaret, 1383 N. Milwaukee, .

65. The Brew and View at the Vic Theatre, 3145 N. Sheffield, Because sometimes you want a beer with your movie popcorn.

66. Taking in the longest-running show in Chicago to date, “Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind,” Fridays-Sundays at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland,

67. Enjoying the outdoor beauty of the Lurie Garden in Millennium Park, Monroe and Columbus,

68. Where military memorabilia comes alive — at one of the best-kept secrets in the city — the Pritzker Military Library, 104 S. Michigan,

69. Grabbing a piping-hot doughnut before they run out at the Doughnut Vault, 401-½ N. Franklin,

70. The Cubby Bear, 1059 W. Addison, Ranked by Sports Illustrated as one of the top 25 sports bars in the country.

71. Chilling to the sounds of legendary roots rockers Hot Tuna (including Jefferson Airplane founding members Jack Casady and Jorma Kaukonen) at the Old Town School of Folk Music on March 9 in the Maurer Concert Hall — or any other concert for that matter — at this iconci music center and school. Full calendar of events, times and locations at

72. Belting ’em out like Ethel Merman at “Showtunes Sundays, Mondays or Fridays” at Sidetrack, 3349 N. Halsted,

73. Everest, 440 S. La Salle, 40th floor, Chef Jean Joho brings French technique to traditional American foods, and you can’t beat the view on the 40th floor of the Chicago Stock Exchange.

74. Out of the Past Records, 4407 W. Madison, Vinyl is still king! A husband-and-wife team runs this one-of-a-kind music emporium with an incredible history.

75. Coming up with your best guess as to what it really is — Chicago’s Picasso sculpture in Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn. Pablo Picasso’s gift to the city (he refused a $100,000 commission) still provokes artistic conversation as well as the occasional child sliding down its base.

76. Eating, or shall we say, experiencing a one-of-a-kind dining experience, at Restaurant Magazine’s 6th-best restaurant in the world, Alinea, 1723 N. Halsted,

77. Enjoying a performance by one of the world’s best opera companies, the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Currently, they’re taking us down the Mississippi courtesy of “Show Boat” playing through March 17 at 20 N. Wacker, And concurrently, they’re taking us to ancient Egypt, courtesy of “Aida” through March 25; and to medieval Jerusalem courtesy of “Rinaldo” through March 24.

78. The Hideout, 1354 W. Wabansia, Coming up: Robbie Fulks along with the Hoyle Brothers, March 5. And don’t forget the Hideout’s annual block party in September!

79. Annoyance Theater, celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. The musical comedy “Broads on Board” plays to April 12, 4830 N. Broadway,

80. The Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago,, for broadening our artistic minds. “This Will Have Been: Art, Love & Politics in the 1980s” exhibits through June 3.

81. The Parrot Cage Restaurant at the South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore, Perhaps the most elegant, student-run restaurant in the city.

82. The Lodge Tavern, celebrating its 55th anniversary, for being the coziest watering hole in the Rush and Division area. And we can’t forget vintage flash bowling! At 21 W. Division,

83. Fourth Presbyterian Church, 190 E. Delaware, Free noonday concerts every Friday.

84. The Clark House Museum, the stately Greek Revival-style manse at 1827 S. Indiana, is Chicago’s oldest house, dating back to 1836.

85. The Barrel of Monkeys’ “That’s Weird, Grandma” at the Neo-Futurarium, 5153 N. Ashland, Short plays written by Chicago Public School students and performed by adults.

86. The Newberry Library, 60 W. Walton,, the city’s official independent research library since 1887, is home to thousands of manuscripts, genealogies and maps, and host to various exhibitions throughout the year such as the current “Border Troubles in the War of 1812.”

87. The National Museum of Mexican Art, 1852 W. 19th, The only Latino museum credited by the American Association of Museums, it’s best-known for its annual Day of the Dead exhibit in the Fall, as well as one of the greatest permanent collections of works by prominent Mexican artists.

88. Lifeline Theatre, 6912 N. Glenwood, The best place in the city for literary adaptations or engaging children’s theater productions.

89. Chicago Farmers Markets including the year-round Downtown Farmer’s Stand at 66 E. Randolph, .

90. Getting swept up by the glorious strains of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 220 S. Michigan, Riccardo Muti conducts “Cherubini Requim” March 15.

91. The National Hellenic Museum, 333 S. Halsted, nationalhellenicmuseumorg. In the heart of Greektown, check out “Gods, Myths and Mortals,” a kid-friendly exhibit through Sept. 2.

92. Flirty Cupcakes on Wheels, 1030 W. Taylor (dessert garage) and mobile locations throughout the city, The best dessert truck in the city!

93. Any performance by the Joffrey Ballet at the Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, “Spring Desire” runs April 25-May 6.

94. The DuSable Museum of African American History, 740 E. 56th Place, “Spread the Word! The Evolution of Gospel from Chicago to the World” runs through May 20.

95. Gospel Brunch Sundays at the House of Blues, 329 N. Dearborn, Great song and great food. What’s better than that?

96. Giving a warm Chicago “hello” to the Tony Award-winning musical “The Book of Mormon” when it opens for an extended run Dec. 11, 2012 at the Bank of America Theatre, 18 W. Monroe,

97. One of the best places to catch a great arthouse film or a restored classic or cutting- edge documentaries and more — the Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State, The 15th Annual European Union Film Festival kicks off March 2 with Denmark’s “A Funny Man.”

98. Cesar’s, 3166 N. Clark or 2924 N. Broadway, The city’s best “brain freeze” courtesy of their Mega Killer Margaritas!

99. The promise of a coming spring as seen at the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, March 10-18 at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand,

100. Catching a concert , Celtic dance performance or Irish film at the Irish American Heritage Center, 4626 N. Knox,

101. Ribs and a bib at Smoke Daddy, 1804 W. Division, Take that, St. Louis!

102. High Tea in the Palm Court at the Drake Hotel, 140 E. Walton,

103. Fireworks at Navy Pier on Wednesdays and Saturdays starting May 26, at 600 E. Grand,

104. The Spertus, 610 S. Michigan, “Uncovered and Rediscovered: Stories of Jewish Chicago Movers, Shakers, and History-Makers,” runs through May 10.

105. The Oriental Institute, 1155 E. 58th, It’s hard not to feel like Indiana Jones when perusing their extensive collection of archeological artifacts from the ancient Near East.

106. Architectural Artifacts, 4325 N. Ravenswood, Shop 80,000-square-feet of architectural antiques and other “treasures” from around the world (just perfect for your house and garden).

107. Lollapalooza, the big, bold music extravaganza, Aug. 3-Aug. 5 in Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph,

108. Lula Cafe, 2537 N. Kedzie, One of Chicago’s hippest kitchens!

109. The Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore,, for always making us want to take a moment to look up and gaze at the stars and the planets and beyond!

110. The vividly interactive Crown Fountain, 201 E. Randolph (between Michigan and Columbus), The twin 50-foot glass LED video towers are a vivid portrait of Chicago’s diverse population.

111. The massive Kwagulth Totem Pole, in Lincoln Park at Addison Street.

112. The Billy Goat Tavern, 430 N. Michigan, “Cheezborger, cheezborger, cheezborger. No Pepsi…Coke.” As Chicago as it gets!

113. David Cerda and Hell In a Handbag Productions for 10 years of “camp theater,” Next up: “Sexy Baby,” a musical send-up of child beauty pageants, April 26-June 16, at Mary’s Attic, 5400 N. Clark.

114. Second City, 1616 N. Wells, “Sky’s the Limit (Weather Permitting)” currently showing. It put Chicago improv on the world map.

115. Heartland Cafe, 7000 N. Glenwood, It’s all about local, organic and green at this Chicago dining institution since 1976.

116. The Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore,, where something fishy is always going on.

117. The Aviary, 955 W. Fulton Market, The brainchild of Alinea’s Grant Achatz, the Aviary is serving up some truly unique libations. Good luck getting in!

118. The music practice rooms on the 8th floor of the Harold Washington Library Center, 400 S. State, Chicagoans young and old from all walks of life make use of the spaces. While you’re in the building, check out a book or two, or a video, or an author’s chat or an exhibit!

119. A “Maxwell Street Polish” from Jim’s Original, 1250 S. Union, or 16 E. 95th,

120. Graceland Cemetery, 4001 N. Clark, A who’s who of Chicagoans call Graceland their final resting place including Louis B. Sullivan, Daniel Burnham, Ruth Page and Marshall Field. The grave monuments are works of art!

121. Instituto Cervantes of Chicago, 31 W. Ohio, More than just Spanish language learning center, the Instituto brings the best Spanish culture has to offer to the city.

122. Chicago horse and carriage rides at Michigan and Pearson,

123. The Polish Museum of America, 984 N. Milwaukee, One of the oldest and largest ethnic museums in the country.

124. Hopleaf Bar, 5148 N. Clark,, where 325 bottled varieties and 45 drafts make this a beer-lover’s paradise.

125. Christopher Columbus Monument, South Columbus and East Roosevelt in Grant Park. Carl Brioschi’s enormous work was first unveiled in 1933.

126. Ed Debevic’s, 640 N. Wells, You gotta love a place whose motto is “Eat and get out.”

127. The always eclectic River North Dance Company at the Harris Theatre at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph,

128. The National Italian American Sports Hall of Fame, 1431 W. Tayolor,, where you can learn all about the achievements of Italian Americans in all manner of professional sports and the Olympics. The memorabilia is astounding.

129. Theo Ubique Cabaret Theatre at the No Exit Cafe, 6970 N. Glenwood, No one in the city has redefined the possibilities of storefront musical theater in a more grand and epic way (in such a small space!) than Theo Ubique. “A Light in the Piazza” plays March 12-April 29.

130. Bundling up for a Chicago Bears game (, or meeting up with 50,000 of your closest friends for a summer concert at Soldier Field (, 1410 Museum Campus Drive.

131. Schubas, 3159 N. Southport, For the privilege of being able to say you saw the latest up-and-coming band first at Schubas.

132. The Center on Halsted, the largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgendered center in the Midwest, 3656 N. Halsted,

133. The New 400 Theater, 6746 N. Sheridan, In the days before television and multimedia, every neighborhood had its own movie house. Thankfully, Rogers Park still has its own.

134. The three-hour guided Segway tour of the city. Tours start at 400 E. Randolph,

135. Redmoon, 1463 W. Hubbard, Producing some of the most visually stunning theatrical spectacles in the world.

136. The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Everything you always wanted to know about nature and more.

137. Christmas in Daley Plaza, Washington and Dearborn, . The holiday season just isn’t well, the holiday season, without a trek to the Christkindl Market and the city’s official Christmas tree.

138. “Late Night Catechism” at the Royal George Theatre, 1641 N. Halsted,

139. Indie Cafe, 5951 N. Broadway, This Edgewater hotspot features a fusion of Thai and Japanese cuisine.

140. The Grant Park Music Festival at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, 201 E. Randolph, The free summer festival celebrates its 50th season this year.

141. “The Blue Man Group” at the Briar Street Theatre, 3133 N. Halsted, Originally a carriage house for Marshall Field and Company, the venue has been home to the trio of blue guys for the past 15 years.

142. Check out the kaleidoscope of colors at the Smith Museum of Stained Glass Windows at Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand,

143. Mrs. Hering’s original chicken pot pie at the Walnut Room at Macy’s at 111 State St. (the second-largest department store in the world),, is lunchtime comfort food, Chicago-style.

144. Holiday movie sing-a-longs at the Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport, The old-time movie house is great for film viewing all year ’round thanks to midnight movies, weekend matinees of old classics, filmmaker chats and a live organist.

145. Trying for that perfect “300” at Lucky Strike Lanes, 322 E. Illinois, perhaps the citys’ swankiest bowling alley/lounge/billiards room;

146. Enjoying genuine blues at the Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted,

147. Grabbing a booth by the fireplace for the best burger in Chicago at Moody’s Pub, 5910 N. Broadway,

148. The Chinese-American Museum of Chicago, 238 W. 23rd, Celebrate the “Chicago Chinatown Centennial” throughout 2012.

149. Metro, 3730 N. Clark, The venerable concert venue is celebrating its 30th year of rocking Chicago.

150. The Davis Theater, 4614 N. Lincoln, Like the New 400 in Rogers Park, the Davis is one of the last neighborhood movie houses in the city.

151. City Newsstand, 4018 N. Cicero. More than 60 newspapers and 6,000 magazines make this the best newsstand in the city,

152. Hubbard Street Dance at the Harris Theatre at Millennium Park, 205 E. Randolph, “Spring Series” plays March 15-March 18 and features “Little Mortal Jump,” resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo’s 10th work for the company.

153. The Goethe Institut of Chicago, 150 N. Michigan, #200,, promotes all things German — from language to culture to social and political life.

154. Uncle Fun, 1338 W. Belmont, An emporium of unique joke gifts and toys and one of the most fun places to shop!

155. The Rookery Building, 209 S. La Salle, One of John Wellborn Root and Daniel Burnham’s architecture masterpieces.

156. Bachelors Grove Cemetery, Rubio Woods Forest Preserve entrance on 143rd Street, just east of Ridgeland, Considered by many to be the most haunted place in America.

157. Hot Doug’s, 3324 N. California, Unique, affordable gourmet hot dogs, brats, sausages and whatnot — courtesy of an “encased-meat emporium.”

158. Chicago Children’s Museum at Navy Pier, 700 E. Grand, A fine way to spend the day with the little ones.

159. The Chicago Diner, 3411 N. Halsted, Chicago’s most popular vegetarian eatery.

160. The Frederick C. Robie House, 5757 S. Woodlawn. Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece of Prairie-style architecture,

161. The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State, A flagship of the former Balaban and Katz group of theaters, its marquee is an unofficial emblem of the city and a frequent tourist photo op.

162. Tommy Gun’s Garage, 2114 S. Wabash, Chicago’s longest-running interactive dinner show, it re-creates a 1920s-style speakeasy.

163. The Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan, An artistic gem whose motto is “All passes — Art alone endures,” has been a haven for artists since 1985.

164. Petterino’s Monday Night Live, 150 N. Dearborn, Local actors and singers and those in town on national tours belt out songs on Mondays, the traditionally “dark night” for the theater district shows.

165. Chicago Gospel Music Festival gets a new date and billing this year, taking place across the city June 21-24 — at Millennium Park, the Chicago Cultural Center and in Bronzeville,

166. Bobby’s Bike Hike is one of the most unique ways to get to know the city — via guided bicycle tours of various neighborhoods. Find them at 465 N. McClurg Ct. or 141 W. Diversey Pkwy.,

167. The Chicago Board of Trade Building, 141 W. Jackson, An Art Deco masterpiece from the ground floor to the three-story-tall statue of Ceres (the Roman goddess of agriculture) that tops the building.

168. For a good laugh, check out the stand-up at the Laugh Factory, 3175 N. Broadway,

169. The National Veterans Art Museum, 1801 S. Indiana, Through Memorial Day: “Overlooked/ Looked Over” an exhibit that explores the unique experiences of women who serve in the armed forces.

170. Theater on the Lake, 2400 N. Lakes Shore, The summer series of plays and musicals will celebrate its 60th season this year.

171. Humboldt Park Formal Gardens, 1400 N. Sacramento, Acres of annuals, roses, perennials and ornamental grasses perfect for a summertime stroll. Great photo op!

172. The Palmer House Hilton, 17 E. Monroe, “History is Hott” an interactive luncheon and tour hosted by Ken Price, a 28-year resident historian of the hotel.

173. Pilsen East Artists Open House, 18th and Halsted, The popular annual event will celebrate its 42nd year this fall.

174. Taste of Chicago, July 11-15, Grant Park between Monroe and Balbo. The annual food fest is shorter and smaller this year, but still claims to be the world’s largest outdoor food fest.

175. Hyde Park Jazz Festival, The annual event, held in the fall in various venues on the South Side, never ceases to impress us with its diverse line up of jazz greats and new young talent.

Compiled by local free-lance writer Misha Davenport, with Sun-Times Staff contributing.