Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Have fun in Chicago

We'll see you all in just a few days. Whether you're coming early, staying late, or just going to be in Chicago for a few hours, here are a few things to do in case you find yourself bored.

Get your pollution while you still can...
Not far from Lincoln Park is the industrial corridor flanking the North Branch of the Chicago River. A Lot of it is just warehouses, but along Cortland between Clybourne and the river is A. Finkl & Sons, a steel mill that still operates in the heart of the city. If you ride, walk, or drive by at night, you may catch them in the middle of the smelting process.

While it's really cool to see once in a while, it's not all rose-colored metal. They are one of the worst polluters in the city, accounting for nearly one third of the city’s total health risk from factory emissions.

High Laughs, Low Prices...
Among all the usual big-city distractions, Chicago's improv comedy scene is impressive for its diversity, quality, relatively low prices. There are nearly 60 improv events this weekend alone. With a lot of cinemas charging $10 each for tickets, being able to laugh uproariously for an hour for $5 (while drinking booze), cannot be overrated.

For low prices, convenient location, and consistent laughs, my favorite is iO, just a few doors down from Wrigley Field. If that doesn't float your boat, there are at least three other improv theaters within a few minutes walk. Another good bet is the Chemically Imbalanced Theater, which hosts Pimprov every Friday night (and it is BYOB to make up for a slightly higher entrance fee).

There's trees here somewhere...

Chicago can feel a little clausterphobic at times, being surrounded by honking, speeding cars, towering buildings, and encircled by hundreds of miles of interstates and railroad tracks. Frankly, the park system is a little pathetic and doesn't help to alleviate this situation. Most of the parks are sparsely wooded and fairly unattractive. The one exception to this is Jackson Park, near the museums of Hyde Park on the south side of Chicago.

It was designed by Frederick Law Olmstead (designer of Central Park and Prospect Park in New York and also the grounds of the Biltmore Estate in Ashville, NC) for the 1893 World's Fair. He used is hard-won prestige to keep the financial backers of the fair from turning the park into the technology riddled sideshow they were looking for. Especially relaxing is the Japanese Gardens on the Wooded Island.

More to come shortly...

Sunday, June 20, 2010


In case you haven't figured it out, we're really hoping you come to our wedding. It order to make it as painless as possible, we'll be giving you lots of helpful info so you can get the most out of your trip to Chicago.

Choosing a hotel is something I used to agonize over. Now I only agonize over it if I can't bring my bike along. It can be difficult finding the right hotel for your tastes that is also conveniently located for the types of things you want to do. For now, I'll focus on giving you a few different price/location options. Perhaps later I'll try and demystify Chicago's sometimes great/sometimes awful public transit system so you can see the things you want to see without losing your shirt.

The hotels in Chicago are concentrated around the airports or just north of the Loop in the neighborhoods of River North, Near North, Gold Cost, and Streeterville.

View Marmalade in a larger map (A quick key to the symbols: beds=expensive hotels, yellow pins=bed & breakfasts, red pins=not quite as expensive hotels)

These hotels range in price from slightly expensive to very expensive.

Pros: close to lots of (expensive) shopping options, restaurants, and nightlife. Short bus ride or long walk to downtown museums, etc.
Cons: far from (less expensive) shopping options, restaurants, and nightlife.

If you're looking for something (a little) cheaper and in a more varied neighborhood, I've found a few different kinds of accommodations a little farther north in the Lincoln Park/Lakeview/DePaul neighborhoods.

Pros: close to (less expensive) shopping options, restaurants, and nightlife. Closer to some nice public beaches which are nice for relaxing even if it's too cold to swim.
Cons: only one El line (the Red Line) runs through these neighborhoods, so you'll be doing more walking, busing, or taxi-ing.

Days Inn
Diversey and Clark

City Suites
933 West Belmont Avenue

Super 8 (a little farther north than most)
7300 N. Sheridan Parkway

Bed and Breakfasts
Windy City Urban Inn
607 West Deming Place

Hansen House Mansion
1020 w. Altgeld

Gold Coast Guest House
113 West Elm St.

This is just enough to get you started, enough to realize there's more out there than what shows up on the first page of a travelocity search. And in case you get too enthusiastic in your search, there are a few businesses with "hotel" in the name that are not what you're looking for (they charge by the hour).

If you find any of this info needs updating due to changing availability, let me know.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Wedding Gift Registry

Dear Wedding Guests,

For your convenience, we are registered online at:


However, we welcome any and all artistic alternatives from our brilliant and creative friends and family.

We can't wait to see you all in Chicago!

Jeff and Rebecca

Getting Married!

Hey, long time, no write!

But guess what, we're getting married on October 2, 2010!
We'll post details soon...