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18 And the Finalists Are

Last month, we asked you to submit your most colorful image of Illinois to celebrate spring. We received so many beautiful images, so thank you all for participating. Two of our photo bloggers narrowed down the submissions to the top four and we’re letting YOU choose the winning photo. Vote for your favorite image by May 12.

Stay tuned for our upcoming summer photo contest.

Spring Cantigny's Way by Kasia Bartnik

My Spring by Chris Bartnik

Sunrise - 63rd St Beach by Bob Long, Jr.

Springtime at the House of Worship by George Hatcher

[polldaddy poll=3156888]

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19 An inside look at the Chicago Theatre

The Lobby of the Chicago Theater

The Chicago Theatre is one of the most beautiful icons in the city. I never walk down State Street without pausing to look at the bright lights that adorn this great architectural masterpiece. Now, not only can you admire the theater from the outside but now the theater offers guided tours that allows visitors to get a closer look inside. Through September 1, the Chicago Theatre will be giving tours of the building every Monday – Thursday at noon and Saturdays at 12:30 p.m.

My mom and I love historic buildings and this tour was right up our alley. We booked a tour and planned a girl’s day out in the city. We began with Peach Sparkle tea from Argo Tea on Randolph and State, conveniently right around the corner from the Chicago Theatre.

The tour guide was incredibly well informed and personable, taking his time to pause for questions as he discussed the history of the 88-year-old building. It was amazing to be able to see the theater completely empty and explore its mysteries. The tour even takes its visitors to the stage where many acclaimed legends have preformed such as Frank Sinatra, Aretha Franklin and Harry Connick Jr. It was overwhelming to be on stage looking out at the vast and elegant theater and thinking about all the great artists that have stood in the same spot.

The tour went just over an hour, leaving time for us to spend the rest of the day shopping at all of the great stores on State Street. I couldn’t imagine a better girl’s day out.

The Chicago Theater tour is $12 and tickets can be purchased online or at the theater. It is a great way to explore some behind the scenes history of Chicago.

– Jaclyn Howard

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20 springfields old capitol farmers market

One of Springfield’s favorite events opens for the season downtown on May 19th.

The 11th Annual Old Capitol Farmers’ Market returns to Adams Street, just west of the Old State Capitol Plaza. If you’re in town, the ribbon cutting will be that morning at 10:00 a.m. There will be live music and a chef demonstration by Chef Michael Higgins of Maldaner’s Restaurant.

The Market will be open from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Saturdays, May 19 –October 30 on Adams Street between 5th & 3rd streets, and seven new spaces on Broadway Street just SW of the railroad tracks at 3rd and Adams.

There’s also a juried Artisan Area at 4th & Adams, and “Super Saturdays” will be held the every 3rd Saturday with chef demonstrations by Chef Higgins and the following live entertainment from 10-noon:

  • June 19 – Thornhill
  • July 17 – Elvis Himselvis
  • August 21 – Don Smith Band
  • September 18 – Salsa Dancing & Music by Julio Barrenzuela
  • October 16 – Black Magic Johnson

As in past years, a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, meat, eggs, plants, flowers, cheese and baked goods will be available for purchase. The Grower of the Week radio program which highlights individual vendors will again be hosted by Bob Murray of WTAX on Wednesday mornings.

The event is run by Downtown Springfield, Inc.

-Scott Troehler
Twitter: @Scott217


To learn more about Scott, check out his bio.

More info:
Contact Ann Frescura, Downtown Springfield, Inc., 217-544-1723, or www.downtownspringfield.org.

Downtown Springfield, Inc. Fan Page on Facebook:

Getting there:

[googlemaps http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=113849109827449889535.000485244de369dfe948d&ll=39.802668,-89.64994&spn=0.011539,0.018239&z=15&iwloc=000485245bb015dd56a01&output=embed&w=425&h=350]

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21 local vintage goods in chicago

With all of these glimpses of summer here in Chicago, it’s time to start working on your wardrobe! Sometimes the best part of the summer is being able to remove some of those winter layers and break out some great accessories.

The Silver Room

If you’re in Chicago and you’re looking for a place to ignite your creative energy, swing by The Silver Room in Wicker Park. From local artwork to hand-made jewelry,  this shop is definitely a place to check out. Every month The Silver Room features various artists, like the great piece above from local artist, Hebru Brantley.

When I asked Brantley if there was anything specific he wanted me to mention about his art, in a light-hearted manner, he stated, “Man just write what you feel, if you like it, say that, if you don’t, dis’ it.” No worries here Brantley, I loved it – it was refreshing, vibrant and fun.

If you want to stay closer to the downtown area, check out a new vintage shop, Seek Vintage Chicago, which just opened in West Town and has some great finds at great prices only minutes from the Loop. While exploring the shop, I ran across a Christian Dior scarf for $12.

Five Guys

After all of your retail therapy in the Windy City, you must stop by one of the four Five Guys burgers and fries locations here in Chicago. Five Guys originally started in Virginia and is most famously known for President Barack Obama treating his staff to the “pick your toppings burgers.” With more than 20 toppings to choose from, there really is something for everyone at this burger joint.

– Shawn Mayberry

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22 Road trip from southern IL to Chicago

Lincoln Statue in Springfield

Who knew that so many fun, fascinating stops wait just off the interstates? Midwest Living Deputy Editor, Barbara Morrow, discovers many along the remains of storied Route 66, including Springfield and its Lincoln sites and small towns such as Williamston with the Gemini Giant and main street antiques shops. For more Illinois getaways, check out the special section, Drive, Eat, Shop in Midwest Living’s May/June 2010 issue.

Just because a network of interstates speeds toward Chicago doesn’t mean you always have to stay in the fast lane. Turn off onto historic routes that take their time through serene countryside, and start your getaway with stops at unique main street shops and cafes. Once you reach the Windy City, you’ll also find plenty of reasons to veer off the beaten path, from ever evolving neighborhoods to new attractions, restaurants, lodgings and more.

Come with me as I make the trip from Southern Illinois to Chicago.

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