Chicago SkylineSeveral organizations who rank top travel destinations have recognized the city of Chicago as one of the nation’s best places to visit.

Conde Nast Traveler named Chicago the best city in America on its 2018 list of the best U.S. cities, recognizing the Windy City for its architecture, world class restaurants and friendly residents. A survey of 2,000 U.S. citizens conducted by Provision Living also ranked Chicago 16th among bucket list travel destinations. Chicago is also the number one 2019 destination for families according to TripSavvy.

The city also rated highly in several other categories.

  • TripAdvisor rated some of Chicago’s hotels among the best in the country in their Traveler’s Choice Awards.
  • The digital party invitation platform Evite named Chicago its number two party city of 2018. The Windy City had over 62,000 events listed on the platform last year with over 2.4 million guests invited.
  • Chicago was named the fifth most romantic city in the world by SpaSeekers. The organization also listed the city fourth for marriage proposals.

For more information about visiting the city of Chicago, click here.

GreatWolfLodgewaterpark 5acbd661c5542e0036fa35a0With the recent inclement weather, a lot of Illinoisans are missing summer. Although there are a few more months left before the sunshine and warm weather arrive, there is still a way to enjoy one favorite summertime activity indoors.

The greater Chicagoland area has two indoor water parks: The Great Wolf Lodge in Gurnee and The Water Works in Schaumburg.

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dusableThe first settler in Chicago was Jean Baptiste Point Du Sable. He was born in 1745 in Santa Domingo, Haiti, to a French mariner and a mother who was a slave from Congo. His father provided him with education, and he worked as a seaman for his father’s ships.

Before settling in Chicago, records show that Du Sable was in the Louisiana Territory in the 1760s, then moved to St. Louis. Ten years later he established an exchange post along the river in what today is Chicago.

Du Sable was an explorer in the Northwest Territory of United States and spoke fluent French, Spanish and English. When English colonists came to Chicago, Du Sable was the main supply station for them. He was known to be handsome, have exquisite taste and even built his home from French imported wood. Fellow explorers said he had a feather bed, couch and mirrors.

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IL State Museum

The Illinois State Museum in Springfield received recognition this week as one of the state’s top institutions in the museum field.    

The Illinois Association of Museums announced Tuesday that the State Museum has been named the 2018 recipient of the Leader Institution of the Year award, the highest honor given by the organization.

The State Museum is known for its outstanding work maintaining Illinois’ history and culture as well as its commitment to engaging with the community through popular family and youth programs that help foster an interest in the state’s history in young people.

In addition to its usual programs and events, the museum celebrated Illinois’ bicentennial in 2018 by providing an array of unique experiences, such as the production of daily “Bicentennial Minute” segments that discussed Illinois history for online listeners and by hosting an exhibition featuring rare artifacts from the 13.5 million object Illinois Legacy Collection.

The State Museum plans to continue expanding its programming in 2019 to provide an interactive and memorable experience to visitors.

“Our programming, special events, research and curation of our collections really do aim to share the story of Illinois,” said Illinois State Museum Interim Director Robert Sill. “It’s a great honor for the Illinois State Museum to receive the Illinois Association of Museums’ Leader Institution of the Year award. The re-emergence of the Museum has been a team effort by a great staff that understands and honors its legacy.”

The Illinois State Museum first opened in 1877 and has long been recognized as a leader in the museum community. The American Alliance of Museums called it “a national leader in the way it combines its unique collections, collaborative team approach, and specialized research capabilities along with its cutting-edge technology applications in support of exhibitions, public programs, and publications.”

The Illinois State Museum, at 502 S. Spring St. in Springfield, is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 4:30 p.m. Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults ages 19-64. Admission is free for youth, seniors and veterans.

Headshot XXX 1Our January artist of the month is Tony Abboreno, from Oak Park, IL. Abboreno is a retired Chicago Public Art teacher and his favorite medium to work in is acrylic paint.

How long have you been an Artist?  I have been artistic since preschool. My mother tolerated my experiments with color, melting crayons on the space heater in the dining room. The rich artistic exposure I had as a student in the Chicago Public Schools in the ’50’s and ’60’s sparked the desire to create art. When I went to Kindergarten at Hitch Elementary School, the room had floor-to-ceiling windows and easels set up for children to draw and paint. I remember painting pictures of bucking broncos, cowboys and cattle and seeing my paintings displayed on the walls of the school. From Kindergarten through my high school experience at Taft I saw the WPA murals and prints of famous artworks on the walls of classrooms and the hallways. I particularly remember “Blue Horses” by Franz Marc.  

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