Windy City Links

chicago skyline sunday morning diversions
If you're exploring Chicago, you couldn't start in a better place than Grant Park. The park is ground zero for Chicago's cultural institutions, the centerpiece of the famous 24-mile park district along Lake Michigan's shoreline.

Some of the seasonal attractions of Grant Park include:

  • A special exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago takes you inside the world of the Pharaohs of the Sun: Akhenaten, Nefertiti, Tutankhamen. It's open through Sept. 24. You can see some exhibition highlights without leaving home.
  • At the Field Museum of Natural History, they're celebrating the arrival of Sue, the largest and best preserved Tyrannosaurus rex fossil ever discovered. Current special exhibitions include "Star Wars: The Magic of Myth," a showcase for the movie's props, models and costumes, through Jan. 7.
  • At the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum, there's a new sky show, "Spirits from the Sky: Thunder on the Land," produced with the collaboration of Pawnee Tribal Elders.

  • And, Shedd Aquarium has just opened a new exhibit that takes you on an excursion through the forest of the Amazon. If you go on a Thursday night through Sept. 28, there's live jazz at the Shedd, too.
You may want to bone up on some of the colorful history of the city, via these sites:

The Chicago Historical Society site has the highlights in multimedia. Here you can browse through the career lowlights of crime chief Al Capone, or find out if Mrs. O'Leary's cow really was to blame for the devastating fire of 1871.

For up-to-date information, the City of Chicago site has information about local attractions and institutions.

For current events, CenterStage Chicago, a local arts site, provides an updated calendar of "a gazillion" neighborhood festivals and fairs in Chicago and its suburbs.

Chicago Metromix also has extensive events listings.

When you want to get away from the urban bustle, the organization Chicago Wilderness lists protected state parks and preserves in the region that are open to visitors.

And, for inormation about destinations all over Illinois, see the Illinois Department of Commerce and Community Affairs tourism site.