Chicago has a wealth of activities that are readily available for the traveler who may only be in town for a short stay. Fishing, sailing, bicycling and ice skating are just a few of the things available to do in and around town.
The Chicago Blues Festival- This event speaks for itself. It's held in June, call 312-744-3355 for details.
Taste of Chicago,- A ten day feast with lots of great food and live entertainment. It runs from the end of June into the first week of July. Most of Chicago's restaurants bring their best dishes to the event. For information call, 312-744-3315.
Mercury Chicago's Skyline Cruises- Located at Michigan Avenue and Wacker Drive, is a fun and romantic way to see the city and the sunset. The two-hour sunset trip departs -depending on the season and the weather- at 7:30 pm. At 9 pm, the boat stops so you can view the lights of Buckingham Fountain. Price ranges from $10 - $12 for adults, $5 - $7 for children under twelve. Call 312-332-1353.
"Wacky Pirate Cruise"-This one-hour fun filled cruise is geared for kids, and kids at heart. It is operated by Mercury Lines. It runs from late June to late August, departing every Thursday through Sunday at 10 am. Cost is $11 for adults; $6 for children. Make (required) reservations through Ticketmaster by calling 312-902-1500.
The magnificent Mile Lights Festival- Watch a colorful parade of Disney characters strut down Michigan Avenue in November. The stores and street lights illuminate as they pass. For details, call 312-642-3570.
The Independence Day Celebration- Celebrates on July 3rd with concerts, fireworks, and food. For information call 312-744-3315.
House of Blues-All the great ones have or will play here. Located at 329. N. Dearborn St. Call 312-923-2000.
Chicago Sailing Club- Located at Belmont Harbor. Call 773-871-7245
Sailboats Inc.- Gives sailboat lessons and offers boat rentals. If you're not an experienced navigator. Located at 400 East Randolph Street. Call 312-861-1757.
Lincoln Park Lagoon- Offers paddle boat rentals. Locate at 2021 N. Stockton Dr. Call 312-742-2038.
The Great Lakes are stocked full of Chinook, salmon, trout, coho, perch, and other species of fish that will give you a good fight, and there are plenty of charters waiting to take you out to battle.
Chicago Sport Fishing Association-Call 312-922-1100 for charter boat information.
Henry's Sport and Bait- Located near Burnham Harbor and McCormick Place. For shore line fishing information and equipment rental call 312-225-8538.
Park Bait- Rents rod-n-reels. Has the skinny on where the big ones are biting. Call 312-271-2838.
Chicago Park District- One eighteen hole coarse in Jackson Park, and five nine-hole courses in the surrounding parks. Two driving ranges, one at Lake Shore Drive and one in Jackson Park. 18 hole miniature golf coarse at Diversey Avenue and Lake Shore Drive.
The Chicago Fitness Center- Aerobic equipment and free and fixed weights for $7 a day. 3131 N. Lincoln Ave., 773-549-8181
Gold's Gym & Aerobic Center- 820 N. Orleans, 312-644-6537.
World Gym and Fitness Center-They have the serious weight at $15 a day. at 909 W. Montrose, 773-348-1212
O'Hare Health and Racquet Club- It will cost you $7 a day to use their six-lane lap pool, aerobic equipment, and free and fixed weights.
Daley Bicentennial Plaza- Ice-skate for free and get a lesson on Saturday morning between 9 and 11am. There is a small fee for skate rentals. Located at Randolph and Lake Shore Drive, between Washington and Randolph on State Street. 312-294-4790.
The path along Lake Michigan is 20 miles long. It accommodates bicyclists, skaters, and joggers. It is best to stay north of McCormick Place; muggers have been known to stake out the empty stretch of path between the convention center and Hyde Park. At night streets within the Loop are desolate.
Windward Sports-Has all your bicycle and skating needs. Rentals and sales. 3317 N. Clark Street 773-472-6868.
London Mondo- rent bicycles and in line skates, as well as all the necessary protective gear. This is a great way to cruise the 20-miles of lakefront. 1100 N. Dearborn St., 312-751-2794.
Chicago Architecture Foundation- By bike, boat, bus, and foot, they will take you in and around Chicago to see and learn about the 60 plus architecture sights and environments. The "Chicago Architecture Highlights by Bus" trip on Saturdays at 9:30 costs $25. It covers the Loop, the Gold Coast, and Hyde Park. Other separate trips like the Frank Lloyd Wright trip and the Loop walking tours cost on average $5 to $10. All trips will take a few hours. The Foundation is located at 224 South Michigan Avenue. For information call 312-922-3432.
Oprah Winfrey-Tapes her talk-show at Harpo Studios from September through May. Tickets can be reserved by calling one to two months in advance, 312-591-9222. No standby tickets are available.