CHICAGO (June 9, 11:35 a.m. EDT) — Perusing 19th century Indian shawls.
Sitting in the bleachers behind Wrigley Field's famed ivy.
Boogieing down with flamingos.
Chicago has more than just big shoulders to offer those who are coming to town, as all of those activities and more can be enjoyed during NPE week.
The Windy City has been cementing its reputation as a focal point of leisure and cultural activity since fur trader Jean Baptiste Point du Sable initiated the first Chicago-area settlement in 1779, leading to its subsequent incorporation in 1837 with a population of 4,170.
Now with 54 museums, 26 miles of lake front, 15 miles of bathing beaches, 550 parks and the world's largest public library, Chicago offers this year's NPE visitors more than just the show to look forward to.
The following is a list of attractions, special events, nightlife hangouts and tours to check out during the June 23-27 show. For more information, or for more places to visit, check out these Web sites: www.ci.chi.il.us, www.digitalcity.com, www.chicago cubs.com and www.chisox .com.
The annual Chicago SummerDance at Spirit of Music Gardens, 601. S. Michigan Ave., runs through Aug. 31. The music and dance festival takes place every Thursday through Sunday. Dance lessons begin at 6 p.m. with live music until 9:30 p.m. On Sunday, dance lessons begin at 4 p.m. with live music continuing through 7 p.m. Tel. (312) 742-4007.
Jammin' at the Zoo at the Lincoln Park Zoo, 2200 N. Cannon Drive, will be 6-10:30 p.m. June 27. The concert, taking place in an area of the zoo surrounded by flamingos, primates and lions, features a variety of musical acts and is designed as a fund-raiser to help keep the zoo free. Pre-ordered tickets are $20 and tickets on-site are $25. Tel. (312) 742-2283.
Taste of Chicago 2003 at Grant Park runs from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. June 27-July 6. The event will feature food from various restaurants, music and fireworks. Tel. (312) 744-3370.
Baseball fans are in luck, as not only will both the Chicago Cubs and their cross-town rivals the White Sox be in town, but they will play each other during the week of NPE.
The Cubs will take on the Milwaukee Brewers at Wrigley Field June 24-26. The June 24 game begins at 7:05 p.m., with the other two games taking place as Wrigley day games at 1:20 p.m.
The South Side White Sox will battle the Cubs in an American League vs. National League match up June 27 at 1:05 p.m. at U.S. Cellular Field (formerly Comiskey Park).
The Chicago Historical Society, Clark Street at North Avenue, is running a pair of special events that will be ongoing during NPE week. The first is “On the Fringe: Shawls from India.” The event showcases exotic 19th and early 20th centuries shawls from India. The other event is “Chicago Sports! You Shoulda Been There,” an exhibit featuring items from Chicago's sports history including “Shoeless” Joe Jackson's bat, Joe Louis' boxing gloves and Steve Dahl's Disco Demolition helmet.
The society is open Monday through Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Sundays from noon to 5 p.m. Suggested admission charge is $5 for adults. Tel. (312) 642-4600.
The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, is running a special exhibit through Sept. 1 called “Magic, the Science of Illusion.” The attraction will unveil the science used during magicians' acts. The museum is open Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Admission for adults is $7. Tel. (773) 755-5100.
Touted as housing the world's largest indoor aquarium, the Shedd Aquarium, 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, is featuring its new exhibit “Wild Reef” that will allow guests to view more than 30 different sharks. Tel. (312) 939-2435.
The starting point for comedians John Belushi, Bill Murray, Gilda Radner and others, the Second City Comedy Club operates a pair of stages where nightly shows and other events take place. Admission for the club at 1616 N. Wells St., is $17-$19. Tel. (312) 475-3560.
In a city renowned for its blues, Kingston Mines, 2548 N. Halsted St., is one of Chicago's blues landmarks as it features the work of such artists as Eddy Clearwater, Sandra Hall and Billy Branch. Tel. (773) 477-4646.
Named after the famous jazz song, the Green Dolphin Street, 2200 N. Ashland Ave., is touted as Chicago's largest jazz club. It is open Sunday and Monday from 5:30 p.m. to midnight; Tuesday through Thursday from 5:30 p.m. to 1 a.m.; and Friday and Saturday from 5:30 p.m. to 2 a.m. Tel. (773) 395-0066.
Known for its famous former patrons Charlie Chaplin, Al Capone and Gloria Swanson, the Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, 4802 N. Broadway St., is one of the oldest jazz clubs in the world. Tel. (773) 878-5552.
With clubs located at 536 and 736 N. Clark St., the 1920s-style Blue Chicago features performances by artists such as Gloria Hardiman and Willie Kent. Tel. (312) 642-6261 and (312) 661-0100.
Enter through the back door of Tommy Gun's Garage, underneath the El tracks at 1239 S. State St., and give the secret password, given as “Gloves” on its Web site, to be transported back to a Chicago speakeasy during the prohibition era. Admission for the interactive dinner theater show is $45 Thursday and Sunday; $55 on Friday; and $60 for Saturday's show. Tel. 800-461-0178. Allow 48 hours for confirmation or cancellation.
Several sightseeing companies are available to give tours of Chicago by lake, and land. For more information, go to www.chicago.il.org.
Some of the bus tour operations include American Sightseeing Chicago, tel. (312) 251-3100; Chicago Double Decker Co. and Chicago Trolley Co., tel. (773) 648-5000; and Chicago Gray Line, tel. (312) 251-3107.
Further, Blues Tour of Chicago offers excursions to some of Chicago's area blues venues. Tours begin at 8:30 p.m. and last four to six hours. Complimentary drinks are given at the three clubs visited on a typical night. The company also provides a guest entertainer and a history of the blues. Tel. (773) 426-3497.
Companies that specialize in allowing tourists to view Chicago from the water include Architectural and Historical Cruises at River East Plaza and Chicago From The Lake, tel. (312) 527-2002; Geneva Lake Cruise Line, tel. 800-558-5911; Mercury, Chicago's Skyline Cruise, tel. (312) 332-1353; Mystic Blue Cruises, tel. 888-330-4700; Seadog Ventures, tel. (312) 321-7648; Shoreline Sightseeing Co., tel. (312) 222-9328, ext. 2226; Spirit of Chicago, tel. (312) 836-7888; Tall Ship Windy, tel. (312) 595-5555; and Wendella Sightseeing Boats, tel. (312) 337-1446.