With a vast culture and rich nightlife, Chicago has many exciting events the week of NPE2009, June 22-26.
Tourist attractions like the Sears Tower and Shedd Aquarium are well known, but Plastics News has created a list including special area events and exhibits that coincide with NPE.
Average temperatures during the show are predicted to be in the high 80s, so visitors may want to plan outdoor activities like visiting a beach, attending a festival or having dinner on a patio.
If you're interested in finding other events not listed, check out these Web sites: www.choosechicago.com, www.metromix. chicagotribune.com or chicagoreader.com.
For sports addicts, the Chicago Cubs will play the Cleveland Indians at 1:20 p.m. June 19, 12:05 p.m. June 20 and 1:20 p.m. June 21. The games are at historic Wrigley Field. The ballpark has been open for 96 seasons and is the location of Babe Ruth's fabled called shot, when Ruth allegedly pointed to a bleacher location during Game 3 of the 1932 World Series and then hit Charlie Root's next pitch for a homer. After the series with the Indians, the Cubs travel to Detroit for a three-game stretch against the Tigers.
The White Sox will battle the Los Angeles Dodgers on their home turf at U.S. Cellular Field. Games are June 23 and 24 at 7:11 p.m. and June 25 at 1:05 p.m. Catch the crosstown Chicago rivalry when the Cubs return to play the Sox at U.S. Cellular Field, June 26 and 27 at 3:05 p.m.
Chicago's WNBA team, the Sky, plays the Washington Mystics at 7 p.m. June 27 at UIC Pavilion.
While in Chicago, NPE-goers should consider participating in the city's traditions and experiencing its heritage at many cultural events.
For those arriving before the convention, the Taste of Randolph Street, located in Chicago's Randolph Street corridor in the West Loop community, will be held June 19-21. The area houses several of Chicago's trendiest art galleries and nightclubs. The three-day event highlights food from neighborhood restaurants and features the Taste of Randolph Street Culinary Pavilion, beverage concessions, art and world market vendors, along with popular live entertainment. Visit the street June 19 from 5 to 11 p.m.; June 20 from 2 to 11 p.m.; and June 21 from 2 to 10 p.m.
If the Taste of Randolph Street sounds appealing, stop by the Taste of Chicago at Grant Park, June 26-July 5. You'll find more than 200 menu items from more than 50 restaurants. The event's Family Village offers activities, entertainment and amusement rides just for kids, and the south end has a stage for local musicians.
Chicago borders Lake Michigan: Check out the city's lakefront beach for swimming, jogging, roller skating, sailing and playing volleyball. Admission is free and lifeguards are on duty from 11 a.m. to 7:15 p.m. daily.
Navy Pier has free daily activities, with weekday hours from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., and is open until midnight on weekends. The Buccaneer Pirates, jugglers, magicians, marching bands and cultural groups perform music and dance routines. Acrobats in the Cirque Shanghai shows entertain daily, with Wednesday and Saturday shows at 2, 6, and 8 p.m., and Thursday and Friday shows at 2 and 8 p.m. Cost is $12.50-$29.50.
Navy Pier has fireworks Wednesdays at 9:30 p.m. and Saturdays at 10:15 p.m. The beer garden has daily drink specials and weekend entertainment.
The week of NPE holds plentiful opportunities to dabble in Chicago's culture by visiting the many festivals that offer free entertainment and local food vendors.
NPE attendees will arrive a week late for the world's largest free blues festival. However, it's possible to catch the free Close Up 2 Smooth Jazz Festival, June 19-21 from noon to 10 p.m. inside Pritzker Park at State and Van Buren streets.
Chicago Summerfest is a two-day festival featuring live music, upscale art, and food. The event is June 20 from noon to 10 p.m. and June 21 from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Admission is free, but $5 donations will be accepted. Summerfest is at Clark Street and Armitage Avenue.
Belmont Arts and Music Festival, June 20-21 in Chicago's West Lakeview/Roscoe Village neighborhood, combines diverse live music as well as food and beverage vendors. Acts include Seth Bradley, Pete Francis, Jon McLaughlin, Holding Mercury and Lovehammers.
The Museum of Science and Industry will be the only Midwest stop for Harry Potter: The Exhibition. Get a glimpse of props and costumes from the movie. See artifacts from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, along with backdrops and magical creatures. Harry Potter: The Exhibition requires a timed-entry ticket, either during museum hours or exhibit-only evening hours (entry times from 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.). The exhibition runs through Sept. 27.
Three exhibits will run during NPE at Chicago's Field Museum.
Visit Sacred Waters: India's Great Kumbha Mela Pilgrimage, and let photographer Jean-Marc Giboux show you one of the largest human gatherings on earth, Hinduism's sacred Kumbha Mela event.
You can learn about water conservation efforts around the world in the Field Museum's Water exhibit, which starts June 17.
Masterpieces of Ancient Jewelry: Exquisite Objects from the Cradle of Civilization, lets you enjoy never-before-seen Sumerian artifacts from the ancient city of Kish that were uncovered by archeologists in Iraq.
After the NPE show, take time to scope out Chicago's nightlife. Catch a show or grab a bite at a restaurant.
The TBS television network provides comedic relief as it presents its Very Funny Festival Just for Laughs at the Chicago Theatre and Vic Theatre, June 17-20. Acts include Ellen Degeneres, Lisa Lampanelli and Jimmy Fallon. Showtimes range from 7 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., and vary by comedian and location.
Earth, Wind and Fire will perform at Allstate Arena on June 26 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices start at $34.
Briar Street Theater will host the Blue Man Group throughout the week at various times. Tickets range from $49-$65.
Johnny D's is new to the restaurant scene. It is located in the West Loop and offers a traditional dinning room for sampling Italian entrees and a casual pizzeria for grabbing a quick slice.
Find other Chicagoland attractions and eateries online at www.metromix.chicago tribune.com and explore what the area has to offer.