Laughing at Mayor Lightfoot’s absolute legend memes is bringing us a good bit of humor, but as the weeks of sheltering tick on, we’re all missing our favorite things about Chicago. The museums, the sports, the food. . . you name it, you’re craving it. Until you can get back at it, deepen the sag in your sofa and spend a staycation indulging as a family.
Visit Chicago's Impressive Museums
Never again should we take for granted the world-class museums we have at our fingertips. As Chicago remains on lockdown, our city’s best and brightest museums have stepped up to the virtual plate with online opportunities galore. From penguins at Shedd to dinos at Field, gather the fam, get comfy and Visit Chicago’s Brightest & Best Cultural Gems. . . Virtually!
Scratch that Baseball Itch
There’s no crying in baseball. . . until the season start is postponed, that is! The Chicago White Sox realizes that baseball taking a temporary hiatus has left some tortured fans, so they’re easing the pain for their littlest loyalists with virtual activities. Read our story Get Your Baseball Fix at Home with the Chicago White Sox to stay connected until you can take the family to a ballgame again.
Indulge in the Best Popcorn in the World
It speaks volumes when people are willing to queue up outside in a Chicago winter for popcorn. Garrett Popcorn Shops is just that good. Every local loves it and every tourist has it on their to-do. Garrett's storefront locations are closed, but you can have it shipped directly to your stoop.
During Chicago parades, Garrett hands out Parade Packs, which are snack-size bags of their iconic Garrett Mix. They've made these popular 2.2-oz snack-size bags in a 12-pack, as well as their usual line-up of offerings, available for home delivery.
Have Playtime with Great Wolf Lodge
Indoor waterparks are shuttered, but Great Wolf Lodge is still delivering howlin' good times. While they aren’t able to entertain your family in the hands-on way they’re accustomed to for now, they created tools to address the emotional and physical well-being of families who are sheltering-in-place. For kitchen challenges, arts and crafts projects, science experiments and more, read A Road Map to Home-Based Fun with Great Wolf Lodge.
Squeal with Delight at Zoo Animals
Though all of us are working overtime keeping our distance from one another, it doesn’t mean we’re completely confined to our own 4 walls. Why not go bananas with the monkeys at Brookfield Zoo? Or set off on a safari led by the keepers of the Lincoln Park Zoo? Read our story Get Your Animal Fix with a Virtual Zoo Visit and find out how to visit your most beloved critters in your very own home.
Have a Laugh with Second City
Chicago is known for its stellar comedy shows, and The Second City is one of the most famous comedy venues in the world. No need to go through laugh-withdrawals as The Second City created The Really Awesome Improv Show. This high-energy improv show is fun for all ages, and relies on audience suggestions and participation, very "Whose Line is it Anyway," but 100% kid-friendly. Tune in every Thursday at 1 p.m., Apr. 23-May 28.
Share a Slice with the Fam
The best kind of pie is pizza pie! Everyone knows, we're looking at you NY, that Chicago has the best pizza in the country. We may even be a contender for world domination. Whether you prefer deep dish, stuffed, or thin with that hard-to-resist crunch to the crust, most neighborhood favorites are open for delivery and/or pickup.
Visit Lou Malnati's website and donate to help feed healthcare workers or order pick-up or contactless delivery from Jet's Pizza's city locations and for every large, regularly priced pizza purchased on Mondays and Tuesdays through the end of April, using code FRONTLINE, the local stores will donate a pizza.
Visit a Conservatory and an Arboretum
Signs of spring are everywhere! This would normally be a great time to hit the area conservatories, parks and arboretums to enjoy the colors and the sweet scents. But, alas, no can do!
Garfield Park Conservatory brings the experience into your home by giving you access to your very own, on-demand tour guide. Use your smartphone or tablet and cruise at your own pace. New tours are added regularly and there are options that make it fun for the whole family.
The online resources offered by Morton Arboretum include virtual walks, horticulture classes, self-guided family play and more!
Take a History Lesson
Instead of the real-life walking tours, Chicago Detours usually offers, now you can join them on 20-minute talks called “Historic Happy Hour for Curious People” on weekdays and 40-minute live, virtual tours on weekends. These online talks and tours are free, with a $5-$15 suggested donation to support this small business. Past talks are viewable on Youtube for a limited time.
Enjoy a Flick from Your Sofa
Lakeview's Music Box Theatre is a historic gem that oozes character reminiscent of a simpler time—and who doesn't dream of simpler times these days? They've collaborated with frequent partners to bring you viewing-at-home options. Sales will support the Music Box during this closure and you get to watch new films that otherwise wouldn't be available. To get the full experience, cue up Dennis Scott on the Music Box Organ before you watch your film!
Snag a Bit of Culture in your Finest Stretchy Pants
On a normal day, everywhere you turn in Chicago there's a live theater performance to take in. With that coming to a screeching halt, theater buffs are missing sitting in the seats and watching a story unfold in front of their eyes. Lookingglass Theatre is helping to ease the pain with their The Infinite Room podcast, videos created from Lookingglass performers recorded at their homes, and online classes for kids to keep those creative juices flowing.
The Belmont Theatre District is an absolute powerhouse, serving as home to more than 50 theaters that put on more than 100 shows per week. With the Covid-19 closures, many of the theaters are providing digital, remote and streaming programming, discoverable on their joint Belmont Theatre District website.
You can also find a plethora of virtual events and activities on our events calendar.
Featured photo: Chait Goli for Pexels
— Maria Chambers