Here’s the situation: you just wrapped up a hectic workweek and you know it’d be grand to burn through some of that hard-earned dough while socializing with friends. But where to do it? Here are a few suggestions that present unparalleled fun in Chicago over a weekend.
Neighborhood hideouts like The Empty Bottle in the Ukrainian Village and big concert halls like The Riviera or Aragon Ballroom in Uptown offer unforgettable acts on both ends of the spectrum — you can catch bands that are just getting their start in the smaller venues before they rocket to national fame, or see some legendary acts as they come through town in late night Lollapalooza after-shows. Chicago is the home of blues music, but you’ll be able to chase away dem blues by taking in the great variety of musical acts that roll through Chicago.
Watch The Puck Drop
Chicago is also home to one of the NHL’s ‘Original Six’ franchises in the Chicago Blackhawks. With a rich history of great players, colorful personalities and dedicated fans (plus three out of the last six Stanley Cup titles to their name), there’s hardly a sporting spectacle that can compare to the buzz and energy as the Hawks take the ice in the United Center. While the UC may be known as the House That Michael Built — the sporting arena doubles as home to the Chicago Bulls as well as the Blackhawks — it goes crazy for ice hockey as soon as the basketball floor is packed away. For a one-of-a-kind thrill, nothing compares to hearing the baritone opera singer Jim Cornelison belt out the national anthem in front of a sold-out crowd in Chicago. Do yourself a favor and do a quick video search for that scene. Pure electricity.
Smash Some (Ping Pong) Balls
Move the game of table tennis out of the basement and into…well, another basement. But a super nice one! That’s a quick and not altogether complete way of summing up the atmosphere at AceBounce, the social headquarters for the Chicago Loop that takes the global game of table tennis and elevates it by filling a gorgeously decorated 14,500 square foot space with 16 ping pong tables, each one of them championship quality. There’s even one that comes direct from the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games! To raise the bar even higher, AceBounce offers gourmet fare from the kitchen run by James Beard-awarded Chef Rick Gresh and craft cocktails by Chicago’s most inventive bartender, Peter Vestinos. The food and drink will definitely make up for any lack of ping pong skills. And after the paddles are put aside, the music will keep your group hanging out until the wee hours.