As the partial government shutdown stretches on with no end in sight, some Chicagoans are feeling the sting of being barred from reporting to work. More than 800,000 federal employees across the nation have been furloughed as lawmakers continue to hash out a plan to reopen government. Chicago hosts offices of the FBI, the Drug Enforcement Agency and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, among other federal agencies that have been affected by the partial shutdown. Some Chicago businesses have decided to pitch in to make life easier for local federal employees who have gone weeks without a paycheck. Restaurants are offering free or discounted meals, museums are waving admission fees and the Second City has even extended an invitation to government workers who want to take a free improv class. Take a look at some of the offers available to federal employees waiting to return to work in Chicago: Porkchop BBQ (1017 S Delano Ct and 1516 E Harper Court)All official government workers get half-off their meal with a valid government ID. Adler Planetarium (1300 S Lake Shore Dr)Free admission to the planetarium with a government ID. Hai Sous Vietnamese Kitchen (1800 S Carpenter St)Monday through Wednesday during the remainder of the shutdown, all official government workers can receive a free Cơm Bình Dân, a Vietnamese “Worker’s Meal.” Cà Phê Đá (1800 1/2 S Carpenter St)Monday through Wednesday during the remainder of the shutdown, all official government worke
Just when we thought it was going to be a mild winter (it's never gonna happen), Chicago's forecast reminds us who's boss. For the second weekend in a row, the Chicagoland area will be tormented by a winter storm, according to the National Weather Service. Starting late Friday afternoon and continuing throughout the night, the storm is expected to deposit four to eight inches of fresh powder all over the city. The Winter Storm Watch advises that traffic could be "dangerous [or] significantly slowed due to snow/ice-covered roads and poor visibility." Those who traverse roads north of I-88 should be especially careful. Though the storm should subside by Saturday afternoon, Chicagoans can expect biting-cold temperatures on Saturday and Sunday evening, when the mercury will drop to 18 and 9 degrees, respectively. As of right now, there's even more snow in the forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday. Grab your warmest winter coat, pile on the cold-weather accessories and plan to shovel yourself out of your apartment if you were thinking about doing anything this weekend. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
O'Hare International Airport is getting the biggest addition of its 74-year history with construction of a new international terminal, but the design of the new space remains up in the air. This morning Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Department of Aviation revealed the five designs that are in the running, complete with renderings and models of the planned $8.5 billion expansion of O'Hare's international terminal. Dubbed the O'Hare Global Terminal, the addition will add a staggering 2.25 million square feet to the airport, which would make the terminal one of the largest in the country. Unlike most projects of this scale, Chicagoans will actually get to help determine which of the five designs gets chosen. From now through January 23, city residents can view renderings of each of the proposed terminals and take a five-question survey to voice their opinion. Want to see the proposed designs in person? 3D models of the finalists are on display at the Chicago Architecture Center (111 E Upper Wacker Dr) through the end of January. “Chicago is taking a bold step forward to choose the architect team that will set the course for O’Hare’s biggest transformation yet,” Emanuel said in a press release. “This design competition celebrates our tradition of innovation and world-leading architectural history. As we move forward with the O’Hare expansion, we invite our residents and travelers to weigh in on one of the largest terminals in the country.” The O'Hare Global Terminal is
When it first opened in 2007, the Violet Hour was a pioneer in the craft-cocktail movement, serving inventive beverages infused with small-batch liqueurs, hand-crafted syrups and super seasonal flavors. Up until a few months ago, the bar's food menu was merely a necessary sidekick to the plentiful drink offerings—sustenance to balance the booze. But now, with the help of its first-ever chef de cuisine, Jeremy Nelson, the Violet Hour is amping up its culinary choices with a revamped menu that includes a handful of noteworthy dishes. "We're trying to make the food as elevated as the cocktails, so that people who come to the Violet Hour will be as excited about the food as they are about the drinks," says Nelson, who's worked in Michelin-starred kitchens like now-defunct Charlie Trotter's in Chicago and and Dovetail in New York. With just nine dishes, the new menu is short but showcases some promising, cheffy ingredients and techniques. The duck confit spring rolls are stuffed with butternut squash and served with Thai chili sauce. The ricotta gnocchi includes veal cheek, sunchoke purée and candied lemon. For dessert, the miniature ice cream cone flight has become a best-seller: Guests can to choose three flavors, with options like miso with candied ginger, black garlic with candied kumquat and lavender with shaved white chocolate. Save for a truffle add-on, nothing on the food menu exceeds $12. Two day-one fixtures remain: the pommes frites with roasted garlic aioli and the
Following President Donald Trump's fast-food–fueled celebration for the Clemson Tigers last night, Alinea co-owner Nick Kokonas extended a very generous offer to the team via Twitter: "I could care less about college football. But I'm personally inviting the Clemson Tigers team and coaches to Chicago to experience what an actual celebration dinner should be," Kokonas tweeted. "I'm not joking." Alinea is Chicago's only three-star Michelin restaurant and offers tasting menus ranging from $205 to $395 per person. And for the Clemson Tigers, Kokonas says he'll pull out all the stops with "vintage champagne... for those of age." Referencing the reported $3,000 that Trump spent on hamburgers, fries and pizza, Kokonas says this culinary adventure will cost "a LOT more than $3k" and told Eater Chicago that he'd coordinate a tour of the group's other properties, including the Office, Next and Roister. This isn't the only offer the Tigers have received since their White House feast: Ayesha Curry, Michael Strahan and Migos rapper Quavo have also extended dinner invitations to the team. Here's hoping the Tigers get to experience Alinea's edible balloons in 2019. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
A recent survey by urban planning website CityLab revealed what Chicagoans have always known: our city boasts delicious tacos AND great public transit. CityLab created the survey after Carter Rubin, a mobility and climate advocate at the Natural Resources Defense Council, tweeted a crude graph with tacos and transit as the variables. To conduct the survey (which wasn't exactly scientific), CityLab built a Google form and asked readers to supply their zip code and rank their city's tacos and transit on a scale of 1 to 10. For tacos, Chicago earned an average rating of 8.2, the highest of any city north of the Mason-Dixon Line. Chicago received an average rating of 8.1 for its transit system, the best of any U.S. city, beating out the likes of New York City and Washington, D.C. While the results may be a bit biased, CityLab has made Chicagoans' passion tacos and public transit known to the world. Chicago Reader went so far as to assemble a map of taquerias within walking distance CTA train stations (more than 100 of them!), suggesting that wherever there are commuters there is probably also some al pastor roasting on a spit. Naturally, we've also got some transit-adjacent taco suggestions for you, taken from our list of the best tacos in Chicago. Birrieria Zarazoga CTA stop: Pulaski (Orange Line)You must try: The Birria taco La Casa de SamuelCTA stop: California (Pink Line)You must try: The Cecina taco Rojo GusanoCTA stop: Montrose (Brown Line)You must try: The mixed mush
Chicago’s neighborhoods are just like people: there are a lot of them and almost all of them are annoying in their own ways. But any area is only as irritating as the people who inhabit it, and according to a new study conducted by Digital Third Coast, Old Town is filled with folks you probably don't want to live on the same block as. The new study compiled 3-1-1 complaints from the the 30 most densely populated neighborhoods in the city and then categorized the grousing as one of three types—noise, garbage and dog poop. Of course, this methodology is far from perfect. For one, the study's focus on only 30 densely populated areas means that the majority of Chicago's neighbors got off easy—who's to say that the people in Pullman or Portage Park are always a pleasure to live next to? There are also many other types of complaints (public intoxication and illegal parking, to name a few) that weren't considered, as well as some that might never warrant a 3-1-1 call (snide looks, passive aggressive notes, refusal to buzz in the UPS guy). According to the numbers that Digital Third Coast pulled from the city's Data Portal, Old Town was first in garbage complaints and fourth in noise complaints, Hermosa was number one for errant dog poop, while the Gold Coast was at the top for noise. If the study is to be believed, the North Side is where annoying neighbors want to live, while folks in Old Town, Bucktown, Wicker Park and Lincoln Park also rack up a lot of 3-1-1 complaints. The
Getting a reliable internet connection on a CTA subway platform can often be a Sisyphean task (and a drain on your data plan), especially during rush hour. Luckily for commuters, the CTA is taking the mantra “new year, new me” seriously. Over the weekend, CTA officials announced that by the end of January, free Wi-Fi hot spots will be installed at three downtown Blue Line stops Washington, Monroe and Jackson. You can try out the free Wi-Fi at the Clark/Lake Blue Line station, where the hot spots have already been installed. While the free Wi-Fi is limited to CTA platforms, commuters will be able to connect while waiting for a train to download long documents, podcasts or check the weather—all without using any of their data plan. If this pilot program proves successful, Wi-Fi could become available at every CTA station, though no timetable has been set. The $600,000 upgrade comes at the behest of Emanuel, who has advocated for CTA improvements throughout his time as mayor. In 2015, the outgoing mayor introduced 4G wireless service across CTA's subway tunnels and platforms, making it the largest subway system in North America with complete 4G coverage. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
Here's a New Year's resolution for you: Leave your pants behind in 2018. Actually, don't do that, unless they're cargo pants. Otherwise, please wear pants, especially when you're riding the CTA and there's snow on the ground. The only exception to that rule of thumb transpired on the Red Line on Sunday afternoon, where a group of Chicagoans in their underwear drew confused (and amused) stares while participating in the annual No Pants Subway Ride. Beginning in Rogers Parks, the trouserless group made its way to the Loop while temperatures outside hovered in the mid-30s. Missed out on the fun? Check out our photos of the event below. RECOMMENDED: See photos from past editions of the No Pants Subway Ride Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVal Photograph: Grace DuVa
Whether it's for the deep dish pizza, awesome views of Lake Michigan or a decent Cubs team, more and more people are deciding to visit Chicago. According to an announcement from Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Chicago had just over 57.6 million visitors in 2018—a 4.3% increase over tourism numbers in 2017. "When it comes to attracting tourists and business travelers, Chicago can go toe-to-toe with any city in the world," Emanuel said in a press release. "By continuing to set new tourism records and bring millions more people to Chicago every year, we are creating jobs and economic opportunities that reach every neighborhood." Growing tourism has been one of Emanuel's priorities throughout his time as mayor. Since 2011, the beginning of Emanuel's first term, over 22,000 new tourism-related jobs have been created and annual visitors have increased by nearly 50 percent. Unsurprisingly, the biggest benefactors of the growth were hotels. Hotel revenues jumped up 9.1%, leading to a record $140 million in city hotel tax revenues for the city (though that's only a drop in the bucket when it comes to the city's ongoing pension funding crisis). As Chicago residents who enjoy the city's amazing parks, delicious restaurants and packed concert calendar, we're not exactly surprised that visitors are flocking here. Last year, a global Time Out survey resulted in Chicago being named the best city in the world for the second straight year. Judging by the numbers, tourists seem to agree with that