Were this not the worst winter in 30 years, a day in the lower 50s would be no big thing. But these are crazy times, and today feels like freakin' summer. How to best take advantage of the weather? We have some ideas.
1. Bar hop in Logan Square. After spending all winter cabbing between bars or hunkering down at just one place for the night, you can finally bar hop around Logan Square by foot. Start at Longman & Eagle, where you can have dinner and gear up for the night. Then walk down Milwaukee, stopping at Billy Sunday, Analogue and the Whistler. Want to keep going? The Radler and Chicago Distilling just opened, and you can either wind down with a beer at the Radler or try the vodka or white whiskey at Chicago Distilling. If you made it this far, you should probably stop into Revolution Brewing for its new 4th-Year Beer, which celebrates the brewery's fourth anniversary. And if you're really making a night of it, hop in a cab and stop at Weegee's Lounge, before hitting Scofflaw at midnight for a free round of warm chocolate chip cookies, and ending the night at Parson's Chicken & Fish. Here's a handy map of the bar crawl—click on each stop to see the best thing to drink at each place.
2. Rent a Divvy bike, as the stations have multiplied in number from the 75 at launch. They hope to have close to 400 stations this spring.
3. Build a picnic basket at Eataly—salami, chinotto, Nutella, cheese, chocolates—and head to the nearest park. We recommend the park off Ohio Street Beach.
4. Buy spring flowers—tulips, hyacinths, daffodils—for your desk and rejoice that these beauties will be covering the ground soon, instead of that nasty black snow studded with cigarette butts, dog poop and Flamin' Hot Cheetos bags. We like A New Leaf, but Trader Joe's bouquets will do in a pinch.
5. Walk home from work. You can do it.
6. Head to the Art Institute to catch up on exhibits like "Christopher Wool," and have lunch outside in the South Garden.
7. Pedal your bike to Heritage Bicycles General Store. While your two-wheeler gets a seasonal tune-up, have a coffee and a pastry in the shop's café.
8. Get iced coffee. It's finally almost warm enough to order an iced coffee without getting weird looks from the barista (I should know, I drink iced coffee year-round), so head to Intelligentsia for an iced coffee or Bow Truss for iced coffee on tap.
9. Lincoln Park Zoo's residents love the warmer weather, too. See the animals as they emerge from hibernation.
10. Eat outside. Big Star opened has its patio, and The Dawson has plans to do so soon. It's only a matter of time before all the patios are open and we've forgotten what it feels like to deal with a parka in a crowded bar.
11. Commune with nature as it blooms at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
12. Walk by the river in Chinatown's Ping Tom Park and look forward to architectural boat tours and water taxis floating by, rather than, you know, ice bergs.
13. Get them toenails did. Those things have been hiding under wool socks and snow boots for too long. But before you unsheathe your talons, pay someone to buff them up. One of our 10 favorite spas would do a nice job.
14. Eat ice cream. Scooter's Frozen Custard and Original Rainbow Cone have opened, so to fully maximize your ice cream-eating in 2014, you need to start now.
15. Walk to dinner. There's no better way to work up your appetite, and it makes you feel like you've earned the massive burger or two desserts you're inevitably going to order.
16. Hit the dog beach. Let your four-footed friends off the leash for a warmup at Montrose Dog Beach, or if you live in a building that doesn't allow pets, go for a little dog stalking—er, observation.
17. Tour the Halsted Street Legacy Walk. Now that we finally have enough degrees to make a leisurely stroll bearable, take a turn through Boystown's outdoor museum of LGBT history.