CHEAP DRINKS: MYOPENBAR.COM, By Garin Pirnia
First mimosa free with brunch entrée then $2 after at Hamburger Mary’s, Saturdays and Sundays 10:30am–3pm. During this time of year, we need all the Vitamin C we can get—even if it’s in the form of breakfast booze. Order a brunch entrée (most are less than $10), enjoy the pop music blasting in the background and let Mary’s mimosas eradicate the winter blues. 5400 N Clark St, 773-784-6969.
CHEAP SHOPPING: MIDWASTELAND.COM, By Monica Dimperio
Soy candle, $7 at Ruby Room. If a Malin and Goetz Cannabis candle is on your wish list, but the $50 price tag makes your wallet cringe, Bluewick’s Leather Tabac scent is possibly the next-best thing. The combination of masculine aromas is so intoxicating, you’ll never know the difference. 1743 W Division St, 773-235-2323.
STACHEonery stationery set, $4 at Rudy’s Round Up. E-mail is cheap. Free, actually. For just a few dollars more, you can send a piece of snail mail that will make your favorite hipster smile.
Thank You And You’re Welcome coffee-table book, $10 at RSVP Gallery (1753 N Damen Ave, 773-770-6666). This pithy coffee-table book written by the Louis Vuitton don himself, Kanye West, is a worthwhile read for his followers and foes alike. Learn how the rapper has reached worldwide success in this spiral-bound quick read—fitting for a guy who says he’s “not a fan of books.”
New I Shot Andy Warhol DVD, $10 at Permanent Records (1914 W Chicago Ave, 773-278-1744). This West Town record shop has an excellent music selection, but its DVD collection is just as impressive—perfect for the movie connoisseur who loves Netflix but keeps a sacred collection of indies, rarities and cult classics on hand to view on a whim. The best part: Every purchase gets you a code for ten free song downloads from the store’s record label.
By Cecelia Ungari and Christine Escobar
$5.20 green car and truck toys at MightyNest. Your kids will wheel these car and bus toys around town without you having to worry about hazardous paints and varnishes. Crash tested and Green Mama approved. Order online at mightynest.com; option to pick up at 1570 Oak Ave, suite 103, Evanston, 847-905-0567.
$8.99 natural modeling clay and $5.49 soy crayons at MightyNest. Craft time can be green and clean, too. Create masterpieces with your kids using this set of three 4-ounce containers of safe, natural clay or this six-pack of soy crayons by Clementine. Order online at mightynest.com; pick up available with appointment at 1570 Oak Ave, suite 103, Evanston, 847-905-0567.
$8.99 reusable sandwich totes and $6.99 snack bags by Snack Taxis at MightyNest. Pack chips, trail mix, fruit slices and more for school and travel into these cute, brightly patterned pouches that leave less plastic trash behind. Available in multiple styles and sizes, they’re more fun and ecofriendly than Ziploc bags or brown paper bags. Order online at mightynest.com; option to pick up at office, 1570 Oak Ave, suite 103, Evanston, 847-905-0567.
KIDS’ BUDGET BUYS
Ice skating, $5–$10 skate rental at Chicago Park District rinks. Round up the little ones, bundle up and lace up for outdoor winter fun. See cpdit01.com/resources/ice_rinks/ for locations.
Hands-on Swedish history lesson, $10 per family at the Swedish American Museum Brunk Children’s Museum of Immigration. The museum’s bargain family-admission price gets kids and parents an interactive lesson on the histories of immigrant families in the United States. 5211 N Clark St, 773-728-8111.
Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, pay-what-you-can Thursdays. Don’t miss especially popular exhibitions such as the permanent Judy Istock Butterfly Haven and the temporary National Geographic Crittercam, which runs through April 11. Adult admission is usually $9, kids ages 3–12 $6, kids under 3 free. 2430 N Cannon Dr, 773-755-5100.
Family yoga, $20 for a child/adult pair, $5 for each additional sibling or adult at Bloom Yoga Studio. Stretch more than your imagination with interactive yoga workshops for grownups and kids ages 5 and up. Classes are held the last Saturday of each month; register in advance online or by phone. 4663 N Rockwell St, 773-463-9642.
CHEAP ENTERTAINMENT: CHEAPFREECHICAGO.COM, By Amy Hayden
Dirty Needles craft night free with drink purchase at the Hideout, first Thursday of every month, 5:30–8pm. Chicago artist Andrea Jablonski hosts the local chapter of the L.A.-based crafting group. No crafting ability is necessary to join—regulars are happy to pass on their skills. 1354 W Wabansia Ave, 773-227-4433.
Mental Graffiti, $5 at Butterfly Social Club, every third Thursday of the month. The Chicago poetry collective regularly hosts nationally and locally recognized spoken-word artists, kicking the night off at 8pm with an open mike and poetry slam and ending with the featured headliner. 722 W Grand Ave, 312-666-1695.
The Wild Party Variety Hour, $10 at Prop Theatre, Saturdays at 10:30pm. This cabaret-style show from Nathan Paul and Marvin Quijada combines burlesque, mime, vaudeville, solo performances, stage combat and whatever else sounds fabulous, followed by live music. 3502 N Elston Ave, silenttheatre.com.
Cocktails & Clay, $5 minimum suggested donation at the Hyde Park Art Center, every second Friday of the month. This artsy dance party includes gallery-hopping, 45-minute hand building with clay sessions, a live DJ and drink specials. Don’t forget your smock! 5020 S Cornell Ave, 773-324-5520.
2nd Story, $10 at Morseland, last Wednesday of the month at 7:30pm. The Serendipity Theatre Collective’s hybrid performance event combines music, storytelling and wine—and don’t be surprised when the lights go down and a spotlight zooms in on someone in the audience who happens to be the next storyteller. 1218 W Morse Ave, 773-764-8900.
Sweet Home Chicago lecture series, $8–$10 at Chicago History Museum. If you’re tired of the wining and dining for the romantic Valentine’s holiday, head to the museum for a three-part lecture series examining candy’s past, present and future in Chicago (which was once the nation’s largest producer of confections). And don’t be surprised if you head home with a tummy ache from sampling the sweets. 1601 N Clark St, 312-642-4600.
Improvised Music Series, $7 at Elastic Arts Foundation. If you’ve lived in Chicago for any length of time, you’ve been dragged to dozens of improv-comedy nights. Why not mix it up and head to Avondale for an evening of jazz-infused unpredictability, where we promise you’ll be groaning a lot less? 2830 N Milwaukee Ave, elasticarts.org.
Settlers of Catan Tournament, $10 at Cat & Mouse Games. Okay, so being a role-playing type of guy (or gal) may not be the best thing to mention on a first (or third) date, but if you’re good, why not play to win? The champ of the store’s tournament, which continues through February, wins a paid trip to GenCon, where he or she will participate in the World Wide Catan Championship qualifying tournament. 2212 W Armitage Ave, 773-384-4454; checkcat-n-mouse.com/catan for times and dates.
Trivia Thursdays, free with drink purchase at Bad Dog Tavern. Know-it-alls can swing by the Lincoln Square mainstay for team trivia. Prove you and your friends have the most useless knowledge floating around in your heads and walk away with prizes, which change every week. 4535 N Lincoln Ave, 773-334-4040.
Wii Bowling League, free with drink purchase at Mother’s Too. Get out of the house and share your Wii addiction with fellow bowlers, all the while enjoying $3 PBR cans. Bowling shoes are optional, albeit encouraged. 14 W Division St, 312-266-7444.
Disney Songs for Grown-Ups, two-drink minimum at Davenport’s Piano Bar & Cabaret. We all know you don’t have a complete Disney-classic film collection because of your nieces and nephews—and now you can hear the songs you love without guilt or shame. But hurry; it’s a one-time deal on Saturday 24. Who knows when you’ll get this guilt-free pass again? 1383 N Milwaukee Ave, 773-278-1830.
Film screenings, $8–$10 at Chicago Filmmakers. The genres and formats of the films, which screen either Friday or Saturday, change from week to week, but you won’t see them anywhere else in the city. 5243 N Clark St, 773-293-1447.
Quiz night, $5 per person at the Globe Pub, Tuesdays at 8pm. Teams of up to six players each can compete in this eggheady trivia night hosted by quizmaster Dave Ahrens at the North Side mecca of all things British. All proceeds benefit the MS Society of Illinois. 1934 W Irving Park Rd, 773-871-3757.
Re-thinking Soup, minimum suggested $5 donation at Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, Tuesdays 1–2pm. The museum’s modern-day soup kitchen features a soup lunch paired with organic conversations about social, cultural, economic and environmental issues surrounding food. 800 S Halsted St, 312-413-5353.
Clipper Bingo!, free with drink purchase, Mondays at California Clipper. Bingo isn’t just for blue-haired old ladies anymore, as you’ll soon find out at the Clipper’s weekly game. And be careful: Some people are very serious about their cards. 1002 N California Ave, 773-384-2547.
First Tuesdays with the Midwest Independent Film Festival, $7 and up at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema. The featured flicks are either written, directed or produced by Midwestern filmmakers, and most are never screened anywhere else beyond the festival circuit. What this semilocal festival lacks in name recognition is more than made up for with its frequency and perks. Ticket holders for screenings on the first Tuesday every month receive access to a prescreening cocktail party (with a cash bar) as well as a free catered after-party at a local restaurant. 2828 N Clark St, midwestfilm.com.
First Fridays song and dance night, $5 at Old Town School of Folk Music, first Friday of every month. Doors open at 5pm for a family-friendly, community celebration that features a concert performance by Old Town staff or students, plus a smattering of dance lessons, art projects and sing/play-along sessions for everyone, even the tone-deaf. 4544 N Lincoln Ave, 773-728-6000.
South Side Blues, free with two-drink minimum at Lee’s Unleaded Blues. Head to the South Side for the kind of blues that gave the Chicago scene its reputation as the best around, including call-and-response audience participation with some of the city’s best unknown talent. Tables go quickly, so show up early for seats. 7401 S South Chicago Ave, 773-493-3477.
BACinema movies, $7 or $5 for members at the Beverly Arts Center. The Wednesday-night film series features a mix of classic and indie films—including some still screening at pricey downtown theaters. 2407 W 111th St, 773-445-3838.
The Wednesday Club, $9 at the Newberry Library. Getting drunk on weeknights might have been fun in college, but if you’re ready to act like an adult (sometimes), this series held the first Wednesday of the month will help teach you a thing or two about culture, history and literature. Past guests have included the New York Times’ Book Review editor; an ESPN writer and legal analyst; and film critic Jonathan Rosenbaum. Soft drinks, wine and beer are included in admission, so you won’t have to hop on the wagon just yet. 60 W Walton St, 312-255-3556.
Hot Sauce Poetry, $5 at Livin’ Clean Entertainment, second Friday of every month at 7:30pm. This Lawndale spoken-word poetry and open-mike event features Midwest performance artists, plus a light buffet of revolving snacks and finger foods. 1539 S Pulaski Rd, 773-521-9150.
Free popcorn with a movie, $6 at City North 14, Tuesdays. The theater offers one sweet deal if you’re looking to get the full moviegoing experience on the cheap. For six clams you get admission, free parking and a free bag of popcorn to enjoy with the movie. Movies that’ve been out for less than a week are not supposed to be included, but we’ve never been questioned by the clerk. 2600 N Western Ave, 773-394-1600, kerasotes.com.
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