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The most loved Time Out Chicago stories from 2015

We reflect on our favorite stories and projects from the last year and share the posts you loved most, too

Photograph: Martha Williams
Skyline tour with Chicago Helicopter Experience.

We at Time Out Chicago spend a lot of time (all of our time?) looking for the best things to do every day in our great city. And while that often means trying new restaurants and reviewing all of the best Chicago theater, we’re also always on the lookout for new ways to experience the city itself. Sometimes that even means taking helicopter tours. (We know. Our job is hard.) As we approach the year’s end, we decided to take a look back some of our—and your—favorite stories of the year.

RECOMMENDED: The best of 2015

Our favorite Time Out Chicago stories of 2015

The Violet Hour hosts a new absinthe happy hour

I tried Violet Hour's new happy hour on an evening before Movieoke at the Whistler, so I went right after work and, naturally, forgot to grab food beforehand. I ended up running over to Big Star in between my commitments to scarf down a few tacos. Let's just say fancy cocktails, quick tacos, more cocktails and Movieoke is a great way to spend a Wednesday night. —Elizabeth Atkinson

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By: Elizabeth Atkinson

We took a helicopter tour of the Chicago skyline

It's not every day you get to soar above the Chicago skyline while on assignment, but when you work at Time Out Chicago, anything is possible. During our ride on a Chicago Helpicopter Experience tour, we took some great photos (and a video) of the amazing views to accompany a short write-up about the high-flying experience. —Zach Long

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By: Zach Long
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Frighteningly apocalyptic scenes from Chicago's tornado warning

One of the strangest days of summer was the day Chicago had a tornado warning. It scared us out of our wits and we at Time Out Chicago took the stairs to the basement of our building. When it was declared safe, I went on Instagram to see what people were up to and was surprised to see many Chicagoans plowing ahead through the rain to cabs and the train. Or walking the streets. Or sitting in traffic. All while that eerie siren wailed among the buildings. —Nick Kotecki

 

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By: Nick Kotecki

The 9 best French macarons in Chicago

This was the story that almost killed me—148 of anything is a lot—but I emerged stronger and now I know exactly where to find the best macaron in Chicago. —Amy Cavanaugh

 

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By: Amy Cavanaugh

Is Chicago about to lose its orange glow?

Anyone who's familiar with Chicago knows about the city's orange glow. This phenomenon, a form of light pollution called glare, is a product of the high-pressure sodium-vapor lamps that illuminate almost all of the streets across town. But it could soon become a thing of the past as the city begins to switch to LED blubs. —Clayton Guse

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By: Clayton Guse
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Armitage Avenue cocktail bar crawl

The Time Out Chicago crew knows how to bar crawl. We loved this story so much that pretty much everyone in the office chipped in to "help" with the crawl. Of course we loved watching as this video came to life, and we sipped a couple of drinks along the way—just to make sure they were good, you know. While vastly popular spots like Parson’s Chicken & Fish and Scofflaw were obvious highlights, my favorite bars ended up being Best Intentions—for its quiet patio and great service—and Weegee’s, an escape off the beaten path where the bartender serves up a mean sidecar. —Laura Rote 

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By: Rebecca Skoch

A crash course on Wilco's surprise new album, 'Star Wars'

When Wilco released Star Wars without any warning the week before the band headlined the Pitchfork Music Festival, I quickly rounded up some facts and a few feelings about the new collection of songs. A few months later, most of what I said about the album is still pretty accurate. —Zach Long  

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By: Zach Long

Time Out Chicago Theater Awards 2015

The Time Out Chicago Theater Awards is something I’ve wanted to do for years; seeing our readers respond enthusiastically to the inaugural call for votes (nearly 2,800 entries!) was really gratifying. —Kris Vire

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By: Kris Vire
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Travel to San Juan, Puerto Rico

I could talk about San Juan all day (and in a previous iteration of this story, I basically did), so working on this story was tons of fun. Having spent a good deal of time in Puerto Rico in previous years, I relished being able to relive adventures like hiking through national rainforest and learning (or trying to learn) how to salsa. —Laura Rote

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By: Laura Rote

Readers' favorite Time Out Chicago stories of 2015

The 13 best day trips from Chicago

Chicago is the perfect launching spot for a host of one-day escapes, from nautical adventures in Wisconsin and beaches in Indiana to sipping craft beer and spirits in Michigan and dining farmstead-style in central Illinois. Add one—or more—of these adventures to your list of things to do.

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By: Cate Huguelet

All of the Oreo flavors, ranked

On March 6, 1912, the first Oreo cookie was sold to a grocer in Hoboken, New Jersey. Believe it or not, the chocolate creme cookie was a knockoff of the Hydrox, not the other way around. But every year since its introduction, the Oreo has been the best-selling cookie in the United States. We tried them all.

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By: Brent DiCrescenzo
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The 9 best French macarons in Chicago

So tiny, so delicate, so sweet—French macarons are the most elegant of desserts. Notoriously challenging to make, macarons are mostly found at French-leaning Chicago bakeries, but we’ve also spotted them a Vietnamese restaurant, as well as more generalist bakeries.

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By: Amy Cavanaugh

24 new dishes to eat at Taste of Chicago 2015, ranked

There was no Original Rainbow Cone at 2015's Taste of Chicago, but there were plenty of good options for lunch or dinner. We ate our way through the new menu in attempt to stop our readers from wasting tickets.

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By: Amy Cavanaugh
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The best desserts in Chicago

Chicago's top pastry chefs know what people want: Ice cream, doughnuts and pie. But while they've mastered—and elevated—traditional desserts, the best spots go above and beyond, with s'more macarons and chamomile creme brulee, to name a few. When you have to end your dinner with the best, here's where to find the best desserts in Chicago.

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By: Cate Huguelet

Photos from the World Naked Bike Ride 2015

Each year, a procession of nude and nearly-naked cyclists pedal across the city to promote cyclists rights and positive body image. Each year, we send a photographer to capture the spectacle (and confused looks) of the annual World Naked Bike Ride.


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By: Zach Long

Funniest spectator signs at the 2015 Chicago Marathon

The runners aren’t the only one’s who go the extra mile as they push themselves to complete the Chicago Marathon route. The spectators step it up as well, bringing encouraging, flashy and witty signs to keep runners motivated on their 26.2-mile trip.

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By: Madeline Wolfson
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Photos from the 2015 Chicago Pride Parade

Just days after the Supreme Court decision that made marriage equality the law of the land across the United States, more than one million people lined the streets of Uptown and Boystown for the annual Pride Parade. We hit the streets to capture the colorful floats, even more colorful crowds and elated smiles along the route.

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By: Kris Vire

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