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Nick Kotecki

Nick Kotecki

Nick Kotecki is Time Out's former Chicago Social Media Editor.

Articles (38)

The best fun date ideas in Chicago

The best fun date ideas in Chicago

Until we get better acquainted with our better halves, most dates will likely involve some degree of imbibing. Luckily there are plenty of bars in Chicago to that end. Drinking isn't always necessary to have fun though. The dining scene has produced some pretty great romantic restaurants in Chicago, and we've got loads of romantic places to go, but when you're armed with fun date ideas, you can guarantee a good time.

Ukrainian Village residents reveal their favorite neighborhood spots

Ukrainian Village residents reveal their favorite neighborhood spots

Wicker Park might get all the glory, but nearby the Ukrainian Village and Noble Square pack in some of the most interesting drinking, dining and nightlife on Chicago's northwest side. Whether it's one of the coolest new Chicago shops, another of the city's plentiful Mexican restaurants or one of Chicago's quickly disappearing Polish dive bars, these two small, busy neighborhoods are filled with great spots that locals love. RECOMMENDED: See our complete guide to Ukrainian Village and Noble Square

The best attractions in Ukrainian Village

The best attractions in Ukrainian Village

When you've run out of things to do and see at the best Chicago museums, try heading to the Ukrainian Village neighborhood. "Ukie Village," as it's called by some Chicago residents, is chock-full of some of the best Chicago restaurants, as well as a hefty helping of Ukrainian, Polish and Eastern European culture. If you're looking to make the most of your time, go for a stroll along the neighborhood's busy borders, where the best attractions can be found. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Ukrainian Village and Noble Square

14 unexpected great vacations from Chicago

14 unexpected great vacations from Chicago

Some of the most intriguing direct flights out of Chicago's O'Hare International Airport are replete with mountains, water and swathes of green space straight out of a museum painting. If you're bored with driving through the best day trips from Chicago or aren't up for a scenic train ride or somewhere as steamy as Puerto Rico, check out these quick, fun vacations. These travel desinations have scenery up the wazoo and make great weekend jaunts for busybodies with only days to spare or those of us with an entire week's worth of vacation to burn. Prices and flight times reflect information found at the time of publication.  RECOMMENDED: More weekend getaways from Chicago  

The best attractions in Lakeview

The best attractions in Lakeview

In addition to being one of the city’s most popular neighborhoods to live in, Lakeview is home to some of the best Chicago comedy clubs and theaters. It’s also a top destination for drinking and dining at Chicago restaurants, and is in close proximity to more than a few of the best Chicago hot dog stands. While wending your way between the best new shops in the neighborhood be sure to knock a few of these items off your bucket list—they're some of the best things to do in Chicago. RECOMMENDED: See our complete guide to Lakeview

Win tickets to Chicago Humanities Festival

Win tickets to Chicago Humanities Festival

Chicago Humanities Festival is just around the corner. This year’s fest centers around the theme Style, bringing together icons of fashion, music, pop culture and the arts to discuss world issues, their craft and, of course, their style! Time Out Chicago is giving away tickets to celebrate the festival's arrival. Simply cross your fingers and select which session you'd like to attend. We're giving away pairs of tickets for each, so you might just win! Here's a preview of what's in store: Huffington Post founder Ariana Huffington talks about her latest book, The Sleep Revolution, which delves into scientific discoveries that have found sleep to be one of the most effective and empowering medicines the body can find. Legendary interior designer Isis Apfel discusses why style matters in today's world during this sold-out program at the Chicago Athletic Association. Apfel has worked for numerous presidents to design White House interiors, has had a Metropolitan Museum of Art exhibition on her style and has a line of accessories on the Home Shopping Network. Second City alum George Wendt, a Chicagoan born and bred, and best-known for his role as Norm on Cheers, delivers a Chicago-style improv comedy master class with fellow actor David Pasquesi. Actress Mary-Louise Parker discusses her first book, Dear Mr. You, a memoir consisting of letters to men in her life both real and imaginary who have helped shape her. Photographer Sally Mann, one of the most influential visual artists ali

Things to do in Chicago this Friday

Things to do in Chicago this Friday

The work week has come to an end (for most of us) and the weekend is just getting started. Welcome to Friday, a day that is brimming with possibilities. If you just want to take it easy, you can stop by a bar for an after-work drink or a quick bite to eat. Looking for a way to blow off some steam? We recommend a concert or some theater. Here are some suggestions to get you started.

Things to do in Chicago this Saturday

Things to do in Chicago this Saturday

Saturday is your first full day of freedom after five days of office drudgery. Make the most of it by exploring the city, eating at a new restaurant or checking out a museum. In the evening, enjoy Chicago's exciting nightlife at a nightclub or head to the multiplex to catch the latest crowd-pleasing blockbuster. Take a look at our top picks for things to do on Saturday.

Things to do in Chicago this Sunday

Things to do in Chicago this Sunday

The hours before Monday morning are dwindling, but that shouldn't stop you from making Sunday the best day of the weekend. Recharge your batteries with a leisurely brunch before making plans for a fun-filled day. Discover some of the city's best attractions, take care of some weekend shopping or relax in your neighborhood. Don't let the weekend pass you by—peruse our list of things to do on Sunday and enjoy it while you still can.

Where to see spring flowers in Chicago

Where to see spring flowers in Chicago

Chicago adopted the motto Urbs in Horto, Latin for “City in a Garden,” when the small settlement between the river and lake incorporated in 1837. Shortly after, a parcel of land that is now part of Grant Park was put aside “forever to remain vacant of buildings,” and the legacy of that philosophy lives on today. Our many parks and gardens grow lush every year at this time with a plethora of things to do in spring, making them the perfect spot to drop in after enjoying one of the best brunches in Chicago. Some of the city's favorite green spaces are also some of Chicago's best attractions. If you haven't taken the time to stop and smell the flora, now's the perfect time to explore Chicago’s gardens with this guide to the city’s spectacular flowers and foliage. RECOMMENDED: Things to do in spring in Chicago

The best attractions in Little Italy

The best attractions in Little Italy

Little Italy is the perfect neighborhood to go for an afternoon stroll after a meal at one of the best Italian Restaurants in Chicago or to walk off the calories from one of your favorite Mexican restaurants in Pilsen. The neighborhood is home to some of Chicago's most beautiful churches, a surprising amount of park space to relax in and even a helipad with aerial tours of the skyline. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Little Italy and University Village

Listings and reviews (1)

Go Ape! A Planet of the Apes Marathon

Go Ape! A Planet of the Apes Marathon

Standing my ground: The new Planet of the Apes films—starring Andy Serkis as a motion-captured Caesar—are brilliant, sensitive creations that actually eclipse the original series. Last year’s staggering War for the Planet of the Apes made this abundantly clear to anyone with eyes. And if you remember slogging your way through some of those Heston-less sequels of the early ’70s, you’ll know I’m right about this. Still, there’s no denying the cumulative power of the first five films—a quintet that kicked off with 1968’s still-shocking Planet of the Apes (“You blew it up!”) and ended with 1973’s Battle for the Planet of the Apes. You can see all five of them, in chronological order, beginning at 1pm Sunday 26 at Quad Cinema, for the low price of—no monkey business—$30. The films will be presented in all their Nixon-era glory in crisp digital 4K restorations. Plus, the recently renovated Quad boasts some of the comfiest seats in the city. If you’re an Apes fan, it’s time to prove it. We’re not seeing any incentivizing prize for completing all five films. But of course, our gears are spinning (please take any of these ideas, Quadsters): How about free Gorilla coffee for anyone who stays beyond the first movie? A bowl of bananas for the assembled crowd in between titles? What if you show up for the movies wearing this? Wouldn’t that be worth a free admission? At the very least, Quad could pony up with some sweet Apes–related merch, to be divided among those who make it to the bitte

News (231)

16 skylines that just can’t compete with Chicago

16 skylines that just can’t compete with Chicago

Hands down, Chicago has one of the best skylines in the world. Our favorite city even beats out cities that are bigger, more dense and more populated. Beijing for instance, famed for its smog and hazardous clime, which we didn't bother to put on our list.  These cities either ridiculously pale in comparison to Chicago's skyline or give Chicago a good run for its money, but stop short of greatness. They may be great places to live, but Chicago has them beat when it comes to big, beautiful buildings. Boise, Idaho (haha) São Paulo, Brazil Auckland, New Zealand Berlin, Germany Taipei, Taiwan Dubai, United Arab Emirates Las Vegas, Nevada London, England Nashville, Tennessee (so, so sad) Tokyo, Japan New York City Mumbai, India Paris, France Sydney, Australia Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia Toronto, Canada

11 great first date ideas that aren't sitting in a bar

11 great first date ideas that aren't sitting in a bar

First dates are often stressful, boring or just plain lame. And it's all because your date asked an innocent question: How about a drink? Sure, yeah. We all want to get a drink. We could deal without a total stranger’s entire life story, though. So, you're in marketing, you're writing a novel and you visited Rome's Colosseum four years ago? Great, we weren't there. Nothing waters down a good cocktail like a cute date rattling off their past and plans for the future.  That's where the activity date comes in. By getting out and going out on the town you automatically have something in common and more to talk about. Here’s some ways to skip the awkward segues and go straight for the heart. Go on a brewery tour Taste-testing is a great way to get to know someone’s
tastes, for lack of a better word. You can freely complain and praise without judgment, plus there’s people watching to be had, as well as a social lubricant to get through conversational dry patches. Chicago has a plethora of brewery tours—Revolution, Half Acre, Lagunitas—take your pick. Have a picnic in a park They always say, “show don’t tell.” Well, here’s your chance to do just that. Instead of telling your date why you majored in film and ended up in social work, show them how fucking awesome a simple platter of cheese and crackers is. Bring some drinks that have a story behind them. Bring what you like. Remember, first dates are more about you than the person sitting next to you. Go to a street festival Chicago h

It's a date: Wicker Park

It's a date: Wicker Park

Despite being one of the best cities for dating and nightlife in the country, Chicago can sometimes get the best of us. Between long hours on the job, daily commutes and wildly unpredictable weather, "putting yourself out there" isn't always in the cards. That's where we come in. This issue, we played matchmaker in Wicker Park and sent a guy and gal out on a date to three of the bustling neighborhood's hippest spots. The two kicked things off with fancy cocktails at The Violet Hour, headed across the street to Big Star for tacos and ended the night with dessert at Dove's Luncheonette. So, how'd it go? Well, see for yourself. Do you want to go on a free date? Email datingirl@timeout.com and we'll find you a match! The daters: Jordan, 27 Photographer, artist, avid biker and reader; Lincoln Park Keaton, 25 Barista, saxophonist, drummer and lover of bad jokes; Lakeview Drinks at The Violet Hour: Photograph: Sandy Noto Jordan “Holy crap, that’s an impressive beard! He was pretty friendly, and we started talking about how we both regretted not biking due to sweat and the fact it might rain, so I immediately thought he was cool.” Keaton “This was definitely a different concept for me, so initially it was more like, ‘How weird am I allowed to be?’ It turned out we have a mutual friend, but regardless, Jordan seemed relaxed and friendly.” Dinner at Big Star: Photograph: Courtesy Big Star     Jordan “We were both pretty excited about the tacos. We are very similar people, so it

A Chicago landlord honestly answers tenant questions

A Chicago landlord honestly answers tenant questions

For every good landlord in Chicago, there's one that's not good at all. Luckily, we have one of the good guys on our side. Every season we release a print magazine (find your own free hard copy here), and we ask our trusty landlord the hard questions so you don't have to ask your own. All questions are sourced from readers just like you. Got a burning question? Email property.chi@timeout.com or message us on Facebook. How long do I have to review a lease renewal? My landlord says I have to respond but hasn’t shown me a lease. —June, Albany Park Sixty days notice is standard. Be proactive. Ask if any terms are changing or if rent is increasing, and that can help you decide quickly. If the landlord gives you the new lease after 60 days, ask for more time to decide.  I’ve been updating my place for years, but now I’m moving. I’ve replaced a ceiling fan, door, faucets and window screens. Can I get any money back? —Steve, Noble Square Unless the work was detailed with receipts, probably not. Electrical or plumbing work may need to be checked or redone, which may add cost, leading your landlord to become less inclined to reimburse you. Typically, unless you have an understanding with your landlord, you should assume any updates probably won’t be reimbursed. I’ve asked about a garden, but my landlord hardly gets back to me and lives out of state. Can I plant then put sod over it when I leave? —Stephanie, West Ridge Similar to painting a room and getting charged for repainting out

Open house: Live by the lake

Open house: Live by the lake

If you have the money, why not make it rain all summer long? This two-bedroom beauty on the border of Gold Coast and Old Town has it all. One of the city’s best views? Check. Indoor pool? Check. Quick stroll to the beach? It’s within walking distance of two.  The apartment is a corner unit with a panorama of the city: To the east is Lake Michigan, while the cityscape stretches north. The light that pours in from the ample windows pairs nicely with the gleaming hardwood floors throughout, and the living room’s sliding doors lead to a private balcony. But you may not even notice the spectacular view when you see the killer kitchen. For starters, there’s a wine fridge. Stainless steel appliances are beautifully set alongside the sleek slate gray cabinetry, counter space abounds and an island gives extra seating and dining space for the summer get-togethers you’ll be having. Each of the bedrooms has generous build-outs and walk-in closets, and there are two bathrooms, providing privacy for roommates or guests. Plus, some of Chicago’s best food, drinks, music and comedy is just a short jaunt away. At $2,900 per month, it’s a worthwhile splurge. Listed by Apartment People. Peter Basile Jr. (773-248-8800, apartmentpeople.com) All photographs by Michelle Reid.

11 awesome things to do on Memorial Day

11 awesome things to do on Memorial Day

Memorial Day weekend is one of the most relaxing weekend stretches of the year in Chicago. We have one of the largest and oldest Memorial Day parades in the nation, plus more than a hearty handful of events, festivals and ways to spend your time off. Get your first tease of the glory of Chicago's summer months with our guide to the best things to do in the city. Head to the Chicago Memorial Day Parade Since 1870, Chicagoans have flocked downtown to pay their respects to the U.S. military veterans who gave their lives in service of our country. Watch the procession march down State Street starting at noon, heading from Lake to Van Buren. A wreath-laying ceremony occurs prior to the parade at 11am. Lounge on Chicago beaches Grab your towel and head to one of Chicago's many, many beaches: Memorial Day weekend (starting Friday, May 27) marks the first time this year that these sandy lakeside park spaces are open to the public. Dip your toe in the water, even if it might still be a little too cold to swim. See the Cirque de la Symphonie Watch acrobats, aerial contortionists and stunt masters execute daring feats set to classical music performed live by the Chicago Philharmonic.  Holy mole! The annual Mole de Mayo street festival in Pilsen celebrates the traditional Mexican sauce with a cook-off, an open-air market and lucha libre wrestling. Kick off festival season May kicks off music and street festival season in Chicago, and the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival is one of the cit

Metra is letting kids ride for free all summer long

Metra is letting kids ride for free all summer long

Good news for kids and families in the 'burbs—Metra is letting kids ages 11 years old and younger ride for free this summer. The initiative lasts from from Memorial Day weekend to Labor Day and was announced by the commuter rail service on Tuesday. It's part of the "Family Fares" program and allows up to three kids to ride free when accompanied by a paying adult.  Weekend passes sweeten the deal, offering unlimited rides on Saturdays and Sundays for just $8. “A trip on Metra is a great opportunity to spend time together as a family without having to worry about traffic and parking,” said Metra's executive director and CEO Don Orseno.  Be forewarned, though. Metra is operating on its Sunday and holiday schedule on Memorial Day.

60 exciting openings in Chicago in June

60 exciting openings in Chicago in June

The summer is just getting started! June kicks off the season with more festivals than you can possibly attend and an entire month of warm weather (finally) to enjoy them in. Get out in the sun as Chicago blocks off its streets for some of the biggest celebrations of the year, packed with more food than you can shake a Chicago-style hot dog at, as well as many bands and performers we've been waiting all year to see. Even if your calendar is already full, you'll want to make some more room. THINGS TO DO June 1–5: You won't be seeing these movies at the multiplex anytime soon. Get out to the Chicago Underground Film Festival to catch under-the-radar films by filmmakers from Chicago and across the world. June 2–5: Oktoberfest might be long-gone, but Maifest is a great reason to don your lederhosen and celebrate all things German in Chicago's traditionally Teutonic Lincoln Square. June 3, 4: Drink beer and catch sets by the Cold War Kids, Lord Huron and more at the annual Two Brothers Summer Festival, near the brewery's expansive brewpub in Aurora. June 4, 5: The 57th Street Art Fair, which is Hyde Park's oldest juried craft fair, lines the street with sculptures, jewelry and other art. June 6: The Time Out Bar Awards recognizes the best talent in Chicago's bartending scene and offers attendees the opportunity to drink alongside them while enjoying an open bar. June 9: For a few hours each month, ACTIVATE takes over a Chicago alley for an unforgettable outdoor pop-up art exhibiti

9 crucial ways Chicago protects renters from crazy landlords

9 crucial ways Chicago protects renters from crazy landlords

Rents might be on the rise in Chicago, but tenant protections are here to stay. The city's Residential Landlord and Tenant Ordinance, fancy for "tenant bill of rights," is armed to the teeth with protections to keep abusive landlords in check, and Chicago renters comfortably housed. In this city, those that have the knowledge (and access to the legal system) have the power.   Landlords need a pretty good reason to enter your apartment You only have to provide your landlord "reasonable access" to your apartment, which is usually restricted either to repairs or emergencies. In the case of repairs, they ordinarily need to give 48 hours notice before stepping foot inside. This can also be a general notice given to everyone in your building, but your landlord can't just "drop by" and demand to come inside to see what's going on. If an unexpected repair must be made to your apartment (think wires, pipes, an accidental hole in the wall), a landlord can enter your apartment, but they're required to notify you within two days. Tenants are almost never required to make any repairs The only real maintenance a tenant has to do is keep the apartment tidy and replace the batteries of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors. Other than that, the only expectation is to use the rental in a "reasonable manner" and not totally destroy the place. Repairs need to be timely If you request an urgent repair in writing, that repair must be made by your landlord within 14 days. If it isn't you can withhol

Sinead O'Connor is missing in the Chicago suburbs

Sinead O'Connor is missing in the Chicago suburbs

Update: Sinead O'Connor has been found by Wilmette Police and is no longer considered a missing person. Chicago-area police are on the lookout for Sinead O'Connor in Chicago and the surrounding suburbs. The world-famous singer has not returned after she went out for a 6am bike ride in Wilmette on Sunday, a police statement said. O'Connor was reportedly wearing a black parka, black leather pants and a sweatshirt with the word "Ireland" on the back. She was riding a motorized Raleigh Bicycle with a pink basket on the front. The singer was last seen on the east side of Wilmette. She was reported missing around 1pm on Sunday by a caller that phoned the Wilmette police.  There are are speculations that O'Connor may be suicidal, and she is currently classified as "missing endangered" by the police. The singer also appeared to have been troubled in her last Facebook post. 

Chilling photos of the fog that has completely blanketed Chicago

Chilling photos of the fog that has completely blanketed Chicago

A heavy fog rolled in last night and, as of this writing, has yet to leave. It was so thick you could see it crawling in the street lights. While it's lifted a bit, the cloud is staying put and the tops of Chicago's taller buildings remain shrouded in a handsome wreath of gray. Rain is in the forecast later, but let's hope the fog sticks around for a while—at least for photography's sake. These beautifully cinematic views won't last for long. Here's the best we could find so far. The fog rolling in from the Willis Tower   A video posted by David Harpe (@davidharpe) on May 11, 2016 at 6:34am PDT   The view from the skydeck   A photo posted by Mojito (@muharrem_official) on May 11, 2016 at 6:16am PDT   Willis Tower from the street   A photo posted by Addir Pineda (@addirpineda) on May 11, 2016 at 6:39am PDT   The Hancock Tower   A photo posted by Kathleen Bokar (@neu_attitude) on May 11, 2016 at 6:06am PDT   This view of the Hancock Tower from the 57th floor   A photo posted by Sean Stoner (@maslowbeer) on May 11, 2016 at 7:04am PDT   The lonely Bean   A photo posted by Allexa (@allexa.allexa) on May 11, 2016 at 5:52am PDT   Millennium Park   A photo posted by Nathan Cooper (@natopotato23) on May 11, 2016 at 9:12am PDT   The Wrigley Building   A photo posted by Mike Schmiedeler (@mikeschmiedeler) on May 11, 2016 at 7:05am PDT   The view from the top of Tribune Tower   A photo posted by christian matts (@simple312) on May 10, 2016 at 6:2

Stan's Donuts is opening two more Chicago locations

Stan's Donuts is opening two more Chicago locations

As if four Chicago locations wasn't enough already (it isn't), Stan's Donuts is opening two more storefronts in prime locations around the city.  The first location will open in Lakeview at 3300 N Broadway and the other will be inside Labriola Ristorante at 535 N Michigan Avenue. Both locations will open promptly at 6:30am on Saturday, May 21, according to Eater. Similar to when the chain opened its new shop in the South Loop, Stan's will be giving away prizes and doughnuts to the first 100 customers at each new location, including a chance to win free doughnuts for the rest of your life. Not a bad reward for waking up extra-early on a Saturday morning.