By Jason A. Heidemann | April 13, 2015 | Lifestyle
There’s nothing like spring to snap Chicagoans out of their winter slumber—and this year, locals have more reasons than ever to look forward to the thaw, from brand-new green spaces to a new Cubs manager who has the North Side faithful believing again. Ready to spring ahead? Here are eight ways we’re looking forward to doing it.
A rendering of Maggie Daley Park, which features a playground with a castle as well as a climbing wall, gardens, and tennis courts.
1. Maggie Daley Park Gears Up for Its First Spring
Over the winter, skaters laced up and navigated the hairpin turns and swooshing curves of the ice ribbon at Maggie Daley Park while the rest of us waited patiently for the thaw that would reveal the urban playground of our dreams. The 20-acre space features a 50-foot climbing wall, pathways and formal gardens, tennis courts, chess and checker tables, a miniature golf course, a playground (with castle, natch), and a field house with locker rooms. 337 E. Randolph St., 312-742-3918
2. The 606 Finally Arrives
Residents of Wicker Park, Bucktown, Humboldt Park, and Logan Square have a new reason to boast: A decades-long dream reaches fruition this spring with the opening of The 606—aka The Bloomingdale Trail, a 2.7-mile rail line that’s been converted into a multi-use recreational trail, alternative transportation corridor, and green space. Above Bloomingdale Avenue between Ashland and Ridgeway Avenues
3. Cubs & Sox Fans, This Could be the Year
Chicago baseball fans have plenty to be excited about this season. On the North Side, Cubs fans are cheering the arrival of new manager Joe Maddon as well as the imminent completion of phase-one renovations to Wrigley Field. Meanwhile, ’05 World Series Champions the White Sox welcome the return of second baseman Gordon Beckham as well as a renovated clubhouse at U.S. Cellular Field. 333 W. 35th St., 312-674-1000; Wrigley Field, 1060 W. Addison St., 773-404-2827
The Commons Club at Virgin Hotel features 270-degree city views from its windows.
4. Two New Hotels Open Enviable Outdoor Spaces
Perched atop the 26th floor of its new Loop home, the rooftop lounge at the Virgin Hotel opens in April with a bold color palette, 270-degree city views, and a beverage program aimed to complement its menu of izakaya-style tapas, like braised pork belly buns and spicy shrimp dumplings. At the new Loews Hotel, meanwhile, Streeterville Social clocks in at 9,000 square feet, making it the largest outdoor roof terrace in the city. The third-floor space features multiple bars, a grassy lawn for sunbathing and bocce ball, and both lake and city views. Virgin Hotel, 203 N. Wabash Ave., 312-940-4400; Loews Hotel, 455 N. Park Dr., 877-868-8232
5. Don’t Miss These New Patio Hot Spots
Newcomers to the city’s outdoor dining scene include Alpana Singh’s second outing, Seven Lions, whose enviable Loop location boasts 70 patio seats along Michigan Avenue ringed with flower boxes and a patio-friendly food and drink menu. West Loop hot spot Parlor Pizza Bar, which already boasts an outdoor patio that seats 140, is installing a full bar on its rooftop, made of a salvaged freight shipping container, as well as a mobile wood-fire pizza oven to complement a space that will accommodate 150 people. In other news, Steakhouse Prime & Provisions will have a 50-seat garden terrace along the Chicago River that will be shrouded in greenery and offer expansive views of the city. Seven Lions, 130 S. Michigan Ave., 312-880-0130; Parlor Pizza Bar, 108 N. Green St., 312-600-6090; Steakhouse Prime & Provisions, 222 N. LaSalle St.
6. A New Outdoor Space Lands in Washington Park
The Summer Pavilion, a project by Chicago-based MAS Studio that was built for Millennium Park in 2013 but never used, is relocating to a city-owned lot near Washington Park as part of the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative. A collection of brightly colored shingle-like overhangs connected via a series of zigzagging wooden beams, the Pavilion drops at the new site on May 4 and will include six interlocking wooden tables that can be pushed together along with chairs, benches, stools, and a stage. 256 E. Garfield Blvd.
Sufjan Stevens comes to the Chicago Theatre in April to promote his new album, Carrie & Lowell.
7. The City’s Arts Calendar Heats Up
What isn’t happening this spring in the city? Indie crooner Sufjan Stevens, who made our state the subject of his second full-length album, comes to the Chicago Theatre April 24 and 25. New works from the Joffrey Ballet land April 22 at the Cadillac Palace. And at the Museum of Science and Industry, interactive exhibit “Robot Revolution” opens May 21. Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., 312-462-6300; Cadillac Palace, 151 W. Randolph St., 312-977-1700; Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., 773-684-1414
8. A City Landmark Becomes a National Monument
In February, President Obama traveled to Chicago to do something historic: give the city its first national monument. With its new status, the Pullman Historic District, a perfectly preserved model industrial town built during the 1880s to house the workers of railway magnate George Pullman, is placed within the National Park System, which means tourism to this far South Side charmer and slice of living history will likely increase tenfold. Starting May 3, the neighborhood will host its first Sunday walking tours. 11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave., 773-785-8901