Tag Archives: Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours

April the Fourth Be with You

Chicago Flag Day is upon us! No, not Chicago ‘Flag Day,’ ‘Chicago Flag Day.’ Confused? We were too, so I spent a little time breaking it all down for you here on the Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours blog.

PHOTO: CHICAGO TRIBUNE PHOTO BY ALEX GARCIA

Chicago Flag Day

Today, Alderman Carlos Ramirez-Rosa, Chicago’s preeminent hipster politician (sorry Ald. Ameya Pawar and Rep. Will Guzzardi), announced that Chicago’s flag get’s a holiday on April 4th. Ald. Rosa tweeted , that his proposal to give the Chicago flag it’s own day passed unanimously in the Chicago City Council. This comes on the 100th anniversary of the Chicago Flag designed by writer Wallace Rice.

Photo carlosrosa.org

Ald. Rosa, who’s office is in the heart of Logan Square, likely pushed for the six-pointed starred-and blue-barred flag to appeal to his neighborhood’s younger constituents who were responsible for his election. Logan Square has been one of the nations fastest growing neighborhoods, and a large swath of this growth has come from young adults who have fallen in love with Chicago and its icons. The Chicago flag tattoo has become a symbol of love and status for Chicago’s cultural fanatics.

Chicago’s ‘Flag Day’

The Windy City has had a long history of honoring flying fabric. Chicago has celebrated flag day for longer that any city in the union. According to Stephan Benzkofer of the Chicago Tribune, flag day celebrations began in Chicago in 1984. The ‘American Flag Day Association’ was formed to organize the event by musician LeRoy Van Horn and dentist Dr. Bernard J. Cigrand. “The festivities featured tens of thousands of schoolchildren, bands, songs, parades and speech after speech after speech,” says Benzkofer. Thirty years later President Woodrow Wilson created the national holiday, but now, thanks to Rosa, that flag waving feeling is coming back home.

Chicago’s Flag

In a competition that Wallace Rice set the rules for, Rice beat out over a thousand designs to create the image seen on coffee mugs and forearms throughout the Chicagoland area. The simple yet elegant design was passed through City Council by a unanimous vote on April 4, 1917–two days before the U.S. officially declared war on Germany.

So what exactly is the Chicago flag? It is simple and elegant, but can it really mean that much? Well, for a rectangle with just six effects, it tells a wonderful story.

 2 Blue Stripes

The blue stripes represent the north and south branch of the river. Chicago’s origin story has always revolved around its “discovery” by Jaques Marquette in the 17th century. Though the natives did not view the mouth of the Chicago River as a “wild and wasted stream” as the legend tells us, they certainly could not have envisioned the site as an international port. When Chicago was incorporated in 1837, the I & M Canal (connecting the Chicago River and the Mississippi) was still eleven years from completion. By 1917, the Chicago River was an important reason for Chicago’s vast wealth in industry and agriculture, and seen as a divine setting for a city. Early twentieth century Chicagoans marveled at the foresight of the city’s founders.

Three White Stripes 

The white stripes represent the cardinal directions in Chicago: North, South, and West. There is no East in Chicago, or as a young Barak Obama put it in 1985, “Chicago–a handsome town, wide streets, lush parks, broad, lovingly crafted buildings, Lake Michigan forming its whole Eastside, as big and mutable as an ocean.” Each other side is filled with neighborhoods formed by the immigrants, migrants, and refugees who made it their home.

Four Red Stars

The stars represent the two tragedies and two triumphs that make up Chicago’s brief and furious history. The first two stars, symbolizing the Great Chicago Fire and the Worlds Fair of 1893, sat waiting on the left hand side of the flag for almost twenty years before the picture was finally rounded out in 1933. The second Worlds Fair held in Chicago, called ‘A Century of Progress,’ was as good a reason as any to add a third star, and in order to create some closure on a hundred year old disaster, a fourth star was sewn on in remembrance of the Fort Dearborn Massacre.

Each of the 24 points on the flags 4 stars has its own meaning as well, but those may be for a different blog.

Until then, fly your Chicago flag high or raise your tattoo to the sky because on April 4, Alderman Carlos Rosa an the whole broad shouldered city salutes you!

 

 

Haunted Halloween in Chicago

Death and Destruction! Chaos and Carnage!

Warped by the disasters that shaped its form, Chicago is one of the most haunted cities in America. Its moniker, the Second City, is because it’s built on the bones of its old body. The 1871 fire left nothing but a scorched carcass, and the while the bell on top of City Hall rang out to warn the citizens about the unstoppable force of flame moving north, it also sang a different kind of sinister tune—one of ghosts, ghouls, and hellish fiends! Unearthed on that fateful day, these phantoms tormented Chicago for the next 150 years. From the most murderous building fire to the worst maritime disaster in US history, we’ve seen the gravest of catastrophes. With one great cataclysm after another, it’s amazing that our city has survived and thrived.

Enter the Segway—a machine designed by Dean Kamen who made a living creating medical devices. We admit it’s a weird union: Haunted/Segway Tour. All I can say is, it works. It’s a clean efficient machine that is the best chariot through the dirty history of Chicago’s storied past. We glide comfortably through the beautifully landscaped modern day loop while imagining it’s spooky past.

And this is the best time to go! While we do this tour every Thursday night, in the Halloween season we run the haunted experience Wednesday through Sunday at 6:15pm and 9pm. Join us if you dare.

What to do with a Teen on Vacation

When I meet parents with teenagers I am always hearing the following:
“Teenagers are impossible!”
“What can I do that’s fun and safe with my kids while on vacation?”
“How can my teen be bored when there is so much beauty all around?”

Let’s face it, teenagers are easily bored. So here’s my advice: Get that kid on a Segway! Freedom! Adventure! Segways!

I’m not claiming to be an expert on child psychology. All I can do is speak from experience. If you’re interested in breaking down the barriers that separate your teenager from his or her surroundings, get them on a Segway. It’s a safe way to peel away the layers of boredom that surround a teen.

I recommend the Haunted Segway Tour or the Fireworks Tour.  Both are at night, a challenging time to schedule safe activities for kids, and both are a blast.

The Haunted tour glides through the well-lit Grant Park area where you can see the city’s Noir mystique. The architecture warps into a more adventurous glow as we roll into the city. The haunted stories are fun and never overly informational.

The Fireworks tour is lovely for all the same reasons, but there are fireworks! The city lights glow bright on the left. The Fireworks blast off ahead, and below, the water sparkles reflections of the colorful cinders. Romantic explosions with smooth Segway gliding are two opposing kings who compliment each other putting everyone just out of their comfort zone and open for fun!

No matter which tour you choose to take with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours, you’re going to have a good time. It’s going to be an adventure with memories that  will last for years to come and become a highlight of your vacation.

Double the Fun with the Taste of Chicago and a Segway Tour

Yes! The rumors are true: You can have your cake and eat it too! Literally. What better time to explore the sights, smells, and tastes that this beautiful city has to offer, than during the Taste of Chicago? Not only can you consume more types of food than you ever thought possible, but you can also fuel up while discovering what makes Chicago one of the most wonderful cities in the world. After you’ve devoured your turkey leg and marveled in the glory of ice cream, sausages, and Chicago-style pizza, segue into the tourist aspect of the city. Here in Chicago, however, walking just won’t cut it. Sure, the city is set on a grid, so navigation shouldn’t be much of an issue. Why walk, though, when you can Segway! There’s nothing better than wheeling around the city on a piece of machinery made just for locals and tourists (and mall cops of course). Trust me. The best part? You don’t have to travel far. After spending your morning on Columbus Drive scarfing down plates upon plates of food, simply exit the gates on Monroe. You are now standing at the doorstep of Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours.

Perhaps you’ve seen them. They’re the tours with the gliders grinning from ear to ear donning the latest line of brilliant orange helmets. They’re the tours with the gliders raving about how much fun they had and how wonderful the guides are. Segways, especially by Absolutely Chicago, are a must-do in the city. Now that you’ve eaten to your heart’s content and glided in style around this dazzling city, you can officially said you’ve conquered the city. And that is something worth celebrating. What better way to celebrate than with an Absolutely Chicago Segway tour?

Chicago is Our Kind of Town in September!

Summer is winding down. That doesn’t slow down the city of Chicago, though – it’s still buzzing with all kinds of festivals and activities.  Here are some great ways to enjoy Chicago during the month of September!

  • Sample from over 345 wines from around the world at The Windy City Wine Festival on Sept 8 and 9 at Buckingham Fountain.  This festival is all about wine, food, music, and friends. Learn about new varieties of wine while enjoying live music, cooking demonstrations and great food from some of Chicago’s best restaurants.
  • Fall is always a great time to celebrate Oktoberfest, whether you’re in Germany or right here in Chicago! The 28th Annual Berghoff’s Oktoberfest is Sept 11-13 and has something for everyone. With free daily admission from 11 AM to 9 PM, you can enjoy live German musical performances and great German food and beer.  A VIP Experience, complete with an all-you-can-eat-and-drink buffet and bar, is also available for a fee and offers a fun experience for group gatherings and office outings.
  • The FREE World Festival Chicago 2013 takes place Sept 12-22 and features several musical artists at different locations throughout the city.  Presented by the City of Chicago and produced by the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, this city-wide, multi-venue, eleven-day festival has attracted over 600,000 concertgoers and has presented more than 600 artists and ensembles from over 80 countries since it began in 1999.
  • Riotfest is held Sept 13-15 and provides an affordable outdoor punk, rock and alternative music at Humboldt Park featuring bands such as Fall Out Boy, Blink-182, and The Replacements. You can even create your own personal lineup!
  • The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art offers museum-quality curated art and design by 120 exhibitors and is held Sept 19-22 at Navy Pier. Also known as Expo Chicago, this event  has established itself as a preeminent art fair and cultural destination with art from over 125 leading international galleries representing 17 countries in 36 cities.
  • And finally, Chicago Gourmet will be held Sept 27-29 in Millennium Park. This premium food and wine event features over 100 of Chicago’s finest chefs, along with hundreds of renowned vintners, spirit makers, and premium breweries from around the world.  Attendees can enjoy live cooking demonstrations, expert seminars, beer and food pavilions, and wine tastings.

Take advantage of all of these great festivals and many others in Chicago during the month of September!   Hope to see you around town!

Second City? We are Second to None!

Second City.  Windy City.  Chi-Town.  There are plenty of nicknames for Chicago, and plenty of reasons why Chicago is second to none!  We have our own style of yummy pizza (deep dish was created at the original Pizzeria Uno in 1943) and our own kind of hot dogs (yes – Chicago style). We have our own brand of softball (we use a 16” softball which is softer and larger than the norm, and the game is played without gloves.)

Chicago is also the home to a lot of “firsts,” like the first skyscraper built for the Home Insurance Building constructed in 1885 and the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. The first World’s Fair Chicago hosted also introduced a ton of new inventions like the zipper (originally called the “Clasp Locker”) and Quaker Oats.  Pabst earned their Blue Ribbon at the World’s Columbian Exposition and George Ferris unveiled his Wheel.

1930 was also a big year for Chicago with the creation of Twinkies, the first planetarium in thsegway tour at shedde Western Hemisphere (Adler Planetarium) and the first inland saltwater aquarium, Shedd Aquarium. With the development and release of Reddi-Wip by a Chicago dairy in 1948, whipped cream consumption increased dramatically nationwide.

Chicago is home to several inventions of convenience like the first vacuum, patented as a “sweeping machine” in 1869, as well as the first electric dishwasher and the first remote control introduced to the public in 1950.

1953 saw the birth of Playboy, Hugh Hefner’s “gentleman’s” magazine, which he published in his Hyde Park apartment (with a little help from his mom!)

As you can see, Chicago has a lot to be proud of!  If you want to learn more, reserve a spot on one of our Segway tours!  Our Lakefront/Museum Campus tour gives a comprehensive “what’s what” of Chicago’s front yard, Grant Park, while our Lincoln Park/Beach tour takes you through the most affluent neighborhoods in the city.  Discover all that the city that is Second to None has to offer with Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours!

Absolutely the BEST Guides Gliding

Chicago – my kind of town. “The Second City” is full of culture – visual art, theatre, music and dance. Chicago is home to various music festivals like the Chicago Blues Fest, the Grant Park Music Festival and Lollapalooza. There are also numerous street festivals which showcase local musicians and artists, as well as restaurants, most notably the Taste of Chicago. So, to those looking for some entertainment – look no further! Not only will the city of Chicago charm and captivate you, so will our guides at Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours. All of our guides are full of charisma, energy and hardcore talent.
We at Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours are genuine supporters of the arts and all of our guides have at least one area of expertise. Anthony juggles. Autumn sings. Danny tells jokes. Paul plays the guitar. The list goes on!! Our guides have performed in the Broadway tours of Peter Pan and The Book of Mormon as well as with the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre in countless productions. Brittany is an amazing visual artist and Samantha even sings opera! Not only will guests enjoy an absolutely amazing tour, taking in the incredible sights of Chicago, but they will learn a great deal from a friendly and gifted guide. We pride ourselves on our customer service, safety and friendliness and we guarantee you will not walk away disappointed. Please join us and enjoy a glide with one of our terrific guides!