Tag Archives: chicago 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!

 

 

NFL Draft Comes to Chicago

The only NFL event more heavily scrutinized than Absolutely Chicago Segway Tour’s annual fantasy  draft is the actual NFL Draft, and it’s finally back in Chicago. Fifty-one years after it was last held in the windy city, this years draft will be unlike any before and will set the tone for all future NFL ceremonies. The league is raffling 3000 tickets for the indoor event at the Auditorium Theatre and hosting 16 football fields worth of outdoor activities!

Started in 1936 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia, the draft was nothing more than a backroom meeting, but when Chet Simmons, president of ESPN, asked NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle if he could televise the draft in 1980, football’s fanatic following began. It gave the fans a way to connect to the total process of their football squad. It created a sense of personal association where players became stars, coaches became kings, and even General Managers became household names.

Just ask a Bears fan what they think of recently fired GM Phil Emery, you’ll hear an opinionated diatribe impossible in before ESPN (celebrating it’s 25th year) started filming the draft. The NFL would like to see that excitement translate into opportunity, and that’s where Chicago came in. Boasting a record of $48 million in tourism revenue last year, Mayor Emanuel flew to New York to convince current NFL commissioner Roger Goddell that Chicago is “the capitol of America’s heartland.” Using the kind of gusto that earned us the ‘windy city’ moniker in the run up to the 1893 World’s Fair, in his own words, the mayor, “made him an offer that he couldn’t refuse.” And we got it!

Starting April 30 at 4pm at Congress Plaza, from Buckingham Fountain to the Auditorium theatre, Draft Town will celebrate everything NFL. Draft Town includes an indoor sky diving simulator called the Sweetness Simulator, an outdoor sports bar called Draft Tavern, a 40-yard LED screen where fans can watch themselves get blown away in a 40-yard foot race with NFL players, and much more. Buckingham Fountain will get in on the act surrounded by NFC and AFC row with Team House’s for each NFL squad, and here’s the kicker—the fountain will light up in the color of the team that is on the clock!

Of course Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours will be joining in on the excitement of the NFL Draft experience with tours gliding through Grant Park and around Draft Town’s epic weekend.

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?

Summer in Chicago!

Summer in Chicago… what a glorious time! The sun is shining, there’s a beautiful breeze off of Lake Michigan and the Segways are gliding smoothly. Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours offers a variety of fun, leisurely rides including the Lakefront/Museum Campus tour which explains the “What’s What” of Chicago’s front yard, Grant Park. We also have a spooky and mysterious Haunted Tour which highlights the creepiest and most gruesome sights Chicago has to offer. Interested in the Jazz Age and the most feared men of Chicago like Al Capone and Sam Giancana? Our Gangster Tour offers the inside scoop to where the infamous Capone planned his hits as well as some of the sights where the biggest mobsters committed their crimes. For those looking for a lighter and more playful adventure, our Fireworks Tour offers a pleasant glide down to the Museum Campus to view the fireworks off the end of Navy Pier. The perfect romantic evening?? I think yes! And for those who would like to add even more to their cultural palate, we offer an Art and Architecture Tour. Our guides tell stories of the architects who made Chicago’s skyline famous as well as explain the various sculptures and art installations, like Cloud Gate and Agora, on which we Chicagoans pride ourselves.
For those interested more in the “Who’s Who” of Chicago, our Lincoln Park/Beach Tour is a fabulous time! We ride north beyond Navy Pier through the Gold Coast, admiring the old mansions of famous Chicagoans in this affluent neighborhood. We then reach Lincoln Park and the Lincoln Park Zoo – one of the few FREE zoos in the U.S. But, if you are short on time and are just DYING to know how much fun riding a Segway really is, then join us for a One-Hour Adventure where our knowledgeable (and patient) guides teach our guests how to ride, then enjoy the pleasure and ease of a Segway. No matter what kind of excursion you are looking for, Absolutely Chicago Segway Tours has it covered! We can accommodate large groups and private tours and you can either book online with us at Chicagosegways.com or give us a call at 312-552-5100. We hope to see you soon!