Tag Archives: things to do in Chicago

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.

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.

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!