by Stephanie Lu Jokich
I can think of many things that evoke the adventurous spirit and a Chicago winter is definitely not on the list. Few of us brave the cold and venture out for the occasional sack of groceries, and then it’s back to our toasty-little foxholes for reruns and interneting. Winter. The final rhythm of nature. A time to reflect. Organize that closet, folks. Sew that button. Bored yet? When this city’s all frozen over, one can forget–or at least I can forget–how many unique things there are to do. Have you met the south loop? I’m certain you’ll get along quite well…
Staycation solved. Originally built in 1870, the Wheeler Mansion is a Chicago Landmark, as well as a National Landmark, and is now an upscale hotel in the historic Prairie District. Contractor Debra Seger rescued one of the last remaining mansions from the wrecking ball and a remarkable restoration ensued. Experience European charm at this secluded, South Loop gem – but forget the jet lag.
This stunning hotel offers two types of accommodations – luxury rooms and luxury suites, each furnished with an eclectic mix of treasures from all over the world (some with their very own fireplace). This season, you can enjoy a private ice rink. And if that weren’t marvelous enough, there is complimentary hot chocolate and mulled wine to keep you warm.
The hotel offers in-room spa services, private transportation, free wi-fi, complimentary parking, and a full gourmet breakfast each morning – to name a few.
Luxury Rooms start at $295.
Glessner House Museum
Visit Chicago’s “original gold coast.” Glessner House, a National Historic Landmark, was designed by noted American architect Henry Hobson Richardson and completed in 1887. A radical departure from traditional Victorian architecture, the structure served as an inspiration to the young Frank Lloyd Wright and helped redefine domestic architecture.
The docent-led tours of the property leave you feeling inspired and curious about the history of Prairie Avenue and some of the movers and shakers that have played an instrumental role in the evolution of the city. Glessner remains an internationally known architectural treasure in Chicago and should not be missed.
Regular Hours: Tues. – Sat. 10-5
Students & Seniors: $7
The National Veterans Art Museum inspires a greater understanding of the real impact of war with a focus on Vietnam. The museum collects, preserves and exhibits art inspired by combat and created by veterans.
In 1981, a few Vietnam combat veterans put together an artistic and historical collection that would become a timeless, humanistic statement of war on behalf of all veterans for future generations.
Since 2003, the museum has broadened its mission to include art by veterans of all wars. Today, NVAM is still located in Chicago’s South Loop and houses over 2,000 works of art, including paintings, photography, sculpture, poetry and music. All the works in the Museum’s permanent collection were created and comprised by more than 255 artists.
The NVAM’s collection is growing exponentially and they are looking for a new home. For more information and to donate click here.
Second Presbyterian Church
Worship Service: 11:00am
Children’s worship & Story time: 11:00am
Coffee Hour: 12:00pm
I walk by this church every day and I’m embarrassed to say that I just recently wandered inside. The Gothic Revival building that currently houses Second Presbyterian Church was designed by architect James Renwick and completed in 1874. Renwick is famous for his Gothic architecture and was the designer of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City and the Smithsonian “Castle” in Washington D.C. He had also designed the original building for Second Presbyterian Church, known as the “Spotted Church,” that stood at the northeast corner of Washington and Wabash Streets in Chicago until it was destroyed in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.
Among the artistic works at Second Presbyterian Church are more than twenty stained glass windows by artists such as Louis C. Tiffany, Healy and Millet, William Fair Kline, and Sir Edward Burne-Jones. The church also possesses a hand-carved limestone baptismal font, fashioned in Florence, Italy, and a bronze Celtic cross, made on the island of Iona, off the coast of Scotland. There are over 175 representations of angels in the church, 13 Pre-Raphaelite murals by Bartlett, and many more visual treasures that make Second Presbyterian Church a place of truly remarkable beauty.