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  • Andy Warhol: A Life in Pop - Blockbuster Exhibition!

    A new Blockbuster Exhibition is coming to the McAninch Arts Center and Cleve Carney Museum of Art at the College of DuPage in the summer of 2023! The works from the Andy Warhol Portfolios: A Life in Pop is a highly anticipated must see! The Warhol Exhibition will include 94 works, including interactive experiences, a video archive installation, over 150 photos taken by Warhol, a Studio 54 experience and a Central Park-inspired outdoor café, creating an immersive, multifaceted exhibition focused on the life and work of one of the most influential artists of the past century! Warhol was a central figure in the Pop Art movement that emerged in the U.S. in the early 1950s and is the most recognizable artist of the second half of the twentieth century. His mass-produced images of popular culture exhibited his mastery at identifying the defining cultural images of this era. Examples include the Wicked Witch of the West, Superman, Howdy Doody, a Marilyn Monroe silk-screen and a painting of a Campbell's soup can. After the tour, enjoy an upscale luncheon at the delightful Cooper’s Hawk Restaurant in Downers Grove!
  • Carmen @ the Lyric Opera House

    At Chicago’s legendary 1929 Art Deco Civic Opera House, the Chicago Lyric Opera presents Carmen! At the second-largest opera auditorium in North America, our dress circle seating is perfect for this legendary opera. Carmen is the immortal tale of the restless, free-spirited heroine and Don José, the soldier who's drawn to her in a truly "fatal attraction." Carmen has long been one of the world's favorite operas. It returns this season in the company's vividly colorful, powerfully dramatic production with dynamic Ryan Opera Center alumna J'Nai Bridges, who is now enjoying a dazzling career internationally, in the title role. Partnering with her is Charles Castronovo, one of the world's most acclaimed tenors. You'll be drawn to the drama like moth to flame as this alluring opera brings you along to its edge-of-your-seat ending. A pre-opera talk is also scheduled to discuss the production. Hosted by an opera expert, this pre-opera lecture allows you the unique opportunity to learn more about the historical context of this opera, the music that makes it a classic, and the creator behind this masterpiece. Before the matinee, lunch is included at the Ukrainian-owned Russian Tea Time Restaurant.
  • Chicago Fireboat Cruise & Chicago Firehouse Restaurant

    Depart on a historical experience as we celebrate the Chicago Fire Department! This afternoon we will board a retired Chicago Fireboat, the Fred A. Busse for a unique tour and cruise! The Fred A. Busse was built in 1936 and named for the former mayor of Chicago, who served from 1907 until 1911.When placed into service with the Fire Department in 1937, it was the largest diesel-powered fireboat in the world. It was built specifically for Chicago to fit underneath the city’s bridges, minimizing response times for emergencies. Today the fireboat is back in action giving tours on Lake Michigan and the Chicago River, focusing on the history of this boat, the history of the fire department and all that the boat did for the city. Historic photos show her in action, back when the Chicago River was used for manufacturing and how it fought the McCormick Place fire in 1967. See the city from the water like you never have before! Before the cruise, we will have lunch at one of Chicago’s premier restaurants, The Chicago Firehouse Restaurant. Formerly Engine Company 104 of the Chicago Fire Department, this original 1905 Romanesque Revival firehouse has been a cornerstone in this South Loop neighborhood which protected nearby Prairie Avenue, Chicago’s former Millionaire Row, including the mansions of McCormick, Palmer and Glessner. Dine amongst the pointed historical features and well-defined ambiance in this highly-rated fine dining restaurant opening especially for our group!
  • Down on the Farm! An Agritourism Adventure

    Go "down on the farm" today as we visit the fabulous Fair Oaks Farm to enjoy the best agri-tourism site in the Midwest! This state-of-the-art dairy farm is one of the largest in the United States. Your visit to this 21st century farm will give you the opportunity to see how a dairy industry operates. The tour of the farm includes a drive through a modern barn of Holstein cows to see how milk is produced. The other dairy adventures at the farm include a visit to the ultra-modern Birthing Barn, where an average of 80 calves are born each day! See a presentation in Theater 4D, and visit the Fair Oaks Farms Cheese Factory, as the freshest cheese is made right before your eyes. You’ll also have the opportunity to purchase artisan cheese, premium ice cream and other dairy products. New to the farm, The Pig Adventure is the farm's latest addition. Visit the Farrowing Barn to watch live births and see state-of-the-art exhibits at the Pork Education Center. A wonderful buffet lunch will be served at Fair Oaks Farm in the Farmhouse Restaurant. Enjoy farm fresh food at this gorgeous farm-to-table restaurant featuring a wrap-around porch and an indoor/outdoor fireplace!
  • Dueling Pianos @ Starved Rock Lodge

    A wildly entertaining music and comedy dueling piano show. An experience that will have you singing, shouting and dancing! This fun show takes place inside Starved Rock State Park Lodge’s Great Hall, the centerpiece of the pine-and-log structure, built by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. Surrounded by log walls and a two-sided stone fireplace, you’ll enjoy a delicious buffet before the dueling pianos fire up! While at the Lodge, you’ll have some time to visit the gift store and relax in the Great Hall. A perfect late winter getaway!
  • Grumpy Old Men @ the Fireside Theatre

    Enjoy an afternoon at one of the Midwest’s premiere dinner theaters, the spectacular Fireside, in Fort Atkinson, WI! The theatre features state-of-the-art sound and lighting systems for Broadway quality productions. Prior to the play, you will be treated to lunch in the lovely Fireside Restaurant before enjoying the professional matinee performance in their 700 seat theatre-in-the round. You’ll also have time to shop before the show in the popular gift shops offering a complete selection of gifts and collectibles for all ages and occasions! Then settle back to see the story of Max and John, neighbors who have been feuding for most of their lives. Invigorated by their shared affection for their beautiful new neighbor across the street, they face off as romantic rivals until their hilarious shenanigans finally bring about a resolution to their long-standing differences. Based on the 1993 film, this stage adaptation captures the lovable crotchety characters through twinkling humor, great songs and the affectionate depiction of a small town that feels like home to everyone.
  • Irish Eyes are Smiling in Chicago!

    Join us for a celebration of Irish history in Chicago on a pre-St. Patty’s Day tour! Today we focus on how the Irish contributed to Chicago's phenomenal growth from frontier town to urban metropolis, followed by lunch at Manny’s for a chance to feast on Chicago’s most famous corned beef sandwich! Learn about interesting facts about the Irish, such as how Chicago has had 12 Irish mayors governing for more than 80 years, and stories of other legendary Irish politicians including “Honest John” Comiskey, “Hinky Dink” Kenna, “Bathhouse John” Coughlin and “Foxy Ed” Cullerton. Take a docent guided tour of the Irish-American Heritage Center on the city’s northwest side. This facility promotes cultural programming such as music, theater, literature and language. During the tour, see their Library, Museum, Art Gallery and Fifth Province Pub. See the magnificent collection of Belleek Parian China, a square grand piano dating from the late nineteenth century, an exquisite collection of Irish lace and historical maps showing the Irish contribution to European culture from the sixth to the twelfth centuries. Our next stop is Old St. Patrick's Cathedral, interwoven in the life and history of Chicago since its opening in 1856. One of the few buildings to survive the Great Chicago Fire, we’ll tour the historic church and see its 15 beautiful stained-glass windows installed between 1912 and 1922 and the 12 side windows which were inspired by the Celtic designs of Ireland’s Book of Kells. Then, what could be more Irish than a corned beef sandwich?* At Chicago’s iconic Manny’s Coffee Shop & Deli, which opened shortly after World War II, we will feast on a hearty lunch while enjoying the ambiance of the dining room walls decorated with news clippings, reviews, snapshots and memorabilia as memento of downtown as it was a half century ago! *Other items available besides corned beef!
  • MJ: The Musical at the Nederlander Theatre

    2023’s most highly anticipated, most electrifying new Broadway musical makes its national tour premiere at the James M. Nederlander Theatre in Chicago in August 2023! The music. The showmanship. The icon. Now, the unparalleled artistry of one the greatest entertainers of all time, Michael Jackson has finally arrived on Broadway in a brand new musical. Centered around the making of his 1992 Dangerous World Tour, and created by Tony Award-winning Director/Choreographer Christopher Wheeldon and two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Lynn Nottage, MJ goes beyond the singular moves and signature sound of the star, offering a rare look at the creative mind and collaborative spirit that catapulted Jackson into legendary status. A delightful lunch is included at the Grand Lux Cafe on North Michigan Ave before the show. It would be “Bad” if you missed your opportunity for this sure to be in demand ticket!
  • Nitti’s Supper Club & Speakeasy!

    Join us for a fun Saturday evening as we step inside Harry Caray's Restaurant landmark building, once owned by infamous Chicago mobster Frank Nitti, and join us for a dinner and show filled with laughs, gangsters, flappers, audience interaction and a toe-tapping musical production! Long before 33 W. Kinzie housed one of Chicago’s most famous steakhouses, it was home to the notorious enforcer of the Al Capone gang, Frank Nitti. He lived in an apartment on the fourth floor with his wife, Annette. They operated a legitimate Italian food business, Caravetta Foods, out of the building. But it was also a convenient hideout for Nitti, as the courthouse building was clearly visible from the apartment. The building connected to Chicago's underground tunnel system, allowing Nitti and his associates to come and go without being seen on the streets. Nitti's Supper Club and Speakeasy incorporates real characters from Nitti's life of crime who would have walked through the doors of 33 West Kinzie. Join them on a trip back in time to the raucous world of prohibition era Chicago!
  • Sock Monkeys & The Treasures of Halim!

    Join CET for a unique tour as we see some of Chicagoland’s more unusual collections! At one of the area’s newest museums, the Halim Time & Glass Museum, a spectacular five-story building in Evanston and the world’s first museum dedicated solely to stained glass and clocks from all over the world. The collection includes more than 1,100 clocks and over 30 painstakingly restored floor-to-ceiling stained glass windows from American and European artists. These windows, some as tall as 25 feet, tell the story of the School of Stained Glass. The Treasures of Louis Comfort Tiffany trace the creative life of the artist. On display are stained glass paintings that showcase his work. On your tour, guides will help you examine the incredible craftsmanship and designs from an arm’s reach away and show you the European and American Schools' differences in techniques. The stories of how these pieces were acquired and restored are fascinating. Eight rooms are dedicated to clocks and watches, with each room specific to the collection's home country. From a sundial from the first century B.C. to 16th century German mechanical pieces, these timepieces tell the story of time and its role in navigation, trade and culture. See works which were commissioned for Napoleon and Catherine the Great. Lunch is at The Village Tavern in Long Grove, the oldest tavern/restaurant in continuous operation in Illinois! It opened in 1847 as the Zimmer Tavern and Wagon Shop and today is Long Grove’s most famous, serving delicious food. Admire its amazing antiques,including a grandfather clock from the 1893 World's Fair and a mahogany bar rescued from the McCormick Place Fire in 1967. After lunch, we visit the adjacent, “new” Sock Monkey Museum! From its origins in Rockford, IL at the Nelson Knitting Company, these unique red heeled socks became toys during the Great Depression. Here see one of the world's largest vintage Sock Monkey collections. Learn about the socks used to make the monkeys as well as the history of socks through the ages. As a special treat, you will make your own Sock Monkey!
  • The Amazing - “Blue Man Group”

    Come celebrate 25 years of the Blue Man Group in Chicago and check one more “must-do” off your bucket list! This entertainment phenomenon is best known for its award-winning theatrical production which critics have described as "ground-breaking," "hilarious" and "visually stunning". Hard to describe but easy to love, this multi-sensory show performed at the Briar Street Theatre fuses theatrical spectacle and original music with comedy art vaudeville and science. We’ll see the famous blue bald guys taking a humorous look at contemporary forms of communication. Giant PVC tubing fill the stage while brightly colored objects fly about before a pulsating new finale set to an original music score. Don’t miss the music, laughter and surprises at our matinee performance and see why over 35 million people of all ages worldwide have loved the Blue Man Group! Enjoy a pre-show lunch at the famous Ann Sather’s Swedish Restaurant, just blocks from the theatre. This legendary Chicago diner has been serving Lakeview residents for over 75 years! You will love the delicious entrees and be delighted as you sample their famous cinnamon rolls and freshly baked breads.
  • “Get your Kicks on Route 66”

    Trail blaze a true American icon as we tour a portion of “America’s mother road”, Route 66! Today, John Wiess, renowned author of several Route 66 books and an expert guide, joins us in Joliet, IL to give a fascinating narrated guided tour of the scenic byway and roadside attractions to Pontiac, IL. This stretch of the highway, near its Chicago origin, once stretched all the way to Santa Monica, CA. Today we’ll go back to America’s Golden Age to see some fabulous sights remaining on this portion. After a stop at the Route 66 Visitor Center in Joliet, we begin our journey south to Wilmington to see such famous sights as the “Gemini Giant'', the Eagle Hotel and the Route 66 Antique Mall, where we stop for coffee and rolls. In Gardner, IL we visit the 1906 two-cell jail and a historic streetcar diner. In Dwight, IL we see the 1933 Ambler-Becker Texaco gas station, once the longest operating station on the entire 2,448 mile stretch of Route 66! At the Old Route 66 Café, our group enjoys a fabulous lunch at this family-owned restaurant filled with nostalgic memorabilia. After lunch it’s on the road again and onto Odell, IL to tour the old Standard Oil Station, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. In Pontiac, IL one of the great small towns on the entire 66 route, we tour the Route 66 Hall of Fame & Museum. Here we learn the story of the people and places that have firmly entrenched the road as a part of Americana. One of the displays titled “Route 66-A photo journal” truly captures the spirit of 66, while another features artifacts and antiques from the road's illustrious history. We’ll also see the town’s “Murals on Main Street '', a unique assortment of outdoor murals and the Pontiac-Oakland Auto Museum to get a nostalgic glimpse back at the autos that once traveled the highway. On our return journey north, stop for a special treat at the famed Polk-A-Dot Diner in Braidwood and see the fiberglass statues of Elvis, Marilyn Monroe, James Dean and the Blues Brothers! Relive the freedom, passion and spirit Route 66 once gave America!