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Tuesday, October 6, 2009

My Kind of Town

So, Chicago isn't getting the 2016 Olympics. The IOC's loss is Chicago's win. Many locals weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of millions of taxpayer dollars being spent to subsidize the Games. Plus, there was widespread fear about how the construction would impact the city's lakefront.

So, forget about the Olympics. There are still Da Bears, the hapless Cubbies, the White Sox, the Bulls, and the Blackhawks (and The Storm, The Sky, The Fire, the Windy City Rollers and others).

Even lengthier than the city's list of sports teams is the roster of museums. There are 70 in The Windy City. The Art Institute of Chicago, the country's second largest museum, is sporting a new modern wing, designed by Renzo Piano. Just opened in May, the wing features 20th and 21th century European art. If you are drawn to older masterpieces, you'll find plenty in the "old wing." To wit, there are 3,500 European works dating from the 12th through the mid-20th century. Holdings include a rare group of 15th-century Spanish, Italian and Northern European paintings, an important collection of French Impressionist paintings, and European sculpture. For those who favor American art, stop by American Gothic by Grant Wood and Nighthawks by Edward Hopper. Museum admission is $18. Art is free on Thursday evenings between 5 and 8 PM.

Opening this Thursday at the Museum of Science & Industry is YOU! The Experience. The exhibit is an interactive tour of the human body. Having attended a preview, I can tell you it's very cool, very fun and very educational for kids and adults alike. Allow at least one hour to explore YOU! Other museum highlights to take in: a 700-ton German submarine, the only one captured during World War II; The Smart Home--showcasing the latest in green living; and the Genetics & Baby Chick Hatchery section. The museum normally costs $13 for adults and $9 for kids (entrance into the submarine is extra, although the surrounding exhibit is complimentary). However, to celebrate the opening of YOU!, general admission during October is FREE!

For more on Chicago, visit http://www.choosechicago.com/. Or listen to my report on Around the World Radio, airing live on October 8 at 1:14 EDT. If you miss it, go to http://www.aroundtheworldradio.com/aarchives.jsp and click on the October 8 show.

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