Two of Chicago’s biggest annual events are taking place this week: the NFL draft festival (Go Bears!) and Baconfest (as delicious as it sounds). There’s also a new Chicago-focused restaurant for you to try out, along with an ice-skating show to keep you on your toes. Or, ditch city life for the weekend and head to Springfield, Illinois for a look into history.
April 28–30 | Sports
NFL Draft Town
Chicago takes its football very seriously. Be part of the action during this three-day football festival, which will have plenty of fun and games for the entire family . . . as long as you’re a Bears fan. (Just kidding—sort of.) NFL players will be on-site for autograph sessions, and there will be youth football clinics, participatory games, and everything and anything else you can imagine to do with football. Throw on your Bears jersey (or buy one when you get there) and come out to play.
Times vary | Grant Park and Congress Plaza, Chicago | Free | website
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April 29 | Ice skating
Stars on Ice
The stars you saw at the winter Olympics will be here in Rosemont, just 30 minutes from Chicago, to dazzle you live at Allstate Arena this week. Some of the featured performers are gold metal ice dancers Meryl Davis and Charlie White, along with Olympic bronze medalists Ashley Wagner, Gracie Gold, and Jeremy Abbott. Olympic gold medalist Scott Hamilton is producing the event, and the performances promise to be as dramatic as ever, with jumps, dancing, and lots of impressive Olympic-level tricks.
7:30 p.m. | 6920 N. Mannheim Rd., Rosemont | From $25 | website
April 30–May 1 | Food festival
It’s gluttonous, fatty, and one of the most highly anticipated events of the year. The best chefs in Chicago, from places like Carnivale and Le Bouchon, will prepare the best food type ever created: bacon. You’ll be able to eat small plates featuring bacon along with bacon-inspired cocktails. It’s truly a bacon-lover’s dream. A ticket includes unlimited dishes plus seven drink tickets for alcoholic beverages.
Times vary | UIC Forum, 725 W. Roosevelt Rd., Chicago | From $100 | website
Three hours out of Chicago, Springfield is a great spot for learning about our nation’s history and for taking in some of our best architecture. First, see the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which is stocked with artifacts, wax characters, and reenactments so you’ll get a real understanding of the former president. Next, head to the Illinois State Capitol, and be sure to get a tour. Architecture buffs will enjoy the Dana-Thomas House, which is a significant Frank Lloyd Wright–designed home. Stay at one of the city’s many B&Bs.
Now open | Restaurant
When the Fairmont Chicago opened Columbus Tap, we knew it would soon become a go-to place to eat and drink in Chicago. The brand-new gastropub has a Midwest-focused menu highlighting seasonal fare and locally grown ingredients, as well as an extensive beer selection, from mainstays to craft beers. Come here for the Whiskey Honey Ham Hock or a porchetta sandwich, or pile the whole family in for dinner, which they serve every day of the week.
200 N Columbus Dr., Chicago | (312) 444-9494 | website