Is this the worst Chicago spring ever? Yes, it’s mid-April, and there are barely even leaves on the trees — let alone the promise of another glorious summer, like we’re so used to in Chicago by now.

But there’s a silver lining to the many, many clouds in the cold, gray sky: Are we the only ones who relished “indoor recess” on particularly disgusting days in elementary school? We played board games, indoor tag and found plenty of other ways to have fun inside.

Of course, you can always eat your feelings when the weather gets gross — we’re Chicago Food Planet, we know this — but here are three recommendations for other ways to keep yourself entertained while you wait for summer to arrive.


Strike out: Go bowling


Table shuffleboard at Lincoln Square Lanes

Three strikes in favor of a nice game of bowling as an adult:

  • Unlike in baseball, three strikes are a good thing at the bowling alley. (Turkey!)
  • No one can criticize your choice of footwear. (They’re rentals!)
  • Awesome music.

Go old school and hit Diversey River Bowl, get fancy downtown at Lucky Strike Lanes in Streeterville (heck, take in a movie at the AMC next door afterward!), or check out the newly renovated Lincoln Square Lanes, above a hardware store on Lincoln Avenue just north of Lawrence. (You can also play table shuffleboard and pinball!)

Be sure to check open lane hours before you go — bowling leagues are serious business in this town.

And no, we won’t judge you if you ask for bumpers.


Space out: Adler Planetarium

Netflix reruns are so winter 2012. Looking to zone a little and get some education in the process? Brave the elements briefly and head for the Museum Campus.

Take in a show on one of the Adler Planetarium‘s three domed screens: Grainger Sky Theater, the largest; Definiti Space Theater, with all-digital projection; or the Samuel C. Johnson Family Star Theater, in high-definition 3D.

(And, on the odd nice day, rent a bike — or take your own — to get yourself down to the museum campus. There are few things lovelier than the lake breeze and sun on your face!)


Grow up: Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

Garfield Park Conservatory

Even when the weather’s nasty, it’s warm and tropical under the glass at this West Side paradise, the Garfield Park Conservatory. There aren’t even leaves on most trees in Chicago, but the conservatory is bursting with spring color, from Azaleas and camellias to beautiful hydrangeas in blue and pink.

Admission to all of the conservatory’s exhibits, including the spring display in Horticulture Hall, is free, and it’s just a short ride on the CTA Green Line to get there. (What, you’ve got something better to do?)




Chicago Food Planet offers a variety of awesome walking food tours in Chicago

This tour is complete with treats from 6 bakeries, stories of ethnic holiday traditions, & ample shopping time to purchase additional goods.

Tour Length4 hours
Cost$115 Adult | $59 Adolescent (8-15) | Free Child (0-7)
Tour Distance6 Bakery Stops
NeighborhoodsNorth Shore, Sheridan Road, Village of Winnetka

Chicago's only tour that takes you to the hot local spots featured on the hit TV show THE BEAR

Tour Length3.5 hours
Cost$129.00 Adult
Tour Distance9 miles
NeighborhoodsRiver North, West Loop and Logan Square.
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