Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module
Edit Module

Culture

Places To Get Lost For The Afternoon
 

GEORGE RITZLIN ANTIQUE MAPS & PRINTS
Owners George and Mary Ritzlin will happily guide you through the store’s vast collection and let you handle the merchandise. 1937 Central St., Evanston; 847-328-1966, ritzlin.com

CHICAGO MUSIC EXCHANGE
With more than 1,000 new and vintage guitars at the new West Lake View location, this is a guitar lover’s paradise. Keep an eye out for Jeff Tweedy or Johnny Depp. 3316 N. Lincoln Ave.; 773-525-7773, chicagomusicexchange.com

AMERICAN SCIENCE AND SURPLUS
We’ve seen everything here from burp guns and banana farm kits to radiation meters and paintbrushes. 5316 N. Milwaukee Ave.; 773-763-0313, sciplus.com

SHAKE RATTLE & READ/BOOK BOX
A used-book store that has a little bit of everything—vintage magazines, paperback fiction, LPs—all neatly arranged for your browsing pleasure. 4812 N. Broadway; 773-334-5311

ORCHIDS BY HAUSERMANN
Hausermann’s is a three-acre family-owned greenhouse with more than a thousand species, a place to admire the delicate orchid in almost every color imaginable. 2N134 Addison Rd., Villa Park; 630-543-6855, orchidsbyhausermann.com

* * *

Hotel Lobbies to Check Out
 

W CITY CENTER Although the transformation of the hotel’s main bar into a private reception space leaves a bit of a hole in the Loop’s nightlife, thirsty wanderers can find sanctuary until 2 a.m. in the spacious lobby, which doubled its seating last July. The upstairs balcony also serves drinks Thursdays and Fridays from 4 to 9 p.m. 172 W. Adams St.; 312-332-1200, starwoodhotels.com

THE ELYSIAN Opening in July, this glamorous 1920s throwback designed by the Chicago architect Lucien Lagrange promises a crisp black-and-white entryway flanked by two sparkling busts—a nod to the Elysian Fields, the final resting place of heroes in Greek mythology. 605 N. Michigan Ave.; 312-664-9500, elysianhotels.com

HOTEL SAX The décor of this lobby/lounge has us scratching our heads. Is it Louis XIV meets Gothic brothel? Thronelike chairs, period paintings, and crystal enclosed in glass cases mingle with crimson walls, dimly lit corners, and a solicitation to “seduce your senses.” We dig its ridiculousness. Drink up from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. 333 N. Dearborn St.; 312-245-0333, hotelsaxchicago.com

PALMER HOUSE Classic opulence reigns now that the $170-million restoration of this landmark hotel is done. Gawk at the vaulted ceilings covered with Grecian paintings by the French muralist Louis Pierre Rigal, grab a seat at the all-day bar, or sip tea while listening to tourist gossip tinkle like the room’s Tiffany chandeliers. 17 E. Monroe St.; 312-726-7500, hilton.com

BLACKSTONE The dizzying lollipop carpets and beam-me-up light fixtures blend miraculously with the old Parisian vibe of this newly renovated treasure. Perk: Drinks from Mercat a la Planxa next door may be brought to the lobby. We recommend a choice spot in front of the black marble fireplace. 636 S. Michigan Ave.; 312-447-0955, marriott.com

* * *

Books for the Beach
 

MY FATHER’S TEARS AND OTHER STORIES
by John Updike (out June 2nd; Knopf, $25.95)

The prolific, precise John Updike, who died in January having written more than 50 books, left behind a final collection of 18 delicate but muscular short stories. Savor Updike’s talent for lush description and minute observation on tales of exotic travel, childhood, and high-school reunions.

IDIOT AMERICA: HOW STUPIDITY BECAME A VIRTUE IN THE LAND OF THE FREE
by Charles P. Pierce (out June 2nd; Doubleday, $26)

Part amateur sociology, part screed, Charles Pierce’s book skewers the celebration of ignorance in American culture. Anti-intellectualism, talking heads, and media sound and fury may be easy comedic fodder—but that doesn’t make it any less funny.

ROAD DOGS
by Elmore Leonard (out now; Morrow, $26.99)

The master of the tightly plotted tale of smalltime grifters, Leonard borrows three characters from previous novels (Out of Sight, LaBrava, and Riding the Rap): A former bank robber schemes with another ex-con’s wife to steal her husband’s fortune. Snappy dialogue, double-crosses, and sarcastic asides.

IN THE KITCHEN
by Monica Ali (out June 16th; Scribner, $26.99)

Monica Ali’s anticipated second novel, after Brick Lane, short-listed for the Booker Prize, follows an ambitious chef whose life careens out of control after a dead body turns up in his kitchen. Ali talks at the Harold Washington Library on June 18th.

JERICHO’S FALL
by Stephen L. Carter (out July 14th; Knopf, $25.95)

The latest from the author of The Emperor of Ocean Park stars a female protagonist—the ex-lover of the former head of the CIA. The global financial meltdown and intelligence ethics come into play, but the reason to read it is to see how Carter winds everything up and lets it go.

* * *

Escape-The-Heat Options for Kids
 

1 CLASSIC CINEMAS

Wednesday mornings, 12 of the Classic Cinemas theatres in the Chicago area show popular kid-friendly movies. Get there early: Free refills on popcorn and soda tend to invite a packed house. Begins June 17th. 630-968-1600, classiccinemas.com

 

2 DADS SLOT CARS

What’s more fun than using hand-held controllers to make tiny racecars go as fast as they can without flying off the track? Then eat at the nearby Choo-Choo, where food arrives by model train. 700 Lee St., Des Plaines; 847-298-0688, dadsslotcars.com

 

3 PUTTING EDGE

Kooky black-lit fluorescent-painted wall murals illuminate kids putting glow-in-the-dark balls. Lots of arcade games, too. 4105 N. Harlem Ave., Norridge, 708-457-8377, puttingedge.com; plus locations in Lincolnshire and Hoffman Estates

 

4 ICELAND SKATE & SWIM COMPLEX

Think about it—doesn’t spending a couple of hours on a slab of ice make more sense in the summer? Wear your bathing suit under your clothes so you can hit the outdoor pool afterward. 8435 Ballard Rd., Niles; 847-297-8010, niles-parks.org

 

5 DAVE’S DOWN TO EARTH ROCK SHOP AND PREHISTORIC LIFE MUSEUM

An Evanston institution since the ’70s, Dave Douglass’s shop is jam-packed with cool stuff—crystals, fossils, shells, semiprecious stones, starfish—that reliably fascinate. 704 Main St., Evanston; 847-866-7374, davesdowntoearthrockshop.com

 

Photograph: Courtesy of the W Hotels

Edit Module