travel-&-adventure-show

Guess where we’ll be this weekend? (Hint: It’s like heaven for travel geeks like us)

The Los Angeles Travel and Adventure Show! 


It’s the next best thing to actually hopping on a plane and stopping in several exotic destinations. 

Trying to plan your next vacation? Hit up one of the many travel agencies that will be there to get a better idea of possible trips.

Adventure junkie? Swing down the indoor zip line, scamper up the rock wall, walk (or roll) on water in a Bubble Rollers Water Ball, bounce around on the Euro Bungy Trampoline, or spice it up with exotic flavors at the culinary stage.

Want to watch a performance? Watch everything from Spanish Flamenco to Arab Folk Dance to Traditional Indonesian Dance performed throughout the weekend on the Global Beats Stage.

Looking for tips and tricks from the best in the business? Rick Steves, Pauline Frommer, and Peter Greenberg will be among other travel experts giving talks at two different stages Saturday and Sunday.

Like to win things? (Is that even a question?) Stop at various booths and at the front entrance to enter a multitude of sweepstakes. Personally, we’ve got our eyes on the trip to Kenya and the buy-one-get-one-free trip to Antarctica.

And, of course, stop by and visit your favorite local travel bookstore’s booth! We’ll be there with a broad selection of our travel guides, including Lonely Planet books for 50% off and Rick Steves books for 20% off. Not bad, huh? 

It will be held January 12-13 at the Long Beach Convention Center. Want to purchase tickets or get some more info? Visit the official site here.


Rosemont, really?  Yes, really.

Note: While we usually focus on overseas travel, we had a chance to look around Rosemont while up in the Chicago area for the International Travel & Adventure Show. We found a really vibrant entertainment spot at MB Financial Park.


Growing up in the Chicago suburbs several decades ago, Rosemont was just another ‘burb we passed through to get to my grandparent’s house in the city.

Not anymore.

My first trip back to the area in 25+years was to attend the Chicago Travel & Adventure show to meet travel/tourism industry people and get some inspiration.  What I found was quite the entertainment and shopping hub just outside of O'Hare.

The folks at Loews Chicago-O'Hare were kind enough to put me up for the night.  Knowing they’re a smaller chain of higher-end hotels and resorts, was surprised to find them in the suburbs.  It’s a stylish place that looks more like an art gallery (which was intentional).  In addition to three restaurants and a live jazz venue, the hotel has 60 suites, and 550+ luxury guest rooms, so if you want to splurge a little, or are just looking for a stylish place to lay your head, there are plenty of options available.

Photos from the trip:
http://worldawaytv.tumblr.com/post/119458713711/a-look-around-mb-financial-park-outside-of-chicago


With the opportunity to take a look around, I started at Fashion Outlets Chicago, which sits just west of the Loews.  The 530,000 square feet enclosed mall has more than 130 stores, including Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store.  You’ll also find luxury brands such as Burberry Cucci, Prada, Michael Kors and more.

As it’s only two miles from O'Hare, it makes a great place to hang out if you’re on a layover.  In addition to getting there via shuttle, services for travelers include printing boarding passes and checking luggage directly through to their final destinations (international or domestic).  Bought stuff?  Deliv offers local, same-day delivery.

If you’re already in the Loop, you can catch the shuttle from North Michigan Avenue.  Or hop on the CTA Blue Line, which lets you off nearby.

From there we were off to MB Financial Park at Rosemont, where there is plenty to see and do.

The 200,000 square foot dining and entertainment destination includes Hofbräuhaus Chicago, Kings Lanes,  Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Big 10 Experience and more.

While I was up in the winter, outdoor activities to keep you busy in 'Frozemont’ included ice skating (which was free) and tubing down the four-story Polar Peak.  In the summer, the 30,000 square foot lawn is home to concerts, festival and other activities.

I started at iFLY.  This indoor skydiving facility give you the experience of free-falling without actually jumping out of a plane.  The vertical wind tunnel has four 10-foot radial fans at the top of the building which provide enough horsepower to generate wind speeds from 80-175 miles per hour.  While it might sound crazy to jump in to that (even though you’re already on the ground), iFLY says that anyone from 3 to 103 can take part.

After a brief training session, fliers are outfitted in a flight suit, helmet and goggles.  Once inside the tunnel with their certified instructor, they simply lean in, and up they go.  The standard flight is 60 seconds (15 seconds longer than a typical skydive).  The basic package includes two flight ($69.95), thought double-length flights are available.

For those old enough to remember the movie, with everyone sitting around watching as you head up in to the chamber, it can have a “Carrousel” [sic] look to it, though don’t worry, you’ll end back on Earth.

From there, a walk around the park.

Though closed for a wedding reception starting later that night, we were able to take a quick look inside Five Roses Pub.  With an extensive beer list and and food, it brings a little Irish flavor to the area.  It’s named in honor of Rosemont’s long-running mayor, the late Donald E. Stephens.

Next door is Kings Bowling- though this isn’t your father’s bowling alley.  Covering 27,000 square feet, it’s a unique twist on the bowling, as it’s also a bar and full-service restaurant wrapped in a hip retro-style decor.  For bowling, there are 20 open lanes, and a private 6-lane room, billiards (and a private billiard room), and outdoor seating overlooking MB Financial Park.  Definitely a place to hang out with friends.

After your arm feels like it’s about to fall off after bowling, there are plenty of options for nursing it back to health.  One is Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.  Like Kings Bowling, this place has plenty of room to roam, with over 35,000 square feet, you’ll find a guitar-shaped bar on one side, and concert venue with a stage and balcony seating on the other.  With food, plenty of TV’s and live music, it’s definitely a place to hang out and watch a game, or grab a bite before the show.

If you ate all of your meal, you can get yourself a Couture Pop at Sugar Factory.  While I admit I hadn’t heard of them, they’re quite the phenomenon with the celebrity set (Katy Perry, the Kardashian Sisters, and the like).  If that’s not your style, there are plenty of other sweet treats to choose from in the candy store.  Just off the store is a full-service restaurant open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

If comedy is on the list of things to do, the park has a Zanies Comedy Club, and at the end of the park is the Big 10 Experience, a tech-driven,  site that let’s you explore Big 10 athletics, and participate in some interactive exhibits.

My evening wrapped up with a group of other travel writers & producers at Hofbräuhaus Chicago.

If you’re looking a German beer hall experience without crossing the Atlantic, this is it.  It’s a family-friendly beer hall modeled after the one in Munich that’s 400 years old.  It features traditional Bavarian food, which was great, with live music and brewery for their famous beer (brewed continuously since 1589).
 
With all of that, there were still probably at least a half-dozen venues we didn’t have time to explore.  You can find all of the things to see & do, and places to eat, at the MB Financial Park at Rosemont website (http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/)

While you’ll have to wait a few months to skate again, here’s a link to a list of their 2015 concert season: http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/rockin/

One of the things I like about Rosemont is its location.  For those who don’t want to spend the extra dollars to stay and hang out in the Loop or downtown, being just off the expressway (and Blue Line), makes it easy to get downtown to hit the museums, events, or just goof around.  Plus, if there there are things you’re looking to do in the suburbs, it makes a great 'home base’ to go either way.

Or, if you’re just looking to hang out and get away for the weekend, the outlet mall and the venues in MB Financial Park offer more than enough to keep you entertained.


Map
MB Financial Park at Rosemont
https://goo.gl/maps/OskFw

Links (sites)
MB Financial Park at Rosemont
http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/

Fashion Outlets of Chicago
http://www.fashionoutletsofchicago.com/

iFLY Chicago
https://www.iflyworld.com/

Five Roses Pub
http://www.fiverosespub.com/

Kings Lanes
http://kingsbowlamerica.com/rosemont/

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
http://countrybaril.com/

Sugar Factory
http://sugarfactory.com/chicago

Zanies Comedy Club
http://rosemont.zanies.com/

Big 10 Experience
http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/entertainment/big-ten-experience/

Hofbräuhaus Chicago
http://www.hofbrauhauschicago.com/
Rosemont, really?  Yes, really.

Growing up in the Chicago suburbs several decades ago, Rosemont was just another ‘burb we passed through to get to my grandparent’s house in the city.

Not anymore.

My first trip back to the area in 25+years was to attend the Chicago Travel & Adventure show to meet travel/tourism industry people and get some inspiration.  What I found was quite the entertainment and shopping hub just outside of O'Hare.

Pics from the trip here:
http://scotttroehler.tumblr.com/post/119457166382/scenes-from-rosemont-illinois


The folks at Loews Chicago-O'Hare were kind enough to put me up for the night.  Knowing they’re a smaller chain of higher-end hotels and resorts, was surprised to find them in the suburbs.  It’s a stylish place that looks more like an art gallery (which was intentional).  In addition to three restaurants and a live jazz venue, the hotel has 60 suites, and 550+ luxury guest rooms, so if you want to splurge a little, or are just looking for a stylish place to lay your head, there are plenty of options available.

With the opportunity to take a look around, I started at Fashion Outlets Chicago, which sits just west of the Loews.  The 530,000 square feet enclosed mall has more than 130 stores, including Neiman Marcus Last Call, Saks Fifth Avenue OFF 5th and Bloomingdale’s The Outlet Store.  You’ll also find luxury brands such as Burberry Cucci, Prada, Michael Kors and more.

As it’s only two miles from O'Hare, it makes a great place to hang out if you’re on a layover.  In addition to getting there via shuttle, services for travelers include printing boarding passes and checking luggage directly through to their final destinations (international or domestic).  Bought stuff?  Deliv offers local, same-day delivery.

If you’re already in the Loop, you can catch the shuttle from North Michigan Avenue.  Or hop on the CTA Blue Line, which lets you off nearby.

From there we were off to MB Financial Park at Rosemont, where there is plenty to see and do.

The 200,000 square foot dining and entertainment destination includes Hofbräuhaus Chicago, Kings Lanes,  Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, Big 10 Experience and more.

While I was up in the winter, outdoor activities to keep you busy in 'Frozemont’ included ice skating (which was free) and tubing down the four-story Polar Peak.  In the summer, the 30,000 square foot lawn is home to concerts, festival and other activities.

I started at iFLY.  This indoor skydiving facility give you the experience of free-falling without actually jumping out of a plane.  The vertical wind tunnel has four 10-foot radial fans at the top of the building which provide enough horsepower to generate wind speeds from 80-175 miles per hour.  While it might sound crazy to jump in to that (even though you’re already on the ground), iFLY says that anyone from 3 to 103 can take part.

After a brief training session, fliers are outfitted in a flight suit, helmet and goggles.  Once inside the tunnel with their certified instructor, they simply lean in, and up they go.  The standard flight is 60 seconds (15 seconds longer than a typical skydive).  The basic package includes two flight ($69.95), thought double-length flights are available.

For those old enough to remember the movie, with everyone sitting around watching as you head up in to the chamber, it can have a “Carrousel” [sic] look to it, though don’t worry, you’ll end back on Earth.

From there, a walk around the park.

Though closed for a wedding reception starting later that night, we were able to take a quick look inside Five Roses Pub.  With an extensive beer list and and food, it brings a little Irish flavor to the area.  It’s named in honor of Rosemont’s long-running mayor, the late Donald E. Stephens.

Next door is Kings Bowling- though this isn’t your father’s bowling alley.  Covering 27,000 square feet, it’s a unique twist on the bowling, as it’s also a bar and full-service restaurant wrapped in a hip retro-style decor.  For bowling, there are 20 open lanes, and a private 6-lane room, billiards (and a private billiard room), and outdoor seating overlooking MB Financial Park.  Definitely a place to hang out with friends.

After your arm feels like it’s about to fall off after bowling, there are plenty of options for nursing it back to health.  One is Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill.  Like Kings Bowling, this place has plenty of room to roam, with over 35,000 square feet, you’ll find a guitar-shaped bar on one side, and concert venue with a stage and balcony seating on the other.  With food, plenty of TV’s and live music, it’s definitely a place to hang out and watch a game, or grab a bite before the show.

If you ate all of your meal, you can get yourself a Couture Pop at Sugar Factory.  While I admit I hadn’t heard of them, they’re quite the phenomenon with the celebrity set (Katy Perry, the Kardashian Sisters, and the like).  If that’s not your style, there are plenty of other sweet treats to choose from in the candy store.  Just off the store is a full-service restaurant open for brunch, lunch and dinner.

If comedy is on the list of things to do, the park has a Zanies Comedy Club, and at the end of the park is the Big 10 Experience, a tech-driven,  site that let’s you explore Big 10 athletics, and participate in some interactive exhibits.

My evening wrapped up with a group of other travel writers & producers at Hofbräuhaus Chicago.

If you’re looking a German beer hall experience without crossing the Atlantic, this is it.  It’s a family-friendly beer hall modeled after the one in Munich that’s 400 years old.  It features traditional Bavarian food, which was great, with live music and brewery for their famous beer (brewed continuously since 1589).
 
With all of that, there were still probably at least a half-dozen venues we didn’t have time to explore.  You can find all of the things to see & do, and places to eat, at the MB Financial Park at Rosemont website (http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/)

While you’ll have to wait a few months to skate again, here’s a link to a list of their 2015 concert season: http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/rockin/

One of the things I like about Rosemont is its location.  For those who don’t want to spend the extra dollars to stay and hang out in the Loop or downtown, being just off the expressway (and Blue Line), makes it easy to get downtown to hit the museums, events, or just goof around.  Plus, if there there are things you’re looking to do in the suburbs, it makes a great 'home base’ to go either way.

Or, if you’re just looking to hang out and get away for the weekend, the outlet mall and the venues in MB Financial Park offer more than enough to keep you entertained.


Map
MB Financial Park at Rosemont
https://goo.gl/maps/OskFw

Links (sites)
MB Financial Park at Rosemont
http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/

Fashion Outlets of Chicago
http://www.fashionoutletsofchicago.com/

iFLY Chicago
https://www.iflyworld.com/

Five Roses Pub
http://www.fiverosespub.com/

Kings Lanes
http://kingsbowlamerica.com/rosemont/

Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill
http://countrybaril.com/

Sugar Factory
http://sugarfactory.com/chicago

Zanies Comedy Club
http://rosemont.zanies.com/

Big 10 Experience
http://www.rosemont.com/mbfinancialpark/entertainment/big-ten-experience/

Hofbräuhaus Chicago
http://www.hofbrauhauschicago.com/