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.
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.
folks at Loews
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:
With the opportunity to
take a look around, I started at Fashion
, 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
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.
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
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
Though closed for a wedding reception starting later
that night, we were able to take a quick look inside Five
. 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.
door is Kings Bowling
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
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
. 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
, 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.
wrapped up with a group of other travel writers & producers at
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
you’ll have to wait a few months to skate again, here’s a link to a
list of their 2015 concert season:
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
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.
Financial Park at Rosemonthttps://goo.gl/maps/OskFw
MB Financial Park at
Outlets of Chicagohttp://www.fashionoutletsofchicago.com/
Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grillhttp://countrybaril.com/