Monthly Archives: July, 2016

5 Roadtrips From Chicago You Should Take This Summer

5 Roadtrips From Chicago You Should Take This Summer

July 28th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking No Comment yet

Dr. Samuel Johnson said on September 20, 1777, “When a man is tired of London, he is tired of life; for there is in London all that life can afford.” The same can be said of modern Chicago, since it has some of the finest museums, zoos, shops, parks, public artwork, theaters, and restaurants in the world. However, even with all the Windy City has to offer, it’s nice to get out of town occasionally. Here are five roadtrips from Chicago you should take this summer.

5-ROADTRIPS-300x300 5 Roadtrips From Chicago You Should Take This Summer

Head north to the state line. Bristol Renaissance Faire has been voted the Country’s Best Renaissance Faire for five years in a row, and it’s only an hour’s drive away. What is a Renaissance Faire? “A Renaissance Faire is a recreation of life during the Renaissance historical period that is a combination of a county fair, a living history display, and live improvisational theater with audience participation.” Saturdays and Sundays from July 9 to September 5, the Bristol Renaissance Faire is a chance to escape the 21st century and go back to the days of Queen Elizabeth I. Listen to the minstrels sing as you eat a turkey leg. Watch the jugglers, gymnasts, and dancers. Marvel at the knights jousting. Shout huzzah when Good Queen Bess and her court pass by. The faire is open from 10 am until 7 pm, and with 30 acres of shopping and entertainment, you’ll want all day to see everything. Come in modern clothing or dress in Renaissance garb; you’re welcome either way. There are children’s activities, as well as shopping and shows for the whole family. Visitors to Bristol Renaissance Faire may park in a preferred parking lot close to the main gate for $5 or park for free on the north side of the faire.

Kenosha, Wisconsin, is an hour north of Chicago. Enjoy one of its many musical events: the Twilight Jazz free concerts July 19, July 26, August 4, and August 30; Peanut Butter & Jam free concerts July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, August 18, and August 25; Lincoln Park Live free concerts July 13, July 27, August 10, and September 14; or the Country Thunder Music Festival July 21 – 24. Visit the Kenosha Public Museum; admission is free. Learn about natural science and fine arts, walking distance from Lake Michigan. Ride the Electric Streetcar. Eat at Choo Choo Charlie’s, Boat House Pub & Eatery, Ashling on the Lough, or Kaiser’s Pizza and Pub. Stop at Mars Cheese Castle and Bobby Nelson’s to buy cheese and sausage. If you have kids, go to nearby Pleasant Prairie and take the tour of the Jelly Belly Factory.

From Chicago to Zion, Illinois, is only a short ride on the Metra or an easy drive. Visit Shiloh House, the mansion once home to Zion’s founder, Dr. Dowie. Illinois Beach State Park offers natural beauty with dunes, marshes, and forests. It’s a great place for swimming, hiking, bicycling, or a picnic. Zion has two golf courses, Shepherd’s Crook Golf Course and Shiloh Park Golf Course. August 27 and 28 is the 23rd Annual Potawotami Trails Pow Wow, featuring Native American music, dance, fry bread, and merchandise. The Concert in the Park series has rock, soul, and classical music: July 14, July 21, July 28, August 4, August 11, and September 4. The 68th Annual Zion Jubilee Days will be September 3 – 5.

Highland Park, Illinois, is home to the Port Clinton Art Festival August 27 and 28 and the Ravinia Festival, the oldest outdoor music festival in the nation, which runs from June to September every summer. This summer it will include Duran Duran, Kenny Rogers, Diana Ross, Bonnie Raitt, and Judy Collins. Heller Nature Center has a hiking trail that wanders through the woods to a pond. The Highland Park Historical Society Museum includes the Francis Stupey Log Cabin, built in 1847.

Rockford, Illinois is roughly two hours from Chicago. It has several museums and parks. Anderson Japanese Gardens are beautiful, a wonderful place to commune with nature. It is home to the Japanese Summer Festival July 30 and 31. Museums in Rockford include Discovery Center Museum for children and parents, Burpee Museum of Natural History for the scientifically inclined, Midway Village and Museum CenterTinker Swiss Cottage Museum & Gardens, and Camp Grant Museum for history buffs, and Frank Lloyd Wright’s Laurent House. Catch a show at Coronado Performing Arts Center. For nature buffs, the Klehm Arboretum & Botanic Garden and Nicholas Conservatory & Gardens are well worth a visit. If you want to cool off and have some aquatic fun, visit Magic Waters Waterpark in nearby Cherry Valley.

For more information about what to do in or near Chicago this summer, contact us.

Driverless Cars Are the Next Transportation Shift

July 21st, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Events, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking No Comment yet

Most people would still be somewhat surprised that there are driverless cars on the roads in some American cities even now. Yet, according to the Google self-driving car project, they’ve driven 1.5 million miles already, “…and are currently out on the streets of Mountain View, CA; Austin, TX; Kirkland, WA; and Metro Phoenix, AZ. Maybe you’ve seen them out there? Either way, it seems driverless cars are the next transportation shift.

transporation-shift-300x300 Driverless Cars Are the Next Transportation Shift

It was less than a hundred years ago when automobiles started becoming the normal transportation mode in America, replacing the horse and buggy. Then came the suburbs and massive road projects throughout the country, which gave most Americans a need for an individual vehicle. In modern (2016) times, crowded traffic and environmental concerns have created a need for another transportation shift.

Electric and hybrid vehicles, as well as those that run off alternative fuels like vegetable oil, have gained traction among many metro residents, but the majority of Americans still enjoy the convenience and ease of their larger gas vehicles.

Driverless cars are another addition to the alternative options to gas/diesel vehicles; this transportation option is sort of like taking public transportation, yet in an individual vehicle. As of now, these driverless vehicles are being rolled out to the market as semi-automated, so don’t worry, Google ensures us there are test drivers aboard now.

According to an article in online publication Business Insider, called: “10 Million Self-Driving Cars Will Be on the Road by 2020”, written on June 15, 2016 by John Greenbough, we learn: “Companies like Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla have already released, or are soon to release, self-driving features that give the car some ability to drive itself.”

This goes beyond the cruise control most of us have used before, rather a self-driving car defined by BI’s report is “…any car with features that allow it to accelerate, brake, and steer a car’s course with limited or no driver interaction.”

According to Wikipedia, there were 255.8 million passenger vehicles on the roads in 2013. So, 10 million would be about 4 percent of this figure. Mostly, driverless cars are being rolled out in cities such as Chicago, which according to an article found in online publication Chicago Tribune called: “Driverless Cars are Coming. Are Cities Ready?” written by Amina Elahi on June 15, 2016, we learn: “Cities will need to adapt infrastructure and regulations in the near future…”

The article goes on to explain just how near: “Fully autonomous cars are likely to be available commercially between 2018 and 2020…referencing automaker reports.”

The robotic compliance with traffic signals and (hoped for) error-free sensing of objects around them, should lead to fewer accidents and tickets. The small size of the driverless cars would also lead to less congestion and more parking availability.

So, don’t be surprised if you’re driving around in a metro city in the next couple years and see a driverless car zooming around. As of now, these cars should have someone in them, but in time we can expect to see cars without anyone in them at all – driving to pick someone up we can gather.

Driverless cars definitely represent a transportation shift in many ways. How popular and accepted they’ll become among Americans is yet to be known, but projected plans and testing now are confidently pressing on to a massive roll out of the idea. Like most new transportation technology, people will have to get used to the idea and begin to trust it’s safe.

Would you purchase a driverless car? Whether the answer is yes or no, you’ll still need to find parking in Chicago and other major cities. The ParqEx App is a technological solution that solves people’s parking problems, and helps people make money too. Basically, find and reserve a parking spot when and where you need it, from our exclusive database list of parking spots available. These are private parking spaces placed on our app by users with parking spaces for rent.

Advancing technology is helping to solve complex transportation issues; driverless cars and ParqEx are two examples of how this is unfolding. While driverless cars may take years to become a workable solution, ParqEx is available now for those looking for parking or wanting to make money by renting their parking spaces. Please contact us to learn more.

10 Summer Festivals and Events in Chicago's Chinatown 2016

10 Summer Festivals and Events in Chicago’s Chinatown 2016

July 14th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Events, Community, Parking No Comment yet

Summer has just begun, and things are heating up in Chicago’s Chinatown. Chinatown is already home to beautiful art, delectable food, affordable shopping and a rich Chinese-American history. But when summer comes, Chinatown unleashes an even more diverse array of fun and culture. With convenient Chicago Parking around Chinatown, courtesy of the Parqex app, there’s no reason to miss out on these summer festivals and events in Chicago.chinatown-300x300 10 Summer Festivals and Events in Chicago's Chinatown 2016

Chinatown Food Tourongoing, begins at 3pm, from $50.00

Departs from under the Chinatown gate

This tour is available year-round, but a breezy summer day is the perfect condition for this walking adventure. You will visit a total of five tasting locations, with 3 of them allowing time to take in the authentic atmosphere. During the walking tour, you’ll enjoy the sites and sounds of downtown Chinatown!

Chinatown Walking TourMemorial Day- Labor Day, Fri-Sun, call for times, $10.00

Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute

This tour can be taken as a public event or as a private event, with a minimum of 8 people. The tour covers the entire 15 blocks of Chinatown and lasts for 1.5 hours, stopping at the most popular tourist sites, including the entrancing Nine Dragon Wall, Chinese Buddhist Temple and the exquisite Chinatown Mural.

Cumbiasazo Kids!July 2, 3pm – 8pm, free of cost 

Ping Tom Memorial Park.

Cumbiasazo dance parties supports the love of dance and music in our children. With live music, art, and performances, this is a family event you’ll want to participate in year after year.

Chinatown 5k & Youth Run- July 9th, begins at 8am, registration fee

Chinatown Square on Archer Avenue

This event is open for adults and youths. The 5k course runs through the heart of Chinatown for adult participants. The youth races will begin at 9am with a 200-meter race for children ages 6-8 and a quarter-mile race for 9-11. The race will open with a Lion Dance and there will be a post-race raffle. Don’t miss out on the chance to support Chinatown and be a part of the community!

Movies in the Park, Jurassic World– July 15th, 8:15 pm- 10:19 pm, free of cost

Ping Tom Memorial Park

Enjoy the atmosphere of nature while also watching an edge-of-your-seat movie. There’s nothing like an outdoor movie watching that invokes the nostalgia of childhoods past at the drive-in.

The Chinatown Summer Fair– July 17th, 10am- 8pm, free of cost

Chinatown- Archer and Wentworth Ave.

This is not your typical hometown fair. It infuses old Chinese traditions with modern, Chinese culture. Immerse yourself in fun and history with the iconic Lion Dance Procession. Enjoy martial arts performances, classical and modern Chinese music, and ancient art displays.

Tsukasa TaikoAugust 5, 6pm – 8pm, free of cost

Ping Tom Memorial Park

This live performance of Taiko drumming integrates Asian and American culture through contemporary infused music, in hopes to strengthen these combined communities. The sound is unmistakable and the experience unforgettable.

Chicago Shakespeare in the ParkAugust 14, 4pm – 5:30pm, free of cost

 Ping Tom’s Memorial Park

Come out to enjoy William Shakespeare’s timeless comedy, Twelfth Night. Full of farce, romance and confusion, this play will delight even the most fickle of play-goers.

Community Planting Day– September 18, 10am-12pm, free of cost

Ping Tom Memorial Park

Ping Tom Park Kids put lots of efforts into growing native plants for the park during camp over the summer. Join their parents and community giving those plants a permanent home in the ground. You will also have the opportunity to take a guided hike through the park and learn about its place in the urban ecosystem.

Slow Roll Nature Ride– September 18, 12pm- 3:30pm, free of cost

Departs from Ping Tom Memorial Park

Tour the historic Chinatown neighborhood on this community bike ride. The tour will highlight the Burnham Wildlife Corridor along the Chicago Lake Front, lead by a local nature expert. This event is perfect for all biking skills and bike types, as the tour is kept slow to take in all of the natural history the area has to offer.

Contact us for parking availability for these great events and others throughout the Chicago area!

ParqEx: 5 Great Things To Do in Chicago This Summer

5 Great Things To Do in Chicago This Summer

July 7th, 2016 Posted by Car, Chicago Events, Chicago Travel Tips, Parking, ParqEx No Comment yet

Part of the benefits of living in or visiting a large city is the many things to do anytime. The summer time, in particular, is a great time to visit or get out and have some fun. What kind of fun depends on you, but when it comes to Chicago in the summer, the choices are wide and varied. To narrow it down a little, let’s check out 5 great things to do in Chicago this summer.

5-great-things-to-do-300x300 5 Great Things To Do in Chicago This Summer

Lollapalooza Music Festival

How could we leave out Lollapalooza, which will be the 25th birthday of the event. This years festival is being held at Grant Park, and is headlining some bands you might have heard of like: Radiohead, Lana Del Ray, and LCD Soundsystem. The four days of music festivities is being held July 28th -31st, which is one day longer than usual.

Grant Park is in downtown Chicago, and will have two entrances attendees can use. The event coordinators warn of the limited availability of parking, so advise people to take public transit. This is where ParqEx can help you have the perfect parking spot nearby while everyone else is taking the bus! The cost of four-day passes are $335 and single day passes are $120.

Movies in the Park

For a more low-key type of activity, how about a movie in one of Chicago’s many parks? Over 250 movie screenings are being held from June until mid-September in parks all across Chicago. Bring a blanket and some snacks to enjoy a movie on a very large blown up screen, in the middle of a Chicago park at night.

To give you an idea of some of the parks holding these events, here’s a list of 10: Gross, Grant, Piotrowski, West Chatham, Sherwood, Lindblom, Lowe, Eugene Field, Eckhart, and Maplewood. And to give you an idea of the movies being played, here’s a list of 10: Jurassic World, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, The Sandlot, War Room, Ant-Man, The Lego Movie, October Sky, Inside Out, Rio 2, and Zootopia.

Watch an outdoor movie for little to no cost, and enjoy the beautiful nights of Chicago with friends and family watching a good movie. There are many parks holding these events, so parking availability will vary, but either way ParqEx can help make outdoor movie night less of a hassle for the times when parking is needed.

Windy City Smokeout

There are so many great food and music festivals during the summer including the Taste of Chicago held at Grant Park, but let’s highlight the Windy City Smokeout. This is an annual three-day food and music festival being held from July 15th – 17th, 2016. Grilled meats and country music are the themes of this event being held at River North on W Grand Ave.

Bands like Billy Currington and Old Dominion will be playing country music while plenty of tasty pork, beer, and meaty treats will be available from local barbecue restaurants. Attendees can gain entry one day for only $40, or get a weekend pass for $100. Parking will be tough for this downtown event, so reserving a space through ParqEx will help facilitate a smooth culinary country music holiday at the annual Windy City Smokeout.

See a Cubs Ball Game

One of the biggest attractions in Chicago and especially in the summer is the major league baseball teams: the Cubs and the White Sox. There’s not many cities with two pro baseball teams, which gives residents and visitors a great choice for a summer time event to attend.

The Cubs play at the historic Wrigley Field, which has been undergoing some big renovations. The Cubs had their best season since 1945 last year, only four wins away from being in the World Series! That means this summer should be an exciting time to watch a Cubs game.

Tickets cost anywhere from $27 to $200. Wrigley Field is located in North Chicago near Uptown on W Addision St., so finding parking and dealing with traffic could be tough. ParqEx could help you find and reserve the perfect parking spot nearby, so you can enjoy a Cubs ball game this summer.

Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour

Many people will find a river cruise appealing in Chicago this summer. There are many different options to choose from if this is the case. For instance, the Shoreline Sightseeing Architecture River Tour runs daily from Gateway Park and Navy Pier beginning at 10am. This is a 75-minute cruise highlighting more than 40 Chicago landmarks and only costs $32-$39 for adults and $16-$20 for children under 12.

Summary

The list goes on and on with fun and interesting things you can do this summer in Chicago. These 5 activities should give you an idea of the diversity of options Chicago gives residents and visitors when it comes to enjoying the Windy City. Great food, music, and culture are all kicking off even now as summer officially begins.

Don’t let parking woes slow your fun down this summer when enjoying Chicago. The ParqEx app gives you the tool needed to find the parking solution for every circumstance. Simply find a parking spot being rented nearby your event, reserve it on the day and hour needed, and the rest is taken care of through the app.

For those who have a parking spot to rent the process is just as simple. Use ParqEx to rent out your space and make some extra money during the year, all through the app. We’re a Chicago based company proud to help bring people together to make parking easier and safer. To learn more please contact us today.

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