What better way to bond as a family than an ev ening of gutter-dusting? Two popular
hangouts mix teens, serious league bo wlers, and families in an irr esistible recipe for fun.
At Diversey River Bowl, 2211 W. Diversey Ave. ( & 773/227-5800; www.drbowl.com),
tunes spun b y a DJ (fr om an eclectic 300-CD collection) will get y our feet tapping as
you lace y our bo wling shoes. You'll find plenty of 20-somethings her e on w eekends,
many of whom play in leagues. P repare for a wait: I t can be an hour . The festive atmo-
sphere is complemented by a collection of bowling pins signed by “bowling greats” such
as Dolly Parton and E ddie Vedder. Lanes are open Monday through Friday from noon
to 2am; on Saturday and Sunday, leagues are usually scheduled, but there are always open
lanes reserved for nonleague bo wlers. Cost is $19 per hour per lane M onday through
Thursday, and $32 per hour per lane on F riday and Saturday. Shoe rental is $3.
Adjacent to Hotel Sax and House of Blues is 10pin, a 24-lane alley located at 330 N.
State St. ( & 312/644-0300 ). With eight large-scr een televisions and a mahogany and
marble bar, this place offers a mor e upscale take on bowling. A grill serves up thin-crust
pizzas, salads, sandwiches, and fried chicken; eat in the r estaurant or at y our lane. Cost
is $4.95 per player per game until 5pm; $6.95 per person per game after 5pm.
Another option is Waveland Bowl, 3700 N. Western Ave. ( & 773/472-5900 ). Open
24/7, Waveland has 40 lanes and gets pr etty loud when busy. Even though the place is
huge, expect to wait your turn.
When in the suburbs, Brunswick Zone is your best bet and birthday-party central. One
plus for families is the video games. The company has lanes in suburban Algonquin, Carol
Stream, Deerfield, Deer Park, Glendale Heights, Kankakee, M ount Prospect Naperville,
Niles, O ak Lawn, P alatine, R oselle, Waukegan/Lakehurst, and Woodridge. F or phone
numbers or to make online r eservations, visit www.brunswickbowling.com .
Sorry to point out the ob vious, but Chicago has no hills, much less mountains. ( When
I was in a training group for the Chicago Marathon, we did our hill training by running
up the corkscrew ramp in the John Hancock Center parking garage—that's how serious
Chicago's hill shortage is!) Your best option for climbing in the city is “Mount Chicago,”
at the Lakeshore A thletic Club-I llinois Center ( & 312/616-9000; www.lsac.com).
One of the most impr essive climbing facilities built anywher e in the world, the man-
made wall rises 110 feet (that 's seven-and-a-half stories!). Kids ages 5 and up can climb
on Saturday 10am to 5pm and Sunday 10am to 1pm. You don't have to be a member to
use the wall. Cost for kids is $15 for an orientation class. Kids' classes and private lessons
are available; classes take place for 6 consecutiv e weekends and r equire preregistration.
Even if you don't have previous experience, adults, too, can venture onto the wall through
an orientation and safety class (all while w earing a pr otective harness, of course). The
club is located at 211 N. Stetson, 1 block east of North Michigan Avenue at Lake Street.
To get there, take any bus that ser ves Michigan Avenue.
Chicago residents who want to enroll their kids in classes might investigate the indoor
rock climbing at Lakeshore A cademy, at 937 W. Chestnut, near the intersection of
Halsted and Chicago ( & 312/563-9400; www.lakeshoreacademy.com). Membership is
$100 per year for a family and lasts until the same term 1 year later, and classes are orga-
nized by age gr oup for kids fr om age 5 to 16. “H idden Peak,” as the climbing ar ea is
called, is a gr eat way to disco ver the challenge of indoor r ock climbing. S taffed with
experienced and friendly people, H idden Peak offers tons of user-friendly pr ograms for