Travel Reference
In-Depth Information
Summer Solstice
If you're here in mid-June, don't miss the Museum of Contemporary Art's
annual Summer Solstice celebration ( & 312/280-2660 ), a 24-hour festival
of contemporary art and music. It's a mind-blowing mix of cutting-edge
entertainment and family-focused fun (with plenty of hands-on activities
for kids). The event is free, and it takes place every June 21.
Youth programming and workshops are scheduled year-round, including jazz
and blues series and children's film series. The Arts and Crafts Festival, going
strong for over 30 years, is held in June and July; call or visit the website for details.
The museum also has a gift shop, a research library, and an extensive program of
community-related events, all which are presented in a 466-seat auditorium.
740 E. 56th Place. & 773/947-0600. Admission $3 adults, $2 students and sen-
iors, $1 children 6-12, free for children under 6. Free admission Sun. Mon-Sat 10am-5pm; Sun noon-5pm.
Closed Thanksgiving, Dec 25, and Jan 1. Subway/El: Metra Electric train to 57th St. and Lake Park Ave., then
a short cab ride. Bus: 6.
Historic Pullman Ages 7 & up. Railway magnate George Pullman was
a fabulously wealthy industrialist, and he fancied himself more enlightened than
his 19th-century peers. So when it came time to build a new headquarters for
his Pullman Palace Car Company, he dreamed of something far more grand
than the standard factory surrounded by tenements. Instead, he built a model
community for his workers, a place where they could live in houses with indoor
plumbing and abundant natural light—amenities almost unheard of for indus-
trial workers in the 1880s. Pullman didn't do all this from the goodness of his
heart; he hoped that the town named after him would attract the most skilled
workers (who would, not coincidentally, be so happy here that they wouldn't go
on strike). As one of the first “factory towns,” Pullman caused an international
sensation and was seen as a model for other companies. The happy workers that
Pullman envisioned, however, did not entirely cooperate, going on strike in
1894, frustrated by the company's control over every aspect of their lives.
Today the Pullman district makes a fascinating stop for families with kids
interested in history or architecture. Although many of the homes are private
residences, a number of public buildings still stand (including the lavish Hotel
Florence, the imposing Clock Tower, and the two-story colonnaded Market
Hall). A fire damaged some buildings in the late 1990s, but Pullman has thank-
fully been recognized as a unique historic site, and much-needed repairs are
underway. You can walk through on your own (stop by the visitor center for a
map), or take a guided tour at 12:30 or 1:30pm on the first Sunday of the
month, from May to October ($4 adults, $3.50 seniors, $2.50 students).
11141 S. Cottage Grove Ave. & 773/785-8901. Tues-Sun 11am-3pm. Train: Metra
Electric line to Pullman (111th St.), turn right on Cottage Grove Ave. and walk 1 block to the visitor center.
International Museum of Surgical Science Ages 12 & up. This
museum is not for the faint of stomach. (Although I lived three doors down
from this museum for 7 years, I was afraid to set foot inside—maybe it was the
real skeletons they put in the windows every Halloween that scared me off?) Run
by the International College of Surgeons, the museum is housed in a historic
1917 Gold Coast mansion designed by the noted architect Howard Van Doren
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