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posted: 3/14/2010 12:01 AM

Plan an adventure at the Travel & Adventure Show in Des Plaines

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  • Pencil in a performance during the seventh annual Miami Dance Festival.

      Pencil in a performance during the seventh annual Miami Dance Festival.

 
By Jacky Runice

Chicago

Around the world in two days

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What's your pleasure: a safari, a volunteer vacation, a soft adventure, cycling, a culinary tour or family travel? Chart a major adventure or plan a quick weekend getaway with the help of more than 250 exhibitors from far-flung and North American locations at the Travel & Adventure Show. Leading adventure travel authors, explorers and experts will be on hand to provide information on possible vacations. You can scuba dive, attend seminars, ride a camel and enjoy cultural performances from around the world at the largest trade and consumer travel show in the Chicago area. Book a vacation through show-only vacation discount offers, too.

10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, March 20, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday, March 21, at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road. Des Plaines. Tickets cost $15 at the door, $10 online with code: CHPR. Visit adventureexpo.com.

Radical expressions

The world-class Art Institute of Chicago claims one of the finest collections on the planet and the opening of "Matisse: Radical Invention, 1913-1917" should only add to the excitement. One of the seminal artists of the 20th century, Matisse experienced a most innovative, but little-studied period in his long career during these years. See nearly 120 of his most ambitious and experimental paintings, sculptures, drawings and prints from the collections of the Art Institute of Chicago and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. This is the first exhibition to offer an in-depth study of the artist's art from this time period.

Saturday, March 20, to June 6 at 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Wednesday; 10:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. (free admission 5 to 8 p.m.) Thursday; 10:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $18 for adults; $12 for children, students, seniors; free for children younger than 14. Call (312) 443-3600 or visit artic.edu.

Rock the taste buds

Boot winter gloom by dining at some of Chicago's superb chef-driven restaurants during the Second Annual Chicago Chef Week. Will it be executive chef Giuseppe Tentori's contemporary American fare at BOKA or the seasonally inspired dishes from chef Shawn McClain at Spring or Green Zebra? You can finally try some of the hot new eateries like The Publican, Elate, Mercadito or Lincoln Park's Kith and Kin. Of the 21 restaurants, this year's Chef Week features chefs that essentially swept the 2009 Jean Banchet Awards: Blackbird's Michael Sheerin for Best Rising Chef and Stephanie Prida for Best Rising Pastry Chef; Sepia's Scott Tyree for Best Sommelier and Cindy Schuman for Best Celebrity Pastry Chef; and Paul Virant's Vie (Best Fine Dining).

Monday to Friday, March 22-28. Each restaurant offers a three-course, prix-fixe dinner menu for $30. For those who serve lunch, a $20 per person menu will be available excluding beverage, gratuity and tax. Visit chicagochefweek.com to see participating restaurants and reservations.

Midwest

Ready for your close-up?

Who needs to trek to Telluride or Toronto for the excitement of a world-class film festival when you can drive to Michigan's Ann Arbor Film Festival, the longest running showcase of independent, experimental and artistically inspired films in North America. Celebrating 48 years, the original North American independent film event offers high-caliber work and a special program featuring filmmakers from Canada, Ukraine and Great Britain. You can also take the time to explore the charming college town's cafes, museums and other attractions.

Tuesday to Sunday, March 23-28, film screening and event times vary but are held at the Michigan and State Theaters in Ann Arbor, Mich. Single screening $9, $7 for students and seniors. Call (734) 995-7281 or visit aafilmfest.org.

Have a lick of this

Flying with a family is costly and irritating, so chuck the whole concept and drive to southern Indiana for French Lick's Spring Break Bash. The whole family will be kept busy with fun activities. Kids 6 to 12 can join the resort's Kidsfest program with multiple experiences from painting to cooking; and all ages will like bowling, playing in the arcade, family-friendly pool parties and a Friday night pizza party. Mom and Dad can golf, have a spa treatment and play in the casino. Consider the Swing into Spring Package or the Family Fun Package.

Packages available through April 30. Weekday packages Sunday to Thursday start at $278, while weekend packages Friday or Saturday start at $189 at French Lick Resort in French Lick, Ind. Call (888) 936-9360 or visit frenchlick.com.

Before baby makes three

Would you love to have a "Babymoon" getaway, but can't drop the thousands of dollars required to relax on the beach? Expecting parents now have a nearby hotel for the ultimate pampering experience in the new eco-chic boutique Hotel Arista in Naperville. City, suburban and out-of-town parents-to-be can enjoy an overnight getaway before their demanding bundle of joy arrives with a Babymoon Package that includes a one-night stay with accommodations at Hotel Arista; a personal host to escort you to your "babymoon" room filled with baby movies, baby books and comfort pillows; an in-room, prenatal massage for Mom and body massage for Dad; a Cravings-In-Room menu available for in-room dining; complimentary turndown service; breakfast for two; a 30 percent discount to Land of Nod (complimentary transportation based on availability); a onesie for the baby; and available late checkout of 2 p.m.

Packages start at $279 at Hotel Arista, 2139 CityGate Lane, Naperville. Visit hotelarista.com.

Worth the trip

If you're traveling to south Florida, give your skin a break from the sun and take in a performance or two courtesy of the seventh annual Miami Dance Festival. Seven dance companies and special guests displaying diverse international dance styles are on the bill. Ballet, modern, jazz, flamenco, Indian, Afro-Brazilian, Bollywood and even improvisational dance will be featured. There also will be awards, lectures, films, parties and social events.

April 9 to May 29 with dates, times and venues varying. Visit momentumdance.com.

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