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updated: 8/30/2012 2:09 PM

A half-dozen above-par entertainment options for Ryder Cup week

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  • A Baccarat table is one of 48 table game stations at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.

    A Baccarat table is one of 48 table game stations at the Rivers Casino in Des Plaines.
    Daily Herald file photo by Bill Zars/bzars@dailyhe

  • Michael Feinstein performs in Chicago Sept. 29.

    Michael Feinstein performs in Chicago Sept. 29.

  • The Chinese theater is one of the themed auditoriums at Hollywood Palms Cinema in Naperville.

    The Chinese theater is one of the themed auditoriums at Hollywood Palms Cinema in Naperville.
    BEV HORNE/bhorne@dailyh

  • Take in the fall colors at Lisle's Morton Arboretum.

    Take in the fall colors at Lisle's Morton Arboretum.

  • The Chicago White Sox are in town during Ryder Cup week.

    The Chicago White Sox are in town during Ryder Cup week.
    Associated Press

By Lisa Friedman Miner

Man cannot live on golf alone -- even in Medinah.

So if you're planning to be in town for the Ryder Cup in late September, you're going to want to get out and see some sights.

Any guidebook or tourism website will tout Chicago's world-class museums, postcard-pretty lakefront and fabulous restaurants. So be sure to check them out. But if you've already hit Navy Pier, or are looking for something less touristy, we have a half-dozen ideas that will give you a flavor for the lesser-known delights the Windy City and its suburbs have to offer.

Enjoy a Midwestern fall

Hot summers and icy winters are the price you pay for living in the Midwest, but no one seems to mind Mother Nature when she puts on her show of autumn colors. And one of the best places to view the fall leaves is in Lisle, a suburb south of Medinah.

The Morton Arboretum features more than 222,000 live plants on 1,700 acres. So if the weather is nice, plan to hike some of the 16 miles of hiking trails or visit the restored 100-acre Schulenberg Prairie.

The grounds are open from 7 a.m. to sunset. Admission is $9-$12, with discounts on Wednesdays. Visit for events and visitor center hours on the day you plan to visit.

Cheer on a home team

The Cubs are out of town all week, so if you had your heart set on catching a baseball game at Wrigley you are out of luck.

But don't forget the South Siders: The White Sox are at home Monday to Sunday, Sept. 24-30. Early in the week, you can see the Sox face off against the Cleveland Indians at U.S. Cellular Field. Later in the week, they play the Tampa Bay Rays.

Ticket prices vary, but go to for info and availability,

Rather see Da Bears? Better get in early -- and buy even earlier. The Bears play the St. Louis Rams at noon Sunday, Sept. 23, at Soldier Field. Tickets are limited and vary in price, but plan on $300 or more. See what's available at

Discover 'Xanadu'

Chicago is the place for cutting-edge drama. But if you are in the mood for big splashy musicals, Medinah gets you close to a number of good options.

Nearest to Medinah is Drury Lane Oak Brook, now showing "Xanadu." It's the comic musical adventure -- on roller skates -- of a Greek muse transported from the heavens to Venice Beach. Tickets are $35 to $45 and available at

Head north to suburban Lincolnshire if you'd rather see "Dreamgirls," the 1981 musical about a young female 1960s Motown group and their road to fame. Tickets to the production, at Marriott Theatre, are $41 to $49 and available at

Or journey a bit farther into Chicago to be among the first to see "I Love Lucy Live Onstage," the new musical stage show adapted from the beloved television program. Tickets run $23 to $65. Visit for showtimes and tickets.

Catch a concert

Chicago and the suburbs are home to a number of concert venues, attracting top-tier talent throughout the year. So who's in town the week of the Ryder Cup?

In Chicago, you can catch Peter Gabriel ($95-$175) at 8 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, at the United Center; Michael Feinstein ($32-$92) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 29. at the Auditorium Theatre; and the Ben Folds Five ($68) at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 30, at the Chicago Theatre, among other acts. Details and tickets are available at

Closer to Medinah, Five For Fighting plays at 8 p.m. Sept. 27 at North Central College in Naperville. Find details and buy tickets ($50-$65) at

Take a gamble

If golf's sedate pace puts you in the mood for speed, visit Arlington Heights, home to Arlington Park Racecourse. The horses run afternoons Thursday through Sunday through the end of September. Admission is $6. Once in, you can check out the horses, place bets or grab something to eat.

Another option: Rivers Casino in Des Plaines. Rivers is barely a year old and already the highest-grossing casino in the state.

The 43,000-square-foot gaming floor has 48 table games and more than 1,000 slot machines. Afterward, wind down with dinner or a drink at the Cube nightclub or one of the restaurants there.

Make it a movie night

You can see movies at home, we know. But if you get a rain delay or want to kick back at night, nearby Naperville is home to a movie theater far different from the multiplex back home.

From the lush plantings to the 60-foot cascading waterfall, Hollywood Palms is no ordinary theater. The Mayan jungle-themed auditorium, for example, features tropical greenery, replicas of native creatures and giant stone sculptures. Other options transport visitors to ancient Egypt, a Chinese palace, the wonderful world of Oz and more.

Movies are first run, and you can grab dinner and drinks as well. Check for movie times and to find out if any celebs might be making appearances, as they often do.

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