On the road: Chicago, suburbs fete Chinese New Year
Lift the post-Mardi Gras blues with a celebration of the Year of the Sheep. Wear red (for good fortune) and help the Chinese Fine Arts Society kick off the New Year with Chinese dance, music and martial arts. Lion dancers and drums should scare away evil spirits and quiet the kids. The city offers other cultural performances, parades, special events and hotel offers to mark the season from Feb. 15 through March 1 including the Chinese Lunar New Year Parade on Sunday, Feb. 22.
Noon to 1 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Chicago Cultural Center, Preston Bradley Hall, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago. Free. 1 p.m. parade at Wentworth at 24th avenues. choosechicago.com/chinesenewyear.
Ewe got lucky
The northern 'burbs celebrate Chinese New Year at the Chicago Botanic Garden with classic folk tales performed by professional puppeteers, the Shaanxi Folk Arts Group, from China's Shaanxi province's capital city, Xi'an. Count on additional free activities such as learning paper cutting techniques, drawing, and making puppets. While you're there, you might want to check out the 10,000 blooms in the Orchid Show.
11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 21, at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe. Admission is free, but vehicle parking starts at $25. (847) 835-5440 or chicagobotanic.org.
Let's be fair
If you screwed up on Valentine's Day, make amends with a stay at the Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park which offers its Winter Romance celebration for the rest of February. The Romantic Escape package includes overnight accommodations and a Chocolate Bar in-room experience (Pistachio and Mascarpone Cannolis, Chunky Double Chocolate Chip Cookies and Chocolate and Lavender Éclairs, anyone?) There are other packages from which to choose such as the Park and Stay Package, which include overnight accommodations and valet parking (a $65 value) and a Car Spa Package which includes a cleaning and detailing treatment for your wheels while you snooze.
Packages valid for stays through March 1, 2015, at Fairmont Chicago, Millennium Park, 200 North Columbus Drive. Rates for the Romance Package begin at $189 per guest room and are subject to availability. Call for rates on other packages. (312) 565-8000 or themillenniumparkhotel.com/special-offers
Week of eat
The first Downtown Kenosha Restaurant Week began yesterday, but there are eight more days to discover the lakeside town's dining scene. From inexpensive diners to stylish bistros, participating eateries offer multicourse meals at a real savings: breakfast ($10), lunch ($10) and dinner ($20 and $30). Just visit a participating venue and ask for the Restaurant Week menu. Check the website for special Restaurant Week hotel rates, too.
Saturday, Feb. 14, through Sunday, Feb. 22, in Downtown Kenosha, Wisconsin. (800) 654-7309 or downtownkenosha.org/rw.
Lose the crabby at the Abbey
The Abbey Resort and Avani Spa have launched spa- and wine-themed Unwind Weekends. Unwind Wine Weekends offer tastings, culinary demonstrations a five-course gourmet dinner, and a discount on brunch and spa services booked prior to arrival. The Unwind Spa Weekend gets you a choice of specific massage or facial treatment; spa breakfast for two; yoga, Qui Gong and Pilates class; $25 in Avani Spa dollars per guest; and daily admission to the spa atrium pool, whirlpools, steam and inhalation rooms. Both packages include two-night accommodations for two adults at The Abbey Resort.
March 6-8, and April 17-19, Unwind Wine Weekend packages begin at $169 per night for the two-night package, double occupancy. On Feb. 20-22, Unwind Spa Weekend rate begins at $199 per night for the two-night package, double occupancy. (800) 709-1323 or theabbeyresort.com.
Old fool festival
You surely know a handful yourself, but in Wabasha, Minnesota, there's an abundance of them at the Grumpy Old Men Festival. The oldest city on the entire upper Mississippi River is the ideal spot for the Grumpy Old Men Festival held on the last Saturday of February each year. Count on eagle-viewing in the area, and during the festival, there will be an ice-fishing contest, polar plunge, ice bar, live music, poker, hot lunch, spaghetti, bingo and cribbage tournaments, and minnow races. Wabasha's historic district has more than 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places, so be sure to take a walking tour while in town.
8 a.m. to midnight, Saturday, Feb. 28, in Wabasha, Minnesota. (800) 565-4158 or wabashamn.org.