Chicago is a sports town through and through. Just ask any true-blooded Chicagoan or recent transplant to the city. This month marks a particularly thrilling, and almost fateful, culmination of sports nirvana in the city. So don't miss out on all the excitement, with playoff games, new seasons and a Draft in store.
NBA and NHL fans are relishing the start of one of the most exciting times of the season — the playoffs. With both the Chicago Bulls and the Chicago Blackhawks defending their spot on the road to the championship, fans are bound to be at the edges of their seats this month. Considering the legacy both teams carry in their respective sport, there's plenty to be eager, nervous, anxious and thrilled about.
Try to score tickets to experience the high-energy fun in person, but if you can't catch a game at the United Center, don't fret. There are plenty of Chicago bars and restaurants that understand the magnitude of this time of year for sports fans and are prepared to cheer and shout at TV screens along with you and fellow fans. Here are some of Chicago's favorite sports spots:
- Harry Caray's 7th Inning Stretch – Located on the 7th floor of Water Tower Place at the north end of the Magnificent Mile, Harry Caray's is an excellent marriage of sports and dining with the adjacent Chicago Sports Museum, described as "Chicago's playground for sports fans." Go there to watch a game and then immerse yourself in interactive play-and-learn exhibits (admission to the museum is included for all diners).
- BlackFinn Ameripub – With TV screens galore and over 100 beers on tap, this is a game-night destination for sports fans and beer fans alike. Pull up to the bar, have a brew, order some stick-to-the-ribs type eats and cheer on the local team.
- The Fifty/50 – Another official Chicago Blackhawks Bar, Fifty/50, located in Wicker Park, boasts a hearty menu of comfort food, three levels of space each with its own feel and vibe, and 19 flat screen TVs. Options are good.
- Reverie – While most would immediately think to head to a sports bar to watch a game, Reverie's approach is that you can enjoy a nice dinner in a restaurant while being able to watch the game like you would at a bar. Its menu is a collection of Asian-fusion dishes, and the chef at the helm of the menu, Rodelio Aglibot, has three Chicago sportscasters backing him up — restaurant partners Ryan Baker, Lou Canellis and Kip Lewis.
Baseball season is officially in full swing. Pun intended. Baseball aficionados will have plenty of opportunities — 11 to be exact — to catch the Chicago Cubs in action at home in historic Wrigley Field this month. Get a peek at the Jumbotron on Wrigley Field's brand-new video replay board — one of many planned renovations and additions in the works to make the Confines even friendlier.
And beginning on Friday, April 10, the White Sox home opener, U.S. Cellular Field will welcome fans and South Side newcomers Zach Duke, Adam LaRoche, Melky Cabrera, David Robertson, Jeff Samardzija and Dan Jennings. There are 10 White Sox home games this month. Start requesting some time off; you'll need if for all the Chicago sports in your near future!
If Major League Soccer (MLS) is your game, head out to stunning Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illinois and cheer on the Chicago Fire as they take on the Montreal Impact on April 18. Watch the men in red take the pitch to dominate their foe with some smart touches, bending free kicks and stonewalling defensive play. It's a long road to the MLS Cup, but these boys know what it takes to get there.
Rounding out the month, Chicago has the honor of hosting the 2015 NFL Draft beginning April 30. Returning to the city after more than 50 years, this year's NFL Draft is all about the fans. Chicago's Grant Park will be converted into Draft Town, a FREE 3-day festival for football fans and their families, which will include live music, entertainment, food, a Super Bowl Museum, NFL PLAY 60 clinics and an opportunity to connect with all 32 NFL teams at Selection Square. The Draft itself will take place nearby at the historic Auditorium Theatre. Be sure to check out the schedule and latest updates at ChooseChicago.com/2015NFLDraft for more information.