We'd like to announce that this week's warm weather is here to stay. But we can't--yet. All we can do is offer five of our favorite ways to get out and soak up the sunshine while you can. Whether you're looking to entertain Mom or you just need to get away from it all, check out our lineup of ways to get out and spots to unwind after your day in the sun.
Flowers for mom
Get out: Sending flowers is nice, but if you really want to make Mom's day, take her to the Chicago Botanic Garden for a walk through 23 display gardens filled with spring blooms. By Mother's Day, daffodils and dogwood will shout yellow, and pansies and irises should boast proud purples. Free. Parking $15.
Go out: Mom'll like you better than your sibs if you take her to Mother's Day brunch at Le Francais, a 15-minute drive from the garden. She'll adore the efficient service, stylish ambience and, of course, the indulgent three-course holiday meal. The best part: Chef Roland Liccioni is cooking, so Mom doesn't have to. Seatings at 11 a.m, 1:30 and 3:30 p.m. May 13. $55.
Bicycle built for one
Get out: Need to escape the office and log a little alone time? Ride your bike throughHumboldt Park, or stroll the walking paths around the lagoon. (Famed landscape architect Jens Jensen experimented here, creating a meandering prairie river that belies its urban setting.) Just don't forget to stop and smell the flowers--the garden is a rush of color and fragrance in the spring. Free.
Go out: After expending all of your pent-up energy, refuel with authentic Puerto Rican fare at nearby Borinquen Restaurant. The jibaritos--your choice of meat with lettuce, tomato and garlic, sandwiched between plantains ($5.95)-- at this quick-serve spot are a must. Wash 'em down with a cafe con leche ($1).
Get out: After a winter of dinner-and-a-movie dates, it's time to take your romance outside. Heat things up with a stroll on the 57th Street beach (57th Street and Lake Shore Drive. 312-742-5121), a quiet stretch of lakeshore with some of the best city views anywhere. Free.
Go out: After you reveal your romantic side, pour on the charm over dinner at Piccolo Mondo, a favorite of University of Chicago profs and more than a few Nobel laureates over the years. Located on the first floor of one of the neighborhood's grand old residences, the Windermere, the spot offers made freshly made pastas, Italian sodas and about a dozen wines by the glass.
Set sail with your mates
Get out: You needn't be a member of the Chicago Yacht Club, dahling, to take to the lake for an afternoon. Just ring up the Chicago Sailing Club, which harbors a fleet on the North Side. You can rent or charter a ride seven days a week, from morning to dusk. A J-22 is perfect for groups of up to four ($45 to $65 per hour to rent; $30 per hour more for a skipper); a J-30 accommodates six adults ($80 to $100 per hour to rent; $30 per hour more for a skipper).
Go out: So it wasn't exactly deep-sea fishing on the Sea of Cortes. You can still cool down with a sturdy margarita ($8 to $12) at Fiesta Cantina, sister spot to popular Lakeview restaurant El Jardin.
Nature vs. nuture
Get out: Stuck entertaining your brother's kids this weekend? The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum is an ideal, kid-friendly respite from the sprawling concrete landscape. Plus, the museum's largest exhibit is outdoors: The Greening Project is 17,000 square feet of rooftop gardens, three-story-tall cliff gardens, native climbing vines and a prairie. Adults $5-$7, kids $4. Free on Thursdays.
Go out: Museums can't hold kids' attention forever, so when they start getting squirrely, head to Treats Frozen Desserts for a "make-your-own mess," a blended combo of ice cream and toppings (small $4.35). If that doesn't win you favorite-aunt or -uncle status, an extra scoop of one of more than 60 flavors of ice cream (including six specialty flavors daily) should seal the deal.
[ Jacky Runice is a Metromix special contributor. ] email@example.comCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times