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Memorial Day weekend means one thing: The invasion of the fannypacks--also known as the start of tourist season. Got friends or family coming to town? Skip the usual crowded tourist haunts and steer them off the beaten path. Now if only you could convince them to steer clear of that tacky souvenir Sears Tower replica too.

Been there: Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise
Now try: Kayak Chicago's kayak tours
Sure, the Architecture Foundation's version takes you past towering skyscrapers and beneath historic bridges, but for locals, it gets a little old about the fourth time around. Kayak Chicago offers a beaver's-eye view, from the Chicago River. The 5-mile round-trip architecture tour takes visitors through the North Branch industrial corridor and past Loop landmarks. Or view the city at night from the prow of a kayak--the first fireworks paddle of the year sets off Saturday and pauses to catch the fireworks at Navy Pier. Fireworks paddle: $50. 7:15 p.m. Wednesdays and 8:15 p.m. Saturdays. Architecture tour: $50. 5 p.m. Friday, 3 p.m. Sunday. Space still available for Memorial Day weekend.

Been there: "The Color Purple"
Now try: "Memphis Soul (The Story of Stax Records)"
Oprah's "The Color Purple" has major star power, but "Memphis Soul" at Black Ensemble Theater is filled with songs that'll stick in your head long after the curtain goes down. David Barr's musical, directed by Jackie Taylor, chronicles the story of the famous recording label and features hits by Isaac Hayes, the Staple Singers, Otis Redding and other chart-topping soul artists.

Been there: The Magnificent Mile
Now try: Division Street
Skip the chain stores your out-of-town friends could find at their local mall and take your style-savvy guests shopping in Wicker Park. Start your shopping spree at Habit (1951 W. Division St. 773-342-0093), Lindsey Boland's boutique featuring wares by undiscovered local indie designers as well as her own clothing label, Superficial. Crisscross your way down the street, and be sure to hit Penelope's (1913 W. Division St. 773-395-2351) and Public I (1923 W. Division St. 773-772-9088) for clothes and accessories and Steelo (1850 W. Division St. 773- 227-4590) for shoes.

Been there: Alinea, Trotter's, Moto, Tru
Now try: Wellfleet
Good luck scoring a last-minute weekend reservation at a nationally known restaurant with a superstar chef. Instead, take your visitors to Wellfleet. Billing itself as an "occasional restaurant," Wellfleet drops anchor most Fridays at the Fishguy Market. The next menu (debuting June 8) features tempura prawns with a curry dip, king crab maki rolls, seared Sea of Cortez scallops with braised fennel syrup and more. Cap off the seafood feast with dessert by pastry chef Peter Yuen. Reservations required, even numbers of guests only, up to 12. $100 per person. Seating at 7:30 p.m. BYOB.

Been there: Museum of Science and Industry
Now try: International Museum of Surgical Science
Admit it: That "Body Slices" exhibit always creeps you out. Skip the crowds (and cross-sections) and head to an intimate but no less anatomically focused museum. The International Museum of Surgical Science is located in a historic 1917 mansion with marble fireplaces and a sweeping grand staircase. Inside are revolving exhibits (bone up on the musculoskeletal system at "Beyond Broken Bones," currently on view) and permanent collections , from a working iron lung to grisly paintings depicting surgical advances.

Been there: Cubs baseball
Now try: Rush football
You've taken the fam to Wrigley Field, but we bet our facepaint they've never been to a Chicago Rush game at Allstate Arena. The top-ranked Central Division arena football team--and 2006 ArenaBowl champ--faces off against the Grand Rapids Rampage on June 9 and the Kansas City Brigade on June 23. $12-$100. 7 p.m. Tickets: 312-559-1212.

Heidi Moore is a Metromix special contributor.metromix@tribune.comOriginally published on May 24, 2007.

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