20 June 2013

Mark Matheson's Best Summer Ever!

Winter is over and summer has finally arrived in Chicago, with plenty of festivals, attractions and activities to fill the days until hockey season returns. Former Wolves defenseman Mark Matheson and his wife, Mackenzie, have a home just outside the city and enjoy taking full advantage of everything it has to offer during their downtime. Here, Matheson shares his guide to how you can have the best summer ever in Chicago.

Take a good look around

chicago-lakefront-hancock“I love Chicago. I was born and raised in a bigger city (Calgary) and I like being in a place where someone is always doing something. I’ve lived in Chicago for three seasons now and the city has so much to offer. I feel like a lot of hockey guys don’t give it as much of a chance as they should because they just come for a season and they don’t get to really explore and see what’s going on. There is so much happening. Just go downtown and you’ll find 10 things you want to do at once. And the people are so friendly.”

Embrace the outdoors

“We really like to get out. As much as you hate seeing the hockey season end and as much as it’s a tough moment, you do get to hang out with friends and family again. We’ll go to the city for a whole day and spend it all outside, heading over to the dog beach with our boy, Mo, or just walking around and finding new places we haven’t been. Even in the suburbs, there’s a lot going on, and a lot of activities. It’s nice having so much time on your hands to get out and see things.”

Eat (and drink) your way through town

mathesons-instagram“It would be a dream of mine to live in Chicago for a year and eat at a different restaurant every night. I love the fine dining restaurants, of course, but the local pubs, the holes in the wall, are really enjoyable to me. You get surprisingly great meals and the atmosphere is second to none. I’m a huge microbrewery fan, too. When we travel during the season, I like to check out whatever local beers they have in the cities we’re in. In Chicago there are all these amazing pubs with so many microbrews on tap. You’re always sampling something new. I love the city for that reason as well. Chicago has some great brews.”

Always leave room for activities…

mathesons-msi“This year we’ve been to a Cubs game and a White Sox game. We went down to see the Shedd Aquarium, which was very cool. The Museum of Science and Industry was great. But we really loved Second City. We didn’t really know what to expect and it blew us away; we had the best time.”


…but get away from the tourists

neighborhood-map“The first year we lived here, we did the touristy things like going to the top of the Sears Tower and exploring Michigan Avenue. Those are exciting but the farther you move from the downtown core, the better stuff you can find that isn’t crawling with people. We really like Uptown and Lincoln Park. We’ve done a food tour in Bucktown. In those neighborhoods you can find those little hidden gems that are cool and fun and you end up having a great night at some random spot no one knows about.”

Don’t forget about dessert, either

cupcakes 01“The top bakery I love is Sweet Mandy B’s. They make a great dessert. I don’t eat nearly as many sweets in the offseason as I do when we’re on the road just because I’m training a lot more. But at some restaurants you’ll uncover amazing things. In Chicago, it’s never just a typical brownie or cake. Places add a spin to it that makes it unique.”