From sipping a green cocktail to picking up some seriously healthy home inspiration, here are five easy ways to go green around Chicago.

See Green

go green: Chicago River on St. Patrick's Day

Photo by David Sowa.

On Saturday, March 17, nearly half a million townies and tourists will gather around the Chicago River between Michigan Avenue and Columbus Drive to watch as members of the Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Union turn the water a spectacular shade of shamrock — a tradition that dates back to 1962. And while it’s a beautiful sight to behold, local environmentalists have taken issue with the fact that the recipe for the union’s top-secret Leprechaun dust has never been released, begging the question: What, exactly, are we putting into the river? As far as all of us at Make It Better are concerned, there’s only one thing to do: Test the green stuff and make sure it’s safe — and if it isn’t, let’s work together to make it that way. Are you with us? Drop us a line at [email protected]

Drink Green

go green: Sangria Nadinha

Photo courtesy of El Che Bar.

Eco-boozing? Yep — it’s a thing. Inspired by the latest bartending movement, El Che Bar beverage maven Jacyara de Oliveira created the Sangria Nadinha, a stirred concoction that reduces waste by dipping into the West Loop restaurant’s already-open wine bottles. For a twist, Nadinha enlists one of her favorite blending spirits: aged cachaça from Brazil, which “gives the base a little funk,” she says.

DIY It: Sangria Nadinha

  • 3 ounces wine blend
  • .25 ounce aged cachaça
  • .25 ounce cognac
  • .75 ounce citrus cordial
  • 3 ounces sparkling cider

Directions: Add all ingredients to a Collins glass over ice. Garnish with a half-moon slice of peeled grapefruit dipped in sugar.

Live Green

Whether you’re serious about making big changes in your own pad or curious about how the greener half lives, you’ll want to check out Healthy Home 2018, the first residence in the country built under the newly revised American Lung Association (ALA) Health House program guidelines. Book a guided tour of the home (all proceeds are donated to the American Lung Association), located in Inverness and constructed by Palatine-based Dior Builders, and you’ll be treated to an inside peek at top-of-the-line energy-efficient products, innovative technologies, and nontoxic materials — plus expert advice on creating a healthier home environment.

Celebrate Green

go green: Maggie Daley Park

Maggie Daley Park

The Chicago Park District is the oldest park district in America, dating back to 1836 when a map of the city was carved out of public ground. Composed of more than 8,000 acres of open space totaling 570 parks (including the Loop’s beloved Maggie Daley), 31 beaches, 50 nature areas, and two world-class conservatories, it’s not only the oldest in America, it’s also one of the largest.

Play Green

Designed as an ode to classic parks district field houses and located in River North’s historic Borden Dairy Depot, FieldHouse Jones, it’s safe to say, is an alternative lodging destination like no other. But it gets even cooler: Co-founders Debra and Robby Baum know a thing or two about thrifting and antiquing, so the space showcases repurposed goods in the most stylish way possible (think old high school gymnasium bleachers as communal-space stadium seating, and vintage trophies and street signs as funky decor). Bring the kiddos in for a bite at Dropshot Coffee & Snack Bar, then get the competitive juices flowing over board games, pingpong, foosball, air hockey — there’s even a custom slot car race track. Whether or not you make it a staycation and bunk up for the night, be sure to check out the hotel’s interactive scavenger hunt, which encourages little ones to explore the property for hidden finds.


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