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Chuck's Chicago Adventure: Super heroes, plus swanky Chicago hotels and dining

The Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is an 80-year retrospective with more than 300 artifacts.
Credit: WTHR

CHICAGO — For the latest Chuck's Big Adventure, we traveled to Chicago for a trip that took us to Wrigley Field, showed us super heroes and had us tasting the best deep-dish pizza.

RELATED: Chuck's Chicago Adventure: Wrigley Field

Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes 

The Museum of Science and Industry on Chicago's south side has housed many historic exhibits in its history, but the current exhibit is one of the most popular in the museum’s history. The Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes is an 80-year retrospective with more than 300 artifacts highlighting the super hero stories from the brand’s first comic to the most recent Black Widow film. From Iron Man and the Avengers to the Black Panther and Captain America, the exhibit tells the history of characters, the effect on society and the changes Marvel Comics have brought the world. 

The Marvel Universe of comics, television and film has had a profound impact on young people by addressing current events and topics, especially in comics. Anne Rashford, who oversees the museum's experiential features, says it's important that anyone who visits can see something they can relate to.  

"That's why it's also really important to us, at the museum that we include those different stories of the diverse characters. We have a really wonderful area on Black Panther and just watching the people that came in from Marvel, to put the costumes on the mannequins throughout the exhibit was such a treat for our staff to be able to spend time with them and work with them," Rashford said.

A walk through the exhibit is a mixture of seeing costumes from films to comic books from the 1940s and history around every corner. In fact, reading the information about the exhibits is a big part of the experience.  

"People want to read everything. So, they want to take their time and really read the stories behind the artifact, they want to spend time looking at the original artwork that we have," Rashford said. "So that's really important and then you see a lot of engagement with parents and grandparents, telling stories I remember when I first was introduced to this character and then the child will say, well, let me tell you about my experience with you know, Spider-Man. So, it's a really great exhibit for families. And again, all generations." 

From the joy of seeing the first Marvel comics, to learning Marvel's role in wartime troop encouragement to the films that have drawn millions, this is an all-inclusive, one stop shop for the greatest super heroes. 

Pendry & Venteux 

The Carbide and Carbon Building has been a Michigan Avenue landmark since 1929. It's housed a number of businesses, residences and lodging companies in that time and now, it is the home of Chicago's newest luxury hotel, The Pendry. 

I remember seeing the building for as long as I can remember, and I asked Logansport native and Hotel General Manager Stephen Blackford if my father was correct when he told me the hotel was shaped in the form of a champagne bottle. Dad wasn't kidding. 

"No he was not! With the black granite and the green terracotta, the gold terracotta, it just shapes like a champagne bottle,” Blackford said.

The design also came out of the prohibition era in 1929. 

“Our rooftop that we have on the 24th floor it's named Chateau Carbide, we're partnering with Whispering Angel for the summer. So, Moet, and then we have the Palms champagne as well so it's working out great," Blackford said. 

But a great hotel must have great rooms and this one certainly does. From the beautiful views of the Chicago River to the front facing rooms picking up the life of Michigan Avenue, this centrally located hotel is luxurious AND convenient. Blackford says both are necessary. 

"Some people want just a general hotel and everything, but we try to go above and beyond, you always have to set yourselves apart from the other competitors because you only get one chance for the guests to stay here, or they're going to go back to where they usually stay," Blackford said. "It's the little things: comp Wi Fi, all the things that we have, we have a deal with Cadillac, we have car service. It's all the little things that make a difference." 

Downstairs, the French restaurant Venteux is making a mark, not just because of the delicious menu but because of the Executive Chef. Donald Young doesn't look much older than a college student, but he is one of the youngest people to ever become a Michelin star award winner. His customers sing his praises, but first they have to figure out he is not a server! Donald says people don't believe he is running the place. 

Credit: WTHR

"All the time, actually it still happens to this day, I walk up to a table I'll drop a dish I'll explain it and like, 'Please tell the chef, everything was great.' It's like, 'Yes I will'… or I'll go to a table and they say, 'Are you even allowed out here?' And it’s like, 'I think so!'" 

Credit: Venteux

The signature dish is the duck, and it is a fabulous dish. I have to say, my Big Adventure was made much easier by staying in the Pendry near Michigan and Wacker and enjoying a pricey but wonderful evening at Venteux. Make it part of your next adventure to Chicago! 

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