You’re recommitting to your favorite boutique fitness classes, drinking daily green smoothies, getting a full eight hours of sleep and rebuilding your savings account.
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
But in a few weeks when the shine wears off of all those New Year’s resolutions, your big, beautiful, vibrant city will be waiting for you to proclaim 2018 as the Year of Chicago.
Here’s how to spend your time, money and love to make our second city your first priority.
Donate to a local non-profit
Exemplify neighborliness by investing your time, talent or treasure to nonprofits that are impacting the lives of Chicago’s most vulnerable citizens. Imerman Angels, @properties’ corporate philanthropy partner of 2017, provides support to people affected by cancer through one-on-one mentorships.
If you have the maternal instinct, New Moms gives holistic care to mothers and their children in extreme poverty situations. The organization also provides programs designed to help break the cycle of homelessness and dependency to foster strong families.
World Relief Chicago is another deserving organization that helps resettle refugees, offering legal, youth and employment services to families.
If your 2018 goal is to help out Chicago’s four-legged friends, sign up for the Paw’s Chicago 5K on June 4. A brisk walk or jog with your adopted/rescue pet will give you something to look forward to when it’s dark by 4:40 p.m.
Support a local woman-owned business
Use your own dollars to keep businesses run by women thriving and to help ensure that our local economy, products and leaders are inclusive.
For further exploring, check out Bossy Chicago — a website full of stories and a directory of local women-owned businesses. Prepare to be inspired.
Drink or dine at a local restaurant
While you’re not-so patiently waiting for a reservation to open up at that celebrity chef’s establishment, if you’re frustrated refreshing Open Table over and over, or if you’ve had your fill of unlimited baskets of anything at a chain restaurant, it is time to visit eateries and bars in your own neighborhood that are owned by your actual neighbors.
Pay it forward to Chicago’s local youth
With dozens of underfunded schools and limited resources for families in need, there are more and more opportunities to do good for the kids in our city and suburbs.
Give your talent, energy, donations and other resources to high-repute organizations that impact Chicago children’s lives.
UCAN supports youth who have suffered trauma to become future leaders through family support programs, violence prevention and three academies with year-round therapeutic day schools.
Youth Outreach Services provides prevention programs, social services and behavioral/mental health counseling to youth. Donate or sign up to become a volunteer for the organization this year.
Cradles to Crayons is an organization that provides essentials to Chicago kids living in poverty. Turn your New Year decluttering into service by donating new and nearly new clothing, books, school supplies and kid gear.
Even better, partner with your friends, school or church to organize a drive or volunteer.
Take a tour of a local historic home
You think you know your city, but you may not have a clue that there is a long list of museums made out of former residences close by.
From Ernest Hemingway’s birthplace to the place where Frank Lloyd Wright and Louis H. Sullivan experimented with design to the National Public Housing Museum, you will find architectural wonders, rich historical information and fascinating stories in the city and suburbs (pro tip: if you need help keeping track of your plans, a handy directory is right here).
Be a “tourist in your own city” downtown
The last time you peered down from the Ledge on the Skydeck of Willis Tower was…when?
Sure, you send every out-of-towner you know to Navy Pier, even though you haven’t been there since…what?
Take a day (or four!) to explore your hometown with fresh eyes, experiencing nationally renowned trolley stops like the old Chicago Water Tower and Pumping Station, Cloud Gate and each of the downtown museums.
While you’re at it, take a seat on the Untouchables Tour, visiting famous gangster spots that could be right in your own ‘hood.
What locally-inspired New Year’s resolutions will you make? Let us know in the comments!