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BEST Things To Do In Chicago

The Event Oracle knows ALL the fun things to do in Chicago. Select your date above then scroll down for all the Arts, Entertainment, and Events in my crystal ball...

  • The Magic Parlour

    Palmer House
    17 E Monroe St
    Chicago, IL 60603
    The Magic Parlour

    Enjoy an elegant and classic evening of magic and mind-reading with magician Dennis Watkins at the historic Palmer House Hotel. The Magic Parlour is for small intimate audiences of under 50 guests, cocktail attire suggested. The price of your ticket includes a selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks. Dennis is a 3rd generation magician who learned many of his classic tricks from his grandfather. He is also known for originating the role of Houdini in the production of Death and Harry Houdini, where he played for seven sold-out runs of pure Chicago Magic.

  • Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre

    72 E. Randolph St.
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre

    Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions.

    Using objects on loan from Chicago theaters, this exhibit will emphasize the diversity, depth, and breadth of theaters in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theaters are made.

    Celebrate the Year of Chicago Theatre with us and discover all that the city’s theatre has to offer through the objects which exemplify the soul of each institution.

  • The Shape of the Future

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    The Shape of the Future

    The Shape of the Future features works from the MCA permanent collection that reckon with the dubious dream of a universal design language. Coinciding with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the exhibition explores global modernism as a framework for utopia and speculative world making, marked by traces of labor, political fantasy, and cultural turmoil. Highlighting the histories and ideologies embedded in the built environment, these artists reveal the complexity—and at times absurdity—of the modernist project as a collection of disasters and reveries.

  • Atrium Project: Ellen Berkenblit

    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Atrium Project: Ellen Berkenblit

    The latest installment of the MCA’s second-floor lobby atrium project features a mural by New York–based artist Ellen Berkenblit (American, b. 1958). This new work, titled Leopard’s Lane (2019), continues two recent themes in the artist’s painting practice, the expressive potential of cats, and the inherent energy of urban elements such as trucks, stoplights, and smokestacks. For the past several years, Berkenblit has incorporated a striped, tigerlike cat into her works, finding endless compositional potential in a simplified, even cartoonish profile, that remains relatively constant. This tactic of using schematic witches, birds, clocks, flowers, and horses as starting points for complex exercises in color, surface, and space has guided much of her work. Here, that cat has grown into a menacing leopard let loose in a dark landscape, sharing space with a box truck and an abstracted chimney. Honing her craft since her professional debut in the early 1980s, Berkenblit has arrived at a place of artistic assuredness where scale, orientation, and different degrees of completion or virtuosity are all up for grabs, in service to an overall goal of making images that are captivating, dynamic, and unforgettable.

  • Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Summon your inner child as you peek inside Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures. This permanent exhibit fosters the art of collecting and features nearly 100 collections of tiny objects, including miniatures, trinkets, artifacts and curiosities donated by founder and curator Michael Horvich.

  • Fragments of a Crucifixion

    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Fragments of a Crucifixion

    Artists have used the crucifixion of Christ as a powerful symbol to address suffering and redemption in the history of racial violence in the United States. Fragments of a Crucifixion explores the continuing relevance of the crucifixion, even as our society becomes increasingly diverse in its religious beliefs. Rather than depict the image of the crucifixion itself, artworks in this exhibition offer only fragments—incomplete images and narratives. These works invoke agony and ecstasy through bodily traces and scenes of absence and loss. Featuring works in the MCA Collection, this show is dedicated to the spiritual in art, and to art’s capacity to evoke life and love in the face of brutality.

  • Pop América, 1965–1975

    40 Arts Cir Dr
    Evanston, IL 60208
    Pop América, 1965–1975

    Pop América, 1965–1975 challenges and reframes familiar notions of Pop Art by bringing together artists from North, Central, and South America, as well as the United States and the Caribbean. Pop América is the first exhibition to unify Latin American expressions of Pop and explore how its bold and colorful imagery, references to mass culture, and representations of everyday objects, signs, and symbols were embraced by artists working across the hemisphere. The exhibition makes a timely and critical contribution to a deeper understanding of this period and the impulses behind Pop Art from the mid-1960s through the mid-1970s.

  • Play It Safe

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Play It Safe

    Step into the boots of a firefighter and discover a whole new way to Play It Safe. Put on authentic gear, slide down the pole, drive the truck, and put out the “fire.” Practice escaping from the smoke-filled “Get Low and Go” bedroom. This exhibit is too important — and fun — to miss!

  • The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis

    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis

    Between 1900 and 1930, Edward S. Curtis (1868-1952) traveled from Mexico to the Arctic, compiling a vast store of information covering more than Indian tribes, in the form of 40,000 photographs, 10,000 recordings of songs and stories, and several volumes of field notes. The published result, The North American Indian (1907), spanned 20 volumes of illustrated text, accompanied by 20 photo portfolios.

    Most critics agree that the work is an impressive achievement, and that Curtis overcame many obstacles, including difficult field conditions and a chronic shortage of funds, to complete such a comprehensive project. However, opinions diverge about the value and integrity of his undertaking. Do these photos have merit beyond the world of art? In his quest to preserve “vanishing” tribes, Curtis promoted, and helped to shape, the public’s view of Indians as “noble savages.” Because he staged many of his scenes with overly fancy accessories or culturally inaccurate details, some scholars have criticized his work. However, others praise Curtis’ genuine interest in the Native people he photographed, in an era when tribes had been forced onto reservations and children sent to government-run boarding schools that stripped them of their language and traditions.

  • Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Co-ops

    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Co-ops

    As there are no reservations in Illinois, most tribal based businesses are not well known in this area. While many people are familiar with the arts, crafts, and casinos, there are many other products and services offered by Indigenous businesses today.

    The Mitchell Museum is proud to present the latest exhibit showcasing Indigenous-owned businesses, tribal co-ops and enterprises; Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Entrepreneurs about the expansion of tribal initiatives that support tribal sustainability and the incorporation of tribal values into business models.

    The exhibit also covers the challenges that many tribal entrepreneurs face, their unique opportunities based on their sovereign nation status, and the programs that offer them support. Learn about the various products and services offered by tribal enterprises and Indigenous entrepreneurs, from Ioway Honey to buffalo meat Tanka Bars!

  • Kids Town

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Kids Town

    Shop in the grocery store, change a tire, wash the car, and drive a CTA bus in this cityscape built just for kids. This urban neighborhood promotes role-playing, problem-solving, emerging literacy, and creative exploration through fun and absorbing activities. Nurse a baby or relax with a toddler in the semi-private Caregiver Nook. Includes special area for babies and toddlers.

  • The Best of The Second City

    1616 N. Wells St.,
    Chicago, IL 60614
    The Best of The Second City

    Come see where it all began! The Best of The Second City features some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from their fifty-two year history performed by The Second City Touring Company. From the company that launched the careers of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and more, comes the next generation of the comedy world’s best and brightest performing hilarious sketch comedy and The Second City’s trademark improvisation.

  • Teatro ZinZanni

    32 W Randolph St
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Teatro ZinZanni

    Enter a realm where reality and dreams converge; an experience unlike any other! Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret served with a multi-course feast. Described as the “Kit Kat Klub on acid,” the fast-paced action unfolds around, above and alongside guests as world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists fill our intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District. At center ring is the sensual Madame ZinZanni, inviting all who attend to a celebratory evening featuring a dazzling combination of improv comedy, vaudeville revue, music, dance, circus acts,  while served a scrumptious menu designed by The Goddess herself — Chicago’s own Debbie Sharpe. Teatro ZinZanni’s signature blend of Love, Chaos & Dinner has played to sold out audiences in Seattle, San Francisco and Costa Mesa. Don’t miss the show The New York Times calls, “A feast for the senses” and the “city’s hottest ticket!”  

  • Something Rotten

    10 Marriott Dr
    Lincolnshire, IL 60069
    Something Rotten

    The 10 time Tony Award-nominated musical Something Rotten comes to Chicago's Marriott Theatre. The hilarious musical comedy which sees two brothers create the world's first musical was a hit as soon as it premiered.

    When brothers Nick and Nigel Bottom want to create a hit play, better than anything that poser William Shakespeare has produced! On consulting a local prophet, they discover that their masterwork will be made up of simultaneous singing, dancing and acting - the world's very first musical! Will this new artform put the Bottom brothers on the map, or are they destined to play second fiddle to Shakespeare forever? Don't miss this buoyant and silly musical full of jokes, laughter and just a tiny bit of romance!

  • Countess Dracula

    3914 N Clark Street
    Chicago, AZ 60613
    Countess Dracula

    This re-imagining of Bram Stoker's classic novel throws our expectations out of the window and establishes Countess Dracula as much more than a monster in her story. While Otherworld Theatre's adaptation takes place in the same time period as the original novel, the play has been transports us across the pond to post-Civil War America. The title character becomes more hero than villain, as an African American woman navigating the complexities of her own power and those around her. The production offers inspiring diversions from the classic story we all know while still offering an action-packed bloodbath that will quench any horror fan's thirst.

  • Best of Enemies

    902 South Ridgeland Avenue
    Oak Park, AZ 60304
    Best of Enemies

    The Grand Cyclops of the KKK, C.P. Ellis and African-American civil rights activist, Ann Atwater, battled each other during the desegregation of the Durham, North Carolina schools in 1971. This true story exposes the poison, prejudice and hatred found in the hearts of both Atwater and Ellis. Confronting each other, they are forced to face the worst and the best in themselves. It's a story of hate, redemption and hope, featuring Jordan Gleaves, Felisha, McNeal, Brendan Murphy and Kit O'Kelly. Directed by Sonita Surratt and Mary Pat Sieck.

  • The Color Purple

    100 Drury Ln
    Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181
    The Color Purple

    Pride of the Chicagoland theater scene, the Drury Lane theaters have been the chosen Broadway touring venue and influential champion of local productions for over six decades. Named after the historic Theatre Royal Drury Lane, the theaters have made their own history since opening in the late 50s with over 2,000 productions passing through their proscenium arches and season programming packed to the rafters with exciting new shows. Featuring a host of Tony Award Broadway blockbusters, their latest 2019/20 season continues with the critically acclaimed, landmark musical The Color Purple, directed by local theater make Lili-Anne Brown. 

    Based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning story by American novelist and poet Alice Walker, The Color Purple revival features an adapted book by Tony winner Marsha Norman and a jazz, ragtime and gospel-infused score by Grammy Award winning writing team Brenda Russell, Allee Willis and Stephen Bray. Opening in late 2015 and running for two years thereafter, it won two Tony Awards, including the award for Best Revival of a Musical. A tale of hope and resilience in the face of adversity, it chronicles 40 years in the life of Celie, an African American woman who survives abuse and prejudice in the American south.

  • Love and Information

    1655 W. Cortland
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Love and Information

    Through a kaleidoscopic lens of over 100 characters in fifty-seven different scenes, Churchill's exhilarating play Love and Information explores how our incessant consumption of information and virtual connectivity penetrates and frames our sense of ourselves and our relationships with others.

  • Sherlock's Last Case

    1717 W. 31st St
    Oak Brook, IL 60523
    Sherlock's Last Case

    SHERLOCK'S LAST CASE is the Holmes and Watson story audiences would never expect. When Sherlock Holmes' life is threatened, it's up to the ever-dependable Dr. Watson to solve the case. But as the tale wends its way along, bringing in not only Inspector Lestrade but also the children of their arch nemesis Professor Moriarty, no one will be ready for the truths that are revealed.

  • Splatter Theater

    851 W. Belmont
    Chicago, IL 60657
    Splatter Theater

    Something witchy this way comes, as the sequel to Splatter Theatre picks up seven years after The Mayfield Massacre. Lone survivor, Ellen Epley, now pregnant but still tormented by the events of her past, seeks shelter at a safe house on the outskirts of town. She soon learns that dark forces have been drawing her in all along. Unable to trust even herself, Ellen ends up in a fight for her sanity, her life, and even her very soul.