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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 Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America

    238 W. 23rd St
    Chicago, IL 60616
    The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America

    The Chinese American Museum of Chicago is excited to host a new year-long temporary exhibition, The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America, beginning March 2, 2019, to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah.

    The bilingual exhibit, which features photographs by Li Ju, pays tribute to the approximately 12,000 Chinese workers who completed the west coast portion of the world’s first Transcontinental Railway.

  • Chicago Works: Assaf Evron

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Chicago Works: Assaf Evron

    The work of Assaf Evron (Israeli, b. 1977) dwells at the interstice of architecture, decoration, place, and image. A former photojournalist, the artist uses a wide variety of media to both upend and connect an even wider variety of references, materials, and geographies. While global in scope, Evron’s practice is rooted in a rigorous investigation of local histories and context. The meander, a decorative motif based on natural curves of rivers and streams, wends its way through the artist’s work, which follows the design as it moves from sedimentation lines on the face of Mount Sodom to the ornamental facades of some of Chicago’s most iconic buildings to Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. In this exhibition, Evron traces how different forms of decorative design meander and meet as images across the world, accruing new cultural significance in each collision.

  • Tinkering Lab

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Tinkering Lab

    Welcome to Tinkering Lab, Chicago’s first DIY maker-space for families! Step into the ultimate workshop where we provide the space and resources, and you decide what to do next. We’re talking REAL tools, REAL materials and the freedom to innovate and explore life outside those fancy computer and smartphone screens.

  • The S. Leigh Pierson and Douglas R. Conant Readers Hall

    180 N Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60601
    The S. Leigh Pierson and Douglas R. Conant Readers Hall

    In addition to being the museum’s primary event space, Readers Hall also offers interpretive exhibits celebrating the critical role of the reader in American literature, both now and in the past. Visitors can get a glimpse of what everyday Americans were reading throughout history, and weigh in on their favorite reading material.

  • Nuestras Historias

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th street
    Chicago, IL 60608
    Nuestras Historias

    Nuestras Historias (Our Histories) highlights the Museum’s Permanent Collection to showcase the dynamic and diverse stories of Mexican identity in North America. The exhibition presents cultural identity as something that continually evolves across time, regions, and communities, rather than as a static, unchanging entity, and features ancient Mesoamerican and colonial artifacts, modern Mexican art, folk art, and contemporary works from both sides of the U.S.–Mexican border. The vast diversity of Mexican identities demonstrated in these works defies the notion of one linear history and a singular identity.

  • Skyline

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

    What’s the strongest shape? Find out when you design and build your own one-of-a-kind structure using wooden struts, real tools, and authentic gear. Take the Skyscraper Challenge to record yourself at work and tell the story of what you did. Includes special activities for babies and toddlers.

  • Can You Hear Me Now?

    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Can You Hear Me Now?

    Drawn largely from the MCA collection, the works in Can You Hear Me Now? deal with breakdowns in communication and our inability to hear each other in polarized political climates. The exhibition asks the viewer to consider the proliferation of sound: which messages merit amplification, and which are unduly stifled? The artists in Can You Hear Me Now? explore the individual’s struggle to communicate on levels ranging from the personal to the governmental, addressing which voices are supported or silenced. The exhibition surveys a world in which we are unable to engage in meaningful conversations without succumbing to political apathy.

  • Dinosaur Expedition

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Dinosaur Expedition

    Explore this re-creation of the real Saharan expedition where Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered a NEW type of dinosaur. See a life-size skeleton of suchomimus (sue-co-MY-muss), dig for bones in the excavation pit, compare skulls, teeth, and claws with a T-Rex, and learn what it would be like to be part of Paul's expedition team.

  • A Nation of Writers: John and Cathie Estey

    180 N Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60601
    A Nation of Writers: John and Cathie Estey

    English is our de facto national language, a legacy of colonization. Yet today’s Americans speak more than 350 languages, a reflection of the nation’s immigrant history and the enduring presence of our indigenous people. Given such diversity, is it possible to say that there is a single American literature, a body of work with a distinctive character? In a word, yes.

    The 100 authors featured here represent the evolution and flourishing of American writing. Writers of the 1600s and 1700s borrowed forms and themes from Europe, applying them to New World settings and issues. Then, over the course of the 1800s, a new, democratic style emerged, rooted in the way Americans talked and thought. Previously underrepresented voices began to be heard, culminating with an explosion of perspectives in the modern era. Taken together, this rich literary heritage reflects America in all of its complexity: its energy, hope, conflict, disillusionment, and creativity.

  • Kovler Family Climbing Schooner

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Kovler Family Climbing Schooner

    Scale three stories of ship-shape rigging—from cargo hold to crow's nest. Find real tropical fish at the ocean's bottom, and then reach for the rafters on a race to the ship's top. Friendly staff can lend a hand to new climbers.

  • Remembering Dr. King

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Remembering Dr. King

    Remembering Dr. King: 1929-1968 invites visitors to walk through a winding gallery that features over 25 photographs depicting key moments in Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement, with a special focus on his time in Chicago.

    Chicago, like other U.S. cities, erupted in the wake of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. While the center of his activism was focused on dismantling southern Jim Crow, the systems that kept African Americans oppressed in the American South, he spent time in Chicago and often spoke out on the realities of northern discrimination, particularly around the issues of poverty, education and housing.

  • Sensing Chicago

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Sensing Chicago

    Use your five senses to uncover the past and discover that history is all around Chicago. Children can ride a high-wheel bicycle, hear the Great Chicago Fire, catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park, smell the Union Stock Yard, and dive into a giant Chicago-style hot dog!

  • Above and Beyond

    National Veterans Art Museum
    4041 N Milwaukee Ave 2nd floor
    Chicago, IL 60641
    Above and Beyond

    Above and Beyond is comprised of 58,307 dog tags. Each dog tag represents the death of military personnel in the Vietnam War and is arranged in date order of death. And, each dog tag shows their name, date of death and military branch.

    Above and Beyond was commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum and created by veteran artists: Rick Steinbock, Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing. It was originally installed at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. on May 26, 2001 to coincide with Chicago’s Memorial Day parade. Above and Beyond was created over a 2-year period as each dog tag was stamped by hand using a former military Graphotype machine.

  • THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

    5520 Fashion Outlets Way
    Rosemont, IL 60018
    THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

    THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion, the multifaceted contemporary art program of Fashion Outlets of Chicago, will welcome a rotating exhibition by 2018 Olympic costume designer Dr. Keysook Geum to the shopping center this February. Dr. Keysook Geum’s rotating exhibition will feature three life-sized sculptural forms, entitled Enlightenment III, Nirvana in Red IV and NIGHTINGALE. Dr. Geum is an author and professor of Textile Art and Fashion Design at Hong Ik University in Seoul, Korea, and recently served as the Artistic Director for the Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Games in 2018, designing both the uniforms and dresses worn in the opening ceremony. Dr. Geum’s dramatic sculptures of elegantly posed forms embody the fusion of timeless Asian aesthetics and philosophy with contemporary air. They are constructed of paper-wrapped or enamel coated wires, gems, beads and silk. Starting with a central focal point, Dr. Geum works outwardly in a concentric manner reminiscent of a spider. As the artist weaves, twists and bends wire two-dimensionally, intricate forms and unintentional patterns emerge. The natural tensions of interlacing wire push and pulls out until ¬-figurative shapes begin to take form.

  • WaterWays

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

    Make a splash in this flowing, squirting, pumping playground. Feel the power of water as you control the flow with pulleys, wheels, and pipes. Navigate your boat through the locks and dams of the mighty river. You may get wet as you immerse yourself in the sensory-rich world of water—hand dryers are available nearby!

  • 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!

  • Treehouse Trails

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Treehouse Trails

    Camp, climb, burrow, and pretend in this enchanted forest setting. Canoe and fish in the blue river, splash in a mountain waterfall, build a fort under the enormous tree house, and serve a stew in the log cabin. Babies can stretch, explore, and relax in the new infant area.

  • Prisoner of Love

    220 E. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Prisoner of Love

    Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, by acclaimed artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa, is a multilayered seven-minute montage of the black experience in America. The video tells a story of trauma and transcendence in a flurry of footage—from historic speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, to clips of cultural icons Beyoncé and Notorious B.I.G., to flashes of concerts, home movies, news footage, music videos, and sports matches—all set to the soaring gospel tones of Kanye West's Ultralight Beam. Centered around this filmic journey, the exhibition features a rotating body of work from the MCA's collection that complements Jafa's video and captures some of the same intense emotions about life in America today. Powerful, moving works by artists such as Deana Lawson, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Marilyn Minter, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Carrie Mae Weems alternate throughout the run of the show, alongside the mainstay of Bruce Nauman’s iconic Life, Death, Hate, Pleasure, Pain.

    The exhibition is curated by Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator. It is presented in the Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries on the museum's second floor.

  • Abyss: Rocío Caballero

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th street
    Chicago, IL 60608
    Abyss: Rocío Caballero

    In Abyss, Rocío Caballero (b. Azcapotzalco, México D.F. 1964) brings us face to face with a world alive with allegories and symbolism, wherein the artist makes use of figuration as a kind of personal language. Abyss, mirrors a dreamlike realm that transports us from the voluptuous sensuality of a female body that lies within water and accompanied by seafaring creatures, to the image of a woman transgressed. Meanwhile, the representation of the man is lethal and cruel, full of power he celebrates, while he coaches and plays a treacherous game. In her artwork, Caballero places her characters at the edge of a psychological and moral abyss where many of them overstep, fall and disparagingly continue to exist in an aimless and impassive universe.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    From simmering volcanoes to the whiskers on a walrus, experience the beauty and intrigue of our natural world.

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year, produced by the Natural History Museum in London, showcases 100 of the world’s best nature photographs. An international panel of experts selected these images from over 45,000 entries.

    Striking scenes of diverse animal life and changing landscapes come into focus on immersive light panels. Trek through China’s mountains among endangered monkeys and glimpse owls in a bustling Indian city. Experience the many sides of life in the wild—at times surprising and even devastating, but also heartwarming and humorous.   

  • The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster

    111 S. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60603
    The People Shall Govern! Medu Art Ensemble and the Anti-Apartheid Poster

    The Medu Art Ensemble formed in the late 1970s in opposition to South Africa’s apartheid policy of racial segregation and violent injustice. Through graphic design and poster production, members forcefully articulated a call for radical change, advocating for decolonization or majority (nonwhite) rule in South Africa and in the neighboring countries of Angola, Mozambique, Namibia, and Zimbabwe. Medu, meaning “roots” in the Sepedi language, evolved organically and operated underground, as its name suggests. Persecuted by the South African Defense Force, Medu members lived and worked in exile just across the South African border in Gaborone, Botswana. Defying a ban on their existence, the Medu collective at its height numbered as many as 50 South African and international artists, musicians, and writers.

    The People Shall Govern! is the first-ever exhibition on Medu in North America. Featured among its 130 objects are more than 60 posters by members of the ensemble and related makers, all recently acquired by the Art Institute of Chicago. Collaboratively executed and often printed in the hundreds, Medu’s offset lithograph and screen-printed posters combine sobering and revolutionary imagery with bold slogans that, in word and image, mobilized citizens to support causes in social and economic justice and encouraged pan-African solidarity.
    Surviving examples of Medu posters that were smuggled into South Africa and mounted in public spaces are exceedingly rare, as they were regularly confiscated or torn down on sight. With this recent acquisition, the Art Institute is home to the most comprehensive holding of these vibrant works outside South Africa. Additional items, on loan for this exhibition from former Medu members and archival sources in South Africa and Chicago, make clear how the Medu spirit of oppositional creativity transformed the culture of resistance in southern Africa during the late 20th century.

  • THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3

    5400 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60640
    THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes, Vol. 3

    Chicago’s geriatric “Fab Four” return in Hell in a Handbag Productions’ THE GOLDEN GIRLS: The Lost Episodes – Vol. 3! Join Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, Sophia and their whacky friends and relatives for all new adventures – including the first-ever musical episode.

    Episode One: Caged Miami Heat – Find out what happens when the girls are arrested and thrown in jail for the murder of their long-lost cook, Coco.

    Episode 2: Singing in the Pain – Can Rose overcome her crippling stage fright and perform a duet with her idol, Lyle Waggoner for the big Miami’s Ladies’ Auxiliary fundraiser? This is the first Golden Girls musical episode, so be prepared for songs like, ‘Back in St. Olaf’, ‘You’re a Tramp, Blanche’, and many more.

  • Tight Ship @ Riverview Tavern

    1959 W. Roscoe St.
    Chicago, IL 60618
    Tight Ship @ Riverview Tavern

    Tight Ship Comedy is a professional independent showcase featuring the city's vast talent EVERY THURSDAY at Riverview Tavern (1958 W Roscoe St). Our first show is taking place 9/28 at 7:30pm, and you can purchase tickets online for $5, plus a small service fee. With each online ticket purchased, you’ll receive a FREE domestic beer when you arrive the night of the show.

  • Dream Freaks Fall From Space

    1616 N. Wells St.,
    Chicago, IL 60614
    Dream Freaks Fall From Space

    Dream Freaks Fall from Space holds a funhouse mirror up to the already bizarre times in which we’re living. The powerhouse cast delivers a show that’s surreal, musical, maniacal, and utterly entertaining all at the same time. You’ll fall for this other-worldly adventure that’s unlike any other show on the planet!

  • Máximo the Titanosaur

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Máximo the Titanosaur

    The titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum is a big deal—literally, the biggest dinosaur that scientists have discovered to date. This long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur lived over 100 million years ago in what is now Patagonia, Argentina. 

    Named Máximo, meaning “maximum” or “most” in Spanish, our titanosaur cast reaches 122 feet across Stanley Field Hall on our main floor and stands 28 feet tall at the head. Modeled from fossil bones excavated in Argentina, this touchable cast conveys the sheer size of the biggest animal ever to live (It’s longer than a blue whale!). Patagotitan weighed about 70 tons in life—that’s as much as 10 African elephants, like the two specimens on display next to Máximo.