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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...

  • Heritage Markers: Local Native American History and Culture

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    Heritage Markers: Local Native American History and Culture

    From street signs to statues, Native American heritage is all around us. While Illinois no longer has any reservations, over 40,000 American Indian peoples representing over 150 tribes live in the Chicagoland area. Dotted throughout the area are markers of Native American heritage from yesterday and today. Expanding on the existing fishing and hunting wigwam and the mural of the Skokie lagoons on the museum’s second floor, "Heritage Markers: Local Native American History and Culture" uses local heritage markers, contemporary Native organizations, street signs, and town names as touchstones to discuss the local Native history.

    The exhibit begins with projectile points and potsherds found in the backyards of Evanston and Wilmette. In this section, the exhibit explains the tribal presence throughout Illinois before European contact and highlights the development and decline of these many tribes including the Illinois Nation. Origin stories will be contrasted with archeological interpretation of regional sites like Cahokia, Aztalan, and Dickson Mounds. Visitors can learn about the culture of the Ho-Chunk and Potawatomi peoples who lived in this area with quotes from descendants who returned to make this area their home again today.

  • The Teaching Wigwam

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    The Teaching Wigwam

    Located on the second floor of the museum, the teaching lodge is an interactive exhibit that provides unique hands on experience for museum patrons. The exhibit focuses on an Anishinaabek (Potawatomie, Oddawa, and Ojibwe) hunting lodge and aspects of Anishinaabek culture. Wiig-i-waams varied in size from 8 to 20 feet in diameter, and could house two people to a family of 8-10 members.

    Our exhibit features a Bajiishka'ogaan (ba-jeesh-ka-o-gaan) which is made up of two words; bajiishkikodan (to be made into a point/pointed); and o'gaan (house/shelter). It is a low-lying, conical lodge used for temporary purposes, such as hunting and fishing camps, unlike the larger dome shaped wiigiwaam which tend to be larger and more permanent. This type of lodge could house anywhere from two to four adults and would be used primarily for sleeping, while most camp activities would be conducted outside. The lodge in the exhibit is constructed of rough birch and box elder limbs and covered with sheets of birch bark.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Zoom Room

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

    Get ready for high-octane fun! Zoom Room puts kids in the driver’s seat as they send toy cars hurtling through the curves, loops, dips, and crash sites of a colossal, multilevel race course.

    Developed and designed by Chicago Children’s Museum, Zoom Room features hundreds of toy cars and more than 40 tracks of every length, height and angle, including two bi-level crash courses. It’s the ultimate toy car experience— for children and adults.

  • THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion

    Fashion Outlets of Chicago
    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.

  • Indigenous Entrepreneurship: Tribal Enterprises & Co-ops

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    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!

  • Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th street
    Chicago, IL 60608
    Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell

    Laura Aguilar: Show and Tell is the first comprehensive retrospective of photographer Laura Aguilar (1959-2018), as it assembles the largest collection of her work spanning three decades. In photographs that are frequently political as well as personal, Aguilar offers candid portrayals of herself, her friends and family, and her Chicana/Latina and LGBT communities. With her iconic triptych Three Eagles Flying (1990), Aguilar set the stage for her future work by using her nude body as an overt and courageous rebellion against the colonization of Chicana identities: racial, gendered, cultural, and sexual. Despite using the body to center her visual discourse, Aguilar never intended to speak for any specific political or feminist ideology. On the contrary, her practice intuitively evolved as she sought to negotiate and navigate her ethnic and sexual identity, her challenges with depression and auditory dyslexia, and the acceptance of her physique. This exhibition considers the story of the artist who for most of her life struggled to communicate with words, yet ironically emerged as a powerful voice for numerous and diverse marginalized groups.

  • A Regional Tour of American Indian Cultures

    Mitchell Museum of the American Indian
    3001 Central St
    Evanston, IL 60201
    A Regional Tour of American Indian Cultures

    This exhibit brings visitors on a tour through the major regions of the US and Canada and highlights the art and material culture of the tribes who lived there. Many of the objects you’ll see were collected by John and Betty Seabury Mitchell. This couple shared their passion for Native American art and culture with Evanstonians both old and young. In that spirit the exhibit strives to provide a deeper understanding of Native American art, history, and cultures to all our visitors.

     

  • Best of Yollo

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th street
    Chicago, IL 60608
    Best of Yollo

    Yollocalli Arts Reach is hosting its annual teen curated exhibition, "Best of Yollo." Visit the courtyard gallery of the National Museum of Mexican Art to see teen selected works from the Yollocalli programs.

  • 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.

  • Chicago Stories: Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol

    Museum of Contemporary Photography
    600 S Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Chicago Stories: Carlos Javier Ortiz and David Schalliol

    Carlos Javier Ortiz (American, b. 1977) considers contemporary black life in comparison to the ideals of the Great Migration, which took place from 1916 to 1970 when six million African Americans left the South to find new opportunities in the North. Illustrating socioeconomic patterns that pave the way for a cycle of poverty and violence, his two projects, A Thousand Midnights (2016) and We All We Got (2014), document youth and families in Chicago from multiple perspectives over the course of many years. Ortiz focuses on those affected by gun violence, casting light on the larger forces fostering recurring tragedies in our city.

  • David Lee Csicsko: Parade of Saints

    Loyola University Museum of Art
    820 Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611
    David Lee Csicsko: Parade of Saints

    Featured in the Works on Paper gallery this spring, David Csicsko invites viewers of all faiths, ages, and backgrounds to investigate the lives, legends, and gore of Catholic saints. This exhibition will feature 20 new images of saints in vibrant color, as well as a selection of black and white prints from his series Saints in the Garden (1990-1997).

  • Yollocalli Arts Reach: Portraits of Little Village

    Loyola University Museum of Art
    820 Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Yollocalli Arts Reach: Portraits of Little Village

    Portraits of Little Village is a collection of photos and audio that portray the people, stories, and sounds of the Little Village neighborhood by youth artists of Yollocalli Arts Reach. From friends and families to issues on immigration and identity, each work reflects a unique piece of the neighborhood through the perspective and style of youth artists. Youth work was selected from three Little Village Yollocalli programs - Camera Flux - Framing the City with Photo and Video, Your Story, Your Way, and Digital Photo at Community Links High School.

  • Creative Impulse: Works by Robert Johnson and E. Nix

    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
    756 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60642
    Creative Impulse: Works by Robert Johnson and E. Nix

    The rarely-exhibited works of Chicago-based artists Robert Johnson and E. Nix are at once extraordinary, challenging and filled with moments of great beauty. Despite each artist working in disparate mediums--Johnson is best known for his reverse glass paintings on discarded windows and Nix’s background is in blacksmithing--their art is similarly informed by personal struggles and their daily efforts to overcome trauma and addiction. Johnson and Nix both have devoted followings among primarily African-American collectors in Chicago, but are largely unknown outside these circles, keeping with Intuit’s dedication to highlighting undervalued artists overlooked by the mainstream art world.

  • This Stillness

    Intuit: The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art
    756 N Milwaukee Ave
    Chicago, IL 60642
    This Stillness

    This Stillness is an exploration into the complexities of Black girlhood and womanhood and the quiet reflections of self that arise from these circumstances. The exhibition goes beyond the contemporary use of a traditional Black American art form—assemblage—and delves into themes of autonomy, self-reflection, and the dehumanization of Black women and girls. At the same time, the exhibition serves as an archive of personal, familial and cultural identity. This Stillness explores mediums often found in the practice of Black American female artists who are re-piecing histories, narratives and memories that were not allowed to flourish in the past. The practices of these artists are the manifestation of the contradictions of living in America while Black and female. Artists Judy Bowman, Tracy Crump and Vanessa German work in drastically different practices—though each evokes strong emotion, displays an understanding of the self and community, and provides a space to examine the fiercely personal narratives that are created.

  • Flash Forward: Luisa Dörr; Nina Röder; Nichole Sobecki; Jan Hoek; Duran Lantink and SistaazHood

    Loyola University Museum of Art
    820 Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Flash Forward: Luisa Dörr; Nina Röder; Nichole Sobecki; Jan Hoek; Duran Lantink and SistaazHood

    In partnership with non-profit arts publishing house, the Magenta Foundation, LUMA presents four winners from Magenta's international Flash Forward competition. This exhibition aims to foster engaged thinking and dialogue on the four proceeding central themes: Female-Identifying Photographers (Nina Röder from Germany), Climate and the Environment (Nichole Sobecki from Kenya), Racial Issues (Luisa Dörr from Brazil) and LGBTQ (Jan Hoek from the Netherlands).

  • Tuck Everlasting, The Musical

    Valley Youth Theatre
    525 N First St
    Phoenix, AZ 85004
    Tuck Everlasting, The Musical

    What would you do if you had all eternity? Eleven-year-old Winnie Foster yearns for a life of adventure beyond her white picket fence, but not until she becomes unexpectedly entwined with the Tuck Family does she get more than she could have imagined. When Winnie learns of the magic behind the Tuck’s unending youth, she must fight to protect their secret from those who would do anything for a chance at eternal life. As her adventure unfolds, Winnie faces an extraordinary choice: return to her life or continue with the Tucks on their infinite journey.

    Based on best-selling children’s classic by Natalie Babbitt and adapted for the stage by Claudia Shear and Tim Federle, Tuck Everlasting features a soaring score from Chris Miller and Nathan Tysen.

  • I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard

    The Den Theatre
    1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    I'm Gonna Pray For You So Hard

    First Floor Theater presents the Chicago premiere of Halley Feiffer’s blisteringly funny play I’M GONNA PRAY FOR YOU SO HARD, directed by Cole von Glahn.

    Ella is a precocious and fiercely competitive actress with a desperate need to make her father David, a famous playwright, proud. Over the course of a boozy, drug-fueled evening, Ella and David pass the time digging into family history, artistic passion and unspoken fears as they wait for the reviews, but what is unearthed can't simply be reburied. This daring play pulls the audience into the middle of a deeply complicated relationship, exploring how we build and break idealized versions of our loved ones.

  • Language Rooms

    The Den Theatre
    1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Language Rooms

    Broken Nose Theatre is pleased to present the Midwest premiere of Yussef El-Guindi’s dark comedy LANGUAGE ROOMS, directed by Kaiser Zaki Ahmed.

    Ahmed loves America, and he’s proud to prove his patriotism whenever possible. He pays his taxes, he dresses for success at the office, and he’s made a point to be the best translator at this particular Homeland Security detainment facility. So when a rumor swirls around the water cooler calling his loyalty into question, he works to do whatever’s necessary to maintain his reputation as one of “the good ones.” But when you’re an immigrant, can you ever truly be at home in a country always ready to view you as an enemy? An episode of The Office that slowly morphs into 1984, LANGUAGE ROOMS examines the paranoia polluting our political climate.

  • Yen

    Raven Theatre
    6157 N. Clark St.
    Chicago, IL 60660
    Yen

    Raven Theatre presents the Chicago premiere of Anna Jordan’s drama YEN. London, right now. Two practically feral teenage brothers live alone in their filthy flat with a dog named Taliban, perpetually bathed in the blue glow of their screens: playing video games, watching porn, waiting for the occasional visit from their detached mother, and surviving. But when a strange neighbor girl barges through the door, the boys’ little blue world begins to change color.

  • The Children

    Steppenwolf Theatre Company
    1650 N. Halsted St.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    The Children

    On a summer evening in an isolated seaside cottage in the East of England, a pair of retired nuclear scientists are startled by a visit from a former colleague. As some crackers and wine are trotted out, so are various old jealousies, leading to the true reason for Rose's sudden reappearance: the revelation of a chilling and dangerous plan. Following sold out runs in London and New York, Steppenwolf is proud to present this brave, humane and beautifully written play that confronts the responsibility each generation must face for the way it leaves the world.

  • Small World

    The Den Theatre
    1331 N. Milwaukee Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60622
    Small World

    The New Colony presents the world premiere of SMALL WORLD. It’s the end of the world…maybe? There’s no way to confirm for three cast members trapped inside their attraction at the happiest place on earth. The music won’t stop, there’s a body in the moat and one of the group is impaled under a smiling animatronic. Can they force their way off the ride? And what waits for them on the other side? It’s a world of hopes, it’s a world of fears. It’s a small world, after all.

  • DJEMBE! The Show

    Apollo Theatre Chicago
    2540 N. Lincoln Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    DJEMBE! The Show

    DJEMBE!**(JEM-bay) will engage audiences in a high-energy program with powerful storytelling and inspiring music, including iconic pop hits by artists from Michael Jackson to Beyoncé. Leading this lively musical journey will be the trio of Broadway talent Ben Hope (Once) as Emcee; critically-acclaimed Chicago musical theater artist Rashada Dawan (Caroline, or Change) on lead vocals; and Guinean djembe master Fodé Lavia Camara, backed by an ensemble of world-class musicians.

  • Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs

    James M. Nederlander Theatre
    24 W. Randolph St.
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Dein Perry’s Tap Dogs

    This is not just tap. Experience high voltage, rugged, raw talent in the tap dance phenomenon which has taken the world by storm.

    Dein Perry’s TAP DOGS returns to the stage with its trademark blend of live music and tap dance as you’ve never seen before. The New York Observer called it “positively electrifying.”

    Part theatre, part dance, part rock concert and part construction site, the show is crammed with high-energy dance, theatrical performance, and music performed by the cast and live musicians in this unstoppable spectacular. Whether in water, upside-down or jumping through scaffolding, the Tap Dogs have been performing to the beat of their own drum for over 20 years.

  • Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical

    The Edge Theater
    5451 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
    Poseidon! An Upside Down Musical

    Hell in a Handbag Productions presents a revival of POSEIDON! An Upside Down Musical, a musical parody and a loving homage to the classic 1972 film, The Poseidon Adventure, the grandmother of all disaster films.

    It’s New Year’s Eve and a group of hardcore fans have gathered for their annual viewing of the greatest film ever – The Poseidon Adventure, the story of the capsize of the SS Poseidon on New Year’s Eve, and the handful of misfit passengers that decide to climb to the top of the ship – which is now the bottom. As the story progresses the viewers become one with the film. POSEIDON! An Upside-Down Musical is part parody, part homage – and a look at how movies can leave their mark on you.

  • Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt: Still in Paradise

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E. Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt: Still in Paradise

    Still in Paradise by Yan Duyvendak and Omar Ghayatt—the prologue to Made in Paradise (2008)—was conceived in the swelling tide since 9/11 in which the Arab world as a whole has become suspect and, for many Westerners, neoliberal values are the only guarantee of a functioning society.

    Ghayatt, who is from Egypt and resides in Bern, envisioned his works with Duyvendak, who is from the Netherlands, to stage their encounters, their doubts, and their differences through a series of scenes that audiences vote for each night. Shared space, time, and dialogue gradually undo preconceived cultural and ideological notions that feed fear and negation.

    Still in Paradise is a show of the history of their project itself that reflects, in its own small way, history at large. Since the end of the Arab Spring, nations have degenerated into either stifling dictatorship or war and disintegration. Europe seems to answer only with fear and the erecting of both inner and outer barriers. Unlike its fragments, Still in Paradise’s finale cannot be voted for; it is imposed.

    Copresented with the Chicago Humanities Festival

  • The Bridges of Madison County

    Howard Street Theatre
    721 Howard St.
    Evanston, IL 60202
    The Bridges of Madison County

    A musical based on the novel by Robert James Waller. Francesca Johnson, a beautiful Italian woman who married an American soldier to flee war-ravaged Italy, looks forward to a rare four days alone on her Iowa farm when her family heads to the 1965 State Fair. When a ruggedly handsome NATIONAL GEOGRAPHIC photographer, Robert Kincaid, pulls into her driveway seeking directions, what happens in those four days may very well alter the course of Francesca's life.

  • Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection

    Smart Museum of Art
    The University of Chicago 5550 S. Greenwood Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60637
    Solidary & Solitary: The Joyner/Giuffrida Collection

    Solidary & Solitary tells the history of art by African-American artists, with a particular emphasis on abstraction, from the 1940s to the present moment. That story is a complicated one, woven from the threads of debates about how to represent blackness, social struggle and change, and global migrations and diasporas.

  • A Chorus Line

    Ruth Page Center for the Arts
    1016 N. Dearborn St.,
    Chicago, IL 60610
    A Chorus Line

    Winner of nine Tony Awards and the Pulitzer Prize, this landmark work has electrified audiences around the world. In an empty theatre, on a bare stage, casting for a new Broadway musical is almost complete. For seventeen dancers, this audition is the chance of a lifetime. It’s what they’ve worked for with every drop of sweat and every hour or training, putting their lives on the line for the opportunity to do what they’ve always dreamed of doing: to dance. This singular sensation features an incomparable score including “What I Did for Love,” “One” and “Dance Ten, Looks Three.”