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...
Chicago Water Taxi400 N. Michigan Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611
Chicago Water Taxi is Chicago's river transportation service with seven stops located on all three branches of the Chicago River. Hop on/ hop off at all your favorite river locations with a Chicago Water Taxi All Day Pass. Water taxi stops include, but are not limited to; Michigan Avenue, Chinatown, The Chicago Riverwalk, Ogilvie/Union Train Stations, and more. All Day Passes are valid for unlimited rides for one person for 24 hours on Chicago Water Taxi.
Heritage Markers: Local Native American History and Culture3001 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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 Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition9603 Woods Dr
Skokie, IL 60077
Make a Difference! provides an age-appropriate and highly interactive space where hands-on activities for kids ages 8-12 foster leadership skills, empathy, self-esteem, and positive decision making. Children can:
- Peek inside school lockers to learn about Upstanders like Rosa Parks and Ryan Herljac, who took a stand for positive change.
- Help problem-solve situations they might encounter at school, on the playground, or in the neighborhood.
- Create self-portraits through the power of words, learning more about what makes you, you.
- Make a pledge to be an Upstander and learn how other visitors are making a difference.
- Tell their own stories on video about local or global issues that matter to them, and share how they might work toward change.
PURCHASED LIVES: THE AMERICAN SLAVE TRADE FROM 1808 TO 18659603 Woods Dr
Skokie, IL 60077
urchased Lives: The American Slave Trade from 1808 to 1865 illustrates the pain and injustice of the American domestic slave trade, illuminating just how widespread the practice of slavery was in American life, as well as its impact on enslaved families across the country.
This exhibition, originally curated by The Historic New Orleans Collection, showcases more than 75 original artifacts, slave narratives, and oral histories. Through interactive displays, visitors engage directly with historical records by tracking the shipment of more than 70,000 people to New Orleans. Purchased Lives also contains a collection of “Lost Friends” ads placed after the Civil War by newly freed people attempting to locate Illinois family members.
Illinois Holocaust Museum consistently uses special exhibitions to tell stories of inhumanity and resilience, both historical and present-day. Purchased Lives, combined with its related programming, facilitates a broader conversation about the legacies of the American slave trade and their manifestations in today’s world.
The Teaching Wigwam3001 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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.
Atrium Project: Ellen Berkenblit220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
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.
Morning Glories300 N. Central Park Ave.
Chicago, IL 60624
Enjoy learning together with your little one during this weekly drop-in session. Activities are fun, interactive, and encourage children’s curiosity about the natural world. Children and their care-givers rotate to different stations around the Children’s Garden. Stations include planting projects, soil digging stations, tours, story-time, and more. Participation is free, but donations for material costs are appreciated.
Please note that while all children 5 years old and under are welcome to take part in Morning Glories with adult supervision, some projects are designed specifically for children ages 3-5 years old. Younger children are welcome to participate in all stations with the support of their care-givers. Adult supervision is required for participation in the Morning Glories Program.
Fragments of a Crucifixion220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
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.
A Regional Tour of American Indian Cultures3001 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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.
Pop América, 1965–197540 Arts Cir Dr
Evanston, IL 60208
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.
THE COLLECTION: Where Art Meets Fashion5520 Fashion Outlets Way
Rosemont, IL 60018
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-ops3001 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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!
The Photographs of Edward S. Curtis3001 Central St
Evanston, IL 60201
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.
The Commons Artist Project: Brendan FernandesMuseum of Contemporary Art
220 E Chicago Ave
Chicago, IL 60611
Brendan Fernandes’s dance-based installation in the Commons explores the ways that society sees—and values—different kinds of bodies. Using language, architecture, and gesture to understand the nature of being seen, the artist encourages dancers and visitors to collaborate and generate new forms of physical language that move and attract other bodies in space.
Everyone’s Art Gallery: Posters of the London Underground111 S. Michigan Ave.,
Chicago, IL 60603
In 1919, 39 posters came to the Art Institute of Chicago, courtesy of the Underground Electric Railways London. The posters, full of brilliant colors and innovative designs, were part of an effort to encourage Londoners to use this commercial transportation system: to visit the city’s cultural attractions, go shopping, attend sporting events, and even venture into the countryside—all by taking Underground trains and buses, of course. Installed outside Underground stations on public streets and on the front of buses that traversed the city, these posters formed a vibrant civic art presence—a public gallery available to all.
SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical24 W Randolph St
Chicago, IL 60601
She was a girl from Boston with a voice from heaven, who shot through the stars from gospel choir to dance floor diva. But what the world didn’t know was how Donna Summer risked it all to break through barriers, becoming the icon of an era and the inspiration for every music diva who followed. With a score featuring more than 20 of Summer’s classic hits including “Love to Love You Baby,” “Bad Girls” and “Hot Stuff,” this electric experience is a moving tribute to the voice of a generation.
And Then There Were None100 Drury Ln
Oakbrook Terrace, AZ 60181
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 classic Agatha Christie whodunnit 'And Then There Were None', helmed by Drury Lane's very own Artistic Director William Osetek.
Perhaps the best-known detective novel ever written, the murder mystery at the heart of this production has enjoyed numerous stage and screen adaptations since it was first published in 1939. Its riveting story chronicles the meeting of 10 strangers, who seemingly have nothing in common, on a hidden away island off the coast of Devon. Invited there by a host called U.N. Owen, the party is horrified to find they are each accused of hiding a guilty secret. When people start dying under mysterious circumstances, the group finds themselves in a race agaisnt the clock to unravel the mystery behind their summoning amidst growing suspicion and paranoia.
Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play1225 W. Belmont Ave.
Chicago, IL 60657
2 Parts Comedy, 1 Part Drinking Game, it's the show that blends Chicago's two favorite past times...drinking and laughing. Now in it's 10th Year!
Whether it’s the girl that should never, ever drink liquor, that one guy that confuses courage with shots of Jameson, or a boozy time-traveller shooting down a bad date in every century, we’ve all known them…or been them. This is the hilarious romp that satirizes all of those fun times and f*ck ups we’ve all had when we had just one too many. Interspersed with hilarious, interactive drinking games, you’ll laugh until you cry at “Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play.”
Magic & Mystery1331 N. Milwaukee Avenue
Chicago, IL 60622
Experience a miraculous world of magic, mind reading, and hypnosis from world class ‘Astonishment Artist’ Mat LaVore.
Is it possible to change someone's memories? Read minds? Predict the future? Magic & Mystery showcases 90-minutes of the most spellbinding and revolutionary magic and hypnosis ever performed on stage.
Witness LaVore swallow needles, hypnotize people to forget their own names, and even predict the future in this amazing showcase of mystery arts that is guaranteed to leave even the most discerning audiences astonished.
The Second City After Hours: A Late Night Improv Show230 W. North Ave.
Chicago, IL 60614
Stay up late with The Second City as we bring you our latest and greatest. It’s interactive. It’s hyperactive. It’s the most fun you’ve had past bedtime. Come see an entirely improvised, entirely ridiculous 60 minutes that’ll leave you with a full-fledged comedy hangover. Suggested Rating: R