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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...

  • TreeHouses

    Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum
    2430 N. Cannon Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    TreeHouses

    Hang out in the trees in our new exhibit, TreeHouses. Set foot into an indoor tree house and explore who and what is living in the trees through stereoscopic viewfinders, tracking clues, natural artifacts, and sounds. Roam from tree to tree to discover the many habitats that trees provide for animals large and small.

    How do animals adapt themselves to their tree habitats? What kinds of animal clues can you look and listen for in the forest? How do people use trees for their homes? Uncover answers to these questions and other fascinating facts while playing and investigating in this fun forest experience. You might be surprised to find out who’s living in your own backyard!

  • Build It!

    Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago
    2100 Patriot Boulevard
    Glenview, IL 60026
    Build It!

    Kohl Children’s Museum of Greater Chicago celebrates the return of the popular temporary exhibit “Build It!,” a larger than life collection of building blocks that allow children to explore their creativity while learning about architecture, science, and storytelling.

    Kids are able to discover, stack, bridge, enclose, make patterns, name and symbolize using blocks, which are the seven stages of block play. Block play teaches several important mathematical concepts, including measurement, numeral awareness, part-to-whole relationships and social concepts such as sharing and collaboration.

  • Beyond Temporary: Art Ephemera and the Design of the Exhibition Announcement

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Beyond Temporary: Art Ephemera and the Design of the Exhibition Announcement

    The Ryerson and Burnham Libraries have been collecting ephemera—objects that, as one dictionary definition puts it, “last but a day”—for more than 100 years, focusing particularly on art-related pieces such as postcards, artist statements, and exhibition announcements. The latter comprises the bulk of this display.

    In years past, galleries routinely mailed announcements to a long list of interested parties in order to advertise an exhibition and its opening. Despite being designed for transience, some of these objects are artworks in themselves. This exhibition celebrates a recent substantial gift of books and art ephemera from Terry R. Myers, an art critic, independent curator, and former chair of Painting and Drawing at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

  • Amplified: Chicago Blues

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Amplified: Chicago Blues

    Southern black migrants brought the blues to Chicago, where the music helped them forge connections and transform an unfamiliar, often inhospitable city into a new home. The music was also transformed—electrified and amplified to compete with urban noise. The photography of Raeburn Flerlage captures the streets, clubs, homes, and studios where a community of musicians defined the Chicago blues sound.  Immerse yourself in the Chicago scene of the 1960s through Flerlage’s images, and experience the blues by playing guitar, designing an album cover, writing lyrics, and singing karaoke.

  • Waking the T. rex 3D: The Story of SUE

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Waking the T. rex 3D: The Story of SUE

    In this thrilling 3D adventure, scientists trace the events of SUE’s life, following this T. rex’s growth from a tiny hatchling to seven tons of pure carnivorous glory. Learn the amazing story of SUE’s discovery in South Dakota’s badlands, and join Field Museum paleontologists on an excavation as they search for and excavate ancient fossils. If seeing the world’s largest, most complete Tyrannosaurus rex skeleton gives you goosebumps, dare to come face-to-face with this roaring, earthshaking, and breathtaking dinosaur like never before. 

  • Underground Adventure

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Underground Adventure

    In this immersive exhibition, you’ll “shrink” to 1/100th of your actual size—smaller than a penny—to take a closer look at the soil beneath our feet.

    Once you’re down to size, you’ll meet a creepy, crawly cast of characters, including a giant mole cricket and a wolf spider. You’ll learn about the diversity of life that soil supports and how every species needs soil to survive and thrive.

  • 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!

  • Christien Meindertsma: Everything Connects

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Christien Meindertsma: Everything Connects

    Since graduating from the Eindhoven Design Academy, Christien Meindertsma has become known for her research-oriented work that explores the potential of raw materials and reveals processes that have become obsolete due to industrialization. Her prototypes, documentary videos, and finished objects highlight our relationship to the materials and products in the world around us and address concerns of environmental sustainability.

  • Mummies

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Mummies

    In Mummies, uncover the lives of the people inside—from their families, work, and religious beliefs, to the objects they chose to bring into the afterlife.

    This extraordinary, limited-time exhibition features mummies from ancient Peru and Egypt. Made up entirely of objects from our collection, the exhibition includes 14 mummies, intricately decorated coffins and mummy masks, ceramic items, and mummified animals. Seeing ancient Peruvian and Egyptian mummies in the same space brings to light the differences and similarities between these cultures. 

  • Hans Haacke: Gift Horse

    Art Institute of Chicago
    111 South Michigan Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60603
    Hans Haacke: Gift Horse

    Since 1965 Hans Haacke (German, born 1936) has been living in New York making work that explores the uncomfortable and often hidden connections between art, power, money, politics, and business.

    Haacke's imposing bronze sculpture Gift Horse (2014) was created as a commission for London’s Fourth Plinth project, which invites artists to fill the vacant space in Trafalgar Square originally designed for an equestrian monument to King William IV (1765–1837). The base intended for the monument was left empty due to a lack of funding; since 1999, it has featured temporary installations by contemporary artists.

    For his contribution, Haacke took inspiration from an engraving by the British equine artist George Stubbs (1724–1806) to create a monumental bronze horse skeleton that stands more than 15 feet tall. In its original display, Gift Horse stood across the square from a statue of King George IV (1762–1830) riding bareback, complementing the scale of George IV’s equestrian sculpture while challenging its intentions.

  • Chicago Authored

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

    Discover how those who write about Chicago shape our understanding of the city. Through a digital experience in a café-style space, our first-ever crowd-sourced exhibition features diverse, insightful, and inspiring writing. Explore a collection of works by contemporary authors and literary giants. Add your voice by writing a postcard or composing magnetic poetry.

  • Lincoln’s Chicago

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Lincoln’s Chicago

    Lincoln was a frequent visitor to Chicago, which became his second home and political headquarters during his rise to prominence. This gallery features portraits of Lincoln’s contemporaries with lithograph views of Chicago created in the 1860s. The pairings provide a glimpse of the city that Lincoln knew—a dynamic young metropolis on the verge of greatness.

  • The Fifth Star Challenge

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    The Fifth Star Challenge

    If Chicago’s flag had a fifth star, what would it represent? Discover highlights from the city’s past, cast your vote, and see how your choice stacks up. While in the gallery, be sure to look beneath your feet and explore Chicagoland on our wall-to-wall floor map.

  • Grainger Hall of Gems

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Grainger Hall of Gems

    Celebrate precious stones in every form.

    A visitor favorite since the museum opened in 1921, the Grainger Hall of Gems has a history older than the Field Museum itself. 

    At the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition, Tiffany & Co.’s gem collection captivated viewers from all walks of life. When the exposition closed, World’s Fair President Harlow Higinbotham purchased the entire collection and donated it to Chicago’s then-new natural history museum.

    Today, the Grainger Hall of Gems is more stunning than ever. Our collection has grown to include more than 600 gemstones and 150 pieces of antique and contemporary jewelry. (Several pieces were donated by Chicago philanthropist Thuy Ngo Nguyen, who visited often and would offer her stunning baubles to the museum on the spot!)

    Each display features a gem in its three stages of transformation: raw crystal, cut and polished stone, and mounted jewel in a finished ring, brooch, or necklace.

  • The Great Chicago Adventure Film

    Chicago History Museum
    The Robert R. McCormick Theater
    1601 North Clark Street
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    The Great Chicago Adventure Film

    This dynamic film presentation in our newly renovated theater transports visitors through major events in Chicago’s history. Feel the intensity of the Great Chicago Fire and splendor of the World’s Columbian Exposition. Explore the sights of bustling Maxwell Street in the 1950s and peer down from an I-beam of the Sears Tower in the 1970s. Relive Chicago sports victories and cheer on President Obama during his Grant Park victory speech.

  • 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.

  • Seadog River & Lake Architectural Tours

    Seadog Cruises
    Navy Pier, 600 E. Grand Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Seadog River & Lake Architectural Tours

    A 75-minute cruise through the historic Chicago Locks and up the Chicago River
    Up-close views of all the famous bridges of the Chicago River
    Entertaining narration with amusing stories and facts on Chicago’s history
    Fascinating stories about some of Chicago’s most famous buildings including the Tribune Building, Willis Tower, Lyric Opera and the Merchandise Mart
    An exciting speedboat ride along the lakefront featuring views of Chicago including Buckingham Fountain, Grant Park, Chicago Harbor, Chicago’s Museum Campus and more!

  • Utility

    Rivendell Theatre
    5779 N. Ridge Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60660
    Utility

    Interrobang Theatre Project presents the Midwest premiere of Emily Schwend's drama UTILITY, an intimate look at an East Texas woman's struggle to make ends meet, directed by Artistic Director Georgette Verdin.

    Amber is doing everything she can to keep her head above water, but no matter how hard she tries it never seems to be enough. Money is tight, her marriage is in turmoil, and she’s juggling two jobs just to make ends meet. As she struggles to plan her eight-year-old daughter’s birthday party, Amber must stay strong as she feels increasingly invisible in her own life. Meticulous and heartbreaking, Utility offers an empathic glimpse into America's' working poor. Winner of the 2016 Yale Drama Series Prize.

  • The Public House Theatre

    The Public House Theatre
    3914 N. Clark St
    Chicago, IL 60613
    The Public House Theatre

    With its skillfully executed shows, cabaret-style seating, and comfortable and inviting lobby, The Public House Theatre has an experience for everyone! 

    We offer only the best comedy and theatre, and you’ll be delighted at our incredibly friendly staff that strive to make you feel welcome…because you are.

    Our drink specials are amazing and every show is lovingly put together and polished into something you can’t help but enjoy. We’re ready to make any night of your week a very special, entertaining evening.

    We want you to come, we want you to laugh, and we look forward to your visit.

  • Facing Freedom in America

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Facing Freedom in America

    What does freedom mean? To whom should freedom be extended? How are denied rights gained?

    Based on the central idea that the history of the United States has been shaped by conflicts over what it means to be free, this new exhibition uses images, artifacts, and interactive elements to explore familiar and not-so-familiar stories from the nation’s past. From women’s suffrage and the formation of labor unions, to Japanese internment, to a local school boycott, the exhibition highlights some of the ways Americans have struggled over the true meaning of freedom.