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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...

  • Chicago Water Taxi

    400 N. Michigan Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Chicago Water Taxi

    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 Culture

    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 Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition

    9603 Woods Dr
    Skokie, IL 60077
    The Harvey L. Miller Family Youth Exhibition

    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.
  • The Teaching Wigwam

    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.

  • 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.

  • A Regional Tour of American Indian Cultures

    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.

     

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • Equus

    5451 N. Broadway
    Chicago, IL 60640
    Equus

    Inspired by a true story, EQUUS sets out to explore the complex relationships between devotion and myth. When teenager Alan Strang's pathological fascination leads him to blind six horses in a Hampshire stable, psychiatrist Martin Dysart is tasked with uncovering the motive behind the boy's violent act. As Dysart delves into Alan's world of twisted spirituality, passion and sexuality, he begins to question his own sanity and motivations in a world driven by consumerism.

  • An Evening with C.S. Lewis

    175 E Chestnut St
    Chicago, IL 60611
    An Evening with C.S. Lewis

    The year is 1963 and C.S. Lewis, the famous British author, is hosting a group of American writers at his home near Oxford. They are about to experience a captivating evening with a man whose engaging conversation and spontaneous humor made him one of the great raconteurs of his day.

    Seated in his living room and in front of a warm fire he recalls the people and events that inspired his thought and shaped his life; of his friendship with J.R.R. Tolkien; why he nearly abandoned the Narnia Chronicles; how he came to embrace Christianity and of the American woman who turned his life upside down.

    Described by critics as ‘Extraordinary!’ ‘A Must See!’ ‘A Master Class!’ An Evening with C.S. Lewis has proved again and again to be an enthralling theatrical experience and one which has led many thousands to discover (or rediscover) the continuing impact of a man who died over 50 years ago and whose collected works made him one of the literary giants of the 20th Century.

  • SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical

    24 W Randolph St
    Chicago, IL 60601
    SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical

    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.