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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 Magic Parlour

    Palmer House
    17 E Monroe St
    Chicago, IL 60603
    The Magic Parlour

    Enjoy an elegant and classic evening of magic and mind-reading with magician Dennis Watkins at the historic Palmer House Hotel. The Magic Parlour is for small intimate audiences of under 50 guests, cocktail attire suggested. The price of your ticket includes a selection of wine, beer, and soft drinks. Dennis is a 3rd generation magician who learned many of his classic tricks from his grandfather. He is also known for originating the role of Houdini in the production of Death and Harry Houdini, where he played for seven sold-out runs of pure Chicago Magic.

  • 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre

    72 E. Randolph St.
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Setting the Stage: Objects of Chicago Theatre

    Design in theatre can take many forms, including costumes, lights, sound, props, and sets, among countless other examples. Setting the Stage celebrates the myriad ways design is employed in stage productions.

    Using objects on loan from Chicago theaters, this exhibit will emphasize the diversity, depth, and breadth of theaters in the city and explore how words are translated by designers into a production. See the process behind the final products and learn more about how and why design decisions in theaters are made.

    Celebrate the Year of Chicago Theatre with us and discover all that the city’s theatre has to offer through the objects which exemplify the soul of each institution.

  • 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. 

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Routes and Territories

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Routes and Territories

    Across the world, human migration is a hotly contested issue rooted in longstanding histories of cultural displacement. MCA Collection works by Noe Martínez, Andrés Pereira Paz, and Nohemí Pérez explore the legacy of colonialism across Latin America. These artists interrogate contested sites—the Huasteca region in Mexico, the Andean regions of Peru and Bolivia, and the Catatumbo region in Colombia, respectively—where personal, social, and territorial dynamics shape identity. Together, the works construct a critical interpretation of displacement and migration in Latin America.

  • 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 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.

  • 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!

  • 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.

  • The Great Chicago Adventure Film

    Chicago History Museum
    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.

  • The Best of The Second City

    1616 N. Wells St.,
    Chicago, IL 60614
    The Best of The Second City

    Come see where it all began! The Best of The Second City features some of the best sketches, songs, and improvisations from their fifty-two year history performed by The Second City Touring Company. From the company that launched the careers of Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert, Steve Carell and more, comes the next generation of the comedy world’s best and brightest performing hilarious sketch comedy and The Second City’s trademark improvisation.

  • Teatro ZinZanni

    32 W Randolph St
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Teatro ZinZanni

    Enter a realm where reality and dreams converge; an experience unlike any other! Teatro ZinZanni is a three-hour whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret served with a multi-course feast. Described as the “Kit Kat Klub on acid,” the fast-paced action unfolds around, above and alongside guests as world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists fill our intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District. At center ring is the sensual Madame ZinZanni, inviting all who attend to a celebratory evening featuring a dazzling combination of improv comedy, vaudeville revue, music, dance, circus acts,  while served a scrumptious menu designed by The Goddess herself — Chicago’s own Debbie Sharpe. Teatro ZinZanni’s signature blend of Love, Chaos & Dinner has played to sold out audiences in Seattle, San Francisco and Costa Mesa. Don’t miss the show The New York Times calls, “A feast for the senses” and the “city’s hottest ticket!”  

  • Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

    151 W Randolph St
    Chicago, IL 60601
    Irving Berlin’s White Christmas

    This holiday season discover the perfect gift for everyone on your list!  Start with a timeless tale of joy and goodwill, fill it with classic Irving Berlin songs, top it off with glorious dancing and lots of snow and head on over to the Cadillac Palace Theatre to see IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS.  Performances begin December 10 for this must-see classic in a lavish new production that the New York Times says to “put on your wish list.”  IRVING BERLIN’S WHITE CHRISTMAS tells the story of a song-and-dance team putting on a show in a magical Vermont inn and falling for a stunning sister act in the process. Full of dancing, laughter and some of the greatest songs ever written!  Give everyone the gift they’re dreaming of with this merry and bright holiday musical.

  • 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.