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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 Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America

    Chinese American Museum of Chicago
    238 W. 23rd St
    Chicago, IL 60616
    The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America

    The Chinese American Museum of Chicago is excited to host a new year-long temporary exhibition, The Chinese Helped Build the Railroad – The Railroad Helped Build America, beginning March 2, 2019, to coincide with the 150th Anniversary of the Golden Spike at Promontory Summit in Utah.

    The bilingual exhibit, which features photographs by Li Ju, pays tribute to the approximately 12,000 Chinese workers who completed the west coast portion of the world’s first Transcontinental Railway.

  • Nuestras Historias

    National Museum of Mexican Art
    1852 W. 19th street
    Chicago, IL 60608
    Nuestras Historias

    Nuestras Historias (Our Histories) highlights the Museum’s Permanent Collection to showcase the dynamic and diverse stories of Mexican identity in North America. The exhibition presents cultural identity as something that continually evolves across time, regions, and communities, rather than as a static, unchanging entity, and features ancient Mesoamerican and colonial artifacts, modern Mexican art, folk art, and contemporary works from both sides of the U.S.–Mexican border. The vast diversity of Mexican identities demonstrated in these works defies the notion of one linear history and a singular identity.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Dinosaur Expedition

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Dinosaur Expedition

    Explore this re-creation of the real Saharan expedition where Chicago paleontologist Paul Sereno discovered a NEW type of dinosaur. See a life-size skeleton of suchomimus (sue-co-MY-muss), dig for bones in the excavation pit, compare skulls, teeth, and claws with a T-Rex, and learn what it would be like to be part of Paul's expedition team.

  • A Nation of Writers: John and Cathie Estey

    American Writers Museum
    180 N Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60601
    A Nation of Writers: John and Cathie Estey

    English is our de facto national language, a legacy of colonization. Yet today’s Americans speak more than 350 languages, a reflection of the nation’s immigrant history and the enduring presence of our indigenous people. Given such diversity, is it possible to say that there is a single American literature, a body of work with a distinctive character? In a word, yes.

    The 100 authors featured here represent the evolution and flourishing of American writing. Writers of the 1600s and 1700s borrowed forms and themes from Europe, applying them to New World settings and issues. Then, over the course of the 1800s, a new, democratic style emerged, rooted in the way Americans talked and thought. Previously underrepresented voices began to be heard, culminating with an explosion of perspectives in the modern era. Taken together, this rich literary heritage reflects America in all of its complexity: its energy, hope, conflict, disillusionment, and creativity.

  • 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.

  • Remembering Dr. King

    Chicago History Museum
    1601 North Clark Street
    Chicago, IL 60614-6038
    Remembering Dr. King

    Remembering Dr. King: 1929-1968 invites visitors to walk through a winding gallery that features over 25 photographs depicting key moments in Dr. King’s work and the Civil Rights movement, with a special focus on his time in Chicago.

    Chicago, like other U.S. cities, erupted in the wake of King’s assassination on April 4, 1968. While the center of his activism was focused on dismantling southern Jim Crow, the systems that kept African Americans oppressed in the American South, he spent time in Chicago and often spoke out on the realities of northern discrimination, particularly around the issues of poverty, education and housing.

  • Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

    Block Museum of Art, Northwestern University
    40 Arts Cir Dr
    Evanston, IL 60208
    Caravans of Gold, Fragments in Time: Art, Culture, and Exchange across Medieval Saharan Africa

    Travel with the Block Museum along routes crossing the Sahara Desert to a time when West African gold fueled expansive trade and drove the movement of people, culture, and religious beliefs.
    Caravans of Gold is the first major exhibition addressing the scope of Saharan trade and the shared history of West Africa, the Middle East, North Africa, and Europe from the eighth to sixteenth centuries. Weaving stories about interconnected histories, the exhibition showcases the objects and ideas that connected at the crossroads of the medieval Sahara and celebrates West Africa’s historic and underrecognized global significance.

  • Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo

    Brookfield Zoo
    31st St. and First Ave.
    Brookfield, IL 60513
    Brick Safari at Brookfield Zoo

    Brick Safari features more than 40 life-size animal sculptures created from millions of individual colored LEGO® bricks. The menagerie of animals will be located along a winding wooded pathway on the east side of the park. Colorful graphics featuring interesting animal facts and statistics such as the size of each figure, how many bricks were used to build each one, and the amount of time it took to create each sculpture are displayed. To commemorate their visit to Brick Safari, zoogoers can take a selfie in the Safari Jeep created from LEGO® bricks or behind a life-size photo frame.

  • 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.

  • Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures

    Summon your inner child as you peek inside Michael’s Museum: A Curious Collection of Tiny Treasures. This permanent exhibit fosters the art of collecting and features nearly 100 collections of tiny objects, including miniatures, trinkets, artifacts and curiosities donated by founder and curator Michael Horvich.

  • Sensing Chicago

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

    Use your five senses to uncover the past and discover that history is all around Chicago. Children can ride a high-wheel bicycle, hear the Great Chicago Fire, catch a fly ball at Comiskey Park, smell the Union Stock Yard, and dive into a giant Chicago-style hot dog!

  • 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.

  • Above and Beyond

    National Veterans Art Museum
    4041 N Milwaukee Ave 2nd floor
    Chicago, IL 60641
    Above and Beyond

    Above and Beyond is comprised of 58,307 dog tags. Each dog tag represents the death of military personnel in the Vietnam War and is arranged in date order of death. And, each dog tag shows their name, date of death and military branch.

    Above and Beyond was commissioned by the National Veterans Art Museum and created by veteran artists: Rick Steinbock, Ned Broderick, Joe Fornelli and Mike Helbing. It was originally installed at 1801 S. Indiana Ave. on May 26, 2001 to coincide with Chicago’s Memorial Day parade. Above and Beyond was created over a 2-year period as each dog tag was stamped by hand using a former military Graphotype machine.

  • 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!

  • Inside Ancient Egypt

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Inside Ancient Egypt

    Unwrap the mysteries of this civilization with mummies and more.

    Inside Ancient Egypt is an up-close look at the daily lives of ancient Egyptians—as well as how they thought about death.

    Enter through a three-story replica of a mastaba, a type of ancient Egyptian tomb, that houses two authentic chamber rooms from the burial site of 5th Dynasty Egyptian Pharaoh Unis’s son Unis-Ankh.

  • D-Day Warriors: American Indians in the Military

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    D-Day Warriors: American Indians in the Military

    On June 6, 1944, Charles Shay landed on Omaha Beach in Normandy, France. As a young Army medic, he was one of an estimated 500 American Indian soldiers who participated in the D-Day invasion to retake France in the fight against Nazi Germany.

    In D-Day Warriors: American Indians in the Military, hear Shay’s story and explore the important role that Native servicemen and servicewomen continue to play in the armed forces.

  • Play It Safe

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Play It Safe

    Step into the boots of a firefighter and discover a whole new way to Play It Safe. Put on authentic gear, slide down the pole, drive the truck, and put out the “fire.” Practice escaping from the smoke-filled “Get Low and Go” bedroom. This exhibit is too important — and fun — to miss!

  • Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E Chicago Ave
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Virgil Abloh: “Figures of Speech”

    The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents Virgil Abloh: "Figures of Speech," the first museum exhibition devoted to the work of the genre-bending artist and designer Virgil Abloh (American, b. 1980). Abloh pioneers a practice that cuts across media and connects visual artists, musicians, graphic designers, fashion designers, and architects.

    Abloh cultivated an interest in design and music at an early age, finding inspiration in the urban culture of Chicago. While pursuing a master’s degree in architecture from the Illinois Institute of Technology, he connected with Kanye West and joined West’s creative team to work on album covers, concert designs, and merchandising. In 2013, Abloh founded his stand-alone fashion brand Off-White™ in Milan, Italy, and in 2018 assumed the position of artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear.

  • Prisoner of Love

    Museum of Contemporary Art
    220 E. Chicago Ave.
    Chicago, IL 60611
    Prisoner of Love

    Love Is The Message, The Message Is Death, by acclaimed artist and filmmaker Arthur Jafa, is a multilayered seven-minute montage of the black experience in America. The video tells a story of trauma and transcendence in a flurry of footage—from historic speeches by Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama, to clips of cultural icons Beyoncé and Notorious B.I.G., to flashes of concerts, home movies, news footage, music videos, and sports matches—all set to the soaring gospel tones of Kanye West's Ultralight Beam. Centered around this filmic journey, the exhibition features a rotating body of work from the MCA's collection that complements Jafa's video and captures some of the same intense emotions about life in America today. Powerful, moving works by artists such as Deana Lawson, Glenn Ligon, Kerry James Marshall, Marilyn Minter, Robert Mapplethorpe, and Carrie Mae Weems alternate throughout the run of the show, alongside the mainstay of Bruce Nauman’s iconic Life, Death, Hate, Pleasure, Pain.

    The exhibition is curated by Naomi Beckwith, Manilow Senior Curator. It is presented in the Sylvia Neil and Daniel Fischel Galleries on the museum's second floor.

  • 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.

  • Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Wildlife Photographer of the Year

    From simmering volcanoes to the whiskers on a walrus, experience the beauty and intrigue of our natural world.

    Wildlife Photographer of the Year, produced by the Natural History Museum in London, showcases 100 of the world’s best nature photographs. An international panel of experts selected these images from over 45,000 entries.

    Striking scenes of diverse animal life and changing landscapes come into focus on immersive light panels. Trek through China’s mountains among endangered monkeys and glimpse owls in a bustling Indian city. Experience the many sides of life in the wild—at times surprising and even devastating, but also heartwarming and humorous.   

  • Kids Town

    Chicago Children’s Museum
    700 East Grand Avenue
    Chicago, IL 60611-3428
    Kids Town

    Shop in the grocery store, change a tire, wash the car, and drive a CTA bus in this cityscape built just for kids. This urban neighborhood promotes role-playing, problem-solving, emerging literacy, and creative exploration through fun and absorbing activities. Nurse a baby or relax with a toddler in the semi-private Caregiver Nook. Includes special area for babies and toddlers.

  • Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star

    Museum of Contemporary Photography
    600 S Michigan Ave
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star

    The exhibition Birmingham, Alabama, 1963: Dawoud Bey/Black Star responds to the September 15, 1963 bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham, Alabama—an event that resulted in six deaths of black children by white supremacists. Organized by Dr. Gaëlle Morel, exhibitions curator at the Ryerson Image Centre in Toronto, the exhibition pairs Dawoud Bey’s (American, b. 1953) The Birmingham Project (2012) with a selection of prints from the Black Star archive of photojournalism, providing a historical context for the bombing, and revealing the political and social turmoil that placed the American Civil Rights Movement in the media spotlight during the months leading up to the explosion. Commissioned by the Birmingham Museum of Art, Bey’s The Birmingham Project was created in memory of the children who were killed in Birmingham that day, nearing the 50th anniversary of the tragedy. Each diptych features a portrait of a child at the exact age of one killed in 1963 paired with a portrait of an adult at the age the child would have been in the year 2013. Also on view will be Bey’s 9.15.63, a split screen video exploring the social spaces of the black community in Birmingham alongside a route to the 16th Street Baptist church from the vantage point of a child in the back seat of a car.

  • 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!

  • Miracle: A Musical 108 Years in the Making

    ROYAL GEORGE THEATRE MAINSTAGE
    1641 North Halsted St
    Chicago, IL 60614
    Miracle: A Musical 108 Years in the Making

    As Chicagoan as a deep dish pizza or Millennium Park's Bean sculpture, Michael Martinez, Anthony Rizzo and other members of The Chicago Cubs baseball team are one of the finest in the major league. During their historic 2016 season, the North Siders' clinched their first World Series title in 108 years, filling the Windy City with joy, relief and celebratory chaos. Commemorating this auspicious event, Miracle the musical takes a bow at the Royal George Theatre this summer. 

    Directed by local theatermaker Jason Brett and written by librettist Jason Brett and composer Michael Mahler, Miracle follows a northside family with generational ties to the Cubbies. Charlie is the landlord of local watering hole Maggie's Place, but was once an ex-pitcher. Determined to stop his daughter Dani from following in his footsteps, he renounces his Cubs fandom, whilst dreaming of a fresh start -  his wife Sofia drives for Uber to supplement her pittance of a teacher's salary and the bar has racked up unpaid taxes - even if it means tearing down the community's favorite place. All the while, the Cubs go about making their mark on sports history, possibly ushering in a much needed change in Charlie, Sofia and Dani's lives. A little belief goes a long way...

  • Máximo the Titanosaur

    Field Museum
    1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.
    Chicago, IL 60605
    Máximo the Titanosaur

    The titanosaur Patagotitan mayorum is a big deal—literally, the biggest dinosaur that scientists have discovered to date. This long-necked, plant-eating dinosaur lived over 100 million years ago in what is now Patagonia, Argentina. 

    Named Máximo, meaning “maximum” or “most” in Spanish, our titanosaur cast reaches 122 feet across Stanley Field Hall on our main floor and stands 28 feet tall at the head. Modeled from fossil bones excavated in Argentina, this touchable cast conveys the sheer size of the biggest animal ever to live (It’s longer than a blue whale!). Patagotitan weighed about 70 tons in life—that’s as much as 10 African elephants, like the two specimens on display next to Máximo. 

  • The Music Man

    ALBERT GOODMAN THEATER
    170 North Dearborn St
    Chicago, IL 60601
    The Music Man

    When Harold Hill, a charming confidence trickster, arrives in River City, Iowa, he thinks he's got his latest scam, and the takings, in the bag. Little does he know, this reserved little town might just prove to be the last stop of his storied career! A delicious confection of humor, heart and community spirit, don't miss this glorious new production of the classic from The Goodman, directed by Mary Zimmerman.

    A runaway Tony and Grammy-winning success in 1957, Meredith Wilson and Franklin Lacey's musical continues to be enduring popular with audiences today, what with its theme of love and redemption, cast of sunny characters and a score that has now passed into the American Musical Theatre canon. Included are the standards 'Goodnight Someone','Seventy-Six Trombones','Gary, Indiana', and 'Til There Was You' (which was even covered by The Beatles!)

  • JUST US GALS

    Sleeping Village
    3734 W Belmont Ave
    Chicago, IL 60618
    JUST US GALS

    JUST US GALS is a monthly variety show featuring Chicago’s best standup, sketch comedy and indie music. Comedians Clare Austen-Smith, Naomi Spungen and Rima Parikh bring you familiar faces from shows like Netflix’s “Easy” to undiscovered talents of the city’s alt comedy scene, while Kate Barutha (Skip Trace, Maren Celest) curates the music for an evening that feels as much like a show as it does a party.

  • 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.

  • Guards at the Taj

    Steppenwolf Theatre Company
    1650 N. Halsted St.
    Chicago, IL 60614
    Guards at the Taj

    India 1648. The dawn will reveal for the first time the extraordinary beauty of the Taj Mahal, built as a tribute to the ruler who demanded its construction. But for two hapless imperial guards, the morning light brings with it an unspeakable task that will shake their faith in God, the empire and their lifelong friendship. This boldly funny and deeply moving play examines the true meaning of beauty and the cost of transcendence in a world that confuses the value of both.

  • Hamilton

    CIBC Theatre
    17 N State St., Suite 810,
    Chicago, IL 60602
    Hamilton

    HAMILTON is the story of America’s Founding Father Alexander Hamilton, an immigrant from the West Indies who became George Washington’s right-hand man during the Revolutionary War and was the new nation’s first Treasury Secretary. Featuring a score that blends hip-hop, jazz, blues, rap, R&B, and Broadway, HAMILTON is the story of America then, told by America now.