Events, Festivals, Holidays

Things to do in Chicago in February

February 2018
best events in Chicago

Midwest film festival

February 6, 2018

4 miles north

Midwest Independent Film Festival shows films from eight Midwest states the first Tuesday of most months at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema.

Chicago Restaurant Week

February 6 – 8, 2018

Chicago locations

Get a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner at 370 restaurants during Chicago Restaurant Week.

Modern family drama

February 6 – 8, 2018

0.7 miles SW

The Chicago Tribune calls The Humans a “kind, warm, beautifully observed, and deeply moving new play.” It reveals humor and hearbreak shared by a family at Thanksgiving at Cadillac Palace Theatre for age 15+.

Discount tickets $39 to $69.

Free science museum

February 6 – 27, 2018 (Monday to Thursday)

8 miles south

Show Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days. The museum is not free on Fridays, Saturdays, Sundays, or Feb. 19.

Romantic opera

February 7 & 13, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)

1 mile SW

Bellini’s I Puritani is a sweeping historical drama set in 17th-century England, which features some of the most thrilling vocal music ever written, performed by Lyric Opera at the Lyric Opera House.

Discount tickets $78 to $116.

Fringe theater festival

February 7 – 25, 2018

6.5 miles NW

Rhinoceros Theater Festival (Rhinofest) is billed as Chicago’s longest-running fringe festival at Prop Thtr. Choose from dozens of creative new shows for only $12 to $15. Closed Tuesdays.

Blue Man show

February 8, 2018 (8 p.m.)

4.5 miles north

Blue Man Group puts on a colorful show that combines comedy, theater, music, and special effects for all ages at Briar Street Theatre.

Discount tickets $39.

Theater week

February 8 – 18, 2018

Chicago locations

Choose from more than 100 plays that have discount tickets available during Chicago Theatre Week.

Dating drama

February 8 – March 4, 2018

31 miles north

Described as “smart and riveting” by the Chicago TribuneSex With Strangers is about a female author and a male blogger whose private lives become public domain at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest.

Discount tickets $10 to $20.

Slapstick comedy

February 8 – March 17, 2018

26 miles NW

Boeing Boeing is a sexy, funny farce about a playboy dating three stewardesses at once, based on the 1965 movie with Tony Curtis & Jerry Lewis, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights.

Discount tickets $20.

Folk music festival

February 9 – 10, 2018

9 miles south

Celebrate traditional music from around the world in concerts and workshops at University of Chicago Folk Festival at Mandel Hall, 1131 E 57th St.

Valentine’s Day haunted house

February 9 – 10, 2018 (6 to 10 p.m.)

38 miles west

Valentine’s Day in Wonderland features scary characters like the White Rabbit, Mad Hatter, and Queen of Hearts at Basement of the Dead in Aurora.

Chamber music

February 9 & 11, 2018

multiple locations

Trios from the Heart by Rembrandt Chamber Players features works by Barber, Dvorak, and Janacek.

  • Feb. 9 (7:30 p.m.) – Chicago
  • Feb. 11 (3 p.m.) – Evanston

Motorcycle show

February 9 – 11, 2018

17 mile NW

Find sport bikes, dirt bikes, scooters, ATVs, expert advice, live entertainment, and family activities at the International Motorcycle Show in the Rosemont convention center.

Valentine’s Day for families

February 9 – 14, 2018

Chicago locations

Enjoy a Valentine’s dance, party, or craft-making project thanks to the Chicago Park District.

Valentine’s Day dance class

February 9 & 14, 2018

6.4 miles NW

Take your sweetie to Valentine’s Day Dirty Dancing Party for a beginner’s class followed by open dancing, hors d’oeuvres, and BYOB at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+. Only one ticket is required per couple.

Harry Potter parody

February 9 – 25, 2018

0.8 miles north

Potted Potter is a live show with minimal props that crams all 7 Harry Pottery books into 70 goofy minutes at Broadway Playhouse.

Discount tickets $35 to $49.

Iranian films

February 9 – March 1, 2018

0.5 miles SW

The Festival of Films from Iran showcases new films by Iranians at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Beer festival

February 10, 2018 (noon to 4 p.m.)

0.6 miles NW

Bundle up to sample strong winter ales on the rooftop of Rock Bottom Brewery with appetizers at Polar Beer Festival for age 21+. A warming area will be available.

Free Mardi Gras show

February 10, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)

1.3 miles east

Global Connections: Internationial Carnivale Celebration features six bands performing with dancers from Brazil, the Caribbean, Italy, and New Orleans, plus food and drink for sale in the Aon Grand Ballroom on Navy Pier. Free.

Run in your underwear

February 10, 2018 (12 to 4 p.m.)

1.7 miles north

Cupid’s Undie Run includes a half-naked run through the streets and a party at John Barleycorn on N. Clark Street to support charity. The 15-minute run starts at 2 p.m. Must be age 21+.

Valentine’s Day humor

February 10, 2018

3.7 miles north

Adults tell stories about their lives and share embarrassing childhood artifacts (diaries, letters, lyrics, poems, and home movies) at Mortified Doomed Valentine Show at Lincoln Hall, 2424 N Lincoln Avenue, for age 21+.

Valentine’s Day pub crawl

February 10, 2018 (8 to 11 p.m.)

4 miles north

Your ticket to Screw Cupid Pub Crawl includes drinks and food buffets at four bars, plus a transportation trolley in Lincoln Park for age 21+.

Brazilian Mardi Gras

February 10, 2018 (9 p.m.)

6.5 miles NW

Dance until 2:30 a.m. to Brazilian music and watch dancers in colorful costumes perform at Carnaval by Chicago Samba at Logan Square Auditorium.

Bar crawl in pajamas

February 10, 2018

7.2 miles north

Wear your favorite PJs to the The Pajama Bar Crawl, which includes a breakfast buffet and drink specials at five bars in Wrigleyville for age 21+.

Pizza party

February 10, 2018 (1 and 6 p.m.)

7.5 miles north

Chicago Pizza Party has a $25 cover charge, $2 pizza from 20 restaurants, beer, wine, fun games, and DJ music at Ravenswood Event Center. The evening session is for age 21+.

Adult art tour

February 10 – 11, 2018 (1 p.m.)

1 mile south

Take an unblushing look at nudity in art on the Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt at the Art Institute of Chicago. No knowledge of art is required.

Valentine’s Day at the zoo

February 10 – 11, 2018

14 miles SW

Both events are in the Discovery Center at Brookfield Zoo and include admission to the zoo.

  • Feb. 10 – Valentine’s Dinner is a four-course meal & cocktail reception with live music for $225/couple.
  • Feb. 11 – Valentine’s Brunch is a buffet with eggs Benedict, omelettes, a carving station, seafood, salad, and desserts for $47 each.

Adult variety show

February 10 & 16, 2018

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, song, and variety acts for age 21+ Fridays and Saturdays at Uptown Underground.

Discount tickets $12 to $14.

Auto show

February 10 – 19, 2018

3 miles south

Admire nearly 1,000 new vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show, billed as the nation’s largest at McCormick Place convention center.

Dating comedy

February 10 – 24, 2018 (Saturdays)

7.5 miles north

Don’t confuse Love Me Tinder with the song “Love Me Tender.” This improvised comedy show at Laugh Out Loud Chicago pokes fun at the the modern world of romance that’s changed so radically since Elvis sang his love song. The 7:30 p.m. show is OK for all ages.

Discount tickets $10.

Shakespeare play

February 10 – 25, 2018

8 miles north

Winter’s Tale is Shakespeare’s fevered, fantastical meditation on love, jealousy, and redemption, performed with live music in Ravenswood.

Discount tickets $10.

Orchid Show

February 10 – March 25, 2018

24 miles north

See 10,000 blooms at the Orchid Show, which has a photographer hour (Thursdays 8:15 a.m.), an orchid sale (March 10 & 11), and an Evening with Orchidscocktail tasting (March 7) at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Classical music in River Forest

February 11, 2018 (3 or 4 p.m.)

14 miles west

Folk Tales & Legends features works by Dvorak, Bruch, Canteloube, and Ravel, performed by The Symphony of Oak Park & River Forest in Lund Auditorium. An optional pre-show lecture begins at 3 p.m.

Discount tickets $14 ($8 to age 21).

Valentine’s Day dance class

February 14, 16, 17, 2018

7.5 miles north

Hot Miami Nights includes hors d’oeuvres, sparkling wine, a 90-minute rumba & salsa dance class, and dance time at Ballroom Dance Chicago on North Ravenswood Avenue. Beginners are welcome.

Adult night at the planetarium

February 15, 2018 (6 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles SE

Adler After Dark offers open access, unlimited shows, entertainment, and no-host bars at Adler Planetarium for age 21+. The February theme is traveling to Mars.

RV and camping show

February 15 – 18, 2018

17 mile NW

Check out 400 recreational vehicles and shop from 20 dealers at the Chicago RV & Camping Show at the Rosemont convention center.

Science fiction convention

February 15 – 18, 2018

30 miles NW

Capricon celebrates fantasy and science fiction in art, music, games, theater, and film at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling.

Racy movies

February 16 – 17, 2018 (7 & 9:30 p.m.)

6 miles north

Hump! is a collection of 18 five-minute movies by amateurs of all persuasions at Music Box Theatre.

Funny murder mystery

February 16 – March 3, 2018

12.1 miles SW

Miss Maple invites detective writers to a party at eerie Ravenswood Manor on Turkey Island, where a murder happens (surprise!) and must be solved in The Butler Did It, a spoof of every English mystery play ever written, at Jedlicka Performing Arts Center in Cicero.

Discount tickets $10.

Cider tasting

February 17, 2018 (11 a.m. & 4 p.m.)

1 mile east

Try 150 artisanal ciders from throughout the world with food samples during Cider Summit Chicago in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier for age 21+.

Mardi Gras pub crawl

February 17, 2018 (12 to 9 p.m.)

6 miles north

You get a T-shirt to wear and collect Mardi Gras beads from bars at the annual BeadQuest in Wrigleyville.

Diving expo

February 17 – 18, 2018

14.5 miles NW

Our World Underwater offers workshops for divers, films, diving equipment, travel services, and a kids’ area at the Chicago Marriott O’Hare.

Volunteer expo

February 18, 2018

3 miles north

Connect with 85 organizations that need your help at Chicago Volunteer Expo in the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Free.

Chinese New Year dinner

February 20, 2018 (6 p.m.)

2.7 miles south

Wear red to the $75 Chinese Lunar New Year Dinnerfeaturing 12 courses of traditional new year’s dishes and a lion dance in Chinatown.

Royal drama

February 21 – April 15, 2018

1.3 miles east

The fate of England hangs in the balance as Protestant Elizabeth and Catholic Mary conspire against one another for the throne in an updated version of Mary Stuart at Chicago Shakespeare Theater on Navy Pier.

Discount tickets $24 to $39.

Party for a cause

February 23, 2018 (8 p.m.)

1.7 miles west

Tickled Pink for Bright Pink feature chef stations from 50 restaurants, live music, dancing, and an open bar at Morgan MFG to help women with cancer.

Underground art show

February 23 – 24, 2018 (8 p.m.)

3 miles south

The Chicago Pancakes & Booze Art Show is a traveling exhibition by 100 artists, with free pancakes, DJ music, live body painting, and a bar at Reggie’s Chicago for age 21+. Pay cash at the door or buy a line-jumper ticket online.

Golf show

February 23 – 25, 2018

17 mile NW

Hit balls with this year’s new clubs, take one-on-one full swing and putting lessons from pros, hear presentations, and shop for gear at the Chicago Golf Show at the Rosemont convention center.

Chinese New Year show

February 24, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)

1.3 miles east

Global Connections:Chinese New Year features performances of lion dancing, martial arts, kung fu, drumming, traditional dance, and music in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Free.

Northerly Island adventure

February 24, 2018 (12 to 4 p.m.)

3 miles south

See birds of prey and wolves, hear folk music and a storyteller, walk on snowshoes (if there’s snow), make a craft, and have cocoa (while it lasts) at Polar Adventure Days on three dates: Dec. 16, 2017; Jan. 20, 2018; Feb. 24, 2018. Free except parking.

Tasting event

February 24, 2018 (12 and 3:30 p.m.)

3 miles NW

Chicago Whiskey & Wine Festival is a whiskey and wine tasting event at Joe’s Bar for age 21+.

Craft beer tasting

February 24, 2018

32 miles south

A ticket to Winter Solstice Craft Beer Fest gets you beer, bourbon, and food samples, with 100 beers for sale and live music at Blarney Stone Pub, Oak Forest.

Ale festival

February 24, 2018

41 miles SW

Don a heavy winter parka to enjoy 18 samples from among 150 craft beers, with live music and food vendors in tents on the frozen tundra of Frontier Park at Naperville Ale Fest – Winter Edition for age 21+.

Beer festival

February 24 – 25, 2018

5.9 miles north

A ticket to Frost Fest Craft Beer Festival includes 10 samples of craft beer, spirits, and cider in a heated tent at 3514 N. Halsted Street for age 21+.

Family theater

February 24 – May 12, 2018

34 miles north

A gullible king buys magical clothes “invisible to fools” and only a young boy can teach him an important lesson about outward appearance in The Emperor’s New Clothes at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.

Discount tickets $9.

Chinese New Year parade

February 25, 2018 (1 to 3 p.m.)

3.6 miles south

Lunar New Year Parade features lion and dragon dances, marching bands, and floats on S. Wentworth Avenue (from 24th Street to Cermak Road). Free.

Dark beer festival

February 25, 2018 (12 to 5 p.m.)

3.5 miles NW

Your ticket to Darkside includes 40 ounces of dark beer from a dozen breweries, with vintage arcade games at Emporium Arcade Bar.

Soccer lunch

February 26, 2018

0.2 miles SE

The $150 Season Kickoff Luncheon “connects supporters, first team players and coaches, and club partners to celebrate a new season and support the award-winning youth development initiatives of the Chicago Fire Foundation” at Hyatt Regency Chicago.

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Culture & Arts Videos, Festivals, Holidays

Best places to get your Christmas lights fix in Chi-Town

As if Chicago wasn’t already dazzling enough, the holiday season will take the urban light show up a notch. From the awe-inspiring Magnificent Mile Lights Festival to the animal-centered Lincoln Park ZooLights, the city abounds in opportunities to rekindle the Christmas spirit even if you’re well past the age of believing in Santa. Here is a list of the best places to be wowed.

(Note: Don’t forget your mittens; the lights might warm up your heart, but they won’t protect your hands from freezing.)

 

  • Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

When you live in a city famous for its grueling blizzards, you make the most out of every street celebration while you can still go outside without a face mask.

Last night’s ceremony is yet another proof of Chicagoans “go big or go home” approach to the holiday season. According to organisers, over 1,000,000 lights on 200 trees along North Michigan Avenue, Chicago’s largest shopping district, were lit up and a Disney-like world came into existence. The crowds were then treated with a mesmerising firework show over the Chicago river that literally turned the night into day.

 

  • Millennium Park Christmas Tree

The notorious “Cloud Gate,” aka “The Bean” just got some serious competition. Chicago’s 102nd Christmas Tree will be relocated from Daley Plaza in the Loop, its usual spot for 50 years, to Millennium Park. This way, locals and tourists alike will get the biggest bang for their (travel) buck: an ice-skating rink, a jaw-dropping sculpture and a 63-foot worth of lights. The tree, brought to life Tuesday, November 24, at 5.30 p.m., will rapidly become everyone’s selfie sidekick.

 

  • Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest

Unless you have relatives living at the North Pole, this is the closest you’ll get to Santa’s home. Scheduled for December 5, 2015 through January 10, 2016, the Winter WonderFest includes 24 rides such as a an indoor Ferris Wheel and a Reindeer Train Express. But the real show-stopper in addition to nearly 500 trees decorated with 25,000 ornaments is a 42-foot giant tree adorned with sparkling lights. (You might want to bring sunglasses.) And the best part? The general admission is $10, a small price to pay compared to the cost of a plane ticket to Alaska.

 

  • Lincoln Park ZooLights

What happens when a free admission zoo gets blanketed into a sheet of multi-colored lights? Well, even as an adult, you can’t help but think that Madagascar’s creators were onto something: animals have the ability to speak.

Sweet treats, live ice carving and rides on the Lionel Train Adventure are just a couple of things that keep the magic alive for little ones. There’s a better surprise for grown-ups: BrewLights, a beer-tasting event that allows participants to sample a dozen of different draft beers. The ZooLights  more than two million   will shine Friday to Sunday, from November 27 until December 13, and then nightly until January 13.

 

  • The Buckingham Fountain

Located in the heart of Grant Park, this architectural jewel seems, particularly at night, plucked from a Christmas postcard. Surrounded by skyscrapers and with more than 800 shimmering lights accompanied by music, the fountain offers a hypnotizing spectacle. While its powerful glow can be hard to capture on camera, it makes for an unforgettable memory. Fun fact: the fountain was featured in several movies including “Married…with children.”

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Events, Festivals

7 Top Things to Do this November in Chicago

November is here — and so are the fun festivities leading into the holiday season. From exhibits to festivals, and special events to outdoor activities, here are the top things we’re most looking forward to this month in Chicago.

 

Bookmark these 7 best things to do this November…

 

BeerHoptacular

BeerHoptacular is Chicago’s original craft beer festival with over 150 craft beers, now in its seventh annual celebration on November 4.

BeerHoptacular.com

 

Ice Skating at Millennium Park

Grab some skates and hit the ice at Millennium Park’s rink, opening for the season beginning November 17 (weather permitting).

Millennium Park McCormick Tribune Ice Rink

 

Holiday Chocolate Show

Visit the West Loop on November 11 for chocolate demos, samples and gifts, with proceeds benefitting local children’s charity.

Holiday Chocolate Show

 

Christkindlmarket

One of Chicago’s premier winter events, Christkindlmarket is a traditional German holiday market held at Daley Plaza — this year opening November 17.

Christkindlmarket.com

 

Saturday Night Live: The Experience

See an entire exhibit dedicated to the late night comedy show, Saturday Night Live — complete with memorabilia from SNL’s 40 year history, from Matt Foley to Mary Catherine Gallagher.

SNLtheExhibition.com

 

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

An annual event celebrated the Saturday before Thanksgiving, nearly one million lights illuminate Mag Mile along Michigan Avenue — marking the unofficial start to the holidays.

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

 

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo

An attraction for Chicagoans each year, ZooLights in Lincoln Park Zoo is open and free for all. Walk through the grounds of Lincoln Park, entirely lit by colorful Christmas lights and sounds of music.

LPzoo.org

 

What are you most looking forward to this November?

 

 

 

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