Summer is the best season in Chicago, and not just because it’s no longer covered in snow or bitterly cold. Chicago residents have a lot to look forward to between tons of music and food festivals. If you’re anxious to get your groove on, or eat some delicious food, here are some upcoming festivals in Chicago, happening between April and June.
Red Line Tap, 7006 N. Glenwood Ave
Friday April 21, 2017 to Saturday April 29, 2017
The International Pop Overthrow (IPO) is a pop music festival that has been held in Los Angeles for the past 18 years, and has branched out to many different locations, including Chicago, San Diego, Vancouver, Liverpool, and Stockholm. The event features 25 to 180 of the best global pop bands. This year, IPO up-and-coming bands include Mike Vanderbilt & the Suburban Garage Sound, The Jeremy Band, Big Plastic Buddha and many more.
McGee’s Tavern & Grille, 950 West Webster Avenue, Chicago, IL 60614
Tickets: $200 for 4 people
Saturday, May 20, 2017 (11am to 3pm)
McGee’s is celebrating the 28th installment of its much-loved Cajun party by bringing in 2,500 lbs of fresh crawfish straight from the bayou. The crawfish are then served up with their famous jambalaya & gumbo, free flowing all day (or until supplies last)! Paired with beverage specials and your favorite Zydeco jams, it’ll be an event you don’t want to miss!
Ashland Ave. & W. 18th St, Chicago IL
Friday May 26, 2017 (5pm to 10pm) to Sunday May 28, 2017 (noon to 9pm)
Prepare for a Mexican food festival like no other! Mole de Mayo pits different chefs from all over Chicago against each other in a competition to determine whose version of this Mexican staple is truly the best. Besides an intense focus on mole, this summer 2017 Chicago food festival features an open air mercado (market) filled with local food vendors and crafters, 2 stages of live music, and a lucha libre wrestling ring at the heart of it all.
Vic Theatre, 3145 N Sheffield Ave, Chicago
Suggested donation: $5
Saturday May 27, 2017 to Sunday May 28, 2017 (noon to 10pm)
Now on its 33rd year, the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival kicks off Chicago’s outdoor festival season, and will make your Memorial Day weekend one you won’t forget. Showcasing the region’s favorite tribute bands such as Boy Band Review, Wedding Banned, One Night Band and Eliminator, the event is free but requests a $5 donation to benefit Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce.
St. George Greek Orthodox Church, Sheffield between Diversey & Schubert, Chicago
Friday June 2, 2017 (5pm to 11pm) to Sunday June 4, 2017 (noon to 10pm)
Yiasou! Chicagoans, prepare for a weekend of anything and everything Greek as the St. George Greek Orthodox Church brings you a taste of Greece at their Annual Greek Fest! Feast on some Gyros, Tzatziki, Moussaka and more while experiencing the Greek filoxenia (hospitality), along with some great music and dancing.
Chicago Cultural Center and Millennium Park
Friday June 2, 2017 to Saturday June 3, 2017, noon to 8:30pm
The Chicago Gospel Festival celebrates how Gospel music came together in Chicago, from its ceremonial music origins in Africa, hymns of the South ,and jazz/blues of the North. Now in its 32nd year, the festival celebrates the love for joyous congregational singing of the African Americans that migrated to Chicago from the South. This year’s headliners include The Rance Allen Group, Jonathan McReynolds, and VaShawn Mitchell.
Lincoln / Irving Park / Damen
Tickets: $10 suggested donation at the gate ($20 per family)
Friday June 9, 2017 (5pm to 10pm) to Sunday June 11, 2017 (noon to 10pm)
Ribfest Chicago, named one of the 10 best food fests by USA Today, will be holding their 19th annual installment in 2017. Enjoy finger lickin’ good ribs, accompanied by 20 hours of live music from premier touring bands of different genres: everything from honky tonk to indie to rock. Stick around for Ribmania VIII, the rib eating contest, to see who will reign supreme!
Addams-Medill Park Chicago
Tickets start at $69
Friday June 9, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017
There are tons of summer music festivals in Chicago, and Spring Awakening is one that’s highly anticipated each year. This gigantic congregation of electronic dance music (EDM) lovers features 5 stages and 80 DJs/artists over 3 days of nonstop partying! This year’s lineup features headliners like Armin van Buuren, Marshmello, Afrojack, Martin Garrix, and Alesso – to name a few!
Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park, 205 E Randolph St, Chicago
Friday June 9, 2017 to Sunday, June 11, 2017 (11am to 9:30pm)
The world’s largest free blues festival is back this year with even more pizzazz than previous years. This 3 day event, which started in 1984, expects over half a million attendees to show the world why Chicago is the blues capital of the world. Past performers include Ray Charles, Bonnie Raitt, and the late Koko Taylor. This year’s headliners include Texas blues guitarist Gary Clark Jr., Stax Records soul singer-songwriter William Bell, and Ronnie Baker Brooks.
18th Street at Allport, Chicago’s Pilsen neighborhood
Saturday June 10, 2017 to Sunday June 11, 2017, 11am to 10pm
Over 25 Illinois food trucks are rolling out onto Chicago’s Lower West Side for a weekend of good eats and lively beats. The $20 sampler ticket gives you 6 sample sized portions from the food trucks and restaurants onsite, and samples from other local vendors. Other food and beverages are also available at their regular prices. A $5 optional donation benefits four different non-profit organizations.
Huntington Bank Pavilion, 1300 S Linn White Dr, Chicago
Tickets: $99.50 to $599.50
Friday June 23, 2017 to Sunday June 25, 2017 (2pm to 11pm)
Some of country music’s biggest names, including Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts and Little Big Town, will share the stage at the Huntington Bank Pavilion in Chicago’s Northerly Island for the Midwest’s biggest country music festival. Get your tickets on their website, and don’t forget your cowboy hat! Tickets start at $99.50 for a one day pass.
Which one of these Chicago festivals will we be seeing you at? Tweet your excitement at @ParkWhiz!
February in Chicago is perhaps the coldest time of the year, but locals suck it up so that they can enjoy Valentine’s Day in Chicago, out on the town. With so much to do, it’s hard to choose just one thing, but there’s certainly something for everyone!
With any restaurants for this list of Valentine’s Day in Chicago, you’ll want to secure your reservations ASAP, before they fill up. Balena is characterized by simplicity with a little something extra. Situated on the same street as many other of Chicago’s finest restaurants (think Boka), your date will be in for a treat.
Billed by USA Today as the most romantic restaurant in the United States, Geja’s Café is a dimly-lit fondue spot that serves as a romantic date night spot on any day of the year. Special occasions aside, they often run Groupon and in-house deals. Unfortunately, Valentine’s Day is an exception, so prepare yourself for the bill at the end of the night! Make sure to get the flaming chocolate fondue dessert – the perfect finishing touch to a delicious meal and romantic date.
Chef Bruce Sherman produces a menu of delicious organic foods, so you can feel good about anything you consume at North Pond. Though you wouldn’t want to be outside in the February cold, you’ll feel close to nature as the restaurant is just a few feet away from a gorgeous Lincoln Park pond. Obviously, a window table is there way to go if you reserve early enough.
Music Box Theatre
$10, matinee $8 (Mondays $7)
What could be romantic than a dark movie theater, a nontraditional screening, and spending time with your love? Music Box Theatre is no ordinary movie theater – it’s a movie theater that speaks directly to movie lovers. This two-screen cinema shows the latest art-house films and documentaries, and hosts regular director Q&A’s in addition to midnight screenings of cult classics.
$12, seniors: $10, kids ages 3–11: $8; discounts for Chicago residents
Truly, any of the museums in Chicago’s Museum Campus (and others scattered across the city) could make for the perfect Valentine’s Day in Chicago. However, Adler Planetarium boasts a runner-up win for Time Out Chicago Love Chicago Awards in 2016. Playing host to world-class researchers, Adler Planetarium offers the highest quality standards on exhibits and theater presentations. Virtual-reality trips through time and space in the Sky Theater shouldn’t be missed, and make for an interesting twist on typical dinner and a movie dates.
Other Things to Do on Valentine’s Day in Chicago
Hideout Makeout Party
Hideout, River West/West Town
Ok, it’s not as questionable as it sounds, but Hideout certainly likes to push the boundaries. At their 11th annual Hideout Makeout Party (described as “An Evening of Aural Intercourse”), an orchestra of local musicians will be serenading event attendees. Bring a date, or find one there – both couples and singles are welcome!
Date Night at Ignite Glass Studios
Ignite Glass Studios, River West/West Town
$105 per couple
If you and your sweet thang enjoy a more non-traditional date night, then Ignite Glass Studios may have the perfect Valentine’s Day in Chicago date for you!
Give glassblowing a try with this hands-on, after-hours workshop. Create a special keepsake (a single glass heart) to commemorate your special day together, and maybe even discover a new talent! To make it even more enjoyable, sparkling wine and chocolates are included.
#DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment
UP Comedy Club, Lincoln Park
Friday January 13 2017 – Sunday May 28 2017
Chicago is well-known for it’s comedy and improv shows, so you know you’re in for a treat with this comedy show that takes aim at popular online dating apps. If you met your sweetie on Tinder, Bumble, or whatever the kids are using these days, it can be a fun way to laugh at yourselves.
With no shortage of things to do on Valentine’s Day in Chicago, take the time to plan something extra special for the person you hold closest to your heart.
Over to you
And if you have additional suggestions for Valentine’s Day in Chicago, we’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below – or tweet at @ParkWhiz.
There are so many things to do during the holiday in Chicago, it’s actually quite hard to pick between all the different options! Throw in friend and family holiday visits, and your winter calendar quickly fills up. If you have some time to spare, you’ll want to check out Chicago’s downtown and neighborhood events, including tree lighting, parades, ice skating, and shopping!
Here are some can’t miss things to do during the holiday in Chicago.
Daley Plaza (Chicago Loop)
November 18 – December 24, 2016
Christkindlmarket is a favorite thing to do during the holiday in Chicago by residents and tourists, alike. Nestled between Dearborn, Washington, and Clark Street is a seasonal Christmas market, inspired by the Nuremberg Christmas Market in Germany. It’s the perfect place to find seasonal decorations, indulge in pastries (and other hearty fare), and drink mulled wine!
ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo
November 25, 2016 – January 1, 2017
Lincoln Park Zoo is a great place to bring the whole family, any time during the year. But during the holiday season, this lakefront zoo transforms itself into a winter wonderland. Like the zoo, it’s free to attend. Unlike normal zoo functions, ZooLights boasts more than two million lights (with animal designs!), holiday crafts, and sweet treats.
Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
December 2, 2016 – January 8, 2017
You’ll want to bring your kids to the indoor playground at Navy Pier’s Winter WonderFest! There are almost too many activities to choose from, including:
- An ice skating rink
- Ferris wheel
- Inflatable slides
In addition to a number of exciting activities, Winter WonderFest also has a number of holiday decorations in the spirit of the season.
Ice Skating in Millennium Park (The McCormick Tribune Ice Rink)
Friday November 18 2016 – Monday March 6 2017
Millennium Park has it all:
- Free use of ice rink (ice skates available to rent)
- Amazing views of the Chicago skyline
- Another ice rink closeby! (Maggie Daley Park)
Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park
Maggie Daley Park
Opens in mid-November through March
Just around the corner from Millennium Park’s ice skating rink is another rink at Maggie Daley Park. Like Millennium Park, admission is free. Skate rentals are $12, and lockers are $2. Instead of a rectangular shape, Maggie Daley Park has an ice ribbon, reminiscent of a Mario Kart track. This ice rink can accomodate a whooping 700 skaters at a time.
Lincoln Park Zoo
Friday November 25 2016 – Sunday February 26 2017
There’s so much to do at Lincoln Park Zoo during the holidays! Before you check out ZooLights, make sure to check out Lincoln Park Zoo’s ice rink. Admission is $5, with a $5 skate rental. Relax and warm up in the Main Barn, which will be open with concessions!
Other Events and Activities
A Christmas Carol
170 N Dearborn St
Wednesday December 7 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
This annual production of A Christmas Carol is in its 38th year! Bring your family to enjoy this Charles Dickens classic.
A Charlie Brown Christmas
175 E Chestnut St Chicago
Saturday December 10 2016 – Sunday January 8 2017
A Charlie Brown Christmas is a holiday production that your kids will actually appreciate you taking them to. Emerald City Theater and Broadway in Chicago have partnered together to bring this classic TV special to life, which teaches kids about the true meaning of Christmas.
2257 N Lincoln Ave Chicago
Thursday December 8 2016 – Saturday December 31 2016
Check out American Blues Theater’s live radio play, based on the Frank Capra classic. It’s a Wonderful Life is a holiday tradition in Chicago, complete with 1940-style commercials for local sponsors.
Are you excited about all these things to do during the holiday in Chicago? Or have anything fun you’d add to this list? Let us know in the comments!
Across the United States, one of the things that Americans look forward to in the Fall is Thanksgiving dinner, and the festivities that bring families together. In Chicago, people also look forward to a particular event just hours before dinner – the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.
If you’ve never seen it before, you should know that the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade is characterized by a 50-foot helium-filled turkey balloon, joined by Ronald McDonald and friends along historic State Street downtown. You may also be interested to know that the parade was originally called “Christmas Caravan” back in the 1930s. The original purpose of the parade was to uplift those suffering job loss and a general negative atmosphere during the Great Depression.
Thanks to plenty of actual Christmas events and celebrations, today’s parade is 100% focused on Thanksgiving, and the holiday season in a more general sense. This year, parade organizers are expecting 5000 participants to get involved with the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade – 1300 of which will be volunteering.
If you’re participating in the parade, make sure to DVR the telecast on WGN-TV so you can relive your TV appearance!
What to Expect at the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade
This year Chicago’s Thanksgiving Day Parade goes from 8-11am on November 24, 2016. The parade is held on State Street, and progresses from Congress to Randolph.
Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade Route
Just as with many other events in Chicago, the earlier you show up – the better. If the weather is especially nice, more people will make sure to come in person, and spots along the parade route will be scarce. The most devoted Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade attendees tend to show up before 6-7am.
Best places to watch
Avoid the crowds. Anywhere along State Street is a great place to watch the parade, but you can also watch the parade from a less crowded area at State and Adams. As a general rule, the further north you go in relation to the parade route, the busier you can expect the route to be.
Parade formation. Floats, assemble! If you want to see the formation and start of the parade, head to the east side of State Street between Congress and Harrison.
View the dancing balloons. If you’re most interested in seeing the parade balloon dances, go to any corner of State and Van Buren.
Who will be in marching along the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade route?
First off, you’ll hear music from multiple local high school bands. Second, there will be no shortage of horses, thanks to several unique equestrian units. Honored guests include Miss Illinois & Miss Illinois Teen, Miss Chicago/Windy City/Gold Coast, and the Harlem Globetrotters. Of course, local businesses and organizations will be adding their own unique color and life to the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Are you excited for the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade? We hope to see you there!
If you love getting involved with Chicago’s iconic events as a spectator or as a participant, you’re sure to be pumped for the upcoming Bank of America Chicago Marathon. We’re in awe of those who have trained so hard to get to this point, and will be cheering them on… while sitting in a comfortable chair, with snacks and other goodies nearby.
Here’s all the ParkWhizdom you’ll ever need regarding the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, and how to enjoy it whether you’re running your heart out or sitting on the sidelines eating a donut.
Bank of America Chicago Marathon: Basic Information
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon is one of six World Marathon Majors, with sister races in Boston, New York, London, Berlin and Tokyo. Runners come from all 50 states and over 100 countries to compete (and complete) this bucket list race.
This year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon takes place on October 9, 2016. Start corrals and other pre-race amenities are in Grant Park.
Here’s the full schedule of events for the weekend:
Friday, October 7
Abbott Health & Fitness Expo; Packet pick-up
McCormick Place; Lakeside Center, Hall D
9 a.m. – 8 p.m.
Saturday, October 8
International Chicago 5K
Abbott Health & Fitness Expo; Packet pick-up
McCormick Place; Lakeside Center, Hall D
9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
Sunday, October 9
Grant Park, Chicago
5:30 a.m. – Gear check opens
5:30 a.m. – Start corrals open
7:20 a.m. – Wheelchair Start
7:22 a.m. – Handcycle Start
7:23 a.m. – Athletes with Disabilities Start
7:30 a.m. – Wave 1 Start
8 a.m. – Wave 2 Start
Bank of America Chicago Marathon 27th Mile Post-Race Party
Grant Park, Butler Field
9 a.m. – 3:30 p.m.
Times are subject to change.
For more information, visit the official website.
Unfortunately, general spectators won’t have access to race start and finish areas within Grant Park on the race day. These areas are only open to:
- participants with event-issued bib numbers
- event staff (with proper credentials)
- ticketed guests
But there are certainly a great number of spectacular viewing options. Want to see off a loved one? Make sure to register to escort your runner to the start line, or greet them at the finish line. For everyone else, find a place to show your support that doesn’t get in the way of race proceedings. You may just opt to meet your runner at the 27th Mile Post-Race Party in Grant Park’s Butler Field.
A couple other recommendations for spectator viewing areas:
- To watch runners closest to the start line, a best bet is Grand Avenue, between Columbus Drive and State Street, near Mile 1, or anywhere along State Street, between Grand Avenue and Jackson Boulevard
- To watch runners closest to the finish line, go to the Bank of America Cheer Zone at Michigan Avenue and Roosevelt Road
Another option for seeing your runner in action is to track their progress through the Bank of America Chicago Marathon runner tracking. You’ll be able to predict at what time they’ll reach a certain area based on their pace and checkpoints. Please note that this method requires a little bit of pre-planning and coordination!
During the Bank of America Chicago Marathon, approximately 45,000 runners will run through the streets of Chicago. The great thing about the 26.2 mile course is that runners will make their way through every major Chicago neighborhood, with mini-celebrations throughout specific to whatever neighborhood they’re currently running through. What’s not so great? Already awful Chicago traffic becomes worse with street closure confusion. Take the time to figure out where to park ahead of the event, and take note of street closure information, with specific details available on the Bank of America Chicago Marathon website.
No Parking Zones along the course are enforced until 1:00 AM on Sunday, October 11. Street closures along the course will be enforced from 7:00 AM and 3:00 PM on race day. With that, city streets will reopen shortly after the final runners have finished the race. Make sure not to block (or attempt to block) the race course at any given time!
We have tons of parking options near hotels and the course. Make plans now so you can enjoy yourself on race day, whether you are aiming for a new personal best or walking around with a sandwich.
You deserve a break, and luckily Labor Day is right around the corner. Here are some of our top picks for Labor Day activities in Chicago, including the weekend before!
Chicago Jazz Festival
Chicago’s oldest free lakefront music festivals happens to fall on Labor Day weekend. The 38th year of this festival kicks off with an afternoon full of live performances, all at the Chicago Cultural Center.
Visit Chicago’s Grant Park to take part in expressive art forms practiced around the world. There are free dance lessons and different live bands all on an outdoor dance floor, all summer long!
North Coast Music Festival
You’ll need a full weekend to make the most out of (and recover from) this music festival. Experience an eclectic mix of bands from various genres in Union Park. Headliners include Odesza, Bassnectar and Zedd.
African Festival of the Arts
Watch as Washington Park is transformed into a lively bazaar, complete with handcrafted artwork, vibrant musical performances, authentic cuisine and so much more. Activities are family fun and kid friendly!
Taste of Polonia
Celebrate all things Polish in Jefferson Park. Chicago has a huge Polish community!
Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
If you haven’t yet been to Navy Pier, their spectacular fireworks are a pretty good excuse to make your way through the tourist traffic.
Great American Lobster Fest
Another reason to check out Navy Pier, even if you’re a Chicago local? Their seafood feast set right on the waterfront. Yum!
Black Harvest Film Festival
September 1 (begins Aug. 5)
The Black Harvest Film Festival celebrates the stories of the black experience. Take in dozens of films at Gene Siskel Film Center during this event.
September 1 – 4 (begins Aug. 30)
Have you seen Kinky Boots yet? It’s based on a true story about a shoe factory owner and a drag queen. This Broadway musical’s joyful score was created by Cyndi Lauper.
August 29 – September 29
Do you love old-school magic shows? Check out Chicago Magic Lounge with close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts. It all takes place at the at beautiful Uptown Underground venue.
Summer WingFest –
What could be a better way to spend Labor Day in Chicago than by binging on chicken wings? The Summer WingFest offers unlimited restaurant wings, live music, outdoor games, a vendor market, craft beer, and more!
Take in some art, history, and culture with various Chicago museum exhibits during Labor Day in Chicago:
Amphibians and Stingray Touch – Shedd Aquarium
Brick by Brick – Museum of Science and Industry
China’s First Emperor and His Terracotta Warriors – The Field Museum
Lincoln’s Undying Words – Chicago History Museum
Zoom Room – Chicago Children’s Museum
Whether you want to take in some culture at the museum or binge eat delicious fatty foods, you won’t be bored this Labor Day. Make the most of your extra day off with these Labor Day activities in Chicago. Where will you be on your day off?
Chicago plays host to many various types of museums. We have the best museum in the world – The Art Institute of Chicago. We have the incredible Adler Planetarium, fun Shedd Aquarium, and educational Field Museum. But there’s so much more this city has to offer, with something for every unique taste!
Here are some of the most offbeat Chicago museums.
International Museum of Surgical Science
The International Museum of Surgical Science may in fact be one of the most offbeat museums in the United States – not just one of the most offbeat Chicago museums. This museum educates visitors through many various exhibits – some more macabre than others. You really have to see it to believe it, and most people who’ve gone give it a positive rating.
Busy Beaver Button Museum
The Busy Beaver Button Museum is a museum that connects collectors and history lovers. If you’re entranced by buttons, design, and the story behind them – you’ll enjoy an afternoon in this museum.
Museums Celebrating Cultural Diversity
Chicago is known as being a melting pot of cultures, and our unique Chicago museum selections are a perfect reflection of that. Here are some must-see spots:
- National Hellenic Museum
333 South Halsted Street, Chicago, IL
There’s something that’s just so interesting about Greek mythology and their polytheistic society. Indulge your own inner Greek history nerd at the museum, then check out nearby Greektown afterwards for delicious greek food offerings.
- Ukrainian National Museum
2249 W. Superior St., Chicago, Illinois
Set perfectly in Chicago’s Ukrainian Village is the Ukrainian National Museum. Their mission is to collect and showcase historic objects relating to Ukrainian immigration, especially as it relates to Chicago.
- The Dusable Museum of African American History
740 East 56th Place, Chicago, IL
Part of Museum Campus South (alongside bigwig Museum of Science and Industry), the Dusable Museum of African American History shares the unique experiences of African Americans through their exhibits.
A few other cultural Chicago museums:
- Swedish American Museum – Parking
- The Oriental Institute – Parking
- Balzekas Museum of Lithuanian Culture – Parking
- The Polish Museum of America – Parking
Mini-Museums In Shopping Centers
The following are not museums in the traditional sense. They aren’t housed in a dedicated building. They may not be around as long as others on this list. At any rate, you’d be wise to check them out while they’re in vogue. All are conveniently located in popular shopping centers near Chicago’s downtown area (Block 37 and Water Tower Place)!
- Foodseum: Chicago loves food, so it was only a matter of time until we played host to a museum that focuses on our favorite subject. Foodseum rotates exhibits centered around certain types of food, and invites attendees to indulge in a multi-sensory experience.
- Chicago Design Museum: The Chicago Design Museum is a collaborative effort to connect Chicago design community members with themed exhibits. It’s a great place to spend time if you’re lacking in creative inspiration.
- Chicago Sports Museum: Officially a part of Harry Caray’s in Water Tower Place, you receive complimentary admission after a meal! There are so many interactive exhibits and photo opportunities – a great place for kids and sports fans, alike.
Museums with History
It would be a mistake to write a post about unique Chicago museums without mentioning the museums devoted to sharing the history of Chicago. The following museums will help you learn more about Chicago’s past.
- Frank Lloyd Wright Houses: There are several houses/buildings that were designed by architectural genius Frank Lloyd Wright, both in Chicago and neighboring Oak Park. OK, it’s not a museum, but it is history.
- Driehaus Museum
40 East Erie Street, Chicago, Illinois
The Driehaus Museum exists to preserve and promote architecture of the past. It’s a must-do for anyone with an interest in Chicago’s unique architecture and design.
- Hull House
800 S. Halsted Street (M/C 051), Chicago IL
The Hull House is a memorial to Nobel Peace Prize winner, and social reformer, Jane Addams. Besides being a museum, it’s a National Historic Landmark.
The Museum of Broadcast Communications
While not an incredibly offbeat concept for a museum, The Museum of Broadcast Communications has a great home in Chicago. Chicago has a lot of high-quality, award winning publications and mediums. A lot of museum reviewers mention the Johnny Carson exhibit as being their favorite. If you’re interested in learning more about the world of media and communications, you’d do well to check out this museum.
So Many Art Museums
In Chicago, we have so many institutions that promote the arts from many perspectives. Here are a few you may not have known about:
- The Center for Intuitive and Outsider Art – Parking
- National Museum of Mexican Art – Parking
- Smart Museum of Art – Parking
- Loyola University Museum of Art – Parking
- Museum of Contemporary Photography – Parking
- National Veterans Art Museum – Parking
- Hyde Park Art Center – Parking
Ok, now that you have a full roster of amazing cultural, art, historic, and overall offbeat Chicago museum experiences to check out… what are you waiting for? Which one will you be visiting first?
Once nicer weather prevails, Chicago comes alive with a wonderfully wide variety of festivals to suit every taste. Although there are plenty of music and food festivals in the Summer, it’s fun to shake off the icicles once Spring is in full swing.
Here are some of the best cultural festivals relating to the theatre or arts that we’re looking forward to this Spring in Chicago!
Manifest Urban Arts
Manifest is the 16th annual showcase of Columbia College’s student work. Attendees will be treated to a multisensory and multimedia experience featuring live performances, fashion shows, gallery exhibitions, literary readings and more. Come support the arts from the ground, up, by attending this event and seeing what Chicago’s art students have worked so hard to create.
Chicago Improv Festival
Price varies by show
Second City fan? Although we love Chicago’s premiere center for all things improv (and the career start for many famous SNL actors), the Chicago Improv Festival gives participants a chance to see Chicago’s many other unique improv offerings, at a variety of theaters around the city. Check out the schedule, then go out to a few shows and discover something new. No matter what time of year, improv shows make for a great date night spot or an activity for a night out with friends.
Chicago Comedy Festival
Prices vary by show
If you like the theater but are more interested in comedy than improv, you’ll enjoy the offerings at the 3rd Annual 26th Annual Comedy Festival, presented by The Onion and A.V. Club. Star-studded headliners include Tracy Morgan and Sarah Silverman, but you’ll enjoy a wide range of additional comedic talents and stylings. With a sponsor like The Onion, you can’t go wrong (Check out a set put on by the writers of ClickHole).
Chicago Critics Film Festival
$10-15 per show
If you’d rather watch the silver screen than live actors and comedians, perhaps you’d enjoy the 4th annual Chicago Critics Film Festival. Passes to see every movie and attend a special closing night event are $150, but admission to individual movies has traditionally been $10-15. Visit the festival’s website for a complete list of movies and their critically-acclaimed directors. You’ll recognize a lot of the big name actors in these films!
Chicago Humanities Festival
April 28 – May 1
$10-15 per ticket, depending on membership
The Chicago Humanities Festival combines art, history, and some prolific speakers for a whirlwind weekend of digging deeper into things that tug on our curiosity. Satisfy your inner intellectual with tickets to an event (or two!) covering many interesting topics. A best bet? Arianna Huffington will be talking about her new book at one event, with the opportunity to grab drinks with other attendees afterwards and continue the conversation.
Randolph Street Art
The Randolph Street Market is not so much a festival as a regular occurring vintage market, but it has all the trappings and necessities for a fun day out. Shop vintage finds, modern Chicago-made crafts, listen to live music, and indulge on treats from some of your favorite Chicago food spots. Even if you don’t leave with anything (which is next to impossible), you’ll still have a fun time shopping around this unique market and getting ideas for future purchases and gift giving!
There are so many different festivals and fun events happening soon, we hope you’re looking forward to some (or many!) of these Spring festivals in the Windy City.
Where will we be seeing you in the near future? Let us know your plans in the comments!