Spring Time Chicago: Theatre & Performing Arts 

Choose Chicago

Chicago’s Black Ensemble Theater announces its 2022 Season of Excellence: The Season of Healings with four World Premiere musicals showcasing the power of healing, each featuring different journeys and a variety of genres including gospel, spiritual, soul, jazz, hip-hop, blues, the sounds of the Harlem Renaissance, and more. All performances will be held at the Black Ensemble Theater Cultural Center. The first musical, It’s Just Like Coming to Church, will run from March 20-April 24, 2022. 

Chicago Opera Theater (COT), Chicago’s foremost producer of contemporary and re-imagined opera, proudly presents the World Premiere of the newly commissioned opera Quamino’s Map. Set in post-Revolutionary War England, the work sheds light on the oft-overlooked moment in history when London was the unlikely refuge for thousands of Black Americans who fought for their liberty on the side of the British. Quamino’s Map, the final production of the COT 2021-22 season, will be staged at the Studebaker Theater in the Fine Arts Building for three performances only: April 23, 29 and May 1, 2022.

  • On May 29, 2022, the concert Aretha Rising will pay tribute to the Queen of Soul, Aretha Franklin, as Maestro Speck conducts Broadway star Capathia Jenkins. The program will include Respect, Think, A Natural Woman, Chain of Fools, Amazing Grace, and many more.

Broadway in Chicago

Broadway In Chicago is proud to announce the following shows: 

  • The North American tour of Moulin Rouge! The Musical, winner of 10 Tony Awards –  including Best Musical, will play at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, with performances running from March 19-May 14, 2022. 
  • After taking Broadway by storm, SIX makes a triumphant return to Chicago this spring at the CIBC Theatre from March 29-July 3, 2022. From Tudor Queens to Pop Princesses, the SIX wives of Henry VIII take the mic to remix five hundred years of historical heartbreak into an exuberant celebration of 21st-century girl power!
  • THE PROM is a new musical comedy about big Broadway stars on a mission to change the world and the love they discover that unites them all, comes to the Cadillac Palace Theatre from April 19-24, 2022. 
  • Go behind the music and inside the story of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons in the Tony and Grammy Award-winning true-life musical phenomenon, Jersey Boys, will play at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from May 3-8, 2022. 
  • All rise for Academy Award winner Aaron Sorkin’s adaptation of Harper Lee’s Pulitzer Prize-winning masterwork To Kill a Mockingbird, which will play from May 17-29, 2022 at the James M. Nederlander Theatre.
  • Tony-winning director Bartlett Sher and the team behind South Pacific, The King and I and 2017 Tony-winning Best Play Oslo, bring a fresh and authentic vision to this beloved theatrical masterpiece Fiddler on the Roof, from Tony winner Joseph Stein and Pulitzer Prize winners Jerry Bock and Sheldon Harnick. Performances will run from May 17 – 22, 2022 at the Cadillac Palace Theatre.

All’s Well That Ends Well, Shakespeare’s vivid exploration of courtship and class comes to new life in the uniquely intimate setting of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s Courtyard Theater from April 22-May 29, 2022, staged by acclaimed director Shana Cooper. Besotted with a man who does not return her love, the intelligent, resourceful young Helena navigates the complexities of unrequited romance, courtly drama, and the meddling of elders—only to discover the reality that happy endings are never quite as simple as they seem in fairy tales.

Goodman Theater

The Tony Award winning Goodman Theatre will stage the following during the 2021/2022 season:

  • In Good Night Oscar, Emmy Award-winning actor and producer Sean Hayes (Will & Grace) stars as the irrepressible Oscar Levant. Good Night, Oscar explores the nexus of humor and heartbreak, the ever-dwindling distinction between exploitation and entertainment, and the high cost of baring one’s soul for public consumption. Playing at Goodman’s Albert Theatre, from March 12 – April 17, 2022.

Joffrey Ballet

The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its first performances of 2022 with a spring double-bill featuring Cathy Marston’s world premiere adaptation of Of Mice and Men (April 27-May 8, 2022), Steinbeck’s tender tale of friendship, perseverance, and sacrifice, with an original score by Academy Award®-nominated composer Thomas Newman, along with the Joffrey premiere of George Balanchine’s Serenade, the choreographer’s first ballet created in America in 1934.

Lyric Opera of chicago

Lyric Opera of Chicago’ new-to-Chicago production of Tosca by Giacomo Puccini will run March 12-April 10, 2022, followed by Fire Shut Up in My Bones, playing March 24-April 8, 2022, based on New York Times columnist Charles M. Blow’s widely acclaimed memoir of his traumatic youth growing up in Louisiana. With an amazing collection of talent – composer Terence Blanchard, librettist Kasi Lemmons and a top-flight cast including many of America’s most brilliant singing actors – Fire Shut Up in My Bones is an opera for today, revealing the Black experience in this country as few other operas have done. 

Steppenwolf Theatre Company

The celebrated Steppenwolf Theatre Company returns after a 20-month intermission, with the opening of the $54 million Liz and Eric Lefkofsky Arts and Education Center, which includes the Ensemble Theater in Honor of Helen Zell, an intimate state-of-the-art 400-seat theater in the round, and is topped off by The Loft, an arts and education center for young performers 

  • The winner of eight Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Porchlight’s production of Spring Awakening (April 23-May 29, 2022) tells the timeless story of youthful self-discovery and budding sexuality as seen through the eyes of three teenagers in provincial late 19th-century Germany. 
  • Additionally, Steppenwolf Theatre Company and Center Theatre Group will present the world premiere of the highly anticipated King James by ensemble member Rajiv Joseph, running from March 3-April 10, 2022. “King” LeBron James’s reign in Cleveland brings promise, prosperity and renewal to a city in desperate need of all three. It also brings together two childhood friends who communicate best when they are talking and arguing about the star player’s impact on Cleveland, from his rookie season to the city’s historic championship. Though LeBron James is never seen in the show,  King James is an intimate exploration of the symbolic place that sports and athletes occupy in our emotional lives and relationships.

Chicago Opera Theater’s world premiere of Quamino’s Map in April 2022, followed by the world premiere of new musical Skates (from May 24-August 28, 2022). Also returning to the Studebaker stage next year are performances from Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestras and Chicago Jazz Orchestra.

Teatro ZinZanni is back with a brand-new show starring veteran performer, Frank Ferrante. An experience unlike any other, Teatro ZinZanni is a whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret, with world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists filling the intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District. Tickets can be purchased with or without the featured four-course gourmet feast including a fabulous à la carte cocktail menu, wine & beer list, and special occasion treats. 

Windy City Playhouse

  • SONS OF HOLLYWOOD will be the Windy City Playhouse’s first production back at their flagship location (3014 W. Irving Park Rd.), running from January 26 – April 17, 2022. At the start of the 1920s when Hollywood brimmed with risqué films, enormous parties, and glamorous opening nights, silent film stars Ramon Navarro and William Haines enjoyed life as Hollywood royalty. But when the Motion Picture Production Code brings an end to the no-holds-barred attitude of Hollywood and its acceptance of its gay stars, both men are forced to grapple with their identity in a suddenly oppressive world. Audiences will find themselves immersed in the lavish and dramatic world of a film come to life with a signature 360-degree design and two types of seating: “House” (movie-theater style) and “Top Shelf” (swivel, club-style chair).

Year of Chicago Dance

In partnership with the local dance community, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Commissioner Erin Harkey have just announced the designation of 2022 as the “Year of Chicago Dance”, a yearlong collaborative initiative which will activate Chicago’s dance industry to address critical issues facing dancers and showcase dance performances, social dancing, and special events for the public in dozens of venues throughout the city. 

Partners will include dance service organizations Chicago Black Dance Legacy Project, Chicago Dancemakers Forum, and See Chicago Dance — as well as Art on theMART, Night Out in the Parks at the Chicago Park District and many other presenters and funders.

Cultural Dance

Cultural dance organizations like Ensemble Español, Muntu Dance Theatre and Mandala Arts will also participate as part of the Chicago dance scene. 

Ensemble Espanol, a premier dance company originating from Albany Park gears up for it’s spring performance at Dominican University, April 23, 2022 7:30 PM.  The program includes the critically acclaimed “Danza del Fuego” (Dance of Fire) choreographed by the Ensemble’s founder, Dame Libby Komaiko, to the music of Ruiz de Luna in the Neo-Classical (Flamenco and Classical) styles. The program also features the Flamenco full company work “No Me Olvides” (No Not Forget Me) by artistic director, Irma Suarez Ruiz, along with her full company classical work, “Balle de Luis Alonso” (Dance of Luis Alonso) to the music of Geronimo Gimenez. Other highlights of the program include “Al Golpe” (To the Beat) and “Ritmo de la Tierra” (Rhythm of the Earth) choreographed by Nino de los Reyes, the first dancer to ever win a Grammy.

Get up and groove with Mandala Arts, the South Loop neighborhood’s cultural gem, specializing in South Asian dance and offering a variety of dance classes year around. Their newest offering, Seniors Dance & Movement, is a virtual fitness class for all with simple and energizing stretches. Dance and movement are set to nostalgic Bollywood grooves. Inspired by iconic South Asian folk and classical dance traditions and designed to keep bodies and minds limber and uplifted. Movements can be done from a seated or standing position.

What’s Happening Springtime Chicago

The stages of Chicago’s theaters are once again lighting up after more than a year of darkness with myriad new performances that capture Chicago’s creative spirit, including the North American tours of Come From Away, Hadestown, Moulin Rouge! The Musical, SIX, To Kill a Mockingbird and others. The recently reopened Steppenwolf Theatre Company now has a new $54 million arts and education center that includes a theatre-in-the-round is hosting the world-premiere of King James, an intimate exploration of the place that sports and athletes (think “King” LeBron James) occupy in our emotional lives and relationships.

More Chicago Theater Offerings

Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot and Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Commissioner Erin Harkey have just announced the designation of 2022 as the “Year of Chicago Dance”, a yearlong collaborative initiative which will activate Chicago’s dance industry to address critical issues facing dancers and showcase dance performances, social dancing, and special events for the public in dozens of venues throughout the city. 

The Arts in the City

At the Art Institute of Chicago, a groundbreaking exhibit on Life and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt will be followed by the first major retrospective of French artist Paul CEZANNE to be exhibited in the U.S. in over 25 years. The Museum of Contemporary Art will present the first career-spanning retrospective of the internationally renowned Chicagoan Nick Cave in an exhibition titled NICK CAVE: FOROTHERMORE while the blockbuster immersive arts venue Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago will house Frida: Immersive Dream, an exploration of the Mexico-born artist’s work with 500,000 cubic feet of monumental large-scale projections animating Kahlo’s oeuvre, accompanied by a ravishing musical score. 

With careful COVID-19 protocols and social distancing in place, hybrid and live events will return to the city with the 

Chicago Restaurant Week will follow soon after in late March/early April, celebrating the city’s award-winning culinary scene with special prix fixe lunch and dinner menus (ranging from $25-$55) available via dine-in or takeout/delivery options. At long last EXPO Chicago, the international exhibition of contemporary and modern art, will return to Navy Pier in early April.

Come find out why Chicago was once again designated by Conde Nast Traveler’s readers as the Best Big City in the U.S. in 2021, for the fifth year in a row and check out what’s new for Winter/Spring 2022! Visit www.ChooseChicago.com for more information.

Chicago Accolades!

The Langham Chicago
  • The Michelin Guide celebrated Chicago’s resilient culinary scene by granting three new restaurants Michelin stars, including: 
  • Ever (West Loop – Two Star), where Chef Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser preside over a bespoke room in which fine dining enchants palates with complex flavors, stirring textures and visual fireworks;  
  • Moody Tongue (South Loop – Two Star), Jared Wentworth’s seasonal, ingredient-driven tasting menu concept housed in the Moody Tongue brewery building;
  • Porto (Bucktown – One Star), where Chef Marcos Campos’ style is anchored by his Spanish heritage and explores the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal through its conservas, seafood and specialty rice dishes.

Chicago’s New Accomodations

Canopy by Hilton Central Loop, located directly across the street from Willis Tower, in the epicenter of Chicago’s financial district, features a total of 215 total guest rooms (192 regular rooms and 23 suites). Famous attractions such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park, and Chicago Riverwalk are less than 10 minutes away.

Open all day, the onsite Depot 226, a Bistro, market and coffee shop, offers a stylish, retro space that is inviting and comfortable and perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even a casual dinner. 

The Chicago Hotel Collection welcomed a new location in Millennium Park this summer featuring 4-Star all-suite accommodations with full kitchens, perfect for business, leisure, extended stays, corporate relocations, or large groups/families.

Guests will have access to an expert Concierge Team and receive an incredible daily amenity package featuring 3 drinks per night, free Wi-Fi, use of Peloton Bikes on-site with reservation, early check-in/late check-out, booking credits to use for their next stay when booked direct and a complimentary 1-year Club 1 Hotels membership. Another outpost, the Magnificent Mile Hotel & Suites, opened December 2021, just 350 feet from Michigan Avenue.

The LaSalle Hotel, Autograph Collection, situated in the heart of the Financial District, offers a sophisticated and tailored experience for business and leisure travelers.

Experience fine dining at Grill on 21, an elevated and modern take on the classic American grill concept featuring a focus on quality and sustainability. An expansive gym offers premiere TechnoGym equipment as well as Peloton bikes. World-class accommodations include spacious rooms averaging 430 square feet, oversized Calacatta marble bathrooms with luxurious walk-in showers, and a window-side marble top dining table. The hotel is projected to open in March 2022. 

Pendry Hotels & Resorts announced its further U.S. expansion with the renovation of the Art Deco Chicago landmark, the Carbide & Carbon Building (and former St. Jane Hotel), as Pendry Chicago in spring 2021.

Featuring 364 redesigned guestrooms and suites in a contemporary palette awash in warm minimal tones and comfortable finishes, the Pendry Chicago also features public spaces thoughtfully designed by Alessandro Munge’s Studio Munge. The hotel’s signature restaurant and bar concept, Venteux, is helmed by Executive Chef-Partner Donald Young (Temporis, Les Nomades, Bistrot Saveurs), Chicago’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, and overseen by hospitality and nightlife pioneer, Andy Masi, and his Clique Hospitality group. In addition, the hotel features a lobby bar and lounge, a spectacular rooftop lounge, 12,000 square feet of meetings and event space, curated fitness and wellness programming, and an extensive art collection.

The St. Regis Chicago is set to debut in 2022 as the 50th St. Regis globally. 

Through architectural ingenuity and a shimmering homage to sky and water, the 101-story St. Regis Chicago, designed by award-winning architect Jeanne Gang, has changed Chicago’s iconic skyline. It is now the third tallest building in Chicago, the 10th tallest in the United States, and the tallest building in the world designed by a female. The tower’s crystalline form was inspired by the facets of a shimmering gem and the building is coated in six varying shades of blue-green glass to reflect the changing colors of Lake Michigan. The Hotel will comprise the first 11 floors of the building, featuring 192 luxurious guest rooms, multiple signature dining options, a 12,000 square foot, world-class St. Regis Spa, a fitness center, indoor pool and outdoor sunken terrace with scenic views, a 5,000 square foot ballroom and 3,000 square feet of executive and pre-function space and the St. Regis Signature Butler Service. The Hotel’s backyard is a six-acre wide open botanical green space featuring a children’s play park, dog park, and attractive ornamental and water gardens.

Chicago Restaurant Week

This year marks the 15th anniversary of Chicago Restaurant Week (March 25-April 10, 2022), a celebration of the city’s award-winning culinary scene bringing together hundreds of the area’s top restaurants across more than thirty Chicago neighborhoods. This year there are 50+ women- and minority-owned restaurants participating (many for the first time) from neighborhoods as far ranging as South Shore and Bronzeville. Diners can enjoy special prix fixe menus from restaurants throughout Chicago and nearby suburbs, with multi-course meals available at $25 for brunch or lunch, and $39 and/or $55 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax, gratuity, and delivery fees). This year, diners will continue to have the flexibility to experience Chicago Restaurant Week through dine-in or takeout/delivery options.

Chicago Restaurants & Dining

Adalina

Opened last summer in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, Adalina serves a modern and engaging Italian menu by Michelin-starred chef Soo Ahn, previously with Band of Bohemia. Adalina’s menu creates a balance between Northern and Southern cuisines; guests can expect house-made extruded and stuffed pastas, imported meats and cheeses, and hand-selected beef and seafood selections.

Alla Vita

Opened in September 2021 in the West Loop neighborhood, Alla Vita (which means “to life” in Italian) is the newest concept from Executive Chef Lee Wolen and Boka Restaurant Group, serving a casual, family-style menu of fresh, delicious Italian food made simply with the best ingredients.

Chef/Owner Stephen Gillanders (S.K.Y., Somerset) debuted his newest concept, Apolonia in the South Loop in April 2021. Named after Gillanders’ grandmother, Apolonia offers seasonal, seafood-centric coastal European and Mediterranean fare. Pastry chef Tatum Sinclair has developed a collection of noteworthy items such as a savory black truffle puff bread, and a signature pistachio gelato. Sommelier Jelena Prodan has created a distinct beverage program with wines thoughtfully sourced from all around the globe, an expansive by-the-glass selection, and an exciting, one-of-a-kind vermouth program with custom-blended Apolonia vermouth on tap. 

In partnership with the famous Gibsons Restaurant Group. Chef José Andrés debuted Bazaar Meat and Bar Mar in December 2021 inside Bank of America’s new Chicago headquarters, near the Lyric Opera of Chicago. Bazaar Meat celebrates all things carnivorous, including personalized tasting menus featuring expertly dry-aged Wagyu and the like hand-selected from more than 400 cuts of meat, while Bar Mar is a true celebration of the bounty of the sea, with modern takes on iconic seafood classics like fried calamari and lobster rolls.

Eric Williams, owner of The Silver Room boutique, has partnered with global hospitality design trailblazer Cecilia Cuff of The Nascent Group on his newest venture: Bronzeville Winery. Opening in 2022, guests of the winery will enjoy a rotating wine list with selections from around the world highlighting African American-owned labels paired with an ever-changing seasonal menu that pays homage to the flavors of the African diaspora, paired with wine, craft cocktails and beer for every palate. The team’s goal in the design of the Winery is to encourage guests to spend time, to socialize and network in the space. To that end, the decor will feature a revolving art collection, and a state-of-the-art sound system will pipe in a well-curated playlist and live music. Programming will feature wine talks, art openings, and cultural events; the space will also be available for private events.

Esmé Chicago opened August 2021 in Lincoln Square, from Chef Jenner Tomaska and Katrina Bravo. This fine-dining concept is also mission-driven and community-focused as they partner with local artists on collaborative tasting menus.

Gordon Ramsay Burger, a new concept from celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, opened in a 5,000 square foot space in the city’s River North neighborhood in December 2021. The Chicago location, equipped with an island bar and seating for 120, will be the second Gordon Ramsay Burger location in the U.S – and the chef’s first restaurant in Chicago. Alongside elevated, butter-based burgers (blending different cuts of meat to impart a bolder flavor), the developing menu also plans to include milkshakes, fries, vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options. There are also ketchup-laden hot dogs on the menu (a bold choice for a Chicago audience).

Hinoki Sushiko from Chef Otto Phan & Chef Gustavo Barahona, opened April 2021. This two-story space in the Elston corridor offers two types of chef-driven experiences under one roof: a 50-seat izakaya-style downstairs lounge serves traditional Japanese comfort food with a modern take, along with craft cocktails and Sake and a 40-person upstairs dining room (and 8-seat sushi counter) for Edomae-style Omakase dining serving a 15 piece meal.

Kitchen United MIX, a to-go food hall, is opening a second Chicago location in the former Wells St. Market.  Kitchen United MIX, the future of takeout & delivery, is the nation’s first “Multi-Restaurant Ordering” to-go experience, the only destination that allows foodie fans who love variety to order meals from 10+ restaurants, all on the same bill. They have locations around the nation, including one in Chicago’s River North neighborhood.  The new 10,500 square-foot facility houses local, regional and national restaurant brands, including Hawaiian Bros, Greenleaf, Siri Indian Express, Trejo’s Tacos, Dog Haus, Plant B and more. 

Black owned Kitchen + Kocktails, which made its debut last summer 2021, has taken the city by storm. From flavored fried chicken and lobster tails, to shrimp and grits and southern classics with a twist, this is a great addition to the River North culinary scene. 

KOVAL Distillery opened its hotly anticipated tasting room last fall on Chicago’s Malt Row, named for the bevy of breweries in the Ravenswood neighborhood. The sun-filled tasting room, outfitted with a marble bar and leather sofas, seats 96. French doors open to an ivy-covered outdoor patio that accommodates up to 30 people. Guests can sample flights of whiskey and gin, or try cocktails made with KOVAL spirits and paired with small bites.

DineAmic Hospitality reinvented its popular, decade-old concept Public House, as Radio Room last summer, an American restaurant sports bar and music lounge set. The 10,000-square-foot space can seat 300 guests at full capacity in four unique spaces and becomes a go-to for everything from game day to late-night jam sessions.

A 15-foot stage is backlit with a wall of smart marquee bulbs that strobe and dance with the music during late-night live performances or laid-back sets at brunch, and the design theme juxtaposes vintage kitsch with today’s tech. At The Studio, an intimate private event and daytime dining space inspired by a real-life recording studio, guests can partake in blue-tooth headphone karaoke that only their party can hear. Meanwhile, nostalgia reigns in The Deck, a 10-by-10-foot space housing the Pop-A-Shot Shot Bar, where guests can shoot baskets and sip throwback shooters like Flaming Doctor Peppers and Pickle-backs. Chef Nolan Narut, former Executive Chef of Ella Elli and Stefani Prime, hits all the right notes with a menu inspired by American Southern comfort food from culinary cities like Nashville and Charleston but made with fresh, local ingredients.

Joe Flamm, the South Side Chicago native, Spiaggia alum and Season 15 winner of Top Chef, debuted Rose Mary in April 2021, inspired by his Italian heritage and the bold, bright flavors of Croatian cuisine.

The space, located in the historic Fulton Market District and named for Flamm’s grandmothers, as well as the herb rosemary which grows natively along the Italian and Croatian coastlines, offers a seasonal menu of rustic yet refined dishes that encapsulate what Flamm has coined “Adriatic drinking food.” Designed by award-winning Los Angeles-based firm Studio UNLTD, the dynamic interior with whitewashed brick walls, honey-colored oak millwork, and pale stone surfaces—all accented by moments of red clay and deep, azure blue tilework—reflects the utilitarian yet celebratory spirit of traditional family-run, age-old taverns in Croatia known as konobas. Rose Mary has also taken second place in TimeOut’s list of The 21 best new restaurants in the world right now.

In Summer 2021, José Andrés, chef, restaurateur and founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, and his ThinkFoodGroup — opened Jaleo, in River North, bringing alive the spirit and flavors of modern-day Spain through an impressive assortment of tapas, paellas, sangrias, Spanish wines and sherries, all within a festive, casual atmosphere. In fall, he opened Pigtail, an intimate, speakeasy-style bar on the lower level of Jaleo, taking its name from the ibérico pork which infuses almost every dish on the menu (Pig), and the bespoke cocktails (tail). 

Time Out Market Chicago is excited to add to its carefully curated showcase of delicious cuisine with Lil Amaru set to open late January 2022 . A spinoff of its sister restaurant Amaru, located in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood, Lil Amaru will feature globally inspired Latin Street Food and Tacos.  

Opened this past April 2021 in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Tree House is a flourishing, nature-inspired, chef-driven bar and restaurant serving up elevated renditions of comfort food and bar classics, including three distinct styles of pizza. Marco Colin (The Publican, Soho House, Alinea), executive chef at La Luna Chicago, will take on the additional role of executive chef at Tree House with a high quality, ingredient-focused approach to modern Italian fare. The kitchen’s two ovens, a custom-built, wood-burning brick oven and traditional deck oven, serve up Tree House’s three styles of pizza. The bar program pairs well with chef Colin’s playful menus, featuring an array of vibrant cocktails curated for celebrating, such as Negronis, spritzers and frozen cocktails. In full capacity, the restaurant holds 200-seats, glistening with a disco ball fixture overhead and an aesthetic enlivened through fixtures like tree-inspired installations made by local artists, sprawling greenery, exposed concrete and bright colors and patterns.

New York food hall Urbanspace will open two Chicago locations, the city’s first new food hall since the pandemic. Urbanspace West Washington recently opened while a second 12,000 square foot location, inside Willis Tower, is projected to open in Winter 2022. 

This spring, Chicago’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Donald Young (Temporis, Les Nomades, Bistrot Saveurs) debuted  Venteux, a lively French brasserie featuring a swanky oyster and Champagne bar located in the new Pendry Chicago. As Executive Chef-Partner, Young opened the high-energy brasserie in partnership with acclaimed national entertainment maverick and restaurant operator, Clique Hospitality (Pendry Hotels & Resorts, MGM Resorts International, Blackstone Group). Located at 230 North Michigan Avenue within the city’s historic 1920s art deco landmark Carbide & Carbon Building, Venteux commissioned world-renowned design firm Studio Munge to create a luxurious ambiance that invites guests in to get wrapped up in comforting French fare imbued with Young’s signature creativity.

Cover photo courtesy Christopher|F Photography featured on Choose Chicago.

Choose Chicago Announces a Relaunch of the Chicago Greeter Program

Just in time for the  summer 2021 season, the Chicago Greeter program will now showcase the city’s diverse neighborhoods through four different initiatives

Chicago, IL – June 17, 2021 – Choose Chicago announces a relaunch of the popular and world renowned Chicago Greeter program. The program now includes four different initiatives bringing the knowledge and passion of this network of 200 volunteer guides to locals and visitors alike in new ways, while remaining free to the public: the original In-Person Greeter experiences, Welcome to Our Neighborhood walks, InstaGreeter Downtown meetups and Self-Guided Greeter tours presented by Bank of America.

From Chinatown to Pilsen and Greektown to Little Italy, Chicago’s neighborhoods tell the stories of the people who made the city their home throughout history. Since 2001, Chicago Greeter has shown how these neighborhoods have remained just as vibrant today, with bustling cafes, restaurants, museums, public art and more.

“Choose Chicago is proud to relaunch and expand the renowned Chicago Greeter program this summer and share authentic Chicago neighborhoods with locals and visitors alike,” said Jason Lesniewicz, Director of Cultural Tourism for Choose Chicago.  “We now have four great ways to experience fascinating histories, diverse cultural traditions, iconic landmarks and off-the-beaten-path gems.”

Chicago Greeter Experiences

A recipient of TripAdvisor’s Certificate of Excellence for over ten years, the original In-Person Chicago Greeter experiences offer deep dives of 2-to-4 hours of the Chicago neighborhood of your choice. Guests are paired with a friendly, local volunteer based on their neighborhood and subject of interest for a personalized experience. Tours are available in over a dozen languages and are available to book now.

Welcome to Our Neighborhood Walks

Explore Chicago’s neighborhoods with these new, free walks led by diverse community groups and neighborhood organizations. Walks will dive deep into the highlights of each community’s unique stories, top attractions and under-the-radar finds, all through the eyes of people deeply embedded in the community. The first of these tours to launch will be through Chinatown in collaboration with the Chicago Chinese Cultural Institute on June 19 and July 17.   

InstaGreeter Downtown Meetups

The InstaGreeter downtown meetups, returning July 2nd, were designed with those who are pressed for time or looking for a more flexible option in mind. These free, hour-long tours of Chicago’s downtown Loop neighborhood operate Friday, Saturday and Sundays departing at 11:30 am. No reservation is required and InstaGreeters depart from the Chicago Cultural Center’s Welcome Center located at 77 E. Randolph Street.

Self-Guided Greeter Tours

The new Self-Guided Greeter Tours, presented by Bank of America, provide visitors and locals alike curated, virtual tours designed by local experts to showcase each neighborhood’s unique history, culture and hidden gems. 

Through the power of video, blog and social content, this series will shine a spotlight on six Chicago neighborhoods by leveraging the knowledge and expertise of the Chicago Greeter volunteers. Each part will feature a different neighborhood, including a unique Chicago Greeter itinerary and logistical instructions on how to best explore the neighborhood in person.

The digital content will launch this month, with a blog post highlighting a self-guided walking tour of Chicago’s South Loop. Additional content will follow on a monthly basis, with Kenwood, Bronzeville, Bridgeport, Pullman and West Ridge to follow. 

“Chicago’s neighborhoods are teeming with history and culture, and that deserves to be celebrated,” said Paul Lambert, President of Bank of America Chicago. “We’re honored to partner with Choose Chicago to spotlight communities across the city’s South and West sides, to encourage people to visit these local landmarks, and to drive economic activity where it is needed most.”

This self-guided program is an extension of the successful 2020 International Greeter Day “do-it-yourself” tours, which was created during the COVID-19 pandemic. The virtual series highlighted Ukrainian VillageUptownPilsenHyde ParkChinatown and the Chicago Riverwalk.

For additional information about the newly updated Chicago Greeter program, visit https://www.choosechicago.com/chicago-greeter/.

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About Choose Chicago

Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit choosechicago.com. Follow @choosechicago on Twitter and on Instagram. Like us on Facebook.

Always had a knack for snarky? Channel those comic instincts by learning improvisation comedy at Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre.

photo 4 (1)For the inner comedian in all of us, no matter our age, Toronto’s Bad Dog Theatre Company is known for both their wide variety of family friendly comedy and improvisational performances and improv classes designed for every skill level.

“Our Youth Academy offers week long summer camps for youth and teens all summer long,” says Beth Dunn, Youth Academy Director at Bad Dog Theatre which is located in the city’s Palmerston-Little Italy neighborhood.

Vacationers who might not be staying in the city long enough for a week-long class can opt for one day camp registration at a pro-rated price says Dunn, adding that summer camps students receive two improv workshops a day, plus an afternoon activity or performance.

While kids hone their own improv techniques, adults 18 and over can attend the adult drop-in classes.

“Bad Dog offers a wide range of drop-in classes like our beginner classes, No Experience Necessary and Spanish Language because we strive to be inclusive,” says Dunn who has been performing there since 2014.

Beyond learning improvisational techniques, family-oriented shows include The Early Show held every Saturday evening at 7 p.m. followed by Theatresports at 8 p.m. which Dunn describes as their flagship show.

“It’s been around for 30 years and features two teams of all-star improvisers going head-to-head on stage battling for your love and laughter,” she says.

Toronto’s easily navigable subway system makes getting to the theatre super simple, as it’s located right across the street Ossington Station.

“All classes and drop-ins are taught by Toronto’s finest improv instructors,” says Dunn. “Also, all of instructors perform regularly at the theatre. There is nothing better than watching your drop-in instructor battle it out later in the night at Theatresports.”

Well, maybe one thing better. Staging your own family improv battles using the skills you learned. 416-491-3115; baddogtheatre.com or email Adult & Youth Classes: classes@baddogtheatre.com