January signals the triumphant, sold-out comeback of First Bites Bash after a three-year hiatus. The all-inclusive January 19 event inside the iconic Field Museum kicks off the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, celebrating the area’s acclaimed culinary scene across 17 days and more than 300 top restaurants. Restaurant Week includes special prix fixe menus ($25 for brunch or lunch and $42 and/or $59 for dinner).
These signature events are a great way to indulge in around-the-world delicacies without leaving the city. Immersion takes on a new form with Stage 773’s WHIM, a walk-thru experience inviting guests to partake in a whimsical night out inside a world where every art form comes together – paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance – all by Chicago artists.
The Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, returning to McCormick Place Feb. 11-20. And throughout the month, raise a glass to great American writers at the American Writers Museum’s new Get Lit happy hour series.
Complete with the 60-plus-year tradition of dyeing of the Chicago River green, March makes a colorful point to the world that no city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day quite like we do. From the signature parade downtown to neighborhood-specific festivities, Irish history and culture run deep in neighborhoods like Beverly, Albany Park, and Mt. Greenwood.
With so much in store this year, go ahead: Discover big-city culture, Midwestern hospitality, and urban adventure. Come explore the city that feels like home! Visit ChooseChicago.com for more information.
If you’re living in Chicago, chances are you’ve seen popular tourist attractions like Cloud Gate, also known as the Bean, or have walked around the Navy Pier. Although these attractions make Chicago unique, have you ever wondered what else is out there? If that’s the case, we’ve got you covered. We’ve gathered Chicagoans to share their favorite unique things to do in Chicago to give you some fresh ideas. So whether you’re ready to shake up your routine or new to the city looking for apartments for rent in Chicago, check out locally approved attractions you want to take advantage of.
Are you looking to step back in time? The Art Institute of Chicago will help transport you as you like. The museum houses one of the country’s largest permanent collections and other centuries-old artwork.
1. You can’t go wrong with the Art Institute of Chicago
Martin, a local Chicagoan from SmartMoneyMatch, a network that connects the global investment community, recommends the Art Institute of Chicago when the weather is terrible. “It’s always worth a visit. It’s filled with masterpieces from every era, from Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte to Andy Warhol’s print of actress Elizabeth Taylor.”
2. Visit the Chicago River in the summer
In the summertime, Chicago becomes an outdoor oasis for all residents and visitors. From the various parks and the waterways, you’ll find a place you’ll love to explore.
“My favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is to go kayaking on the Chicago River in the summer,” says May, a Chicago local from Nutrition Happens, a space dedicated to health, wellness, and nutrition. “Whether you’re a resident or just visiting, there’s nothing better than soaking in the famous skyline views with a peaceful paddle down the river.”
Chicago local Jane Simon Ammeson agrees. “Rivers were the highways of the past, but the Chicago River offers uniquely modern adventures for me. I can paddle its waters and shiver at scary stories during a Ghost and Gangster kayak tour, and sip a Spanish Rioja while gazing at the city lights. I love to stroll along the Riverwalk, choose a favorite place to dine, and plan my next adventure while watching the boats go by.”
3. Take a visit to the Shedd Aquarium
Bungee QC Fitness shares that their favorite unique thing to do in Chicago is visiting the Shedd Aquarium. “With over 1,500 species of fish, reptiles, amphibians, and invertebrates from around the world, the Shedd Aquarium showcases an impressive array of aquatic life.
The Shedd Aquarium is one of the country’s oldest and most respected aquariums. If you’re in the area, you don’t want to miss it.
4. Explore nearby neighborhoods
Chicago is full of charming neighborhoods like River North and Edgewater. You’ll indeed find beautiful places in Chicago that will blow you away within a matter of minutes from each other. So grab your shoes, head out the door, and get ready to explore.
“Chicago is a great city for food and family fun,” says Jenny and Sheena, local Chicagoans from “And Then We Had Kids” Podcast. “Park & Field, located in the Logan Square neighborhood, is an excellent restaurant for all ages, and they even host fun family events and a bottomless boozy brunch on the weekends. If you’re looking for a place to host your event, Park & Field features fee-free party rentals. And the best part is they’re dog-friendly.
If you’re a foodie, you’ll want to check out the Irish Nobleman Pub on the West Side. Enjoy a cocktail or glass of wine while enjoying the lush foliage, flowers & hummingbirds in the summer. The patio is lined with AstroTurf, so it’s like a green oasis near downtown Chicago – and that also makes it super comfortable for bringing my dog along. It’s not just a Chicago favorite spot to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day; the summertime patio is an attraction on its own.
Are you looking for a fancy night on the town? Vess, a local from Bus Connection, a sophisticated transportation service, recommends stopping by Bavette’s Bar and Bouf. “One of Chicago’s finest steakhouse restaurants, Bavette’s Bar and Bouf is truly a hidden gem. Feel the swanky ambiance of a prohibition-era speakeasy, softly lit with red velvet wraparound booths and sultry jazz music soundtracks. It’s the most unique and intimate place to wine and dine.”
6. Go to any event hosted by Sofar Sounds
Sofar Sounds connects the community with secret concerts in unique spaces. You’ll receive the address of the event within 36 hours before the event. You’ll experience different shows, from musical genres and comedy to dance.
“My recommendation for a unique thing to do in Chicago is to go to events hosted by Sofar Sounds,” says Emily from Mezz Entertainment. “Through this experience, you can attend intimate gigs throughout the city, like the loop and Lincoln Park. I love discovering new artists to listen to from these shows.”
About Ana Guzman
Ana is part of the Redfin content marketing team and enjoys writing about home improvement and life & style. Her dream house would be a contemporary style with lots of natural light.
In an update to my previous post about George Diamond Steak House and for all those who are into 1950s-style supper clubs and Chicagoland food history, check out this great You Tube post about George Diamond Steakhouse. Back in the day, there were several in the Chicago area including at 630 S. Wabash in the South Loop, Las Vegas, Acapulco, and Antioch (where there was also a George Diamond Golf Course) as well as in Whiting, Indiana.
If you’re thinking how does Whiting, an industrial city on the Indiana-Illinois border fit in with such locations as Vegas, Chicago, and Acapulco–well, consider this–at one time Whiting, now best known as the place where Polish foods are celebrated every year at the Pierogi Fest, one of the top festivals in the U.S. was a major destination for both Chicago and Northwest Indiana residents who enjoyed swank dining and perch dinners. It rocked from the early 1900s to the early 1980s and had such classic places as Phil Smidt’s and Vogel’s. Indeed the latter sold so many frog legs that they started raising their own in nearby Lake George.
And, if you’re really into George Diamond history, Etsy has two of the restaurant’s shot glasses for sale for $145.
Halloween is so over and now is the time to move on to the magic of Chicago during the holiday season. From skating rinks, tradtional Christmas Markets to show-stopping parades, there’s plenty to enjoy. Here’s some of Choose Chicago’s tips on what to see and do.
See the Lights
Lightscape, the acclaimed holiday event, returns from November 11, 2022 – January 8, 2023 with a new path and new light-filled installations created just for the Chicago Botanic Garden. Featured artistic works will include favorites such as the luminous Winter Cathedral and a reimagined fire garden. Tickets start at $32 for adults ($30 for members), $16 for children ($14 for child members) and all little ones under 2 can enter for free.
The City of Chicago’s “official” Christmas tree in Millennium Parkwill shine brightly near the intersection of Michigan Ave. and Washington St. from November 18, 2022 through January 8, 2023. A pre-show will begin at 5 p.m. (with performers including the cast of Cabaret ZaZou and several Broadway in Chicago productions), followed by the lighting at approximately 6:30 p.m. and culminating in a fireworks show.
The annual, one-of-a-kind holiday experience ZooLights(Presented by ComEd and Invesco QQQ) at Lincoln Park Zoo will return from November 19, 2022 – January 1, 2023. Tickets are now on sale for $5 General Admission, Members-only Nights and Sensory-friendly Night. Tickets to Free Admission Mondays will be released the Tuesday prior at 11 a.m. each week.
Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum returns for its 10th year during Morton Arboretum’s 100th anniversary year, from November 19, 2022 – January 7, 2023, Explore 50 acres of the Arboretum’s majestic trees during this one-of-a-kind spectacle of color, light, and sound featuring six dazzling new displays as well as returning favorites. You will be awed and delighted by the first-ever Illumination display in the Arboretum’s new Grand Garden, leading to a spectacular laser-light finale. Craft beer lovers won’t want to miss IllumiBrew, November 17-18. This 21-and-over event provides a first look at Illumination while sampling local brews along the trail. New this year is a special series of Electric Illumination late-night experiences (December 16, 23 and 30; 9:30-11:00 PM) for adults 18+ with an eclectic, curated mix of Trance and Progressive House music, synchronized to the light displays. Ilumination ticket costs will run between $11-$22 for members and $16-$27 for guests, depending on the date and other available discounts.
Navy Pier’s Light Up The Lake returns from November 25 2022 to January 7, 2023. Visitors can experience the magic with interactive light displays, a whimsical skating rink, journeys through the birch tree maze, visits with Santa, and more. Pricing is $27 for an adult ticket, and 17 for a child’s ticket (ages 3-12).
In the nearby suburbs, Brookfield Zoo is hosting their annual Holiday Magicdisplay, a local tradition for more than 40 years. Zoo-goers can stroll along the many pathways lit with more than two million twinkling LED lights, including the 600-foot-long Tunnel of Lights with thousands of colored lights all synchronized to music as well as enjoy a skating rink, illuminated animal sculptures, numerous photo opps, drop-off letters for Santa and more.
Who Doesn’t Love a Parade?
The holiday season in Chicago officially kicks off with The Wintrust Magnificent Mile Lights Festival (November 19, 2022) a day-through-night, mile-long extravaganza drawing more than one million celebrants. Its centerpiece is the largest nighttime parade in the U.S. — a spectacular parade down Michigan Avenue. Led by Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse of The Walt Disney World Resort, the parade features fabulous floats, giant helium balloons, marching bands, celebrities, musical performances, Santa Claus, fireworks and more —illuminating one million lights on The Avenue’s 200+ trees. Broadcast on ABC 7 Chicago on Sunday, November 20, 2022, Lights Festival will also air throughout the holiday season.
The Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade promises a fun-filled morning in the heart of downtown Chicago on November 24, 2022. Starting at iconic State Street in the Loop at 8:00 AM, the procession makes its way up State from Ida B. Wells Drive to Randolph Street. This free, all-ages event features more than 100 floats filled with entertainers, performance artists, helium balloons led by Teddy the Turkey (the parade’s official mascot) and a visit from Santa Claus.
Find That Perfect Gift
The Christkindlmarket Chicago, the most authentic traditional holiday market of its kind outside of Europe, returns November 18, 2022 and runs through the Christmas season, with the main location at Daley Plaza, along with outposts in Wrigleyville and Aurora. Of-age visitors can enjoy a mug of glühwein (hot spiced wine) as well as sweet and savory German snacks while shopping for handmade and traditional souvenirs. There are also musical performances and plenty of family-friendly activities for kids.
Now in its 21st year in Chicago, the One of a Kind Holiday Show (December 1-4, 2022) brings together hundreds of talented artists, makers and designers with thousands of happy shoppers who love art and original work. The show continues to be the best place in Chicago to find thousands of handmade products, truly unique and meaningful gifts for the holidays.
At the iconic Macy’s on State Street, take a break from holiday shopping to enjoy the annual Holiday Windows or have a peek at the Great Tree inside the historic Walnut Room, the first restaurant ever opened in a department store. With Circassian wood paneling imported from Russia and Austrian chandeliers, the 17,000 square foot dining room is both elegant and comfortable and a favored place to enjoy a festive afternoon treat.
Enjoy a Holiday Exhibit
At the Museum of Science and Industry (MSI), the annual Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Lightexhibits return November 16, 2022-January 4, 2023. A simple tradition that began in 1942 with a single tree now features a four-story, floor-to-dome Grand Tree, surrounded by a forest of more than 50 trees and displays decorated by volunteers to represent the holiday traditions from cultures around the globe.
Lace Up Your Skates
The scenic rink at Millennium Park offers panoramic views of Cloud Gate (aka “The Bean”) and the surrounding city skyline dusted in snow. The rink is open daily from November through March, weather permitting. Skate rentals are available, or you can bring your own.
Nearby, Maggie Daley Park is known for its one-of-a-kind Skating Ribbon, an icy path that curves through the park’s whimsical landscape. The Skating Ribbon is open from November through March. You can reserve skate rentals ahead of time or use your own.
The Gallagher Way Rink in Wrigleyville offers ice skating from November 18, 2022 – January , 2023, weather permitting. The Rink welcomes all skill levels to skate on their own or ride ice bumper cars on the newly expanded 12,000 square-foot ice rink, located inside Wrigley Field. Tickets are required for access and may be booked ahead of time here or on site. Activities at Gallagher Way also include holiday movie nights, a wreath-making workshop, a branch of Chicago’s Christkindlmarket and meetings with Santa.
The Peninsula Chicago is back with the Merry & Bright Holiday Package (ideal for couples) and Holly Jolly Family Holiday Package (great for families), valid for stays from November 26 – December 31, 2022. Guests are also encouraged to make a reservation for The Peninsula Hotel’s Holiday Afternoon Tea, where the 20-foot Christmas tree and lavish holiday décor at The Lobby enhance the traditional English tea menu of finger sandwiches, scones with house made preserves and Devonshire clotted cream, and petite seasonal pastries. Vegan and gluten-free options are available.
The Langham Chicago is again offering its traditional Thanksgiving Feaston November 24, 2022 at its onsite restaurant Travelle, where the menu curated by Executive Chef Damion Henry includes holiday favorites, turkey and stuffing, as well as complementary enhancements such as seafood and carving stations. Chef Henry is also preparing a Christmas Day Brunchon December 25, 2022 and afternoon tea is available throughout the holiday season.
The Pendry Chicago is offering a series of seasonal happenings, from a “Friendsgiving” dinner at onsite restaurant Venteux on November 23, 2022 to lighting the Menorah each night at 5 p.m. from December 18 – December 26, 2022 to Christmas Eve Dinner and Christmas Day brunch at Venteux on December 24 and 25, 2022.
Grab your partner and head to The Emily Hotel for the ultimate winter rooftop curling experience, complete with an overnight stay for two, curling for two players and two complimentary cocktails at Stone’s Throw. Stone’s Throw, located on the fifth floor of the hotel, features four Olympic sized curling rinks and heated yurts decked out in 80s nostalgia serving up a menu of winter sips and snacks. Offer valid for reservations of 1 or more nights booked by March 27, 2023 for stays between November 11, 2022 and March 31, 2023.
Celebrate winter at Fairmont Millennium Park Chicago’s Fairmont Lodge where you can relax, recharge and have fun with their cozy decor, indoor “fire pits”, festive programming, overnight packages and more.
The annual Winter Wonderland returns to the IlO Godfrey Rooftop at The Godfrey Hotel with its heated, clear-domed igloos which are available to rent (for groups of up to six people) with purchase from the menu. Order a hot cocktail and s’mores to roast over the outdoor firepits and enjoy winter in Chicago under the city lights.
From November 1 through January 3, LondonHouse Chicago is hosting Rudolph’s Rooftop from November 1, 2022 – January 3, 2023. This fun holiday-themed experience, complete with whimsical decor, photo opps and igloos, takes place on the 22nd level terrace, featuring breathtaking panoramic views of the city. Holiday cocktails are available from Executive Chef Elizabeth Sweeney.
Choose Chicago President and CEO Lynn Osmond announced today that Chicago has been named the Best Big City in the U.S. for the sixth straight year by Condé Nast Traveler through their 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards. This award, which is voted on by Condé Nast Traveler readers, has been bestowed on Chicago every year since 2017 and is a testament to Chicago’s enduring status as an exciting, welcoming and world-class travel destination. This unmatched recognition comes as Choose Chicago releases performance data from Summer 2022 which shows leisure and business travel approaching a full return to 2019 levels.
“There are so many reasons why Chicago is the Best Big City in the U.S. – we have world-class restaurants, top-tier hotels and meeting spaces, cultural institutions and entertainment venues that can rival the best in the world and vibrant, diverse neighborhoods that make sure there is something for every visitor,” said Chicago Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot. “Most importantly, our city is full of people and organizations that care deeply and work tirelessly to make Chicago the most welcoming and inviting city in the world. I want to thank the tourism and hospitality professionals that make this award possible year after year and the millions of visitors that keep coming back to Chicago to explore everything our city has to offer.”
“Condé Nast readers know what Chicagoans have always known…our city is the best in the nation,” said Governor JB Pritzker. “Chicago has everything: picturesque lakefronts, extraordinary architecture, world-class museums, the kindest people you’ll ever meet—and yes, the best pizza, too. Here’s to six years strong and many more to come.”
“It is an incredible honor to once again be voted the Best Big City in the U.S.,” said Lynn Osmond, President and CEO of Choose Chicago. “This recognition does not happen by accident – it is a testament to the hard-working people that make Chicago an inviting and welcoming city. Winning this award for six straight years combined with the successful summer of travel we just wrapped up make it clear that the past, present and future of tourism in Chicago is a bright one.”
“I want to thank our partners in the hospitality and tourism industry for ensuring Chicago is a world-class destination and for making this award possible,” continued President Osmond. “I also want to thank all Chicago residents for creating such a friendly and hospitable city for tens of millions of visitors each year. Finally, I want to thank the readers of Conde Nast Traveler for choosing Chicago year after year and for recognizing all the amazing attributes of our city that is second to none.”
“This unprecedented honor is a testament of how Chicago is continually evolving as a dynamic destination for everyone,” said Glenn Eden, Chair, Choose Chicago Board of Directors. “From our restaurants and hotels, to our theaters, museums, neighborhoods, cultural attractions and sporting events, Chicago’s tourism and hospitality community brings world-class service and experiences you cannot find in any other city. Without a doubt, Chicago is the Best Big City in the U.S. for six record-breaking years because we’ve been able to help the savviest travelers positively reimagine what to expect when visiting Chicago and any big U.S. city for that matter.”
In the summer of 2022, Chicago welcomed visitors back to the city in droves, with hotel room demand approaching, and in one segment exceeding, pre-pandemic levels. Total hotel room demand during the summer months (June, July and August) exceeded 3 million room nights, which is nearly 90% of summer 2019 levels. Summer 2022 group hotel room demand, which represents rooms occupied specifically by delegates of large meetings and conventions, exceeded summer 2019 levels, with 1.06 million hotel room nights in summer 2022 compared to 1.03 million in summer 2019.
Chicago’s successful summer of travel followed the launch of the new When You Go You Know campaign in June. This campaign along with Choose Chicago’s summer messaging that started earlier generated more than $150 million in hotel revenue between April 18 and September 5. Additionally, the campaign drove 8.1 million searches for hotels and 1.2 million searches for flights. Choose Chicago also worked with Expedia and the Chicago hotel community on a focused consumer campaign to drive room nights. The campaign ran from May 9 through September 5 and drove more than 63,000 room nights with an estimated hotel revenue of $20 million.
Chicago’s historic recognition as the Best Big City in the U.S. for six straight years is a testament to the resilience of Chicago’s hospitality and tourism industries as the strong recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Condé Nast Traveler readers recognize that Chicago is home to world-class entertainment, impressive architecture, first-rate museums and an exceptional restaurant scene. 2022 has been a banner year for events in Chicago as well, with the first-ever Sueños Festival in May and the first US Sail Grand Prix Chicago race at Navy Pier in June, not to mention the successful full return of Chicago mainstays such as Lollapalooza, the James Beard Awards and the International Manufacturing Trade Show (IMTS), the largest and longest-running tradeshow in North America.
The 2022 Readers’ Choice Awards are published on Condé Nast Traveler’s website at cntraveler.com/rca and celebrated in the November issue. Follow @cntraveler on social media and tag #RCA2022.
With summer fast approaching, peak festival season in Chicago will soon be upon us. See below for a list of some of the most exciting programs returning in 2022 (many of them free) along with a few new surprises!
Chicago Gospel Music Experience (June 4, 2022): This outdoor festival at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, celebrating the Chicago-born genre, brings together traditional choirs, contemporary urban gospel artists, and more. FREE
Chicago Blues Festival (June 9-12, 2022): With a diverse lineup in Millennium Park celebrating the blues’ past, present and future, the Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world, shares the great Chicago-born music tradition while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip hop and more. FREE
Andersonville Midsommarfest(June 10-12, 2022): For more than 50 years, this summer festival has celebrated Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, LGBTQ+ pride, and vibrant local business community. For three nights and two days, this vibrant and diverse community will bring together over 75,000 people to celebrate a proud Swedish summer tradition with eclectic music, great vendors, food and free kids’ activities. Suggested donation of $10, as well as proceeds from beer sales, benefit the Andersonville Chamber of Commerce, along with several local non-profit organizations.
Grant Park Music Festival(June 15 – August 20, 2022): For more than 80 years, the Grant Park Music Festival has been Chicago’s summer musical sensation, demonstrating that classical music, performed by a world-class orchestra and chorus, can have a transformative impact on the city. This year will offer a thrilling lineup of music at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion with a mix of contemporary compositions and classical favorites such as Beethoven’s Eroica Symphony, Tchaikovsky’s Sleeping Beauty and Rachmaninov’s Piano Concerto No. 2. Plus there’s plenty of family fun with the Independence Day Salute, Lights on Broadway, and Cirque Goes to Hollywood featuring live aerialists soaring above the stage. FREE
The Summer Smash Festival(June 17-19, 2022): SPKRBX presents The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash Festival, the premier Hip-Hop music festival in the Midwest. For three days, on three stages, some of the biggest names in Hip-Hop will perform, including Post Malone and Wiz Khalifa. Tickets range from a 3-Day $275 General Admission Pass, to a $449 VIP Pass.
Chicago Pride Fest(June 17-19, 2022): Celebrate Pride in Northalsted, the country’s oldest official gay neighborhood at this lively fest, featuring live music, dance queens, local food, and more. The following weekend the Chicago Pride Parade (June 26, 2022), one of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, marches through the neighborhood. Suggested donation of $15 for Chicago Pride Fest.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series(June 20 – August 18, 2022, Mondays & Thursdays): With the backing of the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), this outdoor program features a wide variety of music from established and emerging artists at the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion. FREE
Pride in the Park (June 25-26,2022): An annual outdoor music festival held downtown in Chicago’s Grant Park at the end of June features LGBTQ+ performers, artists, vendors and more. 2-Day General Admission Passes to Pride in the Park start at $100.
Sail Grand Prix
Chicago has been chosen to host the United States Sail Grand Prix (SailGP) at Navy Pier (June 18-19, 2022). If you are not familiar, SailGP is one of the fastest emerging properties in world sports featuring exciting, up-close action as teams race identical F50 catamarans – a highly-technical, hydro foiling race boat that boasts highway speeds – in an annual global championship held in some of the most iconic cities around the world. Ten national teams will compete, comprising the best athletes in the sport representing the United States, Great Britain, France, Denmark, Spain, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, plus two new franchises from Canada and Switzerland. In June, the F50s will race on Lake Michigan directly in front of the Chicago skyline, marking the first time the championship has ever competed on fresh water! Tickets for single-day waterfront viewing access begin at around $40.
Ravenswood On Tap(June 18-19, 2022): Sip your way through Ravenswood, one of Chicago’s top craft beer neighborhoods and home to many small craft producers. Malt Row is one of the most prolific craft brewing communities in the country – and it’s right in Ravenswood! Enjoy brews from Malt Row, KOVAL Distillery cocktails, plus ax throwing, live music and some of Chicago’s favorite restaurants and food trucks. Suggested donations and proceeds from this event benefit the Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce, Ravenswood Community Council, and several other community organizations.
Chicago SummerDance(July 6–September 17, 2022, select dates): The beloved series returns this summer at parks throughout the city this summer. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. FREE
Taste of Chicago (July 8-10, 2022): A bite-sized version of the classic lakefront extravaganza will take place over three days in July — showcasing an estimated 30–40 eateries and food trucks each day, and three mainstage evening concerts. Prior to the main event, a series of Taste of Chicago pop-ups will return this year with food and music events in three Chicago neighborhoods in June. FREE admission; tickets for food and beverages are sold in strips of 14 for $10.
Southport Art & Music Fest (July 9-10, 2022): Chicago’s iconic Southport Corridor blooms to life when Southport Art Fest takes over Waveland and Southport in July. Festival fans will visit the beautiful tree-lined streets of the picturesque neighborhood. Just steps away from the friendly margins of Wrigley Field, the two-day festival will showcase some of the city’s best and most diverse artists. FREE admission; all donations and proceeds benefit the Southport Neighbors Association.
Millennium Park Summer Film Series(July 12–August 30, 2022, Tuesdays): Guests may take a seat at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or lounge on the Great Lawn as crowd-pleasing movies are presented on the state-of- the-art, 40-foot LED screen. FREE
Pitchfork Music Festival(July 15-17, 2022): Since 2006, the Pitchfork Music Festival has consistently proven to be one of the most welcoming, comfortable, reasonably priced, and rewarding weekends of music around. Hosting 60,000 attendees of all ages from all 50 states and dozens of countries, Pitchfork Music Festival showcases the best up-and-coming music from around the world, as well as special performances from touring stalwarts and legends alike. Featuring diverse vendors, as well as specialty record, poster, and craft fairs, the festival works to support local businesses while promoting the Chicago arts and food communities as a whole. Single day General Admission tickets start at $99 while the 3-Day, General Admission pass is $200.
Wicker Park Fest (July 22-24, 2022): As one of Chicago’s most anticipated summer festivals, and dubbed “Chicago’s Best Street Festival of the Summer ” by the Chicago Tribune, Wicker Park Fest is one of Chicago’s top-drawing festivals, attracting visitors from across Chicagoland and the country with its fantastic music line-up. Building on the area’s unique character, the weekend celebrates the neighborhood with eclectic music, great local food, arts and crafts, and retail vendors. Suggested donation of $10 and all proceeds benefit the local Wicker Park Bucktown Chamber of Commerce.
Pizza City Fest(July 23-24, 2022): Steve Dolinsky – a 13-time James Beard Award-winning food reporter, currently “The Food Guy” at NBC 5 – is creating a pizza festival unlike anything that’s ever been done, over two days in the West Loop. Pizza City Fest: Chicago brings together 39 of the region’s best pizza makers (and one out-of-town guest) for two days of pizza making and appreciation, all in one location – Plumbers Union Hall in the West Loop. Thanks to 10 PizzaMaster ovens on-site, guests will be able to see each pizza maker create, bake and serve up their remarkable pies in the massive parking lot at the Hall. There will also be live music, pizza-themed art, merchandise and a few special treats. Attendees will also be able to take in a series of highly curated seminars and panel discussions with some of the country’s greatest pizza makers in attendance. General Admission 1-Day tickets start at $59 and 2-Day tickets at $89.
Sundays on State (July 24–September 4, 2022, select Sundays): After its enormously successful debut in 2021, Sundays on State, presented by the Chicago Loop Alliance, will return for Summer 2022, with portions of Chicago’s most iconic street, State Street, closing to vehicular traffic again for select Sundays this summer. Join neighbors from every Chicago community and beyond for this free, interactive block party, while safely enjoying art, culture, active recreation, food, drinks, shopping, and local attractions in the heart of everyone’s neighborhood. FREE
Windy City Smokeout(August 4-7, 2022): It’s like a weekend-long tailgate at this popular country music festival, known for drawing in the industry’s top names. The 2022 festival lineup includes some of the biggest names in the industry, including Tim McGraw, Miranda Lambert, Sam Hunt, Willie Nelson, and more. Along with today’s hottest country acts, the lineup also includes some of the world’s best pitmasters. Barbecue pros from all over the country will be serving up ribs, brisket, smoked meats and more, highlighting styles from Kentucky, Nashville, Missouri, and Chicago. Local barbecue vendors include Bub City, Lillie’s Q, and Pearl’s Southern Comfort. Ticket prices range from $45 for a 1-Day Sunday General Admission ticket to $185 for a 4-Day pass.
Northalsted Market Days(August 6-7, 2022): The 40th Northalsted Market Days is a weekend long live music street festival celebrating community in Chicago’s landmark Northalsted/Lakeview district. The 1/2 mile long festival features all-day lineups of live music on 6 stages, 250+ unique vendors, arts, crafts, food and drink, DJ’s and dancing, sponsor booths, and more! Estimated attendance of 120,000 people from near and far, representing all colors of the rainbow! Suggested donation of $15, as well as proceeds from festival support local nonprofits, and fund community projects like the Chicago Pride Crosswalks.
Chicago Air and Water Show (August 20-21, 2022): The largest free show of its kind in the country, this waterfront show features stunning aerial displays above Lake Michigan. The show can be viewed along the lakefront from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point. FREE
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 Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. #CaptureChicagoExcitement
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.
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 Theaterfrom 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.
InGood 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.
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.
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 Mapin 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.
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.
The American Writers Museumreopened May 14, 2021 with a new exhibit Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable (May 2021- May 2022), chronicling the life of the well-known writer of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and The Illustrated Man, who was also a screenplay writer, a friend to Walt Disney, an amateur painter, and so much more.
Subscribe: Artists and Alternative Magazines, 1970-1995 (Until May 2, 2022) – Beginning in the early 1970s—as underrepresented groups were demanding new forms of visibility following the emergence of political movements such as Black Power and the Stonewall Rebellion—a handful of British and American photo-driven alternative magazines came on the scene. The Face, i-D, Rags,Out/Look, and other new publications amplified marginalized voices, especially those of queer makers and makers of color, and made room for those makers to question who and what was accepted as mainstream. This exhibition brings together over 130 magazines as well as photographs and time-based media works that evidence how these publications, by prizing formal experimentation and generating new affiliations across identities, challenged mainstream definitions of culture and belonging
Morris and Company: The Business of Beauty(Until June 13, 2022) – Artist, designer, and writer William Morris (1838–1896) founded Morris & Co. 160 years ago, in 1861. The company quickly became regarded for its handmade wallpapers, textiles, and furniture and its style became synonymous with the British Arts and Crafts movement of the late 19th century. Morris and his collaborators—which included his wife Jane Burden Morris, younger daughter May, artisan and designer John Henry Dearle, as well as artists such as Edward Burne-Jones and Dante Gabriel Rosetti—considered themselves design reformers. Accordingly, they experimented with dye recipes based on natural materials, revived hand-printing methods for fabrics and wallpapers, and reintroduced hand weaving for woven wool and silk textiles as well as pictorial tapestries. Although Morris & Co. closed its doors in 1940, the company’s aesthetic vision remains potent to this day through the continued reimagining and reworking of the textile and wallpaper designs. This exhibition explores that longevity, highlighting Morris & Co’s design tenets and favored techniques as well as Chicago area sites where the work of Morris and his contemporaries appeared.
The Golden Age of Kabuki Prints (Until April 10, 2022; April 16- June 26, 2022) – The drama of Kabuki theater was most successfully conveyed in the prints of the Katsukawa School of artists because they captured the individual characteristics of each actor. Kabuki actors were the celebrities of their time, and prints depicting them found an eager audience in their fans. Founded by Katsukawa Shunshō (1726–1792), the Katsukawa school included several prominent artists, all of whom created portraits of actors performing in popular Kabuki plays in Edo, though almost all of these prints show the actors in a realistic setting—on the street or under a flowering tree—rather than on a stage. The best-known artists of the school, in addition to Shunshō, were Katsukawa Shunkō (1743–1812) and Shun’ei (1762–1819). This exhibition includes examples by all three of these artists and is drawn from the more than 700 Katsukawa School prints in the Art Institute’s collection.
Life and Afterlife in Ancient Egypt (Opening February 11, 2022) – The transformed space explores aspects of life and the afterlife in the Nile Valley with the first new installation of works from the museum’s historic collection of ancient Egyptian art in a quarter-century. Striking artifacts—displayed along one wall of the gallery in a series of innovative cases that promote viewing from multiple vantage points—provide insight into the beliefs and practices of this illustrious North African culture.
Mel Bochner Drawings: A Retrospective(April 23 – August 22, 2022) – Over the course of a career that has spanned nearly six decades, Mel Bochner has been at the forefront of Conceptual Art, producing thought-provoking work in nearly every medium: drawing, painting, prints, photography, sculpture, books, and installations. This exhibition is the first to use drawing as its principle organizing focus, foregrounding the importance of this body of work within the artist’s practice from its beginnings in the 1960s through the present. The show demonstrates Bochner’s pioneering role in redefining the traditional boundaries of drawing and illuminates the artist’s evolving ideas about seriality, temporality, and the slippage between word and image.
CEZANNE (May 15 – September 5, 2022) – This exhibition is the first major retrospective of the artist Paul Cezanne (French, 1839–1906)’s work in the United States in more than 25 years and the first exhibition on Cezanne organized by the Art Institute of Chicago in more than 70 years. Planned in coordination with Tate Modern, the ambitious project explores Cezanne’s work across media and genres with 90 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings, and two complete sketchbooks. This outstanding array encompasses the range of Cezanne’s signature subjects and series—little-known early allegorical paintings, Impressionist landscapes, paintings of Montagne Sainte Victoire, portraits, and bather scenes—and includes both well-known works and rarely seen compositions from public and private collections in North and South America, Europe, and Asia.
The Great Chicago Fire in Focus (Until Spring 2022) – Following the Great Chicago Fire of October 1871, commercial photographers descended on the city to record its devastation but the paper-based prints offered for sale by the photographers lost much of the negative’s sharpness. For over fifty years, historian and photographic collector David R. Phillips sought and discovered the long-forgotten glass plate negatives that photographers inserted into their cameras 150 years ago. When combined with today’s digital reproduction technologies, these rescued 1870s glass negatives provide detailed imagery of the Chicago Fire’s devastation with a dramatic clarity never before possible.
Chicago History Museum’s newest permanent exhibition, City on Fire: Chicago 1871, guides visitors through the crucial events and conditions before, during and after the fire which overwhelmed Chicago for three days, submerging a city built of wood and causing severe destruction and homelessness and inflaming tensions against the immigrant Irish O’Leary family. This family-friendly exhibition features more than 100 artifacts from the Chicago History Museum’s collection, interactive and multimedia elements, and personal stories from survivors of the fire.
The Chicago History Museum’s Jaffee History Trail is now open. The interpretive path through the park space around the Museum incorporates features such as a fire relic from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the Couch Tomb, a reminder that the area was once a Chicago city cemetery. Developed in partnership with the Chicago Park District and support of neighborhood groups, the Jaffee History Trail creates a new destination at Lincoln Park’s southwestern corner. The new landscaping includes approximately 150 young trees and large beds of native plants, which will attract birds and other pollinators.
DuSable Museum of African American History is exhibiting the Un(re)solved installation, a multiplatform experience examining a federal effort to grapple with America’s legacy of racist killings. Who are the men, women, and children whose cases were reexamined under the Emmett Till Unsolved Civil Rights Crime Act? In the Un(re)solved installation, explore a living quilt and use augmented reality to bring the stories woven throughout, to life. Offered in partnership with Frontline PBS. Learn more here.
In Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories, opening May 2022, guests are invited to experience stories told by Native American and Indigenous people of self-determination, resilience, continuity and the future. Visitors will learn about the historical significance of items in the Field’s collection, like traditional regalia and pottery, and immerse themselves in works by contemporary Native artists, including Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) raised beadwork from Karen Ann Hoffman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and flute music from Frank Waln of the Sicangu Lakota. They will also dive deeply into current issues, like threats to Native land and the rights of tribal nations to govern themselves.
Greektown Chicago presents a new outdoor art exhibit Hello Helios: The warming suns of Chicago’s Greektown with 24 vibrant three-dimensional artworks lining Halsted Street from Monroe to Van Buren Streets through spring 2022. Painted by a diverse group of Chicago artists and named for Helios, the god of the sun in Greek mythology, the 24 sun sculpture editions celebrate the sun and light up the start of summer in Chicago. Many works in the exhibit draw inspiration from related mythologies, including those in the Greek, Aztec, Yoruba, Japanese and Native American cultures.
Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago will house Frida: Immersive Dream (February 24 – May 28, 2022), which explores the Mexico-born artist’s work with 500,000 cubic feet of monumental large-scale projections animating Frida Kahlo’s oeuvre, accompanied by a ravishing musical score.
For a unique after-hours outing, head to the Loop’s Medieval Torture Museum, the largest interactive historical museum in the U.S. Visitors are transported back in time hundreds of years to one of the darkest periods in history. Guests can explore immersive, hands-on recreations of torture chambers from the Middle Ages, made up of a unique collection of hundreds of objects. A self-guided audio tour introduces the museum’s collection and characters, while the Ghost Hunting Experience lets guests “capture” restless spirits.
Bani Abidi: The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared (Until June 5, 2022) – Pakistani artist Bani Abidi (b. 1971, lives and works in Karachi and Berlin) critiques those who hold power—and the many ways they wield it. Abidi is a master storyteller, using humor and absurdism to take on issues of militarism and nationalism as well as memory, belonging, and self-determination. Like an archeologist of urban life, Abidi intermingles fact with fiction in stories that navigate the intersection of personal and political drama. This major survey, developed in collaboration with the Sharjah Art Foundation, explores more than two decades of Abidi’s practice and features video, photography, sound installations, and new work, as well as work from the MCA Collection.
Chicago Works: Caroline Kent (Until June 12, 2022) – How does language structure our world? Who gets to be inside or outside a language? What would it mean to invent a new mode of communication? And what social conditions make creating a new language necessary?
These are questions that Chicago artist Caroline Kent (American, b. 1975) explores through paintings, drawings, sculpture, and performance works that speak in an abstract visual vocabulary she developed over years of practice. In this Chicago Works exhibition, Kent encourages visitors to engage with her invented language of abstraction—one that defies easy interpretation or translation.
Alfredo Jaar: The Structure of Images(Until July 3, 2022) – In our image-saturated and media-obsessed world, what stories remain untold? Employing images, lights, and mirrors, Alfredo Jaar (Chilean, b. 1956) asks us to acknowledge subjects who are often under-recognized. Projects range in scope and subject: as one artwork focuses on an Ethiopian refugee amid the Eastern Sudan crisis, another observes remarkable but overlooked women including human rights lawyer Shada Nasser, author and activist Nawal El Saadawi, and politician Camila Vallejo. Featuring a selection of key works and installations that span three decades, The Structure of Images showcases Jaar’s critical approach to addressing injustice in our world.
Based on a True Story . . . (February 12-August 14, 2022) – In Based on a True Story . . ., 19 artists play with fact, fiction, and the grey areas in between. Drawn primarily from the MCA Collection, their artworks wrestle with our understanding of truth and belief by exploring fiction: Some artists craft an identity or personal memoir. Others stage complex urban landscapes that confuse our perception of the world. Still, others challenge the way the past is portrayed by historians and institutions like museums. Based on a True Story . . . invites visitors to question how we see truth—and how fiction can help us imagine new realities.
Coming in Spring 2022, MCA will present the first career-spanning retrospective of the internationally renowned Chicagoan Nick Cave in an exhibition titled NICK CAVE: FOROTHERMORE (May 14–Oct 2, 2022). Highlights of the exhibition will include never-before-seen works, including a continuation of the artist’s popular Soundsuits series with the premiere of Soundsuits 9:29 and a mesmerizing, site-specific installation, Spinner Forest, composed of thousands of kinetic spinners that will hang in the museum’s two-story atrium and fourth-floor lobby.
From March 3-June 26, 2022, MoCP at Columbia College Chicago presents Beautiful Diaspora / You Are Not the Lesser Part, a free exhibit featuring 15 artists from around the globe whose works showcase diversity both in front of and behind the camera, as well as challenge notions of global segregation. Organized by Asha Iman Veal, MoCP’s Associate Curator, this thought-provoking collection challenges the audience to reflect on the parallel experiences and relationships between global artists of color and diverse Black artists. The exhibition features work by Xyza Cruz Bacani (Philippines), Widline Cadet (US), Jessica Chou (US), duo Amy Sanchez Arteaga and Misael Diaz (US), Işıl Eğrikavuk (Turkey/Germany), Citlali Fabián (Mexico), Sunil Gupta (Canada/UK), Kelvin Haizel (Ghana), David Heo (US), Damon Locks (US), Johny Pitts (UK), Farah Salem (Kuwait/US), Ngadi Smart (Ivory Coast/UK), Tintin Wulia (Australia), and the debut of Abena Appiah (UK).
Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) is bringing its experiential museum to Chicago this coming summer 2022. Located at The Shops at Tribune Tower at 435 N Michigan Ave, the one-of-its-kind space will span 13,544 square feet and encompass retail, entertainment, and a cafe and bar. Plans include the rollout of new features and attractions specifically designed for Chicago including the Sprink-L, a Chicago-inspired CTA “L”; a giant dessert-themed putt putt course with a pink Chicago dog ice cream treat; and a 3,500-square-foot speakeasy accessible to the general public.
At the reopened Museum of Illusions Chicago, guests can enjoy more than 80 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced along with temperature checks, reduced capacity, timed-ticketing and increased sanitation and cleaning.
Museum of Science and Industry
Museum of Science and Industry Chicago (MSI)’s popular Boeing 727, which made history during the early age of jet travel, reopened to the public with a new Take Flight exhibit that celebrates the historic United Airlines plane and explores how the airline industry connects people. The project involved restoring and highlighting the plane’s interior and creating brand-new interactives to bring flying to life. The plane’s fuselage bears the name of Captain William Norwood, the first African-American pilot for United, whose story is featured in the exhibit. A 150-foot display takes guests on a behind-the-scenes journey from aircraft assembly to takeoff, showcasing the variety of careers and people working in aviation. This spectacular wall reveals the complex systems that help people build new planes, manage airport operations and track flights and passengers all around the world.
New attractions coming to MSI for Winter/Spring 2022 include:
Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition(January 17 – April 17, 2022) – The longest-running exhibit of African-American art in the nation—hosted at MSI since 1970—showcases nearly 200 works by professional and student artists. The annual Black Creativity program also features an Innovator Gallery of African-American leaders who are transforming Chicago; educational workshops for students; family events; and the Black Creativity Gala. A special exhibit, Black Creativity: Architecture, explores the impact of Black architects throughout history, from ancient buildings to modern skyscrapers.
The Art of the Brick(February 10 – September 5, 2022) – Designed to inspire ingenuity and creativity, The Art of the Brick is the world’s largest and most elaborate display of LEGO art featuring more than 100
Coal Mine and U-505 Submarine,two guest favorites, will reopen to the public in February 2022 after pandemic-related closures. The Coal Mine takes guests down a mineshaft, along the rails and through a true-to-life coal mine with an engaging tour of mining history and innovations. The U-505 On-board Tour is an interactive walk through history, from the cramped quarters to the feel of battle.
The Poetry Foundation
The Poetry Foundationhas a slate of new events for the Winter/Spring season, including free readings, talks, exhibitions, and more. On February 5, 2022, the Foundation will kick off a new partnership with Poetry Ireland with COMMONground, the first in a series of transatlantic events. The reading and conversation with acclaimed Irish poet Doireann Ní Ghríofa and award-winning American poet Teri Ellen Cross Davis, moderated by Erin Fornoff, probes concepts of struggle, motherhood, and the complexities of honoring the past while raising the future.
For And Nor But Or Yet So, Bob Faust’s installation honoring poet Patricia Smith, is extended until March 13, 2022. The installation can be viewed on the exterior of the Poetry Foundation building, which will reopen to the public in April 2022 for in-person events.
Rise Up: Stonewall and the LGBTQ Rights Movement, the newest special exhibition at the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center running through May 8, 2022, explores the June 1969 police raid of the Stonewall Inn as the flashpoint that ignited the modern gay rights movement in the United States. Blending together historic images and artifacts of the LGBTQ+ rights movement, the 85 items on display in Rise Up include posters from Harvey Milk’s campaign for public office in San Francisco, a rainbow flag in its original colors signed by its creator Gilbert Baker, and early LGBTQ magazines and publications.
Opening January 27, 2022 (Holocaust Remembrance Day), visitors can experience the virtual reality exhibition The Journey Back: A VR Experience, which applies cutting-edge technology to engage visitors on a journey as they walk through concentration camps with Holocaust Survivors who experienced them. The exhibition is a global game-changer, revolutionizing the field of Holocaust memory through innovative technology and transportive storytelling. In this exhibit, the participant controls their own 360-degree experience as they walk with Survivors Fritzie Fritzshall and George Brent through their childhood homes and current day Auschwitz, Mauthausen, and Ebensee.
The University of Chicago’s Smart Museum of Art presents Bob Thompson: This House is Mine, running from February 15-May 15, 2022, the first museum exhibition dedicated to this visionary painter in more than twenty years. Through more than 85 paintings and works on paper, the exhibition traces Thompson’s brief but prolific transatlantic career, examining both his formal inventiveness and his engagement with themes of collectivity, jazz, love, bearing witness, struggle and justice.
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.
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 was ranked “Best Big City in the U.S.” in 2021 for the fifth consecutive year by Condé Nast Traveler’s discerning readers in the CNT Readers’ Choice Awards.
Tripadvisor’s new Winter Travel Index listed Chicago as one of the Top 10 Winter Domestic Destinations in the U.S.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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 Chicagoopened 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 Washingtonrecently 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.