Best things to do this weekend in Chicago

Time Out Chicago's editors pick the top parties, concerts, cultural events and more this weekend in Chicago

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Friday

Lollapalooza

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Set between breezy Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline, Lollapalooza is the city's largest music festival, boasting numbers of attendance well in the six digits on a regular day (though it can feel like seven), mostly consisting of throngs of high school and college kids. This year, the mega-fest's headliners include Eminem, Kings of Leon, Skrillex and Outkast.

  1. Grant Park 337 E Randolph St, at Columbus Dr
  2. Until Sun Aug 3
Buy tickets

"Better Days Ahead: New Works by Jay Ryan"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

If you've lived in Chicago long enough, you've probably encountered the work of artist Jay Ryan. Stationed in Evanston, Ryan runs the Bird Machine screenprint shop, producing posters for Midwestern artists like Andrew Bird, Low and Hum as well as festivals like Pitchfork and the Hideout Block Party. "Better Days Ahead" showcases some of his latest work, including new paintings and prints.

  1. Rotofugi 2780 N Lincoln Ave, at Diversey Ave
  2. Until Sun Aug 3
More info

Othello

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If you haven’t yet discovered the decade-old Gift Theatre on Chicago’s Northwest Side, their remarkable new production of Othello—the company’s first foray into Shakespeare—should definitely be your introduction. Director Jonathan Berry and a dazzling cast render Shakespeare’s problematic tragedy urgent in the Gift's very small space, with minimal set, stylized lighting and an audience so near to the players, we play witness to the unfolding events.

  1. The Gift Theatre 4802 N Milwaukee Ave, at Lawrence Ave
  2. Until Sun Aug 24
Buy tickets

Lollapalooza 2014: Spoon

  • Price band: 2/4

Strange to think, but Britt Daniel's crew is no longer with Merge Records, having signed with Loma Vista for its eighth album. Expect more smart minimalism, studio perfectionism and adenoidal singing. Is there a more consistent act in rock? The poppy Wildcat! Wildcat! opens.

  1. Metro Chicago 3730 N Clark St, between Waveland and Racine Aves
  2. Fri Aug 1
Buy tickets

Saturday

"Art Alliance: The Provocateurs"

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Street artist turned graphic design activist Shepard Fairey is bringing his politically charged work back to the city, setting up a gallery in Block 37 during Lollapalooza. "Art Alliance: The Provocateurs" will include works by Fairey himself in addition to more than 40 artists, including Devo frontman Mark Mothersbaugh and longtime Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood. A portion of the event's proceeds will support Chicago Arts Partnerships in Education, an organization that helps integrate arts and music into school curriculums.

  1. Block 37 108 N State St, at Randolph St
  2. Until Mon Aug 4
Buy tickets

"Destination Solar System"

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

If all goes as planned, Virgin Galactic will begin offering commercial flights into space later this year. For those unable to wait (or without $250,000 to spare) the Adler Planetarium’s latest space visualization may be the closest you’ll come to breaking away from these Earthly bounds. Transporting viewers to the year 2096, “Destination Solar System” imagines a future where Space Express Tours offers interstellar travel to some of the most interesting locales in outer space.

  1. Adler Planetarium 1300 S Lake Shore Dr
  2. Until Tue Sep 30
Buy tickets

Chicago Bears Meijer Family Fest

  • Price band: 1/4

Get a head start on football season by heading to this family friendly festival, featuring games, outdoor activities and live music. The party begins outside of Soldier Field and then moves inside at 5pm where attendees will be able to watch a Bears practice, followed by a fireworks display.

  1. Soldier Field 1410 S Museum Campus Dr, at McFetridge Dr
  2. Sat Aug 2
Buy tickets

Lollapalooza 2014: Deltron 3030

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

You may sometimes walk by Block 37 on State Street and think, What the hell are they doing in there? Good question. Aside from a handful of anchor stores, and the delicious Dose Market, the Loop mall has been a retail ghost town. Why not make it a concert space? Del, Kid Koala and Dan the Automater bring their sci-fi hip-hop crew with Obey graphic designer Fairey. Let them tag the place up.

  1. Block 37 108 N State St, at Randolph St
  2. Sat Aug 2
Buy tickets

Old Irving Park Beer & BBQ Challenge

10 chef and craft brewer teams face off to showcase barbecue and beer pairings. Brewers include DryHop, Revolution, Half Acre and Begyle, and the winning pair will feature their dishes at Homaro Cantu's forthcoming brewery on opening night.

  1. St. Viator School 4140 W Addison St
  2. Sat Aug 2
More info

Sunday

"CHGO DSGN: Recent Object and Graphic Design"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

A new exhibit at the Chicago Cultural Center showcases recent work from more than 100 of the city's top designers. The collection was curated by Smithsonian Cooper-Hewitt National Design Award winner Rick Valicenti, who presents 200 works that exemplify Chicago's creative spirit. From DIVVY design documents to delicate utensils designed for Alinea, "CHGO DSGN" places an emphasis on objects that are a part of the city's rich cultural identity.

  1. Chicago Cultural Center 78 E Washington St, at Michigan Ave
  2. Until Sun Nov 2
More info

Lollapalooza 2014: Nas + Vic Mensa

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

On a new Mariah Carey track, rap icon Nas says, "We don't we wish today's game was old again / We just wish it wasn't full of Draconian, phony men." It's essentially a mission statement for the 40-year-old, who tries to honor hip-hop's poetic, boom-bap roots while pushing forward. Like few others in his age bracket, he continues to succeed.

  1. House of Blues 329 N Dearborn St, between Kinzie St and Lower Wacker Dr
  2. Sun Aug 3
Buy tickets

Too Much Light Makes the Baby Go Blind

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Running continuously since 1988, the Neo-Futurists' signature show has become a rite of passage for adventurous theatergoers in Chicago. The writer-performers' attempt to stage 30 mini plays in 60 minutes is controlled chaos of the best kind, and with the ensemble members performing as themselves and new plays in the rotation every week, it's routinely the most topical show in town.

  1. Neo-Futurarium 5153 N Ashland Ave, between Winona St and Foster Ave
  2. Until Sun Dec 27
Buy tickets

Taste of Latin America

  • Price band: 1/4

17 Latin American countries have consulates in the city of Chicago, but the region's cuisine can be hard to find. Sample dishes like fish panades, empanadas and Brazilian sausage at this foodie feast.

Queen!

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

The greatest houes institution in town, Queen! is the electronic musical equivalent of "the Bean." If you are in Chicago and you consider yourself a dance-music fan, you owe it to yourself to witness Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David spin grooves deeper than our stupid pizza.

  1. Smart Bar 3730 N Clark St, between Waveland and Racine Aves
  2. Sun Aug 3 - Sun Sep 21
Buy tickets
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