Things to do in Chicago today

The day's best things to do in Chicago—including free and cheap activities, concerts, screenings, shows, parties and more. It's your social emergency savior.

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Looking for something to do this evening? Have a friend coming into town who wants to see the sights? You're in luck, because Chicago is a city filled with attractions and things to do (including some that cost absolutely nothing). Seize the moment with our list of today's best concerts, shows, activities and more.

Since I Suppose

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

one step at a time like this and Chicago Shakespeare Theater. Running time: Approximately 2hrs 20mins. Theater review by Kris Vire Three years ago, the Australian company called one step at a time like this brought its astonishing self-guided mobile piece en route to Chicago as part of Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s World’s Stage series. Not long

  1. Chicago Shakespeare Theater 800 E Grand Ave, at Navy Pier
  2. Thu Aug 28 - Sun Sep 21
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Stupid Fucking Bird

  • Rated as: 5/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Sideshow Theatre Company at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. By Aaron Posner. Directed by Jonathan L. Green. With Katy Carolina Collins, Matt Fletcher, Nina O'Keefe, Cody Proctor, Stacy Stoltz, Nate Whelden, Norm Woodel. Running time: 2hrs 10mins; one intermission. Theater review by Kris Vire Con (Nate Whelden), the frustrated young playwright at the

  1. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater 2433 N Lincoln Ave, between Fullerton Ave and Montana St
  2. Sat Aug 16 - Sun Sep 21
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Methtacular!

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

About Face Theatre at Theater Wit. Written and performed by Steven Strafford. Directed by Adam Fitzgerald. Running time: 1hr 30mins; no intermission. Theater review by Dan Jakes Decades before anti-drug agencies helped rebrand methamphetamine and spread awareness about the terrifying scourge that it is, the aphrodisiac and party drug was known in the gay

  1. Theater Wit 1229 W Belmont Ave, between Racine and Lakewood Aves
  2. Thu Aug 21 - Sun Sep 28
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"Destination Solar System"

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

Review by Zach Long 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,

  1. Adler Planetarium 1300 S Lake Shore Dr
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Tue Sep 30
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The Downpour

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

Route 66 Theatre Company at Greenhouse Theater Center. By Caitlin Parrish. Directed by Erica Weiss. With Brenda Barrie, Caroline Neff, Peter Moore, Stef Tovar. Running time: 2hrs 10mins; one intermission. Theater review by Kevin Thomas Robin (Brenda Barrie) has achieved her dreams despite a devastating childhood raising her younger sister Hazel (Caroline

  1. Greenhouse Theater Center 2257 N Lincoln Ave, between Webster and Belden Aves
  2. Wed Sep 10 - Sun Oct 12
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The Midnight City

  • Rated as: 4/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

Firecat Projects at the Steppenwolf Garage. By Tony Fitzpatrick with Stan Klein. Directed by Ann Filmer. With Fitzpatrick, Klein, Anna Fermin, John Rice. Running time: 1hr 45mins; one intermission. Theater review by Megan Powell “I’d rather have a memory than a dream,” goes the classic Sarah Vaughan track that’s sung near the end of The Midnight

  1. Steppenwolf Garage 1624 N Halsted St, between North Ave and Willow St
  2. Sat Sep 6 - Sun Oct 19
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"Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938"

  • Rated as: 3/5
  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

When I walk through an exhibit devoted to one artist, I wonder, would that artist have enjoyed the presentation? As I ambled through the Art Institute’s somber and dark Magritte: The Mystery of the Ordinary, 1926–1938, with its paintings set on charcoal walls beneath pools of yellow light, I guessed that Rembrandt would have gotten off on it, but not

  1. Art Institute of Chicago 111 S Michigan Ave, at Adams St
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Mon Oct 13
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"Vivian Maier: Out of the Shadows"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

This free public exhibition of Vivian Maier's photography displays images that she captured during the 1950s through the 1970s. In addition to her candid street photography, the collection includes pictures from Maier's travels in France. The exhibit is located on the library's 9th floor.

  1. Harold Washington Library Center 400 S State St, at Van Buren St
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Sun Sep 28
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Death Tax

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

Lookingglass Theatre Company. By Lucas Hnath. Directed by Heidi Stillman. With Deanna Dunagan, J. Nicole Brooks, Raymond Fox, Louise Lamson. Running time: 1hr 25mins; no intermission. Theater review by Kris Vire It may have been Ben Franklin or Daniel Defoe who coined the phrase about life's two certainties, the ones that constitute the title of Lucas

  1. Lookingglass Theatre 821 N Michigan Ave, at Pearson St
  2. Tue Sep 2 - Sun Oct 12
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Avenue Q

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

Mercury Theater. Music and lyrics by Robert Lopez and Jeff Marx. Book by Jeff Whitty. Directed by L. Walter Stearns. With Jackson Evans, Leah Morrow, Sean Patrick Fawcett, Christine Bunuan, Adam Fane, Daniel Smeriglio, Donterrio Johnson, Thom Van Ermen, Stephanie Herman. Running time: 2hrs 10mins; one intermission. Theater review by Kris Vire Ten years

  1. Mercury Theater 3745 N Southport Ave, between Waveland Ave and Grace St
  2. Wed Apr 23 - Sun Oct 26
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Depraved New World

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

Second City Mainstage. Directed by Mick Napier. With Chelsea Devantez, John Hartman, Mike Kosinski, Tawny Newsome, Emily Walker, Steve Waltien. 1hr 50mins; one intermission. Comedy review by Kris Vire The Second City’s 102nd mainstage revue is among the jauntiest in recent memory, even as it mines the most pervasive of our modern social anxieties. The

  1. The Second City Mainstage 1616 N Wells St, at North Ave
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Sun Nov 9
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"Simon Starling: Pictures for an Exhibition"

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Over the past few years, Turner-award winning artist Simon Starling tracked down the location of 18 sculptures by Constantin Brancusi and photographed each one. "Pictures for an Exhibition" collects these photos as well as the anecdotes he collected during his journey. The exhibition coincides with a display of Starling's work at the Museum of

  1. Arts Club of Chicago 201 E Ontario St, at St. Clair St
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Fri Sep 26
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James Murphy (DJ set)

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The one and only James Murphy, DFA label founder and LCD Soundsystem mastermind, takes over Smart Bar.

  1. Smart Bar 3730 N Clark St, between Waveland and Racine Aves
  2. Thu Sep 18
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Kyle Kinane

  • Critics choice

Kinane is like a comedy god to us. The former Chicagoan manages to be both cerebral and lowbrow all in one punch, and his storytelling powers are phenomenal.

  1. UP Comedy Club 230 W North Ave, at Wells St
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Sat Sep 20
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"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

  1. Chicago Cultural Center 78 E Washington St, at Michigan Ave
  2. Thu Sep 18 - Sun Nov 2
More info
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