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.

The Wild Party

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

Bailiwick Chicago at Victory Gardens Biograph Theater. Music and lyrics by Michael John LaChiusa. Book by LaChiusa and George C. Wolfe. Directed by Brenda Didier. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 45mins; no intermission. Theater review by Kris Vire Michael John LaChiusa's 1999 musical jazzes up Joseph Moncure March's Jazz Age narrative poem about a

  1. Victory Gardens Biograph Theater 2433 N Lincoln Ave, between Fullerton Ave and Montana St
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Sat Nov 1
Buy tickets

Northalsted Halloween Parade

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Drag queens, pets and kids fill the streets of Boystown at the 18th annual Northalsted Halloween Parade. The annual event attracts a wonderful cross section of humanity sporting ghoulish makeup and fashionable costumes. The parade is open to all, but you'll need to register before you're able to walk in it.

  1. Belmont Ave and Halsted St Belmont St, at Halsted St
  2. Fri Oct 31
More info

"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. Fri Oct 31 - Sun Nov 2
More info

Supernatural Chicago

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Neil Tobin brings his Supernatural Chicago show back from the dead for four weekends in October, taking up residence in the appropriately gothic Castle nightclub. Tobin combines supernatural stories with demonstrations of his psychic and magical skills, creating a spooky show that won't give your kids nightmares. Admission includes two drinks and cover for

  1. Castle 632 N Dearborn St, at Ontario St
  2. Fri Oct 31 - Sat Nov 1
Buy tickets

Chicago Humanities Festival: Journeys

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Entering its 25th year, the Chicago Humanities Festival celebrates the spirit of human creativity with programming that explores the them of "Journeys". Notable programs include an appearance by Girls creator Lena Dunham, a discussion with the director of the Robert Ebert documentary Life Itself and a conversation with rocker Patti Smith. A complete list

  1. Various venues Chicagoland
  2. Fri Oct 31 - Sun Nov 9
Buy tickets

The Frozen on the Square (1982)

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

Akvavit Theatre. By Lucas Svensson. Translated by Chad Eric Bergman. Directed by Breahan Eve Pautsch. With ensemble cast. Running time: 1hr 20mins; no intermission. Theater review by Megan Powell For a play set during the filming of Ingmar Bergman’s most expensive and opulent film, Svensson’s dark, offbeat comedy is positively austere, clocking in at

  1. The Den Theatre 1333 N Milwaukee Ave, at Paulina St
  2. Fri Oct 31 - Sun Nov 9
Buy tickets

Boneshaker

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

Interactive theater company Redmoon presents its fifth annual Boneshaker costume party, inviting 1,000 attendees into its Pilsen digs on Halloween night. Revelers will enjoy DJs on three different dance floors, a garden of fire sculptures, roaming acrobats, a confessional booth and many more thrilling diversions. An assortment of food and drinks will keep

  1. Redmoon Central 2120 S Jefferson St, between 21st St and Cermak Rd
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets

Noches de Muertos: A Double Dose of Halloween Horror

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Maria's Packaged Goods doubles down on its Halloween celebrations with two nights of Mexican horror films and Latin music. On Thursday, the bar pays tribute to Argentine musician Gustavo Cerati with help from DJ Luchador Luis Místico, while Friday's festivities feature DJ Diabro digging through crates of Mexican music and Halloween-themed tunes.

  1. Maria’s Packaged Goods & Community Bar 960 W 31st St, between Keeley and Farrell Sts
  2. Fri Oct 31
More info

The Vandal

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

Steep Theatre Company. By Hamish Linklater. Directed by Shade Murray. With Kendra Thulin, Jack Miggins, Alex Gillmor. Running time: 1hr 20mins; no intermission. Theater review by Kris Vire A teenage boy (Jack Miggins) approaches a lone woman (Kendra Thulin) at a bus stop on a chilly evening in upstate New York. Though the woman clearly wants to be left

  1. Steep Theatre 1115 W Berwyn Ave, between Broadway and Winthrop Ave
  2. Thu Oct 2 - Sat Nov 8
Buy tickets

Freaky Deaky VI: Flux Pavilion

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

React Presents' annual Halloween gig always bring the big names in bass and colorful costumes. British dubstep kingpin Flux Pavilion drops rumbling hits like "I Can't Stop" which sound like Kanye West's ego crushing a Shibuya pachinko parlor. Oakland rapper G-Eazy, the Macklemore of hyphy trap, opens. His recent major label joint, These Thing Happen,

  1. Aragon 1106 W Lawrence Ave, at Winthrop Ave
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets

Chicago: A Movie Sing-A-Long & Costume Party

  • Critics choice
  • Free

Dust off that old flapper costume and put it to use this Halloween with a screening of Chicago, complete with a costume contest and speakeasy cocktails starting at 6pm.

  1. Auditorium Theatre 50 E Congress Pkwy, between Michigan and Wabash Aves
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets

Blind Tiger: A Circus of Horrors, A Carnival of Curiosities

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

The Violet Hour sets the mood for the Halloween spirit (emphasis on the spirits, of course) with an evening of frightful fun. Dress up as your favorite circus freak and ogle other curosities of nature, as it were, with unlimited cocktails and complimentary hooch. Tickets can be secured by emailing aubrey@theviolethour.com.

  1. The Violet Hour 1520 N Damen Ave, between Le Moyne St and Wicker Park Ave
  2. Fri Oct 31
More info

All the Devils

  • Price band: 2/4
  • Critics choice

Indie gay magazine Hello Mr. joins forces with the Slo ’Mo team for this Halloween costume party, which takes its inspiration from The Tempest: "Hell is empty. And all the devils are here." DJ Tess Kisner will mix current dance hits in with her usual slow jams; the price of admission includes an open bar.

  1. FLATS Studio 1050 W Wilson Ave
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets

Chat Noir: Halloween Night with Anthony Attalla

  • Price band: 1/4
  • Critics choice

This is one for those who only shop for Halloween costumes that start with "Sexy…". Local house hunk Attalla works the decks while burlesque girls work the room. Expect hard grooves and people wearing little more than masques.

  1. Spy Bar 646 N Franklin St, between Ontario and Erie Sts
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets

Hardwell

  • Price band: 3/4
  • Critics choice

From the same hometown as Tiësto, Hardwell is next in line to the progressive house throne. Another crowd-pleasing DJ of the Dirty Dutch ilk, the 26-year-old is nipping on the heels of Afrojack as Hollywood's go-to, having recently turned in a thumping remix of Coldplay's "Sky Full of Stars" while chipping away at his debut album. It's a Halloween night of

  1. UIC Pavilion 525 S Racine Ave
  2. Fri Oct 31
Buy tickets
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