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Photograph: Max HermanThe No Pants Subway Ride | January 8, 2012

39 exciting things opening in Chicago in January

Zach Long
Written by
Zach Long

Welcome to 2015, a year that will surely be filled with boundless possibility and numerous great things to do. Get a head start on planning for the next 365 days of your life with the help of our guide to January's most anticipated openings. Show off your pale legs and tasteful underwear while confusing clueless tourists on the CTA during the annual No Pants Subway Ride. Get a preview of Louis C.K.'s latest collection of brutally honest observations at a pair of spur-of-the-moment shows at the Chicago Theatre. Chase away the winter blues at concerts featuring a variety of acclaimed national acts and notable local bands during the Tomorrow Never Knows festival. Take a moment to scroll through our list of the best openings in Chicago in January.


Jan 1: The New Year's Day 5K Run/Walk gives you a chance to stick to your resolutions during the first day of 2015.
Jan 8: The Original Mother's honors the 80th birthday of the late, hip-shaking crooner withs its annual Elvis Fest.
Jan 11: Strip down to your skivvies and draw befuddled looks from clueless CTA riders during the annual No Pants Subway Ride.
Jan 16–18:
 The perpetually cursed Wrigley Field residents will showcase management and players at the annual Cubs Convention.
Jan 17, 18: Wanna get away? Plan your next excursion, near or far, at the Chicago Travel & Adventure Show.


Jan 3: Taylor Street gets a wine bar when Bascule opens a few days into the New Year.
Jan 11: Osteria Langhe, the Piedmontese restaurant in Logan Square, launches brunch service.
Jan 30–Feb 12: Sample cuisine from some of the city's top chefs when Chicago Restaurant Week kicks off.
Jan TBD: Son of a Butcher, from the Pearl Tavern owner, opens in Avondale.
Jan TBD: The Bristol and Balena teams come together with Formento's, an Italian red-sauce joint, helmed by chef Tony Quartaro.

Note: Food & Drink openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.


Jan 16: Michael Bond's famous talking bear comes to the big screen in this live-action feature that finds Paddington adopted by a London family after being found in a train station.
Jan 16: Julianne Moore is raking in accolades for her performance in Still Alice, playing a linguistics professor who suddenly begins to forget words.
Jan 23: In Black Sea, Jude Law stars as a desperate submarine captain who leads an expedition to recover Nazi gold from the bottom of the titular body of water.


Jan 5, 6: The frustrated, candid, relentless and profoundly funny Louis C.K. comes to the Chicago Theatre for a surprise two-night stand.
Jan 8:
Self-loathing stand-up Eddie Pepitone comes to Lincoln Hall with a bunch of emotional baggage and dark comedy in tow.
Jan 8–18:
 The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival, the country's largest festival of its kind, returns for its fourteenth year to warm up January with lots of laughter.
Jan 9–11: The former Last Comic Standing semifinalist Nikki Glaser takes a break from raking in victories on @midnight to bring her stand-up to Up Comedy Club.
Jan 16–18: Fresh off his first appearance as a Daily Show correspondent, South African comedian Trevor Noah tackles politics, race and class with his stand-up.


Jan 13–Apr 19: Ancient Buddhist art from Kashmir region goes on display at the Block Museum in Evanston in "Collecting Paradise: Buddhist Art of Kashmir and Its Legacies".
Jan 20–Mar 23:
The Art Institute will display 74 creatively dressed volumes in its latest exhibition, "Decidedly Surreal: The Bindings of Mary Louise Reynolds".
Jan 26–Mar 22: Photographers who have been displaced from their homes exhibit intimate photos in the Museum of Contemporary Photography's "What Remains" exhibition.
Jan 29–Apr 26: "Rooted in Soil" digs into the artistic qualities of the earth beneath our feet during its run at the DePaul Art Museum.


Jan 8–Mar 1: Anne Washburn's play, Mr. Burns, a post-electric-play, imagines The Simpsons episode "Cape Feare" becoming a mythological touchstone in the decades following a global power-grid failure.
Jan 13–Apr 19: TimeLine stages The Apple Family Plays, Richard Nelson's four-play cycle about a family in upstate New York working through their own issues in the shadow of American milestones
Jan 15–Feb 15: Ron OJ Parson directs Samuel Beckett's absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot, about two vagrants' futile anticipation of the title character.
Jan 15–Feb 20: Princess Mary Demands Your Attention combines War and Peace with drag queens in the tale of Amari Bolkonski, a gay, black and aimless young man.
Jan 15–Mar 1: Shade Murray helms the Chicago premiere of Accidentally Like a Martyr, an ensemble piece about the denizens of a Lower East Side gay dive bar.
Jan 17–Feb 22: Two-time Pulitzer finalist Gina Gionfriddo's Rapture, Blister, Burn tells the story of two women returning to their relationship after a long falling-out
Jan 22–Feb 28: Brant Russell will helm the U.S. premiere of Brett Neveu's Red Bud, a play about a group of middle-aged friends on an annual pilgrimage to the Michigan motocross race.
Jan 23–Feb 22: The Other Theatre Company makes its debut with a new staging of Twilight: Los Angeles, 1992, a play about the riots that followed the videotaped police beating of Rodney King.


Jan 20–25: Dancers bang on trash can lids and other additional noise-making devices as Stomp makes its return to the Bank of America Theatre for a week of performances.
Jan 21:
 The New York City Ballet’s Wendy Whelan collaborates with four contemporary choreographers as she returns to Chicago to present Restless Creatures at the Harris Theater.


Jan 2–31: Buddy Guy makes his annual stand at his eponymous South Loop blues joint.
Jan 10: Local alt-country label (the one that invented the genre) Bloodshot Records throws a 20th anniversary party at Metro with Lydia Loveless, Kelly Hogan, Ben Kweller, a magician and more.
Jan 14–19: The great annual Tomorrow Never Knows festival brings Aimee Mann, Hamilton Leithauser, Cloud Nothings, Alvvays (who made some of our favorite albums of 2014) and more to heat up our winter.
Jan 17: The Chicago Bluegrass & Blues Festival brings in the raspy bar rock of Lucero​—who are neither bluegrass nor blues, but smoke in any case.
Jan 23: Sam Smith, the new Adele or the sadsack George Michael, depending on how you want to think of him, upgrades to arena level.
Jan 24: The hockey rock kings in Fall Out Boy return home for a tiny Lincoln Hall gig to launch a new album of modern jock jams.
Jan 31: Cold War Kids bring their slick and pounding rock to cold weather kids at the Riv.

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