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51 exciting openings in February in Chicago

Written by
Nick Kotecki

February looks like it may to be pretty mild compared to last year, which makes this month's openings all the more enticing. If the balmy winter weather still gives you a chill, try one (or more!) of our favorite hot seasonal cocktails. If you actually enjoy the brisk temperatures, you can always go for a spin on Chicago's ice skating rinks. Make the most of the shortest month of the year at the best events, new bars and restaurants as well as the latest from Chicago's world-class theater scene.


Feb 2: Attend the Groundhog Day ceremony depicted in the 1993 film of the same name, transposed to the suburb of Woodstock.

Feb 6: Fight off the cold with your best old-school ski wear and a drink at the Retro Ski Lodge Block Party bar crawl in the Gold Coast.

Feb 6: Attend what's being billed as "the world's largest indoor bar crawl" at Navy Pier's Mardi Gras celebration.

Feb 8: Kick off the Chinese New Year with a celebration ringing in the Year of the Monkey with drummers and traditional Chinese dancers at the Chicago Cultural Center.

Feb 13: The Chic-A-Go-Go Bowie Tribute Dance Party offers groove-savvy Chicagoans the chance to be on TV during this tribute to the rock legend.

Feb 13: Ah, Valentine's Day. Love it or hate it, the holiday brings tons of great events to the city, along with some pretty stellar restaurant deals. Check out our complete guide to the lovers' holiday and find the best things to do on Valentine's Day in Chicago.

Feb 13: It may be cold outside, but that's never stopped people from braving the chill in their underwear—and the Cupid's Undies Run proves that. It's for a good cause, too!

Feb 13: Handmade Market Chicago returns to the Empty Bottle, where more than 30 makers and crafters hawk their homemade wares.

Feb 13 & 14: Celebrate Valentine's Day with some of the best nudes at the Art Institute during the Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt.

Feb 13 & 14: Close out the Chinese New Year with one of two parades. On February 13 check out the Argyle Street Lunar New Year parade on the North Side and on February 14 find the Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade on the South Side.

Feb 13-21: Start your engines! The Chicago Auto Show returns with a another display of competition vehicles, collector cars and the latest models car manufacturers have to offer.

Feb 13-March 13: Forget we're in the throes of winter at the Chicago Botanic Orchid Show, featuring more than 10,000 in-bloom orchids. You can even buy a few specimens on Saturdays and Sundays.

Feb 18: The Stellar Speakeasy edition of Adler After Dark takes a look back at the scientific discoveries of the '20s and '30s, presented along with music and "bootlegged" cocktails from the era.

Feb 19-March 10: Watch films like Ghostbusters, Interstellar and 2001: A Space Odyssey on a seriously huge 41-foot movie screen during Music Box Theatre's 70mm Film Festival.

Feb 20: Drink 'til you drop at BeadQuest, a New Orleans-themed bar crawl through Wrigleyville that has attendees scrambling for all the beads they can get.

Feb 21: Those who appreciate a hefty dallop of gravy on their French fries will appreciate Poutine Fest, a celebration dedicated entirely to Chicago's favorite dish derived from out countrymen (and women) to the north.

Feb 21-April 17: Navy Pier's two-month celebration of cultural diversity begins with Neighborhoods of the World. February 21's event celebrates Chinese culture, while February 28's celebrates African culture.

Feb 27 & 28: Randolph Street Market packs the Plumbers Union Hall with local small businesses and makers during this monthly weekend bazaar.

Feb 27: Warm up for a while, or stay an entire day, at Frost Fest in Lakeview. Inside a giant heated tent, attendees can sample a selection of more than 40 craft beers from around Chicago and the Midwest region.


Mid-Feb: Snaggletooth, a seafood restaurant in Lakeview from former C Chicago chefs Bill Montagne and Jennifer Kim, opens with counter service and an early-morning coffee and tea program.

Feb TBA: Chicago finally gets its first cider bar, the Northman, from the team behind Fountainhead.

Feb TBA: Forbidden Root brings botanic beers to its new brewpub alongside rustic American fare.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.


Feb 5: Pitchfork joins forces with the MCA to present Prime Time: ⌘R, a multimedia event that will feature performances by Holly Herndon, Bitchin' Bajas and Jimmy Whispers.

Feb 13: Chicago Symphony Orchestra and Chicago Shakespeare Theater join together to preform Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream at Symphony Center.

Feb 13 & 14: Celebrate (or commiserate on) Valentine's Day with the droning guitars of Canadian post-rock titans, Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

Feb 17: After a sold-out show at Wrigley Field last year, AC/DC returns to the United Center with more stiff blues riffs and juvenile entendre in tow.

Feb 17: The "Trap Queen" emcee Fetty Wap, who was recently recognized as one of Forbes' 30 Under 30, brings his chart-topping singles to the House of Blues.

Feb 18: Mesmerizing, Auto-Tuned rapper Future headlines a stacked bill at the Aragon, which also features  Ty Dolla $ign and Lil Donald.

Feb 21: Blending taut vocal harmonies and kaleidoscopic arrangements, TEEN debuts seductive R&B from its latest album, Love Yes.

Feb 24: One half of Chicago indie darling Fiery Furnaces, Eleanor Friedberger debuts jaunty, sophisticated pop from her latest solo record, ​New View.

Feb 27: Animal Collective, essentially the indie-rock equivalent of Phish, brings glitchy beatscapes and oddly stretched-out melodies to Concord Music Hall.


Feb 4–May 29: In "Zinzinnati Ohio USA," artist Courttney Cooper presents complex maps of his hometown, drawn completely from memory.

Feb 5–May 3: Take a look behind the creative process of sculptor Martin Puryear, who displays his personal sketchbooks and drawings as part of "Multiple Dimensions."

Feb 5–May 1: Eight giant, wind-powered kinetic sculptures crafted by a Dutch artist and physicist inhabit the Chicago Cultural Center exhibit, "Strandbeest: The Dream Machines of Theo Jansen."

Feb 7–Apr 3: German artist Peter Wächtler presents his first solo U.S. exhibition, "Secrets of a Trumpet," featuring pop culture-inspired watercolors, wooden sculptures and bronze figures.

Feb 9–May 8: Explore more than 40 costumes from the BBC drama Downtown Abbey at the exhibit "Dressing Downton: Changing Fashion for Changing Times," coming to the Driehaus Museum.

Feb 11–Jun 12:  The Smart Museum presents a collection of work by a 1940s existentialist artist collective from Chicago, known as the "Monster Roster."

Feb 14–May 8: For the first time ever, the Art Institute displays all three version of Van Gogh's classic bedroom painting in the retrospective exhibition, "Van Gogh's Bedrooms."


Feb 4: Annie Baker's Pulitzer Prize winner, The Flick, an intentionally languid three-hour portrait of employees at a movie theater, gets its Chicago premiere.

Feb 4: The Neo-Futurists created the play Pop Waits, billed as “an athletic, participatory, clown-rock opera” about songwriting that’s inspired in part by Iggy Pop and Tom Waits.

Feb 5: Porchlight Music Theatre mounts the Chicago premiere of Far From Heaven, drawn from Todd Haynes's 2002 film, which inserted frank sexuality into a Douglas Sirk–esque 1950s domestic drama.

Feb 6: Late Chilean author Roberto Bolaño's epic, complex, 900-page final novel, 2666, is adapted into a five-hour, 15-actor play.

Feb 18: A new Chicago Shakespeare Theatre production of Othello sets the action on an American military base.

Feb 19: James Leo Herlihy’s 1965 novel, Midnight Cowboy, about a would-be hustler from Texas on the streets of New York premieres at Lifeline Theatre.

Feb 23: The Pulitzer Prize–winning Next to Normal team of Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey follows a woman along two divergent life paths in If/Then.


Feb 10: In its Bold Moves series, the Joffrey Ballet presents a winter program of three modern works.

Feb 23: Hamburg Ballet's interpretation of the Tragedy of Othello, Desdemona and Iago is performed by the Chicago Philharmonic Orchestra.


Feb 4: The writers of #DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment posted 38 fake profiles on OKCupid and turned the responses from real online daters into comedy.

Feb 5: Tracy Morgan stops by The Venue at Horseshoe Casino after his yearlong recovery from a devastating 2014 automobile accident.

Feb 18 & 25: Cabaret star-in-her-own-mind Shirley Lamé (the alter ego of the hilarious Rebecca Sohn) puts her delusional solo spin on Broadway duets in My Solo Show of All Duets.

Feb 25: Broken Lizard, the bro-comedy troupe behind staples like Super Troopers, Beerfest and the upcoming, crowdfunded Super Troopers 2, perform a live, all-ages show benefitting Chicago's Halcyon Theatre.

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