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The Chicago Board of Trade Building opened its doors to visitors during Open House Chicago on October 19, 2014.
Photograph: Max Herman

55 exciting openings in Chicago in October

Written by
Grace Perry

We may be experiencing a record-breaking September heat wave, but October is just around the corner. It’s time for pumpkin patches and corn mazes and panicking about your Halloween costume. And while October is, of course, the spookiest month of the year, it’s also chock-full of tasting events, brand-new theater, stand-up comedy tours and so many concerts. Get pumped for the tenth month of the year with our guide to October 2017 openings in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete October events calendar


Oct 1: Celebrate everyone's favorite autumnal treat at Lincoln Square Apple Fest, where the namesake fruit is dipped in caramel, baked in pies and pressed into hot cider.

Oct 1: Lagunitas hosts its annual Beer Circus outside its huge Douglas Park brewery, with live music, burlesque, sideshow acts and plenty of brews.

Oct 1: Indulge in the best part of brunch at Bloody Mary Fest, where ten restaurants will compete to be crowned the most delicious Bloody in the city.

Oct 1: Ring in the new month in Pilsen at Dusek’s Blocktoberfest, a family-friendly block party on the street outside of Thalia Hall.

Oct 1: ‘Tis the season to get your scares in at Statesville Haunted Prison, open through Halloween.

Oct 1: 13th Floor Haunted House also opens up this month, delivering thrills to those who dare all through October.

Oct 1: Head out to Morton Grove for a spooktacular time at House of Torment Haunted House.

Oct 3: Come hungry to Bites Around the Block in River North, a showcase of the neighborhood restaurants.

Oct 5: At Lincoln Park Uncorked Wine Stroll, you’ll taste plenty of the neighborhood’s best restaurants including Aloha Poke, Mon Ami Gabi, Burnt City Brewing and more.

Oct 7: Taste dumplings inspired by international cuisine at World Dumpling Fest in Millennium Park.

Oct 6–8: Chicago's very best chefs will descend on Taste Talks, a three-day foodie festival offering tastings, dinners, parties and panels.

Oct 8: Get out and cheer yourself hoarse for the runners participating in the Bank of America Chicago Marathon 2017.

Oct 12–26: Catch this year’s buzziest movies before they’re in theaters at the Chicago International Film Festival.

Oct 13, 14: Taste more than 250 different wines at Wine Riot at Revel Fulton Market.

Oct 16–18: Peek inside some of Chicago’s coolest architecture—typically not open to the public—at Chicago Open House.

Oct 16–22: More than 200 artists and thinkers flood the city with fresh thought in the form of talks and panels at Chicago Ideas Week.

Oct 27–Nov 5: See an impressive slate of movies for the younger set at the Chicago International Children’s Film Festival.

Oct 28–Nov 12: Chicago Humanities Fest’s Fallfest/17 centers around the theme of “belief” this year, with speakers like Al Gore, Ta-Nehisi Coates and Samantha Power.

Oct 29: Wear your wacky Halloween getup for the Logan Square Halloween Parade, where marchers are encouraged to bring musical instruments and noisemakers. 

Oct 31: Throw on your spookiest and most impressive costume for the Northalsted Halloween Parade.


Oct 1: Endlessly catchy and boundlessly energetic rockers Deerhoof headline the Empty Bottle.

Oct 3: Grandiose post-rock act Explosions in the Sky brings its sweeping melodies to the Empty Bottle to mark the venue's 25th anniversary.

Oct 3, 4: Robin Pecknold returns to cerebral folk rock with Fleet Foxes during two nights at the Chicago Theatre.

Oct 4: Prepare for meme-worthy dance moves and ‘80s synths as Future Islands return to Chicago.

Oct 5: Blending jazz, rock and electronica, producer Four Tet takes over Smart Bar with an all-night DJ set.

Oct 7: The shaggy-haired kids are all grown up now, but Hanson still inspires sing-alongs to "MMMBop."

Oct 12, 13: Florida folk singer Sam Beam sings about getting older as Iron and Wine turns for a two-night stand at Thalia Hall.

Oct 18: Years after "Tik Tok" made her a star, Kesha returns to touring behind Rainbow, a new record that demonstrates her range.

Oct 18, 19: Equally skilled as a rabble-rousing satirical lyricist and a heartstring-tugging songwriter, Randy Newman explores both sides of his musical psyche.

Oct 19: Springsteen-devotees the War on Drugs channel Springsteen and ‘80s pop from its new album, A Deeper Understanding.

Oct 24, 25: Get ready for arena spectacle as pop superstar Katy Perry brings her new album, Witness, to life at the United Center.

Oct 26–28: Witness two powerful indie artists team up as Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile stop in Chicago for three shows behind a collaborative LP.

Oct 27: Don't think twice about missing Bob Dylan play the very first concert at Wintrust Arena.

Oct 28: German composer Hauschka wedges screws and leather into piano strings during an experimental show at Constellation.

Oct 30: After headlining Lollapalooza this summer, contemporary rock stars the Arcade Fire return for an arena gig at the United Center.


Oct 7–28: Japanese artist Hiroyasu Tsuri (a.k.a. TWOONE) juxtaposes human and animal forms in his new show, "Bright Future."

Oct 7–29: "A Thing of Great Power and Size has Gone Missing (October 7, 2001 - Present)" contrasts the toll of the war on terror with the values extolled by summer blockbusters.

Oct 8–Jan 7: The Art Institute's new exhibit "Inventing Modern Art in Brazil" pays tribute to the work of painter Tarsila do Amaral.

Oct 12–Dec 22: The photos collected in "Disruptive Perspectives" explore gender as a fluctuating and non-binary aspect of an individual's personality.

Oct 29–Jan 15: “Revoliutsiia! Demonstratsiia! Soviet Art Put to the Test” collects more than 550 Soviet-era posters, films, theater sets and even a recreation of a gallery exhibition room circa 1926.


Oct 4–Jan 14: Lookingglass returns to its 2001 adaptation of Hard Times, Charles Dickens’s allegorical tale of yearning in an Industrial Age mill town.

Oct 6–Nov 14: Porchlight Music Theatre stages Billy Elliot, the Elton John musical about a young boy in a mining town who discovers a love for ballet.

Oct 17–Dec 2: Jackalope Theatre Company premieres 1980 (Or Why I’m Voting for John Anderson), the story of four idealistic staffers working for an Illinois congressman’s independent presidential campaign.  

Oct 19–21: As many as 40 Chicago choreographers and dance companies will present public performances across the city as part of Elevate Chicago Dance.


Oct 1–31: Annoyance Theatre’s annual send-up of slasher movies, Splatter Theatre, is back for its October residency.

Oct 20–28: Catch Daily Show host Trevor Noah at one of his many shows at the Chicago Theatre.

Oct 5–19: Witi, An Interactive Show is a scripted comedy show with an interactive mobile app component.

Oct 6: Jen Kirkman brings her personal, self-deprecating humor to Thalia Hall on her “All New Material, Girl” tour.

Oct 6, 7: American comedy hall-of-famers Steve Martin and Martin Short bring an evening of comedy, storytelling and banjo playing to the Chicago Theatre.

Oct 13, 14: Funnyman and Midwestern dad Jim Gaffigan performs four shows at the Chicago Theatre over two nights.

Oct 14: Married stand-up comics Cameron Esposito and Rhea Butcher bring their Back to Back tour to the Vic Theatre.


Oct TBA: Scofflaw Group's latest indoor-outdoor concept The Moonlighter is scheduled to open this month in Logan Square with burgers, wings, nachos and cocktails to boot.

Early OctRegards to Edith, a tribute to Chicago's historic Maxwell Street neighborhood, will bring a mix of classic dishes and elaborate supper platters from chef Jared Wentworth to the Google Building in Fulton Market.  

Late Oct: The folks at Lettuce Entertain You will reveal their new spin on the former Pump Room space with Booth One, where "everyone will be treated as a celebrity."

Late Oct: Chef Jimmy Papadopoulos (Bohemian House) will lead the kitchen at Boka Restaurant Group's newest restaurant, Bellemore, which will aim to redefine New American cuisine.

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

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