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cloud gate, the bean, winter, millennium park
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Flickr/terren in Virginia

The five best things to do this weekend in Chicago

Written by
Nick Kotecki
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1. Shop your heart out

Head over to Handmade Market Chicago for unique crafts, gifts and maybe even a last-minute Valentine's Day present. All vendors are local artisans and a good many offer items you can't find anywhere else. (Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave, noon on Saturday. Free)

2. Meet and mingle

No lover? No problem. Couples and singles alike spend the night before Valentine's enjoying "An Evening of Aural Intercourse" at the 9th annual Hideout Makeout Party, where an orchestra made up of local musicians plays a selection of lovey-dovey tunes, movie soundtrack gems and original songs. (Hideout, 1354 W Wabansia Ave, 9pm on Saturday. $12)

3. Get (half) naked

Throw your pants and jacket aside for Cupid's Undie Run, an underwear jog through Wrigleyville that raises money for the Tumor Foundation. After the run, there's a party at John Barleycorn. If running isn't your bag, you can always stop by and (respectfully) watch a gaggle of semi-nude revelers. (John Barleycorn, 3524 N Clark St, noon on Saturday. $55)

4. Zip through Chicago's front yard

You'll want to arrive early for this one because it's totally free. A Florida tourism board is in town giving zip line rides above Millennium Park to anyone (between 90 and 250 pounds) who shows up to the Chase Promenade. The catch? You might have to hear their spiel about what's good in Kissimmee, a city just outside of Orlando, which seems like a fair trade. Oh, there's also free hot chocolate and a baby alligator hanging out in a heated tent. (Millennium Park, Chase Promenade, 55 N Michigan Ave, 11am. Free, kids' coat donation encouraged)

5. Party like its the New Year

We've still got one more New Year celebration to enjoy. Ring in the Year of the Monkey with a traditional Chinese Lunar New Year parade in the epicenter of Chicago's Chinatown neighborhood. Expect a marching band, festive floats and a dragon to wind through the procession. (Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd, 1pm. Free)

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