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February 2021 events calendar for Chicago

Pack February with the best things to do in Chicago for Valentine's Day, the Chinese New Year and more

Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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February may be the month of Valentine's Day events and freezing temperatures, but there's far more to look forward to than romance and wearing your winter coat. Begin the month by marking the arrival of 2020 for a second time at Chinese New Year celebrations, where you'll find drummers and dancers parading through the streets of Uptown and Chinatown. Get a great deal at some of Chicago's best restaurants during Chicago Restaurant Week (one of our favorite February 2020 events) or splurge on tickets to an exhibition game when the NBA All-Star Game takes over the city for a weekend. February is also the time for admiring orchids at the Chicago Botanic Garden, sampling crisp beverages at the Chicago Cider Summit and showing off your cosplay prowess at C2E2. Prepare for shortest month of the year with our February 2020 events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2021

Featured February 2021 events

Zhu Jinshi, Wave of Materials, 2007
Photograph: © Museum Associates/LACMA
Art, Contemporary art

“The Allure of Matter: Material Art From China”

Multiple venues

Sizable installations—such as 500,000 cigarettes arranged to resemble a tiger skin rug and a houselike structure formed by braids of dyed human hair—are the centerpiece of this exhibit, which celebrates the unconventional materials favored by contemporary Chinese artists. The exhibit is so massive that it has been divided between two institutions, with a portion of the works being displayed at the Smart Museum of Art in Hyde Park and another collection being shown at Wrightwood 659 in Lincoln Park.

RGB exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum
Things to do, Exhibitions

“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, Skokie

Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg takes the spotlight in an exhibition that her life through a variety of interactive displays and a treasure trove of memorabilia. Each section of the exhibit is named after a Notorious B.I.G. lyric, beginning with her childhood in Brooklyn and continuing with an examination of her career as a lawyer fighting for equality. Guests will be able to view a recreation of Ginsburg's childhood apartment, put on a robe and sit on a replica Supreme Court bench or view a model of the desk houses in Ginsburg's Supreme Court chambers. "Notorious RBG" also features one of Ginsburg's Supreme Court robes and the National Portrait Gallery's official portraits of Ginsburg and Sandra Day O’Connor, the first two women to serve on the Supreme Court.

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Martin Luther King
Photograph: CC/Wikimedia Commons/Rowland Scherman
Things to do, Exhibitions

“The March”

DuSable Museum of African American History, Washington Park

TIME Studios presents this immersive exhibition that explores the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, which brought more than 250,000 people to the National Mall in the name of civil rights. The centerpiece of "The March" is a 10-minute virtual reality experience that allows guests to witness Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s iconic "I Have a Dream" speech, delivered by "the most realistic digital rendering of a human ever created."

Clockwise from top: Magdalene Odundo, Teardrop I, 1996. Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, © Magdalene Odundo, Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY. Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 1. Photo: Christina Ebenezer. Jonas Dovydenas.
Clockwise from top: Magdalene Odundo, Teardrop I, 1996. Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, © Magdalene Odundo, Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY. Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 1. Photo: Christina Ebenezer. Jonas Dovydenas.
Art, Contemporary art

“Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago”

Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

You won't just see the multicultural fashion of Nigerian-born British womenswear designer Duro Olowu on display in this unconvential exhibition, debuting at the MCA. In preparing "Seeing Chicago," Olowu spent time learning about the Chicago and it's connection to the arts, curating a collection of works derived from the MCA's holdings and other collections throughout the city. The result is an show that pairs Olowu sleek designs with paintings, photographs, sculptures and films, including works by the likes of Kerry James Marshall, Barbara Kruger and Henri Matisse.

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