February 2019 events calendar for Chicago

Pack your 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 can be a rough month in Chicago. The magic of the holidays is long worn off, you’ve been buried in your winter coat for months, and to top it all of, you’ve got to deal with Valentine’s Day. Seems cruel, no? But as always, we’re looking out for you, Chicago. Whether you’re in the mood for ice skating under the skyline, or jonesing to cozy up with a hot cocktail at a bar with a fireplace, we’ve got dozens of ways make the shortest month of the year the sweetest. You’ve got no excuse to stay on the couch this month.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2019

Featured February 2019 events

Dragon dancers make their way down the block.
Photograph: Wally Rozak
Things to do, Festivals

Argyle Street Lunar New Year Celebration

icon-location-pin Argyle St and Sheridan Rd, Uptown
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A day before Chinatown celebrates the Lunar New Year, the party kicks off in Uptown at the annual Argyle Street parade. Alderman Harry Osterman and Argyle Street business help organize the event, which marks the arrival of the Year of the Pig. Floats, marchers and lion dancers will begin the procession at Argyle Street and Winthrop Avenue, heading east along on Argyle Street, south along Sheridan Road, west along Ainslie Street and north along Broadway.

Photograph: Marcello Rodarte
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Pizza Party

icon-location-pin Ravenswood Event Center, Lake View
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Put your pizza expertise to the test (come on, you've eaten enough pizza that you should be a pro at this point) at the Chicago Pizza Party. More than 20 of the best pizza restaurants in the city are competing for "Best Pie in Chi," an honor of honors. And if pizza's not your thing, a) what? and b) the games, photo booth and DJ will keep you entertained.

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The 2014 Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place shows off what's new and next in the world of automobiles.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

Chicago Auto Show

icon-location-pin McCormick Place, Museum Campus
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Motorheads, here's your chance to check out what's new in the world of cars. At this annual showcase, close to 1,000 different vehicles will be on display, along with accessories, auto-related exhibits, competition vehicles and collector cars.

Things to do

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

icon-location-pin Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL, Suburbs
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The North Shore's annual salute to this prized family of flowers is the perfect cure for wintertime blues. The greenhouses and gallery will be packed with more than 10,000 in-bloom orchids, featuring an array of hybrids.

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Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Things to do, Festivals

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade

icon-location-pin Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd, Armour Square
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Celebrate the Year of the Pig in Chinatown at the neihgborhoods official Lunar New Year parade, which falls on the Sunday after the arrival of Chinese New Year (Febraury 5). Attendees line Wentworth Avenue to see marching bands, decorated floats and traditional lion dancers. The colorful procession begins at 24th Street and Wentworth Avenue, traveling north to Cermark Road. 

Cupid's Undie Run 2013
Photograph: Eric H. Brown
Things to do

Cupid’s Undie Run

icon-location-pin Sluggers World Class Sports Bar, Lake View
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Dash through Wrigleyville in your unmentionables to raise dough for the Children’s Tumor Foundation. Participants can raise funds to earn prizes, including shirts, undies and free drinks. There’s also an afterparty at a nearby bar, where you can rub shoulders with people who have already seen you half-naked.

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375.ar.ft.lichtenstein.nudestreetscenexSS.jpg
Photograph: Courtesy of the Estate of Roy Lichtenstein
Things to do

The Naked at the Art Museum Scavenger Hunt

icon-location-pin Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park
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Search out bathing beauties, sultry sirens, provocative Picassos and more undressed art at this Valentine’s Day scavenger hunt in the Art Institute. You’ll view some of the museum’s best nudes, while learning about art history and enjoying the company of your fellow peeping Toms.

Savor Lincoln Park
Photograph: Courtesy Lincoln Park Chamber of Commerce
Things to do

Savor Lincoln Park

icon-location-pin Theater on the Lake, Lincoln Park
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Enjoy some of the best food and drink Lincoln Park has to offer at this indoor food festival, where local restaurants and bars gather for an evening of sampling. Held at the Theater on the Lake, guests will enjoy food, cocktails, a silent auction and access to a vintage photo booth.

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Polar Adventure Days
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Park District
Kids, Quirky events

Polar Adventure Days

icon-location-pin Northerly Island, Downtown
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Enjoy a free journey through Chicago's natural winter wonderland during one of three Polar Adventure Days on Northerly Island. Visitors will be able to check out birds of prey from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, make nature-inspired winter crafts and see Siberian huskies and wolves. If there's snow on the ground, you can also strap on a pair of snowshoes and trudge around the island.

Things to do

Chicago Volunteer Expo

icon-location-pin The Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Lincoln Park
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Want to give back but don't know how to get started? This expo features more than 85 nonprofits that are looking for help, from social-justice groups to environmental organizations. Special activities at the fair include a canned food drive, an opportunity to make sleeping mats for the homeless and more.

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Emporium Arcade
Photograph: Stacie Scott
Things to do, Festivals

Darkside Craft Beer Festival

icon-location-pin Emporium Arcade Bar, Wicker Park
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It may sounds like a beer festival for Sith Lord, but this exploration of dark beer combines tastings of high-ABV brews with retro arcade gaming at Emporium Arcade Bar. A bag of game tokens and eight samples of the beer availble are included with admission. You'll be able to try dark beers (including some limited edition variants) from the likes of Pipeworks, Off Color, Solemn Oath and more. 

MillenniumSkating.venue.jpg
Photograph: Patrick L. Pyszka
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

icon-location-pin McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink, Downtown
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Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. Take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11am and Saturdays and Sunday at 9am. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 10, weather permitting.

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Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

icon-location-pin Maggie Daley Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the city's sweeping skyline as a backdrop, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a winter attraction unlike any other. Skaters can lace up and wind around a path that's twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink. Admission to the Skating Ribbon is always free, and skate rentals are available. Short on time? Snag a Fast Pass for $40 and skip the line! The Ribbon stays open through March (weather permitting) and will host a Skate with Santa on Saturday, December 15 from 10am to noon. Visit the winter attraction Monday through Thursday from noon to 8pm, Friday from noon to 10pm, Saturday from 10am to 10pm and Sunday from 10am to 8pm.

Chinese New Year Parade
Photograph courtesy of Chicago Chinatown
Things to do

Chinese New Year parades and celebrations in Chicago

We're already a few weeks into 2018, but those of you looking for an excuse to get a fresh start on your resolutions are in luck. From Chinatown to Uptown, we've got a whole slate of fantastic ways to ring in the Year of the Dog.

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candy hearts
Photograph: fly/Flickr
Things to do

The best things to do on Valentine's Day

Whether you’re single or all bae’d up, making plans on Valentine’s Day is a total pain. Well, we’re here to help. We’ve assembled a list of great things to do on V-Day, from nights out at comedy clubs to cozying up at the most romantic restaurants in the city. As for what happens after the date? Well, that’s on you.

Concerts in February 2019

Interpol
Photograph: Jamie James Medina
Music, Rock and indie

Interpol + Sunflower Bean

icon-location-pin Chicago Theatre | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Back in the early 2000s, Interpol sparked a deluge of bands that nicked the taut bass lines and baritone vocals of Joy Division. More than a decade later, the group has weathered a shifting roster, a disappointing major label debut and various solo projects. Sonically, Paul Banks and company's latest album, Marauder, isn't that far removed from Interpol's 2002 debut, though the lyrics have gotten a bit more dense, scattered with allusions to cult leaders, office romances and the need for free speech. And yes, everyone in the band still dresses like they're attending a funeral. Brooklyn power pop outfit Sunflower Bean supports.

Ă“lafur Arnalds
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Classical and opera

Ă“lafur Arnalds

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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Making music fit for the sweeping vistas that grace Iceland's tourism advertisements, the grand neoclassical compositions of Ólafur Arnalds give Sigur Rós a run for its money. Joined by a string section and a drummer, the young Icelandic composer is aided by a pair of custom-made, self-playing pianos that help Arnalds create melodies that a single musician could never play.

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Cher
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Pop

Cher + Niles Rodgers & Chic

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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In the time since Cher's last North American tour, the singer has scored a Las Vegas residency, returned to acting with a role in Mama Mia! Here We Go Again and become the subject of a jukebox musical, which premiered in Chicago ahead of a Broadway run. The pop diva is returning to the road behind Dancing Queen, an entire album of ABBA covers that was inspired by her experience singing in Mama Mia!, including renditions of "SOS" and "Fernando." And with five decades of hits to draw from, you better "Believe" that Cher won't neglect her own catalog. Famed producer Niles Rodgers and his disco act Chic will open the evening.

Wilco at Pitchfork Music Festival
Photograph: cousindaniel.com
Music, Rock and indie

Jeff Tweedy + Deeper + Gia Margaret + Knox Fortune

icon-location-pin Lincoln Hall, Sheffield & DePaul
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Celebrate Valentine's Day at Lincoln Hall at the first Chicago edition of booking agency Panache's Village of Love benefit, which will raise money for Planned Parenthood of Chicago. Throughout the evening, a stacked lineup of local acts will play original songs as well as covers of their favorite love songs. Confirmed performers include Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy, post-punk devotees Deeper, tender singer-songwriter Gia Margaret, hip-hop producer Knox Fortune and dreamy folk-rocker V.V. Lighbody.  

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Jeff Goldblum
Photograph: Courtesy Decca
Music, Jazz

Jeff Goldblum and the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra

icon-location-pin Park West, Lincoln Park
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Though he's best known for his roles in films like Jurassic Park, The Fly and Independence Day, acting is just one of Jeff Goldbum's many talents. When he's not chewing up scenery on the silver screen, Goldblum maintains a semi-regular residency at a Los Angeles club as the bandleader, pianist and sometimes vocalists for his jazz outfit, the Mildred Snitzer Orchestra, playing standards by Herbie Hancock, Nat King Cole, Charles Mingus and more. You can catch Goldblum live and in-person when he brings his band to Park West for an evening of smooth tunes (and maybe a rendition of the Jurassic Park theme, outfitted with Goldblum's lyrics).

Elton John
Photograph: Courtesy Rebecca Taylor
Music, Rock and indie

Elton John

icon-location-pin Allstate Arena, Suburbs
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With the Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour, Sir Elton is saying a final goodbye to the touring life. That's right—barring a change of heart, this is probably your final chance to catch the rollicking songman live, as he takes the audience on a massive visual journey spanning his entire 50-year career. Swoon along to "Tiny Dancer," make juvenile hand gestures to "Crocodile Rock" and smile meaningfully at your folks during "Can You Feel the Love Tonight" one last time as the Rocketman takes off for retirement among the stars.

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Kamasi Washington
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Music festivals

Midwinter

icon-location-pin Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park
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Building on the success of the Pitchfork Music Festival that takes place in Union Park each July, online publisher Pitchfork turns its attention to Chicago's colder months, teaming up with the Art Institute of Chicago to present a new festival. Midwinter takes place amid the museum's galleries and performances spaces, offering three days of live music, amazing exhibits, exclusive compositions commissioned for the event and live artist interviews. The festival's lineup features an array of interesting acts, including English shoegazers Slowdive, jazz saxophonist Kamasi Washington and glitchy electronic producer Oneohtrix Point Never. Attendees can also see a special 21st anniversary performance of Tortoise's 1998 record TNT and witness avant-garde composer William Basinski play The Disintegration Loops with the Chicago Philharmonic. A base ticket to Midwinter includes access to five performances each night, with admission to additional concerts (including all of the acts mentioned above) available with the purchase of add-on tickets that cost $15–$30.

lollapalooza 2018, travis scott
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Travis Scott

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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Houston rapper and Kanye West protege Travis Scott brings his WISH YOU WERE HERE tour back to the United Center for another evening of hard-hitting hip-hop hits. His latest tour comes in the wake of his album, ASTROWORLD, on which Scott presides over a cavalcade of famous friends on his recent record, trading verses with Drake, harnessing the psychedelic production of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and making way for guitar riffs provided by John Mayer. There's no word yet on the show's opening acts, but we're guess that Scott will bring his portable roller coaster back to Chicago for another upside-down ride in the Madhouse on Madison.

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Ty Segall and White Fence
Photograph: Denée Segall
Music, Rock and indie

Music Frozen Dancing: Ty Segall and White Fence + Negative Scanner + Plack Blague + Glyders

icon-location-pin Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village
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Every February, the Empty Bottle ignores the freezing temperatures, sets up some heat lamps in the street and stages an outdoor concert in the midst of a Chicago winter. If you're willing to bundle up and stand outside in the cold for a few hours, you can catch a headlining set from the dynamic garage rock duo of Ty Segall and White Fence. Punk rockers Negative Scanner, leather-clad industrial act Plack Blague, twangy local trio Glyders and psychedelic drone band Weather Warlock join in on the frigid festivities. If you need to warm up, you can huddle beneath a heater with some Goose Island beer or just head inside the Bottle and listen to the music from afar. It's absolutely free to attend, so spend a few bucks on some hand warmers. 

See more Chicago concerts in February 2015
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