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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 is a month that can test your love for Chicago. The holidays are long gone, you still need to bundle up everytime you go outside and you have to figure out something to do on Valentine’s Day. Pretty rough, huh? Thankfully, it's easy to find something to look forward to during the shortest month of the year, whether it's ice skating under the skyline, taking a test drive at the Chicago Auto Show or a festive meal in celebration of the Lunar New Year. Find something that makes winter in Chicago a little easier with the help of our February events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2019

Featured February 2019 events

Shopping

Handmade Market Chicago

icon-location-pin Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village
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Here’s your game plan: Grab brunch at Bite Cafe then head next door to sip mimosas and shop funky jewelry, clothing, handbags and paper crafts at this monthly fair. You'll find more than 30 vendors selling their creations at this monthly indoor market, so feel free to stock up on gifts for yourself and others.

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.

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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.

Chicago Athletic Association skate night
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Athletic Association
Things to do

Chicago Athletic Association Skate Nights

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Chicago Athletic Association brings its roller skating nights back in February, this time with a Valentine's Day theme. The two-night event features four different skating sessions, accompanied by different DJs each night. You can rent a pair of skates for $5, and treats and drinks will be available for purchase.

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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.

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.

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The Price is Right Live
Photograph: Courtesy The Price is Right Live
Things to do, TV, radio and podcast recordings

The Price is Right Live

icon-location-pin Chicago Theatre | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Have you always wanted to play Plinko, spin the giant wheel and compete in the Showcase Showdown? Well, here's your chance. A live version of The Price is Right (sans TV host Drew Carey) is coming to the Chicago Theatre for a one-day, two-show event. You need a ticket to watch the show, but you don't need one to apply to be a contestant. To apply, simply visit the registration area near the box office three hours before show time.

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.

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candy hearts
Photograph: fly/Flickr
Things to do

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

Elektra
Photograph: Robert Kusel
Music, Classical and opera

Elektra

icon-location-pin Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Want to experience a night at the opera without the three-hour runtimes and multiple intermissions? Richard Strauss's one-act Elektra is an excellent production to start with, telling the the dramatic tale of a princess who seeks revenge after her father was murdered by her mother. At just 100 minutes (shorter than a contemporary blockbuster film), the Lyric's production is packed with stirring songs and moving orchestration that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the violent finale.

Sharon Van Etten
Photograph: Ryan Pfluger
Music, Rock and indie

Sharon Van Etten + Nilufer Yanya

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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In the five years since the release of her last album, Are We There, Sharon Van Etten has gone to grad school, acted in the Netflix series The OA and gave birth to her first child. The singer-songwriter's new album, Remind Me Tomorrow, maintains the introspective lyricism and soulful delivery of her earlier work, but shies away from conventional guitar and piano arrangements in favor of head-spinning synthesizer wizardry. Experience Van Etten's exciting new direction during her two-night stand at Thalia Hall, joined by young London singer-songwriter Nilufer Yanya on Valentine's Day and by Yanya and indie rocker Lucy Dacus on February 15.

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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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La Traviata
Photograph: Todd Rosenberg
Music, Classical and opera

La Traviata

icon-location-pin Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Set amid the lavish surroundings of Paris at the beginning of the 19th century, La Traviata follows courtesan Violetta as she falls in love with a young man named Alfredo. But the romance is not meant to be, as Alfredo's father forces him to leave Violetta, setting the stage for a tragic romantic tale. Featuring detailed costumes, oversized puppets and Giuseppe Verdi's rousing score, the Lyric's production of this classic opera seems extravagent in all the right ways.

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.

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Tortoise
Photograph: Andrew Paynter
Music, Rock and indie

Tortoise + Mute Duo

icon-location-pin Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village
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After celebrating the 21st anniversary of its 1998 album TNT during Pitchfork's Midwinter festival at the Art Institute of Chicago, eclectic instrumental rock act Tortoise retreats to the Empty Bottle for an after party. With so many of the once Chicago-based band's members now residing outside of the city, it's a rare chance to see the group's sprawling compositions performed in a relatively intimate venue, on a stage packed with drum sets, marimbas, synthesizers and more.

Deerhunter
Photograph: Robert Semmer
Music, Rock and indie

Deerhunter + FACS

icon-location-pin Lincoln Hall, Sheffield & DePaul
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Bradford Cox and Moses Archuleta have always favored stylistic reinvention and Deerhunter's latest record doesn't buck the metamorphic trend. Produced with the help of Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon, Why Hasn't Everything Already Disappeared? is described as a "science fiction album about the present," populated with songs that dwell on a crumbling world filled with misplaced nostalgia. Harpsichords and strings wrap around some of the group's most pop-influenced arrangements to date, balancing pessimistic lyricism with hopeful melodies. At this special Pitchfork Midwinter aftershow, Deerhunter will be joined by local post-punk trio FACS.

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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.

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. 

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Alex Cameron
Photograph: Chris Rhodes
Music, Rock and indie

Alex Cameron & Roy Malloy + Lola Kirke

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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The music industry is a sleazy business filled with shady characters, but nobody embraces its seediness quite like Alex Cameron. The Australian singer-songwriter (who formerly fronted Sydney electronic act Seekae) performs in character, writing self-aware songs from the perspective of internet porn addicts and wanna-be alpha males. Accompanied by saxophonist and business partner Roy Malloy, Cameron takes his musical satire seriously, building ‘80-inflected synth-pop arrangements that are as compelling as the narratives he weaves. During this special "in the round" performance at Thalia Hall, Cameron and Malloy will perform as a duo with support from singer-songerwiter Lola Kirke.

GYG Chicago TTD

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