January 2019 events calendar for Chicago

Dig into January events in Chicago with our calendar of the best things to do, including picks from theater, art and music
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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A new year means a fresh start, a chance to be the best version of you possible.  Unless your New Year’s resolution is to stay in more, we’ve got a calendar full of ways to get out there and kick 2018’s ass from the get-go. Hit up the best cocktail bars in Chicago, hunker down with some delicious comfort food, go see some world-class comedy— Chicago certainly doesn’t shut down in the winter. So throw off those blankets and let our January 2018 events calendar guide yout winter in Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2018

 

Featured events in January

Maggie Daley Skating Ribbon
Courtesy Maggie Daley Park
Things to do

Indoor and outdoor ice skating rinks

Plunging temps don’t mean you have to hide away, especially when you have easy access to so many of the city’s excellent indoor and outdoor skating rinks. Between your many merry Christmas events, time reserved rooting for the Blackhawks and nights out sipping steamy hot cocktails, find time to hit the ice with your family and friends this winter. 

Concerts in Chicago in January

Photograph: Ryan Bourque
Music, Folk, country and blues

Buddy Guy

icon-location-pin Buddy Guy's Legends, Loop
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January in Chicago is Buddy Guy season, when the legendary bluesman picks up his polka-dot guitar and takes the stage for a series of shows at the South Loop blues club that bears his name. The month-long residency takes place on Thursday through Sunday during January, pairing Guy with a different supporting act each night, including young Mississippi guitarist Kingfish and CTA bus driver Toronzo Cannon. Tickets to Guy's January residency aren't cheap, but seeing a blues icon perform in his hometown is the kind of experience that's worth splurging for.

Snail Mail
Photograph: Audrey Melton
Music, Rock and indie

Snail Mail

icon-location-pin Metro Chicago, Wrigleyville
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Predictably, 19-year-old indie-rock wunderkind Lindsey Jordan writes from the perspective of a teenager, but there's a clarity and confidence to her lyricism that transcends her age. The songs that populate her debut album, Lush, are relatable to anyone who grew up in a small town, yearned for new horizons and grappled with the looming transition into adulthood. Backed by stabbing guitars or tranquil riffs, Jordan captures the uncertainty and excitement of figuring out who you are and who you will be, one ballad at a time.

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The Lemon Twigs
Photograph: Autumn de Wilde
Music, Rock and indie

The Lemon Twigs

icon-location-pin Metro Chicago, Wrigleyville
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Young Long Island duo the Lemon Twigs don't just look like they've stepped out of another era; the pair's conceptual new album Go to School harkens back to a time when sprawling rock operas outfitted with orchestral arrangements and whimsical narratives were in vogue. Thankfully, Brian and Michael D'Addario have the chops to compellingly deliver a collection of songs about a monkey that goes to school, unabashedly mining the classic rock tropes attributed to the Beatles, Big Star and the Beach Boys.  

Kacey Musgraves
Photograph: Kelly Christine Sutton
Music, Pop

Kacey Musgraves

icon-location-pin Chicago Theatre | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Hailing from Texas, singer-songwriter Kacey Musgraves made a name for herself with twangy tunes about small-town living, romance and staying true to yourself. On Golden Hour, Musgraves frequently moves beyond country music, experimenting with bouncy disco arrangements and vocoder-aided vocal melodies that exhibit her usual pristine pop sensibilities. The catchy hooks and harmonies are infectious, but the most striking element of Musgraves' music is its raw emotional honesty.

Comedy in Chicago in January

Comedians You Should Know
Photograph: Melissa Mamroth
Comedy, Stand-up

Comedians You Should Know

icon-location-pin Timothy O'Toole's, Streeterville
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This weekly night of comedy, curated by a group of funny dudes, puts local stand-ups on your radar. It's totally free and BYOB, so why not?

Photograph: Byron Hatfield
Comedy, Sketch shows

Bye Bye Liver: The Chicago Drinking Play

icon-location-pin Stage 773, Lake View
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"Bye Bye Liver" combines two robust Chicago traditions: comedy and heavy drinking. The show opened ten years ago for a three-week run, then kept getting extended. It centers on common party situations most Chicagoans can relate to, and incoroprates interactive audience games like "Would You Rather." If you're looking to get drunk, quick, and have a great time doing so, "Bye Bye Liver" is always a solid bet. 

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The Magic Penthouse
Photograph courtesy Nick Roy
Theater, Circuses & magic

The Magic Penthouse

icon-location-pin Penthouse 111, Loop
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Magician Nick Roy started this monthly magic-show-as-cocktail-party in 2016. Enjoy live music, hors d’oeuvres, an open bar and penthouse views, and be entertained throughout the evening by four roaming illusionists.

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