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Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden

October 2020 events calendar for Chicago

Plot out your October in Chicago with our calendar of things to do, including the best theater and concerts

By Emma Krupp and Zach Long
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Welcome to October! The air is crisp, fall foliage in Chicago is about to reach its fiery zenith and it's officially spooky season: What more could you ask for? When you're not busy carving pumpkins and stomping on crunchy leaves this year, take advantage of the many drive-in movie theaters near Chicago, some of which are hosting film fests on everything from international cinema to horror and grindhouse. You can also celebrate Halloween at tons of creepy local attractions, like a path of lit-up jack-o'-lanterns at the Chicago Botanic Gardens. Want to soak up some more time outdoors before temps really plummet? Hop in a car to check out the best pumpkin patches near Chicago, or plan out a walking tour of local architecture with the help of programming from the socially-distanced version of Open House Chicago. Bundle up in your favorite fall sweater and check out our guide to the best things to do in Chicago this October.

RECOMMENDED: How to still have an amazing fall in Chicago 

Featured events in October 2020

Music Box of Horrors Drive-in
Courtesy the Music Box Theatre

Music Box of Horrors at the Drive-in

Movies Horror Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, Lower West Side

The Music Box of Horrors is usually a 24-hour marathon of frightening, thrilling and chilling movies at the Music Box Theatre, but this year the celebration of scary films will take over a drive-in theater for an entire month. You can expect late-night screenings and double features throughout the entire month of October at the Chi-Town Movies Drive-In, accompanied by specialized intros, pre-show content, filmmaker Q&As vendor and more spooky surprises. The Music Box will begin announcing the film lineup on September 3 and we're certain that they'll be presenting everything from underground classics to contemporary slasher flicks.

The Stoop Comedy Show
Photograph: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

The Stoop Comedy Show

Comedy Stand-up Various locations throughout Chicago,

There aren't many places in Chicago where you can see live comedy at the moment, especially if you're not comfortable sitting in a club. The Stoop Comedy Show brings comics from throughout the city outside, staging a weekly showcase on a stoop in Logan Square. You can spring for a ticket to laugh in-person (face masks are required) or tune into a live broadcast via Twitch. Check out the Stoop Comedy Show's Instagram page to see the latest lineup.

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Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up
Photograph: Courtesy Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up

Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up

Things to do Festivals Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up, River West/West Town

Returning to a two-acre plot of land just west of Goose Island, Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up saves you a trip to the suburbs by bringing a corn maze, thousands of pumpkins and an array of carnival games to the city. This year's edition of the outdoor event takes a safety-first approach (mandatory timed reservations and masks, no cash transactions, no food and beverages onsite—the list goes on), but you'll still find classic standbys like a full corn maze, fall-themed photo ops and plenty of plump pumpkins. 

Kurt Elling
Photograph: Anna Webber Studio

Kurt Elling Cocktail Hour

Music Jazz Various locations throughout Chicago,

Jazz vocalist Kurt Elling takes over the Green Mill's stage every Friday night throughout the month of October, celebrating the 25th anniversary of his Blue Note debut Close Your Eyes with a series of streaming concerts. Elling performs a matinee and evening show every Friday, streaming via the Mandolin platform. Each night has its own theme, including a career retrospective, a tribute to pop heroes like U2 and Stevie Wonder as well as a radio-style music drama. You can choose between a ticket to stream the show and a special merchandise bundle featuring a show poster and T-shirt.

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Green Mill
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Saturday Night at the Green Mill

Music Jazz Various locations throughout Chicago,

Live from the Green Mill, it's Saturday night! The beloved Uptown venue hosts a series of streaming concerts every Saturday evening, bringing some of the city's most innovative jazz performers to the stage in front of a small, socially-distanced audience. Jazz singer Kurt Elling hosts each night, and may sit in on a few songs during each set. While you can't attend the shows in-person, you can buy a ticket and stream them live on the Mandolin platform.

October 10: Marquis Hill
October 17: Lizz Wright
October 24:
Makaya McCraven
October 31: 
TBA

Neo-Futurists 45 Plays for 45 First Ladies
Photograph: Courtesy The Neo-Futurists

45 Plays for America’s First Ladies

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

Kicking off its 32nd season of programming, Chicago-based experimental theater company the Neo-Futurists collaborate with ensembles in New York and San Francisco on a series of plays that examine the "honorary" office of First Lady. Much like the Neo-Futurists' signature show The Infinite Wrench, its latest creation 45 Plays for America’s First Ladies is made up of 45 miniature plays (no longer than five minutes) with varying styles and tones that chronologically explores how women and other marginalized individuals have made their mark on America throughout history. With the Neo-Futurarium closed for live performances, this fast-paced production is only available to stream online before Election Day.

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Mooby's pop-up
Photograph: John Troxell

Mooby’s Pop-up

Restaurants Hamburgers Saint Lou's Assembly, West Loop

Wanna eat like Jay and Silent Bob? You'll find a menu inspired by the cinematic world of director, podcaster and omnipresent talking head Kevin Smith at this officially-sanctioned Mooby's pop-up restaurant, taking over Saint Lou's Assembly from October 30 through November 6.

Organized by the team behind the popular Saved by the Max pop-up (which originated in a storefront in Wicker Park), Mooby's brings Smith's fictional fast food chain to life, serving Cow Tipper burgers, Cocksmoker chicken sandwiches and Hater Totz tater tots. And because Smith is a vegan, you can get plant-based versions of nearly everything on the menu.

While the pop-up is only offering take out, you'll be able to snap photos in front of Clerks- and Jay and Silent Bob Reboot-inspired backdrops when you stop by to pick up your food. There's also a dedicated merch shop on-site, selling Mooby's T-shirts, face masks, posters and more.

Tickets for the pop-up go on sale Thursday, October 15th at 11am via the Mooby's Pop-up website.

Theatre in the Dark
Photograph: Courtesy Theatre in the Dark

A War of the Worlds

Theater Drama Various locations throughout Chicago,

Orson Welles famously caused some panic among listeners with his 1938 radio broadcast of H.G. Wells's alien invasion novel, The War of the Worlds—thankfully, these days we're a little more accustomed to realistic stories about extraterrestrial encounters. Local company Theatre in the Dark is staging a streaming audio adaptation of the Martian takeover, moving the setting to present-day Chicagoland where a group of characters are fighting to survive. Performed by actors across the U.S. and accompanied by music and sound effects, A War of the World updates the classic radio drama for the streaming era, presenting live performances six times a week.

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Time Out Market Chicago
Photograph: Gosia Matuszewska

Halloween at Time Out Market Chicago

Things to do Time Out Market Chicago, West Loop

Looking for a way to have a scary-yet-safe Halloween celebration? Prep your best Halloween costume and head to Time Out Market on October 31 for a day of top-notch dining and spooks, complete with photo ops, bags of candy (for adults and kids alike) and socially-distanced fun. Each ticket scores you a seat reservation and a $5 credit to use in the Market that day. 

Black Lives, Black Words
Photograph: Tanisha Pyron

Call for the Wailing Women

Theater Drama Various venues, Loop

Performed by the Chicago-based activist theater company Black Lives, Black Words, this take on ancient Greek playwright Euripides' tragedy The Suppliants moves the setting to modern day and transforms into a story of two mothers fighting for their respective sons' honor in different ways. Written by Chicago playwright Katrina D. RiChard, Call for the Wailing Women will be streamed live from the home of actors Allyson Brown and Bianca Laverne Jones. The performance is part of the Black Lives, Black Words company's “Plays for the People” streaming series, which highlight performers of color speaking honestly about their communities.

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Sen Morimoto
Photograph: Courtesy the artist

Sen Morimoto

Music Rap, hip-hop and R&B Various locations throughout Chicago,

A saxophonist, singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist who has become a driving force and go-to collaborator in Chicago's independent music community, Sen Morimoto celebrates the release of his self-titled sophomore release with a streaming performance hosted by Audiotree. Strewn with chopped up beats, taut vocal harmonies, surreal lyrics and appearances by Chicago musicians like NNAMDÏ, Kaina and Joseph Chilliams, Morimoto's latest project reflects not just his personal growth as a musician, but the community that has flourished around him. Snag a copy of Sen Morimoto on October 23 and then tune in to the STAGED series to hear the live debut of Morimoto's genre-blending tracks.

pumpkin
Photograph: Shutterstock

JoJo's Pumpkin Patch

Things to do Quirky events JoJo's Shake Bar, River North

Snag a treat and some decorative gourds at the month-long JoJo's Pumpkin Patch pop-up, on the patio of JoJo's Shake Bar in River North. You'll be able to take home pumpkins and enjoy the decadent Pumpkin Patch Shake, topped with a slice of Pumpkin Pie, taffy apple, roasted marshmallow and a Reese's pretzel. Access to the patio is restricted to groups of six or less, first come, first served.

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Kerry James Marshall
Photograph: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago.

“Alien vs. Citizen”

Art Contemporary art Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

Inspired by the United States' merit-based immigration policies (notably, the way citizenship can be awarded to "aliens of extraordinary ability"), this exhibition includes a collection of works that explore how individuals are valued in this country. Organized in sections that correspond to themes of citizenship, work and personal relationships, "Alien vs. Citizen" includes works by Kerry James Marshall, Robert Rauschenberg and Gillian Wearing.

Bruce Davidson
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

“What Does Democracy Look Like?”

Art Photography Museum of Contemporary Photography, Loop

In anticipation of the 2020 election, the Museum of Contemporary Photography invited seven Columbia College Chicago faculty members to dig through the institution's collection of 16,000 images, selecting photographs that what democracy means to them. The resulting exhibition reflects different interpretations of the prompt, from a close-up photo of a weathered penny to historical scenes of American life. In keeping with the civic theme, visitors will be able to register to vote on-site at the museum.

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Kids trick-or-treating
Photograph: Shutterstock

Wicker Park & Bucktown Trick-or-Treat

Kids The Bucktown Green, Wicker Park

If you're angling to take the kiddos trick-or-treating this year but don't feel like navigating crowds on the street, head to this socially distanced event on Halloween for a candy-filled substitute. Twenty-five businesses from Wicker Park and Bucktown will be posted up at individual stations at The Bucktown Green to pass out treats to families, who will be allowed in for timed trick-or-treating rotations. Once the kids have gotten their fill of candy, be sure to grab a pic in front of the festively-decorated Halloween photo wall.

Halloween jack-o'-lantern
Photograph: Bekir Dönmez

Halloween Window Painting

Things to do Lincoln Common, Lincoln Park

Bring the kiddos to this fesitive window painting event, where you and up to three other people can add an artistic, Halloween-themed touch to storefronts at Lincoln Common. Register online to reserve a designated window and a painting kit with which to create your mini mural over the course of two hours. Be sure to show up in your spookiest attire—costumes are encouraged (and masks are mandatory). 

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Crypt Run
Photograph: Courtesy Crypt Run

Crypt Run

Sports and fitness Running Various locations throughout Chicago,

Go for a jog in your Halloween costume by signing up for the virtual edition of the Crypt Run, an annual 5K and 10K run or walk that raises money for the Illinois chapter of the Best Buddies program. Participants have all of October to run their own route or follow a provided course through Lincoln Park, which once served as the city's primary cemetery. All crypt runners will receive a T-shirt, face mask and LED spinner light.

Navy Pier
Photograph: Courtesy Navy Pier

Navy Pier Virtual Celebration

Things to do Various venues, Loop

Navy Pier might be closed for the season, but you can still experience the fun of the iconic tourist destination this month via its first-ever Virtual Celebration fundraising event. Tune in for free to catch performances from Chicago-based musicians like singer-songwriter and trumpeter Sam Trump, jazz pianist Alexis Lombre and others, plus a sneak peek of artist Nick Cave's upcoming exhibition at the Pier. 

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Chicken wings
Photograph: Shutterstock

Wing Series

Restaurants Various locations throughout Chicago,

In the mood to gorge on chicken wings? You're in luck: A grand all-you-can-eat wing series is taking over a collection of Chicago restaurants every Wednesday for a month, from Joe's on Weed to Whiskey Business. Each ticket grants you unlimited wings—in whatever style you prefer, be it extra hot, sweet or something in between—plys a Vizzy Hard Seltzer, wing rating card and plenty of drink deals. Tickets are available for groups of two to six people, so it's best to find a couple friends with whom you can wing it up. 

Begyle Brewing
Photograph: Laura Rote

Oktoberfestiversary: Beer Garden Edition

Things to do Festivals Dovetail Brewery, North Center

Dovetail Brewery and Begyle Brewing usually team up for an outdoor bash in their shared parking lot in celebration of Oktoberfest, but this year's festivities are adapting to the times. Oktoberfestiversary will be spread out over the month of October, taking place on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in each brewery's respective beer garden. You'll need to make a reservation at either Dovetail and Begyle and then show up to enjoy beer, food truck fare and other Oktoberfest surprises. A portion of proceeds from the event benefit the Friendship Center food pantries.

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Time Out Market Chicago
Photograph: Gosia Matuszewska

Bears Games on the Big Screen

Things to do Time Out Market Chicago, West Loop

Football season looks quite different this year, but you don't have to miss a game. In lieu of bundling up at Soldier Field, we're showing every game on the big, big screen at Time Out Market Chicago. (We're not playing—it's 32 feet wide by 6 feet tall.) Besides staying warm and cozy inside the socially distanced dining room, guests won't have to wait until halftime to grab a drink at the bar or re-up their food order. Choose from a stacked fried chicken sandwich, loaded hot dogs, a towering plate of nachos or one of the best burgers in town. The best part? Time Out Market Chicago is free and open to the public, so you don't need a reservation to lock in your table. See you there on Sunday!

Eric Fischl, Just Connect
Photograph: Nathan Keay, © MCA Chicago

“Just Connect”

Art Contemporary art Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

In the midst of a period of history in which basic connection with others is increasingly difficult, the MCA presents an exhibit featuring works that celebrate the bonds we share. Featuring a variety of works from the museum's permanent collection, “Just Connect” includes photographs by Francesca Woodman, a painting by Hollis Sigler and a drawing by Chicago-native Wesley Willis—all building on the theme of considering what we have in common with one another, even when so many of us are separated.

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Central Perk
Photograph: Marc Berry

The ‘Friends’ Experience Chicago

Things to do The Shops at North Bridge, Magnificent Mile

Longing for a time when you could curl up on the couch and binge-watch Friends for hours on Netflix? This experiential pop-up—originally conceived as a tribute to the sitcom's 25th anniversary—might be an even better way to indulge your nostalgia for the show. Visitors will have a chance to roam around the pop-up's 12 rooms, take photos and check out iconic show memorabilia like Rachel and Monica's purple door, a reconstruction of Central Perk (orange couch and all) and tons of other nostalgic highlights—there's even a glass case dedicated to the evolution of Rachel's haircuts. Once you've had your fill of photo ops and Friends-related trivia, you can visit the pop-up's gift shop full of exclusive show-themed swag. And as for COVID-era safety precautions, expect social distancing and mask requirements in addition to temperature checks; the exhibit will also be routinely cleaned and sanitized. A portion of all ticket sales will be donated to My Block, My Hood, My City, the youth-based Chicago community organization. 

Hideout Chicago, Cosmic Country Showcase
Photograph: Sarah Larson

Cosmic Country Showcase

Music Folk, country and blues Various locations throughout Chicago,

The Hideout's Cosmic Country Showcase celebrates twangy tunes delivered with psychedelic trappings, dressing up the venue's stage to present a wonderfully strange variety show. The streaming Halloween edition of the show features a headlining set from Evil, a banjo-picking singer-songwriter from Virginia who has performed with masked country musician Orville Peck. Other headliners includes Los Espookys writer, performer and star Ana Fabrega, bodily fluid-obsessed comedian Sarah Squirm, local drag artist Nico and yodelin' country singer Nick Shoulders. Stick around to see if Cosmic Country regulars like Andrew Sa, Tenci and Ben LaMar Gay can cast out the evil spirits with the aid of dreamy music and big laughs.

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Lauren Elyse
Photograph: Freddie Collier, courtesy of the artist

SCREAMING: A Spooky-Queer Party

Things to do Performances Various locations throughout Chicago,

Join the Museum of Contemporary Art for a spooky-queer Halloween party, streaming directly to your potentially haunted house. Local drag queen Miss Toto hosts the festivities, which include a performance from Fire-Toolz, who specializes in bombastic electronic music that combines elements of vaporwave and heavy metal. Voguer Gravity Balmain and makeup artist Lauren Elyse will be participate in a series of performances and tutorials, while performers and MCA staff help judge a costume contest that any viewer sporting a creative outfit can enter.

Shannon Lee
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Humanities Festival

Shannon Lee on Bruce Lee’s Legacy

Things to do Talks and lectures Various locations throughout Chicago,

The Chicago Humanities Festival hosts author and entrepreneur Shannon Lee (the daughter of martial arts icon Bruce Lee) in converation with pop culture expert Nancy Wang Yuen. Lee will discuss how she's keeping her father's legacy alive via Cinemax’s Warrior series on which she serves as an executive producer and through the book Be Water, My Friend, which collects Bruce Lee’s philosophy and advice. The conversation will be streamed on YouTube and is free to watch, though viewers are welcome to make a donation to the Chicago Humanities Festival or purchase a copy of Shannon Lee's book from the Seminary Co-op Bookstores.

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Deadmau5
Photograph: Leah Sems

Day of the Deadmau5

Music Dance and electronic SeatGeek Stadium, Suburbs

Mouse-eared EDM mascot Joel Zimmerman (a.k.a. Deadmau5) celebrates Halloween with an outdoor, contactless version of his annual Day of the Deadmau5 shows. Taking up residence at the Chicago Drive-in at SeatGeek Stadium for two consecutive nights at the end of October, Zimmerman will perform "unhooked," ditching his 21-foot-tall cubic DJ booth, but retaining the retina-searing visuals and booming sound production that characterize his live sets.

While you can expect plenty of bass-dropping tunes at this socially-distanced event, Deadmau5's latest single, "Pomegranate," finds the producer embracing disco-tinged electro-pop with the help of the Neptunes (Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo). It's the first taste of a yet-to-be-announced new record, so don't be surprised if Zimmerman debuts a few more tracks during his set.

Each ticket for the Day of the Deadmau5 concerts admits a car with four passengers—and don't forget your masks, because you'll be required to wear one outside of your vehicle.

Ken Saunders Gallery, On Neon
Photograph: Courtesy John E. Bannon

“On Neon”

Art Contemporary art Ken Saunders Gallery, United Center

The humble neon sign gets its due in a new exhibition at Ken Saunders Gallery, showcasing a collection of signs informed by the kitschy, nostalgic and eye-catching glow of vaccum sealed glass tubes. "On Neon" features flourescent creations from artists like John Bannon, Sarah Blood and Jacob Fishman, all of which find ways to channel and elaborate upon the functionality and aesthetic charm of these traditionally commercial beacons. A timed reservation is required to view this exhibition.

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Night of 1,000 Jack-o'-Lanterns
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Botanic Garden

Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns

Attractions Parks and gardens Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL, Suburbs

Get in the holiday spirit at this annual ghoulish makeover of the Chicago Botanic Garden. The event brings together more than 1,000 real pumpkins carved by artists for the New York-based Rise of the Jack O’Lanterns (some take up to 15 hours of work). The LED-lit creations are staged along the garden's pathway, where other entertaining characters and activations await visitors. This year, the trail will be mask-mandatory and one-way to encourage social distancing, and pumpkins will be spaced farther apart from one another (don't worry—you can still get up close to view their intricate designs). 

Porchlight Music Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Porchlight Music Theatre

Broadway by the Decade

Theater Various venues, Loop

Work your way through Broadway's winding history—from the late 19th century to today—with the help of this multi-song performance, available for virtual streaming from Porchlight Music Theatre. Porchlight actors will perform selections from Show Boat, Funny Girl, Chicago, Les Miserables, Waitress and more, tracing the legacy of the musicals' most iconic songs and the decade-by-decade evolution of the art form. Access to the video stream is pay-what-you can (from $15–$50), but $50 is the recommended ticket price. 

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Photo: Claire Folger/Lionsgate

Chicago International Film Festival

Movies Various venues, Loop

Film buffs get a chance to see the hottest movies on the festival circuit at the Chicago International Film Festival, which will present a lineup of 50 dramas, documentaries, comedies and foreign films, plus nine short films. This year you can stream selections from home or catch screenings at ChiTown Movies drive-in in Pilsen; a full lineup of films and director/actor Q&As will be announced in coming weeks.

St. Jerome, Open House Chicago
Photograph: Eric Allix Rogers

Open House Chicago

Things to do Festivals Various locations throughout Chicago,

The annual architecture event will still take place this October, but the 2020 edition of Open House Chicago will be reimagined to address the safety guidelines and social distancing measures that have been passed down by the city and the state, with an emphasis placed on admiring buildings from the outside rather than touring their interiors. 

Expanding to 10 days (October 16–25), Open House Chicago's programming encourages individuals, families and small groups to visit more than 20 neighborhoods throughout the city, where they can see significant buildings and learn more about each area's history. Many of the neighborhoods featured are concentrated on the city's South and West Sides, including Auburn Gresham, Austin, Back of the Yards, Bronzeville, Englewood, Humboldt Park, North Lawndale, Pullman, Roseland and South Shore. Expect a mixture of self-guided exploration (aided by the Open House Chicago mobile app) and virtual programs that will take viewers inside some of the buildings that aren't accessible this year. 

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New Found Glory
Photograph: Acacia Evans

New Found Glory

Music Punk and metal SeatGeek Stadium, Suburbs

The emo-tinged, pop-punk melodies of New Found Glory provide the soundtrack for the first evening of Riot Fest's Halloween Special bash outside of SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. The snotty Florida lifers will likely be celebrating the release of its tenth(!) studio album, which came on the heels of yet another covers album that found the group turning in chugging power chord covers of tracks like "Let It Go" from Frozen and "Eye of the Tiger." After the live performance, stick around to explore the afterlife during a screening of the ’80s classic, Beetlejuice.

Knuckle Puck
Photograph: Courtesy Atom Splitter PR

Knuckle Puck + Hot Mulligan

Music Punk and metal SeatGeek Stadium, Suburbs

It's a spooky punk rock party in Bridgeview, as the Riot Fest Halloween Special brings Chicago pop-punk outfit Knuckle Puck to SeatGeek Stadium for a drive-in concert. The local outfit recently released 20/20, a decided uplifting collection of songs that were written well before the world locked down, but provide an antidote to a rather bleak period of history all the same. Michigan alt-rocker Hot Mulligan open the show and anyone who sticks around after the music ends will be treated to a screening of The Exorcist. Don't forget to wear your costume and save some room for candy and fair food.

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Monet Poppy Fields
Photograph: The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. W. W. Kimball Collection.

“Monet and Chicago”

Things to do Cultural centers Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

The Art Institute of Chicago hosted Claude Monet’s debut U.S. solo show in 1895 and was the first American museum to buy one of his paintings. "Monet and Chicago" acts as an homage to the city's special connection to the “father of Impressionism,” showcasing a mixture of major works as well as rarely seen sketches and landscapes sourced from local collections.

Ryan Tova Katz and Almaz Yigizaw chat as part of Reflections: An Edgewater Art Experience
Photograph: Courtesy Edgewater Chamber of Commerce

Reflections: An Edgewater Art Experience

Art Various locations throughout Chicago,

Take in more than 20 new and existing outdoor sculptures, murals, mosaics and other works at this month-long neighborhood art walk, which winds through the streets of Edgewater to highlight local artists and businesses. Visitors are encouraged to follow a self-guided tour (avaiable on the Edgewater Chamber of Commerce's website) to explore the works; a QR code will be posted at each location so you can scan for info about the art and artist behind the work. The exhibit is free, but feel free to toss in a donation on the Chamber's website. 

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Farmers Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

Vegan Paradise: A Vegan Farmer's Market

Things to do The Plant, New City

Vegans and omniovires alike will appreciate the novelty of browsing this all-vegan outdoor market—which showcases plant-based foods, cruelty-free crafts and other sundries—at Back of the Yards' The Plant, the sustainable business incubator housed at the site of a former meatpacking factory. Visits to the market are timed, so be sure to register online to snag a free spot. 

Garfield Park Conservatory
Photograph: Brian Kinyon Photography

“The Flowers of Monet”

Things to do Exhibitions Garfield Park Conservatory | Chicago, IL, East Garfield Park

Presented in tandem with the "Monet and Chicago" exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, the Garfield Park Conservatory transforms its Artist's Garden into a display inspired by the works of Claude Monet. Visitors will be able to take in some of the asters, dahlias, nasturtiums and rose standards that populated Monet's canvases, as well as a living wall inspired by the "Water Lilies" series.

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Scarecrow Trail
Photograph: Courtesy the Morton Arboretum

Scarecrow Trail

Things to do Morton Arboretum, Suburbs

Take a self-guided tour around the Morton Arboretum's Meadow Lake to see a zany collection of scarecrows created by local school groups and scout troops, with designs ranging from the traditional (classic hatted scarecrow) to more eclectic (like a Charlie Brown-themed creation). Make note of any standouts, because at the end of the path, you'll get to vote for your favorite scarecrow online. 

RGB exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum

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

Things to do Exhibitions 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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Alicia Garza headshot
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Humanities Festival

Alicia Garza on the Purpose of Power

Things to do Various locations throughout Chicago,

Activist Alicia Garza—who is perhaps most famous for co-creating the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013—has two decades of of experience in civil rights and community-level organizing. She details the course of that work in her debut book, The Purpose of Power, and how organizing can be used to meet the current challenge in fighting police violence against Black Americans. You can catch her in discussion about the book and its ideas in this virtual Chicago Humanities Festival talk.   

Adam Burke at Cole's Open Mic
Photograph Courtesy Cameron Esposito

Cole's Comedy Open Mic

Comedy Open mic nights Various locations throughout Chicago,

Since 2009, funny folks have tried new material (or tried stand-up for the first time) at Cole’s, where a typically friendly crowd makes it a welcoming place to take risks. Now the weekly comedy get-together has moved online in the form of a Zoom meeting, which gives anyone who signs up for a slot (just email colesbarmic@gmail.com) the chance to grab the virtual mic. Come for the laughs and stick around to watch special guests like Cameron Espostio and Ian Abramson.

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Malangatana Ngwenya
Photograph: Malangatana Valente Ngwenya Foundation, Maputo, Mozambique.

“Malangatana: Mozambique Modern”

Art Painting Art Institute of Chicago | Chicago, IL, Grant Park

African painter and poet Malangatana Ngwenya (who was mostly known by his first name) spent his career blending elements of European modernism with the folklore and tradition of Mozambique. "Mozambique Modern" marks the first solo exhibition of a modern African painter at the Art Institute, presenting more than 40 of his surreal, colorful paintings and drawings, highlighting the late artist's contributions to modern African art.

Runners get doused with powdered color at the Color Run 5K through Grant Park on June 8, 2014.
Photograph: Mark Wright

'Go Run Chicago

Sports and fitness Running Multiple venues

The Chicago Park District and Chicago Area Runners Association presents this free series of timed 5K and one-mile runs, which have resumed under new social distancing guidelines and capacity limits. 50 participants can register for each run via the 'Go Run Chicago website, meeting on Saturdays at 9am in Chicago parks for a timed 5K or one-mile run.

GYG Chicago TTD

Find more incredible things to do in Chicago

Architecture Cruise
Photograph: Barry Butler

The ultimate list of things to do in Chicago

Things to do

Whether you prefer to pore over iconic artwork in a museum, indulge your epicurean side at top-notch restaurants or see some classic attractions, there's truly something for everyone in Chicago—allow us to point you in the right direction

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