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No Pants Subway Ride 2017
Photograph: Jordan Avery

48 exciting openings in Chicago in January

Written by
Grace Perry

If you’re still looking for a New Year’s resolution, we’ve got a great one for you: Take advantage of the incredible city even when the weather sucks! Sure, January in Chicago means a lot of “dibs,” resolution-making and saving money, but it’s also an opportunity to view your home with fresh eyes. In-between hitting the gym more and getting into cooking, take advantage of all the incredible events, shows, restaurants and exhibitions opening up in Chicago next month. These are the 48 that you should definitely check out—they just might help you start 2018 off on the right foot.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete January events calendar


Jan 1: Kick off 2018 with a brisk run through Lincoln Park at the New Year’s Day 5K Run/Walk.

Jan 1–31: Catch architects’ most creative installations on display at the Cultural Center as a finale to the Chicago Architecture Biennial.

Jan 7: Strip down to your undies for the No Pants Subway Ride, the annual tradition thrown by Improv Everywhere.

Jan 9: Hear Field Museum scientists talk dinosaurs and natural history at the Hideout at “A Scientist Walks Into a Bar.”

Jan 19: Embrace winter weather with family-friendly ice bowling, roasted marshmallows and more at Popcorn Party.

Jan 10–14: Browse your next nautical purchase at the Chicago Boat, RV and Sail Show at McCormick Place.

Jan 13: Take advantage of free admission and workshops at the Museum of Contemporary Art’s “Secret Codes”–themed Family Day.

Jan 13: Little ones can dabble in free classes and workshops at Chicago Children’s Theatre’s 2018 Winter Open House.

Jan 18–26: The city’s most prestigious institutions open their doors with deals and special programming for Chicago Museum Week.

Jan 20: Taste from over 200 craft beers at the winter edition of Chicago Ale Fest at Navy Pier.


Jan 5–7: Spend the first weekend of the new year at Ian’s Party, a miniature Wicker Park festival featuring sets from Meat Wave, Space Blood, Dehd and more local acts.

Jan 6: Industrial musician Chris Connelly leads his David Bowie tribute act Sons of the Silent Age, playing selections from the “Berlin trilogy.”

Jan 8, 9: Outlaw country troubadour Steve Earle kicks off his annual winter residency at City Winery with two nights of rough-and-tumble anthems.

Jan 11: Pop music’s living, breathing Instagram filter Lana Del Rey channels cinematic melodrama at the United Center.

Jan 12: Mercurial guitar hero St. Vincent unleashes riffs and ruminations on the price of fame during a headlining Chicago Theatre gig.

Jan 13: Forget about the frigid weather with the warm, ’60s-influenced pop of husband-and-wife duo Tennis.

Jan 16: Scream along to “Mr. Brightside” as anthemic rockers the Killers bust out the arena-friendly hits at the United Center.

Jan 17: Latin-American indie-pop artist Helado Negro kicks off the Tomorrow Never Knows festival at Lincoln Hall.

Jan 17: Take a walk to the Riviera Theatre, where Michael Angelakos brings the synth-pop melodies of Passion Pit to life onstage.

Jan 19: Mining the grooves of classic records, former Foxygen drummer Shaun Flemming channels his musical heroes under the guise of Diane Coffee.

Jan 20: New Pornographers member Dan Bejar pairs his amusingly oblique lyricism with ’80s synths on his latest Destroyer record.

Jan 21: Madrid garage-pop quartet Hinds brings well-worn Velvets-esque unpolished charm and summery vibes to Lincoln Hall.

Jan 25: We’re still waiting on his sophomore album, but Fetty Wap can still fill a room on the strength of his early single “Trap Queen.”

Jan 26: If you can get over its awful band name, you won’t be able to help yourself from enjoying the agreeable folktronica of German trio Milky Chance.

Jan 31: Dance the night away in Pilsen as George Clinton and Parliment Funkadelic land their mothership inside Thalia Hall.


Jan 5–Feb 25: Brett Neveu recasts Henrik Ibsen’s 19th-century local-politics drama An Enemy of the People as a contemporary tale of the North Shore in his new loose adaptation, Traitor.

Jan 11–Feb 11: See Arthur Miller’s 1947 study of capitalist corruption and war profiteering, All My Sons, which seems to never lose relevance.

Jan 12–Feb 11: DCASE’s OnEdge Performance Series spotlights experimental dance and theater via performances and workshops.

Jan 26–Mar 11: Stephen Sondheim and George Furth’s 1981 Merrily We Roll Along charts the (doomed) friendship and (mixed) careers of songwriters Franklin and Charley and novelist Mary in reverse chronological order.

Jan 30–Feb 11: The Humans returns to Chicago in a touring version of the Broadway production with a cast including Richard Thomas, Pamela Reed and Daisy Eagan.


Jan 11–Mar 25: The DePaul Art Museum celebrates Black Arts Movement leader Barbara Jones-Hogu with an exhibition of her prints, lithographs and woodcuts in “Resist, Relate, Unite 1968–1975.”

Jan 13–Apr 22: The Block Museum displays portraits recovered from the city Tebtunis which were buried with the deceased in “Paint the Eyes Softer: Mummy Portraits from Roman Egypt.”

Jan 18–Apr 1: Three photographers examine their family histories in relation to wars and conflicts in the group exhibition “Traversing the Past: Adam Golfer, Diana Matar, Hrvoje Slovenc.”

Jan 27–Aug 5: “Endless Summer” brings sunshine to the MCA, featuring examples of West Coast ’60s minimalism inspired by surfing, cars and pleasant weather.


Jan 5: Current Saturday Night Live writer Steven Castillo performs his solo show, “Steven Castillo’s Super Bowl Halftime Show,” for one night only at the Crowd Theater.

Jan 8–22: Alice Stanley Jr. satirizes veganism in Meat Cute at the Annoyance Theatre.

Jan 11–20: The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival brings stellar sketch groups, both local and from across North America, to Stage 773 for several days of shows.

Jan 12–Mar 18: Storyteller and ’90s SNL alum Julia Sweeney performs her first-ever stand-up show, “Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider,” at the Second City.

Jan 18: Baltimore experimental sketch comics Wham City perform at the Hideout, with local collective Helltrap Nightmare opening, as part of Tomorrow Never Knows.

Jan 19: Comedian Josh Fadem, known for his roles on Twin Peaks and 30 Rock, brings his absurdist stand-up to the Hideout for Tomorrow Never Knows.

Jan 19: Biting stand-up Kate Willett takes the stage at the Hideout, again for TNK.

Jan 21: Stand-ups Kenny DeForest, Clark Jones and Will Miles close out TNK with their weekly Brooklyn showcase, Comedy at the Knitting Factory.

Jan 26: Comedians Alex Seligsohn and Clare Austen-Smith host SMUT, a monthly LGBTQ variety show at the Laugh Factory.

Jan 30–Feb 3: Chicago native and SNL alum John Mulaney performs his latest special, Kid Gorgeous, at the Chicago Theatre for five straight nights.


Jan 2: Revival Food Hall gets a temporary new vendor as bopNgrill moves into the former Graze Kitchenette stall. Grab kimchi fries, burgers and more through March 30.

Jan: The folks behind Gather are debuting a new concept in Lincoln Square. The Warbler will offer a veggie-forward American menu with Asian influences.

Jan: Lowcountry brings seafood boils to South Loop with its second location at 1132 South Wabash Avenue.

Jan: Sip sparkling wine while noshing on sea urchin at the Esquire Champagne Room inside Del Frisco’s Double Eagle Steakhouse.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; We recommend calling ahead.

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