Adult life is stressful and sometimes you just want to be a kid again—at least, that's the premise of HideSeek, a new immersive pop-up that's coming to Chicago in August. Spread throughout a 10,000-square-foot warehouse in Old Town, the exhibition invites visitors of all ages to get in touch with their inner child through a series of 15 interactive rooms filled with everything from oversized Slinkies to a massive playhouse of pillows.
It's a little like experiencing the joy of elementary school recess again, HideSeek founder Lee Davis explains.
"We're focusing on these childlike characteristics—that sense of awe, that sense of play," Davis says. "We decided to create [HideSeek] with the idea of reigniting those characteristics and bringing them into your everyday life."
The first HideSeek exhibition debuted in Toronto (and later Montreal) in 2019, and Chicago marks the first stop on what Davis hopes will be a multi-city tour throughout the country. Visitors will enter the exhibition and follow a pre-determined, hour-long course that weaves throughout the exhibition's 15 rooms. Though most of the rooms are similar to those in previous HideSeek pop-ups—like the twinkling Secret Stargaze area, a mirrored room meant to mimic the glow-in-the-dark stars kids stick on their ceilings—a few will debut for the first time in Chicago, including the school bus-themed Wandering Wheels room.
For his part, Davis is most excited to bring back Bubble Trouble, a pastel-colored room filled with massive, iridescent bubbles for visitors to toss around. In Montreal and Toronto it proved to be a crowd favorite—regardless of age.
"Whether they're 3, 30 or 60, they all had that same expression of awe on their faces when they walked in," Davis says.
HideSeek opens at 1620 N Wells St on August 14 and will run through October 31; tickets ($35 for adults, $27 for kids ages 4-12 and free for kids under 3) go on sale July 7. Masks are required for unvaccinated visitors. Curious about what to expect from the experience? Take a look through some of HideSeek's other nostalgia-inspired rooms below.