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Maggie Daley Park
Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park

The 39 best things to do in Chicago right now

Discover the best things to do in Chicago, from iconic meals and views to cultural musts and late-night shenanigans

By Zach Long, Tim Lowery and Jay Gentile

February 2021: It's still cold and snowy in Chicago (it's winter, after all), but you'll find plenty of new things to do throughout the city this month now that some museums have reopened as a result of relaxed restrictions. The Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium and Art Institute of Chicago are welcoming visitors back this month, offering a chance to see exhibitions that were closed for much of 2020—just make sure you purchase tickets in advance. You can also explore the Museum of Illusions in the Loop, see the sights from atop the 360 CHICAGO observatory or brave the elements and have a beer on Metropolitan Brewing's riverfront patio in Avondale. While you're enjoying all of the wonderful things to do in Chicago, don't forget to wear a mask, follow social distancing recommendations and keep yourself (and others) safe.

No matter where your interests lie, you can always find something to get excited about in this no-nonsense Midwestern metropolis. The best things to do in Chicago run the gamut—from seriously fun to awesomely educational. Looking for culture? Spend a day exploring Chicago museums. Hungry? You've come to the right place. There are tons of amazing restaurants in Chicago that highlight the city's rich and diverse culinary landscape. (And plenty of uniquely Chicago bars that do the trick, too.) We've searched all across the city to assemble this list of the best things to do in Chicago. Follow it and never get bored here again.

Done something on this list and loved it? Share it with the hashtag #TimeOutDoList and tag @TimeOutEverywhere.

You can also find out more about how Time Out selects the very best things to do all over the world, or take a look at our list of the 50 best things to do in the world right now.

Best things to do in Chicago

Art Institute of Chicago
Photograph: Time Out/Jaclyn Rivas

1. Eye masterpieces at the Art Institute of Chicago

Museums Art and design Grant Park

What is it? Guarded by an iconic pair of bronze lions, the Art Institute of Chicago houses a permanent collection of more than 300,000 artworks. 

Why go? The Art Institute of Chicago is filled with masterpieces from every era, from Georges Seurat’s iconic painting A Sunday on La Grande Jatte (notable for its appearance in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off) to Andy Warhol's print of actress Elizabeth Taylor. Once it reopens on February 11, you'll be able to check out the "Monet and Chicago" exhibition that opened briefly last year.

Don’t miss: Tucked away in the lower level of the Art Institute, the Thorne Miniature Room contains 68 recreations of American, European and Asian architecture and furniture, represented at 1:12 scale. It’s like a hyper-detailed, ultra-realistic doll house that you wish you had when you were a kid.

Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park
Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park

2. Slide around the Maggie Daley Park skating ribbon

Attractions Parks and gardens Millennium Park

What is it? A quarter-mile skating ribbon, which wraps around the Maggie Daley Park climbing wall.

Why go? Reservations are required if you want to skate amidst the skyline on the ice ribbon this year, so snag one online before you show up. The skating season begins on November 20 and, as usual, you can bring your own skates or rent a pair. And don't forget to wear a mask!

Don't miss: A mug of hot chocolate from the on-site vendor.

Hideout Chicago, Cosmic Country Showcase
Photograph: Sarah Larson

3. Watch a show streaming from the Hideout

Bars Dive bars River West/West Town

What is it? A tucked-away, homey music mecca on an industrial stretch of the city.

Why go? The vintage house with an Old Style sign hanging on its facade isn't open to the public right now, but it's still hosting some of its most notable programming online. Using streaming platform NoonChorus, guests can buy tickets to live events every week, including chats with local figures of note and holiday shows featuring local musicians.

Don’t miss: The weekly happy hour with Hideout bartender Lawrence Peters, who typically spins records and chats with guests.

4. Get high at 360 CHICAGO

Things to do Streeterville

What is it? Set atop the building formerly known at the John Hancock Center, this observatory offers views of the city (and surrounding states) from 1,030 feet above the streets.

Why go? The sights from the 94th floor can't be beat, whether you're a longtime Chicagoan or a visitor. Stick around to enjoy a cocktail at 360 CHICAGO's bar or explore some of the interactive exhibits detailing the city's history.

Don't miss: 360 CHICAGO's most terrifying attraction: TILT. Guests board a glass-enclosed platform that slowly tilts over the side of the building at a 30-degree angle. Thrill seekers will want to fork over the additional fee for a ticket. 

Tonkotsu ramen at Wasabi
Photograph: Martha Williams

5. Warm up with a bowl of ramen from Wasabi

Restaurants Japanese Logan Square

What is it? A Japanese spot in Logan Square that specializes in steaming bowls of broth and noodles.

Why go? As the weather begins to get more frigid, few dishes will warm your body (and, perhaps, your soul) like ramen. The options at Wasabi are simple and unembellished, free of the trends and cutesy interpretations finding their way into many of the city’s noodle bowls.

Don't miss: The Original Tonkotsu, featuring Berkshire pork belly and a rich broth that takes 45 hours to make.

Steppenwolf What is Left, Burns
Photograph: Lowell Thomas

6. See a stellar play from the Steppenwolf Theatre

Theater Drama Various locations throughout Chicago,

What is it? What people think of when they hear "Chicago theater."

Why go? With its stages closed to the public for the time-being, the Steppenwolf NOW programming stream is a way to see groundbreaking new theater without leaving the house. A $75 membership gives you access to six works from the likes of James Ijames, Rajiv Joseph and Sam Shepard, which will premiere between November 2020 and June 2021.

Don't miss: Award-winning playwright Isaac Gómez's new department store drama Wally World, premiering in December.

tamale guy
Photograph: Shutterstock

7. Buy Chicago’s favorite bar snack from the Tamale Guy

Restaurants Mexican Ukrainian Village

What is it? A Ukrainian Village restaurant run by original "Tamale Guy" Claudio Velez and his family.

Why go? Velez used to show up at North Side bars armed with his signature red cooler and sell bags of tamales to hungry patrons. You can get those same tamales (chicken, pork and queso con rajas) at his physical shop without having to nurse beers late into the evening.

Don't miss: The larger, banana leaf-wrapped Oaxacan tamales served on Saturdays and Sundays.

Photograph: Max Herman

8. Support Music Box Theatre by streaming a movie

Movie theaters Independent Wrigleyville

What is it? Chicago's premiere arthouse theater, which is currently closed to the public (but offers a robust selection of streaming movies online). 

Why go? While it's not the same as seeing a film inside the Music Box Theatre's gorgeous main auditorium, purchasing access to a streaming movie via Music Box at Home helps keep the theater afloat. And the options are just as well-curated as you'd expect!

Don't miss: Missing the Music Box's made-with-real-butter popcorn? You can order it to-go, accompanied by boxed candies and beverages.

the 606, bloomingdale trail, 606, wicker park, trail
Photograph: Shutterstock

9. Travel across an elevated trail on the 606

Attractions Parks and gardens Humboldt Park

What is it? A formerly abandoned stretch of elevated railway track named after the first three digits in every Chicago zip code. 

Why go? Looking for a convenient way to get between Logan Square, Humboldt Park, Wicker Park and Bucktown? This is it. The 2.7-mile path was spruced up by the city and turned into a functional attraction that delights locals and visitors—just remember to keep moving so the social distancing ambassadors don't have to remind you.

Don’t miss: Local artist Jeff Zimmermann's colorful Conagra Mural (Urbs in Horto) just across the Milwaukee Avenue bridge, which acknowledges Chicago's agricultural legacy.

Field Museum lobby
Photograph: Courtesy the Field Museum

10. Hang out with a mummy at the Field Museum

Museums Science and technology Museum Campus

What is it? A massive natural history museum that was founded to house the biological and anthropological collections for the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. 

Why go? With 350,000 square feet of permanent exhibitions to explore, deciding what to see at the Field Museum can be a daunting task. We recommend starting in the institution's popular "Inside Ancient Egypt" exhibit, where you'll descend into a recreation of the 5,000-year-old tomb of pharaoh’s son Unis-Ankh. From there, you'll walk through an extensive assemblage of Egyptian artifacts, including one of the largest collections of mummies in the U.S.

Don’t miss: Upon entering the Field Museum, come face to skull with Máximo, a 70-ton, 122-foot-long skeleton of a titanosaur. You can also visit SUE, the museum's T. rex skeleton, in the Griffin Halls of Evolving Planet exhibition.

Chinatown Square
Photograph: Martha Williams

11. Take a stroll through Chinatown

Attractions Public spaces Armour Square

What is it? A neighborhood that serves as one of the primary hubs of Chicago's Chinese community, filled with restaurants and shops.

Why go? Chinatown is a great place to spend some time outdoors, whether you're walking through Chinatown Square or admiring the views from Ping Tom Memorial Park. Some businesses are still welcoming in-person shoppers and you can easily pick up food from the various restaurants in the area.

Don't miss: Dumplings from QYX, bubble tea from the walk-up window at Joy Yee, Peking duck from BBQ King House... the list goes on.

divvy e-bike
Photograph: Zach Long

12. Cruise around town on a Divvy e-bike

News Transport & Travel

What is it? These jet-black e-bikes have joined the Divvy fleet, allowing riders to go up to 15 miles per hour with the help of a small electric motor.

Why try it? Let's face it: the original bright blue Divvy bikes are heavy and cumbersome. These new e-bikes (which you'll find at stations throughout the city) make it easier to see more of the city atop a shared ride. The pedal-assist system adds some additional power everytime you move your legs, allowing you to get to your destination faster—and possibly without breaking a sweat.

Don't miss: Divvy e-bikes come with an attached lock, meaning that you can end your ride by locking it to a bike rake or sign post, though you may incur an extra fee. You can also place them in any Divvy dock.

Photograph: Erica Gannett

13. Scarf down a Chicago-style hot dog at Superdawg Drive-In

Restaurants Hot dogs Norwood Park

What is it? A ’40-era drive-in that still sends uniformed servers to your car, delivering hot dogs, burgers, milkshakes and more fast food delights.

Why go? As its name suggests, Superdawg specializes in Chicago-style hot dogs, which add piccalilli and a pickled green tomato to the usual array of toppings. Every super dish comes in a cute box (usually on a bed of crisp French fries) and can be ordered from your car or at a walk-up window.

Don't miss: Try the Superonionchips instead of the Superfries—they're like onion rings, but better.

Photograph: Shutterstock

14. Bike to the ’burbs on the North Branch Trail

Attractions Parks and gardens North Park

What is it? A 16-mile paved trail beginning in Gompers Park that takes riders all the way to the Chicago Botanic Garden.

Why go? If you're craving a quick escape from the city on your bike, you can take the North Branch Trail to attractions throughout the northern suburbs. Have a beer at Hubbard's Cave, get a pie at the Pequod's in Morton Grove or relax in the Erickson Woods in Winnetka.

Don't miss: The four-mile loop trail through the Skokie Lagoons (which can also be used to get to the Chicago Botanic Garden).

Shedd Aquarium
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

15. Watch fish swim by at Shedd Aquarium

Attractions Zoo and aquariums Museum Campus

What is it? Chicago's only aquarium, home to thousands of colorful fish and other aquatic creatures.

Why go? Permanent exhibitions like "Wild Reef" and "Amazon" allow you to gaze at fish, stingrays, an anaconda and sharks. But the interactive experiences may be the biggest draw, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with some of the animals that live at the Shedd Aquarium and learn more about them.

Don't miss: The internet-famous rockhopper penguins, known for exploring the Shedd (and other Chicago institutions) during the lockdown. You can say hi to them in the Polar Play Zone exhibit.

Photograph: Matthew Gilson

16. Have a mesmerizing meal from Alinea

Restaurants Contemporary American Lincoln Park

What is it? Chef Grant Achatz’s three-Michelin-starred institution.

Why go? While you can't dine inside the airy Lincoln Park restaurant while an army of staff plate your dishes and re-fold your napkin, you can purchase Alinea meals to go. The three-course meals start at $35 and are accompanied by reheating instructions—not bad for fine dining cuisine that's usually a triple figure investment.

Don’t miss: The option to add a rare bottle of wine from the Alinea cellar or a bottled Aviary cocktail to your order.

Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas

17. Find a fun toy to display on your desk at Rotofugi

Shopping Toys and games Sheffield & DePaul

What is it? A designer toy store and gallery in Lincoln Park that's filled with cute tchotchkes to display on your desk.

Why go? Rotofugi offers one of the most extensive selections of contemporary toys (for kids and adult collectors) in all of Chicago, whether you're looking for blind box vinyl figures, Japanese capsule toys or fancy sculptures.

Don't miss: The in-house art gallery, which is still hosting free shows that can be viewed by masked visitors.

yurt village
Photograph: Courtesy American Express

18. Have a meal inside a yurt at Swift & Sons

Restaurants Steakhouse West Loop

What is it? A Fulton Market steakhouse that's embracing outdoor dining with private heated yurts.

Why go? You and your pod (up to six people) can get cozy in fuzzy blankets while enjoying an Alpine-inspired prix-fixe menu, including a smoked trout tartlet, spinach and ricotta gnocchi and chocolate soufflé.

Don't miss: Reservations are only available through February 28, and you'll need to have an American Express Card to score one—maybe this is worth the trouble of applying for a new card?

Lakefront Trail
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

19. Take in the skyline from Promontory Point

Things to do Hyde Park

What is it? One of the best places to sit on a rock and look at tall buildings from afar.

Why go? Just north of the Museum of Science and Industry, this man-made peninsula is just a short jaunt from the Lakefront Trail. When the sun is out, it's a popular spot for picnics, lounging and canoodling on the rock steps that line the perimeter of the point.

Don’t miss: The Promontory Point Field House, an extremely popular wedding venue that looks like a miniature castle.

Photograph: Courtesy the Beer Temple

20. Drink all the brews at the Beer Temple

Shopping Liquor stores Avondale

What is it? A place of worship for hops-heads.

Why go? You'll always find something new or unexpected on tap at this Avondale bar and bottle shop (only the latter half is operating at the moment), which has gained a reputation for stocking the most sought-after releases from local and out-of-state brewers. Order ahead for pick up or stop in with a mask to browse the shelves and walk-in cooler.

Don’t miss: Follow the Beer Temple on Instagram to stay on top of what's newly in-stock. If you want to get your hands on the latest brews from Hop Butcher and other hard-to-find releases, you'll need to order quickly.

Lost Lake is one of the best bars in Chicago.
Photograph: Martha Williams

21. Pretend you’re in the tropics at Lost Lake

Bars Cocktail bars Avondale

What is it? A boozy island vacation in the heart of Logan Square. 

Why go? While you can't take a seat amid the walls plastered with palm leaves and festooned with tropical knickknacks, you can pick up everything you need to make a daiquiri or Mai Tai at home. Lost Lake's small storefront has been fitted with a takeout window, offering tiki cocktail kits, garnishes and glassware to-go, so you can bring the island vibes home.

Don’t miss: Soak up the booze with a menu of delicious bites, including a curry fried chicken sandwich and Szechuan lamb noodles.

Carnitas Uruapan
Courtesy Carnitas Uruapan

22. Pig out on pork tacos at Carnitas Uruapan

Restaurants Mexican Lower West Side

What is it? A tiny Pilsen storefront devoted to the pig. 

Why go? The only decision you'll have to make when you visit this spot is how many pounds of pork you want to eat. Carnitas Uruapan's specialty is juicy pulled pork, served with corn tortillas, onions and salsa if you want to make your own tacos. The shop only stays open until 5pm on weeknights (6pm on weekends), so stop by early if you want to have authentic carnitas for dinner.

Don’t miss: Not leaving any part of the pig to waste, the limited menu also includes fresh, warm, delicious chicharrones (fried pork skin).

16th Street Murals Pilsen
Photograph: Time Out/Zach long

23. Walk through an outdoor art gallery at the 16th Street Murals

Art Public art Lower West Side

What is it? A collection of murals and street art on an old railroad embankment in Pilsen that stretches from the Chicago River to Western Avenue.

Why go? Take a stroll across 16th Street and you'll spot murals by local artists like JC Rivera and Hebru Brantley as well as international talents like The Yok and Sheryo.

Don't miss: An infamous painting of a severed possum by Belgian street artist ROA, located just west of 16th and Laflin St.

Rock Island Public House drive-in
Photograph: Courtesy Rock Island Public House

24. Watch a free drive-in movie at Rock Island Public House

Restaurants Suburbs

What is it? A bar in Blue Island, Illinois (just across Chicago city limits), that has created its own drive-in theater.

Why go? You can show up for a free screening every Friday, Saturday and Sunday—parking spots are first come, first served. Food and drinks are available for purchase while you're enjoying the movie.

Don't miss: Every weekend's lineup of screenings has a theme, from kung-fu flicks to rock 'n roll movies. Check out the schedule to see all the coming attractions.

Photograph: Martha Williams

25. Devour thin crust ’za at Vito and Nick’s Pizzeria

Restaurants Pizza Ashburn

What is it? A thin-crust-pizza paradise on the South Side. 

Why go? Believe it or not, most locals prefer thin crust to deep dish (which is predominately a tourist thing). And when it comes to authentic thin-crust Chicago ’za, the delightfully old-school Vito & Nick’s is ace. The spot has slung life-affirming pies in its cash-only Ashburn digs since 1932. (And no, they don’t do delivery.)

Don’t miss: Pair one of their expertly cooked cracker-thin tavern cut sausage pizzas with a pitcher of Old Style and consider yourself a real Chicagoan.

Pilsen Community Books
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

26. Add to your reading list at Pilsen Community Books

Shopping Bookstores Lower West Side

What is it? A worker-owned bookstore, offering new and used books for curbside pickup.

Why go? You can support a local business while chipping away at your reading list by ordering something from this Pilsen shop. Submit an order online or call and talk to a human during business hours if you need a recommendation.

Don't miss: Add a donation to the Liberation Library to your order to support the purchase of books for incarcerated youth.

Woolly Mammoth Antiques and Oddities Shop in Andersonville.
Photograph: Jamie DiVecchio Ramsay

27. Find something strange at Woolly Mammoth Antiques & Oddities

Shopping Antiques Uptown

What is it? A store that's not for the faint of heart that is one hell of a conversation starter.

Why go? You never know what you'll find at this popular Andersonville antique store, which prides itself on stocking items that are "resurrected from the past." Taxidermy, diving helmets, military supplies and other interesting knick-knacks typically line the shelves.

Don’t miss: The anatomy items, medical stuff, skull bones (of all kinds) and skeletons.

Rainbow Cone
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

28. Get your licks in at the Original Rainbow Cone

Restaurants Ice cream parlors Beverly

What is it? The sweetest spot for indulging your sweet tooth.

Why go? This iconic far South Side shop, immediately recognizable by its bright pink exterior, has been making ice cream-ordering decisions easy since 1926 thanks to their namesake Rainbow Cone. The classic sugar cone is topped with colorful layers of chocolate, strawberry, Palmer House (New York vanilla with cherries and walnuts), pistachio and orange sherbert ice cream.

Don’t miss: If you’re still in need of another sugar rush, know that Rainbow also makes cakes, sundaes and shakes.

Photograph: Brendan Lekan

29. Sample smoked seafood at Calumet Fisheries

Restaurants Seafood South Deering

What is it? This smoke shack was born when the steel industry was thriving and the area was populated by hungry day laborers.

Why go? Located near a bridge featured in The Blues Brothers just west of the Indiana border, Calumet Fisheries slings smoked shrimp, trout, sable and more. There's no seating inside, so you'll need to take your paper bag full of seafood outside, where you can find a spot along the bridge to chow down or just eat it inside your car. 

Don’t miss: Don't forget to get some crackers and coleslaw to pair with your expertly smoked fish.

Photograph: Courtesy of Christina Cou

30. Go back at the Historic Pullman Foundation Visitor Center

Things to do Literary events Pullman

What is it? This destination houses exhibits about the South Side 'hood's growth and preservation. 

Why go? When businessman George Pullman started a railroad sleeping car factory on the South Side of Chicago, he built an entire town to house his employees. The industrial complex has since been designated a National Monument and the Pullman Foundation Visitor Center is the best place to start exploring the area, especially if you want to join a guided tour (limited to 10 people) on the first Sunday of every month.

Don’t miss: Set out on a self-guided tour of the district, which includes historic buildings featured in films like Road to Perdition and The Fugitive.

Museum of Illusions mirror room
Photograph: Courtesy Museum of Illusions

31. Have your mind blown at the Museum of Illusions

Things to do Exhibitions Loop

What is it? The Chicago outpost of a chain of trippy “edutainment” destinations, packed with mind-bending photo-ops.

Why go? You'll be able to take a ton of cool Instagram photos at the Museum of Illusions, but you'll also have a chance to learn a thing or two along the way. Staff is present to explain the psychology and science behind each of the mind-bending displays.

Don't miss: The museum's infinity room, which surrounds guests with mirrors and shimmering lights.

Birrieria Zaragoza
Photograph: Brendan Lekan

32. Get a taste for goat at Birrieria Zaragoza

Restaurants Mexican Archer Heights

What is it? HQ for goat tacos in Archer Heights. 

Why go? This cozy birrieria has earned a cult following for its birria tatemada, which features goat that has been rubbed with an earthy mole and roasted. It's an utterly different approach from the stewing method used by nearly all of its Chicago competitors, and the result is something truly special. Zaragoza plates the meat with just a splash of consommé (which is vegetarian, another deviation from the norm); each juicy forkful is enhanced by a trace of burnt-end–like crust imparted by the roasted mole. 

Don’t miss: The thick handmade tortillas, made-to-order salsas and cinnamon-laced coffee are also lovely selections.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

33. Bike (or walk) along the Lakefront Trail

Things to do South Shore

What is it? The 18-mile-long path is the best way to soak up those lakefront views. 

Why go? Stretching from Hollywood Avenue on the north all the way to 71st Street to the south, the Lakefront Trail provides a path along the coast of Lake Michigan that connects tons of neighborhoods. Once you're on the trail, expect bicyclists zooming by, joggers pounding the pavement and pedestrians out for a leisurely stroll. 

Don’t miss: Whatever mode of transportation your choose, don't forget to stop for a moment and take in the amazing views of the Chicago skyline.

Al's Italian Beef on Taylor St.
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

34. Fill your gut at Al’s #1 Italian Beef

Restaurants American Little Italy, UIC

What is it? Al’s #1 Italian Beef has been keeping Chicagoans stuffed since 1938.  

Why go? While there are now several Al’s Beef locations around the city and suburbs, the original beef stand on Taylor Street is where you should visit this iconic Chicago restaurant. Here you can tangle with one of Chicago’s most classic foods, the Italian beef sandwich, in a cash-only neighborhood joint. You can order yours several ways, although dipped in juice with sweet peppers and giardiniera is the way to go.

Don’t miss: Eat yours utilizing the “Italian stance” (standing backed up with your feet spread apart and elbows over the counter) unless you want yours to end up all over your shirt.  

Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

35. See Yoko Ono’s installation in Jackson Park

Things to do Literary events Woodlawn

What is it? Designed by activist and artist Yoko Ono, Skylanding is composed of 12 large steel lotus petals jutting from the ground of the Garden of the Phoenix in Jackson Park.

Why go? Calling all public-art fanatics. This gleaming installation from the famed artist has become a major draw in the 600-acre park. The photogenic sculpture was erected as a symbol of peace, taking up residence on the site of a pavilion built by the Japanese government for the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition.  

Don’t miss: The park is also home to a beautiful, traditional Japanese respite dubbed the Osaka Japanese Garden.

Dusty Groove
Photograph: Jordan Avery

36. Find some new records at Dusty Groove

Shopping Music and entertainment East Village

What is it? A Wicker Park destination for discerning record nerds.

Why go? The "dusty grooves" of course refer to the wonderous global rhythms found in the smartly curated bins, sorted into Tropicalia, Afrobeat, reggae, vintage soul, French pop, blues, jazz and other genres. Currently, you'll need to do your shopping online (or by phone) and retrieve your finds from the shop's pickup window.

Don’t miss: Obscure titles that you'll have a hard time finding elsewhere in the city.

The Neo-Futurists
Photograph: Ricky Kluge

37. Watch 30 plays in 60 minutes from the Neo-Futurists

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

What is it? The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral is the online version of the Neo-Futurists signature show, presenting 30 wildly different miniature plays every week.

Why go? For as little as $3 per week, subscribers to the Neo-Futurists Patreon get to help keep the theater company working while its Andersonville theater is closed. You'll be sent the latest edition of The Infinite Wrench in video form each week—you might witness a dramatic monologue, a funny song or simply stare at someone eating a sandwich.

Don't miss: Higher Pateron donation tiers give you access to even more Neo-Futurists treats, like a monthly music show or plays from the company's extensive archives.

au cheval, burger, battle of the burger
Photograph: Kevin J. Miyazaki

38. Scarf a tasty burger at Au Cheval

Restaurants Contemporary American West Loop

What is it? Where fancy-burger fanatics flock in the West Loop. 

Why go? There's a good reason why you'll never be able to show up at Au Cheval and immediately be seated: The West Loop restaurant's signature cheeseburger has achieved a near-legendary status as a must-eat Chicago dish. Served with a knife protruding from the top of its puffy bun, the "single" version comes with two beef patties, while the "double" includes three. Au Cheval doesn't take reservations, so plan on finding a nearby spot to grab a drink while you wait to indulge.

Don’t miss: The matzo ball soup, stocked with roasted carrots and cippolini onions, is damn delicious too. 

Metropolitan Brewing
Photograph: Nick Murway

39. Spend an afternoon of the patio at Metropolitan Brewing

Bars Breweries Avondale

What is it? An Avondale brewery that focuses on German-style lagers. No IPAs here, but you'll find Pilsners, Kölsches and Schwarzbier.

Why go? While many breweries have closed their outdoor seating for the winter, Metropolitan is still welcoming brave guests to have a beer while looking out at the Chicago River. There are some heaters, but you'll want to bundle up (and order a few extra beers) to fight the cold.

Don't miss: Order a Krankshaft Kölsch, a smooth beer that has a touch of hops, some fruity notes and a crisp finish.

More great things to do across the globe

Uluru’s ‘Field of Light’
Photograph: Mark Pickthall, courtesy Field of Light, Uluru, Bruce Munro 2016

The 40 best things to do in the world right now

Things to do

Going out and doing things satisfies our need to explore, to learn and to grow (and then to brag about it on social media). Our hope is that the DO List becomes not just your bucket list, but your inspiration to experience and appreciate the corners of magic in the world.


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