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People ice skating at the park
Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park

The 50 best things to do in Chicago right now

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

Edited by Jeffy Mai, Written by Tim Lowery, Zach Long, Jay Gentile & Emma Krupp (Time Out) in association with Rivers Casino
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February 2024: As winter marches on, we're taking advantage of the weather by going ice skating and sledding. There's also curling on a winter rooftop, plus hiking trails to explore. If you'd rather stay warm, you can enjoy a drink or meal next to a fireplace. There are plenty of other options, too, so stay satisfied and busy with these fun activities in February.

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, because Chicago is famous for its delicious cuisine. 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.

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 best things to do in the world right now.

Time Out Market Chicago
  • Restaurants
  • West Loop

We've rounded up the best chefs in the city to join us at Time Out Market Chicago, a culinary and cultural destination in the heart of Fulton Market featuring 18 kitchens, three bars and one drop-dead gorgeous rooftop terrace—all spread across three floors.

Best things to do in Chicago

  • Sex and dating

What is it? The most romantic things to do Chicago.

Why go? February is the month of love, and we’ve got plenty of ways for you to show your affection. Treat you and your significant other to a luxurious spa treatment, book a table at one of the most romantic restaurants in Chicago or plan the perfect date night. Looking for love? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with the best places to meet singles.

  • Theater

What is it? The annual celebration of Chicago theater.

Why go? Dozens of theaters across the city will offer discounted tickets ($15 or $30) to more than 100 performances from February 8-18. Highlights this year include “Girl From The North Country,” “Cinderella,” and “Illinoise”—a theatrical adaptation of Sufjan Stevens’ acclaimed concept album inspired by the Land of Lincoln.

  • Bars

What is it? All-season patios equipped with retractable roofs, heated igloos and outdoor fire pits.

Why go? Rooftop season doesn’t have to be confined to summer. These restaurants and bars atop downtown hotels and skyscrapers offer outdoor spaces that are suited for cold weather. So grab a hot cocktail and enjoy the gorgeous views even when the conditions are less than ideal.

  • Things to do

What is it? A winding, ice-covered path in the Loop that’s twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink. 

Why go? It’s always tough to get excited about the start of winter, which is why we recommend easing into the season with some of the city’s best cold-weather offerings. The Maggie Daley Ice Ribbon, with its novel layout and superior skyline views, won’t completely erase your winter blues, but it’s one of the nicer ways to cope with biting temps and 4:45pm sunsets. The rink opens for the season on November 17.

Don’t miss: Grabbing a reservation online before you visit, as walk-in spots tend to fill up quickly.

  • Restaurants
  • American
  • River North

What is it? A curling experience on the rooftop of The Gwen hotel.

Why go? It's the perfect wintertime activity for groups. The space is equipped with fire pits to warm you up, and you'll also get a cocktail and sweets to enjoy while playing.

Don't miss: If you want to keep the fun times going after curling is over, stick around for more seasonal libations or boozy afternoon tea on the weekends.

  • Kids

What is it? Sledding hills in the city and suburbs.

Why go? Love it or hate it, snow is part of the winter experience in Chicago. So when the snowflakes start falling and accumulating on the ground, grab a sled and head to the area's top slopes—from bunny hills to steep mounts—for some thrills.

  • Things to do

What is it? Hiking trails around Chicagoland.

Why go? Just because it's cold outside doesn't mean you can't go hiking. Visit a state park or nature preserve for an adventurous escape from the city. These sprawling, winding paths will take you through historic sites, sand dunes, woodlands and much more.

  • Art
  • Art

What is it? Disney100: The Exhibition.

Why go? In celebration of Disney’s 100th anniversary, the company is unveiling a new exhibit in Chicago that will run through the end of the year. Fans will have the opportunity to see over 250 artifacts, props, costumes and more as well as 10 imaginatively themed galleries. Plus, there will be plenty of exclusive merch to pick up from the gift shop.

  • Sports and fitness
  • Golf
  • West Loop
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A mini-golf cocktail bar.

Why go? If the weather outside isn't suitable for hitting the links, do the next best thing and go mini golfing at this unique concept. Housed in a 23,000-square-foot space, Puttery offers two themed courses and state-of-the-art technology like digital scorecards and trackable balls.

Don't miss: Take a load off after you're done playing by hanging out in the swanky lounge area. There's a a full menu of craft cocktails and approachable bites.

  • Things to do
  • Event spaces
  • United Center

What is it? Home to pro basketball and hockey, as well as big-ticket pop acts. 

Why go? You can't see Michael Jordan play at the United Center anymore (though you can get a picture in front of his statue in the venue's public atrium), but this West Side arena still hosts plenty of stars. During basketball and hockey season, the venue serves as home turf for the Bulls and the Blackhawks—two of the city's biggest pro sports teams. It's also a destination for major pop and rock concerts, including acts like U2, Drake and Madonna.

Don’t miss: The arena has partnered with local restaurants like Honey Butter Fried Chicken and Lillie’s Q to provide dishes and drinks that handily outclass typical stadium fare.   

  • Things to do
  • Lincoln Park

What is it? One of the last free zoos in the country, this 35-acre attraction connects visitors with animals from all over the world.

Why go? More than 1,000 critters are waiting for you to visit them—free of charge—in Lincoln Park. From mammals (beavers, lions, otters and bears) to birds (penguins, eagles and parrots) to reptiles (snakes, crocodiles and turtles), there's something for every animal lover. 

Don’t miss: The expansive Regenstein Macaque Forest, where snow monkeys swing from branch to branch. 

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • Millennium Park

What is it? The crown jewel of Chicago's front yard.

Why go? Home to iconic public art installations such as Cloud Gate (a.k.a. "The Bean"), this 25-acre park is one of the most popular gathering spots in the city. Visitors can walk through the vegetation in the Lurie Garden—renowned for its beauty throughout all of Chicago's seasons—or grab a requisite selfie in front of the Bean's reflective surface. 

Don’t miss: Crown Fountain, an interactive installation featuring two 50-foot-tall LED video structures. 

  • 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 Garden of the Phoenix. 

  • Music
  • Music

What is it? The Salt Shed, Chicago’s new(ish) music venue from the team behind Thalia Hall and the Empty Bottle.

Why go? Located at the site of the historic Morton Salt building (you know, the one you've probably spotted alongside the Kennedy Expressway), Salt Shed is an indoor/outdoor venue that's backed by a stellar sound system and skyline views during summertime performances.

Don’t miss: Genuinely good concessions from notable Chicago restaurants.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Grant Park
  • price 2 of 4

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. This month, see Picasso: Drawing from Life, an exhibit showcasing dozens of prints and drawings from Picasso's rich and varied 70-year career.

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.

  • Attractions
  • Parks and gardens
  • East Garfield Park

What is it? A gorgeous glass structure home to more than 100,000 plants. 

Why go? When temps start to dip, there are few better places in Chicago to escape the cold than Garfield Park Conservatory, where you can wander through eight indoor display gardens full of greenery. Marvel at towering tropical plants in the 65-foot Palm House, admire cacti in the Desert House and imagine the primordial settings of Illinois millions of years ago among the lush Fern Room.   

Don't miss: Swing by Horticulture Hall from Friday through Sunday for a lavender oat milk cold brew made by Monday Coffee Co., the conservatory's resident coffee pop-up.

  • Bars
  • Cocktail bars
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? An Uptown institution that books smart bebop and free jazz with a discriminating ear. 

Why go? In the ’20s, Chicago gangsters like Al Capone were known to frequent the Green Mill, but ever since Prohibition, the club has garnered a reputation for hosting live jazz every night. 

Don’t miss: Taking a picture under the glittering marquee, which wasn't actually destroyed in Michael Mann's 1981 neo-noir film Thief

  • Movie theaters
  • Wrigleyville
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A popular movie theater chain from Texas.

Why go? In addition to showing the latest films, the venue offers expansive food and beverage menus and servers will bring meals to customers' seats during screenings.

Don't miss: The theater's special events, which include rowdy sceenings where talking is encouraged and movie parties—immersive and interactive viewing experiences featuring fun props, themed drinks and more.

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Museum Campus
  • price 2 of 4

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: "Bloodsuckers: Legends to Leeches," an exhibit dedicated to bloodsucking species both real and fictional.

  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Loop
  • price 3 of 4

What is it? A world-renowned orchestra.

Why go?: Considered one of the leading and oldest orchestras in the United States, the CSO plays a variety of enthralling music and hosts touring soloists and small ensembles as well. You can also catch special performances set to the scores of popular films like Star Wars and Harry Potter. During fall to spring, Symphony Center is home to the CSO. 

Don't miss: The 2023/2024 season includes a stop by superstar pianist Yuja Wang April 4-6.

  • Theater
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

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

Why go? Steppenwolf is known for its all-star collection of ensemble talent (folks like Laurie Metcalf, John Malkovich and Tracy Letts number among its ranks).

Don't miss: "A Home What Howls," a lyrically-rendered quest of youth activism standing against forces of injustice.

  • Museums
  • Science and technology
  • Museum Campus
  • price 1 of 4

What is it?: A museum dedicated to astronomy and all things outer space.

Why go?: You'll escape the planet with exhibits about the first lunar missions, the solar system and more, plus immersive shows in the dome theater. The Doane Observatory is also home to the largest public telescope in the area, and gathers 7,000 times more light than the human eye.

Don't miss: Adler at Night, the planetarium's afterhours event that takes place from 4pm-10pm every Wednesday. Best of all, entry is free for Illinois residents.

  • Museums
  • Art and design
  • Loop

What is it? Located just around the corner from Millennium Park, this gorgeous specimen of a building is the country's first free municipal cultural center; inside, you'll find tons of programming, exhibitions, and stunning architectural flourishes to explore, as well as a gift shop stocked with goods from local artists.

Why go? Anyone spending time in the Loop should make a point to check out any ongoing programming happening at the Cultural Center, which can run the gamut from art exhibitions to massive architectural expos. And did we mention it's completely free?

Don't miss: Once you've toured the 38-foot Tiffany glass dome in Preston Bradley Hall, head to the Landmarks Gallery on the first floor to see "The Great Chicago Fire in Focus," an exhibit of images detailing the destruction of the historic disaster.

  • Attractions
  • Historic buildings and sites
  • Hyde Park
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A historic house that Wright himself called "the cornerstone of modern architecture." 

Why go? Nearby Oak Park may be a mecca for Frank Lloyd Wright enthusiasts, but you can see some of the architect's finest work without leaving the city. The Robie House in Hyde Park exemplifies Wright's signature Prairie School style, both in its external appearance and interior design. You can take a peek inside the historic home (and get some decorating ideas) by taking a tour led by the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust, offered five days a week.

Don’t miss: The bevy of beautiful art-glass windows and the furniture (also designed by Wright). 

  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Pullman
  • price 1 of 4

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 Park and the Pullman Exhibit Hall is the best place to start exploring the area.

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.

Get high at 360 CHICAGO
  • Things to do
  • Streeterville
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Set atop the building formerly known as 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. 

  • Music
  • Rock and indie
  • Ukrainian Village
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? The best damn rock club in the States.

Why go? For more than a quarter of a century, a gig at the Empty Bottle has served as a rite of passage for local and touring musicians. The nondescript club on the edge of Ukrainian Village is far from the biggest venue in town (capacity is around 300), but the folks who book it have a knack for landing rockers, electronic acts and experimental musicians on the rise. Grab an Old Style, find a spot on the stairs by the stage and take in a sure-to-be memorable show. 

Don’t miss: A slice of pizza before (or after) the show at next door's Pizza Friendly Pizza. 

  • 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, shops and incredible nods to East Asian architecture.

Why go? Chinatown is a great place to mosey from shop to shop and spend some time outdoors, whether you're walking through Chinatown Square or admiring the sweeping skyline views from Ping Tom Memorial Park. 

Don't miss: Dumplings from QYX, bubble tea from the walk-up window at Joy Yee, Peking duck from BBQ King House, cocktails at Nine Bar... the list goes on. Start at Chinatown Square and work your way south down Wentworth, passing under the street's famous gate and into its central commercial strip.

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Wrigleyville
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? An ace place to lose it to house music, right in the city that invented the genre. 

Why go? In the ’80s, Chicago served as the epicenter of the creation of a new sound that still influences the work of modern hip-hop and electronic artists. If you want to experience house music, there's no more authentic environment than Smart Bar. Within the subterranean Wrigleyville club, skilled DJs, drag performers and sweaty revelers come together to the steady pulse of a house beat.

Don’t miss: The crowded Queen dance party, which takes place nearly every Sunday night.

  • Music
  • Folk, country and blues
  • Sheffield & DePaul
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? You have to listen to blues music when you’re in Chicago, and few places are as fun to see the blues as Kingston Mines.

Why go? The city’s largest and oldest continuously operating blues club features high-energy live blues bands performing on two stages until 4am Thursdays and Fridays and 5am on Saturdays. Whether you’re hanging with bleary-eyed tourists from Iowa or friends of the local blues guitarists on stage, it’s hard to have a bad time here.

Don’t miss: The cover grants you entry to both rooms and its two different stages.

  • Bars
  • Breweries
  • Lincoln Square

What is it? The far North Side warehouse where one of the city's largest breweries produces the majority of its beer.

Why go? Half Acre Balmoral's expansive parking lot beer gaden offers room to sip signature brews like Daisy Cutter and Tome in the open air. Plus, a menu of bar foods is available for hungry drinkers. There's also an indoor taproom for the colder months. 

Don’t miss: There are beers on tap here that are exclusive to this location, so be on the lookout. 

  • 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 Street.

  • Things to do
  • Literary events
  • Douglas

What is it? The college's Bronzeville campus is studded with one of the country's largest collection of buildings designed by Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, the German-born steward of the Bauhaus architecture movement in Chicago. 

Why go? Mies was a pioneering figure in American Modernism, and he completed some of his most significant work while serving as the director of the Department of Architecture at the Armour Institute of Technology. The sleek, column-free S.R. Crown Hall—which houses the present-day College of Architecture at IIT—is considered his masterpiece, and the college's entire campus has been inducted into the National Register of Historic Places. 

Don’t miss: You can always take a self-guided tour, but the Chicago Architecture Center offers two-hour guided sessions that lead visitors through the evolution of the campus, from Mies' heyday in the mid-20th century to the more recent McCormick Tribune Campus Center designed by Pritzker Prize-winning Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas.

  • Art
  • East Village

What is it? A string of art galleries located on Chicago Avenue between Ashland Avenue and Wood Street. 

Why go? A combination of favorable real estate, happenstance and collaborative spirit has drawn some of Chicago's finest galleries—including Matthew Rachman Gallery, DOCUMENT, Rhona Hoffman, Chicago Truborn and many others—to this multi-block stretch in West Town, creating a concentrated (and not to mention, free) tour of curated work. Plan an afternoon around the exhibitions that pique your interest, and don't forget to make a reservation at each gallery ahead of time. 

Don’t miss: Looking to splurge on, say, a mid-century Danish sofa or a luxury cowhide rug? Make an appointment at Matthew Rachman Gallery to view the furniture collection available for sale, where you'll find items from iconic designers like Vladimir Kagan, Jens Risom and Eero Saarinen.  

  • Attractions
  • Zoo and aquariums
  • Museum Campus
  • price 3 of 4

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 lockdown in 2020. You can say hi to them in the Polar Play Zone exhibit.

  • 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 a short jaunt from the Lakefront Trail. When the sun is out, it's a beloved 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.

  • Nightlife
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A love letter to all things magic hidden behind what appears to be a laundromat.

Why go? After three years of performances at Uptown Underground, the Chicago Magic Lounge’s brick-and-mortar manifestation opened in early 2018. The spot sports three performance spaces. There’s the front bar, where you can enjoy a drink and some sleight-of-hand. Then there’s the 120-seat Blackstone Cabaret mainstage, where ticketed shows take place, as well as a smaller back room, dubbed the 654 Club, offers up-close magic.

Don’t miss: While enjoying your cocktail in the bar, check out the magician’s table built into the center of the bar itself. 

  • Theater
  • Interactive
  • Uptown
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A theater where performance art is populist and fun AF. 

Why go? You never know what you'll see when you attend the Neo-Futurists' signature show, Infinite Wrench, but it's nearly always entertaining. The ensemble races against the clock to cram 30 miniature, two-minute plays into a 60-minute show that bristles with madcap energy. Over the course of the evening, you might witness a dramatic monologue, a funny song or simply stare at someone eating a sandwich. 

Don’t miss: Grab a seat toward the front of the stage if you're game for interacting directly with the show's performers (their plays occasionally call for audience participation). 

  • Comedy
  • Comedy clubs
  • Lincoln Park
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? Where Bill Murray, Tina Fey, Gilda Radner, Chris Farley and Steve Carell cut their comedic teeth. 

Why go? Before they joined the cast of Saturday Night Live or became big-screen stars, those folks above practiced their craft on the mainstage at the Second City. The venue's premiere revue features some of the institution's most talented performers in a series of loosely-connected, topical comedy sketches.

  • Shopping
  • Liquor stores
  • Avondale
  • price 2 of 4

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, which has gained a reputation for stocking the most sought-after releases from local and out-of-state brewers. 

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.

  • Attractions
  • Towers and viewpoints
  • Streeterville
  • price 2 of 4

What is it?: A nearly 200-foot-high Ferris wheel.

Why go?: You won't find many sights that can rival the ones from Centennial Wheel. Riders are treated to 360-degree views of the skyline and Lake Michigan while sitting in enclosed, climate-controlled gondolas.

Don't miss: After your ride, head to the Original Rainbow Cone at Navy Pier for a tasty sweet treat.

  • Shopping
  • Antiques
  • Uptown
  • price 2 of 4

What is it? A store that's not for the faint of heart and 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.

  • Shopping
  • Bookstores
  • Lower West Side
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? A worker-owned bookstore, offering new and used books for in-store browsing and 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.

Explore cinematic history at Doc Films
  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Hyde Park

What is it? The University of Chicago's single-screen theater is the longest continuously running student film society in the country.

Why go? In the fall, winter and spring, this Hyde Park institution sheds light on some of the most obscure corners of film history, showcasing retrospectives of underappreciated directors, deep dives into highly specific movie genres and rarely-screened foreign films. Best of all, a ticket will only set you back $7.

Don't miss: Prefer to see something contemporary on the big screen? Stop by on Saturday nights, which are typically reserved for screenings of new and recent releases.

  • Shopping
  • Music and entertainment
  • East Village
  • price 1 of 4

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. 

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

  • Movie theaters
  • Independent
  • Wrigleyville

What is it? Chicago's premiere arthouse theater. 

Why go? Aside from being one of the 50 most beautiful cinemas in the world, the Music Box's screens one of the best assortments of arthouse films, documentaries and foreign language pictures in the city. And if you prefer to turn your living room into a theater, Music Box Direct allows you to stream movies at home.

Don't miss: Performances on the theatre organ, which is played during weekend intermissions, monthly silent film screenings and other special presentations. 

  • Bars
  • Lounges
  • Logan Square
  • price 1 of 4

What is it? An expansive, bar-equipped arcade housed inside a former hardware store.

Why go? There are many arcade bars scattered throughout Chicago, but Logan Arcade boasts one of the largest (and best maintained) collection of games. You'll find classics like Ms. Pac-Man and Q*Bert alongside more modern machines like Mario Kart and a Jurassic Park shooter. Pinball wizards will flip over the selection of tables, including ones inspired by properties like Game of Thrones and Star Wars. Plus, you can sip a craft beer or cocktail between high-score attempts.

Don't miss: The Killer Queen cabinet, which allows two teams of five players to face off in a bee-themed battle that requires some intense cooperation to achieve victory.

  • Things to do
  • Exhibitions
  • Loop
  • price 2 of 4

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.

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