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arts in the dark 2018, halloween parade
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

The best things to do in Chicago this week

Find the very best things to do in Chicago this week including cultural events, concerts and cuisine

By Zach Long and Emma Krupp

Happy Halloweek! The spooky holiday takes place on a Saturday, but Halloween events are spread throughout the week, including scary movie screenings, haunted pop-ups and creepy concerts. If you're not feeling particularly goulish, why not take advantage of an extra week of Open House Chicago by exploring neighborhoods throughout the city. And if you want to eat something that's not candy, Kevin Smith's Mooby's pop-up takes over Saint Lou's this weekend, offering a stoner-friendly menu of burgers, chicken sandwiches and tater tots. Try not to get too frightened by the best things to do in Chicago this week.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago right now

Best things to do in Chicago this week

arts in the dark 2018, halloween parade
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

1. Arts in the Dark Upside Down Halloween Parade

Things to do Festivals Washington Park, Washington Park

Part of Chicago's Halloweek festivities, the annual Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade is happening this year, but it won't be marching down State Street as it has in years past. Instead, registered guests will be able to drive through an "upside down" version of the procession, as dozens of costumed performers and puppeteers line the sides of a street running through Washington Park. Spectators will navigate the route in their car, enjoying the spooky sights along the way.

Photograph: Leah Sems

2. 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.

Mooby's pop-up
Photograph: John Troxell

3. 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.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

4. Chicago Craft: A Collective Grip Pop Up Shop

Shopping Pop-up shops Cobra Lounge, West Loop

Cobra Lounge and Jeppson’s Malört have teamed up to present an ongoing pop-up, bringing together goods from local creators as well as fresh beer from area breweries. Hosted inside the Cobra Lounge, you'll find vendors selling everything from soap to hand-knitted goods, alongside beer from All Rise Brewing, Half Acre and On Tour. You can also take home bottled cocktails made with barrel aged Malört. In an attempt to provide as much support to local businesses and artists as possible, the pop-up will run from Thursday through Sunday indefinitely. Capacity is limited and face masks must be worn when inside Cobra Lounge.

Hideout Chicago, Cosmic Country Showcase
Photograph: Sarah Larson

5. 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 include 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.

Lauren Elyse
Photograph: Freddie Collier, courtesy of the artist

6. 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 participating 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.

Knuckle Puck
Photograph: Courtesy Atom Splitter PR

7. 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.

Time Out Market Chicago
Photograph: Gosia Matuszewska

8. 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. 

Shannon Lee
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Humanities Festival

9. 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 conversation 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.

Lloyd the Bartender at Room 237
Photograph: Alexandra Buhrow

10. Room 237

Things to do Morgan Manufacturing, River West/West Town

All work and no play makes Jack (and you) a dull boy—get away from it all for a bit with the help of this The Shining-themed pop-up, returning to Chicago in a spacious warehouse fit for the social distancing era. Developed by Morgan MFG operations director Amy Teri and Chicago DJ Heaven Malone, this multi-room experience takes guests through a miniature version of the Overlook Hotel, from a giant hedge maze to The Gold Room. Along the way, you'll spot familiar, photo op-friendly props like Jack Torrance's typewriter, the Redrum door and more.

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

11. 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 17 days (October 16–November 1), 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.

Maceo Plex
Photograph: Courtesy Lakeshore Drive-in

12. Maceo Plex + DJ Pierre

Music Dance and electronic Adler Planetarium | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus

A Miami house and techno DJ who became a regular at clubs in Mediterranean party destination Ibiza, Maceo Plex headlines a two-night Halloween celebration at Lakeshore Drive-in. Joined by Chicago acid house legend DJ Pierre, you can expect to hear plenty of four-on-the-floor beats while celebrating the spookiest nights of the season.

Kids trick-or-treating
Photograph: Shutterstock

13. 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.

Photograph: Maren Celest

14. Ohmme

Music Rock and indie Various locations throughout Chicago,

Macie Stewart and Sima Cunningham present a concert film dedicated to the pair's recent release Fantasize Your Ghost, an experimental rock opus that melds noisy riffs with intertwining vocal harmonies. Joined by Nnamdï Ogbonnaya on drums as well as Ruby Parker, Quinn Tsan and V.V. Lightbody providing backing vocals, this streaming set brings the entirety of Ohmme's latest album to life, complete with set design that turns local venue Constellation into an ethereal realm.

Alicia Garza headshot
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Humanities Festival

15. 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 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.

New Found Glory
Photograph: Acacia Evans

16. 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.

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

17. 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 the 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.

Morgan's on Fulton
Photograph: Courtesy Morgan's on Fulton

18. Moonlit Movie and a Meal

Movies Horror Morgan's on Fulton, West Loop

Morgan's on Fulton and Marvin's Food and Fuel team up for a pair of rooftop movie screenings during Halloween weekend, complete with scares, food and drinks. Attendees can watch Beetlejuice on Friday night or catch Get Out on Saturday night. Each ticket includes access to the movie—once you're seated, you'll be able to order food from Marvin's and some drinks (there is a two drink minimum). The Morgan's on Fulton rooftop is heated and covered, but you'll still need to wear a face covering, so don't forget one!

 Jo Ractliffe
© Jo Ractliffe. Courtesy of Stevenson, Cape Town and Johannesburg.

19. “Jo Ractliffe: DRIVES”

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

The stark, black and white imagery of South African photographer Jo Ractliffe takes the spotlight in this new Art Institute of Chicago survey of her work. Ractliffe's images confront the aftermath of apartheid, the legalized form of racial discrimination that exisited in South Africa until the early ‘90s. Depicting barren landscapes and literal debris, her photos and video installations document places and people that are reckoning with the consequences of forces beyond their control.

Ratboys band
Photograph: Johnny Fabrizio

20. Ratboys Halloween Telethon

Music Rock and indie Various locations throughout Chicago,

Local rockers Ratboys have pulled together a 25-hour Halloween marathon, packed with live music, interviews and contests that will run from noon on October 31 to noon on November 1. Expect to see performances from Ratboys, Adult Moms, Laura Stevenson, Wild Pink and V.V. Lightbody, in addition to a Gatorade chugging contest, poker tournament and a blind candy taste test. The loopy, late night fun is being presented with a couple of good causes in mind, raising donations for the Equal Justice Initiative and Girls Rock! Chicago.

A Nightmare on Elm Street
Photograph: Courtesy Warner Bros

21. 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 schedule includes mainstream fare like A Nightmare of Elm Street and Carrie alongside more obscure selections like the 1933 Mexican horror flick La Llorona and ‘70s blaxploitation classic Blacula. Check out the complete schedule.

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

22. 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. 

The Newberry
Photograph: Courtesy The Newberry

23. “Decision 1920: A Return to ‘Normalcy’”

Things to do Exhibitions Newberry Library, Rush & Division

This Newberry Library exhibition collects newspaper clippings, political cartoons and other printed ephemera surrounding the 1920 election in the United States, held on the heels of World War I and the Spanish flu pandemic. A new ammendment to the Constitution gave women the right to vote for the first time, allowing more Americans to play a role in the decision between Ohio Senator Warren G. Harding and Ohio Governor James M. Cox. The Newberry's "Decision 1920" exhibition allows you to learn about the candidates, make your choice and cast a vote—it's good practice for the momentous election we're living through now.

Theatre in the Dark
Photograph: Courtesy Theatre in the Dark

24. 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.

Christkindlmarket in Daley Plaza
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

25. Virtual Christkindlmarket

4 out of 5 stars
Things to do Markets and fairs Various locations throughout Chicago,

Traditionally a giant open-air market inspired by a similar seasonal tradition in Nuremberg, Germany, this year's edition of Christkindlmarket won't take place in the Loop or Wrigleyville. Instead, the holiday event is being retooled as an online marketplace, giving Chicagoans (and anyone else) the ability to purchase ornaments, German treats and mugs that you can fill with Glühwein. The virtual market also comes with a lineup of online events, including a streaming Christkind Story Time every Saturday afternoon from November 20–December 24.

Kurt Elling
Photograph: Anna Webber Studio

26. 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.

Navy Pier
Photograph: Courtesy Navy Pier

27. 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. 

Time Out Market Chicago
Photograph: Gosia Matuszewska

28. 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!

Bruce Davidson
Photograph: Courtesy of the artist

29. “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.

Green Mill
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

30. 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. This week, Lizz Wright performs.

Chicken wings
Photograph: Shutterstock

31. 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. 

Whiskey Business rooftop movies
Photograph: Courtesy Whiskey Business

32. Whiskey Business Rooftop Movie Night

Movies Whiskey Business, Wicker Park

Don't have a car (or a friend with a car) to park at Chicago's drive-in theaters? You can still catch an outdoor flick at Whiskey Business, which is screening classic Halloween movies on its Wicker Park rooftop every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday in October. The films are projected on two 120-inch screens and everyone in the audience is issued a set of headphones, so you won't have any problem making out your favorite lines. The schedule includes movies like Child's PlayHocus Pocus and The Craftplus, every ticket includes a bag of popcorn. Check out the Whiskey Business website to snag tickets and take a look at the latest lineup of films. All films screen twice, once at 5:30pm and again at 8:45pm.

Replay Lincoln Park Alley of Darkness
Photograph: Courtesy Replay Lincoln Park

33. Replay's Alley of Darkness

Attractions Arcades and amusements Replay Lincoln Park, Lake View

There's no need to get out of your car at this drive-in haunted experience, which takes place in the alley behind Replay Lincoln Park. Park your vehicle, take in a short drive-in movie and then steel yourself for 30 minutes of scares, as a cast of spooky zombies, demons and angry spirits use fake blood and realistic props to create a horrifying 360-degree show. Don't have a car? You can rent a sanitized vehicle for an additional $25.

Photograph: Shutterstock

34. 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.

Scarecrow Trail
Photograph: Courtesy the Morton Arboretum

35. 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. 

Begyle Brewing
Photograph: Laura Rote

36. 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.

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

37. “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.

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

38. 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 (available 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. 

The Stoop Comedy Show
Photograph: Sarah Elizabeth Larson

39. 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.

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

40. “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.

Central Perk
Photograph: Marc Berry

41. 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. 

Garfield Park Conservatory
Photograph: Brian Kinyon Photography

42. “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.

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

43. “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.

Crypt Run
Photograph: Courtesy Crypt Run

44. Crypt Run

Sports and fitness Running Various locations throughout Chicago,

Go for a job 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.

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

45. “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.

Photograph: Courtesy Womanish

46. WOMANISH Experience

Things to do Exhibitions 114 S State St, Loop

Showcasing the work of female and gender non-confirming artists, the WOMANISH pop-up is a five-story exhibit made up of multiple rooms and installations that explore womanhood from various perspectives. Visitors will be able to visit a recreation of a 1950’s-era diner, view a collage of vintage advertisements with women of color added to them and snap photos of a floral display. The pop-up has been modified with a new set of safety procedures, including capacity restrictions and plenty of hand sanitizer stations.

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

47. '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.

Photograph: Shutterstock

48. Find a pumpkin patch


Need to grab some gourds for jack-o'-lantern carving or fall decoration purposes? You'll find a plethora of pumpkins to choose from at these farms within driving distance of Chicago. And while you're shopping for orange orbs, you can also enjoy hayrides, backed goods, apple cider and family-friendly activities.

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

49. “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.

magic parlour dennis watkins
Photograph: Rich Hein

50. The Magic Parlour at Home

Theater Circuses & magic Various locations throughout Chicago,

Illusionist and actor Dennis Watkins dips into his ample trunk of wondrous effects, taking his long-running Palmer House magic show into your living room with streaming performances. Up to 10 guests can gather around a computer (cocktail attire is recommended) with a deck of cards and settle in for an evening of interactive magic and mind-reading, delivered via the internet. Only 30 tickets are sold for each performance, so lock down a date and prepare to have your mind blown.

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

51. 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 the chance to grab the virtual mic. Come for the laughs and stick around to watch special guests like Cameron Espostio and Ian Abramson.

The Neo-Futurists
Photograph: Ricky Kluge

52. The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

The Neo-Futurists’ flagship show adapts to a world where social gatherings are restricted, launching new works with the funding of subscribers. Pledge a monthly donation to the The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral Patreon campaign and you'll have weekly access to recordings of 30 plays performed in 60 minutes (larger donations give you access to even more content from the Neo-Futurists). It's a creative way of keeping the longrunning show alive—and now you can watch it on demand!

Hideout Chicago, Cosmic Country Showcase
Photograph: Sarah Larson

53. Hideout Online

Music Folk, country and blues Various locations throughout Chicago,

Like most Chicago music venues, the Hideout is closed for the foreseeable future, but the beloved local institution is keeping its music, comedy and weekly bingo game alive online. Log on to NoonChorus this week to watch live performances from Mooner and Josh Caterer, as well as the latest edition of the Cosmic Country Showcase.

Experimental musician
Photograph: Courtesy Experimental Sound Studio/YouTube

54. The Quarantine Concerts

Music Jazz Various locations throughout Chicago,

Experimental Sound Studio, Elastic Arts and the Hideout's Resonance Series team up to present an ongoing series of experimental performances by artists in Chicago and beyond. The concerts are being streamed live on Twitch and typically feature sets from multiple acts, including improvised jazz musicians and electronic noise-makers. Check out the Quarantine Concerts website to watch archived performances and stay up-to-date on the upcoming calendar of shows. Organizers are collecting $5 donations during each streaming session, with 100% of proceeds going to artists who play each night.

RGB exhibition
Photograph: Courtesy Illinois Holocaust Museum

55. “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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