Best things to do in Chicago this week
Logan Square's annual Halloween procession brings out costumed kids and adults from all around the neighborhood for a festive celebration. The parade begins at the Illinois Centennial Monument and marches south on Kedzie Boulevard to Fullerton Avenue before looping back to Lula Cafe for hot cider and cookies. As usual, punk rock marching band Mucca Pazza will be leading the festivities and providing the spooky soundtrack.
Though Young Thug may be best known for his Auto-Tuned verses on tracks by the likes of Camila Cabello and Post Malone, it's his unpredictable marble-mouthed delivery and improvised lyrics that make him one of hip-hop's most interesting and frequently imitated personalities. His debut album (he classifies everything he's released up to now as a "mixtape") So Much Fun plays to Thugger's strengths, letting him string stream-of-conscious rhymes together atop inoffensive trap beats while trading verses with collaborators like Future, Gunna and Lil Baby. During his stop at the Credit Union 1 Arena, Young Thug is joined by rap-rocker Machine Gun Kelly.
Arriving in the Midwest after drawing hordes in San Francisco and New York, this retrospective (the first to be organized by a U.S. institution since 1989) of Andy Warhol's career features more than 350 works for guests to explore. Instead of focusing on a specific era of his life, “From A to B and Back Again” accounts for the entire breadth of the Pop Art legend's output, from early illustrations that were commissioned for magazines to recolored portraits of celebrities that graced the cover of Interview magazine. While there are plenty of familiar pieces on display (a print of Marilyn Monroe, several Campbell's soup cans), there are also sections of the exhibit devoted to lesser-known aspects of Warhol's practice, including performance art, television and publishing. Filled with self-portraits, homages to vaunted brands and celebrations of fame, “From A to B and Back Again” accentuates the echoes of Warhol’s art in the contemporary world—and seeing so much of it one place only makes its prophetic themes that much clearer.
Trick or treat yo' self at Adults Night Out: The Great Pumpkin Glow at Lincoln Park Zoo on October 24. Leave the little ones at home and follow the pumpkin-lined trails from bat and spider habitats to crocodile and seal pools. You'll learn about the institution's animals and get a chance to explore a corn maze, check out the pumpkin patch and ride the carousel and Ferris wheel during this after-hours zoo experience. Adults who are 21 and older can do it all with a wine or beer in hand. Costumes are optional, but c'mon—this is the best time to dress up as your favorite Lincoln Park Zoo resident.
Devoted to making the humanities a part of everyday life, this ambitious event brings together some of the world's best and brightest individuals for a celebration of human creativity. The theme the Chicago Humanities Festival's fall lineup is "Power," and explores the meaning of the word in various arenas, including politics, relationships and literature. Guests at this year's festival include VEEP actress Julia Louis-Dreyfus, musician Patti Smith, comedian John Hodgman and author Sarah Vowell. You'll find a complete list of speakers and events on the Chicago Humanities Festival website.
Sigur Rós frontman Jónsi and his partner Alex Somers celebrate the 10th anniversary of their collaborative album, Riceboy Sleeps, by presenting the first-ever live performances of the record in its entirety, accompanied by an orchestra and a choir. The tracks contained on the ambient album sound like the bits between your favorite Sigur Rós songs, stretched out into expansive compositions that wrap layers of vocals and strings around subtle textural noises, like rustling wind and tinkling glass. Settle in for a meditative evening filled with understated sounds and swelling crescendos—you can probably leave your earplugs at home.
This fun and free alternative to trick-or-treating attracts more than 25,000 kiddos and their families to the zoo each year. The event features Ferris wheel rides, a corn maze, animal-enrichment activities, live entertainment and a pumpkin carver. Come in costume and prepare to have a ghoulish good time!
Film buffs get a chance to see the hottest movies on the festival circuit at the Chicago International Film Festival, which presents a lineup of dramas, documentaries, comedies, foreign films and more. The screenings take place at AMC River East 21, where you can see Edward Norton's period detective drama Motherless Brooklyn open the festival. Other highlights of the 2019 lineup include special presentations of Rian Johnson's (Star Wars: The Last Jedi) murder mystery Knives Out, Terrence Malick's World War II-era drama A Hidden Life and Taika Waititi's biting World War II satire Jojo Rabbit.
Spend a haunted evening in the Civic Opera House at the Lyric Halloween Masquerade, which raises money to support emerging operatic talent. Attendees are encouraged to arrive dressed in a mask and formal attire (or their favorite Halloween costume) for a party that includes cocktails, beer, bites from local restaurants and a live DJ.
Madame X, the 14th studio album from Madonna, casts the 60-year-old Queen of Pop as a secret agent, taking on different guises and identities as she travels across the world—a concept that will undoubtedly serve as an excuse for a cavalcade of costume changes during live performances. Crafted in the wake of Madge's recent move to Lisbon, Portugal, her latest record oozes with the trendy sounds of Latin pop, including the sultry lead single "Medellín" featuring Columbian singer Maluma. Collaborations with rappers Quavo and Swae Lee suggest that Madonna will also be dabbling in some trap-tinged tunes, which seem destined to rank among her most desperate attempts at cultural relevance (remember the EDM bangers from her last few records?). Thank goodness that she has multiple decades worth of classic pop songs to fall back on.
Bring the kids to Gallagher Way for an early Halloween celebration in Wrigleyville, where costumed attendees can trick-or-treat around the park and participate in a variety of activities. You'll be able to listen to tunes supplied by the Old Town School of Folk Music, create a clay Halloween character with the help of Kid Create Studio and snag treats from Garrett Popcorn or Fannie May. Stick around to catch an outdoor screening of Hocus Pocus on Gallagher Way's video screen, beginning at 5:30pm.
Andy Warhol was a famously private person who rarely let anyone inside his townhouse on Manhattan's Upper East Side, but photographer David Gamble was given permission by the artist's estate to capture images of the interior of the home shortly after Warhol's death. The original photos were published in London's Observer Magazine to spark interest in the Warhol foundation's auction, but Gamble revisited the images in 1997, adding colorful silk-screen depictions of Warhol to some of the pictures. You'll see the modified versions of the photos on display at “Andy Warhol's House,” which coincides with the Art Institute of Chicago's “Andy Warhol—From A to B and Back Again” exhibition.
Every two years, Chicago becomes the center of the the world of architecture and design during the Chicago Architecture Biennial. Taking place over the course of nearly four months, the programming encompasses exhibitions, installations, forums and more events that explore the state of modern architecture and urbanism. The Chicago Cultural Center serves as the event's hub, where visitors can explore a large model of a traditional Chicago worker’s cottage, experience a multi-channel video installation and learn about the architecture present in cities such as São Paulo, Vancouver and Johannesburg. Venues like the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum and the National Public Housing Museum also host Biennial programming, in addition to partner programs at a variety of local institutions.
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 features a larger corn maze that contains a hidden bar, a "gypsy caravan," axe-throwing and plenty of photo backdrops and props (think tractors, trucks and piles of pumpkins) for you to take advantage of. Plus, the pop-up will also host events throughout its four-week run, including a pumpkin walk, a beer and cider festival and a sweet corn festival.
Best known as a musician responsible for bizzare songs like "I Wupped Batman's Ass" and "Rock 'n' Roll McDonald's," South Side-native Wesley Willis was also an avid self-taught artist and could often be found roaming the city selling ink drawings of Chicago landmarks for $10 to $20. Matthew Rachman Gallery's exhibition of Willis' drawings are culled from the collection of architect Paul Young, who met Willis on the streets of Chinatown. "City of Many Dreams" also features sculptures created of Ricky Willis (Wesley's brother), an architectural historian who works with local nonprofit Project Onward.
Logan Square's Hopewell Brewing gets extra spooky at this Halloween party, which sports a celestial theme and an out-of-this-world balloon installation. Guests can look forward to lots of beer, performances from magician Luis Carreon and food from Bang Bang Pie & Biscuits and Dönermen.
It's been more than three decades since the Lyric Opera last staged a production of Giuseppe Verdi's Luisa Miller, a powerful romantic drama that features some of the composers most indelible arias. The opera explores the relationship between a soldier's daughter named Luisa and Rodolfo, the son of a count. As their respective guardians attempt to arrange marriages that will effectively tear the couple apart, Luisa and Rodolfo are forced to choose between placating their families and embracing their love for one another.
Replay Lincoln Park celebrates the spookiest month of the year with an appropriately terrifying tribute to one of Stephen King's most beloved novels and the movie adaptations it spawned. Visitors will be transported to the town of Derry, Maine, where a red balloon signals the presence of Pennywise the Clown. The It-inspired pop-up includes recreations of the abandoned house on Neibolt Street, an ’80s hangout stocked with tube TVs, a funhouse as well as scary, not scary and very scary doors. Stick around to sample themed cocktails and attend events, such as trivia, costumes contests and a Derry Afternoon Day Party. Anyone with an overwhelming fear of clowns should stay far away from this pop-up.
Local weirdo marching band Mucca Pazza brings its mismatched uniforms, horns, cellists, guitarists, drummers and enthusiastic cheerleaders to the Hideout during the month of October for a weekly residency. Every show promises to be a bit different than the last, with dancers, puppeteers and singers joining the expansive collective as it explores everything from Balkan music to big band arrangements. Frankly, we're just curious to see how Mucca Pazza manages to squeeze its 30-odd members and an audience into the Hideout's cozy confines.
Headquarters celebrates Halloween with a pop-up devoted to one of the spookiest directors of all time. Visitors can explore installations inspired by some of Tim Burton's most memorable films, including a Beetlejuice graveyard, sculpted shrubs from Edward Scissorhands and a barber's chair like the one used in Sweeney Todd. Grab an Ox Blood or Kill it Now! cocktail from the bar (served in a covenient pouch) or bite into a boozy caramel apple. Keep an eye out for special events throughout the pop-up's run, including a steamy Burt-lesque show on October 24.
More than 100 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months of May–September, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.
You'll find nearly 1,000 glowing pumpkins spread across Navy Pier at the attraction's month-long Pier Pumpkin Lights event. Stop by Polk Bros Park to visit the Juggernaut of Jack-O-Lanterns installation then head to the pier to take in five more pop-up experiences, all of which will be illuminated after dusk each evening. Navy Pier restaurants such as Bubba Gump Shrimp Co, Tiny Tavern and Snow Dragon Shavery will be offering food and drink specials throughout the month of October, and Amazing Chicago’s Funhouse Maze will transform into a haunted maze on select weekends. Plus, you can bring the kids to trick-or-treat at Navy Pier on October 26, 27 and 31.
The Shanghai-based FarEastFarWest collection curates a selection of images taken by artists from China, Thailand, the Philippines, Japan, Korea and Indonesia between 2007 and 2013— a particularly fertile period for Asian photography. The exhibition takes its name from the artists' practice of using photos to investigate the spaces in-between various concepts, whether its the past and the present or a local perspective and a global view.
In the city that served as the birthplace of house music, the weekly Queen! party carries on the genre's inclusive and subversive spirit. Tucked away in Smart Bar's subterranean confines, residents Derrick Carter, Michael Serafini and Garrett David spin deep grooves while drag performers strut across the foggy dance floor. In celebration of Halloween, the event puts Brooklyn DJ Kim Ann Foxman and French selector Jennifer Cardini behind the decks for an evening of dancing hosted by Lucy Stoole, JoJo Baby, Nico, Laila McQueen and Tenderoni.
Get your fall feels on at this free festival that begins at the tail end of September. You can snag a photo with a giant pumpkin, watch master carvers at work, explore an edible garden, enjoy live music and see all kinds of animals. The festival also includes several ticketed experiences ($3 per ticket, $27 for 10, $51 for 20) such as carousel rides, a bounce house, a Ferris wheel, corn mazes, a slide and an obstacle course. Take a look at the Lincoln Park Zoo's website for a complete list of activities and events throughout Fall Fest.
This twice-weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours.
The annual Illumination Halloween party is just as bright as it sounds, with 1,200 lights, interactive installations and a laser show. Attendees will enjoy treats from Happy Camper, Elis’ Cheesecake and Stan’s Donuts, as well as plenty of beverages. More importantly, the event raises money for research of a rare genetic condition called retinal vasculopathy with cerebral leukodystrophy (RVCL).
The Lyric Opera's 2019/20 season kicks off with a production of Gioachino Rossini's popular romantic comedy, which acts as a prequel to Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's opera The Marriage of Figaro. The plot revolves around the clever character Figaro, an enterprising barber who attempts to help a young woman marry a duke instead of being wedded to her older guardian.
Try on the next generation of wearable technology at this exhibition devoted to clothing and augmentations that improve upon the capabilities of the human body. You'll see more than 100 inventions on display, including a flying Jet Suit made by Gravity Industries, Nike’s self-lacing shoes from Back to the Future Part II and Dainese’s D-Air Racing Suit, which monitors the speed and position to determine if embedded airbags need to be deployed. Guests can also try on the SpiderSense Vest (which uses vibrations to allow you to feel your surroundings) or the Electric Dreams headset (which reads brainwaves and translates them into colored fiber optics lighting).
The Congress Plaza Hotel hosts its annual Haunted Halloween Ball, inviting costumed attendees to spend a night dancing and celebrating in a building that some claim is haunted. Guests will be able to mingle with spirits and the not-yet-deceased in the hotel's ballrooms, which sport spooky decorations, zombie cocktail servers, go-go dancers and vampire bellmen. You'll have access to multiple cash bars, great views of the city's skyline and the chance to enter a costume contest and compete for $2,000 in cash and prizes.
Originally established in the late 1800s, the Maxwell Street Market brought vendors, musicians and cooks to an open-air flea market where shoppers could find just about anything they wanted. The market introduced the Maxwell Street Polish sausage, provided a venue for rising Chicago blues musicians and was immortalized in a scene in The Blues Brothers. These days, the market sets up on nearby Desplaines Street (between Roosevelt and Howard) every Sunday, where visitors will find vendors hawking their wares, an abundance of delicious Mexican food and ocassional performances by local bands and dance troupes. Don't let the cold or wet weather scare you away—the Maxwell Street Market takes place outdoors year-round.
Find your Handbook for the Recently Deceased and journey to the South Loop to enter this pop-up experience inspired by Tim Burton's Beetlejuice. Created in collaboration with Anarchitype Productions (the folks behind Emproium's infamous Stranger Things pop-up bar), the Bass Line will be transformed into the Neitherworld with immersive sets, costumed staff and live entertainment.
Local artist and former University of Illinois at Chicago professor Julia Fish displays a collection of paintings inspired by the colors, lighting and form of the nearly century-old Chicago storefront she’s called home for the past three decades.
If you can't make it to Germany for Oktoberfest this year, head to Rosemont and celebrate the beer-soaked holiday at Hofbräuhaus Chicago. The beer hall's celebration runs from September 13 through October 31 and features live music, huge steins of Oktoberfestbier and a menu of Bavarian schnitzels, sausages and more (Oktoberfest specials are offered beginning at 4pm Monday through Friday and beginning at 11am on Saturdays and Sundays). Stop by on Friday and Saturday nights to take part in the “Masskrugstemmen” stein-holding contest, which challenges participants to hold a filled one-liter stein parallel to the floor using only one arm.
Let’s not mince words, since we’ve already spilled so many of them: Hamilton, writer-composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s biography of Alexander Hamilton as refracted through a hip-hop, pop and R&B lens, is a sprawling, stunning, singular achievement. By filtering the story of the American Experiment’s beginning into modern, meticulously rhymed vernacular and populating the stage with performers of color to play the likes of Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson and Madison, Miranda and his regular collaborators (director Thomas Kail, music supervisor Alex Lacamoire and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler) make the founding fathers feel fresh and, miraculously, human.
There are far more bugs than humans on the planet, and the Field Museum's latest exhibition gives you an opportunity to learn more about the tiny, multi-legged creatures that largely go unnoticed in our day-to-day lives. “Fantastic Bug Encounters!” features larger-than-life models created by Weta Workshops (the folks behind the Lord of the Rings movies) that allow guests to see insects like bees and praying mantises in extreme detail. Interactive stations let you test your reflexes against those of a mantis, send origami butterflies into a wind tunnel and perform bug brain surgery. There's even a bug zoo where you'll be able to get your hands on a dozen live bug species.
Every night, a 25-story-tall video installation takes over the side of the Merchandise Mart, filling the building's historic facade with vibrant colors and moving images. Harnessing 34 digital projectors, the show features work by a rotating lineup of artists and is best viewed from Wacker Drive or the Riverwalk, between Wells and Orleans Streets. Art on theMART lights up the night Wednesday through Sunday, with projections beginning approximately 30 minutes after sunset.