The best things to do in Chicago this week

Find the very best things to do in Chicago this week including cultural events, concerts, festivals and more.
Photograph: Courtesy wndr museum
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Assuming you were able to score a ticket, you'll be able to step inside of one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's Infinity Mirror Rooms this week, when wndr museum opens its doors to the public on Friday. It's also another great week for music in Chicago, with appearances from Drake, Migos, Sam Smith, the Smashing Pumpkins and a set from the Sea and Cake at the final free Millennium Park concert of the season. Of course, there's plenty to look forward to this weekend when the Air and Water show starts zooming by overhead, Half Acre presents its Big North party and free music comes to Douglas Park during the Westside Music Festival. Check out all of the best things to do in Chicago this week.

Best things to do in Chicago this week

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Theater, Musicals

Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert

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ABC 7 Chicago’s Janet Davies hosts Broadway in Chicago’s annual Summer Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Performances will include cast members and songs from current shows and the upcoming season, including Dear Evan Hansen, Heartbreak Hotel, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and Miss Saigon.

Billy Corgan
Photograph: Paul Elledge
Music, Rock and indie

Smashing Pumpkins

icon-location-pin United Center
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Billy Corgan has been feeling awfully nostalgic as of late, reuniting with original Smashing Pumpkins guitarist James Iha and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin (bassist D'arcy Wretzky was left out, for some reason) on a tour that draws liberally from the band's first five albums. The Shiny and Oh So Bright performances aren't for casual fans of the group—prepare yourself for a three-hour tour of the Pumpkins' catalog, with special attention paid to seminal records Mellon Collie And The Infinite Sadness and Siamese Dream. If you're the kind of person who went out of their way to visit Corgan's Highland Park tea shop, you'll probably enjoy yourself. 

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Millennium Park
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Movies

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

icon-location-pin Millennium Park
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Bring your blanket and your favorite movie snacks and sprawl out on the Millennium Park lawn as Hollywood hits are broadcasted on Pritzker Pavilion 40-foot-wide LED screen. This week's screening is the recent Pixar film Coco, which follows a young boy's journey into the Land of the Dead.

Errol Ortiz, Astronaut Targets, 1965.
Photograph: Courtesy Corbett vs. Dempsey Gallery
Art, Mixed media

“Arte Diseño Xicágo”

icon-location-pin Lower West Side
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The National Museum of Mexican Art explores nearly a century of cultural exchange between Chicago and Mexico in “Arte Diseño Xicágo.” Examining works made between the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893 and the Civil Rights Era of the 1970s, the exhibit displays work made by Mexican artists who came to Chicago and Chicago artists who visited Mexico. The resulting collection showcases how traditions were fused by artists like Robert Natkin and Errol Ortiz, arguing that creativity knows no borders.

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Veggie Bingo
Photograph: Courtesy Hideout
Things to do, Games and hobbies

Hideout Veggie Bingo

icon-location-pin River West/West Town
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The Hideout's weekly Veggie Bingo game gives attendees a chance to win a jackpot of organic produce from Irv and Shelly’s Fresh Picks. Local celebrities (such as musician Ryley Walker and comedian Sarah Sherman) call the two-hour game every week, and all proceeds benefit one of the city's community gardens. Bingo cards are $4 each or three for $10, and if you're hungry you can snag a hot dog from the grill (in return for a $3 suggested donation). Players can sit at tables inside the Hideout or grab a drink and head outside to the picnic tables and listen as numbers are called over the venue's speaker system. It's certainly a more exciting way of getting your veggies than filling up a basket at the grocery store.

Sam Smith turned in a set in front of a crowd of thousands at Lolllapalooza on August 1, 2015.
Photograph: Hallie Duesenberg
Music, Pop

Sam Smith

icon-location-pin United Center
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Catapulted into the spotlight by some canny guest appearances—including Disclosure's “Latch” and Naughty Boy's “La La La”—singer-songwriter Smith boasts a wonderfully smooth and delicate voice. Despite making his name with a pair of dance-pop hits, Smith's own albums are melancholy affairs, characterized by mopey piano ballads outfitted lyrics that wallow in the downsides of romance and love. Still, it's difficult to not be captivated by the vocal gymnastics of this capable pop crooner.

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Yayoi Kusama Infinity Mirror Room “Let’s Survive Forever”
Photograph: Courtesy wndr museum
Art, Installation

wndr museum

icon-location-pin West Loop
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Step inside one of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama's famous Infinity Mirror Rooms at this new pop-up exhibition, which features installations that blend art and science. Other attractions include a “zero-gravity ball pit” that uses helium balloons and fans to simulate a weightless version of the childhood attraction, a three-story-tall kinetic sculpture and “edible experiences” designed by Toronto's Future Food Studio that transfor flavors into vapor. According to a press release, the exhibit will remain on display for a “limited, but undetermined, amount of time,” so you might want to book tickets sooner rather than later.

ACTIVATE
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance
Things to do, Quirky events

ACTIVATE

icon-location-pin Loop
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Each month, Chicago Loop Alliance throws a party in an unexpected location downtown with the help of local artists and DJs. Guests can RSVP to receive a free drink when they arrive and enjoy an evening of music, art and entertainment. In August, the party moves to Garland Court and Lake Street, where Party Noire curates an evening of entertainment called "A.K.A. Power House." Visitors can check out live graffiti, DJs, a drag performance, an old-school dance floor and more interactive installations.

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The Sea and Cake
Photograph: Heather Cantrell
Music, Rock and indie

The Sea and Cake + Moonrise Nation

icon-location-pin Millennium Park
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Throughout nearly a quarter century together, Chicago indie-rock stalwarts the Sea and Cake have methodically honed a signature sound that mixes jazzy guitar chords with the breathy vocals of frontman Sam Prekop. The group's latest album, Any Day, is more of a refinement than an evolution, reducing the group to a trio (following the departure of bassist Eric Claridge) and stripping back some of its usual electronic embellishments. It results in some of the Sea and Cake's warmest and wordiest songs to-date, reaffirming the band's singular style. Local indie rockers Moonrise Nation open this Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert.

iO Theater
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Comedy, Improv

Bentwood Comedy Festival

icon-location-pin River North
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Named after the style of chair that is found on improv comedy stages throughout the city, iO Theater's 10-day fest celebrates improv, sketch and experimental comedy, with headlining performances from Jet Eveleth and Scott Adsit, local podcast Hello From the Magic Tavern, the writers behind Clickhole and Comedy Central's Jordan Klepper.

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Things to do, Festivals

Chicago SummerDance

icon-location-pin Woodlawn
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All ages and skill levels are welcome at this annual event series that will allow you to practice your jives, twirls and jumps. When you show up, a professional instructor will give dance lessons (with genres ranging from Swing to Argentine Tango) for the first hour before allowing participants to cut a rug with the accompaniment of a live band. It's the second to last week of the series, so show up on Thursday to sway to Bollywood music, learn to square dance on Friday, show off your salsa skills on Saturday and explore ballroom dancing on Sunday.

Griffin Theatre's "The Harvest"
Photograph: Michael Courier
Theater

The Harvest

icon-location-pin Wicker Park
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By the time Samuel Hunter introduces us to the dingy church basement in which his play The Harvest is set, the big news has already dropped: Four young missionaries from an evangelical congregation in Idaho Falls are heading to the Middle East, but only three of them will return. The causes and consequences of this situation form the nervous system of Hunter’s profoundly poignant script, which receives an exquisite production from director Jonathan Berry. 

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Drake
Photograph: Courtesy REX/Shutterstock
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Drake + Migos

icon-location-pin United Center
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After collaborating on "Walk It Talk It," Canadian R&B superstar Drake joins forces with hip-hop trio Migos on the Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour. While you shouldn't expect Drake to address the “The Story Of Adidon” diss track that Pusha-T released, you'll probably hear plenty of ubiquitous new tracks from his latest album Scorpion. Here's hoping that Drake and Migos play at least part of the show in their Soul Train-themed attire. 

TASTE of London 2016
Photograph: Justine Trickett
Restaurants

Tastemaker Chicago presented by Capital One

icon-location-pin West Loop
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Taste Chicago like never before as Tastemaker sets up shop in Revel Fulton Market for a collaborative showcase of the city’s best food and drink. Mingle with a dream team of Chicago’s top chefs—including Graham Elliot (Gideon Sweet), Abe Conlon (Fat Rice) and Matthias Merges (Mordecai), to name a few—as they create unique collaboration menus for you to enjoy. Pay once, put your wallet away and enjoy bites and beverages from more than 40 restaurants, wineries, breweries and producers included in your ticket. Complete with live DJs and entertainment all night long, Tastemaker Chicago is the ultimate party for food lovers.

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The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Firebirds Delta Team and more perform aerial stunts at the Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16, 2014.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Air and Water Show

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park
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Don't be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event. Join throngs of people at North Beach and surrounding areas to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2016, Sunday
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
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Lauryn Hill | Congress Theater | November 14, 2012
Photograph: Max Herman
Music

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