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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
lollapalooza 2018, travis scott
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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Most Chicagoans are officially over winter by mid-February, which means that you're probably in need of a break. This week's forecast doesn't show signs of 60-degree weather, but we've got something better: plenty of things to do this week to help you forget about the slushy mess outside. Head over to United Center to see rapper Travis Scott, or sing along to Dear Evan Hansen at the James M. Nederlander Theatre. If you're obsessed with silly cat videos, you can't miss Cat Video Fest at the Music Box Theatre on Tuesday. Plus, the Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show is still on and offers a warm retreat from the harsh temperatures outside. Find even more stuff to love among the best things to do in Chicago this week.

Best things to do in Chicago this week

1
lollapalooza 2018, travis scott
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Travis Scott

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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Houston rapper and Kanye West protege Travis Scott brings his WISH YOU WERE HERE tour back to the United Center for another evening of hard-hitting hip-hop hits. His latest tour comes in the wake of his album, ASTROWORLD, on which Scott presides over a cavalcade of famous friends on his recent record, trading verses with Drake, harnessing the psychedelic production of Tame Impala’s Kevin Parker and making way for guitar riffs provided by John Mayer. There's no word yet on the show's opening acts, but we're guess that Scott will bring his portable roller coaster back to Chicago for another upside-down ride in the Madhouse on Madison.

2
Ty Segall and White Fence
Photograph: Denée Segall
Music, Rock and indie

Music Frozen Dancing: Ty Segall and White Fence + Negative Scanner + Plack Blague + Glyders

icon-location-pin Empty Bottle, Ukrainian Village
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Every February, the Empty Bottle ignores the freezing temperatures, sets up some heat lamps in the street and stages an outdoor concert in the midst of a Chicago winter. If you're willing to bundle up and stand outside in the cold for a few hours, you can catch a headlining set from the dynamic garage rock duo of Ty Segall and White Fence. To warm up, huddle beneath a heater with some Goose Island beer or just head inside the Bottle and listen to the music from afar. It's absolutely free to attend, so spend a few bucks on some hand warmers. 

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Anna Karenina
Theater

Anna Karenina

icon-location-pin Auditorium Theatre, Loop
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Russian choreographer Yuri Possokhov stages a world premiere collaboration between the Joffrey and the Australian Ballet. This adaptation of Leo Tolstoy’s classic novel of frustrated love features original music from award-winning composer Ilya Demutsky.

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Photograph: Patti Perez
Theater

Mike Pence Sex Dream

icon-location-pin The Den Theatre, Wicker Park
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Gary is keeping a big secret from his husband, Ben: Every night when he goes to bed, he's having intimate dreams about the vice president. Dan Giles new play, directed here in its world premiere by Hutch Pimentel, isn’t offering audiences a vacation from our current dystopia, but it is giving them a chance to laugh at it.

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Courtesy HBO
Nightlife, Pop-ups and food events

Replay's Game of Thrones Pop-Up Bar

icon-location-pin Replay Lincoln Park, Lake View
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After pop-ups devoted to The Office and Friends, Replay Lincoln Park tackles the show that everyone will be talking about when its final season premieres on April 14: Game of Thrones. You'll find dragons, White Walkers and an Iron Throne inside the arcade bar, and the Westeros references extend to the menu, which includes two of Ommegang Brewery’s Game of Thrones-themed beers, wine, several mead options and a “Dothaquiri” cocktail. Admission is free, but Replay is also offering $20 VIP tickets that include express entry and a beer served in a commemorative goblet.

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Dear Evan Hansen
Photograph: Matthew Murphy
Theater, Musicals

Dear Evan Hansen

icon-location-pin James M. Nederlander Theatre, Loop
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The Tony- and Grammy-winning musical makes its monthlong debut in Chicago, unpacking on socially awkward teen's brush with popularity after his classmate commits suicide. 

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7
Polar Adventure Days
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Park District
Kids, Quirky events

Polar Adventure Days

icon-location-pin Northerly Island, Downtown
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Enjoy a free journey through Chicago's natural winter wonderland during one of three Polar Adventure Days on Northerly Island. Visitors will be able to check out birds of prey from Flint Creek Wildlife Rehabilitation, make nature-inspired winter crafts and see Siberian huskies and wolves. If there's snow on the ground, you can also strap on a pair of snowshoes and trudge around the island.

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Photograph: Lee Miller
Theater

Red Rex

icon-location-pin Steep Theatre, Edgewater
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When theater artists make theater about theater, they often come to praise it, not to bury it. But with Red Rex, the penultimate play in his Chicago-set Rightlynd Saga, Ike Holter has brought his shovel—and he’s digging. Red Rex is a brave, incisive and wickedly funny dissection of the ways in which Chicago storefront theater has failed, possibly beyond all redemption. The Red Rex of the title is an all-white storefront theater company based in—or rather, intruding upon—Holter’s fictional 51st ward, Rightlynd. Desperate for a hit, the company’s sociopathically cerebral artistic director, Lana (Amanda Powell), is writing and directing a new play that she thinks could be a real masterpiece: an interracial love story starring local African-American newcomer Nicole (Jessica Dean Turner).

Time Out says
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9
Elektra
Photograph: Robert Kusel
Music, Classical and opera

Elektra

icon-location-pin Civic Opera House | Chicago, IL, Loop
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Want to experience a night at the opera without the three-hour runtimes and multiple intermissions? Richard Strauss's one-act Elektra is an excellent production to start with, telling the the dramatic tale of a princess who seeks revenge after her father was murdered by her mother. At just 100 minutes (shorter than a contemporary blockbuster film), the Lyric's production is packed with stirring songs and moving orchestration that will keep you on the edge of your seat until the violent finale.

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11714.chi.ttd.chicagobotanicgardenorchidshow
Things to do

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show

icon-location-pin Chicago Botanic Garden | Glencoe, IL, Suburbs
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The North Shore's annual salute to this prized family of flowers is the perfect cure for wintertime blues. The greenhouses and gallery will be packed with more than 10,000 in-bloom orchids, featuring an array of hybrids.

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11
Theater, Musicals

A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder

icon-location-pin Ruth Page Center for the Arts, Rush & Division
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The 2014 Tony Award winner for Best Musical gets its local premiere from Porchlight Theatre. Actor Matt Crowle stars in the role of “The D'Ysquith family,” which is to say that he plays all the people who get murdered. Don’t worry, though—it’s a comedy. And a very funny one at that, with a toe-tapping score that will leave you humming many a murderous melody.

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

wndr museum

icon-location-pin 1130 W Monroe St, 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 floor that reacts to your footsteps and a gigantic screen that replicates your image with black and white discs. 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. Oh, and if you happen to use the restroom during your visit, definitely go ahead and press the red button.

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13
Wein & Lager Bier Halle at 513 S. Halstead
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago History Museum
Museums, History

“Brewing Up Chicago: How Beer Transformed a City”

icon-location-pin The Field Museum | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus
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The Chicago Brewseum presents its first exhibition at the Field Museum, exploring the long history of beer in Chicago. Visitors will learn about the German-American immigrants who built some of the city's first breweries, introducing lager to the masses. You can also sit in a replica of the Sauganash Tavern (Chicago's first saloon) and check out a collection of beer-related artifacts, including an original Pabst blue ribbon and a 19th-century brewmaster’s kettle. Unfortunately, guests can't drink inside the exhibit, but the Field's Museum's bar will be happy to serve you a contemporary brew.

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MillenniumSkating.venue.jpg
Photograph: Patrick L. Pyszka
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice Skating in Millennium Park

icon-location-pin McCormick Tribune Plaza & Ice Rink, Downtown
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Skate under the Chicago skyline and within eyeshot of the Chicago Christmas Tree at the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink in Millennium Park. Admission to the rink is free, and you can rent skates for $13–$15. The most popular time to hit the rink is in the evening, so show up earlier if you don't feel like waiting in line for your chance to slide around. Take advantage of free skating lessons on Fridays at 11am and Saturdays and Sunday at 9am. If it seems too warm to skate, call ahead—this rink is open through March 10, weather permitting.

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Photograph: Courtesy Maggie Daley Park
Things to do, Ice skating

Ice Skating at Maggie Daley Park

icon-location-pin Maggie Daley Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Situated in the heart of downtown Chicago, with the city's sweeping skyline as a backdrop, the Skating Ribbon at Maggie Daley Park is a winter attraction unlike any other. Skaters can lace up and wind around a path that's twice the length of a lap around a traditional rink. Admission to the Skating Ribbon is always free, and skate rentals are available.

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Dylan
Photograph: Courtesy American Writers Museum
Museums, Music

“Bob Dylan: Electric”

icon-location-pin American Writers Museum, Loop
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When Bob Dylan won the 2016 Nobel Prize in Literature, the Swedish Academy confirmed just how influential his the folk singer's writing and songs have been since he began performing in Greenwich Village in the ‘60s. The American Writers Museum latest exhibit celebrates Dylan's work, displaying artifacts like the 1964 Fender Stratocaster that he used during his first electric performance at the Newport Folk Festival in 1965 and selections from Dylan's book of prose and poetry, Tarantula. Don't think twice about checking out this tribute to one of America's most talented lyricists.

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