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Lakeshore Drive-in
Photograph: @ashleywolve

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

As Chicago continues to cautiously reopen, Time Out is still committed to showcasing the best of the city while also keeping you safe, healthy and happy. Thankfully, there are still plenty of ways to have an amazing summer in Chicago—this week you can head to the Lakefront Drive-In pop-up venue to watch live music and stand-up comedy from your car, or join a community bike ride through North Lawndale. There are also exhibitions to see at Chicago's reopened museums, in-person concerts at Roscoe Village venue Constellation and the launch of Chicago's latest e-scooter pilot to look forward to. Soak up the summer weather while enjoying some of the best things to do in Chicago this week.

Best things to do in Chicago this week

Photograph: William Stephen Fenwick

1. Houndmouth

Music Folk, country and blues Adler Planetarium | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus

Indiana folk rockers Houndmouth left the sparse acoustic melodies of its debut album behind on its 2018 release, Golden Age, which amped up the band's harmonies with synthesizers and drum machines. But a series of recent live videos (posted on the band's YouTube account) show the trio getting back to its more subdued and less-electrified roots, belting out folk ballads in a living room. Show up to catch the group headline the parking lot stage at Lakeshore Drive-In and see if it embraces its pop anthems or opts for stripped-down tunes.

Lawndale Bike Ride
Photograph: Courtesy Boxing Out Negativity

2. Street Love Ride: Rolling Deep for Peace in North Lawndale

Things to do Walks and tours St. Agatha Catholic Church, North Lawndale

Mentorship organization Boxing Out Negativity and non-profit Equicity team up to present a two-hour, nine-mile bike ride through North Lawndale as a symbol of peace and unity. The event begins at 5pm with a cookout at St. Agatha Catholic Church, followed by the bike ride's departure at 8pm. Admission is free, just some with your bike and some lights fit for riding at night.

Lil Yachty Lollapalooza 2017
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

3. Lil Yachty

Music Rap, hip-hop and R&B Adler Planetarium | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus

Part of the original wave of SoundCloud rappers that transitioned to hip-hop stardom, Lil Yachty hasn't slowed down since releasing his debut album in 2017. His latest LP, Lil Boat 3, is another collection of Auto-Tune anthems packed with some of his biggest features to date, including appearances by Drake, Future, Young Thug and Tyler, the Creator. Yachty headlines an early and late show at Lakeshore Drive-In, performing for a sea of parked cars in the Adler Planetarium's parking lot.

El Greco (Domenikos Theotokopoulos). Christ Driving the Money Changers from the Temple, about 1570.
Photograph: Courtesy The Minneapolis Institute of Art, The William Hood Dunwoody Fund

4. “El Greco: Ambition and Defiance”

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

After training in Venice and Rome, painter Domenikos Theotokopoulos moved to Spain in 1577 and began churning out work under the name "El Greco." This exhibition allows guests to gaze at more than 57 works created by one of the most important painters of the Spanish Renaissance in the 16th century, including towering altarpieces, portraits and oil paintings gathered from all over the world. The exhibit includes his final major work, "The Adoration of the Shepherds," which El Greco painted as an altarpiece for his own tomb in Santo Domingo el Antiguo.

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

5. '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.

6. Mike Reed's Loose Assembly

Music Jazz Constellation, North Center

Mike Reed's Loose Assembly jazz ensemble reunites onstage for the first time in five years, headlining an in-person concert at Constellation. The group features saxophonist Greg Ward, cellist Tomeka Reid, Jason Adasiewicz on vibraphone, bassist Joshua Abrams and Mike Reed (who co-owns Constellation) on drums. The performance will also be streamed on YouTube for a suggested donation of $7.

Lakeshore Drive-in
Photograph: Courtesy Lakeshore Drive-in

7. Laughs on the Lake

Comedy Stand-up Adler Planetarium | Chicago, IL, Museum Campus

Lakeshore Drive-In teams up with the Laugh Factory to present an evening of comedy onstage in a parking lot outside of Adler Planetarium. Featuring comics include Correy Boyd-Bell, Em Brown, Sarah Perry, T-Murph and Leon Rogers, with other guests popping in throughout the evening. After months of comedy clubs being closed, this is a chance to see some professional comics (and laugh your ass off) in-person.

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

8. “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.

Manual Cinema
Photograph: Maren Celest

9. Manual Cinema’s 10th Anniversary Retrospectacular!

Theater Experimental Various locations throughout Chicago,

Chicago-based performance collective Manual Cinema celebrates a decade of blurring the lines between video production and theater, presenting multi-camera streams of recordings of four of the company's most talked-about shows. You'll be able to watch Lula del Ray (July 27-August 3), The End of TV (August 3-10), No Blue Memories: The Life of Gwendolyn Brooks (August 10-17) and Frankenstein (August 17-23) free of charge, though donations are being accepted to make up for lost touring income and to compensate performers. The anniversary celebration will conclude with Manual Cinema’s LIVE Tele-FUN-draiser World Premiere Special, on Saturday, August 22 at 8pm, featuring a brand new work from the company.

Dancing in the Streets
Photograph: Zach Long

10. Chicago Brewing District's Dancing in the Streets

Things to do Festivals Various locations throughout Chicago,

You'll be dancing in your living room instead of the streets at this year's virtual edition of the Chicago Brewing District's annual jam band and beer fest, which takes its drinking and grooving festivities online for a night of livestreamed performances from Mark and Dave Play Dead, Rock and Rye and Paradise Waits. You'll also be able to scoop a week's worth of deals from West Town businesses and breweries—pick up the "Dancing in the Streets Mix Pack," featuring beers from On Tap Brewing Company, Goose Island, Great Central Brewing Company, Forbidden Root and Finch, ahead of the digital concert to recreate the full effect. 

Reginald Malcolmson. Hall of Sport and Culture, Collage, 1971/74.
Photograph: The Art Institute of Chicago, Gift of Reginald Malcolmson and Margaret Malcolmson.

11. “Bauhaus Chicago: Design in the City”

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

After the Nazis forced the closure of the German Bauhaus art school, prominent figures like László Moholy-Nagy and Ludwig Mies van der Rohe moved to Chicago to continue the school’s legacy as heads of instiutions like the Illinois Institute of Technology and the New Bauhaus (later the Institute of Design). This exhibit examines the work of their students and faculty, including jewelry, photography, furniture and architecture that channeled the creative spirit of the Bauhaus.

Ravinia Festival
Photograph: Russell Jenkins

12. Ravinia TV

Music Music festivals Various locations throughout Chicago,

There will be no picnics on the lawn at Ravinia this summer, but you can post up in front of your laptop with a glass of wine (put a blanket on the floor if you like) and take in a performance online. Every Friday at 7pm, tune into the Ravinia Festival's YouTube and Facebook page to catch a 20-minute variety show featuring acts like violinist Andrew Bird, Jefferson Starship frontwoman Cathy Richardson, Gershwin-expert pianist Kevin Cole and soprano Michelle Areyzaga.

Clockwise from top: Magdalene Odundo, Teardrop I, 1996. Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, © Magdalene Odundo, Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY. Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 1. Photo: Christina Ebenezer. Jonas Dovydenas.
Clockwise from top: Magdalene Odundo, Teardrop I, 1996. Collection The Art Institute of Chicago, © Magdalene Odundo, Photo: The Art Institute of Chicago/Art Resource, NY. Duro Olowu, Spring/Summer 2020, Look 1. Photo: Christina Ebenezer. Jonas Dovydenas.

13. “Duro Olowu: Seeing Chicago”

Art Contemporary art Museum of Contemporary Art, Streeterville

You won't just see the multicultural fashion of Nigerian-born British womenswear designer Duro Olowu on display in this unconventional exhibition, debuting at the MCA. In preparing "Seeing Chicago," Olowu spent time learning about Chicago and its connection to the arts, curating a collection of works derived from the MCA's holdings and other collections throughout the city. The result is a show that pairs Olowu sleek designs with paintings, photographs, sculptures and films, including works by the likes of Kerry James Marshall, Barbara Kruger and Henri Matisse.

Water Flicks Navy Pier
Photograph: James Richards IV Photography

14. Navy Pier Water Flicks Summer Film Series

Movies Action and adventure Polk Bros Park, Streeterville

Far-off destinations are the focus of Navy Pier's Water Flicks summer film series at Polk Bros Park this year, with eight screenings centered around cinematic renderings of real and imagined places. Screenings take place on Mondays at 6:30 and the Polk Bros Park lawn features social distancing circles so that groups don't get too close to one another. This week's film is Moulin Rouge.

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

15. 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

16. 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

17. 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 the Hideout's Twitch this week to hear scientists talk about the origins of the universe, play veggie bingo and catch sets from the likes of Papa M as well as Jon Langford and Sally Timms. Don't forget to leave a tip for performers and Hideout staff!

Whiskey Business rooftop movies
Photograph: Courtesy Whiskey Business

18. 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 movies on its Wicker Park rooftop every Tuesday night at 8:30pm. 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 Pulp Fiction, Jurassic Park and The Sandlot—plus, 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.

Experimental musician
Photograph: Courtesy Experimental Sound Studio/YouTube

19. 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.

Theater seats
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Unsplash/Kilyan Sockalingum

20. Film Center from Your Sofa

Things to do Film events Various locations throughout Chicago,

It's tough to recreate the unique experience of watching a movie in theaters, but for the time being, you can check out the Gene Siskel's "Film Center from Your Sofa" series as a serviceable subsitute. Each week, the theater will present a selection of indie, international and other noteworthy films available for limited edition streaming; viewers are encouraged to take to the theater's Facebook page after watching to sound off about each film with other cinephiles. Visit the Gene Siskel Center's website for a full calendar of streaming times and prices, which vary movie-by-movie. 

Drive-in movie theater
Photograph: Shutterstock

21. See a film at a drive-in theater

Things to do

Fill up a car with your friends and watch a movie beneath the stars at pop-up outdoor theaters in and around Chicago. Expect a slate of classic films (The Blues BrothersThe Goonies, etc.) and some of your favorite theater concessions.

Shore Club
Photograph: Courtesy Shore Club

22. Dine on the lakefront

News Eating

We're all still pining for a socially-distanced beach day on Lake Michigan, but in the meantime, a margarita on its glimmering shores isn't a bad substitute. You'll soon be able to make that happen when several beachfront restaurants reopen their doors later this week. Here's where you can dine on the beach beginning this week, per social media and website updates.

Field Museum lobby
Photograph: Courtesy the Field Museum

23. Visit a reopened museum


The Art Institute, the Field Museum, the MCA and more beloved cultural institutions will be reopening in the coming weeks, allowing visitors (wearing face coverings) to take in exhibitions while following new social distancing guidelines.

Black Lives Matter mural by Carson Cloud
Photograph: Carson Cloud

24. Check out Uptown's Black Lives Matter mural

News City Life

It's not Chicago's first Black Lives Matter mural, but it may be its most colorful. Gracing the 4700 block of North Clifton Avenue in Uptown, this new work of art is a collaboration between 18 local artists, including JC Rivera and Daniel Wilson.

Farmers Market
Photograph: Shutterstock

25. Go shopping at neighborhood farmers markets

News City Life

There’s arguably never been a better time to shop at your local farmers markets. Always one of summer’s keenest pleasures, the prospect of grabbing groceries in the open air is, under current circumstances, an especially appealing prospect—and lucky for us farm-fresh fruit and veggie lovers, Chicago’s markets are open for the season with new safety measures in place, from capacity limits to hours reserved specifically for seniors and immunocompromised folks.

bernie's, bernies, rooftoop, outdooor, patio, restaurant, river north
Photograph: Meghan Leigh Photography

26. Find a restaurant offering outdoor dining


Restaurants, coffee shops and bars that serve food can operate patios and rooftops at limited capacity and with plenty of city-mandated safety guidelines in place, leaving many owners scrambling to reconfigure their spaces, order the personal protective equipment and train staff on new regulations. We've compiled a rolling list of Chicago's restaurants and bars that are currently open for business. It's by no means exhaustive, but we'll be adding to it as we confirm reopening details.

Kaiser Tiger
Photograph: Courtesy Kaiser Tiger

27. Sip a beer on a patio


Chicago bars and breweries have been given the green light to reopen patios, rooftops and beer gardens, making way for afternoons spent sipping a beer as the sun beats down. We've put together a rolling list of Chicago bars and breweries that have reopened for business—don't forget to bring your face mask.

Chicago Riverwalk
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

28. Hang out on the Chicago Riverwalk

News City Life

The Riverwalk and many of the businesses located along the path are opening to the public under new safety guidelines and restrictions on activities. The Riverwalk will is open to the public from 5am to 9pm daily—from 5am to 10am, guests are welcome to run, jog, walk and bike along the path between Lake Shore Drive and Lake Street. From 11am to 9pm, guests will be able to access businesses and "passive recreation areas" along the path. 

Navy Pier
Photograph: Courtesy Navy Pier

29. Spend time on Navy Pier

News City Life

Chicago's lakefront remains closed to the public as the city enters Phase 3 of its reopening plan, but there's one exception to that rule: Navy Pier. Polk Bros Park, the Peoples Energy Welcome Pavilion, outdoor restaurants and the Pier's various docks are welcoming guests once again (you can even score free parking in the Navy Pier garage). Social distancing ambassadors will be on-site to ensure that everyone is wearing a mask and staying six feet apart from other groups.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

30. Grab takeout from your favorite neighborhood restaurant


Dining rooms might be shut down for the time being, but you can still grab dinner (or lunch, or snacks, or whatever) from some of Chicago's best restaurants. Scan though our list for an ever-expanding roundup of local eateries offering takeout and delivery options. 

hopewell, hopewell brewing, beer, cans, brewery
Photograph: Hopewell Brewing Co./The Brewtography Project

31. Pick up a growler from some of Chicago's best breweries


Being stuck at home is actually a great opportunity to discover your new favorite local brew, because many of the best Chicago breweries are still producing delicious beer and cider—and they're selling it from their taprooms and warehouses (or offering to deliver to your doorstep).

divvy e-bike
Photograph: Zach Long

32. Ride one of Divvy's new e-bikes

News Transport & Travel

The first batch of Divvy e-bikes hit the streets in Chicago today, adding a new option for riders who utilize the city's bike-sharing network. While there aren't many of the new rides on the street, you should snag one if you find one—here's what you should keep in mind while you're cruising through the streets.

cocktail, drink, Yulia Grigoryeva, shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock/Yulia Grigoryeva

33. Have a bottle of booze delivered to your door


All you non-beer-drinking folks out there can still kick back with a stiff drink at home, thanks to the many alcohol delivery services throughout Chicago, allowing you to stock your home bar with liquor from local makers like Koval, Letherbee and Rhine Hall. If you'd like to get a little more sophisticated, check out the at-home cocktail kits to help you craft signature drinks from a ton of Chicago bars and restaurants. 

aya pastry, aya fukai, aya, aya bakery, cake, bakery, sweets, dessert, chocolate cake, rachel bires
Photograph: Rachel Bires

34. Have your cake delivered and eat it, too

News Eating

Your birthday plans may have changed, but you still deserve a birthday cake. Some of the best bakeries in Chicago are still whipping up beautiful confections fit for a celebration of epic proportions—even if you're not leaving your apartment.

Stock Mfg face mask
Photograph: Courtesy Stock Mfg

35. Buy face masks from local Chicago businesses

News City Life

The latest extension of the Illinois "stay-at-home" order (which goes into effect on May 1 and lasts until May 30) requires the use of face coverings in public places where individuals cannot maintain six feet of distance between one another. The CDC website lists several ways to make your own mask, but if you'd rather buy one (and support local businesses), we've assembled a list of list of places where you can purchase face coverings.

The Forge: Lemont Quarries
Photograph: Courtesy The Forge: Lemont Quarries

36. Go ziplining at the Forge adventure park

News Sports & Fitness

Looking for new things to do outdoors this summer? The sprawling The Forge adventure park in nearby Lemont is just over 20 miles away from downtown Chicago and offers ziplining, climbing, kayaking, mountain biking, laser tag and more outdoors activities.

Pitchfork Music Festival 2017, Jamila Woods
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

37. Watch a concert from your couch by streaming these live sets from Chicago artists

News Music

There are plenty of great sets by Chicago artists cataloged on YouTube (including plenty of sessions from locally-based music discovery service Audiotree), making it easy to put on a video and rock out in your living room. You can even crack a can of cheap beer and turn down the lights to heighten the mood. We've assembled a long list of our favorite live sets by Chicago musicians, ranging from scrappy indie rockers or local house music legends. 

negroni, cocktail, drink, bar, shutterstock
Photograph: Shutterstock

38. Make the perfect Negroni with the Violet Hour's recipe

News Drinking

Some people are using this time at home to master meditation or learn how how to paint like Bob Ross. We're taking a boozier approach and becoming at-home bartenders. Pat Ray, the beverage director at the Violet Hour in Wicker Park, gave us an easy-to-follow recipe for a killer Negroni.

house plants
© Shutterstock

39. Find out how to set up a house plant delivery

News Shopping & Style

A few local businesses that will gladly deliver houseplants to your doorstep—in fact, it's a service that's in more demand than ever before. Whether you're alone in your apartment and are looking for something green to take care of or you just want to add some foliage to your decor, three Chicago businesses can hook you up with potted friends that will bring you joy for years to come (don't forget to water them occasionally).

millennium park concert on the lawn
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

40. Pretend you’re on the Millennium Park lawn

News Music

Social-distancing guidelines will probably make it impossible to pack a picnic, lay out a blanket and enjoy an evening of music beneath the skyline this summer. While it's hard for us to face the likelihood that this beloved tradition will be taking a year off, the city's archive of past Millennium Park performances (mostly from the summers of 2016 and 2017) is a great way to relive the magic while remaining indoors.

farm, csa box, produce, vegetables, vegetable, veggies
Photograph: Shutterstock

41. Have fresh produce delivered from nearby farms

News Eating

If you're looking to inject some green stuff back into your diet, local farms are happy to help with home delivery or contact-free pickup points throughout the city. Nearby farms in Michigan, Wisconsin and Illinois are stocked with everything from baby bok choy and ramps to eggs and pork roasts. If you're not picky and you like to plan your meals around what's in season, consider ordering a CSA box that's packed with the freshest produce. 

summer house, summer house santa monica, brunch, breakfast, pancakes, Jordan Johnson
Photograph: Jordan Johnson

42. Get brunch delivered to your door

News Eating

Have you noticed that the weekdays and weekends really blend together during quarantine? Just us? If you're looking for ways to make Saturday and Sunday feel special again, consider ordering brunch to go from one of the best restaurants in Chicago.

Fish in aquarium
Photograph: Joshua Dewey on Unsplash

43. Tune in to the Shedd Aquarium’s live cam

News City Life

A live cam in the aquarium's "Underwater Beauty" exhibit provides a relaxing and mesmerizing view of angelfishes, wrasses, tangs and butterflyfishes making their way through the water. Next time you're having a stressful day, plug in and zone out while you try to channel the calm, graceful feelings that these tropical fish evoke.

brownies, walnut brownies, dessert, sweets, brownie, chocolate, shutterstock
Photograph: Shuttertsock

44. Cook the famous Palmer House brownies at home

News Eating

Chicago is the birthplace of the skyscraper, TV remote control, car radio and—perhaps most deliciously—the brownie. The story of the chocolatey dessert traces its roots back to 1893 at the historic Palmer House Hotel in the heart of the Loop. Lucky for us, the recipe is easier than you'd imagine.

Lost Lake, daiquiri frappe, cocktail, frozen cocktail, frozen drink, jaclyn rivas
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

45. Make a DIY Lost Lake’s Daiquiri Frappe

News Drinking

Paul McGee, the co-owner of Lost Lake and the beverage director for Land and Sea Dept., hooked us up with a recipe that's seriously easy and wildly impressive. Lost Lake's frosty Daiquiri Frappe requires just three ingredients that you probably already have at home: rum, a lime and sugar.

Harold Washington Library
Photograph: CC/Flickr/Daniel X. O'Neil

46. Register for an electronic Chicago Public Library card

News City Life

Do you live in Chicago? Fantastic! You're eligible to sign up for a Chicago Public Library eCard, which lets you check out eBooks and audiobooks just like you would a physical library book. Expect popular titles to have a few (or a few dozen) holds, but you can put your name on the list and browse the library's database of digital magazines—Bon Appetit and The Economist are two of their more choice offerings—while you wait. 


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