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The best things to do in Chicago this weekend

Find the best things to do in Chicago this weekend with our guide to concerts, exhibitions, festivals and more.

Photograph: Pedro Lastra on Unsplash
By Zach Long and Emma Krupp |

Right now, Time In is trying to showcasing the best of Chicago while also keeping you safe, healthy and happy in this amazing place we all call home. So while we're not going to tell you to go out like you normally would, we'll still give weekly recommendations about the best things to do from home this weekend, whether it's ordering takeout, live-streaming a concert or tuning into some of the many virtual events that have popped up around the city. 

RECOMMENDED: Check out even more ideas in our Time In guide

Things to do this weekend in Chicago

Auditorium Theatre
Photograph: Courtesy Viator

At Home With the Auditorium

Various locations throughout Chicago,

With the Auditorium Theatre closed to the public, the historic venue is streaming a weekly live video series that have had shows and tours canceled due to the spread of coronavirus. At Home With the Auditorium streams on Facebook Live every Sunday at 6pm, welcoming guests like Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah soloists Alfreda Burke and Rodrick Dixon. All of the performances will be archived on the Auditorium Theatre's Facebook page (where you'll also find an updated lineup of participants), so you can go back and rewatch your favorites.

Theater seats
Photograph: Courtesy CC/Unsplash/Kilyan Sockalingum
Things to do, Film events

Film Center from Your Sofa

Various venues, Loop

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, like the Brie Larson narrated mushroom documentary Fantastic Fungi or Luchino Visconti's L'Innocente; 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. 

Experimental musician
Photograph: Courtesy Experimental Sound Studio/YouTube
Music, Jazz

The Quarantine Concerts

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.

Music Box Theatre marquee
Photograph: Courtesy Music Box Theatre
News, Movies

Support the Music Box by streaming an art-house film at home

If you're anything like us, you've probably blown through all of the best movies on Netflix now that you're spending your evenings at home. Instead of scraping the bottom of the barrel, why not support one of the best movie theaters in Chicago and stream a film that was originally scheduled to screen there? Though its doors are closed and its seats are empty as the Illinois "stay-at-home" order remains in effect, the Music Box Theatre is partnering with studios to make some of the films that would have been projected on its screen available to view from the comfort of your couch. Quarantined cinephiles can currently rent Romanian crime thriller The Whistlers, Chicago-made dramedy Saint Frances and Brazilian Western Bacurau, with a portion of proceeds from each rental supporting the Music Box.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Grab takeout from your favorite neighborhood restaurant

Whether you're craving pepperoni-studded pizza, crispy fried chicken, soul-soothing ramen or one of the tastiest burgers in Chicago, the options at your fingertips are nearly endless. Next time delivery cravings hit, consider ordering from a local Chicago restaurant rather than the big national chains—it'll taste and feel better, we promise. And this should go without saying, but be a decent human and tip your delivery driver (or biker!) generously.

acadia, bar menu, michelin
Photograph: Neil Burger
News, Eating

Get fancy with to-go options from Michelin-starred restaurants

Sick of hanging out in your sweats all day? Give yourself a reason to get gussied up with the help of these decadent takeout options from top Chicago restaurants like Alinea and Next, which allow you to dine on Michelin-starred cooking for a fraction of the price. Set the table, add a little mood lighting, and it'll be almost like the real deal. 

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

Pick up cans, bottles and growlers from local 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).

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

Get 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.

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

Watch our favorite live sets from Chicago artists

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.

The Field Museum, Maximo
Photograph: Lucy Hewett
News, City Life

Virtually visit some of Chicago's best museums

Chicago's top-notch museums and cultural institutions remain closed for the time being, but that doesn't mean you can't get a small dose of cultural enrichment from the comfort of your apartment. With the help of Google Arts and Culture, some of the best museums in Chicago have migrated their exhibitions online, allowing you to view digital versions of wall texts, artworks, artifacts and more in curated collections; a handful also offer enriched materials on their websites, like prerecorded lectures and coloring book pages.

Numen yoga
Photograph: Rebeca Recatero
News, Sports & Fitness

Find some time for a quick yoga class

Even though in-person classes are canceled and social distancing rules make outdoor exercise tricker than usual, you can still squeeze in a morning workout by tuning into these live and pre-recorded yoga courses available from studios and gyms across the city. Some are free, but consider signing up for a digital class membership if you'd like to help support a local biz and get into a regular class routine.

Chicago Board Game Cafe
Photograph: Paul Strabbing
News, City Life

Order a new board game straight to your apartment

If you live with roommates or family—or hey, even if you're just really creative with Zoom video calls—game night might have suddenly become one of your most major social activities. Shake things up this week by checking out the offerings from the Chicago Board Game Cafe, which will ship you a brand new game (and dinner, if you so choose).

The Second City comedy class
Photograph: Courtesy The Second City
News, Comedy

Sign up for one of Second City’s online classes

Imagine emerging from quarantine as a funny person! That dream could be your reality now that an expanded slate of Second City Training Center classes are being offered online, including four- and eight-week courses (priced between $195–$395) that allow you to learn about writing for TV, performing voiceovers and punching up that screenplay you've been working on. If you're looking for something a bit more affordable, $25 drop-in improv and stand-up classes offer an opportunity to learn the basics without committing to a multi-week course.

Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio
Photograph: James Caulfield
News, City Life

Digitally tour Frank Lloyd Wright’s most iconic buildings

If you're looking for a quick diversion during a long workday, you can go inside a few of Wright's most influential Chicagoland buildings—Hyde Park's Frederick C. Robie House as well as Unity Temple and Wright's home and studio in Oak Park—via a short series of YouTube tours.

Harold Washington Library
Photograph: CC/Flickr/Daniel X. O'Neil
News, City Life

Check out books with an electronic Chicago Public Library card

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. 

GYG Chicago TTD