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Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

Here’s why 2018 will be an epic year in Chicago

There’s plenty to be excited about in 2018, including new baseball teams, food halls, CTA stations and more

By Zach Long

There’s always something to look forward to in Chicago, and that sentiment will once again hold true in 2018. The new year brings all the things that already make our city the greatest place in the world, plus everything from new craft breweries to a hot dog–themed baseball team. There’ll be food hall openings, a fancy hotel in Wrigleyville, an ID card that you can also use to get on the train and plenty of other cool new developments around town. We’ve rounded up 10 reasons why we think the coming year will be another epic one for Chicago. And this is just what we know about currently—we’re certain that 2018 has even more surprises in store.

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Why 2018 will be an epic year in Chicago

Arrival of the titanosaur at the Field Museum

The Field Museum’s beloved T. rex skeleton SUE will move out of her prominent spot in Stanley Field Hall in February, making way for an impressive new dinosaur. (Don’t worry, SUE fans, you’ll be able to visit her in the “Evolving Planet” exhibition beginning in 2019.) A cast of a 122-foot long titanosaur skeleton—a gift from extremely wealthy Illinois resident Ken Griffin—will take SUE’s place, giving you a fresh new backdrop for all those requisite museum selfies. As long as the hilarious SUE Twitter account keeps on cracking nerdy jokes, we think we’ll be able to handle this change.—Zach Long

The Chicago Dogs bring baseball to Rosemont

Forget about Wrigley Field—the hottest place to watch baseball this summer could be in Rosemont. A new minor league team called the Chicago Dogs—sporting a logo that combines a hot dog with the colors of the Chicago flag, obviously—will kick off its inaugural season at Impact Field in May. Even if the action of the diamond isn’t quite as exciting as a Cubs or Sox game, you’ll at least be able to snap up a T-shirt that encapsulates your love of home runs and encased meat.—ZL

Chicago Architecture Foundation
Illustration: Courtesy Chicago Architecture Foundation

A new riverfront home for the Chicago Architecture Foundation

This summer, you’ll be able to see the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s headquarters from atop the organization’s eponymous boat tour. The new Chicago Architecture Center is moving into 111 East Wacker Drive, just above the docks of Chicago’s First Lady Cruises, where visitors will have access to a welcome center and 10,000 square feet of exhibition space, including an updated version of the Chicago City Model Experience. If a couple hours of learning about the city’s architectural history on the river isn’t enough, the new center promises that there will be plenty more to see when you return to land.—ZL

Photograph: Courtesy Hickory Street Capital

Another year of big changes in Wrigleyville

Last summer’s debut of the Park at Wrigley was just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the transformation of Wrigleyville. In early 2018, Hotel Zachary will open its doors (in the lot formerly occupied by McDonald’s), offering a place to crash just steps away from Wrigley Field. The hotel will also house restaurants such as Big Star, Smoke Daddy and West Town Bakery—perfect for pre- and post-game meals. Elsewhere in Wrigleyville, the neighborhood’s infamous Taco Bell will be demolished sometime this summer, making way for a new development. Go have a Doritos Locos taco in the shadow of the Friendly Confines while you still can!—ZL

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

Even more places to drink craft beer throughout the city

2017 was a banner year for Chicago taprooms, as Half Acre, Off Color, Jolly Pumpkin, Metropolitan and Maplewood opened new spots dedicated to their respective beers. The coming year will bring even more delicious craft beer as well as spots dedicated to serving drafts from Marz Community Brewing and Ballast Point Brewing Company. The new Marz digs in Bridgeport appear to be nearly complete, judging by the brewery’s recent activity on Instagram. San Diego brewers Ballast Point will be moving into a spot in the West Loop (210 N Green St) where you’ll be able to enjoy hop-forward IPAs and fish tacos.—ZL

CTA 95th
Illustration: Courtesy CTA

A sparkling new CTA terminal at 95th/Dan Ryan

Some of the CTA’s most notable renovation projects over the past years have focused on outdated stations in the Loop and on the North Side, but one of the South Side’s busiest stations will be getting some love in 2018. The upgrade will include new terminals on the south and north side of 95th Street (connected by an overhead walkway) that are flanked by canopy-covered areas where passengers can wait for buses. The southern terminal is scheduled to open in early 2018, while the northern terminal will be completed by the end of 2018. Even if you rarely take the train, you’ll be able to admire each terminal’s distinctive bright red accents while driving on the Dan Ryan Expressway.—ZL

Furious Ramen at Furious Spoon.
Photograph: Nick Murway

Chicago’s food hall scene will continue to multiply

Chicagoans have fully embraced the food hall trend, and 2018 shows no sign of letting up. We can’t wait to peruse the vendors at three major projects that should debut in the new year: Lakeview Market (a project from the folks at Furious Spoon), Wells St. Market (confirmed chefs include Jimmy Bannos Jr., Takashi Yagihashi and Shin Thompson) and Beacon St. Market in Uptown. You’ll have to wait until 2019 to step inside Time Out Market Chicago, which will open in the West Loop at 916 West Fulton Market with chef-driven vendors, a rooftop, bars and entertainment.—Morgan Olsen

Ed Paschke Art Center
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

A new city-wide art festival will take over Chicago

Just as the Chicago Architecture Biennial and the Year of Public Art come to a close, a new city-wide festival called Art Design Chicago will carry the creative torch into 2018. The yearlong fest encompasses more than 25 exhibitions celebrating local artists at museums and galleries throughout the city, including an Ed Paschke retrospective at the Block Museum and a survey dedicated to the work of art collective Hairy Who at the Art Institute. Organizers are also planning a series of workshops, lectures and events throughout the year that will be free and open to the public.—ZL

John Williams

John Williams will conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

If you've seen Star Wars: The Last Jedi, you know that legendary composer John Williams’s sweeping theatrical scores are just as compelling as ever. Williams will return to conduct the Chicago Symphony Orchestra from April 26 to 29, taking the podium at a series of concerts that feature selections from his extensive catalog of soundtracks, including music from E.T., Indiana Jones, Jurassic Park and more. Williams’s public appearances are few and far between these days, so you shouldn’t miss this opportunity to see an orchestral Jedi master at work.—ZL

Photograph: CC/Flickr/nathanmac87

Chicago will launch CityKey, its municipal ID card program

Imagine having just one thing in your wallet that you can use as an ID, a Ventra pass and a library card. Chicago is making this minimalist dream a reality in 2018 with the launch of CityKey, a municipal ID program that seeks to facilitate access to city services for marginalized populations. Of course, all Chicagoans will be able to apply for the card, which will also grant holders other as-of-yet unspecified benefits at a variety of local businesses. You’ll be able to apply for a card in spring 2018, so hold on to your driver’s license (and your Ventra card, and your library card) until then.—ZL


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