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The best of 2016

See our essential guide to the best of 2016 including restaurant and bar openings, theater performances, music and more

Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

2016 was surely a year filled with ups and downs—we saw openings of long-awaited bars and restaurants and the closings of theater companies far too soon. Chance the Rapper brought his Magnificent Coloring Day music festival to the south side and the Cubs brought a World Series win—108 years in the making—to the north side. Below our critics highlight the best of what happened in 2016 before we set our sights on 2017.  

See the best of 2016

The weirdest Chicago news stories of 2016
Things to do

The weirdest Chicago news stories of 2016

A White Sox world record that went to the dogs and Donald Trump’s honorary 3-inch wiener are just a couple of Chicago’s weirdest news stories this year.

The best Chicago theater of 2016
Theater

The best Chicago theater of 2016

Our top picks from Chicago stages this year.

The 10 best new bars of 2016
Bars

The 10 best new bars of 2016

Chicago's best new bars of 2016 gave us fantastic breweries, a cider bar and all-day cocktail hangs

The best new restaurants of 2016
Restaurants

The best new restaurants of 2016

The 14 best new restaurants of 2016 include fine dining newcomers, great brunch spots and veggie-centric eats

The best Chicago albums of 2016
Music

The best Chicago albums of 2016

Another banner year for music in Chicago offered up great hip-hop, rock, jazz and metal albums

The 100 best dishes and drinks in Chicago 2016

The 100 best dishes and drinks in Chicago 2016

From breakfast to booze, these are the best dishes and drinks we had this year at Chicago restaurants and bars

The most overused words and phrases of 2016
Things to do

The most overused words and phrases of 2016

An annoying hashtag, plenty of pop culture references and a fake apology all made our list of this year's most overused words or phrases

Best Word on the Street of 2016 in Chicago
Things to do

Best Word on the Street of 2016 in Chicago

We eavesdropped throughout the year and compiled the best out-of-context quotes of 2016  

The most beautiful food and drink photos of 2016
Restaurants

The most beautiful food and drink photos of 2016

Hot dogs, fried chicken, garnished cocktails and more of the best food and drink photos from 2016  

The 20 best movies of 2016
Movies

The 20 best movies of 2016

A year of stellar performances and oceans of tears (onscreen and off), 2016 may have sucked, but its movies didn’t  

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