Get us in your inbox

Search
The Chicago SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park, August 2019.
Photograph: Patrick L. Pyszka

Things to do in Chicago today

Find the best things to do in Chicago today, including parties, concerts, screenings and other can't-miss events.

Emma Krupp
Written by
Emma Krupp
Advertising

Not sure what's happening around the city today? The days are getting longer and hotter as we head into summer in Chicago, which means you'll find summer festivals, outdoor movie screenings and plenty of other warm weather events perfect for getting you out in the sun during the city's most beloved season. Plus—as always—we're keeping track of the top parties, concerts, community events and more interesting stuff happening in Chicago day-by-day. Grab your calendar and check out all the best things to do in Chicago today.  

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago right now 

Best things to do in Chicago today

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • price 2 of 4
  • West Loop

After moving from Lakeview to Fulton Market in 2021, the Chicago Craft Beer Festival returns to the West Loop this year for a three-day extravaganza of craft brews. The fest partners with PB&J: Pizza Beer and Jukebox, offering more than 40 beers from 35 local, regional and national breweries. Snag a tasting ticket to secure your spot and feel free to grab a bite to eat before you begin sampling.

  • Art
  • Film and video
  • price 0 of 4

Projecting a 25-story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, Art on theMart's spring program focuses on two climate change-themed projections presented in partnership with the Shedd Aquarium. The first, Floe, was created by Chicago choreographer Carrie Hanson (in collaboration with her dance company, The Seldoms) and spotlights climate change through melting ice, extreme weather and the human body, set to soundscapes of icebergs, water and rain. The second, Choral, is by the collaborative localStyle and depicts the human impact on coral ecosystems. Art on theMART's array of 34 digital projectors display the 30-minute program at 8:30 and 9pm every evening. The show is best viewed from the section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Painting
  • Grant Park

The Art Institute of Chicago has teamed up with London's Tate Modern to mount the first major retrospective of Paul Cezanne's work in more than 25 years, exploring the Impressionist painter's legacy across a variety of mediums and genres. Visitors can explore some of Cezanne's most enduringly iconic works—including his lush still life paintings and landscapes—as well as rarely-seen compositions pulled from private collections, encompassing a total of 90 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings and two complete sketchbooks. You'll need an additional ticket to gain access to the exhibit, but you'll rarely find such a comprehensive perspective on this seminal artist's life and work. 

  • Comedy
  • price 0 of 4
  • Uptown

This weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours.

Advertising
  • Shopping
  • Markets and fairs
  • price 0 of 4
  • Edgewater

Renegade Craft Fair's flagship event makes its Andersonville debut, taking over a stretch of Clark Street spanning from Bryn Mawr to Edgewater Avenue. Attendees will be able to shop the handmade wares of more than 180 vendor booths, selling everything from candles and screenprints to jewelry and pottery. The fair also boasts food and drink from local restaurants, so you won't have to go hungry (or thirsty) while you shop.

  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • price 2 of 4
  • Hyde Park

Want to see recreations of Van Gogh's “Starry Night,” Da Vinci's “Mona Lisa” and Michaelangelo's “David”  constructed with Lego bricks? The Museum of Science and Industry's latest exhibition collects the work of Nathan Sawaya, a former lawyer who turned his passion for tiny plastic bricks into contemporary art. “The Art of the Brick” include more than 100 of his creations, include a 20-foot-long T.rex skeleton and a life-sized sculpture of a man pulling his chest apart. The traveling show is the first major museum exhibition to use Lego bricks as its sole medium—and a testiment to the creativity that can be achieved with hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces of plastic. This Museum of Science and Industry exhibit rquires a seperate ticket for entry, in addition to regular museum admission.

Advertising
  • Art
  • Mixed media
  • Streeterville

The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts the first career-spanning retrospective of Chicago artist Nick Cave's work at Forothermore, a comprehensive dive into Cave's acclaimed body of visual art alongside his roles as an activist and community builder. Dedicated to those who exist as the "other" (whether through racism, homophobia or other modes of discrimination), Forothermore spans everything from installations and sculpture to fashion, performance and video work, with never-before-seen highlights like a continuation of Cave's lauded Soundsuits series. 

  • Nightlife
  • Cabaret and burlesque
  • price 2 of 4
  • Lake View

Settle in for an evening of burlesque performers, belly dancers, drag artists and variety entertainers during this weekly show at Newport Theater. The hour-long show features speciality cocktails and intimate seating arrangements, making this feel like a clandestine speakeasy experience. Bring some singles so that you can tip performers throughout the night!

Advertising
  • Comedy
  • Stand-up
  • price 1 of 4
  • Logan Square

Now housed in the space on Milwaukee Avenue in Logan Square, the country's longest countinuously running independent comedy showcase continues every Friday and Saturday night. Boasting alumni like Cameron Esposito, Kumail Nanjiani and Hanibal Buress, this stand-up show will introduce you to fresh new faces that may end up starring in Marvel movies or becoming podcast mainstays. Snag an affordable ticket, avoid the two-drink minimum and prepare to laugh your ass off.

  • Art
  • Contemporary art
  • Streeterville

The Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago presents a survey that encapsulates two decades of work by Pakistani artist Bani Abidi, a former student at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Known for her video, photography and sound works, Abidi satirizes displays of power and nationalism as she explores the geopolitical relationship between India and Pakistan as well as the historical power struggles of South Asia. The exhibit takes its name from Abidi's watercolor series "The Man Who Talked Until He Disappeared," which depicts writers, political leaders and bloggers from Pakistan that have disappeared over the past decade.

Recommended
    You may also like
      Advertising