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Kris Vire

Kris Vire

Kris is a Senior Editor at Time Out Chicago, covering theater and dance, comedy and LGBT events. He can give you the best CTA route to every theater in the city, and you can probably find him at one of them tonight. Follow him on Twitter at @krisvire.

Articles (152)

The best Airbnbs in Chicago

The best Airbnbs in Chicago

A trip to Chicago shouldn't be without a special place to stay if you want a truly unique and tailored experience of the city. From modern masterpieces to homes of eccentric stone collectors, Chicago Airbnbs are cool, quirky, and feel a little more homely than the standard (although very fab) hotels you normally see. And what's even better is that most Airbnbs are within commutable distance of the great Chicago sights and attractions.  So, whether you’re here for the weekend or planning a lengthier staycation, Chicago is bound to have an Airbnb perfect for your trip. Read on for our lowdown on the city’s finest Airbnb rentals.  RECOMMENDED: Our guide to weekend getaways from Chicago RECOMMENDED: The best hotels in Chicago This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here.

The best hotels in Chicago

The best hotels in Chicago

The best hotels in Chicago run the gamut, whether you want plush surroundings with incredible rooftop bars or prefer to spend the night in a boutique hotel with unique touches. And more and more these days, you’re not restricted to staying downtown (or, ugh, next to O’Hare). With so many great choices, it's easy to feel overwhelmed. We took the guesswork out of the equation and selected the very best. These hand-picked spots offer excellent restaurants, unparalleled service, and close proximity to some of the city's best attractions. From pure luxury to cheap and chic(ago), all the options you need are right here.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. RECOMMENDED: Check out our pick of the coolest Airbnbs in Chicago

The best Airbnbs in Grand Rapids

The best Airbnbs in Grand Rapids

Just three hours' drive from Chicago, Grand Rapids is a mecca for craft beer lovers – with more than 30 breweries and brewpubs around town including Midwest favorites Founders and a satellite outpost of New Holland. But there’s more to Michigan’s second-largest city (with a population of nearly 200,000) than beer – like the annual ArtPrize competition, popular museums, and great opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts, it’s a place that is packed with things to do. Whatever drives your visit, consider these charming Grand Rapids Airbnbs for your stay.

The best day trips from Chicago

The best day trips from Chicago

Making big travel plans can be difficult (and not to mention expensive). Luckily, you don’t need a plane ticket or even a hotel reservation to indulge in a fun change of scenery—a simple day trip from Chicago is cheap and easy. Whether you’re looking to spend the day basking in the sun at beaches along Lake Michigan, hiking near Chicago through a state park or tasting your way through the best beer and cheese Wisconsin has to offer, these quick jaunts from Chicago are just a few hours away by car or train. Make plans to explore everything the Midwest has to offer on the best day trips from Chicago.  RECOMMENDED: The best weekend getaways from ChicagoRECOMMENDED: The best Airbnb cabin rentals near ChicagoRECOMMENDED: The best lakeside Airbnbs near Chicago

The best whiskey bars in Chicago

The best whiskey bars in Chicago

Chicagoans love their whiskey—after all, it was a local bartender who first codified the recipe for the old fashioned back in 1888. It’s only fitting, then, that the city is filled with many bars that have amassed large collections of bourbons, Scotches and ryes. From high-end lounges to divey watering holes, beverage directors are seeking out small-batch and single-barrel selections and securing rare, vintage bottles for their reserve lists. And if you can’t decide on a pour, these spots offer a variety of flights as well. So it doesn’t matter whether you’re a novice or a connoisseur, the best whiskey bars in Chicago are certain to have a spirit that’ll suit your palate. RECOMMENDED: Discover the best bars in the city

The 8 best Airbnbs in Milwaukee

The 8 best Airbnbs in Milwaukee

Just a 90-minute drive (or Amtrak ride) north of Chicago, Milwaukee is a great destination for an overnight getaway. The city shares one of the former’s greatest resources – Lake Michigan – and sports some incredible things to do: world-class museums, top-notch theater, and, of course, some mighty fine beer. Whether you’re heading up for a Cubs-Brewers game, the massive music binge that is Summerfest, or to drink your way through a few brewery tours, consider staying at these supercool Milwaukee Airbnbs and homes for a unique experience. RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best Milwaukee hotels

The 14 best movie theaters in Chicago

The 14 best movie theaters in Chicago

Over the years, Chicago has served as the backdrop for films like The Dark Knight, The Blues Brothers and just about every movie made by John Hughes. While it’s always thrilling to see a movie being filmed, it’s just as fun to see the finished product put together at the movie theater. Thankfully, the city’s home to a wide array of great theaters, from multiplexes with massive recliner seats and in-theater dining service to art houses where you can catch up on all of the latest indies or catch an international flick at one of the city’s film festivals. And, like any respectable Chicago institution, many of them come stocked with a long list of beer and cocktail options. No matter what movie you want to catch, you’ll find the perfect place to watch among our list of the best movie theaters in Chicago.  RECOMMENDED: Where to find cheap movie tickets in Chicago

24 travel tips every first-time Chicago visitor needs to know

24 travel tips every first-time Chicago visitor needs to know

Welcome to Chicago! We’re glad you’re here (or considering a trip, at least). Whether you’re visiting on business or pleasure, we know it can be daunting to travel to a new city for the first time. There are logistical hurdles: figuring out the public transportation options, navigating the grid system, knowing the best neighborhoods to stay in. And then there are the cultural questions: What’s the best time to visit? What should you do with your time? Is deep dish truly all it's cracked up to be? We’ve drawn from our experience as Chicagoans, and polled our own visiting friends, to help prepare you for what you should know as a new arrival. RECOMMENDED: Your essential Chicago travel guide

The 24 best LGBTQ+ bars in Chicago

The 24 best LGBTQ+ bars in Chicago

Chicago has a vibrant LGBTQ+ bar scene, and has for decades. Much of it is clustered around a half-mile stretch of North Halsted Street and Broadway in East Lakeview, long known as Boystown. The North Halsted bar culture started there with Little Jim’s in 1975, and followed over the next decade by many bars now long since gone and others—like Sidetrack and the North End—that have survived for decades. These days, Northalsted is still a prominent gay playground, but long-running queer nightlife spots can be found all over the city, from Andersonville to the Loop to South Shore. From several of the best nightclubs in Chicago to dive bars to sports bars, there’s an LGBTQ-oriented watering hole in Chicago to fit every interest—these are some of our favorites. RECOMMENDED: Drink at the best bars in Chicago

12 great holiday party spots in Chicago

12 great holiday party spots in Chicago

'Tis the season for Christmas lights and festive pop-up bars, which means that you might have a few holiday parties to attend—or plan—in the near future. Not sure to gather with your crew of holiday revelers? We've rounded up Chicago venues perfect for every type of holiday gathering, whether you're trying to keep it simple with a group of friends, show off your competitive side at an arcade or rent out an entire rooftop for a swanky company soiree. Plus, you'll find options for every budget on our list (including free, believe it or not). Make your holiday gathering merry and bright with our list of the best holiday party spots in Chicago.     RECOMMENDED: How to celebrate Christmas in Chicago

The top 8 Chicago tours that you should go on

The top 8 Chicago tours that you should go on

There are many ways to experience Chicago: by foot, bike, boat, bus, trolley, kayak… So in an effort to keep you on the right path while you're exploring the city, we've rounded up some top-rated Chicago bike tours, walking tours, boat tours and more. These are, in our opinion, the best ways to discover Chicago's best attractions, beautiful buildings, history and culture (not to mention the best restaurants, craft breweries and the lakefront). Embrace your inner tourist and hit the road on one of these adventures. Keep a couple dollars in the pocket though, there's a whole lot of food and drink to be added on to your adventures.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. RECOMMENDED: The best things to do in Chicago that locals and tourists will love.

The best downtown Chicago hotels in the Loop

The best downtown Chicago hotels in the Loop

We always recommend the Loop as the best place to stay in Chicago. Why? Because it’s close to nearly every CTA El line, it’s a quick walk to the best museums in Chicago, the Willis Tower is there, the river provides easy access to great boat tours, and gorgeous inner-city green spaces like Millennium Park and Grant Park are nearby. There are plenty of restaurants in the area, too, but for the trendiest of the city’s eateries, head to River North or the West Loop. Luckily, those neighborhoods are just a couple of El stops or a short bus ride away. Make sure you take advantage of the best of the city by booking one of the best hotels in downtown Chicago. Whether you want somewhere bright and simple, elegant and luxurious, or just plain beautiful, we have all of the choices you'll ever need. Some places have 24-hour gyms, room service, free newspapers, rooftop bars... basically, read on, you'll find what you need.  This article includes affiliate links. These links have no influence on our editorial content. For more information, click here. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Chicago Loop

Listings and reviews (10)

Miss Saigon

Miss Saigon

A last gasp of the ’80s Euromegamusical, Miss Saigon opened on Broadway in 1991 and ran for nearly 10 years on its blend of saccharine Orientalism and summer-blockbuster bombast. A 2017 revival came and went more quickly, but that was enough to launch a new national tour.

Luzia

Luzia

The latest big-top spectacle from Cirque du Soleil to pitch its tent departs slightly from the usual thematic formula. Most Cirque shows are organized around either an oblique aesthetic, like steampunk or insects or water, or a pop-culture anchor, as in the company’s Beatles and Michael Jackson–themed shows in Las Vegas. Luzia’s inspiration is Mexico—“an imaginary Mexico,” to be fair, but there’s still something just a little odd about seeing mostly European clowns and acrobats don lucha libre masks and cactus costumes to evoke Mexican identity. But Cirque’s narratives are so negligible that this is a minor quibble. As always, the show’s design and the circus set pieces are thrilling, with highlights here including remarkable puppetry (designs by Max Humphries) and incredible incorporation of water—more than 1,500 gallons are used in every performance in an impressive integration of technology and stagecraft.

The Winner…of Our Discontent

The Winner…of Our Discontent

3 out of 5 stars

Back in August, Second City Theatricals launched a touring show in collaboration with the online magazine Slate. Explicitly political but “completely unbiased,” Unelectable You attempted a journalism-esque false balance, suggesting that candidates Trump and Clinton, insurgent-turned-surrogate Sanders, the vast field of failed Republican candidates and the whole presidential process were equally worthy of send-up. The stab at objectivity made much of the material feel timid.   Second City’s new mainstage cast makes no such claim to impartiality. The Winner…of Our Discontent, debuting just over a month after the election, delivers on its title: Its writer-performers are reeling, hurt, afraid and angry. Their reactions to the results of November 8, and the cognitive dissonance of its continuing repercussions, are understandably, admirably raw.   But is Second City raw actually Second City at its most effective? You could argue that the institution’s proficiency with polish and spin have historically served it best in terms of explicitly political material. While I wouldn’t suggest that it’s these performers’ job to try to understand “the other side” any more than it’s their job to mend the republic, the political rhetoric in the new revue—which can feel like a good three-quarters of the show—is both as righteous and as lopsided as the average Facebook feed.   Then again, perhaps any Trump voter coming to a comedy show in Chicago at this moment and expecting not to be challenged

Deer and the Lovers

Deer and the Lovers

3 out of 5 stars

The “deer” in Emily Zemba’s title is dead from the start. Except when it’s “dear,” and then still it looks like it might be dead. Zemba’s mildly metaphysical new play, receiving a mildly charming world premiere from First Floor Theater, is big on linguistic quirks including rhymes and homophones; it’s a small wonder Zemba didn’t write it in verse. Her plot might support it, actually: A young couple, Peter (Alex Stage) and Qiana (Shadee Vossoughi), arrive at a cabin in the woods to find the deceased deer hanging halfway out of a broken window—facing outward. They deduce it must have smashed its way in, not liked what it found, and tried to exit through its entrance only to get caught up on the broken glass. Before the two can figure out what to do about the deer, they’re interrupted by Peter’s dear sister Marnie (Kay Kron) and her paramour Felix (Tony Santiago), who arrive unannounced and uninvited. It soon becomes clear these two couples’ interrelationships are more complicated than they initially appear; think a contemporary take on the foolish mortals in Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream, and you’re on the right track. Zemba’s overarching point remains elusive (the deer represents fear of commitment, maybe?), and her scenario a little cloying. But First Floor’s production engages on the strengths of strong storefront-level design (Eleanor Kahn’s set is particularly clever) and an appealing cast. Even if you don’t fall in love with Deer, you could find yourself deeply in

Hamilton

Hamilton

5 out of 5 stars

Let’s not mince words, since we’ve already spilled so many of them: Hamilton, writer-composer-lyricist Lin-Manuel Miranda’s biography of Alexander Hamilton as refracted through a hip-hop, pop and R&B lens, is a sprawling, stunning, singular achievement. By filtering the story of the American Experiment’s beginning into modern, meticulously rhymed vernacular and populating the stage with performers of color to play the likes of Hamilton, Washington, Jefferson and Madison, Miranda and his regular collaborators (director Thomas Kail, music supervisor Alex Lacamoire and choreographer Andy Blankenbuehler) make the founding fathers feel fresh and, miraculously, human. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Hamilton Chicago Weeks out from the country’s naming its 45th president, Hamilton’s new Chicago company arrives to remind us our democracy has always been messy, political, personal, and worth fighting for. Kail and Blankenbuehler fill designer David Korins’s spare set—which suggests that, like the country, it’s still under construction—with movement as thrilling and dense as Miranda’s lyrics. (The few moments of stillness are also used to great counter effect.) The nearly all-new Chicago cast (ensemble member Emmy Raver-Lampman is the sole transfer) easily lives up to the originals while finding their own new moments and shades. Miguel Cervantes is a rather more grounded Hamilton than the more frenetic Miranda, who originated the role, but Cervantes conveys the man’s vital, fatal dr

The Book of Mormon

The Book of Mormon

5 out of 5 stars

Five years in, and now in its third touring appearance in Chicago, The Book of Mormon’s audiences presumably know what they’re in for. That doesn’t mean the show has lost its ability to generate electric jolts. The irreverent musical by South Park honchos Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Frozen composer Robert Lopez, equal parts foul-mouthed, gleefully blasphemous and sweet-natured, still knows just how to ring our bells with its culture clash of Mormon missionaries out of their depth in deeply depressed northern Uganda. The current touring cast doesn’t quite live up to the high bar set in 2012 by the original Chicago ensemble led by Nic Rouleau and Ben Platt, still the best I’ve seen in this show (including the original Broadway cast). But the fine leads here do bring some new shadings to their characters; Ryan Bondy’s upstanding Elder Price displays an unsettling and slightly dark intensity, and Cody Jamison Strand’s take on the misfit Elder Cunningham finds a middle way between Josh Gad’s cartoon spazziness and Platt’s sweetness. The production remains as sharp as ever, and the clever script and score impress anew with their canny mix of Pythonesque ridiculousness, keen social commentary and astute homage to the musical-theater canon. (Having seen a couple of stagings of The King & I since my last viewing only reinforced for me how dead-on is Parker, Lopez and Stone’s skewering of the former’s “Small House of Uncle Thomas” sequence.) For worshipers of musicals, The Book of M

The Few

The Few

3 out of 5 stars

Bryan (Peter Moore), the founder of a self-published newspaper for long-haul truckers—you might have called it a "zine" if it was pitched for a different audience—shows back up to its shabby Idaho headquarters four years after disappearing without a word. His former girlfriend QZ (Dana Black), left holding the bag when Bryan took off, has turned The Few into a marginally profitable enterprise by reframing it as a personal-ads rag. (You might intuit that playwright Samuel D. Hunter has set this story in the pre-Y2K era, when internet access was paid for by the hour and phones were answered by answering machines.) Moore, Steep's artistic director, a master at playing weary and resigned, imbues Bryan with requisite depth, and Black, an off-Loop favorite who's often known (and loved) for deliciously broad roles, gives what might be her most grounded and affecting performance yet. Travis Coe's turn as Matthew, a troubled young man who's invested his whole being in keeping the paper running in Bryan's absence, is a bit too mannered. But Hunter's signature affection for his small-town characters comes through strongly, and director Brad Akin's production of one of the too few contemporary plays to consider these kinds of American lives gives them their due. Steep Theatre. By Samuel D. Hunter. Directed by Brad Akin. With Peter Moore, Dana Black, Travis Coe. Running time: 1hr 40mins; no intermission.

A Red Line Runs Through It

A Red Line Runs Through It

3 out of 5 stars

The Second City e.t.c.’s 40th revue has some pointed and topical material, notably including a musical number eviscerating Mayor Rahm Emanuel and another song that frames the fight over appointing a new Supreme Court justice as a Hamilton-esque rap battle between Mitch McConnell and President Obama. What it lacks, despite the title, is much of a through line. Compared to the tourist-friendly mainstage, the e.t.c. casts tend to feel more geared toward Chicago dwellers, and you see bits of that here: the opening scene, yet another variation on strangers-on-a-CTA-train; an endearingly odd sketch in which Julie Marchiano is dazzled by date Peter Kim’s Uptown studio apartment. There are strong moments. The Rahm number is devastating, invoking Laquan McDonald’s killing and asking us to think ahead to the years beyond Rahm’s mayorship, when we’ll have collectively forgotten our anger and eventually have to put his name on something: “What if it’s a fucking school?” What if indeed. The show's music, generally, makes up much of its best material, with strong contributions by musical director Jesse Case. The cast, with four new members, isn’t running at full steam just yet; returning members Lisa Beasley and Scott Morehead dominate, both displaying a confidence and control they were missing when Soul Brother, Where Art Thou? opened this time a year ago. (Morehead’s at his finest in a second-act sketch in which a ’90s trivia night triggers suppressed trauma.) Kim makes a strong impressi

Elixir Andersonville

Elixir Andersonville

The Andersonville outpost of the Boystown cocktail lounge expands on the original (literally—this location is at least a little less shoulder-to-shoulder than the shoebox on Halsted) with new signature cocktails and large-format drinks crafted by mixologist Vlad Novikov (try the I'm Not Your Sweetheart, made with Plymouth Gin, Mathilde Peche, Campari, pineapple and lemon juices). From the kitchen it shares with its sibling, Replay, you can order some of the same items as next door (glazed crispy pork belly, beef and chihuahua cheese empanadas, a kohlrabi and fennel salad) as well as small plates like seared Brussels sprouts, roasted cauliflower or a charcuterie board. The kitchen allows Novikov to do some things with drinks that the Halsted Elixir can't, like flavored ices and fat-washed spirits.

Gem of the Ocean

Gem of the Ocean

4 out of 5 stars

The Goodman Theatre kicks off 2022 with a revival of August Wilson's Gem of the Ocean, which launched the playwright's “American Century Cycle”—10 plays set in each decade of the 20th century that chronicle the African American experience. Set in Pittsburgh at the dawn of the 1900s, this play introduces the character of Aunt Ester (Lisa Gaye Dixon), a keeper of African American history who acts as a throughline in the cycle's plays. Before and after the show, guests will be able to shop at “Hidden Gems: A Celebration of African American Artists & Art,” a pop-up market featuring handmade items. REVIEW FROM 2015: Court Theatre returns to the work of August Wilson, with Ron OJ Parson helming the earliest-set play in the writer’s Century Cycle. It’s Parson’s 22nd Wilson production overall, and it’s hard to imagine any director having a deeper, more lived-in knowledge of a playwright’s oeuvre. Set in Pittsburgh in the first decade of the 20th century, Gem of the Ocean introduces Aunt Ester (Jacqueline Williams), the sage and ancient mystic who becomes a recurring figure as Wilson’s plays progress through the century. (Though Gem is the only play in which Ester appears onstage, her offstage presence looms large in several others.) Here, she assists a young man named Citizen Barlow (Jerod Haynes), a recent transplant from Alabama who’s wracked with guilt and desperate to “get his soul washed.” With slavery still in the not-distant-enough memories of many of the characters here, Wils

News (671)

A Broadway-bound ‘Tootsie’ musical will premiere in Chicago this fall

A Broadway-bound ‘Tootsie’ musical will premiere in Chicago this fall

Tootsie, the 1982 movie that starred Dustin Hoffman as an actor who cross-dresses to get cast in a female soap-opera role, is getting the Broadway musical treatment—and Chicago will be the first to see it. The new musical will have a tryout run at Broadway in Chicago’s Cadillac Palace Theatre this fall, ahead of a planned New York opening in Spring 2019. Santino Fontana, known for his Broadway roles in Brighton Beach Memoirs and Cinderella as well as TV’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and Disney’s Frozen, will play the Hoffman role(s) of Michael Dorsey and Dorothy Michaels.   Santino Fontana Photograph: courtesy Broadway in Chicago   The score will be by composer David Yazbek, currently represented on Broadway with the hugely acclaimed The Band’s Visit; Robert Horn is adapting Larry Gelbart and Murray Schisgal’s Oscar-nominated screenplay. Eight-time Tony Award nominee Scott Ellis will direct. It will certainly be interesting to see how the (all-male) creative team handles the story’s tricky gender dynamics in a (hopefully) more sensitive environment—though the movie’s Criterion Collection release a few years ago found a new generation of critics praising its handling of the subject even decades later. Additional casting for the roles originally played by the killer likes of Jessica Lange (who won an Oscar), Teri Garr, Dabney Coleman and Bill Murray remains to be announced. Tootsie plays the Cadillac Palace September 11 to October 14. UPDATE (August 9, 2018): After its Chicago run, t

Here’s what we know about ‘The Cher Show,’ debuting tonight in Chicago

Here’s what we know about ‘The Cher Show,’ debuting tonight in Chicago

Tonight, Chicago gets the first look at The Cher Show, the latest in what has become a 21st-century subgenre of Broadway musicals: the pop-star jukebox biography. The new production turns back time to canvas Cher’s life and 50-plus-year career using her plethora of chart hits. Here’s everything that we “Believe” we know. Catch The Cher Show at the Oriental Theatre June 12–July 15. 1. Three actors for three eras of Cher. Tony Award nominee Stephanie J. Block (Falsettos, 9 to 5), Broadway regular Teal Wicks (Wicked, Finding Neverland) and an 18-year-old newcomer, Micaela Diamond, split the diva duties to represent Cher at different ages and stages in her career. A similar gambit was attempted just this spring by another Broadway bio, the roundly panned Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Unlike Summer, though, Cher’s Chers talk to one another: The show is structured like a fantasy episode from one of the singer’s many variety shows, allowing her various selves to interact. 2. Her most-significant significant others are present, too. Sonny Bono is played by Jarrod Spector, who was Tony-nominated for his role as Barry Mann in another pop-star bio, Beautiful: The Carole King Musical. Matthew Hydzik personifies Gregg Allman, and even “bagel boy” Rob Camilletti (Wicked vet Michael Campayno) makes an appearance. Plus, Tony nominee Emily Skinner acts as Cher’s mother, Georgia Holt. 3. The creative team has a solid track record. The show’s book is by Rick Elice, who helped jump-start the

This is what Chicago’s Oak Street Beach looked like in 1960

This is what Chicago’s Oak Street Beach looked like in 1960

1960 Photograph: Courtesy Chicago History Museum City dwellers have taken advantage of Lake Michigan’s beaches since the 19th century, though many of them were first developed by private clubs or hotels. This 1960 image from the Chicago History Museum’s photo archive (much of which is now available at images.chicagohistory.org) shows Oak Street Beach crowded with bathers, towels, beach chairs and bicycles. Yet the photo also hints at an unspoken reality behind the phrase public use in the ’60s and prior: The beaches were unofficially segregated. In fact, one of the city’s deadliest race riots erupted in 1919, when a black teenager drifted across an invisible line into a “white” section of the lake at 29th Street and was killed by white beachgoers; by the time the violence subsided a week later, 38 people were dead and 500 injured. 2018 Photograph: Neal O'Bryan Today, the city views above Oak Street Beach are dominated by the iconic skyscraper formerly known as the John Hancock Center, begun in 1965 and completed in 1970, and the bustling Lakefront Trail, first designated as a bicycle path in 1963 and now offering perfect shoreline views. These new landmarks were accompanied by another change that came to the city’s beaches: The invisible racial lines began to fade in 1960, when civil rights activists applied the sit-in protest model to “wade-ins” at the shore. Now, commuters on Lake Shore Drive can ogle throngs of Chicagoans of all ethnicities playing beach volleyball in

The three things you need to know today: Fri, Jun 1

The three things you need to know today: Fri, Jun 1

1. It’s June, and that means summer street festival season is in full effect. This weekend, Wicker Park’s Do Division crams 10 city blocks with vendors, sidewalk sales and two stages of live music programmed by the Empty Bottle and Subterranean. Tonight sees Ted Leo and the Pharmacists headlining on the east stage and La Luz on the west end. The fest is open from 5 to 10pm tonight; there’s a $10 suggested donation for entry. 2. Hyperconfessional pop superstar Taylor Swift sets up shop at Soldier Field for two shows tonight and tomorrow—in case you’re wondering about that high-pitched screaming sound coming from the lakefront, it’s 60,000 aspiring members of T. Swift’s squad. Camila Cabello and Charli XCX support at both 7pm shows; tickets start at $55.50. 3. Drink up at the first night of the semiannual Chicago Ale Fest, which takes place outdoors at Butler Field in Grant Park. More than 200 craft beers will be available for sampling, and some of the 80-plus breweries on hand don’t distribute their brews in Chicago outside of the fest. A $49 ticket gets you 20 3-ounce samples starting at 7pm; for $59, you can get in an hour earlier. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Thu, May 31

The three things you need to know today: Thu, May 31

1. Chicago rapper Vic Mensa kicks off the summer concert series at House of Vans tonight. The 8pm show is free to attend if you’ve RSVPed at the Vans website, but admittance is first come, first served, so you’ll want to be in line well before the doors open at 7. 2. It may be the last day of May, but Maifest in Lincoln Square is just getting started. The four-day German block party raises the first of many glasses starting at 5pm today; it’s free to attend. 3. Galway’s Druid Theatre is in residence at Chicago Shakespeare Theater through Sunday, performing Samuel Beckett’s absurdist masterpiece Waiting for Godot in a staging that our reviewer called “a bracing, existentialist thwack across the face.” There are two performances today at Navy Pier, at 1 and 7:45pm; tickets are $68–$88. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Wed, May 30

The three things you need to know today: Wed, May 30

1. The Onion Comedy and Arts Festival kicks off five nights of programming around town this evening, starting with a public conversation with current and former Onion staffers about the satirical news publication’s 30-year history. That talk takes place at Lincoln Hall at 8pm; tickets are $20. 2. Logan Square’s Voice of the City and theater company the Plagiarists host a talk with author Jonathan Lethem (Motherless Brooklyn, The Fortress of Solitude) about his 2007 Harper’s essay “The Ecstasy of Influence.” The event is at 7:30pm, and tickets are $25. 3. The Music Box Theatre’s outdoor movies series at Wrigleyville’s Gallagher Way will screen the 1993’s The Fugitive, with Harrison Ford on the run and on the lookout for a one-armed man. Gates open at 6pm for the free 7:30 screening. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Tue, May 29

The three things you need to know today: Tue, May 29

1. Karen O and company take the Aragon stage tonight as the Yeah Yeah Yeahs mark the 15th anniversary of their debut album, Fever to Tell. In lieu of an opening act, the all-ages, general admission show kicks off at 7:30pm with a screening of the tour documentary, There is No Modern Romance. 2. A hyper-faithful live rendition of the 1987 movie, Dirty Dancing—The Classic Story On Stage premiered in Australia in 2004, and it’s just been kind of perpetually on tour ever since—nobody puts this baby in the corner. The North American touring company returns to the Cadillac Palace Theatre tonight for a weeklong time of your life. Tonight’s performance is at 7:30pm, and tickets start at $18. 3. Saturday Night Live alum Julia Sweeney has been exercising some new comedy muscles on the Second City’s e.t.c. stage over the past month, performing her first stand-up show, Julia Sweeney: Older and Wider. Sweeney ends her run for now with two shows tonight and tomorrow at 8pm; tickets are $26. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Mon, May 28

The three things you need to know today: Mon, May 28

1. The 40th annual International Mr. Leather weekend wraps tonight with the Black & Blue Ball, a blowout dance party at the House of Blues featuring DJs Tom Stephan and Karsten Sollors playing from 9pm to 4am. You don’t have to have been registered for IML to attend; individual tickets are $50 via LiveNation, making the end of Memorial Day weekend a great beginning to LGBTQ Pride month. 2. For a more family-friendly holiday activity, check out the Memorial Day Carnival at Lane Tech College Prep High School in North Center. With a plethora of classic carnival rides, it’s almost like bringing back the long-lost Riverview Amusement Park that once stood next door. Entry is fee but rides are not; the carnival is open from noon to 8pm. 3. Pay your respects to the long, long dead with a visit to the Field Museum’s “Mummies” exhibit, which uses cutting-edge technology to reveal details about its subjects’ lives in ancient Egypt and Peru. The museum is open from 9am to 5pm, and admission to “Mummies” is included with Discovery and All-Access passes, $28 to $38. You can also be among the first to see the Field Museum’s newest resident, the 70-ton titanosaur skeleton dubbed Máximo. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Sun, May 27

The three things you need to know today: Sun, May 27

1. Cyclists take over a car-free Lake Shore Drive this morning for the 17th annual Bike the Drive event. Riders can register day-of for $50 at checkpoints at Fullerton Avenue and near Oakwood Beach, or at Columbus and Jackson, where a post-ride festival will be held at Butler Field. Drivers and bus commuters, know that Lake Shore Drive will be closed to vehicles from Bryn Mawr Avenue to 57th Street from approximately 5:30 to 10:30am; check the CTA’s website for bus reroutes. 2. Hit up a brewery block party today as Ravenswood neighbors Dovetail Brewery and Begyle Brewing team up for Mayfestiversary. Expect live music, food trucks, kids’ activities and of course plenty of locally made beer. The fest takes place from 11am to 10pm today outside the breweries on Ravenswood Avenue; a $5 suggested donation for entry benefits local charities. 3. The Randolph Street Market is celebrating its first outdoor shopping event of the summer this weekend, and it looks to be a sunny and warm day for bargain hunting, with 300 vendors on hand and live music all day. The market is open from 10am to 5pm today outside Plumbers Hall; general admission is $10 online or $12 at the gate. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

The three things you need to know today: Sat, May 26

The three things you need to know today: Sat, May 26

1. Young actors from Senn High School have been performing columbinus, a 2005 documentary play about the pressures faced by modern teenagers and the culture of school shootings, at Steppenwolf Theatre Company all this month as part of The Yard, a partnership between Senn and professional theaters. Since their first performance 23 days ago, at least three more school shooting incidents have occurred in the U.S., including yesterday’s at Noblesville West Middle School in suburban Indianapolis. columbinus closes today with performances at 4 and 8pm; tickets are $15–$25. 2. The city’s Memorial Day Parade takes place today, honoring those members of the Armed Forces who have fallen in the line of duty. The observance begins with a wreath-laying ceremony at the eternal flame in Daley Plaza at 11am, before the parade steps off at noon from State and Lake Streets, proceeding south on State to Van Buren. 3. Chicago multi-instrumentalist Sen Morimoto has been collaborating with other musicians in the city’s indie community since moving to the city in 2014. He plays an album-release show tonight for his new jazz–hip-hop effort, Cannonball, on Nnamdi Ogbonnaya’s Sooper Records. Morimoto is joined by singer-songwriter Kaina, who features on the record. Doors open at 8:30pm at the Empty Bottle; tickets are $10. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

ACTIVATE will turn the Riverwalk into a futuristic art bazaar on June 7

ACTIVATE will turn the Riverwalk into a futuristic art bazaar on June 7

ACTIVATE is coming out of the alleys and onto the Riverwalk for its first pop-up art party of 2018 on Thursday, June 7. We already knew that one of this summer’s ACTIVATE events would be hosted somewhere on the Riverwalk, and that all of this year’s ACTIVATE parties would be united by the sci-fi-esque theme of (EVO)lution, with “EVO” referring to “a fictional muse representing all of the artistic intentions in Chicago that lead to the continuous evolution of the city’s modern-day arts and culture.” Today, the Chicago Loop Alliance revealed that the Riverwalk will be first up: the June 7 opening party for ACTIVATE’s fifth year will take place on the south edge of the river near Wabash Avenue and Wacker Drive. Taking inspiration from the nearby site of Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable’s 18th-century trading post, the event’s theme will be framed as “EVO’s Bazaar.” Look for several visual art installations, including a portrait of DuSable by artist Marco Miller, along with musical performances, roving entertainers, a silent disco from 8 to 10pm and “a free cotton candy wall,” all curated by artist collective Canvas Chicago. It’s free to attend, and you can RSVP online to get one complimentary drink ticket. Future ACTIVATE dates are July 12, August 16 and September 13; details on each will be announced on June 21, July 26 and August 30 respectively. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.

The three things you need to know today: Fri, May 25

The three things you need to know today: Fri, May 25

1. Pilsen’s Mole de Mayo festival returns to 18th Street and Blue Island this weekend. Taste variations on the Mexican sauce, and catch cookoffs, musical performances and libre bouts. The fest opens at 5pm this evening, and admission is a suggested donation of $5 for individuals or $10 for families. 2. It's the closing weekend of The Gentleman Caller, a play that explores the relationship between fellow playwrights, gay men and alcoholics Tennessee Williams and William Inge. Our five-star review calls the production at Raven Theatre “utter, tragic perfection.” Tonight’s performance is at 8pm, and tickets are $43–$46. 3. This year’s Illinois Craft Beer Week comes to a close with Good Libations, a new one-night event at Theater on the Lake with more than 60 breweries from the Chicago area and beyond offering samples of tropical-style brews. The mini-festival runs from 6 to 9pm; tickets are $60. For more events, check in with Time Out throughout the day.

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