Marty is an editorial intern at Time Out Chicago. He loves naps like Kanye loves Kanye. Follow him on Twitter @uncle_morty_.
The best cheap date ideas in Chicago
Trying to plan for the perfect date night can do some damage to both your wallet and your ego. The best restaurants in Chicago and the city's top attractions can get expensive pretty fast. However, if you're short on cash but still trying to woo that special someone, there's plenty of cheap date night options in the city. Before you suggest the Netflix marathon, check out these free performances, awesome arcade bars and free things to do in Chicago—all without breaking the bank. RECOMMENDED: Check out more date ideas in Chicago
The best comedy clubs in Chicago to see improv, stand-up and sketches
It's a refrain every Chicagoan has heard countless times—"have you been to Second City yet?" Yes, Chicago is known for its second-to-none improv and sketch empire, which has launched the careers of comedy legends like John Belushi and Gilda Radner, and megastars like Tina Fey, Stephen Colbert and Eugene Levy. But the city's comedy scene is far more rich, diverse and inventive than any one show or performer—on any given night you can see the next Saturday Night Live titan or some super weird open mic act that you'll remember forever. So the next time you're in need of a good laugh or last-minute date night plans, grab a bite at the best restaurants in Chicago and then pay a visit to one of these venues. And if you want to go deeper, try one of these hilarious recurring comedy shows. RECOMMENDED: The best movie theaters in Chicago
The best attractions and things to do in Boystown
Boystown has more to offer than epic parties and the best gay bars in Chicago. And while catching the Cubs game in nearby Wrigleyville is loads of fun, just a few blocks over you'll find a slew of attractions and things to do in Boystown, a vibrant North Side neighborhood known for its proud LGBTQ population. Check out some of the city's top storefront theaters, have a laugh at one of the best comedy clubs in Chicago and explore the area's iconic landmarks. Above all else, be sure to check out the best things to do in Boystown outside of Pride Month (though that's an awfully fun time to visit the neighborhood, too). RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to Boystown
The United Center’s giant new scoreboard will look like a steam-spewing EDM stage
While the Blackhawks and Bulls could use upgrades on the ice and on the court, they may have to settle for a massive new scoreboard at the arena they share. The United Center recently released plans for a massive new scoreboard that will be installed in time for the 2109-2020 season. Replacing the arena's current jumbotron, the new scoreboard will be the largest screen display of its kind in NBA and NHL venues. The scoreboard will feature 8,600 square feet of screens, including a continuous inner ring display that will be viewable from seats near the court and the ice—in total, the new board will feature nearly four times more LED screen displays than the current scoreboard. The most noteworthy elements of the new set-up are four additional screens housed inside of the scoreboard that can be extended from the bottom of the unit and a series of smoke machines that can be used to add additional impact to replays and videos. Most importantly, the upgrade should make the experience of watching the game for the nosebleeds a bit more enjoyable, with bigger screens that give everyone in the arena a better view of the action happening down below. You'll be able to check out the latest in jumbotron technology when the Bulls and the Blackhawks begin their respective seasons later this year. For now, you can take a look at the gigantic, smoke-spewing screens that will soon hang in the center over the United Center via this video rendering. 2019 United Center Scoreboard from United Cent
The northern lights might be visible in Chicago this weekend
Aurora borealis, commonly known as the northern lights, is one of nature's rarest and most beautiful phenomenons. In North America, the elusive pastel-colored skies can be viewed in northern regions of the continent—like Canada and Alaska—but due to an abnormal geomagnetic storm, Chicagoans may be able to see them on Saturday night. The "storm," which is expected to reach Earth on Saturday, is scientifically known as a coronal mass ejection (CME), a.k.a. a giant cloud of charged particles that originates from the layer of gas surrounding the sun. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the CME could temporarily strengthen the scope of the northern lights, making it possible for Chicagoans to gaze up and see the stunning natural phenomenon. Don't get your hopes up just yet: As with any cosmic occurrence, the northern lights are incredibly unpredictable, says Michelle Nichols, the director of public observing at Adler Planetarium. The technicolored light show may not reach Chicago at all. "There's no one place [or time] we can tell people to look, there's no one place we can tell people to go," says Nichols. "If you want to take a chance, go far from the city, where you're farther away from light pollution." Nichols adds that even if the northern lights are visible, they won't have their famous green curtain structure you've probably seen in photos. Due to how far south Chicago is from the North Pole, they will instead appear as a general glow, which c
Chance the Rapper made a second mayoral endorsement, and this time it’s Toni Preckwinkle
This morning in City Hall, mayoral candidate Toni Preckwinkle gained an endorsement from one of Chicago's most famous residents—a guy who might be hosting his own music festival this summer. Grammy Award-winning artist Chance the Rapper endorsed Preckwinkle at a press conference, similar to the one he held to throw his support behind former mayoral candidate Amara Enyia in October. Despite holding rallies with Chance and accepting his financial support, Enyia was only able to garner 8 percent of the vote on February 26, putting her in sixth place among the field of 14 candidates. During his press conference, Chance explained that he talked to many city activists and young people before making his decision to back Preckwinkle instead of her opponent, former Chicago Police Board president Lori Lightfoot. "The resounding voice has been that they don't necessarily feel comfortable or safe with going into a city where Lori Lightfoot sits on the fifth floor," Chance said. “[Lightfoot’s] past record as a prosecutor has not been in the best interest of young black people in Chicago.” While significant, Chance's show of support for Preckwinkle doesn't come as much of a surprise—his father, Ken Bennett, is Preckwinkle's campaign co-chairman. Chance's rejection of a candidate with ties to the Chicago Police Department is also in line with his history of speaking out against police brutality and violence towards young black people not just in Chicago, but across the country. Preckwinkle
This new Chicago food hall is built around repurposed shipping containers
Food halls are all the rage right now and Wrigleyville is the latest Chicago neighborhood to embrace the trend. This summer will see the launch of Cargo Food Authority, a new food hall concept that opened its first location late last year at the Target Center in Minneapolis. The Wrigleyville location will take up residence inside a new development on the the corner of Addison and Clark Streets (directly across from Wrigley Field) which already houses Lucky Strike Social, Shake Shack and a Harley Davidson store. True to its name, Cargo Food Authority utilizes repurposed shipping containers as food stalls and kitchens that serve the type of cuisines you'd expect to order from a food truck. Guest will be able to order from a variety of stalls, with dishes like fried chicken, poke bowls, burgers, grilled cheese, ramen and "pizza-stuffed burritos" on the menu. The food hall will also contain a bar housed in a retrofitted double-decker bus that serves craft beer and draft cocktails to the always-thirsty Wrigleyville crowds. Cargo will include elements that reflect its location in Wrigleyville, such as an ivy-covered wall, a selfie scoreboard and raised stadium with a view of a giant wall of TVs that will screen the action across the street on game days. Guests will also be able to blow off steam in the food hall's pitching cage and gawk at a collection of sports memorabilia. Whether you need a meal before heading to the Friendly Confines or a place to watch the Cubs from afar, you'
A huge expansion could bring Divvy bikes to every Chicago ward by 2021
Pretty soon, you may finally be able to find a Divvy bike no matter where you happen to be in Chicago. Last week, Mayor Rahm Emmanuel and the Chicago Department of Transportation proposed a massive amendment that would significantly alter the city's current contract with Lyft, which last year acquired Motivate—the company that operates the city's Divvy bike-sharing system. Under the proposal, Lyft would invest $50 million in 10,500 new electric pedal-assist bikes and 175 new docking stations over the next three years. This huge investment would put Divvy bikes in all 50 wards of Chicago by 2021, fulfilling the program's promise of providing an alternative mode of transportation to every part of the city. As part of the deal, Lyft would become the new sponsor of Divvy (replacing the current sponsor, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois) and gain the right to plaster its logo on every one of the bright blue bikes. For those wondering, electric pedal-assist bikes (e-bikes for short) aren't motorcycles—instead, they use a small motor that makes pedaling easier and allow riders to cruise through the streets at faster speeds. E-bikes have been shown to reduce commute times, but the higher traveling speeds could cause more accidents, especially on the packed streets of downtown Chicago. New bikes joining the Divvy fleet will also sport a hybrid locking technology that would allow riders to lock bikes to conventional bike racks. In theory, this could make it possible to simply lock
Score a free cheeseburger at M Burger this week
M Burger is celebrating nine years in Chicago by once again treating its customers to a free single cheeseburger with any purchase on Wednesday, March 20. Yes, that's right: You'll score a gratis patty with the purchase of any menu item, including French fries ($2.49) and ice-cream cones ($1.99). The promotion is valid at all five M Burger locations on March 20: - The Thompson Center at 100 West Randolph Street- River North at 5 West Ontario Street- Water Tower Place at 835 North Michigan Avenue- Streeterville at 161 East Huron Street- Aurora at 1650 Premium Outlet Boulevard Wash down your free burger with the chance to win M Burger shakes for a year. All you have to do is text “Birthday2019” to 70717 between 9am and 9pm from March 15 to 20. Now that's what we call a party favor. Want more? Sign up here to stay in the know.
What you need to know about voting in the Chicago mayoral runoff election
In April, Chicagoans will head to the polls (again!) to vote in a special runoff election that will elect Chicago's first black female mayor. Runoff elections are a relatively new development in Chicago politics, so if you're confused about why we're already heading back to the voting booth, take a look at our guide to navigating the special election. When is election day? Chicagoans will head to the polls (again) on Tuesday, April 2. Polls are open from 6am to 7pm. Who's on the ballot? The entire city will vote for the next mayor and the city's treasurer. In the mayoral race, Lori Lightfoot is running against Toni Preckwinkle, while in the treasurer race, Ameya Pawar is facing Melissa Conyears-Ervin. Fifteen wards are also having runoff aldermanic elections. Can I vote early? Yes, early voting for the runoff election opened on Monday, March 18 at all 50 ward sites and the Loop Super Site (175 W Washington). Site hours vary, so check before you head to polls, but most are open from 9am–5pm. Where do I vote if I'm voting on election day? Early voters get to cast their ballot at any polling place, but on election day you are required vote at your assigned ward site. Who is eligible to vote in the runoff election? If you're an U.S. citizen who will be 18 years old by April 2, 2019 and you have lived in your Chicago precinct at least 30 days, you are eligible to vote. Didn't vote in Chicago's February election? It doesn't matter! You can still cast a ballot in April. What if I'
Take a look at plans for a 34-acre South Loop development built atop the Metra rails
The list of mega-developments potentially taking shape in Chicago just got bigger. Last night at a community meeting, Wisconsin-based company Landmark Development unveiled renderings for One Central, a multibillion-dollar proposal that could revitalize 34 acres of the South Loop. At the center of the project is a new transit hub that would be located southwest of Soldier Field. The proposed station would be the largest transit hub in Chicago, with access to Metra, Amtrak and CTA trains. A building sitting above the transportation center could house restaurants, shops, hotels and entertainment options for travelers and residents alike. Landmark Development has also proposed the creation of an autonomous tram system, called the Chi-Line, that would offer service between McCormick Place and North Michigan Avenue via a route that runs parallel to the existing Metra tracks. The remainder of the development would be built on a gigantic platform set atop a portion of the Metra rails that run through the South Loop. Renderings for the project depict a series of new high-rises and skyscrapers that are situated between the Field Museum and the northernmost portion of McCormick Place. One Central would extend Chicago's skyline south to 21st Street, where some tall buildings have already sprung up around the Wintrust Arena and McCormick Place. The current plans for One Central also include more than 15 acres of new parks and green space, as well as a Lake Shore Drive walkway that would m
Celebrate Pi Day with tons of great deals on pies and pizza
Pi Day, named for the mathematical constant contained within the date 3/14, has gradually evolved into a holiday centered around food—specifically, pie. Every year, bakeries and pizzerias join in on the fun by offering special deals on slices of pie and pizza. Even if you can only rattle off a few digits of pi (3.1415926535), you can still score a discount on some of the best pie and best pizza in Chicago on Thursday. We've assembled some of the most notable Pi Day bargains below. Baker's Square (all Chicagoland locations)On March 13 and 14 you can get $2 off any full-sized pie when purchased in-store (sadly, cheesecake and carrot cake are excluded from this offer).First Slice Pie Café (all locations)All slices of pie are buy one, get one half off at every Chicagoland First Slice location. Bennison's Bakery (1000 Davis St, Evanston)Offering six-inch pies for $3.14 (in-store only, no pre-orders). Chiya Chai Cafe (2770 N Milwaukee Ave)Offering two specialty pies, Balti Chicken Savory Pie and Kale and Potato Savory Pie, for $3.14 each. Cupitol Coffee + Eatery (455 E Illinois St)Selling miniature Greek pies for $3.14. The Windsor/Remington's Restaurant (160 E Huron St, 20 N Michigan Ave)Both restaurants will sell slices of key lime pie for $5 during lunch and dinner. Jet's Pizza (all Chicagoland locations)Recite the first three digits of pi and get a small one-topping pizza for $3.14. Avli Taverna (1335 W Wrightwood Ave)Selling individual hortopita pies for $3.14 Chicago French M
A Broadway musical based on the pop hits of Britney Spears will debut in Chicago this fall
Britney Spears stans, rejoice! Ahead of a Broadway run, a new musical featuring the Princess of Pop's greatest hits called Once Upon a One More Time will make its world premiere at the James M. Nederlander Theatre this fall. The plot of the jukebox musical doesn't focus on Spears' meteoric rise to fame, so don't expect a time-hopping career retrospective a la The Cher Show (so much for a climactic head-shaving sequence set to "My Prerogative"). Instead, Spears' catalog of hits will be interspersed amid the tale of book club made up of fairy tale princesses like Snow White and Cinderella, who get an education in feminism when a fairy godmother introduces Betty Friedan's classic book, The Feminine Mystique, and challenges their perceptions of "happily ever after." The show's book comes from screenwriter Jon Hartmere, who recently penned the sappy Kevin Hart movie The Upside and used to help Ashton Kutcher pull off pranks on MTV's Punk'd. Tony-nominated director Kristin Hangii (Rock of Ages) will helm the production, which features choreography from YouTube star couple Keone and Mari Madrid. The pre-Broadway engagement of Once Upon a One More Time will replace the previously-planned run of Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough, a bio-musical following the life of Michael Jackson. The Jackson musical was set to premiere at the Nederlander in October, but producers claim that a recent Actors' Equity strike threw off its schedule (the release of the shocking Leaving Neverland documentary,
Win one of 24 free bikes that Goose Island is hiding throughout Chicago today
Not to be outdone by Pi Day on Thursday, Goose Island Beer Company is celebrating its own numerical holiday today, honoring the area code that many Chicagoans share as well as the beer named after it. But 312 Day isn't just an excuse to drink a few brews; it's also an opportunity to win a sweet new black and yellow bike. Today Goose Island is hiding one bike every hour, on the hour throughout the city—the first bike hit street at midnight. You'll need to follow Goose Island on Twitter to receive (fairly obvious) clues that point to where each bike is hidden. Once you've deciphered the clue, you'll have be the first one to find the bike and unlock it with the code 0-3-1-2-0 before cruising away on your brand new ride. Thus far, 12 bikes have been placed across Chicago near landmarks like Hopleaf, the Riviera Theatre and President Barack Obama's home in Hyde Park. All of the bikes have been snatched up quickly, but with 12 more yet to be hidden, you still have a chance to score one today (as long as you happen to be nearby the bike's location). A bike scavenger hunt isn't the only thing that Goose Island has planned for 312 Day. Tonight, the brewery is sponsoring three sold-out concerts at the Empty Bottle, Thalia Hall and Lincoln Hall, featuring acts like Japanese Breakfast, Twin Peaks and Post Animal. Additionally, from 7–9pm this evening the Goose Island Brewhouse on Clybourn will host a conversation with Julie Snyder, co-creator and producer of the award-winning podcast Ser
Here’s every free event happening in Millennium Park this summer
When it gets warm enough to spend afternoons and evenings outdoors, Millennium Park instantly becomes one of the city's busiest attractions, hosting a packed lineup of festivals, concerts, workouts and parties throughout the summer months. World-class programming, free admission, a generous BYOB policy and picture-perfect views of the skyline are just a few of the reasons that this section of Chicago's front lawn is regularly swimming with people. This morning, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events revealed Millennium Park's 2019 calendar of events, which means that it's time to get head start on planning your picnics in the Great Field. Here are all of the free happenings you'll be able to enjoy in Millennium Park this summer. Millennium Park Summer Music SeriesThere's no lineup for this popular free concert series yet, but we expect around 10 shows on this year's slate, which should be revealed in April or May.Most Mondays and Thursdays, June 13–August 15 at 6:30pm, Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago House Music Festival and ConferenceThis year's celebration of house music begins with a conference for DJs, musicians and industry professionals at the Chicago Cultural Center and continues with two days of free performances in Millennium Park, including a set from London R&B collective Reel People and DJ/producer Tony Humphries.May 23 at Chicago Cultural Center; May 24, 25 at Jay Pritzker Pavilion Chicago Gospel Music FestivalChoirs and singers take the sta