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With so many incredible venues, ranging from intimate neighborhood clubs to historic music halls, Chicago is a prime tour stop and home to incredible local talent. Here are just 30 top spots to check out. Carrying on the traditions set forth by the legends that once took the stage, this former speakeasy in Uptown dates back to and is the longest continuously running jazz club in the country.
Inyear-old Ben Wilson was America's most talented basketball prospect until the sweet-natured boy was senselessly murdered.
Thanks for subscribing! Look out for your first Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 in your inbox soon! It's summer festival season in Chicago, and you have plenty of options for fun in the streets this weekend. Here's a look at more of the best things to do in Chicago this weekend. Projecting a story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, Art on theMart's latest program is inspired by the rhythms and melodies of local musicians. You'll also spot a video soundtracked by contemporary ensemble Eighth Blackbird and a collaboration between visual artist Selina Trepp and musician Dan Bitney.
Art on theMART's array of 34 digital projectors display the minute program at 9 and pm every evening. When it comes to street festivals, the annual Wicker Park Fest is usually one of the season's largest and most crowded events, attracting thousands of people to a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue that's crowded with bars, chain restaurants, boutiques and shoe stores. The main attraction is the solid music lineup, which features headlining sets from indie rockers Archers of Loaf and local hip-hop emcee Ric Wilson.
You'll also find plenty of food from local vendors, well-stocked beer tents, sales at surrounding shops and a dedicated kids area. Local artist Evan Miller a.
Directed by coodie and chike
EvanArt has a vision of Chicago's distant future, imagining a time when some of the city's music venues, movie theaters and other famous landmarks are mostly intact and overgrown with otherworldly vegetation. It's a time when folks are still biking to the Empty Bottle, but they're wearing space suits and huge helmets instead of skinny jeans and ballcaps.
Though you've likely seen Miller's drawings on Instagram, you can experience them in the real world during his "Journey into the Twenty Second City" solo exhibition at Gallery Cafe in Bucktown, showcasing a selection of his sci-fi-influenced urban vistas as well as plenty of prints available for purchase.
The Olympic Games Tokyo have arrived a year late and Fatpour Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 Works is hosting a pop-up that might be one of the more festive places to watch your favorite events. Rebranding as Fatpour Olympic Village from July 21 through August 8, the Wicker Park brewpub is festooned with flags representing all participating countries as well as a giant Olympic rings .
Swing by to watch the broadcast and enjoy boozy snow cones, themed cocktails and an international menu of pizzas try the Fassbender, with white sauce, sauerkraut, beer brats, brown mustard, onions and gouda cheese. You can also compete in bar games like shuffleboard, bubble hockey and Skee-Ball for a chance to win tickets to Lollapalooza or a Cubs game.
Check out the Fatpour website for a complete schedule of events during the pop-up's run. No one would claim that downtown Chicago isn't walkable, exactly, but you'd also be loathe to find it Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 of traffic except late at night and other quiet occasions. That'll change ever so slightly starting July 11, when a section of State Street spanning from Madison to Lake Streets will close to vehicle traffic for Sundays on State, a new initiative from the city and Chicago Loop Alliance that i nvites pedestrians to explore the iconic downtown stretch without interruption from cars—and enjoy performances, fitness classes, local vendors and shopping in Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 middle of the street.
Tales of the sea and the feminine divine come alive in this limited-run outdoor puppet show featuring a series of original plays all written by up-and-coming female playwrights and lyricists and a trove of luminous sea creature puppets—everything from a sharp-toothed whale to foot-long mermaids.
The event is free to attend, but make sure to register for a ticket ahead of time. Part of the city's stacked lineup of summer programming, House City is a part series of free events that celebrate the homegrown house music genre. Each concert takes place in a different neighborhood, with a focus on areas where those who helped create the genre resided and performed. It's the summer of hard seltzer again and with so many brands ing the boozy fizzy beverage fray, it can be hard to keep up. Hotel guests and the general public can book a minute reservation online, which includes a complimentary tasting flight curated by the staff you can also taste up to four flavors from a single brand.
You'll also get a can of seltzer of your choice to enjoy during your reservation.
The pop-up only sticks around until August 8 and we're pretty sure that plenty of people are going to jump at the chance to taste hard seltzers free of charge. Make your reservation ASAP! Local restaurants bring their most famous dishes outside for two days of tastings at this Lincoln Park street festival. You'll find more than vendors lining Lincoln Avenue, including area businesses and eateries, as well as four stages of live music and a kids carnival area stocked with activities, face painting, games and more. Don't forget to try the fest's myriad tastings, which offer samples of goodies ranging from wine and whiskey to chocolates.
One of the things we missed most last summer was Sportsman's Club backyard BBQ series, which brings a local restaurant to the bar's patio to cook a meal that's usually paired with a beverage.
For the uninitiated, the takeovers are first-come, first-served, with the featured chef holding court over the bar's grill and menu. The South Side Jazz Coalition is hosting a series of free monthly jazz performances this summer on the steps of the St. Bring a lawn chair, some snacks and prepare to hear some top-notch music from the Chicago jazz community—plus, every performance ends with a jam session.
Cooper Crain, Dan Quinlivan and Rob Frye convene for a meditative set that blends electronic and acoustic instrumentation to form droning, textural compositions. Bitchin Bajas hasn't released a new record sincebut its Rebajas CD boxset is an excellent crash course in the trio's entrancing sounds.
The best things to do in chicago this weekend
Prepare to enter a new zone when the group performs a full-capacity show at Constellation—if you're not quite ready to return to a venue, the show will also be streaming live online. Shop for paintings, prints, jewelry, vintage goods and plants at the first Palmer Square Art Fair, which brings together more than 30 vendors in the Logan Square park. Focusing on local vendors who could use the support after more than a year without art fairs and other in-person events, this event offers a way to support creative folks.
For the first time ever, Macy's opulent Walnut Room will host a series of drag brunches this summer. While you watch, you'll be treated to raspberry-stuffed French toast, mimosa flights and other colorful snacks.
Can't make the first event? The Walnut Room is also hosting a '90s themed drag brunch on July 24—stay tuned for more details on who's performing.
Celebrate the anniversary of Colombian independence at this festival in Humboldt Park, where you'll find live music, food vendors, a circus, a kids' area, games and more. Headlining acts on the music stage include salsa acts Charlia Cardona and Javier Vasquez as well as folk singer Nelson Velasquez.
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Tortoise bassist and Chicago experimental music fixture Douglas McCombs revisists the early catalog of his long-running Brokeback project, ed by frequent collaborators James Elkington on pedal steel, Areif Sless-Kitain on drums and bassist Pete Croke. Building on on a livestreaming set that band debuted last fall, the group's spacious instrumentals are accompanied by ambient video footage from visual artist Kim Alpert.
You can soak in Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 audio-visual experience during this seated and distanced show at Thalia Hall, presented at a limited capacity. We all missed out on at least one birthday celebration over the past year, so the folks at Milk Bar are giving you the opportunity for a do-over. Make a free reservation to secure your spot or swing by throughout the day for first come, first served walk-in service.
In the mood for a drink and some new trinkets? Celebrate the beginning of patio season with a glass of wine and some good old fashioned browsing at this Sunday afternoon pop-up market at Logan Square's Easy Does It. If you're looking to have a drink, we suggest making a reservation at Easy Does It beforehand, though a select of tables will be available for walk-ins. Gather in the Rainbow Beach Park Fieldhouse for a conversation about the importance of community gardens presented by the Chicago Humanities Festival, with a panel that features urban agriculture experts like Blacks In Green president Naomi Davis and NeighborSpace assistant director Robin Cline.
You'll learn about why urban plots where produce and flowers can be grown are integral to communities throughout the city particularly on the South Side before heading to the nearby Rainbow Beach Vistory Garden to take part in tours, demos, a scavenger hunt and more opportunities for outdoor fun. The Obamas are coming back to Chicago, in portrait form!
Paintings of President Barack Obama and Mrs. Unveiled inthe Obama portraits are notable for their striking modern appearances and use of bright colors, standing in contrast to past presidential portraits that favored a classical style and a somber palette. Painted by Kehinde Wiley, Barack Obama's portrait depicts the president against a wall of foliage, with flowers symbolizing his heritage including Chicago's official flower, the chrysanthemum peeking through the leaves. The portrait of Michelle Obama by artist Amy Sherald renders the former First Lady in shades of grey, wearing a deer dress in front of a vivid blue backdrop.
For classical music lovers who enjoy taking in a show set beneath Chicago's skyline, the annual Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 Park Music Festival is perennial favorite summer event. This year's series of classical concerts kicks off just before the Fourth of July with a pair of Independence Day Salute concerts, featuring plenty of patriotic tunes.
Coodie simmons and chike ozah
There are 15 more shows on the program this year, including performances of symphonies by Beethoven, Haydn and Brahms; an evening of classic Broadway arrangements and a set of classic Irish songs. Capacity throughout the season will be reduced and free reservations will be required for seating on the Great Lawn and within Pritzker Pavilion.
Find more information on the Grant Park Music Festival website. The folks behind Jack's Pumpkin Pop-up and Frosty's Christmas Bar once again set their sights on summer in Chicago, when the weather is warm and people generally want to be doing something outdoors. Neon Summer transforms a two-acre stretch of land just west of Goose Island into a destination for family-friendly fun during the day and late night thrills for those who are at least 21 years old.
Light up the sky
The space features a go-kart track, a miniature golf course, axe throwing, plenty of fun photo opportunities and multiple bars serving drinks alongside bites like grilled corn on the cob and neon cotton candy. The price of admission varies based on when you show up and what activities you want to take part in—and make sure to stop by before this summertime wonderland closes in early September.
The show takes place in an ornate, circular theater deed to resemble a Belgian mirror tent where the audience surrounds the stage. Guests dig into a four-course meal while watching as comedians, aerialists, acrobats, singers and dancers perform amazing feats and catchy tunes.
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It's somewhere between Cirque du Soleil and a traditional cabaret show, with restaurant-quality refreshments. A group of Chicago musicians with deep ties to the local scene, the sound of the Chicago Soul Jazz Collective is true to its name, melding soulful grooves with upbeat jazz arrangements.
The band returns to Time Out Market Chicago on Sunday for another set of upbeat tunes that you can't help but clap along to. Chicago has traditionally been a city where independent comic artists and cartoonists have thrived, thanks to a steady supply of art school students and graduates charting their own course in the medium.
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The latest Museum of Contemporary Art exhibition explores six decades of work by local artists, ranging from traditional strips to experimental longform pieces that buck conventions. With pieces from artists like Kerry James Marshall, Lynda Barry, and Chris Ware on display, this survey of comic art features work that hasn't been shown in museums before, offering a look at process of cartooning, the collaborations that it encourages and the creativity that Chicagoans have penciled and inked into the world.
Spin classes and weight lifting can wait for the winter. Need to get out of the house? Switch up your Saturday routine and head to Time Out Market Chicago for storytime from Merit School of Music, a local institution that teaches students of all ages and fosters creativity. Hosted on Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30 second floor, performing artists will combine music, movement and early literacy skills to help your little ones explore their senses. Bring the whole family and prepare to tap your toes and sing along. Originally established in the late s, the Maxwell Street Market brought vendors, musicians and cooks to an open-air flea market where shoppers could find just about anything they wanted.
The market introduced the Maxwell Street Polish sausage, provided a venue for rising Chicago blues musicians and was immortalized in a scene in The Blues Brothers. These days, the market sets up on nearby Desplaines Street between Roosevelt and Howard every Sunday, where visitors will find vendors hawking their wares, an abundance of delicious Mexican food and occasional performances by local bands and dance troupes.
Don't let the cold or wet weather scare you away—the Maxwell Street Market takes place outdoors Lookin for her 30 Chicago 30. 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. Yoakum would often create one piece of artwork every day.