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Chicago Like a Local Blog

Unique perspectives on the city from the people who live here.

We might be a big city, but Chicago is rooted in its neighborhoods. This weekend, learn about the cultural fabrics that make up many of our neighborhoods. Whether you choose to explore museums that are part of the Chicago Cultural Alliance or get an early start with authentic Dia de los Muertos celebrations, learn more about who makes up the fabric of Chicago's diversity. You'll also get a good glimpse of the city's variety of background during this week's round up of events. 

Why go to see another run-of-the-mill movie when you can catch a live, world-class, kid-friendly show at a downtown theater for less than $8? The Exelon Family Series performances are designed for children ages 4–12 and hit the stage of the Harris Theater at 2 p.m. on Saturdays: that means you can spend a weekend afternoon with your whole family at the theater, complete with educational materials, discussion questions, and a "no hush" policy to allow for your young art lovers to experience the theater in their own way. You'll want to save some time to explore adjacent Millennium Park, too!

Chicago is filled with hidden history. From a cemetery concealed beneath the lovely green fields of Lincoln Park to a ghostly guest at a settlement house, some of our city's most historic sites have an untold, eerie side too. October is one of the best times of the year to visit these three (allegedly) haunted, yet history filled places. 

Chicago is the fabled city of big shoulders, big buildings and with a renowned foodie scene, big appetites. But at its core, this is really a city of neighborhoods and diverse ethnic communities. You can travel through dozens of countries and cultures of the world just by exploring Chicago neighborhoods and cultural institutions. The Chicago Cultural Alliance (CCA) serves as connector to 35 museums and cultural organizations representing 24 different neighborhoods and 28 different ethnic communities. Forget about airfare, you can discover China, Haiti, Puerto Rico and Ukraine all in a few days in Chicago.

Chicago's Year of Public Art rolls on with an exciting addition to the already amazing diversity of programs, talks, and of course, compelling new public art installations. Kerry James Marshall, the celebrated contemporary artist is bringing a massive new piece to the Chicago Cultural Center over the coming weeks — and at 132 by 100 feet — it will be nothing short of epic.

Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, celebrates the circle of life, with a focus on death and rebirth. Observed across Latin America, the festivities begin on November 1 and last through the night of November 2. Chicago, thanks to its large Mexican-American population, offers a number of ways to celebrates the traditions of Día de Los Muertos. We've rounded up four ways to celebrate this memorable holiday. 

"Saturday Night Live: The Experience" opens on October 21 at the Museum of Broadcast Communications. The 12,000-square-foot installment takes you on a journey behind the scenes of the late-night live television sketch comedy and variety show that continues to be an American staple as it enters its 43rd season.

The American media image of Indian American culture focuses on curries, yoga gurus and Bollywood dancers, but there are many more aspects to discover. The Field Museum presents a fascinating glimpse with its exhibit, "Beyond Bollywood: Indian Americans Shape the Nation". Tracing the paths that many Indian immigrants took to the U.S., the exhibition displays the daily lives, achievements and varied cultural contributions of Indian Americans.

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