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Chicago Like a Local Blog

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

Category - Arts/Culture/Entertainment

Once upon a time, the thought of Santa Claus leaping down the chimney with a sack full of presents filled us with wide-eyed wonder and uncontainable anticipation. Every day felt like a month as we waited out the long winter to catch a glimpse of the Man in Red.

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival officially kicks off the holiday season in Chicago. Each year, more than 1 million people bundle up and enjoy a night of family-friendly entertainment. This year, the celebration takes place Friday, November 17, and Saturday, November 18. Here are seven reasons why you'll want to attend the 2017 Magnificent Mile Lights Festival.

10 Free Things to Do in Chicago This November

Wednesday, November 1, 2017 10:00 AM by Maddy Osman

With so many free things to do this month, there's a lot to be grateful for this November! As the holiday season officially begins, there's a long list of things that will become full: tummies, parks, and ice skating rinks are among them, but nothing is more full than Chicago's social calendar! 

In the short forward to his classic 1917 tome The Ideal Bartender, Tom Bullock, a St. Louis bartender and the first African American to publish a cocktail recipe book, mused, "Is it any wonder that mankind stands open-mouthed before the bartender, considering the mysteries and marvels of an art that borders on magic?" Widely considered an American invention, it wasn't until Prohibition ended in 1933 that cocktail lounges began to sprout up across Chicago, replacing the traditional, beer and straight hard liquor focused saloons.

Joffrey Ballet sweeps into its new season with the legendary Romantic ballet, GiselleEquipped with a gorgeous backdrop and elegant staging by Lola de Avila, this tragic lovers tale is a must see. Giselle runs through October 29 at the Auditorium Theatre and features a rare display of soft, simplistic movements by a company noted for contemporary style.

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 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.

"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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