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Chicago Like a Local Blog

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

Category - Special Events

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.

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. 

The leaves aren't the only thing changing in Chicago right now. Michigan Avenue is preparing for the opening of a flagship Apple store, and we're all planning out which identities we'll assume for Halloween festivities ahead of October 31. It finally feels as though we're settling into the brisker weather, so we're glad so many of this weekend's events are cozy, indoor ventures. 

Once a year, Chicago's closed-to-the-public architectural gems open their doors wide to welcome visitors from near and far. If you've ever dreamed of going behind-the-scenes, inside a Chicago masterpiece, you won't want to miss Open House Chicago, hosted by the Chicago Architecture Center. This free, two-day public event, held this year on October 14 and 15, offers access to our city's exclusive, magnificent mansions, skyscrapers, theaters, private clubs, industrial facilities, private offices and sacred spaces. While the open sites can be discovered in just about every neighborhood in the city, this year marks the first time that the Northwest Side neighborhood of Logan Square/Avondale will be joining the mix.

The Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) celebrates its 50th year with the theme “Experience today what people will be talking about tomorrow.” The MCA will be offering an exciting series of exhibitions, programs, events, and the unveiling of the museum building’s newest redesign.

Although your "get set, go" might have nothing to do with a course, there's still plenty to do in Chicago this weekend. A touch of rain in the forecast makes a great case for checking out one of these 10 shows you shouldn't miss this October, performances for the inaugural Chicago International Latino Theater Festival (showing at Steppenwolf and Victory Gardens Theatre) or the South Side Film Festival. Here are some other events in Chicago that should be on your radar. 

Even the most die-hard urbanologist could never possibly visit all of Chicago’s distinguished buildings in two, three, or four lifetimes. It would be a formidable task, indeed. Fortunately, there is a weekend of great repute that happens to afford wonderful access to over 200 buildings that would make any student of architecture envious.

Chicago boasts a long history of supplying a vivid backdrop for movies. In classics such as The Blues BrothersFerris Bueller's Day Off and High Fidelity, Chi-town earns starring roles. Films that showcase the North Side and outlying suburbs are regularly cited, but many film lovers don't realize that the South Side has a remarkable film history as well.

From the early 20th century films of Oscar Micheaux, to the array of films shot on the South Side featured in the Black Harvest Film Festival, this area's movie history showcases a rich, if often overlooked, history. The first annual South Side Film Festival remedies that situation with a line-up of South Side film classics.

Why are most of a city’s most beautiful spaces not granted public access? Even those that do might limit admission with entrance fees, while others are completely closed off to the public. Wouldn't it be nice to see what lies behind the closed doors of some of Chicago’s most emblematic buildings?

Thanks to the Chicago Architecture Foundation (CAF), once a year, the public is invited to explore the inside of usually locked up buildings—completely free of charge.

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