As we head into the final stretch of summer, it's time to pack in everything on your bucket list. Spend a long day building sandcastles on Oak Street Beach, hit up the museums you've missed, enjoy dinner al fresco with a scenic view, and run away and join the circus. Wait...what?! Here are three family-friendly circus shows you won't want to miss this summer in Chicago, including a new Avatar-inspired act from Cirque du Soleil.
Cirque du Soleil grand big top will be setting up shop at the United Center on August 3-7 for its latest touring show. Inspired by James Cameron's record-breaking movie Avatar, TORUK — The First Flight, will transport you to the world of Pandora, where incredible visuals, puppetry and circus magic bring an imaginary world to life.
Set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film Avatar, and before any humans ever set foot on Pandora, the story focuses on Ralu and Entu, two Omaticaya boys who set out to save their kingdom's sacred Tree of Souls. Together with their newfound friend Tsyal, they embark on a quest high up in the Floating Mountains in search of the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Cirque du Soleil is always a magical treat for both the little and big ones in your family.
For tickets and more information, visit: cirquedusoleil.com/toruk.
If you're looking for in-the-budget evening of awesome circus entertainment, head to the Aloft Loft performance space where El Circo Cheapo will thrill you with their amazing feats. This cabaret style circus features humans that can bend, juggle, contort, leap and (just about) fly. Picnic style seating means that you can sit comfortably and literally at the foot of the action. (Regular seats are also available).
Catch El Circo Cheapo! onstage every first Saturday of the month at Aloft Loft (2041 W. Carroll), a former warehouse in the Kinzie Corridor. Ticket prices range from $10 - 15, kids under 5 are free. The 7 p.m. performance is very family-friendly, but the 10 p.m. is ages 18+.
For more information and tickets, visit: elcircocheapo.com
Every summer, the Midnight Circus unfurls its big top as it tours from park to park across the city. The eclectic circus troupe features a wide-ranging ensemble of acrobats, aerialists, eccentrics, one rescued dog and even a talented kids.This year, the Midnight Circus will tour eight Chicago parks from August through October. Each 90 minute-show takes place under a little big top tent where there is no such thing as a bad seat.
Ogden Park — August 27 & 28
Gately Park — September 3 & 4
McKinley Park — September 10 & 11
Wicker Park — September 16-18
Oriole Park — September 24 & 25
Independence Park — October 1 & 2
Hamlin Park — October 8 & 9
Welles Park — October 14-16
For tickets and more information, visit: midnightcircus.net