Choose Chicago Media Relations:
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (July 2021) – As Chicago enters Phase Five, fully reopening under the “Restore Illinois Plan” and with Mayor Lori Lightfoot introducing the latest Open Chicago initiative, the city is on track for a lively, eventful summer and fall. Navy Pier has reopened, welcoming visitors back to one of Chicago’s most iconic attractions and debuting a brand new hotel, the Sable at Navy Pier. An eclectic mix of new hotels are springing up across the city, including the recently opened Pendry Chicago in the landmarked Carbide & Carbon Building, and Jeanne Gang’s highly anticipated St.Regis Chicago, projected to open in fall 2021.
The resumption of indoor dining is augmented by the opening of some exciting new restaurants, including Venteux by Chicago’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Donald Young (Temporis, Les Nomades, Bistrot Saveurs); Rose Mary, the Italian-Croatian concept from Spiaggia alum and Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm (rated No. 2 on Time Out magazine’s Best New Restaurants in the World); a riverside cafe by World Central Kitchen founder and restaurateur Chef José Andrés called Joe’s by the River; Gordon Ramsay Burger, a concept by celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay coming to River North, and more.
There is plenty to experience this summer at Chicago’s world-famous museums: The Obama Portraits, at the Art Institute of Chicago on the first stop of their U.S. tour; a new Frida Kahlo: Timeless exhibit at the Cleve Carney Museum of Art; The Art of Banksy exhibit and the Field Museum’s new exhibit on The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall, among many others.
Perhaps most exciting of all, festivals and live outdoor events are making a return! From the Grant Park Music Festival bringing classical concerts back to the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion, to Lollapalooza returning with an all-star lineup (Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler, The Creator, Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion), to Pitchfork Music Festival welcoming Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu and more, there will be music to delight every ear. McCormick Place, the largest convention center in the U.S. is excited to welcome the Chicago Auto Show, the first live, in-person consumer event since the pandemic shutdown while the Chicago Architecture Biennialreturns in September 2021 for a thoughtful fourth edition titled The Available City, which asks attendees to consider the impact collective space can have in cities today. And the largest street festival in the Midwest will return with Northalsted Market Days®, Chicago’s hottest summer celebration celebrating life and community in Chicago’s historic LGBTQ+ friendly Northalsted/Lakeview district, with all-day lineups of live music on five stages, 250+ unique vendors, arts, crafts, food and drink, DJs and dancing and more.
Check out what’s new in Chicago this summer (and early fall) and visit www.ChooseChicago.com for more information.
- S. News & World Report ranked Chicago #1 in Best Weekend Getaways in the Midwest and ranked Chicago #3 in the categories Best Foodie Cities in the U.S., Best Weekend Getaways and Best Summer Vacations in the USA
- The Peninsula Chicago and The Langham, Chicago were named among the top five hotels in the country according to S. News & World Report’s 2021 Annual Best Hotels rankings. (Chicago is the only US destination to claim two spots in the top five!)
- Nobu Chicago was named to Travel + Leisure’s It List 2021, celebrating the most impressive openings of the past year.
- Forbes Travel Guide honored three Chicago hotels (The Four Seasons, The Langham, Chicago and The Peninsula Chicago) with 5-star ratings in the 2021 Star Awards Winners – Forbes Travel Guide.
- The Michelin Guide celebrated Chicago’s resilient culinary scene by granting three new restaurants Michelin stars, including:
- Ever (West Loop – Two Star) where Chef Curtis Duffy and Michael Muser preside over a bespoke room in which fine dining enchants palates with complex flavors, stirring textures and visual fireworks;
- Moody Tongue (South Loop – Two Star), Jared Wentworth’s seasonal, ingredient-driven tasting menu concept housed in the Moody Tongue brewery building;
- Porto (Bucktown – One Star) where Chef Marcos Campos’ style is anchored by his Spanish heritage and explores the Atlantic coast of Spain and Portugal through its conservas, seafood and specialty rice dishes.
- Big 7 Travel has rated Chicago one of the “50 Most Instagrammable Places in the World, 2021” and one of the top “Romantic Cities in the U.S.” Chicago’s own Pequod’s Pizza also took 5th place in the category 50 Best Pizzas in the United States.
- Chicago is among the best sports cities in the world, according to 2021 Burson Cohn & Wolfe’s annual World Sports City Ranking.
- Chicago was ranked “Best Big City in the U.S.” in 2020 for the fourth consecutive year by Condé Nast Traveler’s discerning readers.
Canopy by Hilton Central Loop, located directly across the street from Willis Tower, in the epicenter of Chicago’s financial district, will feature a total of 215 total guest rooms (192 regular rooms and 23 suites). Famous attractions such as The Art Institute of Chicago, Millennium Park and Chicago Riverwalk are less than 10 minutes away. Open all day, the onsite Depot 226, a Bistro, market and coffee shop, offers a stylish, retro space that is inviting and comfortable and perfect for breakfast, brunch, lunch, or even a casual dinner. The hotel is slated to open September 2021.
The Chicago Hotel Collection will welcome a new location in Millennium Park featuring 4-Star all suite accommodations with full kitchens, perfect for business, leisure, extended stays, corporate relocations or large groups/families. Guests will have access to an expert Concierge Team and receive an incredible daily amenity package featuring 3 drinks per night, free Wi-Fi, use of Peloton Bikes on site with reservation, early check-in/late check-out, booking credits to use for their next stay when booked direct and a complimentary 1-year Club 1 Hotels membership. The new Millennium Park outpost is slated to open August 2021, with another outpost coming to Wicker Park in September 2021.
The LaSalle Hotel, located on South LaSalle Street in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, will be a 234-room luxury hotel occupying the top five floors of a historic landmark building. (It will sit atop the JW Marriott Hotel, which already occupies the first 12 stories of the former Continental building.) Expected completion of the property is projected for Fall 2021.
Pendry Hotels & Resorts announced its further U.S. expansion with the renovation of the Art Deco Chicago landmark, the Carbide & Carbon Building (and former St. Jane Hotel), as Pendry Chicago. Featuring 364 redesigned guestrooms and suites in a contemporary palette awash in warm minimal tones and comfortable finishes, the Pendry Chicago also features public spaces thoughtfully designed by Alessandro Munge’s Studio Munge. The hotel’s signature restaurant and bar concept, Venteux is helmed by Executive Chef-Partner Donald Young (Temporis, Les Nomades, Bistrot Saveurs), Chicago’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, and overseen by hospitality and nightlife pioneer, Andy Masi, and his Clique Hospitality group. In addition, the hotel features a lobby bar and lounge, a spectacular rooftop lounge, 12,000 square feet of meetings and event space, curated fitness and wellness programming, and an extensive art collection.
Sable Hotel at Navy Pier (a Curio Collection by Hilton property) is perched astride one of Chicago’s most beloved and iconic destinations – Navy Pier – and located just steps from cultural attractions like Chicago Shakespeare Theater and the Crystal Gardens. It features 223 guest rooms, over 4,200 square feet in event space and two restaurants – the first floor’s Iberian and American influence restaurant bar Lirica and Offshore Rooftop and Bar, the nation’s largest rooftop, with a 20,000 square foot terrace, multiple firepits and an entertainment area. The hotel opened its doors to the public on March 18, 2021.
SpringHill Suites Chicago Chinatown, the first hotel of its kind to hit Chicago’s Chinatown, has officially opened its doors. The latest development to hit this century-old neighborhood, located in the heart of Chicago’s vibrant Chinatown community, offers guests a sensory-overload of history and culture as soon as they enter through the iconic red “Welcome Gate”. Pioneered, owned and developed by T2 Properties, patrons looking to sleep, work and relax will enjoy access to 148 comfortable suites, a fitness studio, and a complimentary daily buffet or hot breakfast option. The hotel also features an expansive lobby perfect for small gatherings as well as a boardroom for upcoming meetings, small weddings, and more.
Chicago’s newest skyscraper, the third-tallest building in Chicago, is being rebranded as The St. Regis Chicago, after the owners signed an agreement with St. Regis Hotels & Resorts to manage a 191-room luxury hotel. The St. Regis Chicago will also include 393 luxury condominiums, complete with a sky terrace and outdoor pool on the 47th floor, as well as a private lounge and dining room, a demo kitchen, golf lounge and more. The award-winning Alinea Group from Chef Grant Achatz and Nick Kokonas (Alinea, Next, Aviary, Roister) will operate a fine dining restaurant with an outdoor terrace, an all-day restaurant and lounge overlooking the Chicago River and a bar with an outdoor terrace as part of the luxury hotel. The hotel is scheduled to open later this year.
Dennis Watkins’ The Magic Parlour, Chicago’s longest-running magic show, will celebrate 10 years at the Palmer House Hilton this year, returning for in-person performances beginning August 6, 2021. Watkins will introduce several new magic and mentalism pieces to his oeuvre and show tickets are currently on-sale through October 29, 2021.
This June ushered in a major milestone for Lettuce Entertain You Restaurants (LEYE) as it marked 50 years since founder Rich Melman opened his first restaurant, R.J. Grunts in Chicago’s Lincoln Park neighborhood!
- LEYE is celebrating with a 50th Anniversary Summer Scratch Off where, until August 10,2021, Frequent Diner Club Members can have the chance to win 2X, 3X, 4X, or 5X points when they dine.
Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria, known for its legendary deep dish in Chicago, is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year. While many things have changed since 1971, Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria has remained the same and stayed true to its quality, hospitality and deep dish pizza recipe that have made them a favorite nationwide. Lou Malnati and his wife Jean, opened their first deep dish pizzeria in Lincolnwood, a northern suburb of Chicago, on March 17, 1971. From that restaurant, a recipe for success was born and the legacy continues through Lou’s sons, Marc and Rick Malnati.
The Peninsula Chicago celebrated their 20th anniversary on June 1, continuing a two decades-long tradition of welcoming guests with a blend of midwestern hospitality and Far Eastern graciousness. To commemorate the 20-year milestone, the hotel is offering a variety of ways for guests to celebrate:
- The Peninsula’s culinary team has researched classic menu items and selected a list of popular favorites for guests to enjoy June through December 2021. A selection of classic favorite menu items, including roasted tomato soup, classic Caesar salad and Pierrot Gourmet chicken salad, will be available on The Lobby menu, while Shanghai Terrace will feature a bespoke, limited dim sum dumpling including shrimp and a variety of vegetables. A new signature cocktail – ‘The Pen 20’ – will be available in Z Bar, The Lobby and Shanghai Terrace through the end of 2021. (For meals purchased at the hotel’s restaurants through the end of 2021, The Peninsula Chicago is making a one-for-one meal donation to The Greater Chicago Food Depository.)
Restaurants and Dining:
Slated to open mid-June 2021 in Chicago’s Gold Coast neighborhood, Adalina serves a modern and engaging Italian menu by Michelin-starred chef Soo Ahn, previously with Band of Bohemia. Adalina’s menu creates a balance between Northern and Southern cuisines; guests can expect house made extruded and stuffed pastas, imported meats and cheeses, and hand-selected beef and seafood selections. Adalina’s offerings will be accompanied with tableside services, and a well curated beverage and wine program that aims to evoke a sense of excitement for guests.
Chef Doug Psaltis (RPM Restaurants) opened Andros Taverna in February, a passion project built out of love — love for food, family and community, honoring both heritage and tradition. Andros is a contemporary Greek restaurant in Chicago’s vibrant Logan Square neighborhood, adjacent to the city’s forthcoming public park and green space expansion. Doug is joined at Andros by Hsing Chen, a pastry chef with an impressive pedigree (Manresa Restaurant, The French Laundry, The Peninsula Hotels, Jean-Georges Restaurants) who also happens to be his wife. The pair partnered with another husband-and-wife duo, Ryan and Anna O’Donnell, successful restaurateurs and founders of Ballyhoo Hospitality (Gemini, Old Pueblo Cantina, Coda di Volpe, Sophia Steak) to form Andros Restaurant Group.
Chef/Owner Stephen Gillanders (S.K.Y., Somerset) debuted his newest concept, Apolonia in the South Loop in April 2021. Named after Gillanders’ grandmother, Apolonia offers seasonal, seafood-centric coastal European and Mediterranean fare. Dishes will include grilled swordfish with piperade and rapini; pork presse with sauce amatriciana and swiss chard; seared mussel toast with tomato and espelette; plus a selection of housemade pastas like a tagliatelle with seared scallops and robiola ravioli with parmesan brodo. Pastry chef Tatum Sinclair has developed a collection of noteworthy items such as a savory black truffle puff bread, and a signature pistachio gelato. Sommelier Jelena Prodan has created a distinct beverage program with wines thoughtfully sourced from all around the globe, an expansive by-the-glass selection, and an exciting, one-of-a-kind vermouth program with custom blended Apolonia vermouth on tap.
Executive Chef Ryan Brosseau brings a passion for preservation and pickling, whole-animal butchery, and bread baking to Dear Margaret, the restaurant he opened in January 2021 focusing on French-Canadian cuisine inspired by his mémé (grandmother) Margaret, with a nod to the Midwestern farmers and purveyors from whom he sources high-quality local ingredients. Currently focused on delivery and takeout, Dear Margaret’s dining room and patio access will be coming soon.
Gordon Ramsay Burger, a new concept from celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, will open in a 5,000 square foot space in the city’s River North neighborhood in late 2021 or early 2022. The Chicago location, which will be equipped with an island bar and seating for 120, will be the second Gordon Ramsay Burger location in the U.S, and the chef’s first restaurant in Chicago. Alongside elevated, butter-based burgers (blending different cuts of meat to impart a bolder flavor), the developing menu also plans to include milkshakes, fries and high-end fast food dishes.
Kitchen United MIX, a to-go food hall, is opening a second Chicago location in the former Wells St. Market. Kitchen United MIX, the future of takeout and delivery, is the nation’s first “Multi-Restaurant Ordering” to-go experience, the only destination that allows foodie fans who love variety to order meals from 10+ restaurants, all on the same bill. They have locations around the nation, including one in Chicago’s River North neighborhood. The new 10,500 square-foot facility houses local, regional and national restaurant brands, including Hawaiian Bros,Greenleaf, Siri Indian Express, Trejo’s Tacos, Dog Haus, Plant B and more.
Matchacita, Chicago’s first matcha-focused café recently opened in Lincoln Park and founded and co-owned by Bianca Pearson, is a dual-branded partnership with the recently opened health-conscious eatery Squeez Juice Bar, founded by Zach Segal. An exclusive concept to Chicago, Matchacita offers a full menu of lattes, specialty drinks and pastries that boast superfoods such as antioxidants and all the benefits of matcha.
Opened on January 15, 2021, Pilsen Yards is a bar-centric and music-driven hangout in the heart of Pilsen with an open air vibe and plenty of room to spread out safely and comfortably. Executive chef Armando Gonzalez’s menu of inspired Latin street food, from tacos to ceviches, hummus to carne asada is plated up next to a mezcal, tequila, and whiskey charged bar program from beverage director Lance Bowman, and it’s all on the cheap. Pilsen Yards includes a covered, heated outdoor patio with a radiant-heated cement floor, radiant overhead heaters, a clear roof, and exposed wooden beams. Tucked within Pilsen Yards is The Alderman, an intimate, 18-seat speakeasy-inspired cocktail bar.
DineAmic Hospitality is reinventing its popular, decade-old concept Public House, as Radio Room, an American restaurant sports bar and music lounge set to open in July 2021.The 10,000-square-foot space will seat 300 guests at full capacity in four unique spaces and become a go-to for everything from game day to late-night jam sessions. A 15-foot stage will be backlit with a wall of smart marquee bulbs that strobe and dance with the music during late-night live performances or laid-back sets at brunch, and the design theme will juxtapose vintage kitsch with today’s tech. At The Studio, an intimate private event and daytime dining space inspired by a real-life recording studio, guests can partake in blue-tooth headphone karaoke that only their party can hear. Meanwhile, nostalgia reigns in The Deck, a 10-by-10-foot space housing the Pop-A-Shot Shot Bar, where guests can shoot baskets and sip throwback shooters like Flaming Doctor Peppers and Pickle-backs. Chef Nolan Narut, former Executive Chef of Ella Elli and Stefani Prime, hits all the right notes with a menu inspired by American Southern comfort food from culinary cities like Nashville and Charleston but made with fresh, local ingredients
Chicago’s favorite pop-up bar, Replay Lincoln Park, is bringing back some good ole’ childhood nostalgia with their latest pop up, Nick Arcade, transforming all 9,000 square feet of their space, including the outdoor patio, into iconic spots inspired by 90’s Nickelodeon favorites including Rugrats, Hey Arnold, Are You Afraid of the Dark, CatDog, Doug, Rocko’s Modern Life and much more. The pop up will offer an exclusive selection of Nick-inspired cocktails and slime shots as well as a themed food menu for guests to enjoy as they travel down memory lane, and will run through July 11, 2021. Tickets are now available, and reservations are highly encouraged.
Joe Flamm, the South Side Chicago native, Spiaggia alum and Season 15 winner of Top Chef debuted Rose Mary in April 2021, inspired by his Italian heritage and the bold, bright flavors of Croatian cuisine. The space, located in the historic Fulton Market District and named for Flamm’s grandmothers, as well as the herb rosemary which grows natively along the Italian and Croatian coastlines, offers a seasonal menu of rustic yet refined dishes that encapsulate what Flamm has coined “Adriatic drinking food.” Designed by award-winning Los Angeles-based firm Studio UNLTD, the dynamic interior with whitewashed brick walls, honey-colored oak millwork, and pale stone surfaces—all accented by moments of red clay and deep, azure blue tilework—reflects the utilitarian yet celebratory spirit of traditional family-run, age-old taverns in Croatia known as konobas. Rose Mary has also taken second place in TimeOut’s list ofThe 21 best new restaurants in the world right now.
José Andrés, chef, restaurateur and founder of the nonprofit World Central Kitchen, and his ThinkFoodGroup — in partnership with Chicago’s Gibsons Restaurant Group — are collaborating on several Chicago projects inside the new Bank of America tower, 110 N. Wacker Drive. The first to open will be an all-day riverside cafe called Joe’s by the River, scheduled to open this summer. The Wacker Drive building will later welcome Bazaar Meat (the Chicago location specializing in red meat like its Vegas counterpart) and Bar Mar, a dedicated cocktail experience.
- Chef Andrés will also open Jaleo, in River North on July 15, bringing alive the spirit and flavors of modern-day Spain through an impressive assortment of tapas, paellas, sangrias, Spanish wines and sherries, all within a festive, casual atmosphere.
Opened this past April 2021 in Chicago’s River North neighborhood, Tree House is a flourishing, nature-inspired, chef-driven bar and restaurant serving up elevated renditions of comfort food and bar classics, including three distinct styles of pizza. Marco Colin (The Publican, Soho House, Alinea), executive chef at La Luna Chicago, will take on the additional role of executive chef at Tree House with a high quality, ingredient-focused approach to modern Italian fare. The kitchen’s two ovens, a custom-built, wood-burning brick oven and traditional deck oven, serve up Tree House’s three styles of pizza. The bar program pairs well with chef Colin’s playful menus, featuring an array of vibrant cocktails curated for celebrating, such as Negronis, spritzers and frozen cocktails. In full capacity, the restaurant holds 200-seats, glistening with a disco ball fixture overhead and an aesthetic enlivened through fixtures like tree-inspired installations made by local artists, sprawling greenery, exposed concrete and bright colors and patterns.
This spring, Chicago’s youngest Michelin-starred chef, Donald Young (Temporis, Les Nomades, Bistrot Saveurs) debuted Venteux, a lively French brasserie featuring a swanky oyster and Champagne bar located in the new Pendry Chicago. As Executive Chef-Partner, Young opened the high-energy brasserie in partnership with acclaimed national entertainment maverick and restaurant operator, Clique Hospitality (Pendry Hotels & Resorts, MGM Resorts International, Blackstone Group). Located at 230 North Michigan Avenue within the city’s historic 1920s art deco landmark Carbide & Carbon Building, Venteux commissioned world-renowned design firm Studio Munge to create a luxurious ambiance that invites guests in to get wrapped up in comforting French fare imbued with Young’s signature creativity.
Museums and Art Exhibitions:
21c Museum Hotel Chicago has unveiled Wallworks, a site-specific art installation by artist Nick Cave and designer Bob Faust. As a way to bring the energy and impetus of Nick Cave’s artwork outside of traditional museum walls, Cave and Faust have created 9 patterns that pair in various ways to result in 16 floors of bespoke installations. Installed in the elevator lobbies on floors 2-17, each is a diptych of two complementary patterns that are designed from individual detail photos from Cave’s iconic Soundsuits and Tondos. Each photo was chosen for formal reasons, such as color and composition, but also to showcase the variety of materials Cave uses throughout his work, such as synthetic hair, sequined fabric, buttons, wire, and vintage toile. (The patterns themselves are designed to convey the performative aspects of Cave’s practice, which are difficult to capture in still photography.)
The American Writers Museum reopened May 14, 2021 with a new exhibit Ray Bradbury: Inextinguishable (May 2021- May 2022), chronicling the life of the well-known writer of Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, and The Illustrated Man, who was also a screenplay writer, a friend to Walt Disney, an amateur painter, and so much more.
The Art Institute of Chicago is excited to welcome two acclaimed portraits to its galleries in Summer 2021: The Obama Portraits, Kehinde Wiley’s painting of President Barack Obama and Amy Sherald’s portrait of First Lady Michelle Obama. On loan from the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery, the Obama portraits will come to Chicago for the first stop of a five-city tour and will be on display from June 18–August 15, 2021.
Other Art Institute exhibits to keep on your radar this year include:
- Landscape in Light: The Tiffany Window at the Art Institute of Chicago, was unveiled May 29, 2021; the monumental Hartwell Memorial Window is a pinnacle of achievement in the medium of stained glass designed more than 100 years ago by Agnes F. Northrop for Tiffany Studios.
- Bisa Butler: Portraits, portrait quilts which vividly capture personal and historical narratives of Black life, will be on display through September 6, 2021.
The Art of Banksy, the largest touring exhibition of authentic Banksy artworks in the world, announced that it will open August 7, 2021. The Art of Banksy will feature 80 original works from private collectors across the globe, offering a rare opportunity to view authenticated and certified Banksy artworks rarely seen by the general public. Scheduled to run through November 2021, The Art of Banksy is not authorized or curated in collaboration with the artist, but rather sourced from private collections featuring many of Banksy’s most recognizable images, including “Flower Thrower,” “Rude Copper” and “Girl with Balloon,” famously shredded at auction in 2018. The canvases, screen prints, sculptures, one-off and limited-edition pieces on display date between 1997 and 2008, a period which resulted in Banksy’s most distinguishable works.
In partnership with Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE), Art on theMART has added The Obama Portraits and Frida Kahlo to its summer program.
Other projections include:
- Footnotes, Wills Glasspiegel and Brandon K. Calhoun (July 5 – September 16, 2021) – This animated projection focuses on Chicago footwork; it is produced by artists and filmmakers Wills Glasspiegel and Brandon K. Calhoun, and features original music by DJ Spinn, the Chicago Bucket Boys, Angel Bat David, Elisha Chandler and Amal Hubert from Hypnotic Brass Band.
- the light of the dark, Eighth Blackbird and Xuan (July 5 – September 16, 2021) – Created by the Chicago-based Grammy-Award winning ensemble Eighth Blackbird and new media artist and filmmaker Xuan, the light of the dark features music by renowned composer and Bang on a Can co-founder Michael Gordon, written for and recorded by the ensemble, as the inspiration for projections by Xuan.
- Woven, Spectralina (July 5 – September 16, 2021) – Visual artist Selina Trepp and musician Dan Bitney collaborate as Spectralina, interlacing music inspired by Chicago’s rich musical history with hand-drawn animations of images of woven patterns founding the culturally diverse neighborhoods of Chicago.
The Chicago Cultural Center has reopened with new visitor amenities and new exhibitions “Jeremiah Hulsebos-Spofford: League of Nations”, “what flies but never lands” and “CHICAGO: Where Comics Came to Life, 1880–1960”.
Chicago History Museum is pleased to welcome Vivian Maier: In Color, a multimedia exhibition featuring more than 65 color images shot during Maier’s time as a suburban Chicago nanny from the 1950s to 1970s, most of which have never been on display, as well as film clips, quotations, and sound bites. Vivian Maier took everyday moments and transformed them into something extraordinary – her photographs on the streets of Chicago and its suburbs encourage viewers to look beyond the ordinary. Maier died before her life’s work was shared with the world, leaving behind hundreds of prints, 100,000 negatives, and about a thousand rolls of undeveloped film, which were discovered when a collector purchased the contents of her storage lockers. There is no proof that she ever made a concerted effort to show her work to any dealers or other artists―gifting us the mystery of the elusive woman behind the camera. (The exhibition will remain at the Chicago History Museum until May 8, 2023.)
- Coming in October 2021, City on Fire: Chicago 1871 will guide visitors through the crucial events and conditions before, during and after the fire which overwhelmed Chicago for three days, submerging a city built of wood and causing severe destruction and homelessness and inflaming tensions against the immigrant Irish O’Leary family. This family-friendly exhibition features more than 100 artifacts from the Chicago History Museum’s collection, interactive and multimedia elements, and personal stories from survivors of the fire.
- The Jaffee History Trail around the east side of the Chicago History Museum building, connecting from the north intersection to the south intersection, is expected to be completed in late August 2021. The History Trail will be an interpretive path through the park space around the Museum, and will incorporate features such as the “Fire Blob,” a rarely-seen relic from the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 and the Couch Tomb, a reminder that the area once housed a Chicago city cemetery.
The Chicago Architecture Biennial is pleased to announce its fourth edition: The Available City. The 2021 Artistic Director is Chicago-based designer, researcher, and educator David Brown. The concept and title for the 2021 edition, The Available City, asks us to consider the impact collective space can have in cities today. Through a reinvented and responsive global platform, the Biennial will create opportunities for conversations about the intersection of architecture and design and such critical issues as health, sustainability, equity, and racial justice leading up to and throughout the run of the edition. The fourth edition of the Biennial will open in September of 2021 featuring free, public programming at sites in neighborhoods across Chicago and on digital platforms.
Presented by the Cleve Carney Museum of Art and the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage in Glen Ellyn, IL, Frida Kahlo: Timeless (June 5 – September 6, 2021) will be a comprehensive presentation of the life and works of the artist. The exhibit will feature 26 original pieces, a multimedia timeline with reproductions of Kahlo’s clothing, more than 100 photographic images from the artist’s life, a family-friendly children’s area and a Frida Kahlo-inspired garden designed by Ball Horticultural.
The Field Museum will welcome Becoming Jane: The Evolution of Dr. Jane Goodall, from May 21 – September 6, 2021, exploring the life and legacy of Jane Goodall, DBE, founder of the Jane Goodall Institute, and UN Messenger of Peace. Produced by the National Geographic Society in partnership with the Jane Goodall Institute, the exhibition explores Dr. Goodall’s life from her early years as an intrepid young woman with a dream to learn about animals in Africa, to her years establishing herself as a renowned scientist in Gombe National Park, Tanzania, to her present role as an activist, mentor and advocate for creating a better world for all life on Earth. Visitors will be able to immerse themselves in Jane’s world through interactive experiences, including stepping into a recreation of her field research tent, learning scientific observation skills, and viewing the landscape of Tanzania’s Gombe Stream National Park.
Greektown Chicago presents a new outdoor art exhibit Hello Helios: The warming suns of Chicago’s Greektown with 24 vibrant three-dimensional artworks lining Halsted Street from Monroe to Van Buren Streets through spring 2022. Painted by a diverse group of Chicago artists and named for Helios, the god of the sun in Greek mythology, the 24 sun sculpture editions celebrate the sun and light up the start of summer in Chicago. Many works in the exhibit draw inspiration from related mythologies, including those in the Greek, Aztec, Yoruba, Japanese and Native American cultures.
Hyde Park Art Center is showcasing Planting and Maintaining a Perennial Garden: Shrouds by Faheem Majeed until July 24, 2021, an ambitious new installation that furthers his investigation of culturally specific institutions by focusing on the history and memory of the historic South Side Community Art Center (SSCAC).
- Environmental racism and its disproportionate impact on communities of color, in rural and urban environments is the subject of the Hyde Park Center’s subchapter of Toward Common Cause: Art, Social Change and the MacArthur Fellows at 40, an upcoming exhibition running July 19 – October 23, 2021. The expansive exhibition, which celebrates the 40th anniversary of the MacArthur Fellows Program, will encompass a broad spectrum of contemporary artistic practice, including community-based projects realized in public spaces as well as solo and group presentations in multiple museum, gallery, and community spaces. The full list of participating artists is online at the exhibition website.
- Heather Brammeier: Maybe Never, running July 31 – September 19, 2021, is a solo exhibition by sculptor, painter, and installation artist Heather Brammeier. Through a new site-responsive installation that connects contrasting colors with geometric forms, Brammeier’s work engages the viewers’ physical and perceptual boundaries. Asymmetrical stacking, attention to surfaces, and the use of light and shadow elicit contemplation on the difficulty of balancing hope with acceptance.
Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center’s newest special exhibition Mandela: Struggle for Freedom, running through September 12, 2021, traces the history of apartheid in South Africa, with Nelson Mandela as the central character. With immersive environments, such as a recreation of Mandela’s cell on Robben Island, Mandela promotes human rights with a central message: all people deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, a new venue within Chicago’s recently renovated landmark Germania Club Building, houses the blockbuster art experience Immersive Van Gogh, presented by the creators of the successful show at Atelier des Lumières seen by over 2 million visitors in Paris. This exhibition in Chicago has been extended to run through November 28, 2021.
The Chicago Loop Alliance has launched a brand new, free program to give Chicagoans and visitors an outdoor activity that will lead them off the beaten path downtown: a Loop Mural Walk. The self-guided walk features 21 murals by Chicago-based and international artists on three routes, for a 2.1-mile combined journey through alleys and other oft overlooked spaces in the Loop. Participants are invited to use their smartphones to follow turn-by-turn directions or forge their own paths. The Loop Mural Walk is available through September 6, 2021.
The Morton Arboretum’s newest major exhibition, Human+Nature (pronounced: Human Nature), highlights the deep connections between people and trees. Built to create a sense of awe and wonder, five massive sculptures created by South African artist Daniel Popper are featured with the backdrop of the Arboretum’s magnificent and mature tree collections. Each grand in size and appearance (20-25 feet tall), the installations include a towering interpretation of a Mother Nature figure welcoming Arboretum visitors to interact by walking inside the sculpture, large-scale human hands, diverse human facial traits interwoven with root structures, and a symbolic opening of the human heart. The exhibition is planned to run for at least one year.
Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art is bringing back Tuesdays on the Terrace this summer (June 1 – August 31, 2021) on MCA’s Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden with free music highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community. Free tickets must be reserved in advance and food and beverage are available for purchase on the upper terrace.
- Coming next spring, MCA will present the first career-spanning retrospective of the internationally renowned Chicagoan Nick Cave in an exhibition titled NICK CAVE: FOROTHERMORE (May 14–Oct 2, 2022). Highlights of the exhibition will include never-before-seen works, including a continuation of the artist’s popular Soundsuits series with the premiere of Soundsuits 9:29 and a mesmerizing, site-specific installation, Spinner Forest, comprised of thousands of kinetic spinners that will hang in the museum’s two-story atrium and fourth-floor lobby.
This summer, Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Photography will bring together the works of two major artists who both consider the theater of the landscape, monumentality, cultural history, and representation. Much Unseen is Also Here: An-My Lê and Shahzia Sikander (June 3 – August 29, 2021) will probe monuments and identity, exploring history’s embeddedness in our present. Lê’s Silent General (2015 – ongoing) presents large-scale views of places and people in the contemporary American landscape, while Sikander’s uses sculpture, drawings, and animation to examine representations of intersectional femininity that is prompted by questions of who monuments historically depict.
At the reopened Museum of Illusions Chicago, guests can enjoy more than 80 visual and educational exhibits featuring holograms, stereograms, optical illusions, and immersive rooms that are designed to tease the senses and trick the mind. Social distancing measures will be strictly enforced along with temperature checks, reduced capacity, timed-ticketing and increased sanitation and cleaning.
Museum of Science and Industry Chicago (MSI)’s popular Boeing 727, which made history during the early age of jet travel, reopens to the public in a new Take Flight exhibit that celebrates the historic United Airlines plane and explores how the airline industry connects people. The project involved restoring and highlighting the plane’s interior and creating brand-new interactives to bring flying to life. The plane’s fuselage bears the name of Captain William Norwood, the first African-American pilot for United, whose story is featured in the exhibit. A 150-foot display takes guests on a behind-the-scenes journey from aircraft assembly to takeoff, showcasing the variety of careers and people working in aviation. This spectacular wall reveals the complex systems that help people build new planes, manage airport operations and track flights and passengers all around the world.
- Running through October 24, 2021, Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes traces Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive displays and costumes and props from Marvel’s blockbuster films. Guests can examine the origins of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk, and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years, making these characters a pop culture mainstay.
A new Neon and Light Museum pop-up invites guests to stand in, under and around some seventy professional neon and light-based sculptures in a dazzling and dramatic immersive exhibition opening in River North. Among the highlights are Breathe, a 14-foot-tall perspective-based neon sculpture whereby when seen from the west, an image of a mature woman smelling a rose appears, while the view from the north reveals an image of a young girl blowing the seeds of a dandelion, as created by artist John Bannon; Circle’s Edge,Monika Wulfer’s dynamic installation inviting participation with activated gas trapped in glass tubes; and an iconic neon self-portrait by legendary Beatle John Lennon. This limited eight-week engagement runs Thursday-Sunday, September 9 – October 31, 2021; advance reservations are required.
Coming to Oakbrook Center from May 19-August 15, 2021, Michelangelo’s Sistine Chapel Exhibition showcases the artist’s renowned ceiling frescoes from the Vatican’s Sistine Chapel, reproduced photographically and artfully displayed in their original size. The Exhibition, brought to Chicago through a partnership between SBX Group and SEE Global Entertainment, and leading entertainment discovery platform, Fever, resurrects Michelangelo’s masterpiece in a truly unique way, using a special photographic technique that reproduces the look and feel of the original fresco paintings.
The exhibit focuses on some of the most famous pieces in the collection including The Last Judgment and The Creation of Adam.
Wrightwood 659 is excited to open the first U.S. exhibition devoted to the work of Yannis Tsarouchis, widely regarded as one of the greatest Greek painters of the 20th century. Yannis Tsarouchis: Dancing in Real Life will run through July 31, 2021 and include some 200 works, spanning the arc of Tsarouchis’s career including his 13-year self-exile in Paris, showing how he absorbed and transformed influences including such Greek vernacular traditions as crafts, costumes, and ornaments; Ancient Greek and Early Christian art; Byzantine mosaics, frescoes, and icon painting; Greek shadow theater Karaghiozis; and also the new languages of modern art: Cubism, Fauvism, and Surrealism.
Performances and Festivals
Chicago Friday Night Flights will return for its fifth season on August 13 at Gallagher Way by iconic Wrigley Field, in the city’s Lakeview neighborhood. This open-air event, hosted by Choose Chicago and the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild, will highlight Chicago’s thriving craft beer scene, represented by nearly 30 locally-based breweries. Tasting passes will be available for purchase, allowing participants to sample 10 beers (three ounces each) from participating breweries while a live DJ and great food vendors will round out the evening.
The Chicago Latin Jazz Festival returns to Humboldt Park from July 23-24, 2021 with a drive-in concert featuring a line-up of the hottest Latin Jazz ensembles. While free, pre-registration is required. (JazzCity is a free concert series initiated in 1997 by the Jazz Institute of Chicago in collaboration with the Chicago Park District to bring people together from across the city to listen to Chicago’s top jazz musicians.)
Chicago In Tune, held August 19 – September 19, 2021, is a new citywide festival celebrating Chicago’s diverse and legendary music scene and the 2021 Year of Chicago Music. This month of music will bring iconic neighborhood venues, presenting organizations, and musicians from across the city together to celebrate all music genres and forms — with both free and ticketed events at clubs, concert halls, and beyond. DCASE will present four special evenings at Jay Pritzker Pavilion presented by the Millennium Park Foundation honoring music born and innovated in Chicago: Gospel music (September 3), Jazz (September 4), House (September 11), and Blues (September 18).
The Chicago SummerDance series returns during the months of August and September 2021 at parks throughout the city. Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing. Schedule, locations, and other details will be announced in the coming weeks.
Chinatown Summer Fair, the iconic and popular annual celebration of Far East culture, returns to Chicago from July 31 – August 1, 2021 for its 42nd festive year. Highlights include the Dragon & Lion Dance Procession, artisans, plenty of great cuisine, activities for families and children, and more.
Art Expositions LLC, the parent company of EXPO CHICAGO led by Tony Karman, announced the launch of a new art fair, EDITIONS Chicago – The Print, Photography and Art Book Fair, debuting September 23 – 26, 2021 at Navy Pier. EDITIONS Chicago will host international print, photography, and art book dealers and publishers to present an exceptional range of artwork, multiples, and books, alongside an expansive four-day program. The fair has been created in affiliation with leading international arts associations–the International Fine Print Dealers Association (IFPDA) and the Association of International Photography Art Dealers (AIPAD)–and has been designed to engage a wide range of collectors and audiences.
- EDITIONS Chicago will collaborate with Chicago’s institutions, galleries, and artist-run spaces to herald a citywide EXHIBITION Weekend Chicago on September 24 and September 25. Participating spaces will offer local and visiting patrons the chance to view a broad range of new exhibitions and participate in events taking place concurrently with the fair.
Chicago Gourmet’s Go Gourmet Event Series (September 1-30, 2021) will celebrate Chicago’s diverse range of cuisines, chefs, beverage experts and more. From Tacos & Tequila to a Wellness Brunch, to dinners from around the world, this event series will offer special experiences for everyone.
- The highly anticipated Hamburger Hop, presented by DoorDash, Buckhead Meat and Blue Moon, is back on September 24, 2021! It will be an evening to remember with incredible culinary talents showcasing their grill skills, Blue Moon brews, Josh wines, and fine spirits. A celebrity cast of judges will crown Chicago’s Best Burger while guests will select the People’s Choice. Hamburger Hop is also going on tour with the Citywide Hamburger Hop throughout the month of September! Chefs from all neighborhoods across Chicagoland will turn up the heat in this year’s competition.
- A newly envisioned variation of the Grand Cru will take place, in person, on Saturday, September 25 at the Harris Theater Rooftop. The affair will showcase the world’s finest wines curated by the nation’s leading wine experts, an enhanced focus on craft spirits, and unforgettable cuisine prepared by Chicago’s award-winning chefs.
The 2021 season of the Grant Park Music Festival, taking place Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays from July 2 – August 21, 2021 will feature 21 classical music concerts at the iconic Jay Pritzker Pavilion, operating at a reduced capacity in the Seating Bowl and on the Great Lawn, and requiring all attendees to make reservations. The Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus will return with a thrilling lineup of Festival favorites, including the Grieg Piano Concerto, the New World Symphony, the William Tell Overture,Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun plus plenty of family fun with Carnival of the Animals, Classic Broadway and the annual Independence Day Salute.
House City, presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is a 10-part series of free events popping-up throughout the summer in the neighborhoods that helped create the House music genre over 35 years ago. The remaining events, which will run until September 19, 2021 will visit neighborhoods such as the Southeast Side, Humboldt Park, Englewood, Lakeview, South Shore and Bronzeville.
The Hyde Park Jazz Festival is a collaborative platform dedicated to supporting the presentation and ongoing development of jazz, particularly on the South Side of Chicago. This free event (with a recommended donation of $5 per person) will take place September 25 – 26, 2021.
Lollapalooza will be returning to Grant Park this summer from July 29 – August 1, 2021, with an all-star lineup including the Foo Fighters, Post Malone, Tyler, The Creator, Miley Cyrus, Megan Thee Stallion and more. The festival will be operating at full capacity but full COVID-19 vaccination or negative COVID-19 test results will be required for all attendees.
Millennium Park’s summer programming — made possible in part by the Millennium Park Foundation — will include pop-up music, theatre, and dance performances throughout the Park starting in June; 10 more genre-defying concerts will be part of the Millennium Park Summer Music Series (Mondays, August 2–September 13, 2021 and Thursdays, September 2-16, 2021.
- Additionally, the Millennium Park Summer Workouts (Saturdays, July 3 – August 28, 2021) return in person on the Great Lawn, featuring Tai Chi, Yoga, Pilates, and Zumba.
- Special events at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion include Dance for Life on August 26, 2021 presented by Chicago Dancers United. (Jay Pritzker Pavilion events will be limited capacity and require free advance registration for both the seating bowl and lawn.)
Northalsted Market Days®, the largest street festival in the Midwest and Chicago’s hottest summer celebration is returning August 6-8, 2021. This weekend-long festival celebrating life and community in Chicago’s historic Northalsted/Lakeview district features all-day lineups of live music on five stages, 250+ unique vendors, arts, crafts, food and drink, DJ’s and dancing, sponsor booths, and more!
Every October, the Chicago Architecture Center is proud to host Open House Chicago — a free, two-day public festival that offers behind-the-scenes access to architecturally, historically and culturally significant sites across the city. This year’s festival will feature a new and improved OHC app, the return of in-person site visits from October 16-17, 2021, and a series of programs throughout the month of October.
Pitchfork Music Festival, a Chicago institution since 2006 showcasing the best up-and-coming music from around the world, as well as special performances from touring stalwarts and legends alike, will return to Union Park from September 10-12, 2021. Featuring diverse vendors, as well as specialty record and craft fairs, the festival works to support local businesses while promoting the Chicago arts and food communities as a whole. This year’s headliners will include Phoebe Bridgers, St. Vincent, Erykah Badu, Flying Lotus, Animal Collective and more. All attendees 12 and older will need to be fully vaccinated, or show proof of a negative PCR test within the past 24 hours for each day of the festival before they can enter.
The 2021 edition of the Chicago Pride Parade has been postponed until October 3, 2021, when it will take place at the beginning of LGBTQ History Month. The parade will begin at noon and follow its traditional route, traversing the Northalsted, Uptown, Lakeview, and Lincoln Park neighborhoods. The change in date is a one-time adjustment made necessary by COVID-19; next year the parade is expected to take place during its normal timeframe in June.
Printers Row Lit Fest, the largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest, will return for its 36th year with 100% free programming for book lovers the weekend after Labor Day, September 11-12, 2021 from 10AM-6PM daily in Chicago’s historic Printers Row neighborhood. This year’s festival will be headlined by New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates, recipient of the 2021 Harold Washington Literary Award. As in past years, the festival will include blocks of diverse booksellers featuring new, used and original books; events with local and national bestselling authors; and special programming including spoken word performances, writing workshops, and events for children and young adults. Plans for this fall’s literary celebration will follow city guidelines, with all necessary safety precautions in place.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates will be honored at the 2021 Harold Washington Literary Award gala, a ticketed fundraiser that supports the not-for-profit Near South Planning Board’s literary programs and officially launches Printers Row Lit Fest. The event will take place on September 10 at 6PM and more information will be announced in the coming months at thenspb.org.
Riot Fest, one of Chicago’s biggest music fests bringing rock, punk, and a full carnival to Douglass Park, will return September 17-19, 2021 with an all-star lineup which includes The Smashing Pumpkins, Lupe Fiasco, Taking Back Sunday, Dropkick Murphys, Nine Inch Nails, Machine Gun Kelly and more.
Taste of Chicago To-Go will return this summer with special events around the city in July, August, and September 2021 — including pop-up cooking demonstrations, the return of the “Community Eats” community meals program, and other special events promoting Chicago’s amazing restaurant industry.
Wells Street Art Festival, held in the popular Wells Street corridor of Old Town, will return from August 14-15, 2021. Featuring over 225 juried artists from across the continent, representing a variety of disciplines from traditional painting and sculpture, to artisan woodworking and metalsmithing, jewelcraft, the digital arts and more, the festival also includes a dedicated performance stage for local bands, a children’s play area and 20+ food and drink vendors selling an assortment of tasty treats.
Neighborhood Attractions and Developments:
The Andersonville Farmers Market (AFM) has returned for its 12th season, operating on Wednesdays from 3 – 7PM until October 20, 2021 on Catalpa Ave. between Clark St. and Ashland Ave. Featuring more than 25 vendors, AFM continues to operate as a hybrid market, giving shoppers the option of shopping in person or ordering in advance for pick-up.
Six new vendors this year include Andersonville Fine Foods, Empoli Delights, NutMeg’s Nut Butters, Sheekar Delights, Vangies Farmand WasteNot Compost. City and state COVID-19 protocols will remain in place to keep vendors, customers, staff and volunteers safe.
Chicago City Markets, presented by Humana, sell fresh seasonal produce, flowers, prepared foods, unique Chicago-made products, and rare finds — at Chicago’s longest-running farmers market on Daley Plaza (Thursdays beginning May 27, 2021); the historic Maxwell Street Market (reopened June 6, 2021 with a new schedule); more City Markets in Austin, Bronzeville, Englewood, Pullman, Roseland, and West Humboldt Park; and dozens of independent markets operated by community organizations and chambers of commerce in neighborhoods across Chicago.
360 CHICAGO Observation Deck is hosting its first solo exhibition photography featuring 26 original works by Harvey Pullings II. The Chicago-born photographer’s exhibit entitled The People of the Concrete, and focusing on celebrating the city’s Black residence within the neighborhoods of Chatham, Rogers Park, Edgewater, and various parts of the inner city, will be on display May 21 through July 2021 and is included in the price of general admission. This exhibition, and future shows, will feature works spotlighting life and social issues within Chicago. Images from the exhibition will be available for sale and a portion of profits benefit My Block My Hood My City.
Ground has been broken in North Lawndale on the community-led, youth-designed, conservation-themed miniature golf course, Douglass 18. Obstacles for the 18-hole miniature golf course are all inspired by the migratory birds that pass through the park each year. This project first began in 2018 when Lincoln Park Zoo and community partners came together to co-create an opportunity for North Lawndale residents to connect with nature, the heart of the zoo’s mission. Forty teens over the course of two years worked alongside lead teaching artists Eric Hotchkiss of the School of the Art Institute and Haman Cross III of Firehouse Community Arts Center to brainstorm artistic obstacles inspired by the migratory birds found in the park and designed to highlight different species’ history, diet, threats, coloration, and other distinguishing features. The opening of the Douglass 18 course is tentatively planned for Summer 2021.
City officials will kick off the second phase of the ambitious Englewood Square development project which will transform an old firehouse in Englewood into a culinary center, business incubator and “community living room” with a pedestrian-only walkway where residents can gather year round. This project is part of the INVEST South/West program, designed to spark major development in city neighborhoods, particularly on the South and West sides. The first phase of development (the creation of a Whole Foods Market) was completed in 2016.
Hornblower Group, a global leader in world-class experiences and transportation, announced the launch of its Chicago cruising operations as City Cruises under City Experiences, the new brand name for the company’s water- and land-based portfolio of offerings. Locals and travelers alike are invited back on City Cruises’ luxurious yachts including the Odyssey Lake Michigan, Spirit of Chicago, Chicago Elite, and more. City Cruises offers brunch and dinner cruises featuring delicious cuisine alongside a sophisticated selection of award-winning wines, craft beers and specialty cocktails, all while enjoying the spectacular views of Chicago and Lake Michigan. Cruise prices start from $86.90 for brunch or $99.90 for dinner. City Experiences has also expanded its industry-defining SafeCruise by City Cruises program, building on already stringent sanitation processes, to incorporate further health-driven measures to guard against the spread of COVID-19 and other viruses.
The Laramie State Bank in the city’s Austin neighborhood, a designated Chicago landmark now vacant, will be transformed into a cafe, business incubator and museum celebrating the history of Chicago blues. City leaders chose the proposal from the Austin United Alliance to redevelop the 92-year-old bank building, as part of Chicago’s ongoing INVEST South/West program. The building will still house a bank for the local community but also include a cafe and an incubator to support emerging entrepreneurs and attract businesses. The proposed blues museum is also in keeping with efforts to rebrand Chicago Avenue as Soul City Corridor by the Austin African American Business Network Association.
Chicago’s iconic lakefront destination Navy Pier resumed full operations by Memorial Day Weekend. The Pier recently received the GBAC STAR Facility Accreditation, the cleaning industry’s gold standard accreditation for outbreak prevention, response and recovery from the Global Biorisk Advisory Council and has also partnered with NTT Corporation, City Tech Collaborative and a consortium of other leading technology and design partners to implement a Smart Solutions pilot program, which will leverage a data-driven approach to enhance Navy Pier’s guest experience and existing safety measures.
The Obama Presidential Center has been approved to break ground this year in Jackson Park; this amazing world-class museum will bring a spectacular new campus to Chicago’s South Side. It will provide a fabulous new gathering space for the Hyde Park community and residents, featuring a museum, library, park and activity center, women’s garden and so much more.
Shoreline Sightseeing is welcoming the return of Navy Pier’s summer fireworks with Fireworks Tours – a guided 75-90 minute Architecture River Tour and the traditional 60-minute Lake Fireworks Tour which will operate Wednesday evenings through September 1, 2021 (and Saturday evenings through September 4, 2021). Both options offer prime viewing locations to observe the Navy Pier fireworks from the water.
Skydeck Chicago at Willis Tower has reopened after completing an extensive redevelopment encompassing the attraction’s lower level, delivering an interactive experience that celebrates the unique personality, history, neighborhoods and sites of Chicago. This immersive, new Chicago-themed museum features modern physical and visual displays, educating guests of all ages on Chicago history, culture, cuisine and architecture through interactive and informative experiences.
- The complete transformation on the 103rd floor observation deck includes fresh design features and interactive monitors, providing a space to inspire guest poses and allow visitors to upload and display their Ledge social media photos. Along with the stunning views, guests can indulge in informational videos about the city’s growth, travel patterns, cultural attractions and the making and history of The Ledge. Guests are invited to leave a mark on the city by creating drawings or messages on the interactive sequin wall. Screens also feature the impressive eastside views from the 103rd floor, allowing visitors to discover more about local sights, no matter the weather.
Sundays on State, a open streets project launched by the Chicago Loop Alliance, will see parts of State Street in the Loop closed to vehicle traffic for up to 12 Sundays this summer, beginning in July. On these days, Chicago Loop Alliance will close the portion of the street which runs from Madison to Lake to vehicle traffic from 11AM to 8PM, to give pedestrians a chance to experience arts and culture, active recreation, retail, restaurants and bars against the backdrop of State Street’s iconic architecture.
Meetings and Conventions:
In collaboration with the Metropolitan Pier and Exposition Authority (MPEA), Choose Chicago has launched Healthy Meetings Chicago, a digital platform now available for viewing on mobile devices as well as desktop or laptop, showcasing the health and safety advantages of hosting future meetings and events at Chicago’s McCormick Place Campus. This interactive, digital platform showcases what an attendee will experience when arriving for a meeting, convention or event at McCormick Place and highlights the campus’s health and safety measures now that Chicago has moved into Phase 5 of its reopening plan.
Q Center, an IACC-certified Chicago Conference Center on a 95-acre campus with on-site recreational amenities and team building opportunities, is ready to kick off meetings and events in 2021. The D Building and Business Center hosts a bounty of meeting spaces and collaboration areas, and the newly renovated Business Center hub features a large Energy Hub to refuel and refresh. The Welcome Center has a newly enhanced lobby and guest services area. The dividable Fox River Ballroom is equipped with a stunning new ceiling, lighting and sound system. And the newest addition to Q Center is the vibrant atmosphere of The Fox, a bar, restaurant and game space for your whole group to gather after a long day’s work.
With the health and safety of performers and audience members firmly in mind, Broadway In Chicago has announced it will return from October 5 and below are the rescheduling of some of its highly anticipated new shows:
- SIX, the modern retelling of the lives of the six wives of Henry VIII presented as a pop concert, whose Fall 2020 engagement was interrupted, has been rescheduled to play at the Broadway Playhouse from October 5, 2021 – January 30, 2022.
- Disney’s Frozen, from the producers of The Lion King and Aladdin, will now play their exclusive 11-week premiere engagement at the Cadillac Palace Theatre beginning November 19, 2021 – January 23, 2022.
- The Simon & Garfunkel Story, the world’s leading theatre show concerning Simon & Garfunkel featuring a full live band and state of the art video projection and lighting, is slated to play at the CIBC Theatre from February 22 – 27, 2022.
- Come From Away, the remarkable true story of the 7,000 stranded passengers and the small town in Newfoundland that welcomed them after 9/11, will now play at the Cadillac Palace Theatre from February 22 – March 6, 2022.
- The North American tour of Moulin Rouge! The Musical will premiere at the James M. Nederlander Theatre, with performances running February 26 – April 24, 2022.
- My Fair Lady, from Lincoln Center Theater and director Bartlett Sher, is scheduled to play this newest revival of the classic tale at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, June 28 – July 10, 2022.
- The Devil Wears Prada, a new musical with work by Tony Award winner Sir Elton John, originally scheduled to run this summer at the CIBC Theatre, will now run at the James M. Nederlander Theatre from July 19, 2022 – August 21, 2022.
- Jesus Christ Superstar, featuring award-winning music by Andrew Lloyd Webber and lyrics by Tim Rice, has been rescheduled at the Cadillac Palace Theatre, and will run from July 19 – 31, 2022.
Music Director and legendary conductor Riccardo Muti returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this September 2021 for the first time since February 2020. The first performance of Riccardo Muti and CSO (September 23-25, 2021) features music from Beethoven’s stirring Eroica Symphony, the only surviving 18th century opera by Joseph Bologne, Chevalier de Saint-Georges (Guadeloupe-born composer, violinist and champion fencer), and an enchanting lyrical gem from the String Quartet in G Major by Florence Price, the first African American woman to have her music played by a major American orchestra — the CSO in 1933.
The Court Theatre will reopen to the public this autumn with a staging of The Tragedy of Othello,The Moor of Venice (October 7 – November 21, 2021). A digital version will be available to stream for patrons who do not yet wish to attend in person.
Drury Lane Theatre’s 2021/2022 Season will begin in September 2021. The company’s 66th season will include two Tony Award-winning musicals—the unforgettable Evita, based on the life of Argentinian First Lady Eva Perón, and the treasured Rodgers and Hammerstein musical The King and I—as well as the empowering tale of female friendship Steel Magnolias; Forever Plaid, an ode to the best of the 1950’s; and the family-friendly dance spectacular Irving Berlin’s Holiday Inn. Subscription packages including all five spectacular productions start at only $170 and are on sale now.
Lyric Opera of Chicago will welcome the company’s 67th Season this fall, with two Italian works in repertory in September and October, conducted by dynamic Maestro Enrique Mazzola, the Lyric’s new music director.
- A brand-new production of Verdi’s Macbeth by Sir David McVicar takes the stage September 17–October 9, 2021.
- A new-to-Chicago production of Donizetti’s The Elixir of Love by Daniel Slater will run from September 26–October 8, 2021.
- Lyric will offer virtual streams of performances for ticket holders only, as an alternative to attending in-person, should some audience members not yet feel comfortable returning to the theater.
Teatro ZinZanni has reopened with a brand-new show starring veteran performer, Frank Ferrante. An experience unlike any other, Teatro ZinZanni is a whirlwind of international cirque, comedy and cabaret, with world-class acrobats, musicians, divas, illusionists, madmen, and aerialists filling the intimate Spiegeltent ZaZou, a unique jewel box mirror tent located in the heart of Chicago’s Downtown Theater District. Tickets can be purchased with or without the featured four-course gourmet feast including a fabulous à la carte cocktail menu, wine and beer list, and special occasion treats.
The PGA TOUR announced that the 16th Presidents Cup will be held at the Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago in 2026. Medinah is the fifth different venue in the United States to host the Presidents Cup and adds the biennial team event to an illustrious list of tournaments hosted at Course #3 that include the 2019 BMW Championship, 2012 Ryder Cup, two PGA Championships, three U.S. Opens, the 1988 U.S. Senior Open, three Western Opens (BMW Championship), and a number of other professional championships.
The Big Ten Conference announced that the 2021 Men’s Basketball Tournament will be relocated from Chicago/United Center to Indianapolis, and in exchange, Chicago is being awarded the 2023 tournament.
The Bank of America Chicago Marathon will return to the streets of Chicago on October 10, 2021. Race officials are working closely with the City of Chicago, including the Chicago Department of Public Health, to produce a safe and enjoyable experience for event attendees and the Chicago community. The Chicago Marathon is set to welcome 35,000 participants for the event’s return.
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About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor and meetings destination, leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit choosechicago.com. Follow @choosechicago on Twitter and on Instagram. Like us on Facebook.