Choose Chicago Media Relations
Contact: Anna Polovick Waggy, Media Relations Coordinator

CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (July 19, 2018) – More than 55 million people visited Chicago last year to enjoy this hub of innovative art and performance, world class dining and exciting new attractions. Chicago has myriad compelling reasons to visit with a broadening hotel market, ranging from boutique to luxurious properties, a star-studded dining scene boasting 23 Michelin star rated restaurants, an expanding craft beer and cocktail culture, and incredible art and culture programming.  Check out what’s new and happening in Summer and Fall 2018 below, and visit for more information.

Following a $9 million renovation, Claridge House Chicago, Oxford Hotels and Resorts’ latest boutique, lifestyle property, reopened on May 30, 2018 in the Gold Coast. Claridge House Chicago’s multimillion-dollar renovation included the transformation of all spaces, turning the classical building constructed in 1923 by native Chicago architect Walter Ahlschlager into a fresh and modern oasis. Claridge House Chicago’s service and atmosphere encourage a sense of welcoming and belonging at the hotel, reflected in its mantra, “Our House, You’re Home.” The rebrand and renovation of the former Hotel Indigo also includes the addition of new on-property restaurant Juniper Spirits & Oysters, a sophisticated yet approachable seafood restaurant led by Chef Felipe Patron.

St. Jane Hotel opened July 1, 2018 in the landmark 1929 Art Deco Carbide and Carbon building. The revitalized 365-room hotel is the common ground for the uncommon, embracing the arts and culture that define Chicago. The hotel rises 38 floors, including the main building home to 332 rooms and The Tower at St. Jane. This boutique luxury hotel above St. Jane has 33 premium rooms and suites and a 24th floor indoor and outdoor lounge, The Nobel. Free Rein, a contemporary Chicago brasserie led by Michelin-starred chef Aaron Lirette, debuted in the hotel on July 16, 2018.

Embassy Suites by Hilton Chicago Downtown Magnificent Mile unveiled a new 176-foot mural designed by Chicago-based Nancy Pochis Bank Art Studio on July 19, 2018. Spanning a full block of the hotel’s entranceway between Grand and Illinois, the mural – with the theme Urbs in Horto (City in a Garden) – celebrates the hotel’s green initiatives and depicts farmers markets and gardens throughout Chicago neighborhoods.

Designed as a luxury lifestyle, four-diamond property and engineered to achieve LEED Silver certification, SOPHY Hyde Park is a 98-room hotel currently under construction in Chicago's historic Hyde Park neighborhood. Developed by The Olympia Companies and SMART Hotels, SOPHY is near the site of the future Barack Obama Presidential Library, the University of Chicago and the University of Chicago Medical Center. A member of the Preferred Hotels and Resorts Lifestyle Collection, SOPHY Hyde Park will be opening Summer 2018 and feature a bar, full-service restaurant with al fresco dining and a state-of-the-art fitness center. SOPHY will feature artwork from contemporary Chicago artists and design elements inspired by the World's Columbian Exposition.

Rooted in history, with an eye towards the future and an atmosphere of playful celebration, The Wheelhouse Hotel gives visiting tourists and locals alike a front row seat to all the action Chicago has to offer. The Wrigleyville hotel blends luxury and leisure with the comfort and convenience of home, complemented by the creativity and community of a big city. The 15,000-sq.-ft. hotel boasts 21 guest rooms, which offer a mix of city skyline views, unparalleled views of Clark Street and suites complete with outdoor terraces. The hotel also offers a rooftop overlooking the city with guest activities including rooftop yoga and a cocktail happy hour, as well as a restaurant, Union Full Board, and an underground cocktail bar, Tinker to Evers. The Wheelhouse Hotel is slated to open later this summer, with investment in excess of $5 million.

The first ever tri-brand Hilton, which will combine a Hilton Garden InnHampton Inn and Home2 Suites, will join The Collection at McCormick Square complex on October 15, 2018, conveniently connecting to McCormick Place via a sky bridge. The Collection at McCormick Square is a complex that includes the McCormick Place convention center, the new 10,387-seat Wintrust Arena, the Hyatt Regency McCormick Place and the new Marriott Marquis Chicago.

The former 1916 Atlantic Bank Building on Michigan Avenue is currently undergoing renovation, with the goal of reopening as the Hotel Julian in Fall 2018. With its iconic terracotta façade restored, the new hotel, steps from Millennium Park, will include a ground floor restaurant, About Last Knife, which will feature a folding glass wall separating its indoor and outdoor seating areas. The hotel is named for St. Julian Hospitaller, the patron saint of hospitality and innkeepers.

Construction is under way for The Hoxton hotel in the Fulton Market District, expected to be completed in 2019. The Chicago branch of the London-based Hoxton brand comes from prominent West Loop developer Shapack Partners. The Hoxton will stand 11 stories tall with 175 rooms, two levels of office space, ground-floor retail and a rooftop terrace. In addition, Boka Restaurant Group will open a restaurant and bar in the hotel. 

Hyatt Hotels is working on a new hotel in the West Loop set to open in 2020 across the street from the upcoming McDonald’s headquarters. The 53-story office tower is currently under construction and will have 220 guest rooms, two levels of parking, a fourth floor sky lobby, a guest amenity level and ground floor retail space. 

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is transforming Chicago’s old Cook County Hospital into a dual-branded Hyatt House Hotel/Hyatt Place, accompanied by medical office space and retail. The 14-story, 167,000-sq.-ft., 200-room development will be the first hotel in the Fulton Market district to cater to extended-stay corporate travelers. Amenities will include an indoor pool, green roof, fitness center, bar and lounge. The hotels are slated to open in 2019 and 2020.

Scheduled to open in 2021, the 58-story Equinox will have 165 hotel rooms and 370 residential units in the West Loop. It will include an on-site fitness club and parking for 150 vehicles accessible via Court Place.

On September 22, 2018, the lakefront paths of Lincoln Park turn into a Candyland extravaganza for Chicago’s first Candyland 5k. Runners and walkers will indulge throughout the course on some of the best mouthwatering treats from the most popular candy brands on the market. Each participant will receive a t-shirt, race bib, finisher medal and a bag full of goodies. Proceeds for the event will benefit GIRLFORWARD. GirlForward is a community of support dedicated to creating and enhancing opportunities for girls who have been displaced by conflict and persecution.

As Chicago’s longest running food experience company, Chicago Food Planet is partnering with Navy Pier to provide the first ever Navy Pier Food and History Tour this summer. Chicago Food Planet specializes in curating five-star food experiences that showcase Chicago as the greatest food city in the world. In order to do the same at Navy Pier, Chicago Food Planet is working with the best culinary partners to highlight the historical, cultural and culinary value of this famous Chicago attraction. This guided food tour will educate and entertain guests as they explore the sights of Chicago, learn about Navy Pier’s extraordinary history, taste some of Chicago’s best foods and enjoy the iconic venue’s beloved cultural attractions. This one-of-a-kind experience visits Chicago favorites such as Giordano's, Garrett Popcorn Shops and America's Dog, while also exploring new finds like Tiny Tavern and Brown Sugar Bakery.

Chicago Under the Radar Food Tours, Chicago’s citywide food tour company, expanded its tour season from March to December 2018. Guests will eat their way through Chicago’s off the beaten path neighborhoods and ethnic enclaves, sampling delicious food and beverages at some of the best local restaurants in the city that tend to fly under the radar. The exclusive food tours, neighborhood tours and dine-arounds are for private groups.

Frank Lloyd Wright’s masterpiece, the Frederick C. Robie House in Chicago’s Hyde Park neighborhood, will be undergoing an interior restoration process this summer. Tours will continue during the restoration and will include tickets with access to the exhibition Designs for Modern Living: Chairs by Frank Lloyd Wright. The exhibit features seven important chairs from the collection of the Frank Lloyd Wright Trust. Highlights include one of Wright’s dining chairs from his Oak Park Home and Studio (1895) and an Imperial Hotel “Peacock” side chair (Tokyo, Japan, c.1921), which will be displayed in the third floor bedrooms.

The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust’s new Wright Around Chicago Guided Bus Tour with tour commentary started in June 2018 and runs through October 2018. The new day-long tour visits Frank Lloyd Wright sites in Chicago and Oak Park, highlighting Wright’s Oak Park home and studio; the newly restored Unity Temple and surrounding Historic District; Wright’s modern masterpiece, the Frederick C. Robie House; and the Rookery Light Court, Wright’s remodeling inside a historic skyscraper.

Choose Chicago introduced a channel on VAMONDE, the mobile network for cultural travelers. The Choose Chicago channel offers dozens of free immersive, self-guided tours that bring the stories of Chicago to life through text, photos, video and more. Whether you’re a fan of art, architecture, food, nightlife or history, now your phone can lead the way to Chicago’s most interesting places and spaces. With VAMONDE’s combination of immersive digital storytelling, wayfinding and multi-language technology, travelers can enjoy interactive explorations of the city at their own pace, schedule and in a variety of languages. VAMONDE is available for free download on IOS and Android.

Chicago Gourmet, the nation’s premier culinary experience, returns September 26 to 30, 2018. Celebrating its eleventh year, Chicago Gourmet returns with a new theme, Rock the Fork, which celebrates two of Chicago’s most beloved cultural attributes, food and music. The festival was created by the Illinois Restaurant Association to honor Chicago’s culinary achievements and the creative vision of the chefs, Master Sommeliers, and wine-, spirit-, and beer-makers who participate. It also spotlights Chicago as an international culinary destination via its unparalleled epicurean talent.

IMG announced the debut of Tastemaker Chicago, a dynamic new food festival taking place August 17 to 18, 2018 at Revel Fulton Market. Building on the success of the sold-out inaugural Tastemaker Toronto this May, the intimate event will pair locally and globally-renowned chefs to create unique dishes in an open and interactive food hall setting. Tastemaker, presented by Capital One, is designed by the team that brings Taste Festivals to 20 cities around the world, as well as The Big Feastival to the UK and Margaret River Gourmet Escape to Western Australia. Guests will also be able to taste samples from more than 40 restaurants, wineries, breweries and artisan producers.

An extension of Chef CJ Jacobson's first restaurant, Ēma (which means "mother" in Hebrew), Aba, a new restaurant with a rooftop patio opened June 7, 2018 in Chicago's Fulton Market neighborhood. Aba (which means "father" in Hebrew) incorporates Ēma’s Mediterranean-style of cooking with a larger focus on steak, raw and chilled seafood, in addition to mezze and vegetablesThe Mediterranean influence is also seen in the beverage program which was crafted by Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises Divisional Wine Director Ryan Arnold and Mixologist Liz Pearce. The restaurant space is meant to give off vibes of a Mediterranean summer featuring an abundance of lush greenery, French street lamp pendants, large dining room skylight and a 200+ seat rooftop patio.

In the same building as Aba, Lettuce Entertain You also opened The Dalcy in June 2018. This 6,000-sq.-ft. private event hall and 4,000-sq.-ft. rooftop patio is the ideal setting for cocktail receptions, weddings, social and business gatherings and corporate events. The menu features a well-curated cocktail and wine program and chef-driven modern American fare.

Marking its 120th anniversary, The Berghoff will be returning to its roots by installing a state-of-the-art brewing facility within its storied walls. Occupying more than 40,000 sq. ft. of space in a 130-year-old landmark location, the restaurant welcomes diners with an unmistakable two-story neon sign and is known for its traditional, house-made German dishes, Dortmund-style beer, alongside contemporary fare for a more continental palate. The team is aiming to have the new microbrewery ready to go for Oktoberfest 2018.

Bill’s Bar & Burger of New York made its Chicago debut on May 1, 2018.  Located inside the Courtyard Marriott River North, the new restaurant marks the sixth location to open nationwide, joining sister properties in New York, Pittsburgh, PA, Lake Charles, LA and Atlantic City, NJ. The Chicago location pays homage to the city with the Windy City Burger featuring provolone cheese, Italian beef and giardiniera. Every burger, fry and shake are made fresh daily.

Booth One, a Chicago classic with a lively social dining scene in the heart of the Gold Coast, now hosts weekend brunch, weekday breakfast and introduced a new bar menu. The food menu, created by Chef/Partner Doug Psaltis, is a modern day reintroduction of classic American cooking that celebrates the recipes of yesteryear and utilizes the highest quality ingredients. Nostalgic dishes are set alongside more contemporary interpretations including pristine raw preparations and vegetables that are given the same respect as meat and seafood.

Southern staple Boxcar Betty’s found its new home in Ogilvie Transportation Center this summer. The acclaimed Charleston fried chicken sandwich joint puts creative twists on the Southern staple. This location is the first Boxcar Betty’s outside of South Carolina. The 22-seat counter service restaurant serves sandwiches, salads, sides and sweets seven days a week. The Chicago introduction comes via a Chicago resident with deep Charleston roots, Abbott Smith, a former Potbelly Sandwich Shop executive. He discovered Boxcar Betty’s on several visits to his family home in Charleston and soon after connected with Boxcar’s founders to bring the concept to Chicago.

Brunch Room, a brunch-centric restaurant on the ground floor of The Godfrey Hotel Chicago, opened in June 2018. The family-friendly spot serves its namesake meal seven days a week from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. The menu includes brunch classics, such as Brioche French Toast, Eggs Benedict and sides of bacon, home-fries and sausage, while also offering departures from the traditional, such as a Brunch Pizza with poached eggs, jalapeno, roasted red pepper, garlic and caramelized onion. For those looking to take their brunch to the next level, bottomless Mimosas, Bloody Marys or Bellinis can be added to guests’ meals for $14.

A new concept by BOKA Restaurant Group and Chef Chris Pandel, Dutch and Doc’s opened in Wrigleyville on May 24, 2018. The 200-seat, two-story restaurant looks onto Wrigley Field’s marquee and takes its name from two of the most popular nicknames in Major League Baseball history. This bustling neighborhood restaurant serves American fare and classic cocktails.

On the heels of last year’s summer pop-up preview of their inaugural dining concept, Chef/Partner Charles Welch (Sepia, mk Restaurant) and fellow Out To Lunch Hospitality partners, Andrew Miller and Hector Gonzalez, announced that Good Fortune has found a permanent home in Logan Square. The cozy, 2,000-sq.-ft. interior will seat 49, including an intimate nine seat bar as well as an open kitchen, custom furniture and lighting and a glass enclosed wine room. For those seeking al fresco dining, Good Fortune will showcase a private outdoor patio for 14, tucked away from the buzzing foot traffic of California Avenue, and perfect for summer imbibing as the weather warms up. This is slated to open mid-August 2018.

The newest concept by David Morton and Michael Kornick of DMK Restaurants, Goldie’s Hot Dogs, opened June 17, 2018 at Navy Pier. Signature selections include the Taylor Street Italian with Italian sausage and giardiniera; Sheboygan Brat with brown mustard and sauerkraut; the Maxwell Street Polish with brown mustard and grilled onions; and the Original Chicago Dog with mustard, onions, relish and peppers. Goldie’s also offers a “Make Your Own” option with a selection of meats, sauces and toppings. A walk-up window provides convenience and ease for guests looking to grab a quick bite while strolling along Chicago’s famed Navy Pier.

Great Central Brewing Company, Chicago’s craft-dedicated contract brewing facility, is nearing completion of its $1.2 million expansion project designed to double production capacity at the near west side brewery. Great Central’s 35,000-sq.-ft. facility operates as an outsourced production solution for existing craft breweries and is the home to the Great Central Brewing Company line up of German style craft beer. Upon completion of the project, Great Central will have production capacity of 45,000 barrels annually, making it one of Illinois largest craft brewers.

In Fall 2018, the team behind two Michelin-starred Oriole will open Kumiko, a bar in Chicago's West Loop neighborhood, led by Partners Julia Momose and Noah and Cara Sandoval. Embracing a philosophy similar to Oriole, Kumiko will offer a thoughtful experience filled with a deep appreciation and understanding for craftsmanship, as seen through the cocktails and dishes curated with purpose by Momose and Chef Sandoval. The drink menu will have between 11 to 15 cocktails, and will feature spirit-free options as well. As a part of the cocktail program, Kumiko will also offer an omakase-style tasting menu at the bar that blends Julia and Noah’s creativity together.

Pioneer Tavern Group, the group behind Lottie’s Pub, Frontier and The Pony Inn, opened their New Orleans-inspired concept, ​Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods​ on June 22, 2018. This is a corner store tavern concept housed inside a beloved old-school bar in Wicker Park. Through its atmosphere, decor and food and beverage program, Ina Mae pays tribute to the local dive bar and strives to encompass the essence of both New Orleans and Wicker Park. Guests can find everything at Ina Mae from food and drink to traditional trinkets and lottery tickets in a high-energy environment.

Created by Ozzie Ocegueda, Ozzie's Pops and Pretzels opened on May 25, 2018, specializing in homemade paletas, hand-twisted pretzels, fresh-squeezed juices, seasonal fruits and ice cold horchata. Lettuce Entertain You’s fourth concept at Navy Pier, Ozzie’s Pops and Pretzels has a menu of seasonal popsicles that will use all-natural ingredients and are made on-site daily. The hand-twisted pretzels are baked in house throughout the day with savory and sweet varieties including The Original, Pepperoni Pizza, The Everything, Cinnamon Sugar and the Rita Cheese Pretzel.

Trump International Hotel & Tower Chicago, along with Michelin lauded Executive Chef Nick Dostal and Restaurant Director Adam Stark, opened Terrace 16 on June 29, 2018. The menu echoes the Chicago restaurant’s unification and balance of its exterior and interior spaces, utilizing finely sourced product and ingredients grown sixteen stories above the city in Dostal’s outdoor garden. Open for breakfast, lunch, dinner and in-between, Terrace 16’s menu has something for every occasion on the stunning, 200-seat outdoor patio or indoor restaurant and bar.

Opening in July 2018, an alternative to Wrigleyville’s ubiquitous sports pubs and beer bars, Tinker to Evers will be an upscale, speakeasy-style cocktail lounge, playfully named after the famous Cubs poem written by Franklin Pierce Adams. Located beneath the Wheelhouse Hotel and seating around 40, the intimate venue will present an elevated portfolio of cocktails crafted with fresh squeezed juices, aromatics and wide range of unique, local craft spirits.

Keene and Megan Addington, the husband and wife team behind Tortoise Supper Club, opened Two Lights Seafood & Oyster in Old Town on June 18, 2018. The concept for the restaurant arose from the Addington family’s experiences in Maine. The North Avenue restaurant serves creative seafood small plates, original craft cocktails and a raw bar with a menu created by Chef Aaron Browning. The mostly white space features pops of pastel colors and oversized windows, creating a light and airy vibe. 

Located just steps away from Wrigley Field inside the soon-to-open Wheelhouse Hotel, Union Full Board will open in July 2018 and present a neighborhood-friendly restaurant and bar spanning over 1,200-sq.-ft. that comfortably seats 60. The food program will showcase much of Evanston’s beloved Union Pizzeria fare in this iconic area of the city. Chef/Partner Vince DiBattista will offer an array of freshly made small plates with a focus on local and organic producers, including bruschetta, meatballs and fresh salads, as well as their famed individual-sized, Detroit-style square cut pies. The drinks will include many of Union’s classic signature cocktails, great local craft brews on tap and a sizable global beer and wine list.

Husband and wife veteran restauranteurs Ryan and Anna O’Donnell of Ballyhoo Hospitality will welcome Walton Street Kitchen + Bar, their second restaurant in the Gold Coast neighborhood.  Inside No. 9 Walton, a new luxury condo, the two-level restaurant will provide a bar concept with refined yet unpretentious American-leaning fare. Joining the O’Donnells at Walton St. are Joh Keeley and JiYoon as executive chef and executive pastry chef, respectively. The 1,000-sq.-ft. first floor houses a 20-seat lounge set off by a velvet curtains, books lining the walls, perfectly worn leather chairs and couches and Scotch in beautiful glass decanters. The 6,000-sq.-ft. upper level includes the 140 seat dining room and features an expansive U-shaped bar with a custom walnut finish and marble top.

Wrigley Field aims to stake its claim as one of the top dining destinations in sports with its 2018 menu, courtesy of hospitality partner Levy. The Chicago Cubs and Levy are focusing on freshly prepared, chef-driven menu items featuring house-smoked short ribs and pork shoulder; house-made pickles, chips, slaws and condiments; and creative twists on classic Chicago flavors. Fully renovated concession stands and new cocktail and wine bars will open throughout the spring, offering fans an elevated food and beverage experience.

Located in the former Acapulco Night Club space, X will serve as an incubator for lifestyle and hospitality projects focusing on visual art, design and robust live music programming in Logan Square. Guests can expect laid-back island vibes to fill the space with a beverage program that expands on traditional Caribbean drinks. X will feature contemporary art by Chicago artists, closed loop gardening for growing drink garnishes and will compost all of the bar’s waste. Modern interior elements will be integrated into the original space in a San Juan meets the 80s neon craze while local live music and DJs will be the cornerstone of entertainment at this reimagined, creative neighborhood bar. X will be open by August 2018.

Set above Chicago’s Michigan Avenue, the new rooftop lounge Z Bar at Peninsula Chicago opened June 18, 2018. The new bar celebrates the city with a welcoming approach while guiding visitors on an immersive journey inspired by the world’s cultural and culinary riches. Innovative cocktail offerings introduce bold global flavors with a dash of the exotic. From the contemporary décor to the internationally inspired menu and music, this new establishment combines the Peninsula Chicago’s attention to detail with an approachable yet intriguing ambiance. The inspiration for Z Bar’s name is an industry influencer for a number of years, Maria Zec, Regional Vice President and General Manager of The Peninsula Chicago, and first female general manager in the company’s history.

Art Design Chicago, the Chicago Humanities Festival and EXPO Chicago present Creative Chicago: An Interview Marathon, a Hans Ulrich Obrist interview marathon, on September 29, 2018. The Creative Chicago Marathon will be Obrist’s first U.S. marathon and will take a multi-dimensional, multidisciplinary look at creativity in the city—past, present and future. Bringing together artists, authors, activists, architects, historians, musicians, philosophers and scientists, the marathon will examine the numerous sparks that make the city a center for art, design and architecture.

Art on theMart, a permanent large-scale lighting installation, will debut on the Chicago Riverwalk in Fall 2018. The art will project across nearly three acres of the southern facing façade of theMART, the building formerly known as The Merchandise Mart. In 2017, theMART engaged creative studio Obscura Digital and the Chicago-based architectural firm Valerio Dewalt Train to develop a feasibility study for projecting art on the south river-facing facade of theMART. Obscura Digital is the foremost design engineer of large projection installations with the technical and design skills capable of developing architectural images at this scale.

The Art Institute of Chicago will present an exhibition of American portraitist John Singer Sargent with a focus on his numerous Chicago connections from July 1, 2018 through September 30, 2018. Featuring nearly 100 objects from the Art Institute’s collection, private collections and public institutions, John Singer Sargent and Chicago’s Gilded Age examines Sargent’s impressive breadth of artistic practice and the network of associations among the artist, his patrons, his creative circle and the city.

The Chicago Architecture Center (CAC), formerly known as Chicago Architecture Foundation, will open at its new location on August 31, 2018The new Center will join the bustling riverfront steps away from Michigan Avenue and directly across the street from the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise aboard Chicago’s First Lady Cruises. The Center will be home to everything architecture for Chicagoans and tourists alike, bringing new walking tours, imaginative education programs and new interactive exhibits. The opening of the new Center brings never-before-experienced walking tours that will launch from the Center’s new location on August 1, 2018.

The Chicago Humanities Festival 2018Graphic! will present the Fall Festival from October 27 to November 11, 2018. As the world becomes increasingly visual, it’s becoming increasingly commonplace for people to communicate not with words but through photographs, emojis, videos and Instagram stories. But is the visual proving better than narrative at helping us make sense of life? Graphic! explores a rapidly emerging and evolving visual society, charting its expressions, potential and the limits across the past, present and future.

As a part of Art Design Chicago, the DePaul Art Museum will display Yasuhiro Ishimoto: Someday, Chicago from September 6 to December 16, 2018. This exhibit examines the work of American-born photographer Yasuhiro Ishimoto (1921–2012) through the lens of Chicago, where Ishimoto lived for over a decade and where he would continue to return throughout his life.

EXPO CHICAGO will kick off September 27, 2018 with Vernissage, the opening-night benefit and preview hosted by the Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) Chicago’s Women’s Board. EXPO CHICAGO is The International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art, is presented by Art Expositions, LLC at Navy Pier’s Festival Hall, and hosts more than 135 leading International exhibitors presented alongside one of the highest quality platforms for global contemporary art and culture. The exposition will continue through Sunday, September 30.

In celebration of The Field Museum’s 125th anniversary in 2018, SUE the T-rex is getting a makeover, and a touchable cast of the biggest dinosaur ever discovered joined the Museum’s ranks. On June 1, 2018, The Field Museum introduced the titanosaur “Máximo,” which visitors can walk underneath and touch. Antarctic Dinosaurs opened June 15, 2018 and takes visitors on a journey through geological time to learn about dinosaurs that roamed Antarctica when it was a lush, wooded landscape.

Hamilton: The Exhibition will premiere in Chicago on April 6, 2019. Created by Hamilton musical creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and producer Jeffrey Seller, this 360-degree, immersive exhibit is designed to take visitors deeper into the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, while at the same time chronicling the American Revolution and the creation of the United States of America. The exhibit will feature an audio tour narrated by Miranda. With a dynamic, interactive mix of in-depth scenography, lighting, sound, multimedia and music, Hamilton: The Exhibition will give visitors an experiential journey from Hamilton’s childhood in St. Croix to his untimely death in Weehawken, New Jersey. The exhibit will open on Northerly Island in a specially-constructed free-standing structure the size of a football field. Following its Chicago premiere, the exhibition will travel to select U.S. cities.

Lincoln Park Zoo is celebrating its 150th anniversary with a free, commemorative on-grounds exhibition: From Swans to Science: 150 Years of Lincoln Park Zoo, which opened on May 20, 2018 and runs through September 3, 2018. Guided to ten stations across zoo grounds by an Exhibition Pass presented by Wendella Tours & Cruises, guests will learn about the zoo’s history – such as how it all started with two pairs of swans from New York’s Central Park Commissioners in 1868 – and contemporary care, conservation and community efforts. As a family-friendly included activity, guests can collect code words on each exhibition stop and fill in the blanks on the Exhibition Pass. Upon completion of an Exhibition Pass, guests will receive a small souvenir and can enter monthly drawings to win prizes including ADOPT packages and river cruises from Wendella.

The Museum of Contemporary Photography at Columbia College Chicago (MoCP) will present Lucas Foglia: Human Nature from July 19 to September 30, 2018.  From the untarnished abandon of so-called wild spaces to literal urban jungles, Lucas Foglia: Human Nature reflects on the human impact on the natural world and how humans have altered the seemingly unalterable. Examining a broad range of themes, from the scientific realities of climate change to poetic longing for natural spaces, Lucas Foglia: Human Nature is a nuanced exploration of the forces—internal and external—that both pit us against and bring us closer to the natural world. This exhibition will be accompanied by a companion exhibition View Finder: Landscape and Leisure in the Collection, which considers landscape photography from the late nineteenth century through the present day, examining not only the role of parks as sites of leisure and respite, but also the role of landscape photography in the early formation of state parks.

MoCP will also present The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity, and Politics from October 11 through December 21, 2018. During the tumultuous 1960s and 1970s, the prolific Chicago artist Ralph Arnold made photo collages that appropriated and commented upon mass media portrayals of gender, sexuality, race and politics. Arnold’s complex visual arrangements of photography, painting and text were built upon his own multilayered identity as a black, gay veteran and prominent member of Chicago’s art community. A companion exhibition, entitled Echoes: Reframing Collage, also at MoCP, examines the parallels between Arnold’s work and 21st-century photo collage artists like Wardell Milan, Nathaniel Mary Quinn, Paul Mpagi Sepuya, Ayanah Moor, Krista Franklin and Xaviera Simmons, deepening the understanding of Arnold’s lasting contribution. The Many Hats of Ralph Arnold: Art, Identity, and Politics is part of Art Design Chicago.

Experience a unique look into the Pixar process, and explore the science and technology behind some of the most beloved animated films and their characters at the Museum of Science and Industry’sThe Science Behind Pixar. This exhibition gives an unparalleled view of the production pipeline and concepts used at Pixar every day. Participate in fun hands-on activities, listen to firsthand accounts from members of the studio’s production teams and even come face-to-face with recreations of Pixar film characters, including Buzz Lightyear, Dory, Mike and Sulley, Edna Mode and WALL•E. The exhibit runs through January 6, 2019.

From September 8, 2018 to January 6, 2019, The Richard H. Driehaus Museum presents Treasures from the White City: Chicago World's Fair of 1893, displaying original objects and memorabilia designed for and exhibited at the fair on the occasion of its 125th anniversary. The objects are drawn from the Museum’s permanent collection, as well as the Richard H. Driehaus private collection, and are exhibited in two galleries in the Nickerson Mansion, a building that not only stood during the World’s Fair in 1893 but also hosted a large reception to celebrate the event. The exhibit is part of Art Design Chicago.

Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is bringing their exhibits to the urban streets in Summer 2018 with new exhibits and attractions. Shedd’s Traveling Aquarium will feature examples of species found in Lake Michigan to exemplify the diversity and beauty of the Great Lakes. Running from July 23 to 27, 2018, two different, 90-minuteShedd’sBoating Experiences will immerse guests in the world of freshwater exploration – either on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan. Guests will learn how to take samples of the water, examine the samples under microscopes and use underwater robots (ROVs) to explore the depths of the water. The aquarium has also partnered with Urban Rivers to install a floating island called Shedd’s River Island on the North Brand Canal River. The island will host up to 15 different plant species, increasing the health of the local ecosystem. It will cover more than 260 sq. ft. of the west bank of the Chicago River and is part of Urban Rivers’ vision for The Wild Mile” – the first ever mile-long floating eco-park. The island was installed on July 6, and is accessible by kayak. Programs will take place on Thursdays and Saturdays beginning July 12, 2018 and will run through October 27, 2018.

The mysterious new WNDR Museum opens August 17, 2018, bringing a Yayoi Kusama Infinity Room to Chicago, the first to go on view in the city. This pop-up museum features an educational, immersive and experiential installation that merge science and art. The room in question debuted last fall at New York’s David Zwirner Gallery where it was visited by more than 75,000 guests. Titled Infinity Mirrored Room: Let’s Survive Forever, the work is filled with reflective steel balls and a small mirrored column that itself encloses an even smaller infinity room.

The Obama Presidential Center is expected to open in 2021 in historic Jackson Park on the South Side of Chicago. It will include three buildings—a museum, forum and library—that will form a campus surrounding a public plaza. The Center is estimated to support nearly 5,000 new, local jobs during its construction and more than 2,500 permanent jobs once the Center opens. The Center will attract up to 760,000 annual visitors, and in its first ten years, is expected to have a total economic impact of $3.1 billion.

Chicago Shakespeare Theater, the City of Chicago, Chicago Park District and Boeing present the annual citywide summer tradition, Chicago Shakespeare in the Parks. Made possible by production sponsor BMO Harris Bank, 25 performances of Shakespeare’s timeless classic A Midsummer Night’s Dream, adapted and directed by the Theater’s founder and artistic director Barbara Gaines, will tour free for all to 18 neighborhood parks across the city from July 25 to August 26, 2018.

Stacy Keach triumphantly returns to the Goodman Theatre in a tour-de-force performance as legendary author Ernest Hemingway in Pamplona. The show runs from July 10 to August 19, 2018 and details Hemingway’s despair as he faces a looming deadline for a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. In declining health and consumed by the demise of his fourth marriage, he must now conquer the despair that threatens to engulf him.

The Joffrey Ballet’s Swan Lake runs from October 17 to 28, 2018 at the National Historic Landmark Auditorium Theatre. Art intertwines with life in Wheeldon’s modern re-telling of one of the most famous ballets of all time. Set in the studios of the Paris Opera Ballet, a company dancer falls in love with his beautiful partner, a star ballerina who is being pursued by an arts patron with bad intentions. A ballet-within-a-ballet, Wheeldon’s version combines classical elements with a touch of fantasy, as lavish sets and breathtaking choreography take hold in this timeless story danced to Tchaikovsky’s mesmerizing score.

Premiering for the first time at Lookingglass Theatre, 20,000 Leagues Under the Seas runs from May 23 to August 19, 2018 at Water Tower Water Works. The musical adapted by David Kersnar and Althos Low from the books by Jules Verne follows a renowned scientist and sea explorers that find themselves kidnapped under the sea.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Alderman James Cappleman, Jam Productions and Farpoint Development announced Chicago’s historic Uptown Theatre will be restored and reopened as the crown jewel of a revitalized Uptown entertainment district. The 93-year-old landmark building, vacant for more than 35 years, will be used for a variety of live performances and special events. The $75 million project will comprehensively restore the Spanish Revival-style building as modern entertainment venue. Restored decorative finishes, new seats and a reconfigured first-floor will increase total capacity from approximately 4,100 to 5,800 people.

The spark that became today's Special Olympics movement ignited at the first 1968 International Summer Games in Chicago. Five decades later, Special Olympics is returning to Chicago to launch the year-long global Special Olympics 50th Anniversary celebrations July 17 to 21, 2018. The celebration will include high-level sports competition at the Unified Cup, family-friendly fun at the Torch Run and Global Day of Inclusion festival and a star-studded concert at Northerly Island. The inaugural Special Olympics Unified Cup competition will team people with and without intellectual disabilities from all over the world, with 24 international soccer teams taking part in the four-day event. Soldier Field, the birthplace of Special Olympics, will host a massive celebration, a festival of inclusion that will serve as the spark for people around the world to commit to making their cities more inclusive. This family friendly festival will offer sports activities, interactive games, exhibits, delicious food offerings and live entertainment on July 21, 2018.

From September 21 to 23, 2018, Chicago will be the first U.S. city to host the second Laver Cup – a tennis competition in which six leading European players go up against competitors from the rest of the world.

USA Rugby and TLA Worldwide, along with host city partners Chicago Sports Commission and Soldier Field, have announced that world class international rugby will again return to Soldier Field in Chicago for the latest edition of The Rugby Weekend. The iconic NFL stadium will play host to three captivating international rugby matches over the course of one day, featuring the USA Rugby Men’s and Women’s Eagles taking on New Zealand’s inspiring Maori All Blacks and the reigning Women’s Rugby World Cup champion Black Ferns. Six Nations Champions, and current number two on World Rugby’s World Rankings, Ireland, return to Chicago to take on Six Nations rivals, Italy. All matches will take place at Soldier Field on November 3, 2018.

The 312 RiverRun will connect the surrounding Irving Park, North Center, Avondale and Albany Park neighborhoods to three parks with one path for nearly two consecutive miles. Once completed, 312 RiverRun will transform the riverfront neighborhood on Chicago’s North Side into one of the city’s largest recreational hubs that provides residents with an unobstructed network of parks and recreational amenities. It will extend across 95 acres with facilities and programming for every athletic activity supported by the Chicago Park District. The project kicked off with the groundbreaking Riverview Bridge, which is anticipated to be complete by the end of 2018. A second project, the Irving Park Rd. Bridge and Multi-Use Path, due to be completed in late 2019, will extend a pedestrian and bike path under Irving Park Rd. and link California Park to Horner Park north. Completion of the Riverview Bridge and the Irving Park Rd. Bridge project will establish the full 312 RiverRun, providing a continuous path from Belmont to Montrose.

The City of Chicago Mayor’s office announced they are in one-on-one communication with the Boring Co., which plan to build a futuristic transportation system in Chicago. Using high-powered electric ‘skates’ to carry passengers from O’Hare International Airport to downtown Chicago, the proposed system would transport passengers between O’Hare and downtown in only 12 minutes. CEO Elon Musk and his company Boring Co. will pay the entire cost of the system. The mayor hopes to start construction on the project within a year and complete the entire project within four years.

Mayor Rahm Emanuel has announced the city’s eight-year plan to expand O’Hare International Airport – the largest and most expensive revamp in the airport’s history. This announcement marks the first major capital improvements to O’Hare’s terminals in more than 25 years. A new Terminal Area Plan for O’Hare will completely redevelop the terminals and concourses, with Terminal 5 to undergo an upgrade and expansion, Terminal 2 to be largely demolished and rebuilt to include a new international arrivals facility and renovations made to Terminals 1 and 3. These changes will expand gate capacity and set in motion a wide range of other improvements to significantly enhance airline performance and the overall passenger experience. Through a new capital program valued at more than $8.5 billion, O’Hare’s facilities will receive a major upgrade. With construction to begin in 2019, the transformation is expected to be completed in 2026.

The Chicago Department of Aviation is overseeing major modernization not only at O’Hare International Airport but at Midway International Airport as well. At Midway International Airport, a nearly $400 million modernization program is underway to improve travel to and from the airport including a larger security checkpoint for faster screening; more dining and shopping options; and an expanded garage for convenient parking next to the terminal. These modernizations are set to be completed by Summer 2020 and will improve the customer experience and meet growing demand for air travel through Chicago.

The Chicago Department of Aviation and Avianca announced a new service to Bogota and Guatemala City from O’Hare International Airport. There will be two new nonstop services between O’Hare (ORD) and Bogota, Colombia (BOG) and Guatemala City, Guatemala (GUA), serving as the 14th and 15th new international routes added to O’Hare in 2018. The new service to Bogota will be the first time Chicago will have a nonstop flight to Colombia. The new daily service to Guatemala City will launch October 29, 2018 from Chicago and starting November 17, 2018 service to Bogota will operate four times weekly.

Southwest Airlines announced a new service between Chicago Midway Airport and Cabo San Lucas. They will begin international service on weekends between Midway and Cabo San Lucas/Los Cabos on November 4, 2018. This is a new destination from Midway that has not been served previously. The new flights will depart from Chicago on weekends and complements the airline’s existing portfolio of international service.


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