Choose Chicago Media Relations
Contact: Cole Schrand, Coordinator, Media Relations
What’s New and Happening in Chicago – Winter/Spring 2020
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (February 2020) – 2020 is heating up in Chicago with the kick-off of the Year of Chicago Music, celebrating the city’s iconic status as the birthplace of gospel, house, urban blues and modern jazz music. While dedicated, show-stopping music festivals will take place in Chicago throughout the year, crowds will also flock to the city for new hotels, creative dining options and newsworthy arts events such as the new Monet and Chicago exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago and works by poet and photojournalist Jun Funjita presented by the Newberry Library and the Poetry Foundation. Check out what’s new and happening in Chicago this winter and spring below, and visit www.ChooseChicago.com for more information.
The 21c Museum Hotel combines a 297-room boutique hotel, a multi-venue contemporary art museum and an independently branded, chef-driven restaurant in downtown Chicago. Building on the founders’ mission to bring contemporary art to the public, the hotel has innovative exhibitions and programming that integrate art into daily life. 21c Museum Hotel features over 10,000 sq. ft. of exhibition, meeting and event space showcasing rotating curated exhibitions, interactive site-specific art installations and a roster of cultural programming based on collaborations with local and national arts organizations. Welcoming local residents and visitors alike, the museum is open to the public free of charge, 365 days a year. The property also features a unique food and beverage concept, full-service spa, business center and fitness center.
Offering 115 stylishly appointed guest rooms and suites, Nobu Hotel Chicago is centrally located in Chicago’s West Loop Neighborhood and famed “Restaurant Row.” Nobu Hotel Chicago will allow guests to enjoy an unmatched luxury dining experience; Indulge in new-style Japanese cuisine at the 10,000 sq. ft., world-renowned Nobu Restaurant on the ground level; and experience ‘Nobu on the Roof’ complete with elegant indoor and outdoor bar space looking out onto Randolph Street. The hotel is scheduled to open spring 2020.
Experience one of Chicago’s most eclectic neighborhoods, Wicker Park, with a stay at the new Hyatt Place Chicago/Wicker Park. Nestled in one of the city’s most vibrant neighborhoods, this hotel offers easy access to gourmet restaurants and casual taquerias, interspersed with charming boutiques and bustling coffee shops. Chicago’s banner attractions—from the Loop to the Lake—are a quick drive or “L” ride away. The hotel is scheduled to open May 2020.
Hilton Chicago is thrilled to unveil and reintroduce its two newly redesigned iconic Imperial Suites, following an extensive renovation in late 2019. Positioned high above the lush gardens of Grant Park and calming waters of Lake Michigan, the historic north and south Imperial Suites that have crowned the hotel for over half a century have been transformed in an exciting bridge between past and present, where classic meets cool. Offering over 2,100 sq. ft. of space, each Imperial Suite features spacious accommodations with a King master bedroom and separate double bedroom. An expansive living room offers multiple nooks for lounging and admiring the views from the floor-to-ceiling windows. Each suite is also equipped with a dining table for eight, a nightcap station for in-room imbibing, and enough space to entertain up to 100 guests within. The north and south Imperial Suites are available for booking, with rates starting at $5,000 per night.
Opening mid-September 2020, the exclusive Curio Collection by Hilton Hotel will debut the 222-room hotel at Chicago’s famous Navy Pier. The hotel will feature a state-of-the-art fitness center and a 30,000 sq. ft. rooftop restaurant, bar, and event space in addition to floor-to-ceiling windows offering unmatched views of Lake Michigan and Navy Pier.
JW Marriott Chicago, located in the heart of Chicago’s financial district, proudly redesigns all 610 guest rooms including 29 suites, hotel corridors and the executive lounge. The hotel, which blends modern elegance into the Daniel H. Burnham Continental & Commercial National Bank Building, opened in November 2010 and is undergoing a multi-million-dollar guestroom renovation to be completed a decade after its inception. The transformation, under the design of Looney & Associates, is a nod to a storied past. Exemplifying a luxury rail car motif, Looney & Associates’ design utilizes rectilinear lines and soft curves reminiscent of travel paths both past and present. Layered metal finishes, plush woven fabric, and dark wood tones signal the richness of the Pullman era while soothing neutrals are accented with saturated pops of color to convey comfort and authenticity. With a new sparkle from modern lighting, reminiscent of a conductor’s lantern, guests will be transported to another time. JW Marriott Chicago will remain open for the duration of the renovation program, which is anticipated to be completed by spring 2020.
Chicago’s old Cook County Hospital has been renovated into a dual-branded Hyatt House Hotel/ Hyatt Place, accompanied by medical office and retail space. 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 2020.
O’Brien’s Hotel will take residence on the site of Old Town’s much-loved O’Brien’s Restaurant and Bar and will feature 13 stories, with potential plans for a new O’Brien’s Restaurant anchoring the site, a high-end restaurant on the second floor, and an open-air rooftop bar. The hotel is scheduled to open fall 2020.
The Reserve Hotel, a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection, will be a 234-room luxury hotel occupying the top five floors of the former Continental Bank building, where the JW Marriott Chicago is also located on the first 12 floors. The Reserve Hotel began construction in late 2018 and is expected to open in late 2020. With its location in a historic oﬃce building in the heart of Chicago’s financial district and next door to the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, the design, finish and artwork throughout The Reserve Hotel will reflect the building’s history and the story of the LaSalle Street financial district.
The Vista Tower has recently taken the spot as the third tallest building in Chicago. When completed, this Jeanne Gang-designed building will house the Wanda Vista Hotel, a 192-room contemporary hotel located in the low-rise portion of the tower. The hotel is scheduled to open mid-2020.
Scheduled to open in 2021, the 58-story Equinox will have 165-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.
Please note: Some hotel information has been compiled from publicly available sources. Project scope and completion dates are subject to change.
ATTRACTIONS & TOURS
Andrew Rafacz Gallery relocated to a new 2,000 sq. ft. space in Chicago’s West Town neighborhood this past fall. Inaugural exhibitions feature new work by Julia Bland and Robert Burnier. Additionally, artist Cody Hudson will unveil a large-scale, multi-story mural on the exterior sidewall of the building in spring 2020.
More than 40 animatronic dinosaurs that are BIGGER and BADDER will come to Brookfield Zoo May 2 to- September 27, 2020. Dinos Everywhere! features acres of earth-shakers, including the largest—Argentinosaurus—that was estimated to measure more than 100 ft in length and weigh up to 110 tons. Zoo-goers will be able to search for these amazing life-like animatronics located throughout the park. Free with zoo admission of $24.95 for adults; $19.95 for seniors 65+, and $17.95 for children 3 to-11.
Chicago tour company Chicago Detours updated its custom-designed map of the Chicago Pedway System for 2020 and is giving it away for free download at their website. This is now the most up-to-date map of the system that exists. The two-page map can be printed and folded into a booklet and makes it easy to navigate the extensive, mostly underground, tunnels of the Pedway. Chicago Detours conducted on-the-ground research in the Pedway to confirm new access locations, updated tips for navigating underground and outlined projected tunnel extensions to new downtown developments like Vista Tower.
Chicago Detours has redesigned its popular Historic Chicago Walking Bar Tour to step inside the Gilded Age mansion that is now Lawry’s restaurant. This educational pub-crawl tour shows a secret side to Michigan Avenue. Guests will see the opulent architecture, including the hidden architectural details on the outside of Lawry’s. On this new tour stop, guests also step inside to hear more history while enjoying a glass of wine or Lawry’s signature “Brown Gown Ale,” and taste house-made potato chips deliciously doused in Lawry’s famous seasoning. Located just a block off Michigan Ave, this building also once held a theater with quirky performances. This newly revised tour is available year-round, five nights a week.
For the first time ever, Chicago’s First Lady Cruises is offering residents and visitors alike the chance to experience the St. Patrick’s Day holiday from the comfort of one of their luxury vessels on the Chicago River. The inaugural Clover Cruise will boast live bagpipers, specialty Irish drinks and eats, festive photo booths and more – all against the backdrop of the city’s spectacular skyline and vivid green waters. The Clover Cruise will take place on March 14, 2020, with departures at 9:00 a.m.; 9:30 a.m.; 12:00 p.m. and 12:30 p.m. starting at $95. This is a 21+ event.
A landmark 19th-century church in the West Loop has been transformed into the newly opened Epiphany Center for the Arts, one of the city’s largest cultural venues. Epiphany hosts a wide array of performing arts including music, art, culinary, and wellness programs. The center has maintained much of the historic church’s original elements, including sweeping arched trusses and beautiful stained glass windows. Epiphany also features an art gallery, cafe, and courtyard. The venue can accommodate audiences of 50 to 1500 and is available for private events.
The Frank Lloyd Wright Trust presents its 2020 Wright Plus Housewalk on May 16, featuring rare interior tours of private residences and landmark public structures designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and fellow architects. The all-day annual architectural experience is held in the historic Chicago suburbs of Oak Park and River Forest, home to more Wright buildings than anywhere in the world. Tickets start at $90 and include free basic admission through the end of 2020 to Frank Lloyd Wright Home and Studio, Robie House, The Rookery, and Unity Temple (self-guided tour). For more information, visit flwright.org/wrightplus.
Now entering its seventh year of operation, Inside Chicago Walking Tours – a local, woman-owned business ranked as the TOP walking tour business on TripAdvisor and named to TripAdvisor’s “Hall of Fame” in 2019 – will continue to offer their interiors-focused architecture and history tours of downtown Chicago, and will add exciting new neighborhood tours for the 2020 season. Featuring Wicker Park and Lincoln Park this year, they will continue to offer small group walking tours that last between two and three hours, and cost between $30 and $40. They will also continue their very popular “Surf & Turf” tours – combo boat & walking tours that give visitors the best views from water and on land – with a new offering for 2020 that focuses on movie filming locations. Special seasonal offerings include: live music and fireworks in the summertime “Chicago After Dark” tour; the graves of master architects in the fall with the “From Great to Grave” tour; downtown holiday lights and Christmas trees on their popular “Christmas Tree Crawl” from Thanksgiving to Christmas.
FOOD & DRINK
Personifying the ultimate urban shopping, dining and entertainment experience, Block 37 is centrally located in the heart of the Loop and Chicago’s Theater District, offering five-levels of must-visit lifestyle destinations from fashion and beauty brands, to award-winning restaurants and lively entertainment attractions. Including iconic glazed doughnut brand Krispy Kreme, which after a long hiatus, opened in Block 37’s highly populated Pedway this past fall. The 1,000 sq. ft. shop stands across from Starbucks, the perfect location for commuters to grab their favorite fresh doughnuts when traveling between train stations. In addition, Chicago-based shoe company, Chinelas, has moved locations to the Pedway expanding not only its’ square footage but also its’ offerings. Inspired by their Argentinean-style shoes, Chinelas now serves empanadas, Yerba Matte tea, and candles, to offer a unique twist on the traditional shopping experience. The space also received a significant upgrade by local Chicago artist, Gabby Ciut, who colorfully decorated the interior walls with murals that take visitors on a journey right to Buenos Aires.
Catalog is the new retail, food and entertainment annex that wraps the base of Willis Tower. The 300,000 sq. ft., five-story space will take over what was once a blank stone wall. The space will have a curving glass skylight, brawny, black vertical beams and a publicly accessible rooftop green space expected to open in spring 2020. The highlight of Catalog, however, is the restaurant offerings including Brown Bag Seafood Co., Do-Rite Donuts & Chicken, Shake Shack, Sweetgreen, Rick Bayless’ Tortazo and a food hall by Urban Space. The largest tenant will be Convene, a meetings and events space for those who wish to rent flexible meeting rooms.
Amtrak is continuing redevelopment of Chicago’s Union Station with plans to build a new food hall as well as a western entrance along Clinton Street. The $10 million renovation is led by Chicago-based architectural firm Goettsch Partners, which also oversaw several recent Union Station projects such as the addition of the Metropolitan Lounge and the restoration of the Great Hall and new skylight. The multi-level food hall will occupy space that was previously home to national chain restaurant Fred Harvey and is expected to open by summer 2020. Plans are additionally in the works to redevelop the vacant upper floors of Union Station’s headhouse into a pair of hotels with a combined 400 guest rooms. The project includes a modest single-story addition to the historic building.
Dance Studio Vol. 1 officially opened its doors in Chicago’s River North in January. The new dance club is a partnership between Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Los Angeles-based nightlife operators, brothers Fred Grimmel (aka DJ Fred Matters) and Brian Grimmel. Each weekend, Dance Studio Vol. 1 hosts a dance party with music curated by musical director Fred Matters, including a lineup of DJs, live music and surprise entertainment. The best dancers are named nightly. The club also features a “pizza window” in partnership with Happy Camper, offering pizza by the slice for purchase or whole pies delivered to dancers’ tables. The club is open every Friday from 10 pm to 2 am and Saturday from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m., with special programming planned for other nights of the week. Dance Studio offers table reservations and bottle service and is also available for private events. Dance Studio Vol. 1 will close in January 2022, with plans for Vol. 2 to open shortly thereafter.
A new culinary concept is coming to the Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel Chicago this summer that will transform the downtown hotel’s beautiful bi-level restaurant space and offer guests and locals alike a fresh dining destination. Opening in the swanky space that now houses Filini restaurant, FireLake Grill House & Cocktail Bar will be a local adaptation of the farm-focused FireLake restaurants in the Minneapolis-area Radisson Blu hotels. The restaurant will look to a newly installed rotisserie and smoker for inspiration while tapping into the surrounding bounty of regional ingredients.
Gene & Georgetti, Chicago’s original steakhouse since 1941, is setting the stage for a comeback befitting of the restaurant’s legendary status. In October 2019, Gene & Georgetti suffered a kitchen fire at its downtown location in the heart of River North. Leading the restaurant into its next chapter is Michelle Durpetti, daughter of longtime owner Tony Durpetti; she represents the third generation of Gene & Georgetti’s independently owned family leadership. Gene & Georgetti is slated to re-open in River North in early 2020. With the momentous occasion comes refurbished interiors, newly introduced menu items and reimagined branding, all of which stay true to the restaurant’s beloved legacy.
Harbor is the South Loop’s newest dining destination for American cuisine. Parelta Hospitality LLC officially opened the restaurant in January to feature a menu of locally sourced ingredients and traditional American fare, created by chef and Partner Anthony Bernal. The restaurant pays homage to the Great Lakes and local rivers. A charcuterie program is another of Harbor’s highlights as the restaurant has a charcuterie room where the chef freshly cures meats in-house while a raw bar serves seafood favorites. A rotisserie, grill and hearth oven are also on full view for guests to watch as chefs prepare their meals. Harbor’s beverage program showcases packaged beer selections hand-selected from throughout the region in addition to more than 50 wines from around the world, specialty cocktails and a selection of 10 draft beers. Two private dining rooms accommodate 50 and 20 guests, respectively.
Hayden Hall, a 30,000 sq. ft. food hall, located in the iconic South Loop “big red building” is now open to the public. From developer John Buck Company and DMK Restaurants, the space includes vendors like DMK’s County BBQ, a partnership with chef Erick Williams of Virtue, vegetarian focused Mana Food Bar, which shuttered in Wicker Park in 2018, and more. In addition to those fares, the space also houses a new coffee and food bar called Julia Coffee and Brioche, Great Lake Meat Company, a new hot sandwich spot, and a grab-and-go market called Love Foods. DMK co-owners David Morton and Michael Kornick have cultivated other bars and restaurants including previously mentioned County BBQ, Ada Street – which will receive a second location at Hayden – Rec Room and Marshall’s Landing.
José Andrés’ ThinkFoodGroup announced that its beloved Jaleo brand will open in the River North neighborhood of Chicago in mid-2020. As a pioneering brand that popularized tapas dining in the U.S., Jaleo brings alive the spirit and flavors of Spain as seen through the creative lens of Spanish chef Andrés and his team.
Jose Andres’ ThinkFoodGroup, together with Chicago’s own Gibsons Restaurant Group, has signed a 17,200 sq. ft. foot lease at 110 North Wacker Drive, the new trophy-class office tower in downtown Chicago. The group will open a veritable dining destination with multiple concepts, including a fine dining restaurant and an elevated cocktail bar experience, as well as providing catering for the building’s 10,000 sq. ft. event space. The highly anticipated, 1.5 million sq. ft. trophy glass tower situated along the Chicago River in the West Loop is now 74 percent preleased and scheduled to open in October of 2020.
Top Chef Season 15 winner Joe Flamm is slated to open a new restaurant concept in summer 2020. Flamm is partnering with the owners at BLVD in Fulton Market on a Croatian-Italian restaurant. Flamm hails from Michelin star-studded Spiaggia. His new digs will be nothing short of his famous spaghetti specials. Other staples will include grilled whole fish and pita-like sandwiches stuffed with lamb and beef sausage that’s been cooked in a charcoal hearth. Chicago has a handful of casual Croatian cuisine options, but none with the fine dining experience Flamm possesses.
Mexican restaurant Mercadito in River North is celebrating its 10th anniversary this year with a recently completed renovation that includes a new bar build-out, newly upholstered booths and a new color scheme. The core design elements of the restaurant continue to reflect the Mexican “little markets” that Mercadito is named for, but with a more modern perspective. Favorite Mexican dishes are still expertly prepared by Mercadito chef Marissa Tunon, a Mexico City native who joined the restaurant in June after previously working under chef Jose Andres.
Revival Food Hall, 16” on Center hospitality group’s all local, chef-driven food hall, announces the newest addition to its roster of premier fast-casual dining options as Art of Dosa sets up shop as the hall’s newest permanent food stall. Art of Dosa is a South Indian dining concept founded by owner Ravi Nagubadi. Opening this past season, Art of Dosa centers around the Masala Dosa, a wildly popular dish originating in the Southern portion of India. Housed in the stall between Smoque and Fat Shallot, Art of Dosa features a menu of 100% vegan, gluten-free, and nut-free fare, bringing the unique flavors of the prized cuisine of Nagubadi’s ancestors to the people of Chicago. Another new addition to the hall is CITY PRESS Juice & Bottle, which offers a menu of all organic cold-pressed juices and raw foods.
The Lucky Well, known for its Memphis-style, dry-rub meats, is looking to bring the warm, inclusive environment of its Ambler, Penn. location to the South Loop. Ambitious and self-taught, chef Chad Rosenthal (Food Network Star: Seasons 9 and 10, Chopped Grill Masters) is excited to introduce his expanding Pennsylvania concept to Chicagoans. Like in Ambler, the Roosevelt Collection location will focus on delicious barbecue, top-shelf whiskey and classic craft cocktails, and a live blues atmosphere. While researching the city, Rosenthal visited several local barbecue joints and legendary blues stages; he’s committed to making the restaurant a genuine coming-together moment of the iconic atmosphere of Chicago blues and delicious cuisine.
Pacino’s, a new classic Italian restaurant, is now open at shopping, dining and lifestyle destination Roosevelt Collection in Chicago’s South Loop. The 308-seat restaurant is helmed by Executive chef Michael Serratore. The menu showcases house-made pastas, seafood dishes, custom pizzas and whole-fish branzino specials, all using locally sourced ingredients. Fresh fish and produce are hand-selected daily by chef Michael who visits a local market. The restaurant offers lunch, dinner and weekend brunch.
RPM On the Water, an ideal location for private events and weddings in downtown Chicago, is now open on the Chicago riverfront in River North. It comes from the RPM team of partners including R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman of Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises and Bill and Giuliana Rancic. Designed by award-winning architecture and design firm Rockwell Group, the flexible event space is 6,000 sq. ft. and can host 250 guests for a seated function and 425 for a reception. Guests enter through a private entrance into the main foyer then descend the grand staircase past a pre-function room and a dedicated VIP/bridal suite before entering into the grand ballroom. At 2,100 sq. ft., the pre-function room has a full bar and is perfect for cocktail hour or smaller events. The grand ballroom can be divided into three independent spaces with access to the outdoor terrace, providing sweeping views of the Chicago River along the entirety of the venue. Amenities include valet, full A/V capabilities, indoor/outdoor lighting, designer linens and glassware and more. RPM On the Water offers a fully customizable culinary experience, allowing guests to mix and match signature items from RPM Italian, RPM Steak and RPM Seafood.
RPM Seafood, a seafood-focused restaurant from the RPM team of partners including R.J., Jerrod and Molly Melman of Lettuce Entertainment You Enterprises and celebrity couple Bill and Giuliana Rancic, is now open on the Chicago Riverfront. This is the final phase of the multi-level waterfront project that also includes RPM Events, a private events venue that opened in September, and Pizzeria Portofino, the Italian Riviera-inspired casual restaurant that opened in July. With panoramic views of the Chicago River, RPM Seafood is designed by award-winning architecture and design firm Rockwell Group. The restaurant is set in tones of cream and wood and takes hints from Italian and French seaside towns and open-air dining to include floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto the 2,000 sq. ft. terrace, plus a second-floor mezzanine with two smaller private terraces. The space is nearly 11,000 sq. ft. inside and 2,500 sq. ft. outside in total and seats 350 and 120 guests, respectively. On the second floor mezzanine, there are a number of private and semi-private dining areas suited for social gatherings or corporate meetings. RPM Seafood features the world’s best fish and seafood, with executive chef Bob Broskey (formerly of Beacon Tavern, Intro and L20) leading the kitchen. The menu is broken into categories such as Crudo & Tartare, Seafood Towers, Delicately Grilled and Seafood Steaks. Signature dishes include Bone-In Swordfish Ribeye with coriander and herb oil; Charcoal-Grilled Black Bass with Moroccan spices and salsa verde; an updated take on an old Chicago classic, the Peekytoe Crab de Jonghe with garlic butter and espelette; and Grilled King Crab with curry aioli. The menu also incorporates a selection of steaks including 100-Day Dry-Aged Olive Beef from Japan and Cape Grim Grass-Fed NY Strip from Tasmania. The wine program is led by RPM Wine Director and partner, Richard Hanauer, a Food & Wine Sommelier of the Year and Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40 Tastemaker.
The Starbucks Reserve Roastery opened this past fall on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile occupying 43,000 sq. ft. and spanning across four stories while also gaining the title of the world’s largest Starbucks. The Reserve includes on-site roasting of its rare Reserve beans, interactive tours, exclusive drinks inspired by Chicago culture and tradition and a kitchen full of desserts, breads, pizzas and salads from Italian bakery Princi. Besides coffee, the reserve also highlights specialty cocktails by local mixologists Annie Beebe-Tron of Fat Rice, Julia Momose of Oriole and Kumiko, and Rachel Miller of Community Tavern, allowing customers to enjoy this new Starbucks from dawn until dusk.
Opening this past fall, Time Out Market Chicago gives guests a true taste of the city with 18 eateries to choose from, three bars and a demonstration kitchen. Located in the heart of the Fulton Market District, the latest additions include a curated mix of some of the city’s top chefs and restaurateurs like Abe Conlon, John Manion, Kevin Hickey, Lost Larson, FARE, Funkenhausen and Dos Urban Cantina. chef Brian Fisher, The Purple Pig, chef Thai Dang, Mini Mott are also featured in the market. Time Out Market Chicago is a food and cultural market bringing the best of the city under one roof: its best chefs, drinks and cultural experiences, based on the editorial curation Time Out has always been known for. The 50,000 sq. ft. brick building—spanning three floors— offers an event venue, a retail area, an entertainment platform with bleacher seating and an indoor/outdoor rooftop complete with impressive views of the city skyline.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises (LEYE), a multi-concept restaurant group, and Grubhub, the nation’s leading online and mobile food-ordering and delivery marketplace, are partnering to offer Whole30 Delivered, Whole30’s first-ever branded restaurant. This delivery-only restaurant concept from Whole30, the 30-day dietary reset chosen by millions for stunning, life-changing results, is operated by LEYE and provides diners across Chicago access to prepared, Whole30-compliant meals for delivery exclusively on Grubhub, making it easier to maintain a healthy lifestyle. The culinary team at LEYE worked directly with Whole30 to create a menu for the virtual restaurant that keeps with the lifestyle brand’s commitment to real, whole, unprocessed foods. The menu is available to order for lunch and dinner – and will rotate seasonally to showcase the freshest ingredients. Menu items include Thai Chicken-Coconut-Curry Soup, Melissa’s Buffalo Chicken Salad, “Spaghetti and Meatballs” made with spaghetti squash and chicken meatballs, Roasted Chicken Tikka Masala, and more. Visit whole30delivered.com for the full menu of dishes that are available now for delivery through Grubhub. Whole30 Delivered from LEYE and Grubhub is open for delivery Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. CT and Sunday from 3:30 to- 9 p.m. CT.
The X Pot is a new restaurant concept opening at Roosevelt Collection in early 2020. The concept is an innovative eatery from the team that created the authentic Chinese hot pot experience, Chubby Cattle. This project will unveil dynamic interactive layers and groundbreaking technology to add to the immersive dining experience. This will be The X Pot’s second location after their planned opening in Las Vegas later this year. Similar to past projects, The X Pot team aims to take traditional Asian dishes and give them a high-tech, high-quality twist. Founders Haibin Yang and David Zhao wanted to combine the comforts of hot pot cuisine and elevate them with quality ingredients and unique flavor combinations.
MUSEUMS, EXHIBITS & FESTIVALS
“My America: Immigrant and Refugee Writers Today,” the latest exhibit at the American Writers Museum, gives visitors and students a deep and personal experience, bringing them face-to-face with contemporary authors who are immigrants and refugees from all parts of the world. The authors featured in “My America” will delve into questions about writing influences, being multilingual, community, family, and what it means to be American. This interactive exhibit, designed to elicit thoughtful dialogue on a wide variety of issues and features works by more than 30 immigrant and refugee writers opened fall 2019 and runs through May 2021. Free with regular price admission (starting at $6).
The Art Institute of Chicago has announced a new exhibition for its spring 2020 collection, El Greco: Ambition and Defiance. This exhibition surveys the career of Domenikos Theotokopoulos, called El Greco (1541–1614); considering the astounding ambition and singular artistic vision that drove him to continually reinvent his practice as he developed his remarkable style. Centered around the Art Institute’s the Assumption of the Virgin (1577/79), El Greco features large-scale canvases and more intimate panel paintings carefully selected to showcase the artist’s changing style throughout his career. The exhibition will be at the Art Institute from March 7 to- June 21, 2020.
The Monet and Chicago exhibit will be on display at the Art Institute of Chicago from May 10 to- September 7, 2020. Chicago was the American city that most aggressively acquired the work of Claude Monet during his lifetime. Lead by enthusiastic collectors in the city, Monet and Chicago held a unique relationship. In 1903 the Art Institute became the first American museum to purchase one of Monet’s paintings, and today the museum’s 33 paintings and 13 drawings by the artist constitute the largest collection of works by the artist outside of Paris. This exhibition is the first to explore Chicago’s pioneering connection to the great Impressionist artist. Among the more than 65 paintings—from the Art Institute’s exemplary holdings and esteemed Chicago-based collections—are beloved major works as well as rarely seen still lifes, figural scenes, seascapes, and landscapes.
The Art Institute of Chicago is slated to welcome the official portraits of President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama in 2021, marking the first time that the portraits will leave the Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery in Washington D.C. The portraits’ two-month exhibit at the Art Institute of Chicago will be the first stop of a year-long, five city tour. The museum plans to prominently display the portraits in the first gallery beyond the Grand Staircase and in view of French artist Georges Seurat’s iconic painting “A Sunday on La Grande Jatte –1884.” Artist Kehinde Wiley, who painted the portrait of the 44th U.S. President, and artist Amy Sherald, who painted the First Lady’s portrait, will be in Chicago on Feb. 13 for the launch of the new book “The Obama Portraits,” at Chicago’s Stony Island Arts Bank.
Opening April 15, a new temporary exhibition called “Energy Revolution” will be the first major content refresh in the Chicago Architecture Center’s galleries since the grand opening of its acclaimed riverfront location in 2018. Developed in partnership by CAC programs staff and curatorial consultants at Farr Associates, “Energy Revolution” communicates clearly and with justifiable urgency the choices and actions required to free Chicagoans of fossil fuels, toward net-zero carbon consumption. Housed in the Usher Lambe Rotating Gallery on the Center’s second floor, “Energy Revolution” opens alongside the popular, ongoing exhibition “Building Tall” in the Drake Family Skyscraper Gallery, while the Chicago City Model Experience, neighborhood spotlights, and “At Home in Chicago” remain on view in the Chicago Gallery. “Energy Revolution” is made possible by Exhibit Sponsor ComEd and a grant from the Illinois Science Energy and Innovation Foundation. Admission to “Energy Revolution” is included with regular admission to the Chicago Architecture Center: adults $12, students $8, children four and under free. Admission is also free with any bus, walking, or “L” tour purchase. CAC galleries are open seven days a week from 9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit architecture.org to learn more.
The Chicago Children’s Museum has added a new permanent experience to their wonderful lineup of activities. Designed by artist Kevin Winters, Cloud Buster is a climbable structure made up of steel, wood, wire, rope, acrylic, fiberglass and turf. Cloud Buster will be located in Navy Pier’s Fifth Third Family pavilion and offers multiple levels of explorable fun. Cloud Buster opened this past fall and is open every day 10 a.m. to– 5 p.m. CT.
TIME Studios will debut its groundbreaking immersive project “The March” as an experiential exhibit on February 28 at the DuSable Museum of African American History. The March brings the 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s iconic “I Have a Dream” speech to virtual reality for the first time. The exhibit will also feature several levels of immersion, including spatial audio, and will run until November 2020.
For the fifth year in a row, the Field Museum will be free for Illinois residents for the entire month of February. With proof of residency, Illinois residents can enjoy basic admission from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. from February 1 to-29. Visitors that wish to upgrade to a discounted All-Access Pass, which includes access to Fantastic Bug Encounters!, Cyrus Tang Hall of China, Underground Adventure, and a 3D movie, can do so at an additional cost of $23 for adults, $17 for children, and $20 for seniors and students. Check out the Field Museum’s website for more information about valid proof of residency.
As part of Black History Month, A Natural Talent: The Taxidermy of Carl Cotton will celebrate Cotton’s legacy as the Field Museum’s first African American taxidermist. A Natural Talent tells the story of Cotton, who created taxidermy—realistic animal forms, often using real skins—for nearly 25 years with the Field. Visitors can take a closer look at Cotton’s taxidermy to learn more about the artistry, skill, and innovative techniques he used to shape each display. Archival footage, interviews, photos, and letters will be on display to illustrate his life. The exhibition is currently running until October 4, 2020. It is included with general admission; general admission to the Field is free the entire month of February for all Illinois residents during Free February.
Apsáalooke Women and Warriors, a traveling exhibition from the Field Museum, is opening March 12, 2020. Created in partnership with the Apsáalooke people from the Northern Plains of the United States, the 6,000 sq. ft. exhibition explores the history, values, and beliefs of this native community. The exhibition will feature works by over 20 contemporary Apsáalooke artists alongside 39 historical objects, including war shields from the Field’s collections. Digital interactives, a full-sized contemporary tipi, and media pieces connecting historic and modern stories will immerse visitors in a cultural and educational experience. The exhibition is presented in English and Spanish, with select sections also in Apsáalooke.
Fantastic Bug Encounters!, the Field Museum’s newest exhibition, gives visitors a peek into the hidden world of bugs. Through larger-than-life models and hands-on interactives, visitors will discover how bugs’ incredible adaptations—from flight to camouflage to performing “brain surgery” on prey—are changing the world. Fantastic Bug Encounters! will even feature a live bug zoo where visitors will be able to see (and even hold) bug species from around the world. The exhibition, presented in both English and Spanish, is included with either a Discovery or All-Access Pass. Fantastic Bug Encounters! runs until April 19, 2020. Please visit fieldmuseum.org/fantastic bugs for exhibition updates.
Using absurdist satire to address critical issues of our time, Mika Rottenberg: Easypieces at Museum of Contemporary Art offers subversive allegories for contemporary life. Her videos and installations interweave documentation with fiction, and often feature protagonists in factory-like settings who manufacture goods ranging from cultured pearls to millions of brightly colored plastic items sold wholesale in Chinese superstores. This exhibit runs until March 8, 2020.
The Shape of the Future features works from the Museum of Contemporary Art’s permanent collection that reckon with the dubious dream of a universal design language. Coinciding with the 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial, the exhibition explores global modernism as a framework for utopia and speculative world-making, marked by traces of labor, political fantasy, and cultural turmoil. Highlighting the histories and ideologies embedded in the built environment, these artists reveal the complexity—and at times absurdity—of the modernist project as a collection of disasters and reveries. This exhibit runs until April 5, 2020.
Routes and Territories brings together three works from the Museum of Contemporary Art collection that address human migration by focusing on a particular region, Latin America, where colonialism and the forced movement of entire cultures have deeply affected communities. Human migration takes place across the world, but its stories and circumstances vary. The experiences of people who have left their country of origin to establish a new life elsewhere are rooted in longstanding—and myriad—histories of displacement. This exhibit runs until April 19, 2020.
In Real Life is on view at the Museum of Contemporary Photography through March 29, 2020, and explores the real-world impact of computer vision—from the murky ethics of data collection and surveillance to the racial and gender biases that abound in facial-recognition technology. Through the lens of seven artists working with a range of digital media, In Real Life presents works that grapple with the fraught relationship between humans and technology. Artists include Stephanie Dinkins, Trevor Paglen, Leo Selvaggio, Maija Tammi, José Orlando Villatoro, Xu Bing, and Liam Young.
The Midwest’s largest and most beloved literary festival, Printers Row Lit Fest, returns for its 36th year June 6 and 7, 2020 (Note: This event has been rescheduled for Sept. 5 – 6, 2020). New York Times bestselling author and National Book Award winner Ta-Nehisi Coates (Between the World and Me, The Water Dancer) will kick off the festival as this year’s Harold Washington Literary Award recipient and keynote speaker, opening the festival on June 6 at 10 a.m. at the Cindy Pritzker Auditorium at Harold Washington Library. Presented by the Near South Planning Board, Printers Row Lit Fest programming is 100% free to the public and will feature dozens of events with local and national bestselling authors and more than 100 diverse booksellers—plus spoken word performances, chef demos, writing workshops, events for children and young adults, and special programming in conjunction with the Year of Chicago Music. More than 100,000 visitors are expected for this year’s two-day festival.
The winter exhibition at the Poetry Foundation, A.R. Ammon: Watercolors, features the abstract watercolors of one of the 20th century’s most gifted and prolific poets, A.R. Ammons. The exhibition focuses on Ammons’s abstract watercolors painted during 1977–1979, a time of intense productivity and runs until April 30. Also appearing at the Poetry Foundation in May, Poetry by Winterhouse explores the 12-year collaboration between the Poetry Foundation and the Winterhouse design studio, co-founded by William Drenttel and Jessica Helfand. The exhibition covers April 2005–June 2017, illustrating Winterhouse’s illumination of Poetry’s rich history, the expansion and evolution of the magazine’s visual style, and the progression toward the Foundation’s current Pentagram designs. Admission to the exhibition is free and open to the public Monday to–Friday 11:00 AM to–4:00 PM, as well as select evenings and Saturdays. The exhibition runs May 15 to–August 27, 2020.
Jun Fujita: American Visionary, co-presented by the Poetry Foundation and the Newberry Library, focuses on the extraordinary accomplishments of poet and photojournalist Jun Fujita. This exhibition is an expanded version of Jun Fujita: Oblivion, first mounted at the Poetry Foundation in 2017, exploring Fujita’s poetry, photography, and uncommon life. Born outside Hiroshima, Fujita came to Chicago in 1909, becoming the first Japanese American photojournalist. He published his tanka regularly in Poetry, and as a photographer, he was responsible for capturing many of the most famous moments in Chicago history, including the Eastland Disaster, the 1919 race riots, and the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre. The exhibition is free and open to the public and will run at the Newberry until March 31, 2020.
The Poetry Foundation presents “Verböten,” a band made up of outsider teens with seriously complex home lives. As they gear up for a show at The Cubby Bear that is sure to change their lives forever, can they keep their parents from destroying the fabric of their self-made punk rock family? With lyrics and music by Verböten’s original guitarist Jason Narducy (Split Single, Superchunk, Bob Mould) and book by Brett Neveu (Odradek, Pilgrim’s Progress, Traitor), Verböten is inspired by the true story of Chicago’s own young punks. Running now through March 8, 2020, regular run schedule and ticket prices are to be determined.
Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Commissioner Mark Kelly, Grammy® and Oscar Award-winning artist Che “Rhymefest” Smith and many other civic, arts and music leaders announced 2020 as the ‘Year of Chicago Music.’ This citywide, year-long focus on music is one of the first of its kind in the United States. The City of Chicago and its partners will launch a new marketing brand for Chicago music, provide additional financial grants for music projects, encourage dialog around inclusion and equity, and call on civic, philanthropic, arts and business leaders to support the music industry. The Year of Chicago Music follows the success of 2017, 2018 and 2019 initiatives celebrating Chicago’s public art, its creative youth and its vibrant theatre scene. Its mission is to place a spotlight on Chicago’s music landscape – one of the most influential and dynamic musical sectors on the globe – highlighting its legacy, expanding its audience and strengthening the sector.
The historic Auditorium Theatre continues its 130th anniversary season with exciting dance and speaker events. Trinity Irish Dance Company returns to the Auditorium on February 29 with three world premiere pieces and audience favorites. From March 4 to-8, the internationally renowned Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater brings exciting Chicago premieres and timeless Ailey classics to Chicago for its annual performances. American Ballet Theatre, featuring principal dancers including Misty Copeland, Herman Cornejo, and Isabella Boylston, returns to Chicago from March 19 to-22, 2020 with a mixed repertory program. The Auditorium’s National Geographic Live Series returns in March with Adventures Among Orangutans, featuring biological anthropologist Cheryl Knott and photojournalist Tim Laman, who will share their stories of observing these endangered animals. The National Geographic Live Series closes on May 5 when award-winning National Geographic photographer Brian Skerry comes to the theater with his stunning photos of marine life.
Broadway In Chicago brings the most exciting shows to Chicago’s bustling Downtown Theater District. On the stages of the James M. Nederlander Theatre, the Cadillac Palace Theatre, the CIBC Theatre, the Auditorium Theatre and the Broadway Playhouse, you will discover theater productions direct from Broadway and world premieres of productions destined for Broadway. Ticket prices for some Broadway shows start as low as $24. Current and upcoming productions include TEATRO ZINZANNI presents LOVE, CHAOS, & DINNER,Once On This Island,Riverdance, Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus – Live!, SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical,Sterling & Shannon Brown Presents: Oh, You Got Jokes? Comedy Show, Robert Dubac’s Book of Moron,What the Constitution Means to Me, The Bachelor Live on Stage, KEANE, My Fair Lady, Once Upon a One More Time, The Choir of Man,The Office! A Musical Parody,The Simon & Garfunkel Story, Waitress, Goshen, Lisa Lampanelli’s Losin’ It, Dear Evan Hansen,Six, The Devil Wears Prada,Jesus Christ Superstar,Come From Away,Disney’s Frozen, and Moulin Rouge! The Musical.
Over the summer of 2020, Lyric Opera House of Chicago’s Ardis Krainik Theatre will undergo a significant renovation and improvement project that will include replacement of theater seating, a restructuring of the sightlines on the main floor of the house, and greatly enhanced accessibility and overall guest experience. The new seating plan, funded by an anonymous donor in support of Lyric’s Patron Accessibility Initiative, will provide greater accessibility and upgrades in comfort while ensuring the house’s acoustics as well as preserving and enhancing the historic Art Deco building. The multi-layered renovation and construction plan is set to start at the conclusion of Lyric’s spring musical, 42nd Street. When the renovation project concludes, the 2020/2021 season will open with lush, ergonomic-designed seating, a new main floor seating configuration that will offer better views, wider aisles for improved entrance and exit flow, and increased accessibility with more wheelchair-accessible seating.
Lyric Opera of Chicago will continue an extraordinary season in 2020. Opening February 6, Puccini’s opera classic Madama Butterfly returns to Lyric, telling the story of an enchanting geisha, Cio-Cio-San, who falls in love with an American naval lieutenant and catastrophe ensues when his true intentions are revealed. Lyric music director, Sir Andrew Davis, returns to the podium for one of his favorite operas, Tchaikovsky’s The Queen of Spades, opening February 15. In April, Lyric Opera of Chicago will be producing one of the greatest achievements in Western culture and an immersive adventure that every opera lover should experience. The Ring Cycle, which consists of 16 hours of opera over the course of a week for three consecutive weeks, is a rare and monumental undertaking. To learn more about all of these upcoming productions at Lyric Opera of Chicago, visit https://www.lyricopera.org.
Porchlight Music Theatre presents “Duke Ellington’s Sophisticated Ladies.” A celebration of the artist many consider “the most important composer in the history of jazz,” this stylish salute to “The Duke” will transport audiences on a high-stepping, dynamic journey through the life and times of one of America’s greatest showmen. The show will run through March 7, 2020, on Thursdays at 7:30 p.m., Fridays at 8 p.m., Saturdays at 3:30 and 8 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m. with weekday matinees on Thursday, February 6 and February 13 at 1:30 p.m. Plus, added performances on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. and Wednesday, Mach 4 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket Price: $39 – $66. Credits: music by Duke Ellington, concept by Donald McKayle, directed and choreographed by Brenda Didier and Florence Walker Harris, music directed by Jermaine Hill.
Steppenwolf Theatre Company continues the winter with a dynamic lineup of productions. Rounding out the winter is Pulitzer Prize-winning ensemble member Tracy Letts’s cult classic “Bug,” which will be produced in the Downstairs Theatre, helmed by Tony Award-winning director David Cromer and featuring ensemble members Carrie Coon and Namir Smallwood. The show runs through March 8, 2020. Performances take place at 1650 N. Halsted St. Chicago IL 60614. Tickets start at $20, for more info call 312-335-1650 or visit steppenwolf.org.
Radius, a 55,000 sq. ft., multi-room concert venue, is scheduled to open early this year. Radius will occupy the site of an old steel factory at 640 W. Cermak Road in the Pilsen neighborhood. The venue is designed specifically to be a music-first venue, rather than a retrofitted theater and as such will feature a state-of-the-art D&B KSL sound system and acoustics designed with music in mind. Other features include a VIP mezzanine level, artist lounge, four artist rooms with full amenities, an open-air artist compound area, production offices, and RV/truck parking with direct access to the state for loading. Radius will also showcase mural work by local and international artists Within Radius is Cermak Hall, which is a 10,000 sq. ft., multi-purpose event space with a capacity for 1,350 guests, featuring its own entrance, a full bar and a stage. Cermak Hall will also be used as a pre- and post-event space.
SPORTS & RECREATION
For the first time in over three decades, the NBA All-Star Game will return to Chicago. NBA All-Star 2020 is a week-long basketball celebration that brings together the world’s most talented and passionate athletes before a global audience. It is one of the most anticipated sporting events of the year and features a full slate of events designed to make Chicago the basketball capital of the world. The NBA All-Star Game reaches fans in 215 countries and territories in 47 languages. Additionally, hundreds of members of the international media will convene in Chicago to provide firsthand coverage of NBA All-Star 2020. The 69th Annual NBA All-Star Game will be on Sunday, February 16th at the United Center. In addition to the All-Star Game, ancillary events such as the Celebrity Game and All-Star Practice will take place at Wintrust Arena. Click here for more information. Finally, as part of NBA All-Star 2020, the NBA works closely with the local community, host city, and local franchise to conduct hands-on service activities designed to leave a lasting and positive impact on underserved populations.
The Chicago Department of Aviation is overseeing major modernization efforts at both O’Hare International Airport and Midway International Airport. 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 improvements are set to be completed by summer 2020 and will improve the customer experience and meet growing demand for air travel through Chicago.
O’Hare International Airport has added a number of new international routes beginning service 2020:
American Airlines service between Krakow, Poland and Chicago to launch May 2020
American Airlines service between Budapest and Chicago to launch May 2020
American Airlines service between Prague and Chicago to launch May 2020
EL AL service to Tel Aviv will begin in March 2020
Norwegian Air service between Barcelona and Chicago to launch March 2020
Norwegian Air service between Paris and Chicago to launch May 2020
Norwegian Air service between Rome and Chicago to launch June 2020
Daily United Airlines service to Zurich will begin in March 2020
Daily United Airlines service to Tokyo-Haneda will begin in March 2020
4 x weekly Qantas Airlines service to Brisbane will begin in April 2020