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What’s New and Happening in Chicago – Winter/Spring 2023
CHICAGO, ILLINOIS (January 2023) – The New Year brings a plethora of new opportunities to explore Chicago. Whether it’s the host of new, hot restaurants, haute shopping experiences, or high-energy, immersive shows and attractions, it’s clear: the Best Big City in the U.S. (six years running!) isn’t resting on its laurels. In fact, it’s just getting started.
January signals the triumphant, sold-out comeback of First Bites Bash after a three-year hiatus. The all-inclusive January 19 event inside the iconic Field Museum kicks off the 16th annual Chicago Restaurant Week, celebrating the area’s acclaimed culinary scene across 17 days and more than 300 top restaurants. Restaurant Week includes special prix fixe menus ($25 for brunch or lunch and $42 and/or $59 for dinner). These signature events are a great way to indulge in around-the-world delicacies without leaving the city. Immersion takes on a new form with Stage 773’s WHIM, a walk-thru experience inviting guests to partake in a whimsical night out inside a world where every art form comes together – paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance – all by Chicago artists. And, on the heels of Black History Month, Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center debuts The Negro Motorist Green Book, an exhibit dedicated to African American travel in the Jim Crow era.
February is well-known for being a month dedicated to and all about love, and this year, there’s no shortage of events to fall in love with. This month marks the beginning of a bevy of bold performances at stages across the city, from Broadway in Chicago, the Belmont Theatre District and the Joffrey Ballet. And with the return of Chicago Theatre Week (now in its 11th year), that means these can’t miss live performances are available from February 16-26 for $30 or less! The Chicago Auto Show, the largest auto show in North America, returning to McCormick Place Feb. 11-20. And throughout the month, raise a glass to great American writers at the American Writers Museum’s new Get Lit happy hour series.
Complete with the 60-plus-year tradition of dyeing of the Chicago River green, March makes a colorful point to the world that no city celebrates St. Patrick’s Day quite like we do. From the signature parade downtown to neighborhood-specific festivities, Irish history and culture run deep in neighborhoods like Beverly, Albany Park, and Mt. Greenwood.
With so much in store this year, go ahead: Discover big-city culture, Midwestern hospitality, and urban adventure. Come explore the city that feels like home! Visit ChooseChicago.com for more information.
? Recent Accolades:
- Business Insider designated Chicago one of the 23 best places to travel to in the U.S. in 2023. The publication cited the city’s upcoming NASCAR race, the Art Institute of Chicago’s Van Gogh retrospective exhibit, and the forthcoming St. Regis Chicago hotel as a few reasons visitors should travel to the city.
- USA Today’s 10Best travel guide honored three Chicago public spaces in its annual 10Best Readers’ Choice Awards nominations: Lincoln Park (“Best City Park”), Chicago Riverwalk (“Best Riverwalk”) and the Chicago River (“Best Urban Kayaking Spot”). The contests launched January 9 at noon (EST) and will end on February 6 at 11:59 a.m. (EST). During this time, residents, visitors and fans of the public spaces can vote for them to win in each respective category.
- Lonely Planet ranked The Museum of Science and Industry’s newest exhibit, “Mold-A-Rama™: Molded for the Future,” as second among this year’s “10 best exhibitions not to miss in the USA in 2023.”
- Big 7 Travel has rated Chicago’s Pequod’s among “The Best 50 Pizzas in the World.”
- GayCities.com recognized several LGBTQ+ landmarks in Chicago: Northalsted, runner-up for “Timeless ‘Hood,” 2Bears Tavern, gold for “Newcomer” bar, Nobody’s Darling, honorable mention for “Newcomer” bar, Dorothy, honorable mention for “Greatest Comeback,” Sidetrack, gold for “Nightclub,” Second Story, honorable mention for “Dive bar to dive for,” The Closet, bronze for “Lesbian Hangout,” Market Days, honorable mention for “Travel-worthy Festivals,” and AIDS Garden, honorable mention for “Monument to our History.”
- Eater honored Rogers Park’s new Khmai Cambodian Fine Dining, as one of its “15 Best New Restaurants in America.”
- Restaurant Business Online’s annual listing of the highest-grossing independent restaurants in America for 2022 included 19 Chicago-based restaurants, including Alinea, Maple & Ash, Gibsons Italia, Joe’s Seafood, Swift & Sons, Bar Siena, and Girl & The Goat.
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The Fairmont Chicago Millennium Park is now home to Chicago’s first Leaf Spa. Open since December 8, 2022, the 11,000-square-foot spa focuses on authentic wellness practices inspired by the earth’s natural wonders and seasonal evolutions. The spa, located on the hotel’s lower level, boasts eight treatment rooms, including one couples’ room, which includes a Kohler waterfall soaking tub for two that cascades eucalyptus-infused water directly from the ceiling. The spa also includes two facial rooms and six massage rooms. Not only will the spa focus on physical well-being, but it will also embrace mental wellness, offering therapeutic programs tied to nature.
The Peninsula Chicago will ring in the Year of the Rabbit with a series of inspiring initiatives and special décor throughout the Chinese New Year holiday on January 22, 2023. The event will include music, food and activities. In addition, the hotel will offer guests a personalized experience during the Chinese New Year designed to create memories, including the traditional lion dance, and authentic dining delights from Chinese New Year Afternoon Tea to special Chinese menus at Shanghai Terrace.
The St. Regis Chicago is set to debut later this spring as the 50th St. Regis globally. Through architectural ingenuity and a shimmering homage to sky and water, the 101-story St. Regis Chicago, designed by award-winning architect Jeanne Gang, has changed Chicago’s iconic skyline. It is now the third tallest building in Chicago, the 10th tallest in the United States and the tallest building in the world, designed by a female. The tower’s crystalline form was inspired by the facets of a shimmering gem and the building is coated in six varying shades of blue-green glass to reflect the changing colors of Lake Michigan. The hotel will comprise the first 11 floors of the building, featuring 192 luxurious guest rooms, multiple signature dining options, a 12,000 square foot, world class St. Regis Spa, a fitness center, indoor pool and outdoor sunken terrace with scenic views, a 5,000 square foot ballroom and 3,000 square feet of executive and pre-function space and the St. Regis Signature Butler Service. The hotel’s backyard is a six-acre botanical green space featuring a children’s play park, dog park and attractive ornamental and water gardens.
The voco Chicago Downtown and reimagined Holiday Inn Chicago Downtown – Wolf Point opened in Chicago’s RiverNorth neighborhood in November 2022. The IHG Hotels & Resorts-branded voco property is the first voco location in Chicago and sixth in the U.S. Together with the newly-reimagined Holiday Inn Chicago Downtown – Wolf Point, the property is IHG’s first dual-branded property in the city.
The Waldorf Astoria Chicago completed a property-wide renovation project in December 2022. The re-imagined property includes a new signature restaurant, Brass Tack, and a new sultry lobby lounge, Peacock Lounge. The renovation also rebirthed Bernard’s, a cocktail bar that restores a beloved city setting. Interior updates across the entire grand chateau-style hotel include reimagined guest rooms and suites, plus brand new uber-luxurious Presidential and Astoria premier suites. The award-winning Waldorf Astoria Spa Chicago also launched updated treatment spaces and exciting new menus and coveted brand partnerships, such as the renowned Biologique Recherche.
?️? Food and Libations:
Chicago Winery, a 24,000-square-foot winery, restaurant, bar and event space by First Batch Hospitality, opened November 5 at the former Zed space, 739 N. Clark St. in RiverNorth. The outdoor terrace – complete with a retractable roof and walls – is open year-round. The restaurant, LIVA, derives its name from the Scandinavian word “liv” meaning “life” and evoking a sense of the passage of time and the joy of the journey. LIVA is helmed by Chicago native Andrew Graves, who previously worked as a sous chef at Alinea and helped open Next and The Aviary.
The Four Seasons Hotel Chicago has tapped Richie Farina as Executive Chef of Adorn Bar & Restaurant, the hotel’s on-site New America restaurant. Farina’s culinary vision will be on full display this spring and include a tasting-menu experience. A tasting menu preview will be offered during the week of Valentine’s Day. Farina most recently served as the opening sous chef at two-Michelin-starred Ever and previously served as lead line cook at Monteverde. He is the former executive chef at one-Michelin-starred Moto.
Levain Bakery, the New York bakery known for its giant and gooey gooey cookies, opened its first Chicago store in mid-November at the former Maude’s Liquor Bar space, 840 W. Randolph St., in the West Loop. The store’s opening marks the first outside the East Coast market.
From Meadowlark Hospitality partners Steve Lewis and Chef Chris Thompson (the team behind Lardon in 2021 and Union in 2022) debuted their third and final concept, The Meadowlark, 2812 W. Palmer St., in Logan Square. The intimate, dimly lit cocktail haven opened October 3 and is tucked away behind an unmarked door near the back of the 100-year-old building that houses Lardon and Union. Beverage direction is helmed by Abe Vucekovich, an alumnus of Wicker Park cocktail bar, The Violet Hour. Meadowlark features a rotating cocktail menu – largely inspired by birds – and small bites.
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra debuted its new restaurant and bar, Forte, on December 14. The new concept comes from a diverse leadership team, which includes Executive Chef Stephanie Salas, formerly of Ohio’s Dayton Golf and Country Club, General Manager Janna Mestan, who helped produce beer festivals Festival of Barrel Aged Beers and Beer Under Glass, and Director of Operations Elana Kopp, formerly of Land and Sea Dept.
Waterview Kitchen & Bar, the newly reimagined bar, lounge and restaurant, is now open at The voco Chicago Downtown. With sweeping views of the downtown Chicago skyline, Waterview features menus melding American classics with robust, internationally inspired flavors.
The Soulfood Lounge, an intimate fine dining restaurant by founder and chef Quentin Love, opened in November in North Lawndale at the Martin Luther King Jr. Legacy Apartments, 3804 W. 16th St. The restaurants includes global soul food fusion influences including Italian, Mexican, American and Asian cuisine inspiration.
Kindling | Downtown Cookout & Cocktails, a new concept from The Fifty/50 Restaurant Group, will open January 24 inside the Catalog at Willis Tower. The 17,000-square-foot live fire show kitchen restaurant, helmed by James Beard Award winner Jonathon Sawyer (formerly of the Four Seasons Hotel’s Adorn Restaurant & Bar), will debut lunch service and happy hour on January 24. Dinner service will be available the following week on January 31.
West Loop Mexican restaurant and bar, Federales, will open a second Chicago location in Logan Square at 2471 N. Milwaukee Ave. Four Corners, the hospitality group behind Federales, Ranalli’s, Benchmark and Kirkwood, will transform the former Marcello’s Father & Son restaurant later this year.
Dawn, a new brunch spot from the owner of Caribbean bar and restaurant 14 Parish, will open this summer at 1642 E. 56th St. at the former home of Piccolo Mondo. Restaurateur Racquel Fields, a South Side native, is planning to offer a combination of new American fare and Southern staples like fried green tomatoes.
After debuting Gordon Ramsay Burger in December 2021, celebrity chef and restaurateur Gordon Ramsay, plans to pay homage to one of his most popular TV shows with Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen. to open in River North in early 2023. The 18,000-square-foot two-story restaurant will be one of only a handful locations in the U.S. and will take over the former Cantina Laredo space 508 N. State St. It will include a few unique-to-Chicago to-be-determined menu items.
New York food hall, Urbanspace, will open its second Chicago location, inside Willis Tower. The 12,000-square-foot location is set to open later this year, joining the first 11-stall outpost at 15 W. Washington St. in the Loop.
Diageo Beer Company will open the second location of its Guinness Open Gate Brewery in Chicago’s West Loop neighborhood later this year. Located at 375 N. Morgan St. in a revitalized historic railroad depot, the location will include a brewery with tours, taproom, outdoor patio space and restaurant spanning 15,000 square feet. Some of the beers made on-site will only be available in Chicago. The company currently operates one other U.S. location in Baltimore.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises will open two new Ramen-san and Sushi-san restaurants in Lincoln Park later this year at 1962 N. Halsted St. and 1948 N. Halsted St., respectively. The Lincoln Park Ramen-san will open in February 2023, while the Sushi-san will open in late 2023. Ramen-san’s Lincoln Park outpost will mark the fourth location of the noodle shop. Sushi-san’s debut will signal the sushi restaurant’s third location.
Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises has announced the two restaurants that will open at the highly anticipated St. Regis Chicago hotel:
- The first restaurant, Miru (pronounced mē-rōō) from Executive Chef Hisanobu Osaka will open Spring 2023 in tandem with the hotel. Miru, Japanese for “view,” will showcase Chef Osaka’s unique take on Japanese cuisine and boasts two terraces and a dining room that overlooks the Chicago River and Navy Pier. The Japanese restaurant will be open for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The menu will include sushi, sashimi and raw selections from the sushi bar, complimented by a selection of Izakaya-style dishes like hand-made dumplings, skewers, fried rice, hot pots, as well as a robust wagyu and seafood section.
- The second restaurant, Tre Dita (pronounced trā dē-tä), Italian for three fingers, is a nod to the thickness of a properly cut bistecca Fiorentina that the restaurant will be serving from its open-hearth wood fired grill. The Tuscan Steakhouse is in collaboration with award-winning Chef Evan Funke (Felix, Mother Wolf) and will open in 2023.
Netflix’s School of Chocolate winner and Jean Banchet Award nominee, Juan Gutierrez has been named Executive Pastry Chef, while Lettuce mixology alum Diane Corcoran will oversee the restaurants’ beverage programs as Beverage Director. Miru will open in tandem with the St. Regis Chicago this spring, followed by Tre Dita later this year.
?️ Exhibitions (Immersive Art & Museums):
The Hyde Park Art Center’s new exhibit, Destination/El Destino: a decade of GRAFT, the largest exhibition to date of the Puerto Rican artist, educator, and community organizer Edra Soto, will open April 23 and will be on display through August 6. The exhibition features a new large-scale commission of the artist’s GRAFT series with porous sculptures, documentary photographs, drawings, and games that activate the Art Center’s indoor/outdoor main gallery.
The American Writers Museum’s new Get Lit happy hour premiered January 10 and occur the second Tuesday of every month with themed programming that includes music, special tours and fun activities such as open mics, book swaps and more. January’s theme, A Snowy Day, invites guests to enjoy beer and wine, live music with jazz musicians Tim Fitzgerald and Tom Vaitsas, snowy poems from Poems While You Wait and a snow-themed photo booth as they explore the AWM’s permanent and temporary exhibits after hours. Subsequent themes of love, women writers, and mini golf subsequently debut in February, March and April.
The Art Institute of Chicago has a full slate of winter/spring programming. Exhibition highlights include:
- Bridget Riley Drawings: From the Artist’s Studio (Until January 16, 2023) – For more than 60 years, the British artist has created abstract, geometric paintings and drawings that challenge and delight the senses. These studies range from working drawings on graph paper to finished gouaches and serve alternately to anticipate and accompany her paintings. This is the first and most extensive museum exhibition dedicated exclusively to Riley’s drawings in over half a century. The exhibition presents approximately 90 sheets from the artist’s own collection, kept as part of her dynamic studio practice. These works cover the full range of her career—from her student days in the late 1940s, when she dedicated herself exclusively to drawing courses at Goldsmiths College, through her groundbreaking black-and-white optical works of the early 1960s and the innovative color studies she has produced from the late 1960s to the present day.
- The Language of Beauty in African Art (Until February 27, 2023) – How has African art been evaluated and valued and by whom? That is the question guiding this presentation of more than 250 sculptures from dozens of distinct cultures across the African continent. It is an exploration that seeks to decolonize the Western aesthetic standards long placed on these objects and to elevate the local indigenous perspectives of the works’ makers and communities.
- A Field Guide to Photography and Media (until April 10, 2023) – This exhibition celebrates that remarkable history through the Art Institute’s collection and offers an occasion to think anew about the photography’s place in the museum and in the world. Divided into eight sections, it features more than 150 works that cut across time, space, and genre. Themes explored include production and circulation; engagements with identity, politics, and truth; the varied material forms of photography and media; the connections among these disciplines and other art forms; and relationships among artist, subject, and viewer.
The Chicago Cultural Center’s Exhibitions Program is committed to organizing and presenting a range of diverse and engaging exhibitions devoted to the visual arts and contemporary culture. Check out its upcoming calendar for the latest updates on free visual art and performance programs:
- Artists First: 25 Years of Studio Art at Thresholds (Until January 8, 2023) – Introduces a compelling group of outstanding artists who are living with challenges and building from them daily; making work that speaks directly to our shared humanity and intersectional diversity.
- “Nelly Agassi: No Limestone, No Marble” (Until January 15, 2023) – Nelly Agassi’s solo exhibition, “No Limestone, No Marble” is a site-specific installation in the monumental Chicago Rooms gallery. Israeli-born Chicago-based artist Agassi calls this project a “biography of the site” in which she develops a personal relationship with the past, present, and future history of a place in connection to her own. With this methodology, Agassi “sculpts” the site as a material, and creates a project from the specificity of the place in relation to the city of Chicago and the institution’s impact.
- Luftwerk: Exact Dutch Yellow (Until January 29, 2023) – “Exact Dutch Yellow” is a new immersive exhibition by the Chicago-based collaborative Petra Bachmaier & Sean Gallero of Luftwerk Studio. Drawing upon the scientific history of color and color theory, the exhibition explores how we perceive the natural world today. A series of sculptural light installations using botanical pigments and dynamic, changing light conditions will transform Exhibit Hall into abstracted, atmospheric chromatic experiences.
Chicago History Museum’s newest temporary exhibition Treasured Ten: Selections from the Costume Collection (Until January 16, 2023), delves into the Chicago History Museum’s clothing collection of more than 50,000 pieces, to showcase ten never-been-exhibited ensembles that tell the remarkable stories of these five designers: Stephen Burrows, Scotty Piper, Patrick Kelly, Willi Smith, and Barbara Bates. Dating from the 1970s to the 1980s, the garments are expressions of their creators’ experiences and identities.
- Millions of Moments: The Chicago Sun-Times Photo Collection (Until December 31, 2023) features 150 images from the Chicago History Museum’s Chicago Sun-Times It is a first look at highlights from five million negatives spanning the 1940s-early 2000s, one of the largest newspaper photograph collections ever acquired by an American museum. As the Museum continues to process negatives from this extraordinary collection, new images will be shared through their online portal, CHM Images.
Color Factory’s winter exhibit, “Winter Colorland,” is open at Catalog at Willis Tower, the new curated dining, entertainment, and community experience in the heart of downtown Chicago. “Winter Colorland” invites guests to grab their sleds, goggles and parkas and slide into some winter whimsy! Visitors can enjoy seasonal treats, brand new photo opportunities and installations, and a ski lift through a confetti snowstorm. Encompassing 25,000 square feet of multisensory art experiences inspired by the city’s vibrant culture, the space features brand new installations from local artists and beloved rooms from other locations.
The DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center’s winter/spring calendar includes the following in-person and virtual exhibitions:
- Stories International Watch Day (Until February 16, 2023): Executively produced by DuSable Museum in partnership with Stelo Stories, this feature film tells the childhood story of writer and abolitionist Olaudah Equiano, the first formerly enslaved person to write and publish his own story, The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, or Gustavus Vassa, the African. This production reimagines his story with a contemporary twist: via Instagram stories.
- King Day (January 16, 2023): A celebration of the life of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., this exhibit will feature a pop-up Civil Rights exhibit, 1950’s era bus parked outside the museum in honor and remembrance of Rosa Parks, and children’s story time, among other activities.
- The DU Black History School Events series will also include the Chicago Puppet Fest (January 27,), Trial in the Delta (February 9), Coming to Africa: Equiano Stories One Year Anniversary (February 16) and The Torture Letters (February 22).
The Field Museum’s newest exhibit Wild Color (Until January 8, 2023) invites viewers to dive into the color spectrum as they make their way through immersive rooms, each representing a color of the rainbow.
- In Native Truths: Our Voices, Our Stories, which opened this spring as a new permanent exhibit, guests are invited to experience stories told by Native American and Indigenous people of self-determination, resilience, continuity and the future. Visitors will learn about the historical significance of items in the Field’s collection, like traditional regalia and pottery, and immerse themselves in works by contemporary Native artists, including Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) raised beadwork from Karen Ann Hoffman of the Oneida Nation of Wisconsin and flute music from Frank Waln of the Sicangu Lakota. They will also dive deeply into current issues, like threats to Native land and the rights of tribal nations to govern themselves
- And the Immersive King Tut experience continues to impress audiences visiting Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago, taking visitors on a mythical journey through the ancient Egyptian afterlife.
The Illinois Holocaust Museum & Education Center’s new exhibit, The Negro Motorist Green Book, runs January 29 – April 23, 2023. Developed by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service (SITES) in collaboration with award-winning author, photographer, and cultural documentarian, Candacy Taylor, Green Book offers an immersive look at the historic reality of travel for Black Americans and how the guide served as an indispensable resource for the rise of the Black leisure class in the United States. The exhibit includes exploratory film, photographs, interactives, and oral histories from travelers and “Green Book” business owners.
EXPO Chicago and The Magnificent Mile Association, with Kavi Gupta Gallery, continue to present the third iteration of SKIN + MASKS, curated by artist Vic Mensa and Chanelle Lacy. The group show features a variety of emerging and established Chicago-based contemporary artists and will be on view through April 2023 at 535 N. Michigan Ave. on Chicago’s iconic Magnificent Mile. The exhibition will run through the tenth anniversary edition of EXPO CHICAGO (April 13 – 16) and present programming during EXPO ART WEEK to engage artists featured in SKIN + MASKS.
The Klairmont Kollections Automotive Museum will officially launch as a certified non-profit museum at 3117 N. Knox Ave. in Kilbourn Park. The expansive 100,000-square-foot museum will include 300 award-winning and historic vehicles at ranging from 1909 to present day.
Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art (MCA) welcomes Forecast Form: Art in the Caribbean Diaspora, 1990s–Today (Until April 23, 2023), the first major group exhibition in the United States to envision a new approach to contemporary art in the Caribbean diaspora, foregrounding forms that reveal new modes of thinking about identity and place. It uses the concept of weather and its constantly changing forms as a metaphor to analyze artistic practices connected to the Caribbean, understanding the region as a bellwether for our rapidly shifting times.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP at Columbia College Chicago)’s winter/spring calendar includes the following exhibitions:
- Refracting Histories (Until April 2, 2023) – Features artists who are critically looking at art historical canons, using the malleable nature of image making to reinterpret and expand upon narrow pedagogies in the field of photography. Participating artists include: Kelli Connell + Natalie Krick, Nona Faustine, Tom Jones, Colleen Keihm, Tarrah Krajnak, Sonja Thomsen, and Aaron Turner.
- Shannon Bool: 1:1 (Until April 2, 2023) – In her tapestries, photographs, and sculptures, Shannon Bool (Canada, b. 1972, lives and works in Berlin) critiques modernism and connects architectural and art history with feminist concerns. 1:1 feature works that interject subtle references to elements forgotten in the history of architecture, ultimately revealing what might be suppressed behind the legacies of famous practitioners.
Museum of Ice Cream (MOIC) Located at The Shops at Tribune Tower, 435 N. Michigan Ave., this one-of-its-kind space spans 13,544 square feet, encompassing retail, entertainment, and a cafe and bar. The recent “Pinkmas” exhibit, which concluded January 9, included an ice cream-themed putt-putt golf course with a pink Chicago dog ice cream treat, an exhibit on Dove Chocolate’s Chicago history, and a giant pink and white sprinkle pit with multiple slides.
The Museum of Science and Industry is celebrating their 90th anniversary with a series of dynamic exhibits and new attractions, including:
- The Art of the Brick (Until January 16): This exhibit, by renowned contemporary artist Nathan Sawaya, features the world’s largest display of LEGO® brick art and encompasses over 100 incredible works of art made from millions of LEGO.
- Mold-A-Rama™: Molded for the Future (Through late 2023): The exhibit centers on the beloved retro machines that make plastic figurines right before your eyes. For over 60 years, Mold-A-Rama™ machines have pumped out hundreds of varieties of collectible plastic novelties, while providing a peek into mass production. The exhibit features a collection of popular, rare and experimental Mold-A-Rama souvenirs from the past with their quirky colors, designs and—of course—signature smell.
- Museum Kitchen (Now open): The museum’s newly renovated kitchen offers a wide variety of delicious food options and seasonal meals, open daily until one hour before museum closing time. The kitchen’s opening adds another on-site dining option, alongside Stan’s Donut’s, One Small Snack and the Lower Court vending area.
Stage 773’s new immersive walk-thru experience, WHIM, blends carefully curated cocktails and a world where every art form comes together – paintings, music, sculpture, street art, and live performance – all by Chicago artists. The experience includes the “Lobby of Second Chances,” the “Second Shots Bar,” and the “Enchanted Forest,” featuring a live performance stage a giant enchanted tree towering over it all.
The Poetry Foundation’s slate of new free events for winter/spring 2023, including readings, talks, exhibitions, and more, including:
- Diana Solís: Encuentros (Through January 14, 2023): This exhibit features photographs by queer Mexicana Chicana feminist artist Diana Solís and documents poetry communities in Chicago throughout the 1970s–1990s. Curated with Oscar Arriola and Nicole Marroquin, this exhibition features books, photographs, and ephemera that explore this unique moment in Chicago’s literary history, illuminating the legacy of Solís’s life in arts and literature.
- Latinx Poetics: Essays on the Art of Poetry (February 2, 2023) This celebration of University of New Mexico Press’s landmark anthology featuring editor Ruben Quesada and poetry readings from eleven contributors.
The WNDR Museum-Chicago has launched a pair of new exhibits: Hypercubes, an expanse of infinite and ever-changing lights, and OneMinute by Oseanworld, is inspired by artist Yayoi Kusama’s instantly recognizable pumpkins, art pieces that have become fixtures of contemporary art and popular culture.
- On January 21 from 7 p.m.-11 p.m. the museum will undergo a nostalgic twist with WNDR After Dark: Invade the WNDRcade: Here, visitors can enjoy cocktails as they play their way through arcade machines and games from the 80s, 90s, 2000s, and beyond! OneMinute, WNDR’s exclusive video game collaboration with artist Oseanworld, is inspired by the museum’s Yayoi Kusama collection. DJ Iggy and DJ Marino will each be spinning their signature mixes.
Sloomoo Institute opened its 20,000-square-foot multi-sensory location at 820 N. Orleans St. in Chicago’s RiverNorth neighborhood on November 19. The new concrete loft space features a series of interactive sight, touch, smell and sound experiences including: a DIY bar that offers 60 scents, “Sloomoo Falls” where visitors
can stand under a waterfall of slime, “Lake Sloomoo” which provides 350 gallons of slime to walk on, a Yayoi Kusama Obliteration Room-inspired “Slime Wall,” ASMR experiences, soundscapes, scent exploration, immersive videos, and more.
? Festivals & Events:
The 2023 Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade will return on March 11, 2023. The 68th annual celebration’s theme is “Recognizing Workers Rights,” and is sponsored by the Chicago Plumbers Local 130 UA. Featuring the iconic dyeing of the Chicago River green, the upbeat celebration will be broadcast live on ABC 7-Chicago.
The 2023 Bank of America Chicago Marathon will return on October 8, 2023. This elite athletic event is one of the most prestigious marathons in the world and is one of the six World Marathon Majors. Over 45,000 amateur and elite athletes from all 50 U.S. states and over 100 countries race through 29 of Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods, cheered by hundreds of thousands of spectators.
The Chosen Few DJs Picnic & Festival will return to Chicago’s Jackson Park on July 8. Billed as the world’s biggest house music dance party, the festival began in 1990 as a small gathering of friends behind the Museum of Science and Industry.
Neighborhood Attractions & Developments:
Art on theMART’s 2023 programming projections will feature two acclaimed artists:
- Brooklyn-based multi-disciplinary artist Derrick Adams will be joined by Korean artist Yiyun Kang, whose projection will premiere as a part of the fall 2023 lineup. Additional plans for 2023 include the launch of a guest curator program: a platform for digital curators to commission artists and contribute to Art on theMART’s curatorial vision for 2024.
Construction continues on the Obama Presidential Center in Jackson Park. This amazing world-class museum will bring a spectacular new campus to Chicago’s South Side and provide a fabulous new gathering space for the Hyde Park community and residents. Upon completion, it will feature a museum, library, park and activity center, women’s garden and much more.
The Green City Market, which operates farmers markets in Lincoln Park and the West Loop, recently expanded with the launch of a new indoor winter farmers market in Avondale. Green City Market Avondale runs 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays at Rockwell on the River warehouse, 3031 N. Rockwell St. It features more than 20 Green City Market vendors during market days on January 21, February 4 and 18, and March 4 and 18.
Navy Pier continues to ring in the New Year with the 2023 Windy City Invitational, from January 13-16 at the pier’s Festival Hall. This highly anticipated junior and senior gymnastics competition will showcase some of the best gymnasts from around the country. The junior competition has been a mainstay in the gymnastics community for the past 25 years and this year, women are invited for the first time ever! The Windy City Invitational senior men’s competition will be back for its 53rd year on Saturday, January 14. Some of the top men’s college teams will go head-to-head in this exciting high-energy competition.
The Morton Arboretum’s next large-scale sculpture exhibition, Of the Earth, will feature five exclusive new works by Polish American artist Olga Ziemska, when it opens May 26, 2023. The exhibition will run through spring 2025. In Polish, Ziemska means “of the earth.” Her work will be created from reclaimed tree branches and other natural materials gathered from various locations throughout the Arboretum’s 1,700 acres.
- The Arboretum’s current exhibition, Human+Nature, will officially close at the end of February 2023, while some of the eight sculptures by artist Daniel Popper will remain on view into March.
WhirlyBall, which began in suburban Lombard in 1993, is celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2023. The entertainment complex – featuring courts, arcade games and concessions – now has five locations across the Midwest. To celebrate, the company will offer free WhirlyBall from 4 p.m. to close on January 15, and will feature gift certificates and birthday party package giveaways.
? Meetings, Conventions & Venues:
Choose Chicago’s new Meeting Professionals Guide provides planners with everything they need to know about the city’s venues, suppliers, and services. The digital guide also offers information about Chicago as a destination, what’s new throughout the city, and activities happening during your event.
The 2023 Chicago Boat Show returns to McCormick Place Convention Center after a two-year hiatus, January 11-15.
? Theatre & Performing Arts:
Broadway In Chicago is proud to produce the following shows as part of its winter/spring roster:
- The Lion King (playing through January 14, 2023, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre) is the winner of six Tony Awards, including Best Musical, and brings together one of the most imaginative creative teams on Broadway with Tony Award-winning director Julie Taymor, Tony Award-winning choreographer Garth Fagan and Tony Award-winning musical artists Elton John and Tim Rice.
- The Twenty-Sided Tavern (playing through January 15, 2023, at the Broadway Playhouse) invites audience members on a journey where the story is in their hands, and they must decide our heroes’ fate. Choose between over thirty playable characters as they explore dozens of different rooms and race toward an incredible, one-of-a-kind ending based on audience actions and decisions.
- Cabaret Zazou’s premiere production Luminaire (tickets currently on sale through April 2023 at Spiegeltent in the Cambria Hotel) is directed by Dreya Weber and stars critically acclaimed performers Frank Ferrante and LiV Warfield as they lead an international cast of exceptional entertainers. Luminaire is designed to dazzle and delight audiences with stunning cirque acts, interactive comedy, captivating vocalists, and a stellar band, complimented by a delicious multi-course meal.
- Annie (playing March 7-19, 2023, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre), the iconic Tony Award-winning musical, is back with a new North American tour, with a limited Chicago engagement. Holding onto hope when times are tough can take an awful lot of determination, and sometimes, an awful lot of determination comes in a surprisingly small package. Little Orphan Annie continues to remind generations of theatergoers that sunshine is always right around the corner. This celebration of family, optimism and the American spirit remains the ultimate cure for all the hard knocks life throws your way.
- Chicago (playing January 17-29, 2023, at the CIBC Theatre) is the musical with everything that makes Broadway shimmy-shake: a universal tale of fame, fortune, and all that jazz, with one show stopping song after another and the most astonishing dancing you’ve ever seen. Chicago is the winner of six Tony Awards, two Oliver Awards and a Grammy. This production marks the 25th anniversary of the iconic musical.
- Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus LIVE! (playing February 14-19 at the Broadway Playhouse) is the hit Off-Broadway comedy, a one-man fusion of theater and stand-up. Moving swiftly through a series of vignettes, the show covers everything from dating and marriage to the bedroom. This hysterical show will have couples elbowing each other all evening as they see themselves on stage. Sexy and fast paced, this show is definitely for adults, but will leave audiences laughing and giggling like little kids! When Mars and Venus collide, the adventures are earth-shatteringly hysterical. It’s a great recipe for a date night out: a little storytelling blended with some comedy and a dash of sage wisdom from the book. A delicious evening of entertainment! This light-hearted theatrical comedy based on the New York Times #1 best-selling book of the last decade by John Gray.
- Les Misérables (playing February 15 – March 5, 2023, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre) remains the world’s most popular musical. Set against the backdrop of 19th century France, Les Misérables tells an enthralling story of broken dreams and unrequited love, passion, sacrifice and redemption – a timeless testament to the survival of the human spirit. This epic and uplifting story has become one of the most celebrated musicals in theatrical history.
- TINA – The Tina Turner Musical (playing March 14 – April 2, 2023, at the James M. Nederlander Theatre) is an uplifting comeback story like no other. The musical is the inspiring journey of a woman who broke barriers and became the Queen of Rock n’ Roll and one of the world’s best-selling artists of all time. Featuring her much loved songs, TINA – The Tina Turner Musical is written by Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright Katori Hall and directed by the internationally acclaimed Phyllida Lloyd.
- The Book of Mormon (playing March 28 – April 16, 2023, at the Cadillac Palace Theatre), winner of nine Tony Awards, this outrageous musical comedy follows the adventures of a mismatched pair of missionaries, sent halfway across the world to spread the Good Word. With standing room only productions in London, on Broadway, and across North America, The Book of Mormon has truly become an international sensation.
- A Soldier’s Play (playing April 4 – April 16, 2023, at the CIBC Theatre), has rocketed back into the spotlight, thanks to this 2020 Tony Award®-winning Best Revival from Roundabout Theatre Company. The story is set in 1944, when on a Louisiana Army base, two shots ring out. A Black sergeant is murdered. And a series of interrogations triggers a gripping barrage of questions about sacrifice, service, and identity in America. Broadway’s Norm Lewis leads a powerhouse cast in the show Variety calls “a knock-your-socks-off-drama,” directed by Tony Award winner Kenny Leon.
- Jagged Little Pill (playing April 11 – April 23, 2023, at the James M. Nederlander Theatre), is an exhilarating, fearless new musical based on Alanis Morissette’s world-changing music. This electrifying production centers on a perfectly imperfect American family. Audiences will live, learn and remember what it’s like to feel truly human.
The second annual Chicago Cabaret Week, May 12-20, 2023, will showcase productions at clubs and theaters throughout Chicago and the suburbs. This nine-day festival features a lineup of Chicago’s top cabaret artists performing blues, jazz, burlesque, R&B, spoken word, comedy, Broadway, American Songbook and world music. This year’s theme is “Get Carried Away by Chicago Cabaret,” with all shows being under $30. The week is presented in collaboration with Acts Of Kindness Cabaret, Chicago Cabaret Professionals, and Working In Concert’s Chicago Paris Cabaret Connexion and Black Voices in Cabaret.
Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s upcoming shows include:
- Wurthering Heights (January 27 – February 19, 2023): Groundbreaking theater maker Emma Rice returns with an exuberant reimagining of Emily Brontë’s gothic masterpiece, Wuthering Heights. Live music, dance, puppetry, and a dash of impish irreverence combine in an intoxicating revenge tragedy for our time. On the wild moors of Yorkshire, an orphaned Heathcliff is adopted by the Earnshaws and taken to live at Wuthering Heights, where he finds a kindred spirit in Catherine. As they grow up together, a fierce love ignites between them—and when forced apart, a brutal chain of events is unleashed in an epic story of passion, revenge, and redemption. This co-production from the United Kingdom is part of Chicago Shakespeare’s WorldStage Series—a landmark commitment to bring the world’s great theaters to Chicago and Chicago Shakespeare to the world.
- The Comedy of Errors (March 9 – April 16, 2023): In her final production as artistic director, Barbara Gaines revisits her signature interpretation of Shakespeare’s riotous comedy with newly rewritten scenes penned by Second City veteran Ron West. An eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on a London movie set in 1941 to film the play as much-needed comic relief for the troops. Backstage antics and hilarious complications abound as Antipholus and Dromio search for their identical twins, lost since infancy. Over three decades with Chicago Shakespeare Theater, Gaines has directed sixty productions, including nearly all of Shakespeare’s thirty-eight plays and six world premieres—and now imprints her legacy with this joyful comedy.
Riccardo Muti returns to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra in September to open the 2022/23 season, his 13th (and culminating) season of artistic collaboration as music director. His three-week residency includes three subscription concert programs and the annual Symphony Ball Gala concert.
The Court Theatre presents:
- Fen (February 10, 2023 – March 5, 2023): On the marshy fens of eastern England in the 1980s, ghosts of the past haunt the women who labor as tenant farmers in the potato fields and who lead lives essentially unchanged from their 19th-century forebears. When Val seizes on a new relationship as a path to escape the crushing bonds of work, poverty, and family, she is confronted with the explosive repercussions of her decision. Employing astonishing theatrical imagery, Churchill’s Fen shows with grace and sly humor how the intricate pressures of gender and class both shape and distort the characters of women. Jeff Award-winning director Vanessa Stalling (Photograph 51) returns to Court Theatre to bring her striking clarity and fresh perspective to the path-breaking text that won Churchill the Susan Smith Blackburn Prize and cemented her reputation as one of our greatest living playwrights.
- The Ripple, The Wave That Carried Me Home (January 13 – February 12, 2023): Inside the Goodman’s Owen Theatre, this show is produced in partnership with the Berkeley Repertory Theatre. Janice’s parents are prominent activists fighting for the integration of public swimming pools in 1960s Kansas. As injustice penetrates the warm bubble of her childhood, Janice grows apart from her family and starts a new life far away. When she receives a call asking her to speak at a ceremony honoring her father, she must decide whether she’s ready to reckon with her political inheritance—and a past she has tried to forget.
The Den Theatre will present the hilarious dating reality show UpDating for one-night-only on January 26, 2023, on The Heath Mainstage, 1331 N. Milwaukee Ave. in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood. UpDating is the critically acclaimed New York City-based live dating and comedy show bringing two singles on blindfolded first dates in front of live audiences. Dubbed “the most raw dating show in existence,” what follows is a hilarious show with audience participation, raw moments and relatable feedback on modern romance in real-time with real people. Reality TV…unfolding and unedited on stage! UpDating is created, produced and hosted by NYC-based comedians Brandon Berman and Harrison Forman and features two Chicago-area singles.
- Then on January 26-29, The Artistic Home will present the 20th anniversary of the Cut To The Chase one-act play festival, featuring handpicked 10-minute plays, showcasing Artistic Home Studio actors, playing five intimate performances.
- Then on February 26, 2023, Depths of WikipediaLive, a stage version of the social media sensation, will debut on The Heath Mainstage. The production will feature @depthsofwikipedia creator Annie Rauwerda, who will take audiences on a journey through Wikipedia’s most interesting corners.
iO Theater will bring the long-running and critically acclaimed Improvised Shakespeare Company back to Chicago on January 13, 2023, with its hit show, Improvised Shakespeare Chicago. Improvised Shakespeare became a Chicago favorite when it began its run at the iO Theater in 2006, playing for more than 2,100 performances. The new iteration will play every Friday and Saturday night at 8 p.m. through March 3.
The Joffrey Ballet remounts Yuri Possokhov’s blockbuster Anna Kareninaat the historic Lyric Opera House for the first time since its crowd-pleasing world premiere in 2019. Ten performances will take place from February 15-26. Anna Karenina features live music performed by the Lyric Opera Orchestra, conducted by Scott Speck, the Joffrey’s Music Director.
Sleeping Village, the former post office turned state-of-the-art music venue and 56-rotating-tap bar, is celebrating their five-year anniversary since opening its doors in the Avondale neighborhood. The jam-packed celebration series – including a festival of shows, special events, live performances and local cider collaborations – will occur in late January 2023 and include: Indie rock crooners Squirrel Flower, industrial genre-bending explorers Sextile, with host Club Drippy, and British electronic duo, Plaid.
- On January 31st, Sleeping Village will launch “CHERISH,” a cherry, apple & vanilla cider brewed in collaboration with woman-owned Eris Brewery & Cider House to benefit Chicago Independent Venue League (CIVL).
- Last Out: Elegy of a Green Beret (January 20-21, 2023): The special touring presentation, in partnership with The Gary Sinise Foundation, pulls from the experiences of the longest war in American history, a war fought mostly in the shadows. Written by Ret. Lt. Col Scott Mann and directed by Karl Bury, this epic play, performed by a cast of combat veterans and military-family members, validates the journey of military veterans and their families while building genuine and well-informed understanding in the communities where they live.
- Bald Sisters (through January 21, 2023): Ma is dead; now what happens? Vichet Chum’s world premiere follows two sisters—at odds since birth—as they settle the affairs of their strong-willed, wise-cracking mother while reconciling their family’s Cambodian heritage with its ever-so-complicated American present. Where’s the will? A burial or cremation? And what do we do with Ma’s teeth? Bald Sisters is an irreverent, comedic and ultimately poignant examination of the ties that bind multigenerational families of immigrants together: history, spirituality and humor.
- Chlorine Sky (February 14 – March 11, 2023): This world premiere adaptation of Mahogany L. Browne’s popular young adult novel, Chlorine Sky is an intimate coming-of-age story told in verse about two girls who are best friends—until they aren’t. Sometimes, growing up means growing apart.
- Describe the Night (March 2 – April 9, 2023): This show, set in 1920, tells the story of Jewish writer Isaac Babel and his journaling while serving in war. Ninety years later, this same journal is found in the wreckage of a suspicious plane crash. What did Babel write, and why does it matter? Ensemble member Rajiv Joseph’s epic thriller ricochets through place and time following the unlikely lives of seven individuals – soldiers and poets, KGB agents and babushkas – as they unearth mysteries buried by decades of history, fiction, and blood.
- Last Night and the Night Before (April 6 – May 14, 2023): This show tells the story of Monique, who shows up on the doorstep of her sister’s Brooklyn brownstone with her timid daughter Sam—and without her husband. Their arrival raises more questions than it answers. As the specter of their abandoned life in Georgia creeps back into focus, the family is forced to consider what must be sacrificed to break a cycle of despair. Poetic and heartbreaking, Donnetta Lavinia Grays’s stunning portrait of Black Love explores what it takes to nurture family in an often-cruel world.
The Black Ensemble Theater’s 2023 “Season of Excellence” continues with:
- Reasons: A Tribute to Earth, Wind and Fire (February 25 – April 16, 2023): Reasons takes audiences on a journey of how Earth, Wind, and Fire was formed from their humble beginnings, to become the musical revolutionaries that changed the course of music. It explores how they took a vision that no one said would work, and turned it into a musical powerhouse that still lives on today. Show previews occur February 25, 26 and March 3 and 4 ahead of the show’s official opening on March 5.
For the first time ever, the sights, sounds, and speed of NASCAR are coming to downtown Chicago on July 1-2, 2023. Chicago will add another chapter to its illustrious sports history when the NASCAR Cup Series Street Race and music festival debuts against the backdrop of Lake Michigan and Grant Park, televised on NBC. Reserved ticket packages for the 2023 NASCAR Chicago Street Race Weekend are now on sale. Concert announcements and general admission sales will go on sale later this year.
The PGA TOUR announced that the 16th Presidents Cup will be held at the Medinah Country Club outside of Chicago in 2026. Medinah is the fifth different venue in the United States to host the Presidents Cup and adds the biennial team event to an illustrious list of tournaments hosted at Course #3 that include the 2019 BMW Championship, 2012 Ryder Cup, two PGA Championships, three U.S. Opens, the 1988 U.S. Senior Open, three Western Opens (BMW Championship), and a number of other professional championships.
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