Six free and discounted museum visits to ease the budget

Listen up if looking for a weekend activity that won’t empty the pocketbook. Think outer space, mummies or A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte, Georges Seurat’s famed painting.  With the apple picking season beginning to wind down, the coming weekends are a good time to visit one of Chicago’s world class museums whether interested in art, history or science. Fortunately, free and Illinois discount days offset the necessary fees the museums have to charge to make up for cuts in state and other government subsidies. Here are six free and discounted museum ideas.

The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.
The Field is among Chicago museums participating in Illinois Free Days and Illinois Resident discount days.

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  This Weekend: Art, Festivals and Music

Evanston Art & Big Fork Festival… If looking for a fun festival atmosphere with lots of local dishes, beer and wine plus bands plus art to see or buy go downtown Evanston, Sept. 30 through Oct. 2, 2016. The event is a chance to shop for gifts ahead of the holiday crush and try some of the suburb’s restaurant’ fare. The festival center is at 800 Church Street. Hours: Art Fair – Fri. 4 a.m. –dusk, Sat. 10 a.m.-dusk, Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Food and Music – Fri. 4-9 p.m., Sat. 10 a.m.-9 p.m., Sun. 10 a.m.-5 p.m. For other information visit Art&Fork.

Evanston's Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions
Evanston’s Art & Big Fork Festival. Photo Amdur Productions

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Theater: Fall shows to put on the calendar

'Wonderful Life ' revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall
‘Wonderful Town ‘ revival comes to Goodman Theatre this fall

With more than 200 theater companies in Metropolitan Chicago there’s no lack of choices in all price ranges, genres and locations. Here is a small sampling of a half-dozen shows that will be in area theaters this fall. Of course you know that ‘Hamilton,’ the mega Tony-Award winning rap musical, opens Sept. 27. But it’s an open run so you might want to check availability later in the year or 2017.

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Upcoming: Two spectacular free events at Millennium Park in September

On Sept. 9, “Stars of Lyric Opera at Milllennium Park” showcases arias from Carmen, Eugene Onegin, The Magic Flute and Lucia di Lammermoor for a taste of the Lyric Opera’s 2016-17 season plus other operatic numbers by Mozart, Verdi, Gounod, Tchaikovsky and Wagner.

Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs
Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Photo by Jodie Jacobs

Five days later, on Sept. 14, the “Third Annual Fifth Star Awards” honors blues musician Buddy Guy, The Second City improv theater, actress/Black Ensemble Theater founder Jackie Taylor, photographer Victor Skrebneski and National Museum of Mexican Art founder Carlos Tortolero.

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Upcoming: Musical theatre takes on community vibes

For a feel-good night about community-centered groups see Stories and Songs of Chicago at the Harris Theater Sept. 24, 2016 at 7:30 p.m.

Three Chicago Voices groups to perform at Harris Theatre
Three Chicago Voices groups to perform at Harris Theater

A free program arranged by Lyric Unlimited, Lyric Opera’s education and community outreach arm, the event showcases musical theater productions by “Harmony, Hope & Healing,” “The Kirin-Gornick Band” and “Tellin’ Tales Theatre.”

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Theater: Thoughts about ‘Hamilton’

Assuming you are one of thousands of theater goers who plan to see Hamilton – the hit musical by multi-award-winning lyricist, composer, performer Lin-Manuel Miranda – when it is in Chicago because tickets are easier to come by and cheaper than in New York, think about why you want to see the show.

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Museums: What ends soon and what’s coming

We’ve all done it. We say we’re going to catch something we really want to see or do but before we realize it, the final date has passed. So here are some events and opportunities you may want to put on your calendar.

Tattoo is coming
Tattoo is coming

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Arts and crafts shows in August and September – 2016

Art FairBrowsing an art fair is a fun way to see a town or neighborhood you might not have visited, a good way to get some exercise without feeling guilty for not power walking and a way to take care of holiday presents without bucking the holiday crowds. You might even find something for a wall that needs some color. Here are some of the best art fairs still to come this August and September so get out your calendar or save to your phone. BTW all the fairs listed here have at least 100 exhibitors. Most of the them also have entertainment and food. Many have a kids’ section where youngsters can have fun with art..

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