With everything you have to do, places to go, people to visit there might not have been time to fit in everything you hoped to see by Dec. 31. No worries. Some of the fun shows, exhibits and festivals will still be around in January, 2019.
Lyric Opera’s delightful “Cendrillon” (Cinderella ) runs through Jan. 20 and its exceptional “La boheme” continues at the Lyric Opera House, 20 N. Wacker Dr., Chicago, through Jan. 31. For tickets and more information visit Lyric Opera.
“Steadfast tin Soldier at Lookinggglass Theatre in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N. Michicagn Ave. runs through Jan. 13. For tickets and other information visit Lookingglass.
“Wonderland Express” is at the Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe (just east of Edens Expressway) through Jan. 6. (This is a time and date ticketed show) For tickets and other information visit . For parking check Chicago Botanic.
“Zoo Lights” at Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St.,, Chicago, is open New Year’s Day and continues through Jan. 6.
If you don’t want to be saying “Oops” this holiday season then 1. Don’t wait to get tickets to the shows you or your family want to see and 2. Do put those holiday events you want to go to on the calendar.
The good news is that there are numerous great holiday shows and happenings in the Chicago area. The problem news is that the many places to go, things to do and see make it hard to narrow down the choices to what is doable.
Tip: Be realistic when weighing what is manageable with kids, tired feet and meal breaks.
The following suggestions offer three Chicago area choices in each category – shows, shopping and spectacular lights and sights:
Where: In Goodman Theatre’s Albert Theatre at 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago
Why: Goodman’s production of Charles Dickens’ “The Christmas Carol” is a Chicago tradition that never gets old with new staging often added. But the show is also a talking point for families on what is important.
Where: Auditorium Theatre of Roosevelt University, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr. (50 E. Congress Pkwy) at Michigan Ave.
Why: Going to the Joffrey’s “Nutcracker” is also a Chicago holiday tradition. It was beautifully re-imagined last year by choreographer Christopher Wheeldon as a visit by Marie and her mother to the 1893 World’s Fair. The mysterious Great Impresario turns the visit into an adventure. And it is all set to Peter Ilyich Tchaikovsky’s gorgeous music.
Where: Lookingglass theatre is in the Chicago Water Works at 821 N Michigan Ave, Chicago.
Why: Lookingglass productions are highly innovative, well acted and engrossing. This tale based on a Hans Christian Andersen story is being staged as an exciting spectable by ttalented, creative Mary Zimmerman.
Where: On line and at the museum, front entrance at 111 S. Michigan Ave. and the Modern Wing entrance at 159 E. Monroe St.
Why: Gift shop entrances do not need admission fees or tickets. The shops carry one-of-a kind gifts that won’t bust the budget. The Modern Wing has good glass items and the main gift shop has excellent jewelry and ties. Both shops have Frank Lloyd Wright items and gifts inspired by other artists. Also visitors like to take holiday photos with the wreathed lions in front.
Where: In Lincoln Park at 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago
Why: See the animals while strolling among 2,5 million lights thanks to Com Ed and Invesco. Also visit Santa, watch ice carving, sip warm spiced wine, snack on holiday treats and watch a 3D light show.
Why: the Garden’s event is called Wonderland Express but before going into the building that has trains zipping through Chicago landmarks, see trees and walkways lit by thouands of lights and visit the greenhouses’ topiaries and poinsettias. Then don’t worry about the “snow” falling on shoulders inside the exhibit building. It’s all about fun and winter wonders.
Art fairs are a great excuse for forays to Chicago neighborhoods and suburbs. Fortunately, there are plenty to match destination and date. These are some of the area’s better, larger art festivals.
Memorial Day Weekend, May 26 & 27
Two annual festivals come up this weekend in the western suburbs: the Barrington Art Festival and the St. Charles fine Art Show.
Go to downtown Barrington from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to see about 130 artists along Cook & Station Streets. For more information visit Amdur Productions.
Or go downtown St. Charles Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to see about 100 artists on Riverside Avenue from Main Street (Hwy 64) to Illinois Avenue. For more information visit Downtown St. Charles.
The famed 57th Street Art Fair returns to Hyde Park for its 71st fair Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.. There will be more than 250exhibitors near William H. ray Elementary School at 5631 S. Kimbark St. For more information visit 57 Street Fair.
There are three good art fair choices the second weekend of June. The Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival and two Near North mega fairs: Wells Street Art Festival and Old town Art Fair. Both have admission charges.
See about 130 artists in Hinsdale’s Burlington Park, 30 E. chicago Ave., 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. both days. For More information visit Hinsdale chamber.
Or go downtown St. Charles Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. to see about 100 artists
Visit more than 225 exhibitors at the Wells Street Art Festival between North Avenue and Division Street, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. For more information see Wells Street Art.
To stroll by an additionalt 250 exhibitors stay in the area and go over to the Old Town Triangle in the 1800 block of Orleans Street from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Old Town Fair. June 16-17
A couple of large art festivals return each year on the third weekend of June, one in Evanston and the other in Chicago’s Grant Park.
Evanston hosts Custer’s Last Stand an arts with an “s” festival in the Main Street Shopping area sponsored by the Evanston Festival Theatre. Visit with about 375 exhibitors from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. both days. For more information visit Custer Fair.
At the Gold Coast Art Fair, held the past few years in Grant Park’s Butler Field, see about 300 artists from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. both days. For more information visit Amdur Productions.
For Head for the northern suburbs for art festivals in Highland Park and Evanston the fourth weekend of June.
The Art center (TAC) holds its annual Fetival of Fine Arts along sheridan Road east of the Metra traks downtown Highland Park 10 a.n. to 5 p.m. both days. This is a relatively small fair but it has high quality artists.For more information visit Amdur Productions.
The Evanston Chamber Artisan Summerfest features 225 exhibitors at Sherman Avenue and Church Street, Saturday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. For more information visit Evanston Festivals.
June 29 – July 1
An art festival based on a garden theme takes place in Glencoe the last weekend of June.
About 100 artists show at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival in the Esplande area from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. both days. For more information visit Amdur Productions.
You know Chicago’s heart beats in time to jazz, blues and ragtime and turns dramatic with modern gospel. So a new exhibit, starting this weekend at the Chicago Cultural Center, that brings back the history of the city’s music legacy is an exciting event.
Up north in Glencoe, an important exhibit is going up next weekend at the Chicago Botanic Garden. It paints eye-catching, environmentally-driven botanical stories.
Also next weekend, a world renown painter’s disturbing views of the human condition opens at the Art Institute of Chicago.
Then, another picture of life in Chicago, the good, the bad, the real, opens the following weekend at AIC.
“Bronzeville Echoes: Faces and Places of Chicago’s African American Music”
Located in the Chicago Cultural Center’s Garland and Landmark Chicago Galleries, “Bronzeville Echoes” is filled with such artifacts as 1920s records, old sheet music and even a telephone booth. Up April 28, 2018 through Jan. 6, 2019,the exhibit is an excellent way to become acquainted with the city’s musical history. Presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, entry is free. The Chicago Cultural Center is at 78 E. Washington St. BTW The building itself is worth a visit. For more information visit DCASE Events.
The show is a non-forgettable statement by Santa Barbara-based artist Penelope Gottlieb on what is happening in the plant world. The works, representative of the three groups: Extinct Botanicals, Vanishing Series, and Invasive Series, range from vibrant to reflective. The exhibit is up in the Joutras Gallery in Chicago Botanical Garden’s Regenstein Center, May 4 to Aug. 12, 2018. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe. Entry to the Garden is free but there is a parking charge. For more information visit CBG Exhibitions.
A retrospective of this Chicago native known for his nightmarish paintings will be at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Gallery 273, May 4 through Aug. 5, 2018. Considered controversial, fascinating and macabre, his works made him the perfect artist to have painted “The Picture of Dorian Gray” for the 1945 movie. For more information visit Albright.
“Never a Lovely So Real: Photography and Film in Chicago 1950-1980”
The exhibit, whose title was taken from a Nelson Algren description of the city in Chicago: City on the Make, opens May 12 at the Art Institute of Chicago. Up in Galleries 1-4, the show reveals different sides of city during the second half of the 20th century. “Never a Lovely So Real” is part of Art Design Chicago sponsored by the Terra Foundation for American Art and the Richard H. Driehaus Foundation. It runs through Oct. 28, 2018. The museum’s admission is fee based with some free days and times. The Art Institute of Chicago is at 111 N. Michigan Ave.. For more information visit ARTIC/exhibition.
Head over to the Chicago Botanic Garden before Spike, a nearly seven-foot tall flower, is moved from the semitropical display greenhouse back to its production home on the grounds.
Called the corpse flower because of its rotting garbage odor when it blooms, Spike’s real designation is Amorphophallus titanium (titan arum).
Spike fully opened to show off its huge flower with burgundy fringe (spathe) and emitted its telltale smell on April 26.
But even though it is now closing and the odor has mostly dissipated, a bit of colorful fringe can still be seen. And, after all, a flower this tall, the largest corpse flower to bloom at the Botanic Garden, is still a site to behold.
“It certainly is something to see. You can still see the burgundy color of its spathe and then turn around and read about it in the posters,” said Botanic Garden outdoor floriculturist Tim Pollak.
“It’s never going to close tightly,” Pollak said. He thought Spike might stay on display through the weekend and possibly move on Monday or early next week.
When moved, it will go dormant then start the cycle over from having its corm (bulb) repotted to leafing out and regaining the energy needed to bloom.
“Next time it will be big, the corm will be big. This weight was over 100 pounds. Then in three to five years it may bloom again.
With Mother Nature, you don’t know. Spike did try to bloom in August, 2015 but didn’t seem to have enough energy to open.
To see what a corpse flower looks like when leafing, go next door to the tropical greenhouse. The plant looks like a tree and has a number, not a name.
“We don’t name them until they flower,” Pollak said.
Instead of organizing the desk (or you name it), and wishing the groundhog prognosticators were wrong about six more weeks of winter, take in a show, find a special event to dispel gray skies and moods and take advantage of museum free days.
If the family has a Saturday available, get tickets to ‘Short Shakespeare! A Midsummer Night’s Dream’ at The Yard, Chicago Shakespeare’s newly added theater on Navy Pier . The show is a fun 75 minutes that merges the Bard’s humorous mismatching of characters in his comedies. The production is offered Saturdays now through March 10, 2018 at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m.. To get tickets visit Chicago Shakes Plays.
Listen as famed tenor Lawrence Brownlee performs ‘Cycles of My Being,’ a recital that puts forth what it is like to live as a black man in America. Co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall, Lyric Opera/Lyric Unlimited and Opera Philadelphia, the program will only be in chicago Feb. 22, 2018 at 7 p.m. at the DuSable Museum of African American History. For more information visit Lyric Opera Cycles or call (312) 827-5600.
Go to the Chicago Botanic Garden Feb. 10 through March 25, 2018 to see orchids with an Asian accent. This year, the Garden’s Orchid Show blooms among kimonos, parasols and Asian plants. Hours are 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. plus open later Thursdays to 8 p.m. For more information visit Chicago Botanic Garden orchid.
How about a night at the museum, that is among the fish?
For Presidents Day weekend stay the night Feb. 16, 2018 in a special program at the Shedd Aquarium that allows participants to explore the museum, see an aquatic presentation and do a scavenger hunt. The cost is $75 per person ($60 members). For tickets and more information visit Shedd Aquarium Overnight.
Presidents’ Day, a federal holiday when most schools in Illinois are closed to celebrate Presidents Washington and Lincoln’s birthdays, is Feb. 19, 2018. Fortunately, some of Chicago’s museums are free that day.
The Adler Planetarium’s general admission is waved for Illinois residents Feb. 19-22. For more information visit Adler.
Art Institute of Chicago has free admission to Chicago residents under age 18, every day. See ARTIC.
Chicago History Museum is free every day to children under 18 who are Illinois residents. Visit Chicago History.
The Field Museum has free general admission for Illinois residents all of February. Visit Field Museum free days.
The Chicago Cultural Center has a new exhibition on its fourth floor. Titled “Nina Chanel Abney: Royal Flush,” it was organized by the Nasher Museum of Art at Duke University. The Cultural Center also has other exhibits on its first floor. While in the building go to the third floor to see gorgeous glass domes and rooms. Admission is always free. Visit Chicago Cultural Center.
Visitors going to the American Craft Exposition at the Chicago Botanic Garden this weekend, get a two for one experience.
ACE, as the show is popularly known, presents the highest quality crafts produced by artists from across the United States.
Many of the artists, such as wood master Michael D. Mode of New Haven VT., have been showing their work at ACE for several years.
Mode who Started with the exhibition in 1996 explained. “It’s a good show with a good venue and it’s wonderful to be seen in a high quality show. It’s one of the top shows in the country,” he said.
When through admiring beautifully turned wood sculptures, gorgeous porcelain objects, amazing watercolor-like embroidery and lots of attractive, wearable art, visitors can relax at the café, then set out to see what is blooming in the gardens and what trees and plants are changing color.
Unfortunately, the exhibition is only up Sept. 15 through 17, so the show needs to be slotted into busy weekend schedules. However, it is worth the trip and admission. And the show, arranged by the Auxiliary of Northshore University HealthSystem , benefits orthopedic regenerative medicine and pharmacogenomics research.
Tickets, whether used one day or for all three days, are one price with $13 for CBG members and $15 nonmembers. Children under age 12 enter free. The Botanic Garden is free but there is a parking charge for nonmembers.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, just east of the Edens Expressway.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. For other tickets, parking and other information visit Chicago Botanic or call (847) 835-5440.
From bike riding to strawberry munching and concerts in a garden to music on a lawn, summer fun is tempting us to find our outdoor muse during or after work.
Bike to work
First, don’t be surprised if you see more groups of bikers around Chicago, this week. The annual Bike commuter Challenger is upon us asking people to ride a bike to work instead of a train or car. To participate in its fun events and “pit stops” go to Bikedown to register.
TGI M/T after work music
Then, for a different way to enjoy a balmy early evening, check out music with a Latin or Swing beat at the Chicago Botanic Garden. Different nights and different weeks feature different musical sounds and bands. For example, Mondays at 5:30 p.m. there are carillon bells and Tuesday, the music shifts over to the Esplanade for bluegrass or big band sounds.
Visit Chicago Botanic Garden Evenings for more information. The concerts are free but unless you are a member there is a parking fee per car. The Chicago Botanic Garden is east of Edens Expressway at 1000 Lake Cook Rd, Glencoe.
After-work stress-relieving music
Or get a lawn ticket (best price is ahead of time, not at the gate) to hear perfect after-work music at Ravinia Festival in Highland park.
The Julliard String Quartet is June 20. It’s in the Martin Theatre but usually those programs are broadcast on the lawn.
In the Pavilion are Gypsy Kings June 23, Common June 24, Michael McDonald and Boz Scraggs June 27 and Diana Krall June 28.
Valentine’s Day rose delivery has passed so should we be thinking about orchids now for Mother’s Day or prom?
It’s funny how potted orchids have become a popular grocery store item and how they are even on the shelves of big box hardware stores such as Home Depot. So instead of cut flowers, maybe an orchid in a pot makes a nice gift.
But if you want to see a lush variety hanging from trees or peeping out through tropical vegetation and you are in the Chicago area, go over to the Chicago Botanic Garden in North Suburban Glencoe.
The Botanic Garden’s popular annual Orchid Show has taken over the Regenstein Center and green houses, now through March 26, 2017.
The show’s theme this year is ‘Orchids in Vogue‘ so as you look at a wall of photos reminding visitors of how orchids were used through the ages maybe you recall giving or receiving an orchid for Mother’s day or a prom.
The show might even inspire you to buy an orchid for yourself or as a gift.
Tips: Experts are on hand weekends to answer questions on growing orchids. To see orchid artistry, go to The Illinois Orchid Society for its Spring Show and Sale March 11 and 12.
But mostly go to the show any day of the week to enjoy their beauty.
Cost: Adults: members/nonmembers: $10/$12, seniors 62+ $8/$10, children age 3–12: 8/$10. Nonmember parking is extra but can be bought in advance for easier garden entry and there is a Two Pack deal for parking and two tickets. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. For tickets and other information visit CBG and call (847) 835-5440.
You can beat the crowd by going to the Members’ Preview Feb. 10, 5-7:30 p.m. for cocktails and music ($30). Or go Feb. 11 or 12 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. when orchids will be sold in the Orchid Marketplace and experts will be around to answer your orchid questions. The show starts this weekend but is extended to March 26, 2017 so there is time to return with more friends and orchid growing questions.
Cost: Adults: members/nonmembers: $10/$12, seniors 62+ $8/$10, children age 3–12: 8/$10. Nonmember parking is extra but can be bought in advance for easier garden entry and there is a Two Pack deal for parking and two tickets. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe, IL 60022. Call (847) 835-5440.
It’s always interesting to see what’s going on at the museum and to check out two special programs there during Black History Month. But if you are an Illinois resident you can do so free of charges this week, Feb. 7-9, and next week, Feb. 14-16.
The Juried Art Exhibition, an annual show since 1970, features professional and aspiring black artists from across the country, now through Feb. 19, 2017.
The other program is the Innovation Studio where visitors learn about African American contributions to the sciences and can add their own ideas and solutions. It is there now through March 4, 2017. The Museum of Science and Industry is at 5700 S. Lake shore Drive, Chicago.