Although indoor holiday events such as the Museum of Science and Industry’s “Christmas Around the World” has gone virtual, there are still outdoor places to visit. Three of them open this Friday, Nov. 20.
Drive or walk past Chicago’s holiday tree in Millennium Park. The lights officially go on Nov. 20. But the annual holiday ceremony goes virtual at 6:30 p.m. Nov. 19 on the city’s YouTube channel. For more information visit DCASE .
The program includes Chicago Children’s Choir, Sones de Mexico Ensemble, Percy Bady and Friends and a tribute to Donny Hathaway’s This Christmas.
Maggie Daley Park’s Ice Skating Ribbon next to Millennium Park opens in time to see the Christmas Tree. Reservations needed to comply with Covid protocols. Visit maggiedaleypark/skating.
Illumination at Morton Arboretum
The arboretum’s holiday light festival will be a half-hour drive through experience starting Friday as earlier announced, but bring your own refreshments because the concessions have been canceled and buildings will be closed. Tickets are timed so visit Illumination for your time and date ticket.
If tired of friends asking what are you doing with more time at home, put yourself into one of those cartoon frames with a lightbulb in the overhead cloud.
What would the next frame show? Learn how to make a holiday dessert or favorite ethnic dish? Learn to draw? Paint a portrait of your pet? Work with clay? And what if the frame has another figure such as a young son or daughter/ So what about a fun science or comic-book or kids cooking class.?
Chicago Theater and Arts CTAA) checked out several resources in the Chicago area to come up with three suggestions for now. (More later in January to combat winter and Covid doldrums).
The Art Center
TAC, as highland Park’s art exhibition and class space is called, has in person and online classes. A good website to know, TAC has online mini classes for adults and youngsters such as one for ages 15-100 to learn how to do a pet’s portrait, work with colored pencils or portray a winter scene.
Classes are online between Nov. 30 and Dec. 20, 2020 with most starting Dec. 1 and going on for two weeks using zoom. Youth classes, for drawing, cartooning, painting and clay, are typically are for age 9-13 but some begin at age 8.
Get dinner ideas. Cook and learn from famed chefs. Have the kids take a class. Those are just some of the perks of going to Chefs Gale Gand and Jessica Dawson’s online Kitchen Sisters Cooking School.
Gand, an award winning pastry chef, cookbook author, Michelin star and James Beard restaurateur and cooking teacher works out of the Chicago area. Dawson is a traveling chef, teacher who was the youngest traveling America’s Test Kitchen host and has taught people around the world the science of cooking (when she stops long enough to teach in one place).
Museum of Science and Industry Resources Lab
MSI has a new, online spot for tomorrow’s scientists. Some of the topics are Mission to Mars: what to pack, Forensics Chromatography, and Engineers: building bridges. For more information visit MSIChicagoResources.
Even the pundits don’t know when the full election results will be known or get through the courts. So, folks who welcomed the spirit of Halloween for personal and family feel-good time, now need another good-ole’ standby, holiday shopping, to raise spirits.
Christkindlmarket and the One of a Kind Show Chicago will both go virtual in this pandemic year of 2020.
A European-style holiday event sponsored by the German Chamber of Commerce of the Midwest, Christkindlemarket moved online from downtown Chicago, Wrigleyville and Milwaukee on Nov. 1.
Shoppers can visit the fun market for its signature mug, mulled wine, holiday ornaments and activities through Dec. 31, 2020.
Even though the zoo is not doing its annual Boo event, it has cute selfie stops, a sweepstake contest, animals being fed pumpkins and fall color and decorations. The zoo, operated by the Chicago Zoological Society) in suburban Brookfield, is a place to go if you want to be outside.
Admission is free Tuesdays and Thursdays in October and November. Admission and parking ($15) must be arranged ahead of time. In addition, Pace Bus 331 goes there. The zoo has two Brookfield entrances. North Gate is at 8400 31st Street, South Gate, the main entrance,, is at 3300 Golf Rd.. For more information visit CZS/fall/BrookfieldZoo.
Located in the Hyde Park area of Chicago, the popular museum is holding Boo Fest. Costumes encouraged. MSI has pulled out some of its creepy curiosities from storage for a scary exhibit recommended for youngsters age 8 and older.
But it also has a Trick-or-Treat area where guests who bring their own bag can get non-food goodies from a chute operated by MSI staff. And there are cool Live Science Experiences stops where visitors can make Frankenslime or watch a pumpkin drop.
In addition, there are Halloween haunted mine and superstition motion simulators, a crime lab chance to see werewolf files and a Sleepy Hollow building experience.
MSI follows the Covid protocols. For protocols, time-tickets admission and ticket information visit MSI/Explore/Events.
First off, if you didn’t make a reservation for the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Night of 1,000 Jack o Lanterns, try for next year. The 2020 event is sold out.
However, there are fun pumpkin patches where families can have fun, pick up the perfect pumpkin and some tools and ideas for carving their own Jack o’ Lantern. No tickets needed to pick a pumpkin or purchase store items. Rides and some events need tickets to observe social distancing.
Humans aren’t the only ones who can dress up for Halloween according to Pasquesi Home and Garden in Lake Bluff. The long-time family-owned business is doing a Howl-o-Ween so dogs get to participate. The event includes photos the shop will take and put online and a goodie bag for pooches. For information visit Pasquesi/howloween. Pasquesi is at 975 North Shore Dr., Lake Bluff, (847) 615-2700.
For teens and adults
See the movie “16 Candles” Oct. 9 at ChiTown Movies or go there later at night for one of Music Box’s horror films. The drive-in movie lot is at 2343 S Throop St, Chicago, IL 60608. If no car, check Row A during ticket purchase and bring chairs for your group. For the schedule, tickets and more information visit Musicboxtheatre/boxofhorrors.
Or get your thrills driving through the zombie and demon-filled alley at the arcade bar in Lincoln Park, 2833 N Sheffield Ave. For tickets and more information visit alleyofdarkness.
Of course, it had to happen. Calling itself Lolla2020, instead of drawing thousands of fans to Grant Park this year, the mega entertainment festival can be seen, enjoyed and danced to for four nights on YouTube beginning 5 p.m. CT, July 30, 2020.
Its free of charge but donations to Lollapalooza donate campaign for the Equal Justice Initiative, When We All Vote and the Arts for Illinois Relief Fund are appreciated.
What to expect
See classic performances from Lolla sets and new ones from more than 135 artists including Paul McCartney, Chance The Rapper, OutKast, Arcade Fire, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Metallica, Lorde, Kehlani, Alabama Shakes, Run The Jewels, LCD Soundsystem, H.E.R., Tenacious D, Tove Lo, Ellie Goulding, Vic Mensa, Kaskade, Alison Wonderland (Live Set), and others.
The full schedule, posted Wednesday, July 29 on the Lollapalooza subscription YouTube channel, can be found by clicking here .
In addition, Lolla2020 will feature conversations between sets from Perry Farrell, Mayor Lori E. Lightfoot, LL COOL J, Selema Masekala, and others.
It doesn’t matter that some of the memorable concerts conducted by Pierre Boulez or Sir Georg Solti were during the 1990s. The Chicago Symphony Orchestra Association has pulled some of their programs from the Rosenthal Archives so that music aficionados still have great music to enjoy while Orchestra Hall is dark.
Calling the initiative “Gems From the Vault,” the online program lists historic broadcasts available with a click on a free subscribe link.
Among the offerings is Boulez conducting a 1999 concert that starts with Stravinsky’s The Song of the Nightingale followed by CSO principal harpist Sarah Bullen with Debussy’s Sacred and Profane Dances then concluding with Berlioz’s Symphonie fantastique.
Another CSO initiative brings its musicians and guests from their homes to yours.
Ravinia Festival has joined the growing list of arts organizations presenting special programs while their in-person venues are shuttered. Dubbed RaviniaTV, the program is a 20-minute weekly variety show that can be found on YouTube and Facebook. Fridays at 7 p.m. CDT.
The series starts with Ramsey Lewis performing from home on July 3 and with Chicago performances recorded last year.
Future episodes will include CSO concertmaster Robert Chen, pianist Kevin cole, vocalist Sylvia McNair, and other performers.
“It broke our hearts when the Covid pandemic forced Ravinia to cancel a season for the first time since the Great Depression, so the whole team got together to create ways to stay connected to the Ravinia Family, our artists, and audiences in what would otherwise be our silent summer,” said Ravinia President and CEO Welz Kauffman.
“So many of the longtime legends, as well as nascent stars, associated with Ravinia shared the same sense of urgency to keep the music playing as we all struggle with the hardships of this strange new reality. The solution was a show that not only shares music but offers a casual, conversational feeling like you would have on the Lawn at Ravinia,” Kauffman said.
The series, the brain child of Ravinia Communications Director Nick Pullia, is a mix of new, past, home and in-house (on Ravinia’s stage) concerts.
Episodes also have interviews with such guests as Ravinia Chief Conductor and Curator Marin Alsop and such topics as how civil unrest and the pandemic and its economic fallout might affect the art produced in this era, or how to help your kids keep sane while social distancing.
Yes, the COVID-19 pandemic has changed lots of towns’ and parks’ Fourth of July celebrations in the Chicago area with most fireworks canceled including those at Navy Pier.
But many restaurants, particularly those with outdoor seating are open, cruises are going on area waterways, music is lifting spirits at some bars and eateries and you can tune into two concerts with live fireworks at Capitol Fourth from Washington D.C. and at CNN’s The Fourth in America streaming live from New York and Washington D.C. for subscribers on CNN.com’s homepage and via CNN’s apps for iOS and Android. It can also be viewed on CNNgo.
Try something different this Fourth of July weekend. Take a lunch or dinner cruise on the Odyssey on the Chicago River or Lake Michigan.
Navy Pier Restaurants and Music
Go over to Navy Pier, open 10 a.m. to midnight to eat outdoors at Harry Caray’s Tavern, Jimmy Buffett’s Margaritaville, and other outdoor spots. Find a seat at the Miller Lite Beer Garden for its “Live on the Lake” from 2-11 July 3 and all day on July 4. Stop at the Wave, Wall, Wax platform to hear DJs from 5pm to 7pm. Face coverings required. Visit Updates Navy Pier .
For great celebrity performances, meaningful tributes to heroes and spectacular fireworks go to your PBS station or online for Capitol Fourth. This year, the annual program has taped performances from 7 to 8:30 p.m. CT followed by live fireworks.
“For four decades “A Capitol Fourth” has paid tribute to our nation’s birthday and the hopes and dreams of all Americans,” said Executive Producer Michael Colbert. “This year, our broadcast will reflect what we as a country have faced and the challenges ahead, while showcasing our message of inclusion, patriotism and love.”
Aired from 7 to 11 p.m. CT, T the program will be hosted by CNN’s Don Lemon from New York and CNN’s Dana Bash from Washington, DC.
Performers include Jewel, Barry Manilow, Martina McBride, Kenny Loggins, Andy Grammer, Carlos Santana and Cindy Blackman Santana, CeCe Winans, Pat Benatar and Neil Giraldo, The O’Jays, Don McLean, Jesse Colin Young and Little Kids Rock, Billy Ray Cyrus, Burt Bacharach & Musicians from the Berklee College of Music, Harlem Gospel Choir.
In addition, there will be the original Broadway cast of Girl From the North Country, inspired by the Bob Dylan’s songs and the cast of Ain’t Too Proud — The Life and Times of the Temptations.
Orchestral numbers are performed by “The President’s Own” United States Marine Band, the US Navy Band and the US Army Field Band, the new York Philharmonic and youth symphonies from San Francisco, Colorado, Houston, Chicago and New York.
Fireworks highlights from New York, Washington Houston, Jacksonville and Nashville will be shown throughout the program which will be available to subscribers on CNN.colm’s homepage and CNN’s apps for iOS and Android.
Most of the events that bring thousands of residents and tourists downtown Chicago such as Lollapalooza and the Air and Water Show have been canceled for what will be remembered as the summer of COVID-19.
But with summer there also comes farmers markets, a different way to enjoy Taste of Chicago and where to find entertainment options.
Concert Week Special
The Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra is playing this week with the last concert Friday, June 12. Tune in at 6 p.m. to hear this talented group. Find them on facebook at FacebookCYSO even if you don’t have an account. Or watch and find more information at Chicago Youth Symphony Orchestra/week.
In Chicago, a few are expected to open in June and July. However, most have curb-side or other pickup arrangements through a What’sGood app. For farmers market news visit Chicago City Markets.
Green City Market opens its Lincoln Park location June 13 from 7 a.m. to 1 p.m. The market will only be open on Saturdays. The 7-8 a.m. time is for COVID vulnerable populations. GCM in the West Loop opens in Mary Bartelme Park on June 20 from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
See Shopper guidelines because they will ensure the markets can stay open. They include how to move swiftly through the market, wearing face coverings, keeping social distances and not touching items.
Taste of Chicago is in to-go mode July-8-12, 2020. How to support the restaurants and how to find chef demonstrations online visit Taste of Chicago To-Go
Online arts programs
Under the title Do Stuff at Home, the Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events suggests watching local online programs that range from “The Quarantine Concerts that can be seen today, June 11 through June 30 and First Folio’s “Cymbeline: A Folk Musical” available through June 14 to “Keeping Pride Alive” on June 28. To see the schedule go to DO312.
Yes concerts across Chicago have been cancelled or postponed so the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events is doing “Home,” a concert series you can catch on DCASE’s Youtube and Facebook pages..
It starts this weekend, May 22-23, with a DJ House mix that would have been in the city’s 5th Annual House Music Festival.
Next up, Gospel singers will be on the series May 29-30 because of Chicago’s 35th Annual Gospel Music Festival. That will be followed by blues, June 5-7 for what would have been the 37th Annual Blues Fest. For more information on the concerts, visit youtube/com/ChicagoDCASE.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s field trip goes to the Museum of Science and Industry
The field trip went live at HitPlay on Wednesday, May 20 and will be on WTTW the PBS TV station today, May 22 and again midday Monday, May 25.
An impressive building dating to the 1893 Columbian Exposition, MSI is known for, among other things, its coal mine experience. However, on this visit viewers will come across science experiments they may not be familiar with,and the popular indoor tornado section they may know of in the science Storm exhibit.
One stop that viewers may find fascinating and very current, is the Wanger Family Fab (fabrication) Lab that can make face shields.
Stay with the video to the Big Train Story where model trains go from Chicago to Seattle past well-known city buildings and mountain scenery.
For past field trips scroll down on HitPlay Chicago to see the Shedd Aquarium, the Field Museum and the National Museum of Mexican Art.