Celebrate fall with an Oktoberfest the end of September. Then keep the fun going by following a glowing path of hand-carved pumpkins in October.
Polka and celebrate Bavarian food and culture with Oktoberfest Chicago, Friday, Sept. 22 through Sunday, Sept. 24 on the grounds of St. Alphonsus church in West Lakeview. There will also be Craft Beer Tasting nights of September 22 & 23 in the church.
Imagine strolling a path after dark where pumpkins glare, smile and stare back at you. It’s Night of 1,000 Jack O Lanterns” at the Chicago Botanic Garden.
Actually, it’s quite family friendly and artistic.
“…Visitors walk through the Garden after dark guided by the glow of pumpkins,” said Jodi Zombolo of Visitor Events & Programs. “It’s a great opportunity to spend an evening outdoors with friends and family while being entertained along the way.”
The event sold out last year so get tickets now. Tickets for members/nonmembers are Adult: $19/$21, children (age 3 – 12): $13/$15 and free to age 2 and younger. Parking is free for members and $15 for nonmembers/
Unlikely as it seems, many of the foods Chicagoans love to snack on will be ready to taste in Chicago’s Grant Park this week. It’s Taste of Chicago part 4. We had Taste in Humboldt Park in June, Pullman in July and Marquette in August. So now it’s Grant Park’s downtown Chicago’s turn Sept. 8-10. And it’s free admission.
Also happening is Lakeview East’s Festival of the Arts. Featuring more than 120 artists, live music and local restaurants, it runs from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sept. 9-10. Music continues to 10 p.m.
Art on the Mart finishes this season this weekend and starts a new season the following weekend. So, stroll the Riverwalk near Wells Street if downtown Chicago to see what’s projecting on the Mart’s giant canvas.
Instead of worrying about getting around downtown Chicago with the NASCAR Race July 1 and 2 in 2023, consider taking a fireworks cruise on Tall Ship Windy that Saturday before or Wednesday after July 4.
It goes from Navy Pier so you get the Pier’s Fireworks without the downtown hoopla and street closures. You can also come down a day early and stay in the Sable Hilton Hotel right on Navy Pier to enjoy fun rides, a beer garden, restaurants, art exhibits and a vacation with great views.
On the Fourth
Tune in to PBS at 8 p.m. CT July 4 for “A Capitol Fourth,” a really special annual concert from Washington D.C. that features international stars and patriotic music.
Among this year’s headliners are Renée Fleming, Boyz II Men, Belinda Carlisle, the Broadway cast of “A Beautiful Noise (Neil Diamond) the Muppets, the U.S. Army Herald Trumpets and the National Symphony Orchestra conducted by Jack Everly.
Then, stay tuned forWashington DC Fireworks shooting over the National Mall at 9 p.m. CT, co-sponsored by the National Park Service.
While it is still “Midsummer,” that sometimes mystical time of year around the Summer Solstice, go to the Grant Park Music Festival in Millenium Park to hear Mendelssohn’s “Midsummer Night’s Dream.”
The concert, with Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the Grant Park Orchestra, is June 23 at 6:30 p.m. and June 24 at 7:30 p.m. in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. The concert is free for lawn sitters and asks for donations for reserved seats.
The Grant Park Music Festival is presented by the Grant Park Orchestral Association with support from the Chicago Park District and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE). For programs and other information visit Grant Park Music Festival.
Back in Millennium Park, the Joffrey Ballet is holding a free, pre-perfomance dance class at 4:45 p.m. June 25. It is followed by a free program at 5:30 p.m. that features the Joffrey Company Artists, the Joffrey Academy and the Joffrey community Engagement Students. For more information visit Joffrey Ballet.
It doesn’t matter if a member of the Pride community. The City of Chicago takes pride in supporting LGBTQ+.
Everyone is invited to what has become huge, fun, food and entertainment events such as Pride Fest in the Halsted Street area, a food and entertainment festival in Grant Park, and voila, one of the country’s largest Pride Parades that swings through several of the city’s neighborhoods.
Those events are in addition to some that already took place in neighborhoods and suburbs last weekend and events still to come at Navy Pier and the Chicago area. See the details and mark the events on the calendar.
Chicago Pride Fest, a two-day annual festival in Northalsted
What to expect: Held the weekend before the Chicago Pride Parade, the Fest features music on three stages, good Chicago drag performances, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, a Pet Parade, a high-heel race, a Youth Pride Space for teens and several merchandise and food vendors.
In addition, SHAB, a pop artist and Iranian refugee, will be among featured guests performing on the Bud Light North Stage on Saturday. She is just back from a UK tour centered on her new video Indestructible.
Details; Centered at Halsted and Addison, June 17-18, 2023, it opens at 11 a.m. Saturday and ends at 10 p.m. Sunday and attracts about 60,000 people over the two days. A $15 donation is requested to cover expenses. For more information visit Chicago Pride Fest 2023 | 06/17/2023 | Choose Chicago.
Pride in the Park
What to expect: an annual, two-day music festival that includes food, merchandise and art. It draws big name stars that this year includes Zedd, Zara Larsson and Saweetie.
Details: Grant Park, June 23 and 24, 2023. For more information visit Pride in the Park
Back Lot Bash
What to expect: Dedicated to women, it’s a highly attended block-party of food and music that this year features DJ Mary Mac and Lauren Sanderson.
Details: Held in Andersonvilee, June 24, 2023. For hours and location or more information visitBack Lot Bash Chicago.
Navy Pier Pride
What to expect: Music in three Navy Pier venues.
Details: Entertainment June 24-25 on the West Performance Platform from 11 a.m. to noon and more entertainment on the Orsted Wave Wall Performance Platform from noon to 7 p.m. Entertainers at the Navy Pier Beer Garden from 2 through 11 p.m.
What to expect: Begun as a protest march in 1970 following New York City’s Stonewall Riots, it has become one of Chicago’s largest parades with close to 200 entries and attracts more than a million people. Street closures start around 8 a.m. at Montrose, Irving Park and Wellington at Broadway and Addison and Grace and Roscoe at Halsted. Streets and fully reopen by 8 p.m.
Details: The parade is June 25. It assembles at 10 a.m. then starts at noon in the Uptown neighborhood at Montrose and Broadway. Then, it winds through neighborhoods including East Lakeview and ends in Lincoln Park near Diversey Parkway and Sheridan Road.
First, find out which Broadway shows are deemed award winners when the 76th annual Tonys are on CBS at 8 p.m. ET June 11, 2023.
Then, don’t wait until Fall to see some former good Tony-award winning musicals playing this summer in the Chicago area.
The hot ticket this summer is Goodman Theatre’s “The Who’s Tommy.” Opening June 13 for previews, Goodman has already added eight performances.
Three decades after the show won Tonys for its creators, Pete Townshend and Des McAnuff, the duo has reimagined their production and is presenting this updated version first in Chicago.
The show’s official opening night is June 26 and runs through July 30 in Goodman’s Albert Theatre. For tickets and other information visit Goodman Theatre.
Another musical that brings back the old goodies is “Hair,” once a ground breaker in (tongue firmly in cheek) costume design.
Playing at Skokie Theatre June 23-July 30, audiences are likely to want to hum or join in such old favorites as “Good Morning, Starshine,” “Aquarius” and “Let the Sunshine In.”
Its book and lyrics by Gerome Ragni and James Rado and music by Galt MacDermot will remind audiences that yesterdays’ important issues of world peace and global responsibility are still around. For directions and more information visit SkokieTheatre.org.
A third musical, a goodie though not at all oldie except arguably in an underworld concept that uses such know characters as Orpheus and Eurydice, is the 2019 Tony Award winning production, “Hadestown.” On stage at the CIBC Theatre for a short run, June 20-June 25, the production is brought to the city by Broadway in Chicago. For tickets and other information visit Broadwayinchicago/Hadestown.
Go to Downtown Chicago to Millenium Park for the Chicago Blues Festival, June 8-11, 2023.
It celebrates Chicago contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock and hip hop. And it’s free. Visitors can bring a chair or spread out but lots of folks stand to watch because others are standing.
Hours: Thurs: 5:30-9 p.m., Friday-Sunday: noon – 9 p.m. Enter from Michigan Ave. at Washington St. or Madison St., Randolph St. or Monroe St. Millenium Park is free and has a Welcome Center on Randolph Street that is open daily from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. but open later on performance nights. For Blues Festival information visit City of Chicago :: Chicago Blues Festival
Or go to Skokie for MadKap Productions’ 2023 Short Play Festival June 10 at 7:30 p.m. and June 11 at 2 p.m. It’s just $15.
Plays are each about 10 minutes and written include pieces by David Alex, DC Cathro, Eric Coble, Eva Schultz and Judy Schindler
For more information visit Skokie Theatre. The theater is at 7924 Lincoln Ave., downtown Skokie near the S.W. corner of Lincoln and Oakton Avenues.
In addition, there is Chi-Soul Fest, a free, two-day music/comedy festival throughout Navy Pier.
It’s not about a guy named Art but a broad cultural happening. COVID restrictions from 2020-2022 must be over because April 2023 has all of a sudden become Art Month in Chicago.
First, EXPO Chicago, once a big fall event centered at Navy Pier and that later moved to late Spring, is going on right now across the city’s art venues as Expo Art Week, April 10 through April 16. BTW, EXPO is a shortened version of International Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art.
Secondly, Art on the Mart is premiering its new season/year Friday, April 14, after sunset.
Working with Choose Chicago, the city’s tourism site and Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events known as DCASE, EXPO Chicago’s Art Week has what it Featured Alignments with museums, galleries and hotels. See the list plus Screenings and South Side Openings + Events at After Hours events at Featured Alignments.
Art on the Mart
Actually written as Art on theMart, the display is considered the largest permanent digital art projection anywhere. It is a projection of contemporary and classical art on the 2.5 acre façade of theMART facing the Chicago River. Beginning April 14, 2023 it will feature “Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides through four Seasons. Beginning in May and going through the fall is Nick Cave, Ba Ba Boom.
AIC presents Salvador Dali: the Image Disappears
The Dali exhibition is the museums’ first, in depth presentation of the Spanish artist’s surrealism works and primarily features his 1930’s period. For hours and tickets information visit AIC.
From learning more about such aquarium residents as penguins and beluga whales in Animal Spotlights and assisting in cleaning up natural areas on Teen Nature Days to restoring beaches and forest areas during Action Days, Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium is definitely “on it” when it comes to a variety of Earth Day/Week/Month activities for all ages and dates.
Families(all age groups)
Visit the aquarium and attend an animal spotlight (included in general admission). It goes into the behaviors and adaptations of dolphins, belugas and sea lions. Guests leave with a greater understanding of these Shedd residents plus how to protect our blue planet for these animals and their wild counterparts. Tickets support Shedd’s efforts to care for the aquarium residents and research in wild aquatic ecosystems. For more information visit Animal Spotlights | Shedd Aquarium.
Join free Shedd-led Action Days in local community habitats. Guests support animals from frogs to fish while having fun and helping to restore and protect nearby beaches, waterways, and forest preserves. There are a variety of dates at different locations. For more info and to register visit Shedd Aquarium Action Days | Shedd Aquarium
Three other ways to take action for animals this Earth Day: *reduce the use of single-use plastic
* reach out to state lawmakers to let them know you support plastic reduction and reuse efforts at the policy level
*discuss the importance of caring for our natural environments your friends and family
Plan now to contribute some elbow grease or plant or play with planet Earth in mind during April 2023 Earth Week or April 22 Earth Day.
A couple of Lake County Forest Preserves activities are already full. But there are still activities at both the Lake and Cook County Forest Preserves plus at Brookfield Zoo.
Forest Preserves of Cook County
Participate in a Celebrate Earth Day Play,Paint and Pretend event at Crabtree Nature center, April 22 from noon to 3 p,m,. The activity is free. The Center is at 3 Stover Rd., Barrington. For more information visit Forest Preserves of Cook County/NaturePlay or call (847) 381-6592.
Lake County Forest Preserves
There are a limited number of seats left but “Planting for Pollinators,” is still open April 19 at Ryerson Nature Center, Riverwoods, 3-4 p.m. Visit Planting for registration and address. (Adults)
Get down and dirty to help the planet at “Restoration Middlefork” from 9 a.m. to noon April 22. Visit Restoration Workday. (Age 10 through adults)
The Brookfield Zoo is encouraging families to make a difference for wildlife and the natural world with three events at the zoo: “A Party for the Planet” recycling event, help plant a tree, and “Earth Day Run.”
The recycling event, presented by the Nicor Gas Energy Efficiency Program, is April 22 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Zoo’s main parking lot at 8400 31st St., Brookfield. (Enter through gate on 31st Street, just west of Golfview Avenue.) This is a chance to dispose of electronics, textiles, and used books in an environmentally-friendly way. For a complete list of acceptable recyclables, visit czs.org/PartyPlanet.
Zoo visitors can head to the South Mall at 10:30 a.m. to assist groundskeepers in planting a tree to commemorate the holiday, then spend the day seeing your favorite animals.
Earth Day Run
The annual Earth Day Fun Run, a non-competitive 2.2 miles, begins at 8 a.m. and is for all ages. The fee is $35 per person and includes admission to the Zoo. All participants receive an Earth Day Run commemorative medal and a bookmark with flower seeds to spread in your own garden at home. Proceeds from the event benefit the Chicago Zoological Society’s Animal Care and Conservation Fund that supports research and education efforts at the Zoo and around the world. For more information visit czs.org/EarthDayRun.