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/
Fire, color, shapes, snowflake and kaleidoscope patterns, water features, movement, and yes, past years’ popular gold-lit Cathedral, all make Lightscape at the Chicago Botanic Garden, a fun and fanciful, winter night out.
The color-filled light spectacle starts with a large, welcoming, holiday wreath near the east end of the Botanic Garden’s ticket booths. That is the first clue that the 2022 Lightscape follows a different path with some installation changes and additions to previous years.
Hopefully you have worn good walking shoes or boots. Temperatures have dipped into late November-December mode and the Lightscape path feels longer than its approximate mile and a quarter because its first half is mostly uphill.
What to expect
Smart-phone cameras ready, look for a garden of fire set in Oriental style fixtures in the Rose Garden.
As you continue along the path, snap floating leaves in the lagoon near the Japanese bridges and colorful hula-style rings overhead.
Stop for a snack at an outdoor shack while checking out a color-changing mist.
As the commercials say, Wait, there’s more. After lots of turns, curves water-markers and color-lit trees, you arrive at the Kaleidoscope overhang of the Regenstein’s Center. There you can cross a terrace of beautifully colored globes and end up at Nichols Hall, the indoor food area.
Back out after a calorie break, follow the “continue” path where you pass colorful flowers, walk through a tunnel of stars.
You’ll see the golden Cathedral ahead and snap companions walking through it. But next clue things have changed is you learn you are not at the end. Guides with flashlights urge you on because there’s more to see ahead.
Pass the changing lights growing in a pasture between the Regenstein Center and the Pond. Follow more flashlights and paths until you’re confronted by dramatic music and a huge ball of lights. You look around and realize you have to enter it to exit.
Now, you are at the lily pond area where stairs and a ramp lead down to a path to the Visitors Center and parking lot.
Tip: Check your Smart Phone because after all those photos it probably needs recharging.
Details: Lightscape goes from Nov. 11, 2022 through Jan. 8, 2023, after 4 p.m. Lightscape entry and parking are timed tickets. Members $30, non $32. Children of members $14, non $16. Under age 2 free. Lightscape parking free to members, $10 nonmembers.
Thousands of lights from Lincoln Park Zoo’s’ “Zoolights” and Macy’s Walnut Room “Great Tree” to Morton Arboretum’s “Illumination” and Chicago Botanic Garden’s “Lightscape” will once again be brightening the holiday season.
They just will be operating a little differently during the Covid pandemic. Protocols will be in place such as social distance requirements so timed tickets and reservations will be needed. Tickets are already available even though the events don’t start until November. However, events and times do sell out so best is to plan ahead.
Illumination: Tree Lights at the Morton Arboretum
Instead of walking through the Morton Arboretum, visitors will drive along a two-mile musical light and movement show that redefines the woodland experience. Some favorites will be back such as Symphony Woods and Woodland Wonder plus new, magical sights have been added.
The event goes from Nov. 20, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021 with additional hours and days. For tickets and more information visit Mortonarb/illumination.
Last year, the first year of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s Lightscape, the event sold out and its Night of 1000 Jack o’ Lanterns has also sold out so visitors should get their tickets now. The event runs from Nov. 13, 2020 through Jan. 3, 2021.
Lightscape is a one-way, mile-long walking loop past unusual and fun lighting movements accompanied by changing musical themes. The Cathedral of Light will be back but there are also new light designs.
Lincoln Park Zoo’s animal exhibits, landscaping, and buildings dress up for the holidays with thousands of colored lights thanks to ComEd and InvescoQQQ.. Tickets for the event, Nov. 21, 2020 through Jan. 3, are needed for all ages this year but are just $5. For information visit LPzoo/zoolights.
Walnut Room Great Tree
Right now, the holiday themed windows on the State Street side of Macy’s in Chicago are still a closely guarded secret. But visitors can make reservations starting Oct. 9 to dine in the store’s famed Walnut Room where they can see the Great Tree – beginning Nov. 7. Reservations are at OpenTable
Expect to see about 6,600 lights and more than 2,000 ornaments on the tree. P:lus past Great Tree photos can be seen on the store’s 7th floor.
As to the Walnut Room food, it is a three-course, fixed-price meal for $49.95 (adults, per person) with a variety of choices, “including Mrs. Hering’s chicken pot pie, cider glazed turkey and Frango ice cream pie . Youngsters’ meals are $19.95, include a 2020 Walnut Room holiday mug.
October has enough food, music, art and fall events to fill several calendars. Here are just a few of the events to tack up on the board.
Two art shows
“Fields of Battle, Lands of Peace: The Doughboys1917-1918” is at Navy Pier beginning Oct. 5 and continuing through Nov. 18, 2018 in Polk Bros Park (across from the Pier’s entrance). A free exhibit, the works are by photo journalist Michael St. Maur Sheil.
Taken over eight years, the compilation tells stories of battleground transformations, peace and remembrance. It works well with Navy Pier’s history. Originally called the “Municipal Pier” it was later renamed Navy Pier in honor of naval veterans who served in World War I. (It became a training center for the U.S.Navy in 1941before returning to public use for an education institution and then an entertainment destination).
An opening commemorative event is at the Pier Oct. 5 at 5:15 p.m. followed by the Navy Band Great Lakes Wind Ensemble that plays at 6 p.m. in the Crystal Gardens. For more information call (800) 595-PIER (7437 and visit Navy Pier. Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., Chicago.
The Chicago Creative Coalition (C3) is holding its 20th Annual Gallery Walk Oct. 18 2018 at four River North galleries. Basically a semi- private tour, the Gallery Walk requires registration. C3 members $15, general admission $20, students $5. Visit Gallery Walk Registration.
All-Inn fest, a three-day indoor music festival will be at Halsted Street bars from aliveOne to The Store from Oct. 11 through Oct. 13, 2018. Admission is free with a wristband gotten from aliveOne, Tonic Room or The Store. Bar and band hop beginning at 8 p.m. For more information visit Lincoln Park Chamber All Inn.
Randolph Street Market goes indoors with Octoberfest Oct. 27-28 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. An indoor venue featuring more than 125 vendors, the Market is at 1341 Randolph St. The Octoberfest celebration will have pumpkins but also antiques and clothing. For more information visit Randolph Street Octoberfest.
Two spooky-ish fall color destinations
Visitors to the Morton Arboretum can combine leaf looks with the scarecrows, cider and scary adventures of the season at the Morton Arboretum during the Fall corol festival. Also, look for the Glass Pumpkin Patch and Jack o Lantern Hikes dates.The Morton Arboretum is at 4100 Hwy 53. Lisle, IL For more information go to Morton Arb.
Pumpkins at the Chicago Botanic Garden will be lining the walkways Oct. 24-28, 2018 from 6:30-10:30 p.m. during the annual Night of 1000 Jack o Lanterns. Take photos for some ideas of how to carve your pumpkin next year. The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd. Glencoe. The event has timed tickets. For tickets and other info visit Chicago Botanic.
Who wants to celebrate Labor Day Weekend falls into the debatable category. If returning or starting school is on the can’t wait list than OK. Same goes for “I love fall.” But if it means the end of summer free time, maybe not so much.
So what makes sense on how to say goodby summer, hello labor? Here’s three ways (actually more if you count all the days of the weekend listening to different bands at the Chicago Jazz Festival) to take advantage of now. Two of them won’t be available again until next year.
Chicago Botanic Garden Butterflies and Blooms
Go before the annual butterfly exhibit leaves the Chicago Botanic Garden Sept. 3. The garden is basically open from sun up to sun down but the butterfly house hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a ticketed exhibit with the last ticket sold at 4:30 p.m.
For this exhibit the best parking lot is the first one visitors come to left of the first traffic stop sign after the parking lot booth (not the “if someone is in the crosswalk” warning signs). The exhibit is next to the Regenstein Learning Center and outdoor children’s hilly play area.
The popular Miller Lite Beer Garden on Navy Pier is doing its “Live on the Lake” music series from Friday through From Friday, August 31 through Monday, Sept. 3. Come Friday to toast the weekend with special Happy Hour prices from 4 to 6 p.m. then stay for the music. Or return Saturday for music and stay for Navy Pier’s fireworks at 10:15.
Navy Pier is at 600 E. Grand Ave., The Beer Garden is considered 700 E. Grand Ave. For more Beer Garden info call (312) 595-5446 and visit Beer Garden. For Navy Pier information cal (800) 595-Pier (7437)and visit Navy Pier.
Chicago Jazz festival
Good jazz is happening right now in Chicago venues as it does every week but this last week of August and first weekend of September are special. The Chicago Jazz Festival is happening downtown and around the city through Sept. 2, 2018. The festival is celebrating its 40th year with several area bands and headliners Ramsey Lewis, Kurt Elling, Dianne Reeves, Maceo Parker and Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic. See the schedule to catch the jazz artist or band you don’t want to miss or just go over to Millennium Park and enjoy the concerts. They’re all free. Programming is by the Jazz Institute of Chicago. It’s produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion 6:30-9pm – Orbert Davis’ Chicago Jazz Philharmonic: Legends and Lions
Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 5pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 5:25–6:15pm – Geof Bradfield Nonet; 6:30–7:25pm – Nicole Mitchell and Mandorla Awakening; 7:45–9pm – Kurt Elling featuring Marquis Hill and Jeff “Tain” Watts.
Chicago Cultural Center: 11am–12pm – What Is This Thing called Jazz? Ernie Adams: Insights on Improvisation 12:30–1:30pm – Carmen Stokes Quartet, in collaboration with the South Side Jazz Coalition; 2–3pm – Paul Giallorenzo Trio, in collaboration with the Elastic Arts Foundation; 3:30–4:30pm – Chicago Cellar Boys, in collaboration with the Iliana Club of Traditional Jazz.
Park Grill Plaza: 12–2pm – Julius Tucker, 4–6pm – Thaddeus Thukes Vibez
Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45 pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn) 4:15–5:05pm – Tribute to Dr. Muhal Richard Abrams; 5:25–6:15pm – Sabertooth Organ Quartet 25th Anniversary 6:30–7:25pm – Louis Hayes Quintet: “Seranade for Horace;” 7:45–9pm – Dianne Reeves.
Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Junius Paul Quartet; 12:40–1:35pm – Quin Kirchner Group 1:50–2:45pm – Chris Speed Trio 3–4pm – Greg Ward and 10 Tongues.
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): Noon–1pm – Gayle Kolb Sextet 1:30–2:30pm – Roy McGrath Remembranzas Quintet 3–4pm – Million Brazilan Project featuring Sarah Marie Young and Guy King.
Park Grill Plaza Stage: 12–2pm – High Hat; 4–6pm – Bomanville.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 4:15–5:0; 5pm – Tribute to Willie Pickens 5:25–6:10pm – Kenny Barron Quintet; 6:25–7:25pm – Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society; 7:45–9pm – Ramsey Lewis.
Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Black Diamond; 12:40–1:35pm – Dustin Laurenzi and Natural Language; 1:50–2:45pm – Matthew Shipp and Ivo Perelman; 3–4pm – Amina Claudine Myers Trio.
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): Noon–1pm – Bruce Henry; 1:30–2:30pm – The Chuck Webb Band featuring Margaret Murphy; 3–4pm – Nolatet.
Park Grill Plaza: 12–2pm – Petra van Nuis; 4–6pm – Isabella Sherwood.
Young Jazz Lions (Harris Rooftop): 11–11:30am – ChiArts Jazz Combo; 11:45am–12:15pm – Morgan Park High School Jazz Combo; 12:30–1pm – CYSO Jazz Combo; 1:15–1:55pm – Eric Solorio High School Jazz Ensemble; 2:10–2:50pm – Whitney Young High School Jazz Ensemble; 3:05–3:45pm – Kenwood Academy Jazz Band.
Jay Pritzker Pavilion: 3:45pm – Second-line Procession led by Mystick Krewe of Laff featuring the Big Shoulders Brass Band (starts at the west side of the Great Lawn); 4:15–5:05pm – Matt Ulery’s Loom Large; 5:25–6:10pm – Arturo O’Farrill Sextet; 6:25–7:25pm – Charles McPherson-Barry Harris Quartet; 7:45–9pm – Maceo Parker.
Von Freeman Pavilion (Chase Promenade South): 11:30am–12:25pm – Tribute to John Wright; 12:40–1:35pm – Jaimie Branch’s Fly or Die; 1:50–2:45pm – Jason Stein Quartet; 3–4pm – Eric Revis Quartet featuring Ken Vandermark.
Jazz and Heritage Pavilion (Chase Promenade North): 12–1pm – Quentin Coaxum Quintet;1:30–2:30pm – Alejandro Urzagaste’s Flow featuring Bill Carrothers; 3–4pm – Fareed Haque and his Funk Brothers.
Park Grill Plaza Stage: 12–2pm – Lucas Gillian; 4–6pm – Irvin Pierce.
So that in the coming weeks you don’t have to say “oops, I forgot” or “oh, I wish I had known,” here are some fun and interesting choices of what to do now through Nov. 5, 2017.
Short Story Theatre
Short story theatres are trending now in the Chicago area. (See StorySlam). Highwood, a tiny city between Highland Park and Lake Forest known for its restaurants, also hosts short story telling.
Its next time is Oct. 26 when the theme is Survival. Stories are likely to be about lost wives, geese, road trips or angels.
So come to Miramar Bistro at 301 Waukegan Ave. east of the North Line train tracks at 7:30 p.m. Or come earlier and eat there first. Just tell them when making a reservation that you are staying for the Short Story Theatre. Show tickets are $10 at the door, cash or check. Phone 847-433-1078.
Boo at the Chicago Botanic Garden
Hand-carved pumpkins line the paths Oct. 26-29 for Night of 10000 Jack-O-Lanterns. Tickets are date and time specific so get yours before you go to avoid disappointment. Times are from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m.
The Chicago Botanic Garden is at 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe, east of Edens Expressway. For tickets and other information call (847) 835-5440 or visit CBGHalloween.
Broadway in Chicago
At the Cadillac Palace Theatre, ‘Les Miserables, Cameron Mackintosh’s new production that is garnering rave reviews, closes Oct. 29. For tickets visit BroadwayinChicago.
Then, School of Rock’ an exuberant show with new songs by Andrew Lloyd Webber opens Nov. 1. For tickets and other information visit Broadway Rock.
Verdi and Wagner
If you enjoy opera at its best know that Lyric Opera of Chicago has openings, closings and reviews similar to many downtown shows. Verdi’s ‘Rigoletto’ that also received rave reviews, has only three performances left: Oct. 26, Oct. 30 and Nov. 3. Wagner’s next Ring cycle opera, ‘Die Walküre,’ opens Nov. 1. For tickets and other information visit Lyric Opera.
Sip and Stroll Festival
Visit more than restaurants and other businesses in Lincoln Square for the semi-annual Ravenswood Wine Stroll. Nov. 2 from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Tickets are $45 and are for one of five different routes: three in Lincoln Square and two in Ravenswood. For tickets and route information see Lincoln Square Wine Stroll.
Really old and last century modern
Winnetka Community House’s famed Antiques + Modernism show runs Nov. 3-5 with an evening, first peek party Nov. 2. Because it’s a 60-year-old nationally known event, dealers bring their fine antiques and excellent mid-last-century modernism jewelry and furniture. For ticket and other information visit Winnetka Show.
Where high-end art and superior design mix
Known as SOFA for bringing together Sculpture Objects Fine Art plus Design, the annual Chicago event is back at Navy Pier Nov. 2-5. Go upstairs to the Festival Hall to see what the international galleries say are trending now in the art world. For tickets and other information visit SOFA.