It’s the Holiday season! And while we’ve dashed past the Delta variant and are entering the Omicron stage in our pandemic journey, we need to stay safe! Stores, restaurants, and venues are seemingly fully open with mask requirements, but if you still don’t feel entirely safe to go out you can always stay in and support these places from home. But if you do plan to go out this weekend, make sure you check out the venue’s policies and quite honestly, take initiative. Wear a mask, social distance, and get your vaccination shots and your booster even if the venue/event is lax. Protect yourself and those around you.
Now, let’s get on with your Chicago Curated Weekend!
- Drive-In Movies
- ChiTown Movies, 2343 S. Throop St – Next week and beyond will feature screenings of
- 12/9 Elf
- 12/10 The Muppet Christmas Carol
- 12/10 Friday the 13th
- 12/11 The Polar Express
- 12/11 The Polar Express
- 12/11 The Nightmare Before Christmas
- 12/11 Us
- 12/12 Home Alone
- 12/12 The Grinch
- 12/13 Elf
- 12/14 The Muppet Christmas Carol
- 12/15 Home Alone
- 12/15 Love Actually
- 12/16 The Santa Clause
- 12/16 Die Hard
- 12/17 Elf
- 12/17 Friday the 13th
- 12/18 The Muppet Christmas Carol
- 12/18 Elf
- 12/18 Batman Returns
- 12/19 Home Alone
- 12/19 The Nightmare Before Christmas
- 12/19 Home Alone
- ChiTown Movies, 2343 S. Throop St – Next week and beyond will feature screenings of
- Support Local Venues
- Kingston Mines is open with some great lineups this weekend
- Fitzgerald’s Patio is also back in full swing with tons of artists playing throughout the week with artists like Clem Snide on Thursday and EG Vines on Saturday!
- Evanston Space‘s shop is open and you should consider donating to help the venue during these weird times. They are also having lower capacity shows at the venue!
- Head over to the Hideout’s regular shop and get yourself some great merch! Their Holiday Sale page is also still up with links to great local artists!
- Metro shop is full of fantastic concert posters from yesteryear and cool merch
- Lincoln Hall/Schubas always has great items in their shop waiting for you! Plus Schubas/Tied House is open and events are on their way back!
- Same goes for Thalia Hall’s merch store (those holiday socks? *chef’s kiss*)
- Let’s not forget Empty Bottle’s fantastic merch shop! Plus they just added some new stuff designed by some awesome people that is sure to catch your eye! Shows are going on now as well, so head over to their venue site and go to some concerts if you’re comfortable
- Art Galleries and Special Events
- All Star Press is constantly putting up new prints for you to decorate your space with! They’ve started a whole new year-long series Naturally Beautiful! Check out some of their prints from last year’s Vertical Gallery collab, which you can purchase here!! There is also a virtual gallery featuring all the works! And don’t forget to check out the virtual edition of JC Rivera’s new exhibition “Still Undefeated” !
- Galerie F has a fun stock of prints from concert posters, pop culture prints and more! Plus they have a Black Friday Sale going on!
- Rotufugi will be showing a new exhibit Happy Electronic Memories New Works by James ‘Jimbot’ Demski! So if you feel comfortable mask up and see the work in person.
- WOMANISH Experience is a cool pop-up featuring the work of female and gender non-confirming artists exploring womanhood from a diverse range of perspectives.
- Immersive Van Gogh does exactly what its name says: immerses you into Van Gogh paintings via huge projections that bring the already lively art to life!
- WNDR Museum is back
- Art on theMART will be projecting wonderful visual every night at 9:00pm and 9:30pm! Check out what they have planned here
- Garfield Park Conservatory is open! Book a reservation to see all the beautiful gardens safely!
- Lincoln Park Conservatory is open! Book a reservation to see all the beautiful gardens safely!
- Chicago Botanic Garden is hosting their Lightscape event! Book a reservation to see all the beautifully lit up gardens safely!
- “The Office Experience Chicago” is open for all you die hard fans of the show!
- Check out some holiday fun with the Chicago Museum of Illusions!
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 9th
Polo & Pan w/ Loveleo @ Radius, WHAT: A night full of dancing!
SO WHAT: Polo & Pan strives to bring nothing but positivity to its audiences, with its blend of disco, 1930s vocals, psychedelic rock from the ‘70s and more. Their live shows are a great addition to the already cinematic sound they pump out. Joining them will be the equally fun Loveleo. Check Elif Geris’ review of their Lincoln Hall stop from a few years ago here!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $36! Radius will be requiring attendees to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 or have a negative COVID-19 test no more than 72 hours prior to attending
Katie Pruitt & Tre Burt @ Evanston SPACE,1245 Chicago Avenue Evanston, IL , 7:00pm, all ages
WHAT: Wonderful tunes for your Thursday night
SO WHAT: Katie Pruitt will be stopping by SPACE to share her amazing voice. Pruitt’s Americana-lined songs traverse topics like religion, mental health, of love songs with a modern twist and the passionate delivery they so richly deserve. Joining her this evening will be Tre Burt.
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $15 for this great night
New Talks and Video Archives @ Various Locations & Chicago Humanities Festival YouTube channel, your favorite browser or YouTube app, any time you want some inspiration, All Ages
WHAT: Interesting conversations with interesting people!
SO WHAT: Chicago Humanities Festival is back with some in-person events! They always bring some of the best ideas to the surface with entertaining programming that captures your imagination. There is one final talk currently scheduled before the end of the year but be ion the look out for the next season as their website is constantly updated with new talks, so check out the wealth of upcoming and previous events in their archives!
- December 9 – Maggie Nelson: On Freedom (Virtual) – 7:00pm
THURSDAY & FRIDAY, DECEMBER 9th & 10th
Sauced: The Night Market Before Christmas @ Chicago Athletic Association Hotel, 12 S Michigan Ave, 5:00pm – 10:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Merry whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year from Sauced and the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel
SO WHAT: It’s the Night Market Before Xmas and Sauced knew exactly what to get everyone! A fantastic event with amazing art and retail vendors taking over the Chicago Athletic Association Hotel for your shopping enjoyment! DJ Johnny Walker will be on hand to help the festivities get going! Check out their event page for a full list of vendors.
NOW WHAT: Admission is free and it’s all ages! Go out, shop, and party!
THURSDAY, FRIDAY, & SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9th, 10th, & 12th
Fulton Street Collective Jazz Series @ Fulton Street Collective & Their YouTube channel, 1821 W. Hubbard St, Suite 307, or the coziest spot in your home, 8:00pm
WHAT: Some excellent jazz for your evening
SO WHAT: Fulton Street Collective are back with in-person events, but they are still determined to give Chicago its much needed dose of jazz at home! Most of their shows are also streaming so you can see and hear the beautiful music on their YouTube channel! Below are just some of the upcoming shows from the collective.
- December 9 – Dean-Dorhauer Jazz Orchestra Live at Fulton Street Collective
- December 10 – JOURNEY & EXPLORE : Art Opening at Fulton Street Collective – (7:00pm – 8:00pm)
- December 10 –JOURNEY & EXPLORE : Art Opening at Fulton Street Collective – (8:00pm – 9:00pm)
- December 10 – JOURNEY & EXPLORE : Art Opening at Fulton Street Collective – (9:00pm – 10:00pm)
- December 12 – Chris Shuttleworth’s MORTAR & Gold/Ernst/Black Trio at FultonStreetCollective
- December 14 – Milt Jackson’s WIZARD OF THE VIBES performed live@ Fulton Street Collective
- December 15 – Nick Kaplan Quintet LIVE at Fulton Street Collective
- December 16 – Noah Brooks Coalition Live at Fulton Street Collective
- December 17 –Ellington’s NUTCRACKER SUITE performed live @Fulton Street Collective
NOW WHAT: The shows are free online, but in person there is a $15 suggested donation unless noted! Also you should definitely support Fulton Street Collective by becoming a member!
THURSDAY, SATURDAY, & SUNDAY, DECEMBER 9th, 11th, & 12th
Krampus Takeover/Pop Up Launch @ DMen Tap, 2849 W Belmont Ave, 7:00pm, 21+
WHAT: Celebrate the darker side of the holidays
SO WHAT: That fiendish holiday stalwart Krampus is coming to town and setting up shop at DMen Tap! The festivities start with a parade where his followers are encouraged to don their own Krampus outfits! Then once inside enjoy the return of Fist of Krampus from Revolution Brewing! The flowing weeks will feature D&D campaigns, cool jams, and events that you can bring the kiddos to! Check out the lineup of Krampus events below!
- 12/9 – Krampus Cage DJ Trevor Shelley de Brauw Of Pelican – 9:00pm
- 12/11 – Kids Krampus Craft day – 1:00pm
- 12/12 – Krampus Dungeon Crawl – 3:00pm
- 12/16 –Krampus Cage DJ Grant from Bucket O’ Blood – 8:00pm
- 12/18 – Kids Krampus Dungeon crawl – 1:00pm
NOW WHAT: Participation is free, but be sure to bring some dough for the bar!
FRIDAY – SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10th – 12th
C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo @ McCormick Place South Building, 2301 S Martin Luther King Dr, Friday and Saturday 10:00am – 7:00pm, Sunday 10:00am – 5:00pm, all ages
WHAT: The Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo—also known as C2E2—is a comic book and pop culture convention spanning the latest and greatest from the world of comics, movies, television, toys, anime, manga and video games in downtown Chicago.
SO WHAT: It’s three days of everything you ever wanted to know about nerd culture and geek stuff in a totally cool and inclusive atmosphere. There will be panels, workshops, speakers, and a whole lot of cosplayers. It’s honestly the most fun you’ll have exploring your every nerdy whim! Check out our coverage of the last few years here!
NOW WHAT: Three day tickets may have sold out but single day badges are available! Remember that you need to be wearing a mask throughout the event and have proof of vaccination to get in. For more info, head over to their health and safety page on their website!
Full Bush @ Constellation & Co-Prosperity Sphere, 3111 N Western Ave & 3219-21 South Morgan Street, 8:30pm
WHAT: A theatrical presentation of the grandiose magic of Kate Bush’s music
SO WHAT: Our favorite art rock band OHMME (the sensational duo of Sima Cunningham and Macie Stewart) and the wonderful Alex Grelle have come together for a collaborative project honoring the work of Kate Bush. Co-created with Jesse Morgan Young of Floor Show, Revival, and Andrew in Anotherland, Full Bush takes Kate Bush’s incredible career and puts it through a kaleidoscope of elaborate costumes and performances, featuring OHMME as a six-piece ensemble! Head out and hear the great band and artists perform some of Kate Bush’s greatest hits and interesting deep cuts!
NOW WHAT: Tickets for the Co-Prosperity Sphere are $25 in advance! You can purchase tickets fro each day at the following links: Dec. 10 / Dec. 11 / Dec. 12!
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10th & BEYOND
Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along @ Millenium Park, 201 E. Randolph St., 6:00pm – 7:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Sing out and celebrate Chicago’s diverse holiday traditions
SO WHAT: The new Millennium Park Holiday Sing-Along series near Cloud Gate (previously “Caroling at Cloud Gate”) will invite Chicagoans and visitors to come together and sing their hearts out. This series has been reimagined to be more inclusive of Chicago’s many faith backgrounds, cultures and holiday music traditions. Each night will feature a different theme and musical group. Tonight will feature The Chicago High School for the Arts Chorale Ensemble!
NOW WHAT: It’s free! Head over to their website for more info! Face masks are required for all Holiday Sing-Along guests and masks will be available at the event while supplies last.
SATURDAY, DECEMBER 11th
Facets Pop-Up Market @ Facets, 1517 W Fullerton Ave., 10:00am – 6:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: All the movies and awesome local vendors you need
SO WHAT: The Facets Warehouse Sale has long been a tradition for the cinephiles’ favorite spot, where the nonprofit puts DVDs and VHS from their vault on sale for low, low prices. The sale is finally back and will be joined by a variety of local independent retailers, visual artists, and zinemakers for an expanded Pop-Up Market!
NOW WHAT: It’s free! So mask up and look for some hidden gems and support you local shops at this great little pop up!
Kool Keith @ Empty Bottle 1035 N Western Ave , 7:30pm, 21+
WHAT: It’s been a while since the yearly Kool Keith appearances in Chicago
SO WHAT: Kool Keith is a master of the rap game with a myriad of unique aliases and projects. The man has thrown down some of the most surreal and abstract verses ever and he’s back in Chicago, this time at Empty Bottle, for one hell of a night.
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $18 in advance, $20 at the door for this annual Xmas miracle! And remember, you need proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 PCR test performed within the previous 72 hours prior to entry.
SATURDAY & SUNDAY, DECEMBER 11th – 12th
Randolph Street Market Holiday Pop-Up @ Time Out Market, 830 N Michigan Ave.,
WHAT: Randolph Street Market Chicago is on the road for this little pop-up!
SO WHAT: Randolph Street Market will host a holiday pop-up offering a curated designer showcase packed with amazing finds perfect for a gift for the holiday!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $10 per weekend and a two-weekend pass for $15!
The Neo-Futurists’ The Infinite Wrench @ The Neo-Futurist Theater, 5153 N Ashland, Saturday 10:30pm, Sunday 7:00pm
WHAT: Quick plays live and online!
SO WHAT: The Neo-Futurists are back! Their Infinite Wrench is an ongoing, ever-changing attempt to perform 30 plays in 60 minutes for a live audience. Now it’s actually a live audience that will be enjoying the performance in person! With plenty of COVID precautions in place, you’ll be able to enjoy the funny, disgusting, profound, terrifying, irreverent, and downright entertaining show with friends!
NOW WHAT: Join the Neo-Futurists this weekend for $10! Head over to their website to see all they have planned now that in-person audiences are a thing again! If you’re still a little anxious about going out, The Infinite Wrench Goes Viral will be continuing til February (and possibly beyond) over at their Patreon!
SUNDAY, DECEMBER 12th
Handmade Market Chicago @ Empty Bottle, 1035 N Western Ave, Noon – 4:30pm
WHAT: Shopping, eating, and drinking all in one place
SO WHAT: Grab some food next door at Bite Cafe, maybe a drink from the Empty Bottle Bar, and start shopping the Handmade Market Chicago! They will bring over 30 makers of beautiful and unique items to the Empty Bottle! Join in and see what all the sellers will have to offer. You can check out some of the sellers that will be featured over on their Facebook page.
NOW WHAT: This event as always is free!
Pilsen Vendor Market @ Pilsen Art House, 1756 W 19th St, Noon – 5:00pm
WHAT: A socially distanced mini handmade market!
SO WHAT: This is a weekly market for artists and makers to come together, make new friends and sell their wonderful wares.
NOW WHAT: Entry is free, just be sure to wear your mask as they are required!
THE WHOLE SELF-DISTANCING WEEKEND & BEYOND
Holiday Magic @ Brookfield Zoo, 8400 31st Street (1st Avenue and 31st Street), Brookfield, IL, 3:00pm – 9:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: Add some holiday cheer to your zoo visit!
SO WHAT: Celebrate the holiday season as over two million lights wrap around Brookfield Zoo! Entering its 40th season, Holiday Magic lets attendees explore the zoo as the synchronized lights dance to the music. You’ll have fun discovering all the enormous illuminated animal structures, finding all the hidden Gnomes, taking a trip to the skating rink, getting yourself a special holiday Mold-a-Rama, and so much more!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are $24.95 for adults 12- 64, $17 for children ages 3 – 12, $19.95 for Seniors. Parking is $13.39
Christkindlmarket @ Daley Plaza & Gallagher Way, 50 W Washington St & 3635 N Clark St, Various Times, All Ages
WHAT: The Chicago Christmas time tradition is back in person!
SO WHAT: After going digital last year, Christkindlmarket is back with all the familiar foods, music, and ornaments you expect! Head over to their website for info on special events, hours, and more! If you’re still not feeling up to the crowds, their online marketplace will be up and running for those who want to stay home!
NOW WHAT: It’s free! Mask up and stay safe as you experience the wonderful marketplace!
ZooLights @ Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N Clark St, 4:00pm – 10:00pm, All Ages
WHAT: One of the largest displays of the season’s lights!
SO WHAT: ZooLights, Presented By ComEd and Invesco QQQ, at Lincoln Park Zoo makes the most wonderful time of year even better with this thrilling lighting event. The one-of-a-kind experience offers fun family-oriented holiday celebrations that feature beautiful displays and incredible seasonal activities all under the glow of 2.5 million lights! Check out their event page for a full rundown of all the fun that is waiting for you at the annual ZooLights event!
NOW WHAT: Entry is free on Mondays and Tuesday, $5 per person (for all ages, including infants and LPZ members) every other day! Tickets for the Winter Experiences, including the carousel, Enchanted Forest, and much more will be available on site for $4 each, a package of 10 for $36, or a package of 20 for $69.
Light Up the Lake @ Navy Pier, 600 E Grand, Various times, All ages
WHAT: Winter festivities without all the cold!
SO WHAT: Navy Pier will be putting on Chicagoland’s biggest indoor, temperature-controlled winter celebration! Light Up the Lake will feature a light garden, featuring large-scale light-sculpture displays; an Alpine ice rink, authentic holiday beer garden, kiddie train rides, gift market, Merry Main Street Presented By Brach’s—and, of course, a chance to visit with SANTA!
NOW WHAT: Tickets are available now and range from $15 to $26.
Sanctuary From Forgotten Blocks Photo Exhibition @ Kusanya Café, 825 W 69th St. Exhibit open 4-7pm daily
WHAT: The ongoing photo series, Sanctuary From Forgotten Blocks: A Photo Essay Showing the Beauty and Strength of Englewood, consists of images taken in the West Englewood community.
SO WHAT: The exhibit shows the community in ways we usually don’t see because they don’t conform to the standard violence stories the media tell.
NOW WHAT: The free event is sponsored by the Kusanya Café Art Collective and ThoughtPoetsOpinion. The exhibit will show works by photographer Isiah ThoughtPoet Veney. See more info here. The exhibit is open 4 to 7pm daily through February 1. Photos are available for purchase and proceeds will go to HER Chicago and GoodKidsMadCity.
Tony Fitzpatrick: Jesus of Western Avenue @ Cleve Carney Museum of Art, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn, Various times Wednesday – Sunday, All Ages
WHAT: Prints, drawings, and collages from a local legend
SO WHAT: Cleve Carney Museum of Art will be housing Jesus of Western Avenue, a collection of 60 recent works from Tony Fitzpatrick’s great artistic mind! Fitzpatrick’s art is intrinsically tied to Chicago and the Midwest, delivering stories and visuals that could only be birthed by our formidable city. You can read our review of The Secret Birds here!
NOW WHAT: The exhibit is free! You can RSVP and select times over at their website!
Back on the Big Screen and Virtual Cinema @ Music Box Theatre, 3733 N Southport Ave and at your home, any time you want to watch a movie
WHAT: A great way to support a great local theater
SO WHAT: The Music Box Theatre is currently open to the public, so if you feel comfortable you can go out and have a theater experience this weekend with The Power of the Dog, Benedetta, a Rocky Horror Picture Show screening,The 38th Annual Music Box Christmas Sing-A-Long & Double Feature of It’s a Wonderful Life and White Christmas, Alternative Christmas Double Feature of Gremlins and National Lampoons Christmas Vacation, and more! But if you want to watch some first-run movies at home, you can still watch great movies and support them online! They are currently screening films via their The Music Box Direct series! There are also tons of select titles available on their new platform!
NOW WHAT: Digital tickets are $12, in person screenings vary, so sit back and enjoy! Remember that a physical/digital vaccination card or a negative PCR Covid test within 72 hours is required for entrance!
Film Center from Your Sofa @ The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute, your couch or preferred movie watching spot in your place, pretty much any time
WHAT: The Film Center at Home
SO WHAT:The Gene Siskel Film Center of the School of the Art Institute is open again and they are continuing their excellent series Film Center from Your Sofa. This is a fun way to stay in digital touch with the Film Center and watch some great films from the comfort of home! Head over to their listings and start watching–in person or from your sofa!
NOW WHAT: Digital tickets are $12, so sit back and enjoy! If you feel comfortable head out to the film center and enjoy the ambiance of in person screenings again!
Lyric Opera Streaming On Demand @ Your favorite streaming device, the most lavish spot in your home
WHAT: The Lyric Opera at home
SO WHAT: Revisit some of your favorite Lyric moments, or experience for the first time performances you’ve missed.Check out their website for schedule of upcoming shows. Currently streaming is Luisa Miller (2019), The Queen of Spades (2020), and Die Walküre (2017).
NOW WHAT: It’s free!!
Concerts Live-streams and Local Shows Archives @ Your House, Any time you please, All Ages
WHAT: There’s tons of concerts from Chicago’s yesteryear available online for your enjoyment!
SO WHAT: Oh My Rockness and Do312 has done a fantastic job of cataloging some of the upcoming live-streams from the awesome musical acts out there! Check out Oh My Rockness’ listings here, Do312’s roundup of shows here, and tune in to these great shows from the comfort of home! Do312 have also shared some past Chicago shows that are certainly worth a watch. There are also so many great local concerts recorded for posterity and what better time to check them all out than during this self isolation period. Audiotree has a fantastic and huge list of sessions with links to band’s websites and merch to help support them even more. In addition to our previous recommendations like Fran, Tasha, KAINA, Divino Nino, and The Ophelias, we also recommend ROOKIE, Emily Blue, Sen Morimoto, Beach Bunny, Tennis, and Gia Margaret! Then head over to their record concerts from Lincoln Hall, Schubas, and beyond to check out Orville Peck, of Montreal, and so many more! JBTV is also a fantastic resource for sessions from bands that have come through Chicago! Just take a look at this playlist of Blind Melon’s ’95 set at Metro!
NOW WHAT: Stay home, watch some live music, and be sure to check out your favorite artists’ social media, you never know who might be live streaming next!
Video Games @ Your home PC or Console, As long as it takes, Just check the game rating
WHAT: Video-games for all!
SO WHAT: Check out our games page for some recommendations of what games to download (and avoid) while we’re stuck at home. If you’re a PC user, head over to the Epic Games store as they will be releasing a few new FREE games for you to download ! There are also tons of free games on Twitch Prime waiting for you to download!
NOW WHAT: Wash your hands and dive head first into some fun games!
Masque of the Red Coronavirus! @ Black Button Eyes Productions, Any time on your computer or mobile device. For 18+.
WHAT: Written by Black Button Eyes Productions producing artistic director Ed Rutherford, this short satirical piece is available online free as a combined script-and-video experience.
SO WHAT: In addition to reading the play, you will see various Chicago artists act out portions of the script on video, recorded remotely. The event includes puppets, burlesque, original music, fire dancing and more in a brief, darkly comedic confection.
With the Red Coronavirus running rampant across the countryside and a vaccine still months away, what’s a Prince to do? Lock himself in a secure bunker in an undisclosed location along with a cohort of his top donors, of course. To prevent him and his rich supporters from becoming bored, the Prince has also brought a few artists into the bunker to entertain the crowd. But as the hour grows later and the night grows weirder, it’s clear that something else has also invaded the party.
NOW WHAT: Settle down for an evening of magical weirdness. Click here and begin reading and watching the videos.