Lifestyle

27 Things You Absolutely Have to Do in Chicago in 2015

Published On 01/06/2015 Published On 01/06/2015
Flickr/Rebecca Anne

Date

Event

Location

Jan 10-Mar 1

Rhinofest Chicago’s longest-running fringe theater festival assembles the biggest, best, and weirdest talents from the city’s underground theater scene to blow your mind with seven weeks of awesomely bizarre antics.

Prop Thtr

Rhinofest Prop Thtr Chicago’s longest-running fringe theater festival assembles the biggest, best, and weirdest talents from the city’s underground theater scene to blow your mind with seven weeks of awesomely bizarre antics.

Date

Event

Location

Jan 16 Fri

Cubs Convention Hang with Ernie Banks, Kerry Wood, Joe Maddon, and even the “Red Baron” himself Rick Sutcliffe at the 30-year edition of the Cubs Convention. Better brush up on that Cubs Bingo stat.

Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers

Cubs Convention Sheraton Chicago Hotel & Towers Hang with Ernie Banks, Kerry Wood, Joe Maddon, and even the “Red Baron” himself Rick Sutcliffe at the 30-year edition of the Cubs Convention. Better brush up on that Cubs Bingo stat.

Date

Event

Location

Jan 30-Feb 12

Chicago Restaurant Week Grab special prix fixe meals from hundreds of the city’s finest restos during 14 gut-busting days in the dead of winter, with a First Bites Bash kicking off the food fest at Union Station.

Multiple locations

Chicago Restaurant Week Multiple locations Grab special prix fixe meals from hundreds of the city’s finest restos during 14 gut-busting days in the dead of winter, with a First Bites Bash kicking off the food fest at Union Station.

Flickr/Motion Pics

Date

Event

Location

Feb 7 Sat

Cupid's Undie Run Should you (again) come in contact with half-naked humans racing through the streets of Wrigleyville, do not be alarmed. Join them at this Valentine’s Day-themed fun run in your underwear: the funnest item of clothing.

John Barleycorn

Cupid's Undie Run John Barleycorn Should you (again) come in contact with half-naked humans racing through the streets of Wrigleyville, do not be alarmed. Join them at this Valentine’s Day-themed fun run in your underwear: the funnest item of clothing.

Date

Event

Location

Feb 22 Sun

Chicago's Best WingFest Do wings really need their own fest? If you’re asking this, you’ve obviously never been to WingFest, where local wing masters compete for your approval while you get sauced.

Journeyman Plumbers Hall

Chicago's Best WingFest Journeyman Plumbers Hall Do wings really need their own fest? If you’re asking this, you’ve obviously never been to WingFest, where local wing masters compete for your approval while you get sauced.

Flickr/Justin Goh

Date

Event

Location

Mar 7 Sat

Chiditarod In what is easily mankind’s greatest reappropriation of the shopping cart, costumed teams race them down the streets while scouring the city for hidden cans of food. Must be seen to be believed/participated in to REALLY be believed.

Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village

Chiditarod Wicker Park/Ukrainian Village In what is easily mankind’s greatest reappropriation of the shopping cart, costumed teams race them down the streets while scouring the city for hidden cans of food. Must be seen to be believed/participated in to REALLY be believed.

Date

Event

Location

Mar 15 Sun

South Side Irish Parade It may not be as crazy as it was before it was unceremoniously shut down in 2010-2011 on account of bad behavior, but the return of this Chicago institution is still one of Chicago’s best days of the year.

Beverly

South Side Irish Parade Beverly It may not be as crazy as it was before it was unceremoniously shut down in 2010-2011 on account of bad behavior, but the return of this Chicago institution is still one of Chicago’s best days of the year.

Flickr/Opacity

Date

Event

Location

Apr 16 Thu

The Chicago International Movies & Music (CIMM) Fest You can see movies. You can see music. You can even see live music played during movies at one of Chicago’s coolest under-the-radar fests, complete with panels and parties across the city.

Multiple locations

The Chicago International Movies & Music (CIMM) Fest Multiple locations You can see movies. You can see music. You can even see live music played during movies at one of Chicago’s coolest under-the-radar fests, complete with panels and parties across the city.

Date

Event

Location

Apr 17 Fri

Baconfest Chicago Imagine this: chefs from top local restos cook up special bacon dishes, liquor sponsors uncork booze to be paired with bacon, "bacontrepreneurs" showcase their wares, and a panel of judges present the "Golden Rasher" awards. You just imagined Baconfest.

UIC Forum

Baconfest Chicago UIC Forum Imagine this: chefs from top local restos cook up special bacon dishes, liquor sponsors uncork booze to be paired with bacon, "bacontrepreneurs" showcase their wares, and a panel of judges present the "Golden Rasher" awards. You just imagined Baconfest.

Date

Event

Location

Apr 24 Fri

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) Nerd out with livestreaming gaming, group cosplay, and more comics than Comic Book Guy himself could handle. Dressing up in costume for the after-party wouldn’t be out of the question, either.

McCormick Place

Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (C2E2) McCormick Place Nerd out with livestreaming gaming, group cosplay, and more comics than Comic Book Guy himself could handle. Dressing up in costume for the after-party wouldn’t be out of the question, either.

Flickr/Quinn Dombrowski

Date

Event

Location

May 1 Fri

Chicago Craft Beer Week Hundreds of bars open their taps with exclusive beer dinners, tap takeovers, and brew-themed events during the SXSW of craft beer, kicking off with the annual Beer Under Glass event at Garfield Park (dates TBA).

Multiple locations

Chicago Craft Beer Week Multiple locations Hundreds of bars open their taps with exclusive beer dinners, tap takeovers, and brew-themed events during the SXSW of craft beer, kicking off with the annual Beer Under Glass event at Garfield Park (dates TBA).

Date

Event

Location

May 13 Wed

Chicago Underground Film Fest The world’s longest-running underground film festival is sort of like the Sundance of the Midwest, only with way less sun/dance.

Logan Theatre

Chicago Underground Film Fest Logan Theatre The world’s longest-running underground film festival is sort of like the Sundance of the Midwest, only with way less sun/dance.

Flickr/swimfinfan

Date

Event

Location

Jun 12 Fri

Spring Awakening Dancing to EDM in a dark club is totally passé. Dancing under the sun in Soldier Field to electronic music’s finest beat-makers surrounded by thousands of glowstick-clad ragers? Considerably less totally passé.

Soldier Field

Spring Awakening Soldier Field Dancing to EDM in a dark club is totally passé. Dancing under the sun in Soldier Field to electronic music’s finest beat-makers surrounded by thousands of glowstick-clad ragers? Considerably less totally passé.

Date

Event

Location

Jun 19 Fri

Taste of Randolph Street Taste of Chicago was awesome when you were four years old and didn’t know any better. Now you do, so you hit up Taste of Randolph instead in Chicago’s number one ‘hood for food and drink.

West Loop

Taste of Randolph Street West Loop Taste of Chicago was awesome when you were four years old and didn’t know any better. Now you do, so you hit up Taste of Randolph instead in Chicago’s number one ‘hood for food and drink.

Flickr/Fuzzy Gerdes

Date

Event

Location

Jul 17 Fri

Pitchfork Music Festival Say what you will about hipsters (or hipster bars), but the mustache wax set know a thing or two about good music, as this festival continues to demonstrate by breaking new bands year after year.

Union Park

Pitchfork Music Festival Union Park Say what you will about hipsters (or hipster bars), but the mustache wax set know a thing or two about good music, as this festival continues to demonstrate by breaking new bands year after year.

Date

Event

Location

Jul 31-Aug 2

Lollapalooza Remember the days when Lady Gaga played a tiny side stage at Lolla? Those days may be long gone, but Chicago’s premier music festival is still worth a mark on your calendar.

Grant Park

Lollapalooza Grant Park Remember the days when Lady Gaga played a tiny side stage at Lolla? Those days may be long gone, but Chicago’s premier music festival is still worth a mark on your calendar.

Flickr/Arnie Grever

Date

Event

Location

Aug 15 Sat

Chicago Air & Water Show The best way to take in Chicago’s annual air spectacle is not amongst the teeming masses at North Avenue Beach. It’s in the open waters on your buddy’s boat. So put in that boating request early.

North Avenue Beach

Chicago Air & Water Show North Avenue Beach The best way to take in Chicago’s annual air spectacle is not amongst the teeming masses at North Avenue Beach. It’s in the open waters on your buddy’s boat. So put in that boating request early.

Date

Event

Location

Aug 20 Thu

Chicago Comic Con With past guests including everyone from Stan Lee and Dennis Rodman to Napoleon Dynamite and a belly-dancing Wonder Woman, nowhere else can you find a more spectacular mix of humanity.

Stephens Convention Center

Chicago Comic Con Stephens Convention Center With past guests including everyone from Stan Lee and Dennis Rodman to Napoleon Dynamite and a belly-dancing Wonder Woman, nowhere else can you find a more spectacular mix of humanity.

Flickr/Bing

Date

Event

Location

Sep 1 Tue

Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest Summer always closes out in style as The Onion’s A.V. Club and The Hideout team up to bring you one of Chicago’s finest outdoor weekends, held in the parking lot outside one of Chicago’s finest dive bars (dates TBA).

The Hideout

Hideout Block Party/A.V. Fest The Hideout Summer always closes out in style as The Onion’s A.V. Club and The Hideout team up to bring you one of Chicago’s finest outdoor weekends, held in the parking lot outside one of Chicago’s finest dive bars (dates TBA).

Date

Event

Location

Sep 11 Fri

Riot Fest Could Riot Fest 2015 possibly top Riot Fest 2014? We say yes.

Humboldt Park

Riot Fest Humboldt Park Could Riot Fest 2015 possibly top Riot Fest 2014? We say yes.

Date

Event

Location

Sep 25 Fri

Chicago Gourmet We’re not fooled by that mustard-stained Bulls shirt. You’re fancy. Real fancy. As fancy as this fine food event, complete with a burger showdown on the Harris Theater rooftop and a fancy-pants Grand Cru wine tasting dinner.

Millennium Park

Chicago Gourmet Millennium Park We’re not fooled by that mustard-stained Bulls shirt. You’re fancy. Real fancy. As fancy as this fine food event, complete with a burger showdown on the Harris Theater rooftop and a fancy-pants Grand Cru wine tasting dinner.

Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Date

Event

Location

Oct 1 Thu

Beer Hoptacular The Aragon isn’t just that place with terrible acoustics where bands play. It's also that place that overflows with beer, especially during this annual brew extravaganza that puts your corner pub’s Oktoberfest party to shame (dates TBA).

The Aragon

Beer Hoptacular The Aragon The Aragon isn’t just that place with terrible acoustics where bands play. It's also that place that overflows with beer, especially during this annual brew extravaganza that puts your corner pub’s Oktoberfest party to shame (dates TBA).

Date

Event

Location

Oct 11 Sun

Chicago Marathon If you’re a runner, you probably already have this date marked on your calendar. If you aren’t, there are enough viewing opportunities along the course (or at viewing parties across the city) to make you feel like an integral part of the action. Even if we both know you aren’t.

Across the city

Chicago Marathon Across the city If you’re a runner, you probably already have this date marked on your calendar. If you aren’t, there are enough viewing opportunities along the course (or at viewing parties across the city) to make you feel like an integral part of the action. Even if we both know you aren’t.

Flickr/Marian Bijlenga

Date

Event

Location

Nov 6 Fri

SOFA Chicago If there is one reason to visit Navy Pier this year, this gallery-presented exhibition of sculpture, objects, functional art, and design (one of the finest of its kind in the world) would be it. Either way, it sure beats a trip to Ikea. 

Navy Pier

SOFA Chicago Navy Pier If there is one reason to visit Navy Pier this year, this gallery-presented exhibition of sculpture, objects, functional art, and design (one of the finest of its kind in the world) would be it. Either way, it sure beats a trip to Ikea. 

Date

Event

Location

Nov 1 Sun

Chillfest It’s not every day you get to see live acoustic bands performing in gas stations, arcade bars, and dog grooming shops across Wicker Park. In fact, this is the only day you can do that (date TBA).

Multiple Wicker Park locations

Chillfest Multiple Wicker Park locations It’s not every day you get to see live acoustic bands performing in gas stations, arcade bars, and dog grooming shops across Wicker Park. In fact, this is the only day you can do that (date TBA).

Festa Parties

Date

Event

Location

Dec 12 Sat

Twelve Bars of Xmas Barring some unforeseen calamity, the cereal-shooting clusterparty that is TBOX will be back in 2015, like it or not. And 2015 will mark TBOX’s 20th anniversary, just in case you didn’t think it was going to be crazy enough already.

Various Wrigleyville bars

Twelve Bars of Xmas Various Wrigleyville bars Barring some unforeseen calamity, the cereal-shooting clusterparty that is TBOX will be back in 2015, like it or not. And 2015 will mark TBOX’s 20th anniversary, just in case you didn’t think it was going to be crazy enough already.

Date

Event

Location

Dec 31 Thu

Playboy New Year's Eve Party Making New Year’s plans this early is sort of like planning to swim in Lake Michigan in February. But the Playboy party is always a pretty reliable year-end option, even if the Playboy Mansion again denies your request for accommodation.

Hard Rock Hotel

Playboy New Year's Eve Party Hard Rock Hotel Making New Year’s plans this early is sort of like planning to swim in Lake Michigan in February. But the Playboy party is always a pretty reliable year-end option, even if the Playboy Mansion again denies your request for accommodation.

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