Chicago events calendar for February 2016. Best festivals, fun things to do, Valentine's Day shows & events, weekend fairs, free kids' activities in Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
February 2016
February 2016

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

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Groundhog Day

February 1 - 2, 2016 (begins Jan. 28)

61.2 miles NW

Much of the movie “Groundhog Day” was filmed in Woodstock, which is no surprise because their events on Groundhog Days are picture perfect, including the groundhog’s weather forecast at 7 a.m. on Feb. 2.

Chicago Restaurant Week

February 1 - 4, 2016 (begins Jan. 22)

Chicago locations

Get a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner at 350 restaurants during Chicago Restaurant Week.

Midwest film festival

February 2, 2016

4 miles north

Midwest Independent Film Festival shows films from eight Midwest states the first Tuesday of most months at Landmark’s Century Centre Cinema. February includes a pre-show cocktail reception, a producer’s panel, and a post-screening reception.

Cowboy show

February 5 - 6, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

35 miles NW

Professional Championship Bull Riders take on bucking bulls at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

Mardi gras bar crawl

February 6, 2016

1 mile east

Your ticket to the World’s Largest Indoor Bar Crawl includes drink specials and entertainment at 10 bars along Navy Pier for age 21+.

Bar crawl

February 6, 2016 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

1.3 miles north

Retro Ski Lodge Block Party promises “crazy costumes, liquor luges, shot skis, and yeti sightings” at nine Gold Coast bars for age 21+.

Improvised comedy

February 6, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

5.9 miles north

See top contestants in Under The Gun Improv Classic when they face semi-final rounds on Jan. 30 and the final round Feb. 6 at Under The Gun Theater.

Alternative bridal show

February 6, 2016

6 miles north

Indie Wed has 100 independent businesses offering handmade items and innovative services for unique weddings at Ravenswood Event Center.

Barrel-aged beer

February 6, 2016 (noon)

6 miles NW

Beers aged in wood are on tap at Riverview Tavern during Festibarrel. Free entry. Bring cash.

Brazilian mardi gras

February 6, 2016

6.5 miles NW

Dance until 2 a.m. to Brazilian music and watch dancers in colorful costumes perform at Carnaval by Chicago Samba at Logan Square Auditorium for age 18+.

Wine at the zoo

February 10, 2016 (6 to 8 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Hear a talk by experts about animal health, and buy wine with appetizers at Wine & Wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo for age 18+. (Click “Register...” on their web page.)

Bicycle art & party

February 12, 2016 (5:30 to 11 p.m.)

2.7 miles south

Chicago Bike Winter Art Show has an opening-day party with DJ music, drinks available, and bicycle art on display at Motor Row Gallery.

Valentine’s Day for families

February 12 - 13, 2016

Chicago locations

Enjoy a Valentine’s dance, party, or craft-making project thanks to the Chicago Park District.

Folk music festival

February 12 - 13, 2016

9 miles south

Celebrate traditional music from around the world in concerts and workshops at University of Chicago Folk Festival at Mandel Hall, 1131 E 57th St.

Valentine’s weekend plays

February 12 - 14, 2016 (Feb. 11 - 22)

Chicago locations

Chicago Theater Week offers more than 100 plays at a discount on Valentine’s Day weekend. These links list them in alphabetical order by day.

Motorcycle show

February 12 - 14, 2016

17 mile NW

Find sport bikes, dirt bikes, scooters, ATVs, expert advice, live entertainment, and family activities at the International Motorcycle Show in the Rosemont convention center.

Science fiction convention

February 12 - 14, 2016

30 miles NW

Capricorn celebrates fantasy and science fiction in art, music, games, theater, and film at the Westin Chicago North Shore in Wheeling.

Monster trucks

February 12 - 15, 2016

18 mile NW

Big trucks with big wheels create big noise and excitment at Monster Jam in Rosemont’s Allstate Arena.

Adult variety show

February 12 - 20, 2016 (10 p.m.)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground. Reviews.

Discount tickets $13 (Feb. 12, 19, 20).

Prison pageant play

February 12 - 21, 2016

0.5 miles SW

Based on a true story, Another Word for Beauty is about an annual beauty pageant that brings hope to female inmates at a prison in Colombia, at Goodman Theatre. Discount tickets $35.

Tony Award winner: Cabaret

February 12 - 21, 2016

0.8 miles south

Step back in time to the decadent Kit Kat Klub of prewar Germany as colorful singers serenade you in Cabaret at 18 W. Monroe Street.

Discount tickets $59.

Modern ballet

February 12 - 21, 2016

1 mile south

Bold Moves features the Joffrey Ballet performing three contemporary works at Auditorium Theatre. Discount tickets $42.

Newlywed comedy

February 12 - 21, 2016

20.1 miles north

Barefoot in the Park is a comic play by Neil Simon about a straight-laced New Yorker and his free-spirit wife at Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview. Discount tickets Feb. 18, $18.

Modern family drama

February 12 - 27, 2016

16 miles north

When her son dies, a grieving mother travels to NY to meet his partner in Mothers & Sons, which deals with changing definitions of family at Northlight Theatre in Skokie. Discount tickets Feb. 12 & 14, $35.

Rhinofest fringe theater

February 12 - 28, 2016 (begins Jan. 21)

6.5 miles NW

Rhinoceros Theater Festival is billed as Chicago’s longest-running fringe festival at Prop Thtr.

Funny musical

February 12 - 28, 2016

13.5 miles north

A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum is Stephen Sondeheim’s slapstick musical about life in ancient Rome, live at Northwestern University in Evanston. Discount tickets $10.

Adult drama

February 12 - March 6, 2016

5 miles north

The Shape of Things is a chilling, fast-paced story of sexual gamesmanship that asks just how much you are willing to change yourself to please your partner, at Athenaeum Theatre. Discount tickets $17.

1950s musical

February 12 - March 13, 2016

18 miles west

Relive the days when fans went crazy for performers like Elvis Presley at Tony winning Bye Bye Birdie at Drury Lane Theatre in Oakbrook Terrace.

Discount tickets $30.

Smart comedy

February 12 - March 13, 2016

31 miles north

Educating Rita is about a hairstylist who goes back to school and the professor who helps her, at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest. Discount tickets $19.

Blue Man show

February 12 - May 1, 2016

4.5 miles north

Blue Man Group returns with a new stage show that combines comedy, art, science, visual effects, and music at Briar Street Theatre.

Discount tickets $43 (Sunday to Thursday).

Dramatic comedy

February 12 - May 8, 2016

3 miles NW

Misfits running a small-town movie theater grapple with life in tragicomedy The Flick at Steppenwolf Theatre. Discount tickets (Feb. 23+) $40.

Valentine’s Day dinner dance

February 13, 2016 (6:30 to 9 p.m.)

0.7 miles south

Valentine’s in Chicago is a formal affair with a three-course dinner, a quartet playing music, and dancing in the Empire Room at the Palmer House Hotel.

Run in your underwear

February 13, 2016 (12 p.m.)

1.7 miles north

Cupid’s Undie Run includes a half-naked run through the streets and a party at John Barleycorn on N. Clark Street to support charity.

Valentine’s Day bar crawl

February 13, 2016 (8 to 11 p.m.)

4 miles north

Your ticket to Screw Cupid Pub Crawl includes drinks and food buffets at five bars, plus a transportation trolley in Lincoln Park for age 21+.

Valentine’s Day bar crawl

February 13, 2016 (1 to 6 p.m.)

4.9 miles north

Visit five bars with a Valentine’s Day theme and drink specials during Lovers or Haters in Lincoln Park, 21+.

Valentine’s Day dance show

February 13, 2016 (8 p.m.)

5 miles north

Dances from the Heart has 13 acts (aerial, tap, jazz, urban fusion, contemporary, Mexican folkloric, and hip-hop) at Athenaeum Theatre. Discount tickets $16.

Valentine’s Day dance class

February 13, 2016 (5 to 7 p.m.)

10.6 miles NW

Learn ballroom and slow dances with your sweatheart at Couples Romantic Dance Class, followed by a 30-minute mini dance party with chocolates and sparkling drinks at May I Have This Dance.

Valentine’s burlesque

February 13 - 14, 2016

1.3 miles north

Naughty Little Valentine’s Day Show has cabaret singers, burlesque performers, pole artists, and striptease at Original Mother’s. Discount tickets $15.

Valentine’s Day dance class

February 13 - 14, 2016 (6:30 p.m.)

7.5 miles north

Valentine’s Dance Class includes hors d’oeuvres, sparkling wine, a “romantic rumba & sexy salsa class” and dance time at Ballroom Dance Chicago on North Ravenswood Avenue.

Auto show

February 13 - 21, 2016 (preview Feb. 12)

3 miles south

Admire new vehicles at the Chicago Auto Show, billed as the largest and longest-running U.S. auto show at McCormick Place convention center.

Campy burlesque

February 13, 20, 27, 2016

4.5 miles north

Burlesque is More is an entertaining and funny combination of striptease and improvisation at Annoyance Theatre and Bar. Discount tickets Feb. 20 & 27, $10.

Family puppet show

February 13 - March 6, 2016 (weekends)

9.8 miles NW

Watch the story of the puppet boy Pinocchio set to quirky folk music at Filament Theatre.

Discount tickets $12, child $9.

Orchid Show

February 13 - March 13, 2016

24 miles north

See 10,000 blooming orchids on display at the Orchid Show, which has weekend classes, Tuesday morning music, and a March 10 Evening with Orchids cocktail tasting at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Walking tour & brunch

February 13 - March 26, 2016 (9:30 a.m. Sat.)

0.4 miles SE

Pedway Brunch Tour is a 3-hour excursion starting at the Radisson Blu Hotel and following the city’s heated pedestrian walkway, with an included buffet brunch. Discount tickets $35 (2 left).

Valentine’s Day restaurants

February 14, 2016

Chicago area

OpenTable lists restaurants in greater Chicago that offer special menus for Valentine’s Day. Also see recommendations by the Chicago Tribune.

Valentine’s Day music

February 14, 2016 (noon)

1.9 miles west

Hear romantic songs by a vocalist and string quartet at The Chocolate Box: A Musical Take on the Flavors of Love at City Winery on W. Randolph Street.

Discount tickets $15.

Chinese New Year parade

February 14, 2016 (1 to 2:30 p.m.)

3 miles south

Lunar New Year Parade features lion and dragon dances, marching bands, and floats on S. Wentworth Avenue. Free.

Valentine’s Day improv

February 14, 2016

5.9 miles north

The Valentine’s Day Special at Under The Gun Theater is a double feature of funny scenes taken from romance novels and a parody of TV’s “The Bachelor.”

Valentine’s Day zoo brunch

February 14, 2016 (11 a.m.)

14 miles SW

Valentine's Day Brunch is a fine buffet including eggs benedict, custom omelettes, a carving station, seafood, salad, fruit, and desserts in Discovery Center at Brookfield Zoo, plus zoo entrance for all ages.

Romantic chamber music

February 14 & 15, 2016

12 miles north

Romantic Sonatas features the Rembrandt Chamber Players performing works by Bach, Rachmaninoff, Widerkehr, and Schubert, followed by a reception.

Tasting & tour

February 14 - March 26, 2016

6.5 miles NW

A ticket to Brunch. Bloodys. Breweries. includes brunch at Flagship Tavern, a bloody mary, and a ride to three brewery tours and tastings for age 21+. Discount tickets $75.

Theater week

February 15 - 21, 2016

Chicago locations

Choose from more than 100 plays at affordable prices during Chicago Theatre Week.

RV and camping show

February 17 - 21, 2016

17 mile NW

Check out 400 recreational vehicles and shop from 20 dealers at the Chicago RV & Camping Show at the Rosemont convention center.

Magic show

February 17 - March 30, 2016 (Wednesdays)

3.3 miles north

The Magic Cabaret entertains with mind-boggling sleight of hand and audience participation in small Greenhouse Theater Center. Discount tickets $10.

Funny Hitchcock play

February 18 - April 3, 2016

26 miles NW

The fast-paced play 39 Steps is a comedic spoof of the classic film about a wrongly accused man racing to clear his name while evading the law, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Discount tickets $19.

Magic lounge

February 18 - June 25, 2016 (8 p.m.)

7 miles north

Chicago Magic Lounge is an old-school magic show with close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts at beautiful Uptown Underground. Discount tickets $15 at Groupon and Goldstar.

Free entertainment

February 19 - March 4, 2016

multiple locations

OnEdge is a series of experimental theater, modern dance, and performance art. Arrive early. Free.

Bicycle swap

February 20, 2016 (11 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

2 miles SW

Buy, sell, or trade a bike at the Winter Bike Swap, which also offers bike parts, clothing, gear, and representatives from bike groups at Jaks Tap.

Northerly Island adventure

February 20, 2016 (12 to 4 p.m.)

3 miles south

See birds of prey and wolves, hear folk music and a storyteller, walk on snowshoes (if there’s snow), make a craft, and have cocoa (while it lasts) at Polar Adventure Days. Free except parking.

Mardi gras pub crawl

February 20, 2016 (noon)

6 miles north

Wear colorful clothes and collect Mardi gras beads from bars at the annual BeadQuest in Wrigleyville.

Discount tickets $10.

Classical music with video

February 20, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

14 miles west

Hear the quartet Ethel play while a video of American scenes plays in the background at Documerica at Lund Auditorium in River Forest.

Discount tickets $7.

Culture of China

February 21, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of China at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Chicken wings festival

February 21, 2016 (SOLD OUT)

2.5 miles west

Restaurants compete to win the “Best of Fest” award, you get to eat and hear music, and charity benefits at WingFest, 1340 W. Washington Blvd.

French fry festival

February 21, 2016

4.1 miles NW

Eat French-Canadian french fries topped with brown gravy & cheese curds at the Poutine Fest competition at 1st Ward Events.

Mexican spectacular

February 21, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

27 miles west

Grammy winner Los Lobos plays and Ballet Folklórico de México dances at Fiesta México Americana at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn.

Discount VIP tickets $50.

Gospel Brunch

February 21 & 28, 2016

0.4 miles west

Enjoy a fine buffet of Southern and Creole-inspired food followed by joyful singing at the Gospel Brunch at House of Blues.

Discount tickets $38, child $24.

Romantic opera

February 22 - March 19, 2016

1 mile SW

Romeo and Juliet is the classic love story about two star-crossed lovers, performed in French with English subtitles at the Civic Opera House. Discount tickets $52 to $149.

Shakespeare tragedy

February 23 - 24, 2016

0.5 miles south

Othello is the story of a general in the Venetian army, his new wife, and a manipulative man trying to drive them apart, at Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Discount tickets $14 to $48.

A musical about choices

February 23 - March 6, 2016

0.5 miles SW

In the contemporary musical If/Then, a woman lives out two different lives in New York City at Oriental Theatre. Discount tickets $29 to $59.


February 24, 2016

3 miles west

Watch the Chicago Bulls play the Washington Wizards at United Center.

Discount tickets $45 to $155.

Jazz festival

February 25 - 28, 2016

19 miles west

Hear the best college jazz bands and jazz greats at Elmhurst College Jazz Festival.

Museum party

February 26, 2016 (SOLD OUT)

1 mile south

Mix and mingle, visit the bar, eat appetizers, hear DJ music, and see a show at After Dark in the Modern Wing of the Art Institute of Chicago for age 21+.


February 26 - 27, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

Hamburg Ballet dances classical ballet to the Third Symphony of Gustav Mahler at Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Discount tickets $18 to $48.

Diving expo

February 26 - 28, 2016

17 mile NW

Our World Underwater offers workshops for divers, films, diving equipment, travel services, and a kids’ area at the Rosemont convention center.

Golf show

February 26 - 28, 2016

17 mile NW

Hit balls with this year’s new clubs, take one-on-one full swing and putting lessons from pros, hear presentations, and shop for gear at the Chicago Golf Show at the Rosemont convention center.

Beer festival

February 27, 2016 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

0.6 miles NW

Bundle up to sample strong winter ales on the rooftop of Rock Bottom Brewery at Polar Beer Festival, age 21+.

Cider tasting

February 27, 2016 (11 a.m. & 4 p.m.)

1 mile east

Try 150 artisanal ciders from throughout the world during Cider Summit in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Requires age 21 ID due to alcohol content.

Beer festival

February 27, 2016 (1 and 6 p.m.)

5.9 miles north

A ticket to Frost Fest Craft Beer Festival includes 15 samples of 3 ounces from 41 local brewers in a heated tent, plus live music, dancing, and food trucks at Halsted and Waveland. Discount tickets: 2 for $49.

German dinner

February 27, 2016 (7 p.m.)

7 miles north

Mad Regals Winter Madrigal Dinner is a three-course dinner with music and entertainment at Dank Haus.

Exclusive car show

February 27, 2016 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

9.7 miles NW

Join Rainbows Tours the Klairmont Kollections for a chance to see an amazing collection of 300 rare cars and support charity at the same time for $50.

Ale festival

February 27, 2016 (12 to 4 p.m.)

41 miles SW

Don a heavy winter parka to enjoy 130 craft beers and food-truck fare outdoors on the frozen tundra of Frontier Park at Naperville Winter Ale Fest. (Organizers promise a shorter entrance line in 2016.)

Kids carnival

February 27 - 28, 2016

40 miles west

Family Palooza has carnival rides, inflatables, games, stage shows, magicians, a petting zoo, climbing wall, and zip line at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.

Culture of Africa

February 28, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of Africa at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Volunteer expo

February 28, 2016

3 miles north

Connect with 75 organizations that need your help at Chicago Volunteer Expo in the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum. Free.

Dark beer festival

February 28, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

3.5 miles NW

Your ticket to Darkside includes 32 ounces of dark beer from a dozen breweries, with BBQ for sale at Emporium Arcade Bar. Tickets go on sale Jan. 30.

Classical music

February 29, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

0.5 miles south

Music of the Baroque orchestra plays works by Haydn and Mozart at Harris Theater in Millennium Park. Discount tickets $14 to $32.
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© February 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.