Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do in January 2014 with this calendar of events.
Events are listed by starting date, and all dates are confirmed. Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.
For fewer events, see best Chicago events all year.
New Year’s run
January 1, 2014
1.2 miles SEGet off to a healthy new year at the New Year’s Day 5K Run/Walk, which begins and ends at the south end of Lincoln Park.
January 1, 2014
2 miles southKick off the new year by running or walking 5K at Commitment Day, beginning in Grant Park. This national event promotes health and charity.
January 1 - 5, 2014 (exact dates below)
2.5 miles northZooLights at the Lincoln Park Zoo features millions of holiday lights, ice carvings, music, carousel and train rides, food and gift shopping (plus photos with Santa through Dec. 23). Runs Nov. 29-30 and Dec. 1, 6-8, 13-23, 26-31 and Jan. 1-5. Free entry.
Flower and train show
January 1 - 5, 2014 (begins Nov. 30)
3 miles northModel trains wind their way through a miniature village among Poinsettias during the Winter Flower & Train Show at Lincoln Park Conservatory. Free.
Holidays of light
January 1 - 5, 2014 (begins Nov. 14)
8 miles southSee trees decorated to represent many cultures plus weekend ethnic song-and-dance performances during Christmas Around the World and Holidays of Light at the Museum of Science & Industry. Cost.
January 1 - 12, 2014 (begins Dec. 6)
1 mile eastFestival Hall at Navy Pier becomes an indoor Winter WonderFest for the holidays, with music, carnival rides, and entertainment. Expect crowds. Free entry.
Live story telling
January 3 - 19, 2014
9 miles northFillet of Solo Festival makes literature come alive with solo performances and storytelling at Lifeline Theatre and Heartland Studio Theatre. Cost.
Custom car show
January 4 - 5, 2014
28 miles SWSee classic & custom hot rods, muscle cars, race cars, trucks, and entertainment at the Indoor Custom Car Show & Expo at Tinley Park Convention Center. Cost.
Maxwell Street Market
January 5, 2014
2 miles SWBundle up and go to Maxwell Street Market in search of bargains and outstanding Mexican street food. It’s open every Sunday at 800 S. Desplaines St. Free.
Free science museum
January 6 - 31, 2014 (weekdays)
8 miles southShow Illinois ID to enter the Museum of Science and Industry free during Free Days. Repeats in Sept.
January 8, 2014
0.5 mile SWGet advice from health, fitness and financial experts to make those resolutions reality at the New Year LifeStyle Fair at James R. Thompson Center. Free.
Sketch Comedy Festival
January 9 - 19, 2014
5 miles northChoose from more than 170 shows to watch during Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival at Stage 773. Cost.
January 11 - 12, 2014
17 miles NWThe Chicago Travel & Adventure Show brings together travelers, travel experts, and travel service providers at the Rosemont convention center. Cost.
Boat, sports, and RV show
January 16 - 20, 2014
3 miles southThe Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show at McCormick Place includes plenty of boats and RVs, seminars, scuba demos, and even a trout pond for kids. Cost.
January 17 - 19, 2014
0.5 mile eastCubs fans will enjoy getting up close with their favorite players and broadcasters at Cubs Convention at the Sheraton. Cost.
January 17 - 19, 2013
41 miles westChicago Motorcycle Show & Swap Meet features bikes, parts, demonstrations, food, beer, and live music at Pheasant Run Resort in St. Charles.
Rhinofest fringe theater
January 17 - Feb. 23, 2014
6.5 miles NWWatch hundreds of artists perform at the Prop Thtr during Rhinoceros Theater Festival, billed as Chicago’s longest-running fringe festival. Cost.
January 18, 2014
28 miles NWBuy or sell a bike, and find parts and gear, at the Chicago Winter Bike Swap at Harper College in Palatine. Entry cost, except children under 12.
Tribute to MLK
January 19 - 20, 2014
Greater Chicago areaTribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. includes a symphony, gospel choir, and multimedia show on Sunday in Naperville and Monday in Chicago.
January 22 - 26, 2014
17 miles NWChicago Outdoor Sports Show has fishing and hunting seminars, kids’ activities, and hundreds of vendors at the Rosemont convention center. Cost.
January 23 - 26, 2014
1 mile eastStrictly Sail is a boat show that offers seminars for sailors and has 250 exhibitors of boats and gear in Festival Halls A & B at Navy Pier. Cost.
January 24 - 25, 2014
14 miles northB-Fest is 24 hours of low-budget movies with audience participation at McCormick Auditorium, Northwestern University. Cost.
Chicago Restaurant Week
January 24 - Feb. 6, 2014
Chicago locationsGet a special deal on a fixed-price lunch or dinner at 286 restaurants during Chicago Restaurant Week.
Polar Bear Plunge
January 25, 2014
1 mile northRegister to join the Lakeview Polar Bear Club, and then take the Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan for charity at Oak Street Beach. Free to watch.
Northerly Island adventure
January 25, 2014 (also Dec. 7 '13 & Feb. 22 ‘14)
3 miles southSee birds of prey and coyotes, hear folk music, watch dog sledding, walk on snowshoes (if there’s snow), make a craft, and have cocoa (while it lasts) at Polar Adventure Days. Free except parking.
Winter beer festival
January 25, 2014
7 miles northWinter Brew is a Lincoln Square beer fest that features local brew and food at the DANK Haus German American Cultural Center. Cost.