A ticket to Bite Nite gets you tastes from 50 restaurants, with live music and drinks for sale at 19th Century Club in Oak Park.
Polar Bear Plunge
January 26, 2019
1 mile north
Register to join the Chicago Polar Bear Club, and then take the Polar Plunge into Lake Michigan for charity at Oak Street Beach, followed by an optional after party. Free to watch.
Johnny Cash Festival
January 26, 2019
9.2 miles NW
Join 900 people watching six bands play on two stages at the The Johnny Cash Festival, a fundraiser for kids’ athletics at the Irish American Heritage Center.
January 26 - 27, 2019
96 miles SW
Learn about raptors and birds of prey, meet falcons and an eagle, take an eagle-watching hike, and try kids’ activities at Bald Eagle Watch Weekend at Starved Rock Lodge & Illinois Waterway Visitor Center.
January 31 - Feb. 3, 2019
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 prognostication (weather forecast).
Cubs fans will enjoy autograph signings, player meet-and-greets, interactive exhibits, and special panels with Cubs players, alumni, and management at the Cubs Convention at the Sheraton Grand.
Documentary film festival
0.5 miles SW
See brand-new documentaries, some of which are followed by discussions with the directors, during Stranger Than Fiction at Gene Siskel Film Center.
1 mile east
Sample 150 American craft beers at Chicago Ale Fest, with food trucks and DJ music in the Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Repeats in June.
Holiday train ride
1.4 miles SW
Take a one-hour train ride through downtown Chicago as you drink cocoa on the Polar Express, which travels round trip from Union Station at Jackson Boulevard.
1.5 miles SW
Taste samples from 60 restaurants, cocktails, and beer at First Bites Bash, a kick-off gala for Restaurant Week at Navy Pier. Bring age 21 ID.
Game playing party
1.9 miles west
Join 650 people facing off in game play at Eisenopoly, which includes an open bar with handcrafted cocktails, appetizers, and live music at Revel Fulton Market. The $120 tickets support cancer research.
3 miles NW
Beernival features carnival games with prizes, competitive flip cup, a beer pong tournament, and unlimited domestic beer at Joe’s Bar for age 21+.
Holiday trains - Lincoln Park
3 miles north
Model trains wind their way through a miniature village among poinsettias during the Winter Flower and Train Show at Lincoln Conservatory. Open daily. Free.
Northerly Island adventure
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 on three dates in December, January, and February. Free except parking.
The MLK Tribute includes the words of Langston Hughes, plus an orchestra, opera, jazz vocals, spoken word, archival audio samples, and video in Naperville on Sunday and in Chicago on Monday.
1 mile south
Too Hot to Handel: The Jazz-Gospel Messiah is a swinging version of Handel’s Messiah that gets audiences on their feet singing and dancing in the aisles of Auditorium Theatre to celebrate the life of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
The University of Chicago’s MLK Celebration honors the life and legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Rockefeller Memorial Chapel and is followed by a reception. Free and open to the public.
MLK Day observance
13.6 miles north
Hear a keynote address and enjoy music by students at the Campus Observance of Martin Luther King Day in Alice Millar Chapel at Northwestern University, followed by a reception. Free to the public.
1 mile east
Festival Hall at Navy Pier becomes an indoor Winter WonderFest for the holidays, with music, carnival rides, and entertainment. Closed Dec. 25. If younger than 18, you need a parent. If older, you need ID.
Christmas lights - Lincoln Park Zoo
2.5 miles north
ZooLights 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 some days). Free entry.