What to Do in Chicago Each Day of October 2019

This is where we’ll be all month

October 1: The Big Quiet—Escape the calamity of modern life. Tonight, the Field Museum hosts The Big Quiet, an immersive mass meditation event at the iconic scientific institution. Embrace your inner zen with breathing exercises while finding inspiration with musical performances and break-out conversations with interesting people.

October 2: Chicago Humanities Festival—For almost 30 years, CHF has been at the forefront of American idea festivals. With an expertly curated lineup of authors, journalists, world leaders, musicians, artists and filmmakers, the festival aims to celebrate beliefs that matter and define us as a society. Speakers include Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Ta-Nehisi Coates, George R. R. Martin, Patti Smith and more at over 100 events at locations throughout the city. Runs through November 10.

October 3: Jurassic Quest—Navy Pier turns itself into “Jurassic Park” with this interactive family friendly affair. Brave the wilds of over 80 prehistoric creatures at the country's largest and most realistic dinosaur event. Also October 1-2 & 4-12.

October 4: 5 Seconds of Summer—Taking a break from working on their highly anticipated upcoming new album, the sleek pop punks of 5 Seconds of Summer make the long trek from Sydney for a wild night of releverly at the United Center alongside electropop duo The Chainsmokers.

October 5: James Bond Day—In celebration of the upcoming release of the 25th James Bond movie, Safehouse Chicago invites you for an evening of thrilling spy games and $007 martinis that, of course, have been shaken and not stirred.

October 6: The 4th Annual Chicago Pizza Summit—This city takes its pizza very seriously. Join chefs from Gino’s East, Boiler Room and more at Theater on the Lake where they will show off their take on the Chicago classic.

October 7: MusicNOW—Tonight, head to the Harris Theatre and embark on a thrilling evening of magnetic performances by some of the most promising modern composers that aim to push classical music into the future. Then, rub elbows with the performers at the event’s swanky after party.

October 8: Filipino American History Month—Sunda is a posh River North restaurant that specializes in the cuisine of Asia. Inspired by owner Billy Dec's recent trip to the Philippines, he worked with Sunda chefs to create a special menu of dishes like empanadas and ginataang mussels in celebration of Filipino American Heritage Month. Runs through October 31.

October 9: “The Great Leap”—It’s your last chance to see “The Great Leap,” Stepenwolf’s 2019 season opener. Taking place in 1989 in the midst of rising tensions between America and a post-Cultural Revolution China, “The Great Leap” tells the daring story of a young Chinese-American man who dominates the street basketball scene of San Francisco and talks his way onto an American college team travelling to Beijing for a “friendship” game. Also October 1-8 and 10-20.

October 10: Chicago Blackhawks Vs. San Jose Sharks—Head to the United Center, affectionately known as the Madhouse on Madison, and cheer on the Chicago Blackhawks as they take on the San Jose Sharks in the home season opener.

October 11: “Sesame Street” Live!—It’ll be a magical day when the beloved television show stops at the Rosemont Theatre for a live performance with Big Bird and Elmo that will delight the whole family. Also October 12-13.

October 12: Chicago Ideas Week—Expand your mind at venues throughout the city at Chicago Ideas Week. Join speakers such as Hiliary Clinton, Johnathan Van Ness from Netflix’s “Queer Eye” and more as they discuss topics ranging from digital misinformation to criminal justice reform and other things that direectly impact our society. Also October 13-17.

October 13: Bank of America Chicago Marathon—You don’t need to run 26.2 miles to go the distance. Instead, cheer on some of the best track and field athletes from around the world as they strive to cross the finish line at this storied race.

October 14: Lyric Opera Backstage Tour—Go beyond the drama with a sophisticated backstage tour at the Lyric Opera House led by a staff member. Journey deep into one of Chicago’s most iconic buildings where you can explore the art-deco orchestra pit, view glamorous costumes and learn about the level of craftsmanship that it takes to bring your favorite operas to life. Also October 31.

October 15: Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame—Celebrate the best of local culinary excellence this evening at the Chicago Chefs Hall of Fame. Taking place at Joe’s Live in nearby Rosemont, the class of 2019 inductee ceremony is anchored by Chef of the Year, Sarah Gruenberg who heasd the West Loop Italian bistro Monteverde. A portion of ticket sales will go to fund scholarships to help aspiring Chicago chefs go to culinary school.

October 16: Chicago International Film Festival—The internationally acclaimed film festival returns for another year of expertly curated cinema at theatres across the city. Catch screenings of Martin Scorsese’s latest, “The Irishman,” plus “Harriet,“ “Zombieland: Double Tap” and more. Also October 17-27.

October 17: Jane Eyre—The treasured novel by Charlotte Brontë comes to life for the Joffrey Ballet’s fall season opener at the Auditorium Theatre with this new adaptation by master choreographer Cathy Marston. Don’t miss what The Guardian has called a “quietly enthralling classic.” Also October 16 and 18-27.

October 18: All Hallows Eve—Naperville dares you to embrace the madness of the Halloween season as 13 acres of suburban bliss have been transformed to screaming delights, spooky creatures and haunting horrors that are fun for the whole family. Also October 19.

October 19: Open House Chicago—This weekend, explore the architectural wonders in Chicago with an invite to see the inner workings of over 350 places such as the CTA control center in the heart of Chicago, the FEW Spirits Distillery in Evanston, the Bahá'í House of Worship in nearby Wilmette and much more. The best part? It’s all free! Also October 20.

October 20: Andy Warhol: From A to B and Back Again—Arguably one of, if not the, best known artists in recent history, Andy Warhol is renowned throughout the world for his colorful masterpieces in the Pop Art movement that reconceptualized everyday products in subtly fantastical ways. Today, the Art Institute of Chicago launches a new retrospective of Warhol’s storied career, the first of its kind to be organized by an American museum in 30 years; it contains more than 300 works of the infamous artist. Runs through January 26, 2020.

October 21: “Parks and Recreation” Pop-Up Bar—Inspired by the Amy Poehler-fronted sitcom, Replay Lincoln Park has changed themselves to the fictional small town of Pawnee, Indiana. This is your last chance to indulge on themed cocktails such as the Give Me All the Bacon (bacon-infused bourbon and maple syrup old fashioned) or the Galentine’s Day (passionfruit orange juice and champagne). Also, October 1-20.

October 22: Mucca Pazza—Put on your dancing shoes and boogie on over to The Hideout for a month-long residency with Mucca Pazza, a local marching band with punk rock flourishes who are sure to ring in Halloween in the most joyous way. Performing original music as well as pieces that cover a range of styles (from Bartok to Zappa, the band claims), the collective is also backed by a squad of cheerleaders. Also October 8, 15 and 29.

October 23: Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns—A short car ride away in suburban Glencoe, the Chicago Botanic Garden invites only the brave to come to their Night of 1,000 Jack-o’-Lanterns in which the peaceful garden has been overtaken by ghouls and more than 1,000 hand carved pumpkins that eerily illuminate the nighttime sky. Also October 16-20 and 24-27.

October 24: Madonna—In support of her eclectic new album, “Madame X,” Madonna takes over the famed Chicago Theatre for an extended residency. Get ready for a thrilling evening with the Material girl and hear pop essentials such as “Like a Virgin,” “Vogue” and so much more. Also October 15-17, 21, 23 and 27.

October 25: Supper With the Snakes—For Halloween, the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum in Lincoln Park invites you and the kids to have dinner with their collection of slithery snakes. Go treat or treating through the museum and participate in creepy games and peculiar craft projects while learning fascinating snake facts.

October 26: Chicago Bulls Vs. Toronto Raptors—Get ready to run with the Bulls as they take on the 2018 NBA champion Toronto Raptors in the season’s first home game at the United Center.

October 27: Boo at the Zoo—Get the family together for a spooky fun time as you spend the afternoon at Brookfield Zoo exploring the “Crazed Maize” corn maze, riding the Creepy Carousel and watching the Pumpkin Smasher. Also October 12-13, 19-20 and 26.

October 28: County Line Orchard—Take a quick road trip to County Line Orchard in Hobart, Indiana for your last chance of the year to pick apples, sunflowers and pumpkins under the brisk autumn sun, all while enjoying their delicious apple cider doughnuts. Also October 1-27 and 30-31.

October 29: “Latin History for Morons”—Compelled to take action after noticing an almost complete omission of Latinx history in the history books of his son’s school, John Leguizamo created a defiantly funny yet insightful one-man show to spotlight the forgotten stories of the Latinx people in American history. After taking over Broadway and winning over audiences on Netflix, “Latin History for Morons” makes its Chicago debut tonight at the Cadillac Palace Theatre. Runs until November 3.

October 30: Bob Dylan—Backed by his mighty band, the immortal Bob Dylan returns to the Credit Union 1 Arena for an electric night of rock n roll classics such as “Like a Rolling Stone” and “Knockin’ On Heaven’s Door.”

October 31: Brick-or-Treat—Legoland Discovery Center in Schaumburg invites you to go brick or treating this Halloween with spine-tingling scavenger hunts and other family friendly activities. Also October 5-27 and October 29-November 3.

Selena Fragassi
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