In Brief: Chicago's annual celebration of its rich culinary scene takes place at restaurants downtown, in local neighborhoods and in the suburbs.
When: Jan. 27-Feb. 9
Where: All over Chicagoland
How Much: Prix-fixe menus start at $22 for lunch or brunch, and $33 and/or $44 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).
What: The official Chicago Restaurant Week showcases more than 350 local eateries with prix-fixe menus. It allows diners to check out as many restaurants as possible, so if you’re in Chicago during those two weeks, it should definitely be on your social calendar.
Attractions & Activities To Enjoy During Chicago Restaurant Week
Go See "Hamilton" at PrivateBank Theatre. The thoroughly inventive, wildly entertaining musical about the birth of our nation is set to play in Chicago for at least a couple of years. Tickets are hard to come by, so Broadway in Chicago has set up a daily lottery system in which 44 day-of-show tickets will be sold for every performance for $10 each. Seat locations vary per performance; some seats will be located in the front row and the boxes.
Enjoy a ride back in time on the Untouchable Tours. Untouchable Tours bills itself as "Chicago's Original Gangster Tour," a two-hour driving tour in a jet black school bus to be shown many of the city's notorious gangster landmarks and hangouts, particularly those of Al Capone. The tour guides wear Prohibition period costumes and get into the gangster role. Expect to hear a lot of "dees, dems and does," as in "dees guys, dem dolls and does times."
Experience classic Chicago blues at Buddy Guy's Legends. Dubbed "the greatest living guitarist" by Eric Clapton, legendary Chicago blues star Buddy Guy opened his eponymous downtown live music venue in 1989. Throughout the years, the bar--considered one of Chicago's top live-music establishments--has hosted a who's who in show biz, such as The Rolling Stones, David Bowie, ZZ Top, Gregg Allman, Slash, John Mayer and Sheila E. Here are additional places in the city to experience live jazz, reggae, rock or punk.
Laugh at one of many comedy clubs. A Chicago landmark for almost 40 years, Zanies Comedy Club features both major headliners as well as up-and-coming comedians. It's an intimate venue, and the audience is made to feel as though they're at home. Zanies has a two-drink minimum policy.
Snuggle up during a horse-drawn carriage ride. Taking a step back in time with the nostalgic horse-drawn carriages is one of the best ways to explore the city. Noble Horse is one of Chicago's most prominent companies and it offers tours of the Magnificent Mile shopping district. Boardings and dropoffs are right off Michigan and Chicago avenues, but what most people don't know is that for an extra fee, the carriage will pick you up from a nearby hotel or restaurant such as Gibsons Steakhouse, Jellyfish or Thompson Chicago Hotel.
See world-acclaimed works at the Art Institute of Chicago. Flanked by its well known bronze lions, the Art Institute showcases a tremendous collection of art in a number of different mediums--paintings, prints, drawings, sculptures, photographs, video, textiles and architectural drawings. The museum is known to play host to a number of traveling exhibits such as works by Monet and Van Gogh. It also has an ongoing series of lectures, performances and workshops taking place every day. While strolling through the Art Institute, a number of pieces will be instantly recognizable, as the Institute is home to famous works such as those by Mary Cassatt, Georgia O'Keeffe, Grant Wood, Edward Hopper and more, ranging in all manners of style from impressionist to post-modern.
Visit Chicago's Museum Campus. Looking for something to do with the family after a hearty brunch? Head to the Museum Campus in the South Loop. John G. Shedd Aquarium shares the esteemed Museum Campus with Field Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium and Astronomy Museum. Donated to Chicago by Shedd, who was the second president and chairman of the board of Marshall Field & Company, the revered Chicago institution opened in 1930. Since that time, it has added several permanent exhibits to the main aquarium, effectively doubling its size.