Expert Picks

What to Do in Chicago This Week: September 16–22

“Vertical City” / Photo courtesy of the Chicago Architecture Biennial

This week in Chicago, celebrate the return of the Chicago Architecture Biennial, take the family to an apple festival, enjoy a free museum day, and brace for a psychological thriller onstage.

Photo courtesy of Long Grove Apple Festival

September 19: 2019 Chicago Architecture Biennial at Chicago Cultural Center 
The third edition of this unique biennial takes as its title and theme “…And Other Such Stories.” Read that as an invitation for participants to reflect on overlooked architectural histories, from forgotten spaces to sites of memory or advocacy.
–Claire Voon

September 19: Norm Macdonald at the Vic Theatre 
Widely known for his four-year stint on ​Saturday Night Live,​ Macdonald is one of the most iconic and respected comedians currently working. The terms cult favorite, a comic’s comic, and household name frequently describe three different comedians, but Macdonald embodies all three. David Letterman called him “the funniest man in the world,” and Conan O’Brien has listed Macdonald as his favorite guest to have on his show. Details: September 19, 7:30 p.m.; $42.50
—Matty Ryan

September 19: Isa Leshko Artist Talk at Millennium Knickerbocker Hotel 
Photographer Leshko has scouted out senior animals for nearly a decade, visiting farm animal sanctuaries across America to make portraits of aging chickens, sheep, pigs, and more. Hear her speak about her relationships with creatures that typically die in the factory industry at this book signing.
—Claire Voon

September 20: Marc Maron: Hey, There’s More Tour at the Vic Theatre 
A stand-up veteran of more than 30 years, Maron is a force in the industry. In addition to his comedy being featured on Comedy Central and just about every late-night show over the past two decades, he’s the host of the landmark podcast ​WTF, a​nd he writes and stars in the IFC show loosely based on his life, appropriately titled ​Maron. Details: September 20, 7:30 p.m.; $45
—Matty Ryan

September 20–22: An Apple a Day and the Party Is Here to Stay 
It’s worth heading to this fest in adorable Long Grove for everything apples! And everything apples you will find, from green apple cotton candy and apple goat cheese dumplings to classics like apple cider and apple pie. There will also be tons of kids’ games, an apple pie–eating contest, and live music. Details: September 20–22 at Stempel Parking Lot in Long Grove, with Kids Zone in Towner Square; $5 per person, kids under 12 are free; $10 for three-day pass
—Samantha Lande

September 20-22: 2nd Annual Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri  
After a massive success last year, Kizuki Ramen & Izakaya and the Japanese Culture Center are once again hosting the Kizuki Chicago Japanese Matsuri, but this time it’s bigger. The extended festival takes place at New City Plaza and celebrates Japanese culture in all forms—look for lots of food vendors, performers, drinks, and artisans. The Z Gallerie space is being outfitted as “Drink World,” filled with sakes, Japanese beers, whiskeys, rums, teas, and a special custom brew from Forbidden Root. Additionally, Kizuki will conduct ramen tours at the restaurant and offer the chance for visitors to create their own ramen bowls. Details: September 20–22; free admission, $10–$20 for food and drink tickets
—Matt Kirouac

Photo courtesy of the Long Grove Chocolate Fest

September 21: Free Museum Day 
You may have heard of a little museum called the Smithsonian? Well, it isn’t coming to Chicago, but it is hosting a free museum day across the country. That means on September 21, you can get into a museum for free, and there are loads of them in Illinois. Visit the Adler Planetarium or the DuSable Museum of African-American History. Trek to Springfield to learn about Abraham Lincoln, or head to Aurora for the SciTech hands-on museum. Each email address is good for two free general admission tickets.
—Samantha Lande

September 21: Roaring Table’s 2-Year Anniversary Bash 
Where will you be when Lake Zurich’s Roaring Table Brewery turns two? If it’s not enjoying an expertly brewed craft beer and out-of-this-world barbecue from Chicago Culinary Kitchen, then it may be time to reevaluate your choices. This day will be full of beer releases, live music, and swag—just a few incentives to help guide your way. Details: September 21, 2 p.m.–midnight
—Jim Morris

All Month Long: Celebrate Honey Month at Floriole Bakery & Cafe 
This time of year, pumpkin spice gets all the attention, but don’t forget about honey! September just so happens to be National Honey Month, and there’s no better place in Chicago to celebrate than Floriole. The venerable bakery and café is fully stocked with honeyed pecan sticky buns, sesame-pepita-honey tarts, lemon lavender tea cake with honey glaze, and honey pie.
—Matt Kirouac

Photo courtesy of Floriole Cafe & Bakery

September 21: South Shore Beer Fest 
This event on Lake Michigan will bring in more than 45 Indiana breweries and benefit the Brewers of Indiana Guild. Located at Whihala Beach, within striking distance of Chicago near Horseshoe Casino Hammond, expect to see well-established favorites like 3 Floyds, 18th Street, and Sun King, but also get excited for newer names, such as Sour Note, 450 North, and Windmill. Details: September 21, 2–6 p.m.; $40 online or $50 at the gate
—Jim Morris

Through September 22: The Recommendation 
This play is a psychological thriller that invites you to get up close and personal. Two friends who swore lifelong friendship are tested when one gets into legal trouble. Will the other actually help out when called upon? It remains to be seen.
—Tanuja Jagernauth

Restaurant Opening of the Week: Tzuco
Fall 2019 is shaping up to be a huge season for Chicago’s restaurant scene, starting with the opening of Tzuco, one of the hottest and most anticipated dining debuts of the year. Fusing Mexican heritage with some French influences, the River North newbie marks the heralded return of chef Carlos Gaytan, of West Town’s gone-too-soon Mexique. Tzuco is the first of three concepts he’s working on on this same block, with a Mexican bakery to follow as well as an intimate tasting menu nook. If Gaytan’s past work is any indication (hello, Michelin stars), Tzuco is going to be a game changer on par with anything Rick Bayless has accomplished.
—Matt Kirouac

The Recommendation / Photo by Michael Brosilow/Courtesy of Windy City Playhouse