Expert Picks

Your Weekly Guide for What to Do, See, Eat, and Drink in Chicago

Photo by Julia Fuller/Courtesy of Lincoln Park Zoo

This week in Chicago, hear an inspirational artist talk, take the kids to the Lincoln Park Zoo’s fall fest, attend a beer bash in a helicopter hangar, and see comedian Eric Andre on tour.

Photo courtesy of S.K.Y.

September 23: S.K.Y. and Oriole Join Forces for a Very Special Dinner  
When two of the hottest and most acclaimed restaurants in Chicago team up for a special event, you snag tickets ASAP. Especially when said event is an altruistic endeavor to raise suicide prevention awareness. S.K.Y. is hosting the Pausing for the Case event on September 23, with the team from Oriole joining in the kitchen for a five-course meal. Tickets include a welcome reception with hors d’oeuvres and champagne, a tasting menu, and a special vintage bottle of champagne for two. Details: 6–11 p.m.; $350
—Matt Kirouac, Food/Beverage

September 24: Mierle Laderman Ukeles Artist Talk at the Art Institute of Chicago 
For decades, Ukeles has worked as the artist-in-residence at New York City’s Department of Sanitation, where she has produced performances that highlight the near-invisible labor of those who clean up the metropolis. She’s a dynamic and inspirational speaker, and this talk is one not to miss, especially for those unfamiliar with her practice.
—Claire Voon, Art

Through September 25: Circles 
Follow one post-college woman as she navigates her early 20s and life under the thumb of student debt. Will this play make you cringe, cry, and want to revisit your younger self’s decisions? Probably. I’m in! Details: Through September 25 at Playground Theater
—Tanuja Jagernauth, Theater

September 27: Fall Fest at the Lincoln Park Zoo 
It’s always fun to walk around the Lincoln Park Zoo in the fall, but Fall Fest makes it that much more spectacular! Watch professional pumpkin carvers create masterpieces, grab a pumpkin from the patch, run through the corn maze, and crush the obstacle course. There’s so much to do and enjoy for both kids and adults. Details: Friday–Sunday, September 27–October 27; $3 for one ticket, $27 for 10 tickets, or $51 for 20 tickets
—Samantha Lande, Family/Kids

Photo courtesy of the Sklar Brothers/Facebook

September 27: The Sklar Brothers With Nate Craig at 350 Brewing 
Comedic masters Randy and Jason Sklar’s act is one of the most prolific and versatile around. As far as stand-up is concerned, they’ve been at it for 20-plus years, amassing five albums, several Comedy Central and late-night appearances, and an hour-long Netflix special, to name a few. Aside from that, they’ve hosted a number of shows; host two podcasts; and have had dozens of television and movie appearances, including ​Better Call Saul, Curb Your Enthusiasm, Maron, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Law & Order​, and plenty more. Their live shows are always high in energy and hilarious—certainly worth the trip down to Tinley Park. Details: 7 p.m.; $20–$45
—Matty Ryan, Comedy

September 27: Little Beans Café Fall Festival 
This mini fall festival is perfect for younger kids who just want a taste of fall festing without the major crowds. You’ll still get the pumpkin painting and bounce house, plus hot dogs for dinner and live musical entertainment! Details: 5:30–7:30 p.m.; $30 for child; $15 for siblings
—Samantha Lande, Family/Kids

September 28: Beerhoptacular 
The outlandish ninth annual Beerhoptacular has evolved from the (admittedly large) Aragon Ballroom to a helicopter hangar on the city’s west side, clearly a reflection of Chicago’s continually booming craft beer scene. It’s got 100-plus craft beers, food trucks, DJs, helicopter rides, and photo booths—it’s a whole thing. Details: 4–8 p.m.; $49 general admission or $59 with VIP early entry
—Jim Morris, Beer

Photo courtesy of Beerhoptacular/Facebook

September 28 and 29: Revolution Oktoberfest 
Rev’s Oktoberfest might be evolving into one of Chicago’s must-attend beer events along with greats like FoBAB and Beer Under Glass. In years past, it was just a smallish ticketed party at the Kedzie production facility, and now it’s a block-rockin’ street fest on Milwaukee Avenue outside the brewpub with all the suds-loving energy following along. This year’s eclectic musical acts—Bongripper and YOB on Metal Friday and Parquet Courts on Saturday (along with many others)—take the event well beyond average beer fest status. Details: $5 donation encouraged
—Jim Morris, Beer

September 28: “Nasty Women Evanston” at 1100 Florence 
If you feel like you’ve slipped into political complacency over the summer, here’s an event to get you fired up for fall. This all-women art show will have plenty of anger-fueled art for sale, with 100 percent of proceeds going to Planned Parenthood. Everything is sold on a first-come, first-served basis, so arrive early.
—Claire Voon, Art

September 29: Eric Andre’s Legalize Everything Tour at the Chicago Theatre 
Surreal comedian and wild man Andre is embarking on his biggest world tour to date, including Europe, North America, Australia, and New Zealand. Most popular for his off-the-wall show on Adult Swim, appropriately titled ​The Eric Andre Show​, the comic is known for bizarre antics and, most important, hilarious material. Details: 7 p.m.; $35–$49
—Matty Ryan, Comedy

Through September 29: Bring the Beat Back: A Queer, Black, Sci-Fi, Staged Concert Experience 
I had the pleasure of seeing this play on opening night. Playwright Derek McPhatter and his creative team have created a black, queer, Afro-futurist musical experience that will make you laugh, cry, and get down! Look beyond the moments when the actors are “on book” (prompted by scripts in hand). This show is a work-in-progress 10 years in the making with the kind of heart and vision that Chicago theater needs. Details: At Otherworld Theatre
—Tanuja Jagernauth, Theater