Expert Picks

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

Rendering by David Korins/Courtesy of “Hamilton: The Exhibition”

This week in Chicago, celebrate Earth Day with the family, dine out for a good cause, run for beer, and swing by the hotly anticipated Hamilton exhibition on Northerly Island.

Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum / Photo by Bradley Kirouac

April 22: Earth Day at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum 
What better place to celebrate Earth Day than at the Nature Museum? Join in for a day of family fun, when the focus will be on endangered species, showcasing some of its turtles and snakes. Gotham Greens will also be on hand to help people learn how to plant their own seedlings.
—Samantha Lande

April 23: Speech Acts at Gallery 400
As part of the gallery’s visiting artists lecture series, Maria Gaspar will speak about a recent intervention in which she employed light projections and audio recordings as tools of protest. Activated at the Cook County Jail, her broadcasts transformed a wall at the prison into a platform to make visible those unseen inside.
—Claire Voon

April 24: Parlour Car Presents: Comedy Central’s Up Next Chicago Showcase at the Hideout
Up Next is an annual showcase featuring a wide range of diversely talented young comedians who have been selected by Comedy Central following a nationwide search with showcases across the country. The Chicago showcases are presented by the Parlour Car team, and those chosen will perform at Comedy Central’s Clustefest in San Francisco in June.
—Matty Ryan

Photo by Sarah Larson/Courtesy of Parlour Car

Through April 28: Lottery Day at Goodman Theatre
Lottery Day is Ike Holter’s final play in the seven-play Rightlynd Saga. You do not want to miss this. After seeing Red Rex at Steep Theatre, I am expecting an explosive drama about community and the ways in which we succeed and fail at creating, maintaining, and revitalizing it.
—Tanuja Jagernauth

April 24, 25, 26: Friends in Beer Places at Fischman’s Public House and Bottle Shop
Didn’t get lucky enough to score tickets for Mikerphone’s Smells Like a Beer Fest? Well, Fischman’s will be tapping many of the out-of-market breweries that will be attending Mikerphone’s star-studded event. The list includes Barn Town Brewing, Dancing Gnome Beer, Equilibrium Brewery, Finback Brewery, Lil Beaver Brewery, Narrow Gauge Brewing Company, and Odd13 Brewing. Go. Drink. Brag.
—Jim Morris

Photo courtesy of Anteprima

April 25: Dining Out for Life
If there’s one night to eat out this month, make it April 25. That’s the night of Dining Out for Life, the annual event designed to raise funds for HIV/AIDS service organizations, as participating restaurants work to support the Test Positive Aware Network (TPAN) in Chicago. This year’s lineup boasts more than 40 eateries, including Cherry Circle Room, Marchesa, Ella Elli, Anteprima, and Uncommon Ground.
—Matt Kirouac

April 26: “Born in the USA” at One After 909
There’s a lot about today’s America that’s pretty grotesque, and Chicago artist Tom Torluemke’s large-scale paintings make this palpable. His canvases are filled with strange, unpleasant characters and moments of unease—fables that have traces of sour reality.
—Claire Voon

Tom Torluemke, Born in the USA, 2018. Courtesy of One After 909

April 27: Visit “Hamilton: The Exhibition”
In case you’ve been sleeping under a rock since 2016, you know how endlessly epic the fascination with the musical Hamilton has been. Still, three years into its Chicago residency (one of only two U.S. homes to the fantastical production), folks line up down the block for shows, and tickets sell out faster than paczki on Fat Tuesday. Which is why “Hamilton: The Exhibition” is sure to become the museum-going experience of 2019. It opens April 27 and runs through September 8 for a limited engagement, before going on tour across the country. The exhibition is housed in a temporary freestanding, 360-degree building on Northerly Island, delving deeper than its namesake play by exploring the life and times of Alexander Hamilton, along with ample Revolutionary history and the founding of the United States.
—Matt Kirouac

April 27: Run for Beer at Lo-Rez Brewing
This is one of a series of brewery runs happening in Chicago during our short warm-weather season. It’s a 5K-ish, open-course run (or saunter) that begins and ends at the featured brewery. Participants get a free brew at the finish line, a collector’s pint glass, and some sweet, sweet swag. Live music, food, and, of course, much more beer for purchase will be on offer after the event. A portion of profits go to local nonprofits.
—Jim Morris

Photo courtesy of Lo-Rez Brewing

April 28: The Ridiculous Darkness at Sideshow Theatre
I have said it before and I will say it again: I see everything by Sideshow because it does great work. Period. Get ready to confront our shared colonial history in this comedic, horrific spin on Heart of Darkness and Apocalypse Now. Sideshow warns us that this play contains “disturbing imagery, gun violence, racialized language, loud noises and is not intended for very young theatergoers.” I am so there.
—Tanuja Jagernauth