Feb is finally upon us and things are looking up.
The first month of 2021 proved to be more of the same madness that dogged the last year. Coronavirus continued to cause chaos and the crazy events in the capital gave us the feeling that it wouldn’t be so easy to wriggle free of 2020.
Heading into February things are looking a little calmer: we’ve welcomed in a new President of the United States, vaccines are being widely distributed, and a return to indoor dining in Chicago means that, hopefully, we’re on our way to enjoying Chicago like days of old.
Chicago has loads of things to do year-round and with Valentine’s day and a plethora of new bars and patios opening up, there is loads of fun to be had all over the city. Here is a list of fun February activities to keep your spirits up and your souls happy!
February is, of course, the most romantic month of the year and there’s not much that can better the spectacle provided by Fever Original’s sublime Candlelight Concerts.
Flickering candles and melodic sounds combine phenomenally to create magnetic atmospheres in some of Chicago’s most unique locations. Now with Exclusive Romantic Candlelit Concerts running especially for Valentine’s the perfect date night presents itself so you need not look any further for that special someone.
There are also dates throughout February offering both Jazz & Soul concerts and traditional classical music concerts. More info and tickets can be found here.
One of the things we’re most excited about this month is The Mad Hatter’s infamous gin and tea party that is making its way to the Windy City! In this immersive, theatrical cocktail experience you’ll enjoy a menu of delicious Rabbit Hole Bespoke Gin concoctions in the most psychedelic of settings. Costumes are welcome, but if you don’t have time to put an outfit together don’t worry— the Hatter will be lending out some of his craziest hat creations! Want a seat at the tea party table? Get your tickets here!
Talking of Alice in Wonderland, for the month of February Chicago’s largest patio is hosting a cocktail and candyland event with some extraordinary photo ops that look like they’re straight out of a Tim Burton film set. Recess has once again revamped its 14,500-square-foot space offering another magical escape within its West Loop winter hideout and you can feel like the Willy Wonka of the West Loop with the sweet snacks on offer.
30 shipping containers surround a cozy amalgamation of bars, food stands, and cabana houses where you can settle down for drinks at fire tables and enjoy the open sky while getting a little boozy in the process. Tickets to The Sugar Rush Pop-Up come with a Sugar Rush specialty cocktail, a boozy Recess Peanut Butter Hot Chocolate, a Gourmet Rice Krispie treat, a Recess beanie hat, and a goodie bag of extra sweet treats all included.
Many of Chicago’s internationally renowned museums and cultural centers were forced to close once again back in November due to a second wave of the pandemic and consequential directives for the state of Illinois. Now, following Chicago’s de-escalation of mitigation measures those affected places are once again opening their doors to the general public. Chicago’s Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium both opened towards the end of January and the Art Institute of Chicago then followed suit announcing plans that it will reopen on February 11 with exhibitions on Monet and Chicago and Bisa Butler: Portraits exhibitions extended through summer.
One of the best ways to welcome back one of Chicago’s most beloved attractions is with an interactive scavenger hunt hosted by the Lincoln Park Zoo. The app-led scavenger hunt takes you around the zoo’s key landmarks and hidden gems teaching you new facts and creating memorable experiences. If you’ve explored Chicago’s museums a thousand times over you might instead be interested in taking a virtual trip to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art for an interactive virtual wizarding tour known as “Griffins, Goblets, and Gold.”
Despite the dreadful events of 2020 art scenes across the world flourished as they sought to ignite optimism and inspire unity. Chicago saw new art murals, sculptures, and installations pop up all around the city.
Many new unique murals have embedded themselves in the very fabric of Chicago. These latest masterpieces fight for racial equality, celebrate different heritages, and honor the essential workers of our societies. While you can head to our article on Chicago’s Must-See Street Art to see iconic murals both new and old, there were also some notable art installations in the last few months that should definitely be visited.
Chicago’s new Calatrava sculpture ‘The Constellation‘ in River Point Park and Olafur Eliasson’s ‘Atmospheric Wave Wall‘ at the foot of the Willis Tower are our picks of the bunch.
If all that street art’s got you feeling creative, at The Chicago Kedzie Plaza you’re invited to grab some spray paint and unleash your inner street artist on a 50ft mural! This interactive workshop will turn you into the artist and teach you all the steps along the way as you learn the ins and outs of working with spray paint and other elements of Urban Art. Two private instructors will be helping you out so there’s no need to worry if you’re not the most creatively inclined person!
Paint with a Partner! is another wonderful art option that you can do from home this Valentine’s weekend only. In this 1.5-hour virtual course, an expert artist from Italy will guide you through the creation of a fun and creative painting. As a couple, together you will create one painting made of two canvases. You can use your own tools or order a paint kit and everything you need will be delivered straight to your home.
There are many ways and reasons to celebrate your relationship this year. If the love between you and your other half has only flourished during one of the most restrained, anxiety-inducing years in recent history, congratulations. Of the nearly 8 billion people currently orbiting the sun, it sounds like you’ve found a keeper. As well as the Valentine’s Day Painting Party: Paint with a Partner! there are a variety of fantastic activities you can do around the city and from home.
At both Pleasure Island: Immersive Valentine’s Day Experience and A Valentines Day Love Odyssey Live Show you and your partner can together enjoy live performances, breakout boudoir sessions, and personalized poetic experiences tailored just for you. Alternatively, what better way to celebrate Valentine’s Day than with a musical version of one of the most romantic novels of all time? Pride and Prejudice: A New Jane Austen Musical ensures a memorable, thought-provoking evening. The new musical adaptation of the classic novel by Jane Austen established an all-time box office record and, though it can no longer be experienced firsthand, it can now be enjoyed from the comfort of your own home.
If you’re keen to go out and about despite the weather and your love for Chicago is bettered only by your love for your other half this might be the perfect date for you. On this exclusive tour together with a professional local guide, you will visit the most romantic places in the city and learn of the best places for dates, and where to take the most romantic photos. You will be surprised how many historical love stories are hidden in the streets, buildings, parks of the city. From heartbreaking and tragic tales to hilarious and spicy anecdotes, Guided Tour Love Stories of Chicago is a surefire way to have the romance resonating between you and your partner.
If the last year taught us something it’s that we should never take our health and our freedom for granted. We’ve spent enough time with our great city brought to its knees to realize that once normality returns, we should enjoy it to its maximum. Living in a huge metropolis you don’t always get round to doing the typical tourist attractions, and if you have, it was probably quite some time ago.
With a lack of tourism now is the best time to do some of the Chicago classics like visit the Skydeck, kayak the river, and capture the Bean void of crows. Another, more traditional, bucket list activity we recommend is skydiving.
Now, we’re not saying jump out of a plane in the freezing skies above Chicago straight away, but we are saying give it a go in one of Chicago’s indoor centers to get a taste of what it is like and why it is such a popular bucket list experience. With a state-of-the-art iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Lincoln Park and another iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Rosemont, Chicago is home to two conveniently located cutting-edge centers where kids and adults can get the same sensation you’d get 12,000 feet up in the sky. If the experience has you wanting more you can test your vertigo above Chicago’s iconic skyline at one of the world’s largest skydiving resorts named Skydive Chicago and boast that you’ve jumped out of a plane above the Windy City.
After any kind of extreme activity, you’re likely going to be wanting a few drinks to bring you back down to earth and you’ll find few settings better equipped for an evening soiree than Joy District’s iconic rooftop. Sparkling lights, comfortable patterned couches, and impeccable views of Chicago’s skyline create a stunning setting but it’s the magic of vibrant murals and cascading greenery that truly makes Joy District’s rooftop stand out from the rest.
Joy District’s Heated Winter Wonderland Rooftop And Holiday Cocktails offers an iconic winter experience where you can sip on mouthwatering cocktails on a warm rooftop while taking in the dazzling city lights with your quarantine crew. You can also rent a Rooftop Ski Lodge or a Rooftop Winter Igloo, but you’ll want to hurry as dates are filling up fast.
With indoor dining ruled out for so many months of last year, Chicago’s hospitality scene adapted and inspired. A wide range of domes, firepits, greenhouses, and state-of-the-art heaters have popped up all over Chicago offering warm winter hideouts all over the city. One of our pick of the bunch, however, has to be Hopsmith Tavern and with both a Retro Ski Party in Hopsmith’s Heated Outdoor Tent and a SuperBowl Sunday Watch Party there are plenty of reasons to head down.
Turn up your weekends with bottomless brunch every Saturday & Sunday at The Dime, one of the hottest sports bars in Chicago! Great music, food & drinks make The Dime the perfect place to brunch with your quarantine crew. Tickers include bottomless mimosas, bellinis, and beers, plus one entree from The Dime’s brunch menu. There’s no better place to get that classic brunch vibe!
Another extraordinary outdoor experience can be had at Rooh who now boast a 17-foot hexadome tent. The Indian restaurant in West Loop prides itself on its progressive Indian cuisine and offers an array of exquisite moderately-priced dishes merging exquisite regional flavors and modern gastronomic techniques. The real magnum opus is a 4-course prix fixe Indian Culinary Journey that invites guests to experience local flavors and traditions from various regions of India.
On the topic of culinary journeys, Chicago’s gastronomy scene warrants no introduction and multiple different tours of Chicago’s food scene offer foodies and friends a magnificent way to make the most of it. A Secret Food Tour of The Loop takes you on a 3-hour tour of Chicago’s food scene where you’ll see what sets this friendly mid-western metropolis apart. Another popular food tour Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour offers a similar experience but in River North while Chicago’s Old Town: Beer Flights and Bites Tour will take you on a bar-hopping tour through Chicago’s Old Town neighborhood where you will sample the best craft beer the city has to offer.
We completely understand if heading outside isn’t appealing to you at the moment and we have a few at-home activities to keep you excited and entertained during Chicago’s chilly first months of 2021. With a Speakeasy Cocktails and Burlesque Experience, decadence is delivered to your door so you can enter a world where tipsy temptation awaits.
This new entertainment-mixology experience delivers ten finely crafted cocktails to your door so you can sip away while watching electrifying performances. Featuring some of the top cirque, burlesque, illusion and theatrical performers in the world Speakeasy on Demand brings a naughty rendezvous to you and lets your imagination run wild.
Experience an intimate evening of jazz music, magic, and mystery in Chicago’s newest vintage cabaret! Grand Cabaret After Dark will bring you one of the most mesmerizing experiences you have ever had. Featuring live jazz music of classics and contemporary songs by the E-Line Organ Trio, you’ll be able to sink into your seat as the music swirls around you. You’ll also be treated to some mysterious magic by Mr. Jim Bergstrom! You’ll also be treated to a delectable dinner and BYOB so the drinks are the perfect pick for you.
If you’re keen to learn a new skill but you’re more the type to sit and chat over a good beer than hit up a nightclub we’ve got you covered. Why not start the year off by understanding exactly what goes into your favorite tipple and learn a treasured skill in the process. The Live HomeBrew Experience will lead you through the process of brewing your own beer via live streaming with humor and history, from inside your own kitchen! They’ve curated the perfect kit for beginners with only the essential equipment to get the job done. Providing ease of use and safety, with minimum investment, shipped right to your door!
Beer and cocktails aren’t the answer for everybody, of course, and if one of your New Year’s resolutions was to improve your diet and lifestyle a New Year’s Juice Cleanse and Unlimited Yoga Fitness Classes might be for you.
South Loop’s L+A Healing Studio, a new concept therapy studio, combines massage, art therapy, acupuncture, yoga, and fitness to create a healing gathering place for the community. Unlimited yoga and fitness classes, massage therapy, and dance can be combined with jewelry-making, art-classes, and eastern medicine training to exercise your mind, body, and soul this January.
Meanwhile, at Lincoln Park’s newest neighborhood Juice Bar you can try a 1, 2, or 3-day juice cleanse featuring nutrient-dense cold-pressed juices, whole-food health smoothies, and a menu crafted with natural and organic ingredients for the perfect post-workout meal that is proven to increase beneficial gut bacteria, promote weight loss, and improve heart health.
One hobby that soared in popularity during 2020 thanks to the pandemic was home baking. Stress baking and quarantine baking became popular Instagram hashtags as people turned to home baking for entertainment and escape. Now, thanks to a partnership between Netflix and Fever, amateur bakers can go head-to-head with other bakers on Nailed It! At Home Experience.
This time your baking creation will be inspired by the Netflix Original Animated Feature, Over The Moon! Baking and decorating ingredients will be sent to your home, along with step-by-step instructions for making this cool looking treat. Then tune in at one of the scheduled times for an online event to see if you truly Nailed It! Suitable for beginners and baking enthusiasts, this baking extravaganza is going to be a laughter-filled experience from the safety of your own kitchen as an individual or as a family.
Talking of escape, another fantastic activity you can do from home with friends or family is a virtual escape room experience. Think you’re better than a common thief? Prove your worth by entering The Wonder Cave: A Virtual Escape Room Experience! Inspired by the colorful world of 1001 Nights, this virtual escape room works outside of the creative limits of physical escape rooms, bringing daring puzzles and magical events to the comfort of your home. You decide what the next move is, and how the story evolves!
Few people foresaw the tumultuous ride that 2020 provided, it is most certainly a year we were to relegate to the past tense and instead, look ahead to pastures new. So what if you could peek behind the curtain and look into what the rest of 2021 has in store for us? What if a detailed analysis of the topography of your own hands could offer an esoteric glimpse into the unknown?
A new interactive experience known as Palmistry 101 invites you to discover the art of palmistry from the safety of your own home. With the virtual guidance of an expert, you can learn how to interpret the complex network of lines and contours that make up your own palm.
Whether you’re convinced you’ve inherited a third eye or you just want to develop a new party trick, this interactive event is a one-of-a-kind experience that can be enjoyed for just $10 on any Wednesday, Thursday, or Friday night throughout February.
In any case, it’s always good to have something to look forward to and this unique mermaid cocktail party is a one-of-a-kind event. What are you willing to give up for the chance to drink with mermaids? Your voice, your heart’s desire… maybe your very own human form? Luckily, all your nautical fairytale dreams can come to life without having to sacrifice anything you hold dear to your heart. The Little Mermaid Cocktail Experience has plans of splashing its way to Chicago in March 2021, and you’re invited to witness this timeless tale like never before! Get your presale tickets here, and be the first to enjoy the iconic event!
[Featured Image from Instagram / @carolnrh]