31 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This October ("Swan Lake" at Joffrey Ballet)

Victoria Jaiani and Dylan Gutierrez, Swan Lake (Photo by Cheryl Mann.)

October is here and with it comes chilly temps, falling leaves, and a plethora of can’t-miss events.


Oct. 2-21: “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

The iconic childhood favorite, in which Willy Wonka opens his marvelous and mysterious chocolate factory to a lucky few who embark on a mesmerizing joyride through a world of pure imagination, is brought to life at the Oriental Theatre. Oriental Theatre, 24 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312- 977-1700

Oct. 3-27: “The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time

Based on the critically acclaimed book by Mark Haddon, this production follows the investigation carried out by Christopher, a young boy with an extraordinary brain, when the neighbor’s dog Wellington is found dead. Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N. Halsted St., Chicago, 312-335-1650

Oct. 17-28: “Swan Lake

This modern retelling depicts a ballet-within-a-ballet — the story of a company dancer who falls in love with his partner,
a star ballerina who is being pursued by an arts patron with bad intentions. The Joffrey Ballet Chicago at The Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, 312-341-2300

Opens Oct. 19: “Lady in Denmark

This production tells the story of a Danish-American woman living in Chicago, who, after the death of her husband, finds solace in the hauntingly beautiful music of the couple’s favorite singer: Billie Holiday. Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn, Chicago, 312-443-3800


Saturdays in October: House Lafayette

In this solo comedic show, Madame Lafayette introduces the audience to characters who have lessons to share on the topics of learning to love yourself, facing your fears, and having faith. iO, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago, 312-929-2401


Oct. 6-20: “La Bohème

Things to Do in Chicago: La Boheme at Lyric Opera of Chicago

Photo courtesy of Royal Opera House.

In this Italian opera, a group of young bohemians navigate the ups and downs of life and love while struggling to make ends meet in 19th-century Paris. Lyric Opera of Chicago, 20 N. Wacker Drive, Chicago, 312-827-5600

Oct. 16-17: Christina Aguilera

Dance the night away with this pop icon, who will be performing songs from her latest release Liberation, in addition to hits like “Beautiful” and “Fighter.” The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago, 312-462-6300


Closes April 21: Mummies

Things to Do in Chicago: Mummies at the Field Museum

Photo courtesy of the Field Museum.

Using CT scan and 3D imaging technologies, this interactive exhibit uncovers the stories of 14 mummies from the Field Museum’s collections. Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, 312-922-9410

Oct. 3-4, 6-7: Dorothée Munyaneza: Unwanted

Rwandan performance artist Dorothée Munyaneza traveled to her homeland to create this performance about female strength, drawing from stories told to her by women who are survivors of the genocidal murder of the Tutsis. Edlis Neeson Theater at the MCA, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-397-4010

Oct. 15: Sara Paretsky, “Shell Game”

Sara Paretsky follows her instant New York Times best-seller “Fallout” — her most widely read novel in years — with an extraordinary adventure that pits her acclaimed detective, V.I. Warshawski, against some of today’s most powerful figures. American Writers Museum, 180 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-374-8790

Opens Oct. 19: Tomma Abts

Things to Do in Chicago: Tomma Abts at the Art Institute of Chicago

Tomma Abts. Fimme, 2013. Collection of Sascha S. Bauer. Courtesy of greengrassi, London. © Tomma Abts.

This solo exhibition of Abt’s work will feature paintings exclusively, highlighting approximately 30 works from 2002 to 2017 — many of which have never been on view in the United States. The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago, 312-443-3600

Oct. 20: The Lit & Luz Festival’s “Live Magazine Show”

This show highlights brand-new works made in collaboration with contemporary writers, visual artists, and musicians from Chicago and Mexico City as part of the Lit & Luz Festival of Language, Literature, and Art. Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago, 312-397-4010

Opens Oct. 27: African American Designers in Chicago: Art, Commerce and the Politics of Race

Featuring work from a wide range of practices, this exhibition demonstrates how African American designers remade the image of the black consumer and the work of the black artist in American advertising and consumer culture. Chicago Cultural Center, 78 E. Washington St., Chicago


Oct. 5-6: West Town Food Truck Social

The popular Food Truck Social brand is teaming up with the West Town Art Walk for the third year to create a one-of-a-kind neighborhood food and art festival. 800-900 N. Noble St., Chicago, 312-850-9390

Oct. 6: Dogtoberfest

Bring your pups to this canine-friendly fall celebration, complete with costume and trick contests, doggie photo booths, and treats. A portion of proceeds benefits local rescue organization One Tail at a Time. 664 W. Lake St., Chicago

Oct. 10-21: Chicago International Film Festival

Things to Do in Chicago: Chicago International Film Festival

“Beautiful Boy,” starring Steve Carell, Timothée Chalamet, and Amy Ryan, will open this year’s Chicago International Film Festival. (Photo courtesy of Carol Fox and Associates.)

Experience an array of films created by Illinois-based individuals at this acclaimed festival, which has introduced to Chicago the likes of Martin Scorsese, Wim Wenders, and Margarethe von Trotta. 322 E. Illinois St., Chicago, 312-683-0121

Oct. 13: YWomen Celebration 2018

Every year, YWCA Evanston/North Shore celebrates “the power of women to change the world” during this event. Join them this year and support YWCA programs. Radisson Blu Hotel, 221 N. Columbus Drive, Chicago

Oct. 13-14: Open House Chicago

Spend a weekend exploring Chicago’s most iconic architectural treasures with this annual festival. Various locations, 312-922-3432

Oct. 20: Arts in the Dark Halloween Parade

Drawing together world-renowned institutions as well as artists in assorted fields, this spectacle will feature live music, unique floats, fanciful giant puppets, and more. Grant Park, Columbus Drive from Balbo Avenue to Monroe Street, Chicago, 312-744-3316

Oct. 20: Rags to Witches

Guests at this family-friendly spookfest will be spellbound by live performances, hands-on art projects, and seasonal tastings throughout Lake Forest’s most imaginative haunted estate. Ragdale, 1230 N. Green Bay Road, Lake Forest, 847-234-1063

Oct. 22: Blackbird at 20 with Wylie Dufresne

Blackbird celebrates its 20th anniversary by inviting top chefs from around the country to collaborate in an ongoing dinner series. This installment features a meal with Wylie Dufresne of New York’s WD~50 and Alder. Blackbird, 619 W. Randolph St., Chicago, 312-715-0708

Oct. 28: Wanderlust at Z Bar

On the last Sunday of each month, this stunning new rooftop at The Peninsula Chicago will host a hands-on cocktail class dedicated to a specific spirit or area of the world. 108 E. Superior St., Chicago, 312-573-6888

Oct. 30: Ina Garten: The Barefoot Contessa

Join the Emmy Award-winning host of “Barefoot Contessa” at this interactive Q&A, when she’ll discuss her show, her latest book, and the pleasures of good food. The Chicago Theatre, 175 N. State St., Chicago, 312-462-6300

Oct. 31, Nov. 1: Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s “The Nightmare Before Christmas”

Things to Do in Chicago: Disney in Concert: Tim Burton’s "The Nightmare Before Christmas"

Photo courtesy of Auditorium Theatre.

Celebrate Halloween with this classic film, which is brought to life with a concert performance featuring the Chicago Philharmonic and the residents of Halloweentown. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Parkway, Chicago, 312-341-2300

Media Sponsorships

Make It Better is a proud media sponsor of these events:

Oct. 4: Taste of Accion

Join Accion, a Philanthropy Award winner, for this night celebrating entrepreneurship and community development with food from 10 Accion clients, a silent auction, and more. Venue Six10, 610 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Oct. 4: UNICEF Chicago Humanitarian Awards Luncheon

This year’s luncheon honorees are Dr. Colleen Cicchetti, executive director of the Center for Childhood Resilience at Lurie Children’s Hospital, and Phyllis Glink, executive director of the Irving Harris Foundation. The Ritz-Carlton Chicago, 160 E. Pearson St., Chicago

Oct. 28: 2018 Walk to End Alzheimer’s — Chicago

Create a team and start raising money for this walk to support Alzheimer’s Association’s work to create “a world without Alzheimer’s.” Montrose Harbor, Montrose Avenue and Simonds Drive, Chicago

Additional events Make It Better is proud to support:


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Nicole SchnitzlerNicole Schnitzler is a freelance writer who covers​ ​food, drink, ​travel, and ​lifestyle. When she is not planning her next adventure​​, she can be found​ ​commuting between bakeries, yoga classes,​ live music shows, and libraries ​in her hometown of ​​Chicago. She is most comfortable with a pen in one hand and a fork in the other. Nicole is also the founder of Doors Open Dishes, an initiative committed to keeping the doors open to the group homes and workshops of individuals with special needs by partnering with chefs and restaurants across the city. Follow her on Twitter (@Write_To_Eat) or on Instagram (@WriteToEat).



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