28 of the Best Things to Do This February Around Chicago and the Suburbs

While February may be the shortest month of the year, there is no shortage of virtual and in-person art exhibitions, concerts, dinners and other events to partake in. Here are the best things to do this February around Chicago.

All Month

Compete in the Evanston Winter Games

Evanston Winter Games event

Participants will receive points for completing activities including nature hikes, ice skating, volunteering and more through the Eventzee App. Along with local businesses, they will be assigned a team color. The contestants with the three highest scores will win gold, silver or bronze medals and kick off next year’s opening ceremony. For more details, see here.

Virtually tour a submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry

Photo courtesy of Derek Heidelberg

The museum is allowing guests to tour the U-505, the German boat captured by the U.S. Navy in 1944, from the comfort of their own homes. The tour lasts approximately 25 minutes and features sound and lighting effects. Attendees will also get the opportunity to ask questions at the end. Tickets are available for February 11, 12, 26 and 27 and can be purchased here

View “Cosmos” at Bridgeport Art Center

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Bridgeport Art Center’s first exhibit of 2021 features Virginio Ferrari’s solo exhibition “Cosmos.” The show will be on display through March 5. Guests also have the opportunity to schedule a private tour with the artist. 1200 W. 35th St., Chicago

Virtually Tour “My Kingdom for a Title” at the University of Chicago

Created by artist and scholar Pope.L, the exhibition is centered around works from his “Skin Set Project.” Additionally, a cloud of objects symbolizing the pandemic hangs over the installation representing the way COVID-19 affected the show’s development. While it can’t be viewed in person currently, the show will be on display through May 16. 

Experience Winter at the Chicago Botanic Garden

Weekend 101: 11 Things to Do Around Chicago Dec. 13-15
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Even in the colder months, there are plenty of things to see in the garden including plants such as conifers and winter birds. If you’re not up to braving the weather, the Botanic Garden also offers gardening and art classes you can take from the comfort of your own home. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Get a Closer Look at Your Favorite Animals from the Lincoln Park Zoo

On February 13, attendees will have the opportunity to learn about Sichuan Takins and Bactrian Camels and their personalities, habitats and care. Later in the month, on February 26, animal experts will walk through the methods they use to care for Japanese Macaques. The virtual events will include time for questions and are family friendly. Tickets are available here

“Everything That Helps Us Fly: Art that Uplifts During Challenging Times”

A group of Evanston and Chicago artists will showcase their pieces that depict angels, wings and love at the Open Studio Project. The exhibition will open with a reception Saturday, February 6 from 3-5 p.m. and will be available to view every Wednesday after that during gallery hours for free. 901 Sherman Ave., Evanston 

Sugar Rush Pop Up at Recess

Every Thursday through Sunday, guests can stroll through candy themed photo booths while indulging in sweets. Adult tickets include a specialty cocktail, gourmet rice krispie treat and sweet treats goodie bag and the kids ticket includes the same things with a hot chocolate instead of the cocktail. Purchase tickets through Eventbrite. 838 W. Kinzie, Chicago

Winnetka Take Out Challenge

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Take the Winnetka Take Out Challenge and enter for your chance to win dining experiences and gift cards! Upcoming prizes include a $50 gift card to True Juice where you can name your own smoothie! Learn more here.

NSCVB Restaurant Month: Takeout Edition

Support restaurants all over the North Shore by ordering takeout during the month of February. Participating businesses will offer special deals that guests can redeem by mentioning the offer or using the code. Various locations

Feb. 1-14: Enjoy PB&J’s Outdoor Ice Bar and Igloo

PB&J will turn their patio into an outdoor ice bar complete with a life-size igloo. Guests can engage in the interactive experience while enjoying the signature menu as well as select speciality Ice Shots. Reservations can be made on OpenTable and walk-ins are also welcome. 205 N. Peoria St., Chicago

Feb. 2: Columbia College Chicago’s “Ida B. Wells: More Than a Street, a Force for Activism”

Michelle Duster, great granddaughter of Ida B. Wells and Columbia College Chicago faculty member, will give a presentation about Wells’ legacy and her book “Ida B. the Queen.” The virtual event is free and open to the public. Register here

Feb. 4: Sophia Steak’s Sip and Steak Virtual Wine Dinner for Two

virtual dinner event at Sophia Steak

Glenn Keefer and Matthew BonAnno are teaming up to bring guests a virtual steak and wine experience at 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $245 and include dinner for two, the Zoom link, tasting notes, cooking instructions, discussions from BonAnno about the wine pairings and a steak education discussion given by Keefer. The dinner will include appetizers, sides, one ribeye, one Sophia style filet and dessert along with 3 bottles of wine from BonAnno and Matthew Fritz Wineries. For more information, visit Toast. 1146 Wilmette Ave., Wilmette

Feb. 4: Chinese New Year Celebration with Jewel Osco

Ring in the Year of the Ox with cooking demonstrations, a cocktail making lesson, cultural activities and giveaways. The Zoom celebration is free and will stream from 5-6 p.m. Register on Eventbrite

Feb. 5-7, 12-14: Visions and Voices, a Black Playwrights’ Reading Series

As a part of its Black Playwrights’ Reading Series, the Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts at Northwestern University will showcase the work of its Black MFA directing students. “Wine in the Wilderness” will be shown the first weekend and “The Death of the Last Black Man in the Whole Entire World AKA the Negro Book of the Dead” will be shown the second weekend. Tickets for the on demand performances are available here.

Feb. 6: First Saturday Evanston Art Events

Tour Evanston’s art scene on the first Saturday of the month. Three art exhibits are available for viewing as long as you’re masked up and social distancing, and art will be displayed in various storefronts. You can also support local artists by purchasing their work at certain locations. For a list of locations, visit the Facebook page

Feb. 7: Evanston Art Center “In Focus” Lecture Series: Rebecca Zorach, Abolition Art

As part of its “In Focus” lecture series, Evanston Art Center is hosting Rebecca Zorach for a lecture about abolition art, February 7 at 2 p.m. The event will be over Zoom and it is free and open to the public. Register on Eventbrite

Feb. 7: Cats ‘N Mats Yoga with The Anti-Cruelty Society

Get your Sunday morning workout in while meeting the adorable cats from the shelter. The one hour virtual class will include a show and tell with the kittens at the end. The registration fee is $5, and guests also have the opportunity to donate to the shelter when registering

Feb. 7-21: Chicago Black Restaurant Week

Celebrate Black history month and support small businesses by dining at Chicago’s Black-owned restaurants during the two week event. Restaurants and partners will be announced leading up to the event. 

Feb. 11: Immersive Van Gogh

Courtesy of Immersive Van Gogh.

Running through September, Chicago is home to the first Immersive Van Gogh exhibit in the United States. The exhibit will follow Covid-19 safety protocols, including hand sanitizing stations, temperature checks, contactless payment options and social distancing markers. Get your tickets here.

Feb. 11: Cafe Ba-Ba-Reeba’s Virtual Wine Dinner For Two & Flamenco Show

Turn your home into a tapas bar with a six course dinner and three bottles of Spanish wine. Executive Chef Eric Jorgensen and winemaker Marqués de Cáceres will lead the event, and El Payo music and dance ensemble will perform a live Flamenco show. Tickets are $150 for two guests. For more details, visit Tock. 2024 N. Halsted St., Chicago

Feb. 12-13: 61st Annual UChicago Folk Festival

The annual event will move online this year, showcasing a lineup of folk artists from around the world starting at 7 p.m. both nights. During the day, on February 13, attendees will have the opportunity to attend free workshops. For the full lineup and schedule, visit UChicago Folk.

Feb. 12-28: Celebrate Chinese Lunar New Year with Fashion Outlets of Chicago and The Shops at North Bridge

Shoppers can visit the Fashion Outlets website to unlock Lunar New Year offers and a free seven-day trial of Fashion Outlets’ Savings Pass which can save you up to $800. The Shops at North Bridge is also offering Lunar New Year shopping and dining savings when you visit their website. You can sign up for the Visitor Savings program to receive up to $450 in additional savings. For a list of participating retailers, visit fashionoutletsofchicago.com and  theshopsatnorthbridge.com

Feb. 14: Evanston Art Center: Ceremonial Teas in the Context of African American Social Life

As a part of the inaugural Curatorial Fellowship, Artist/Curator Larissa J. Akinremi will present and Taurean J. Webb will be featured as a guest speaker at this virtual event. ASL interpreter Julikka LaChe will also be in attendance. Register for free via Eventbrite

Feb. 15-21: Chicago Filmmakers’ “The Spirit of Chicago” 7: From The Outside In 

The seventh edition of the virtual screening series will showcase the work of local filmmakers. The films focus on the lives of everyday people and they are available to stream after a suggested donation. For more information about the films, visit Chicago Filmmakers.

Feb. 17: Virtual Kids Music Festival

Two of a Kind, Wendy & DB and Turtle Dance Music will perform on Facebook live for the little ones at 3 p.m. All donations received will benefit No Kid Hungry. Visit the Facebook page for additional information. 

Feb. 18: Chicago History Museum’s “Revisioning Historic Preservation: Chicago in the Twenty-First Century”

The Garrick Theater

Learn and discuss the urban history of Chicago with Ward Miller, executive director of Preservation Chicago. The free seminar will begin at 7 p.m. and donations are welcome. Register here

Feb. 20: The Second City’s The Really Awesome Improv Show

The online improv show is family friendly, live, interactive and shaped entirely by the kids’ suggestions. Tickets cost $15 and if you can’t watch live at 3 p.m., it will also be available on demand. 

Feb. 20: One River School’s Hygge Crafting Fest 

Three in-studio workshops will be offered from 3-5 p.m. leading up to Evanston’s Hygge Fest. Participants can learn about hand-bound journals, Scandinavian design printmaking or cozy stitches embroidery. Fees range from $35-50 and include all materials. Attendees must wear masks. Register here.

Feb. 21: Chicago Volunteer Expo

Virtually engage with over 75 nonprofit organizations and find out how you can give back. Attendees can register for one of three sessions and will have the opportunity to interact one on one with the participating organizations. For more details and to register, visit Chicago Volunteer Expo

Feb. 21: Chicago School of Shoemaking & Leather Arts’ Small Leather Gifts Workshop

Learn to make gifts such as luggage tags, key fobs, simple wallets and more during the workshop from 1-3 p.m. Registration is $95 and space is limited for safety precautions. 3717 N. Ravenswood Ave. #113, Chicago

Feb. 23: Adrian Stein’s “Quantum Mirror” at ArtSpace 8

Beginning February 23, Chicago-based new media artist Adrian Stein’s first art installation will debut at ArtSpace 8. Stein’s installation asks the viewer to to reflect on their persona the way it is portrayed through social media and physically. “Quantum Mirror” will be free and open to the public Monday through Saturday 10 a.m. – 7 p.m., Sundays 12-6 p.m. and tickets are not required. 900 N. Michigan Ave., 3rd and 4th Floor, Chicago

Feb. 25: Bill Gates: “How to Avoid a Climate Disaster” with Chicago Humanities Festival 

In conversation with Dax Shepard and Monica Padman, Gates will discuss his new book and the solutions we have to save the planet and avoid a climate catastrophe. Tickets are $36 and include access to the 7 p.m. livestream and a copy of the book shipped to your door. For more details and to purchase tickets, visit Chicago Humanities Festival.  

Feb. 25: Chicago Children’s Choir Black History Month Virtual Concert

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“Preserving and Persevering” will explore music’s role in preserving African traditions in the U.S. and its role in helping Black Americans maintain a sense of community. The free concert will be streamed on CCC’s Facebook and Youtube beginning at 7 p.m. 

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Aliyah Armstrong is an intern at Better with a passion for arts and entertainment reporting. A senior in Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, she is also minoring in Sociological Studies. Aliyah supports the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Black Youth Project 100, an organization that aims to create justice and freedom for all Black people.

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