29 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This February

2020 is a leap year, which means you get one extra day to explore everything the Chicago area has to offer this month. From North Shore Restaurant Month and Grand Chefs Experience to the Chicago Auto Show and The Orchid Show — even groundbreaking museum exhibits — there’s so much you won’t want to miss.


Jan. 29 to Feb. 2, Feb. 6-9: “Disney on Ice Presents Road Trip Adventures”

Travel the world as you visit your favorite characters like Mary Poppins; Moana; Simba, Timon, and Pumbaa; Aladdin, Jasmine, and Genie; Woody, Bo Peep, and Forky; and more. Jan. 29 to Feb. 2: United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago; Feb. 6-9: Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont

February: North Shore Restaurant Month

Explore the North Shore’s amazing culinary scene throughout the month (except on Valentine’s Day) and take advantage of delicious deals by printing a dining certificate or showing it on your phone. Participating restaurants include Aboyer, The Barn, Cupitol Coffee & Eatery, Francesca’s North, Glenview Grind, Guildhall, and many more. Various

February: Hygge Fest

Get cozy all month long with events throughout Evanston celebrating the Danish concept of “hygge.” Make candles with Atelier 880 at Assembly Creators Market on Feb. 8, enjoy high tea at Patisserie Coralie on Feb. 9, learn a new skill during Calligraphy & Cocktails at Five & Dime on Feb. 22, and more. Various

Feb. 5: PowerHouse SMART® Luxury Conference

This conference is a must-attend for members of the luxury residential and commercial industries. Hear from world-class speakers, network, and more. Better is a proud media sponsor of this event. Merchandise Mart, 222 W. Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago

Feb. 8: Grand Chefs Experience

Grand Chefs Experience in Chicago
Photo courtesy of the Grand Chefs Experience.

Enjoy more than 35 Chefs Tasting stations from the Chicago area’s top chefs, as well as dancing, custom cocktails, and dessert, during this event benefitting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

Feb. 8: “Dancing with the Stars” Live Tour 2020

See your favorites from “Dancing with the Stars” in person with special guest Kate Flannery. Rosemont Theatre, 5400 N. River Road, Rosemont

Feb. 8-9: Travel & Adventure Show

Travel & Adventure Show Chicago
Photo courtesy of the Travel & Adventure Show.

Dreaming of your next vacation? Visit this annual show to learn more about 250-plus global destinations; meet keynote speakers Rick Steves, Josh Gates, Pauline Frommer, and Peter Greenberg; and even ride a camel! Donald E. Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Road, Rosemont

Feb. 8-9: Chocolate Weekend

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, shop delicious treats from vendors like Blackout Baking Co., Gourmet Goodies, and Nothing Bundt Cakes. And don’t miss Chocolate and Wine Pairing on Feb. 8. The Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle

Feb. 8-17: Chicago Auto Show

Chicago Auto Show 2020
Photo courtesy of the Chicago Auto Show.

The largest auto show in the country returns with special events like Sports Team Pride Day on Feb. 10 and Chicago Friday Night Flights on Feb. 14; 20 new vehicle introductions; First Look for Charity, which has raised $53 million since 1992, on Feb. 7; and much more. McCormick Place, 2301 S. King Drive, Chicago

Feb. 8 to March 22: The Orchid Show

The Orchid Show at Chicago Botanic Garden
Orchids After Hours (Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.)

Say goodbye to the winter blues at this annual Chicago Botanic Garden show featuring 10,000 orchids. Visit on Thursday nights and Feb. 14 for Orchids After Hours, or enjoy Morning Music on Tuesday and Thursday mornings. Photographers’ Hours are 8:15-9:45 a.m. on Tuesdays. 1000 Lake Cook Road, Glencoe

Ends Feb. 9: Chicago Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week: Commons Club
Commons Club’s Crème Brûlée (Photo courtesy of Commons Club.)

There’s still time to enjoy special prix fixe menus at restaurants like Bar Biscay, Commons Club, River Roast, SX Sky Bar, and The Smith. With more than 430 participating restaurants, there’s plenty of dining deals to discover. Various

Feb. 14-16: NBA All-Star 2020

Chicago hosts the NBA’s best for a full weekend of action. On Friday, watch the NBA All-Star Celebrity Game presented by Ruffles and NBA Rising Stars before Saturday night events like the Taco Bell Skills Challenge and AT&T Slam Dunk. It all concludes with the All-Star Game on Sunday night. United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago

Feb. 14-20: Sausage Fest

Hofbräuhaus Chicago Sausage Fest
Milwaukee Mullers at Hofbräuhaus Chicago (Photo by Cesar Doval.)

This Hofbräuhaus Chicago festival features live music and sausage specials like the Sausage Tower with six different sausages, haus-made kraut, German potato salad, and two salted pretzels; The Southerner with andouille sausage and shrimp over Cajun rice; and The European with smoked pork sausages topped with caramelized onions and paired with cheesy pierogis. 5500 Park Place, Rosemont

Feb. 14 to May 10: Spring Flower Show: Golden Hour

Spring arrives early at this Garfield Park Conservatory show. This year, find hanging baskets with spring flowers and rope-art displays. 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago

Feb. 22: Winter Wine and Whiskey Fest

Sample wine and whiskey while enjoying live music and small bites and meeting Brookfield Zoo’s Animal Ambassadors. 3300 Golf Road, Brookfield

Feb. 23: Chicago Volunteer Expo

Looking for a way to give back or make a difference this year? This is your chance to meet more than 75 local nonprofits and learn more about how you can help them accomplish their missions. Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 2430 N. Cannon Drive, Chicago

Feb. 28: Piff the Magic Dragon

Don’t miss your chance to see this hilarious star of “America’s Got Talent” and “Penn & Teller: Fool Us” — last year’s show sold out. North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, 9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie


Feb. 27 to March 1: Chicago Irish Film Festival

Watch a wide variety of films by Irish filmmakers that give “audiences a window into the color and complexity of Irish life.” Various

Feb. 28 to March 15: JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival

This annual festival returns for its seventh year with 52 films that “will inform, inspire and ignite emotion. They honor Jewish filmmakers, writers and actors—and those committed to repairing the world through brave, artistic expression.” Various


Opens Feb. 25: “Ebb & Flow”

The Gallery in Lake Forest hosts the debut show of New Orleans-based artist Elise Allen. The Gallery writes, “Allen’s art is strongly influenced by the beach and seascapes that instill a sense of serene and calm in her paintings with a contemporary edge.” 202 Wisconsin Ave., Lake Forest


Feb. 9 to Aug. 16: “Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Notorious RBG at Illinois Holocaust Museum
Ruth Bader Ginsburg, by Maira Kalman (Courtesy of Julie Saul Gallery, New York.)

The first museum exhibit about Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg features a robe and jabot from RBG, home videos, the official portraits of RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor from the National Portrait Gallery, and more. Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center, 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie

Opens Feb. 28: “The March”

Experience the 1963 March on Washington and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s “I Have a Dream” speech through this groundbreaking virtual reality experience from TIME and Executive Producer Viola Davis debuting at the DuSable Museum of African American History. 740 E. 56th Place, Chicago

Ongoing: “Castle”

Chicago Children's Museum Castle exhibit
Photo courtesy of Chicago Children’s Museum.

Chicago Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit allows kids to explore a castle with secret tunnels, a rope bridge, a wizard’s room, dungeon, throne room, and more. The exhibit runs through May 10. 700 E. Grand Ave., Suite 127, Chicago


Feb. 14-15: 60th Annual University of Chicago Folk Festival

Enjoy a variety of concerts from bands from around the country, as well as workshops. Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St., Chicago

Feb. 21-22: The Lumineers

The Lumineers’ 2020 North American Tour stops in Chicago for two nights this month with J.S. Ondara. Allstate Arena, 6920 N. Mannheim Road, Rosemont


Feb. 4 to March 11: “The Second City’s Black History Month Show”

The Second City's Black History Month Show
Top (L-R): Robel Arega, Leila Gorstein; Bottom (L-R): Max Thomas, Colette Gregory, Jillian Ebanks, Bill Letz (Photo courtesy of The Second City.)

This show celebrates the work of The Second City’s African American alumni, including Sam Richardson, Keegan-Michael Key, Amber Ruffin, Tim Meadows, and Edgar Blackmon. UP Comedy Club, 230 W. North Ave., Chicago

Feb. 12-23: “The Times Are Racing”

Joffrey Ballet The Times Are Racing
Joffrey Artists Dara Holmes and Edson Barbosa (Photo by Cheryl Mann.)

The Joffrey Ballet presents this mixed repertory program featuring three Chicago premieres. “Every season, the Joffrey brings the world to Chicago, and this year’s winter repertory program continues that tradition,” says Joffrey Artistic Director Ashley Wheater. This production is also part of Chicago Theatre Week. Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Ida B. Wells Drive, Chicago

Feb. 13-23: Chicago Theatre Week 2020

Chicago Theatre Week: SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical
“SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical” — Dan’yelle Williamson (Diva Donna), Alex Hairston (Disco Donna), Olivia Elease Hardy (Duckling Donna) and the Company of “SUMMER.” (© Matthew Murphy for MurphyMade.)

For the eighth year, Chicagoans can enjoy discounted tickets to some of the area’s hottest productions. Participants include Broadway in Chicago’s “SUMMER: The Donna Summer Musical,” “Graveyard Shift” at Goodman Theatre, “Grease” at Marriott Theatre, “Bug” at Steppenwolf Theatre Company, “Emma” at Chicago Shakespeare Theater, and “Legally Blonde: The Musical” at Northwestern’s Wirtz Center for the Performing Arts. Various

Feb. 22: Exelon Family Series: FLIP Fabrique

Canada’s FLIP Fabrique returns to Chicago with new production “BLIZZARD” featuring awe-inspiring acrobatics. This production is also part of Chicago Theatre Week. Harris Theater, 205 E. Randolph Drive, Chicago

Want More?

For even more fun things to do this month, check out Better Chicago’s Arts & Events section with ideas for Valentine’s Day and more.

Anna Carlson writes the weekly Weekend 101 column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine, and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital




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