Weekend 101: 10 Things to Do Around Chicago Feb. 7-9

Some of the Chicago area’s biggest events of the year, including the Chicago Auto Show and Chicago Botanic Garden’s Orchid Show, begin this weekend. Plus, you could win passes to see the Illinois Holocaust Museum’s Ruth Bader Ginsburg exhibit.

Chicago Auto Show

Feb. 8-17

Chicago Auto Show
First Look for Charity 2019 (Photo courtesy of Chicago Auto Show.)

The country’s largest auto show opens for its 112th year this weekend. It all begins with First Look for Charity, which benefits 18 nonprofits, on Feb. 7.

The Orchid Show

Feb. 8 to March 22

Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show
Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

This year’s Orchid Show theme is Brilliance, and it’s the perfect way to escape Chicago’s winter thanks to 10,000 bright blooms. Special events include Orchids After Hours on Thursday nights and Feb. 14 and Evening with Orchids on March 11.

“Notorious RBG: The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg”

Feb. 9 to Aug. 16

Notorious RBG at Illinois Holocaust Museum
Photo by Robert Wedemeyer.

The first exhibit all about RBG gives visitors a chance to see a robe from the justice’s Supreme Court wardrobe (and try on their own), watch home videos, see the official portraits of RBG and Sandra Day O’Connor from the National Portrait Gallery, and more.

Win passes to see the exhibit here.

Oscar Weekend at Music Box Theatre


Get ready for the Oscars on Sunday with an advanced screening of “Corpus Christi,” a Best International Feature Film nominee, on Feb. 7. “Little Women” and “Honeyland” are also playing, as are the 2020 Oscar-nominated documentary short films.

More Can’t-Miss Events:

  • At the Grand Chefs Experience on Feb. 8 at the Field Museum, enjoy more than 35 Chefs Tasting stations from the Chicago area’s top chefs, as well as dancing, custom cocktails, and dessert, all while supporting the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
  • More than 30 local musicians and bands are set to perform at businesses throughout Wicker Park and Bucktown during ChillFest, a pop-up music festival on Feb. 8.
  • Celebrate Chinese New Year at Gallagher Way outside Wrigley Field on Feb. 8. Watch traditional lion and dragon dances, make a lantern craft with your kids, and more.
  • Join REI for Chicago Snowshoe Stomp and Brew on Feb. 8. Explore Chicago on snowshoes (no prior experience required) before warming up with appetizers and a beer at a local brewery.
  • Underscore Theatre Company’s Chicago Musical Theatre Festival continues through Feb. 23 with full productions of eight new musicals, two staged readings, and a showcase of 10-minute musicals.

Make a Difference:

  • Support students around Chicago during 826CHI’s Trivia for Cheaters on Feb. 7. Form your team and raise funds for 826CHI, “Chicago’s largest publisher of creative writing by Chicago’s youth authors,” during this trivia night with a twist.

For even more fun things to do around Chicago…

…check out our 29 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago This February article. And if you still need plans for Valentine’s Day, we’ve got you covered with 11 Valentine’s Day Experiences in Chicago That Will Get Your Heart Racing More Than a Romantic Meal.

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