If you are staying in Chicago for winter break, The PHOENIX has you covered. We picked the coolest events and activities for you to do to stay busy all break long. Four weeks is a long period of time, but luckily, Chicago is a great place to be around Christmas and the New Year.
Dec. 10 – March 19 — “Basim Magdy: The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings” @ The Museum of Contemporary Art (220 E. Chicago Ave.)
Egyptian artist Basim Magdy combines multiple media including film, photography and painting to create his surreal visions of a utopian society. “The Stars Were Aligned for a Century of New Beginnings” will be his first U.S. museum survey. Works were collected throughout his entire career and will be on display, to showcase his unique technique of ‘pickling,’ which involves applying household chemicals to film.
Dec. 17 — Aretha Franklin @ The Chicago Theatre (175 N. State St.)
Once you’re done with finals, you can see the Queen of Soul perform a set filled with well-known R&B anthems. Making up for the concert she canceled in November, Franklin is sure to put on a killer show featuring numbers from her 38th studio album, “The Great Diva Classics.”
Dec. 23 — Taylor Bennett’s Holiday Bash @ Metro Chicago (3730 N. Clark St.)
Taylor Bennett is a 20-year-old independent artist from Chicago who happens to be Chance The Rapper’s younger brother. Bennett is a force to be reckoned with; his lyrics, style and high-energy shows are not to be missed. Having opened up for famous rappers including Vic Mensa, Nas, YG and Curren$y, he might bring some friends and special guests along for a memorable holiday season bash at the Metro.
Dec. 31 — Chi-Town Rising @ Hyatt Regency Chicago (151 E. Wacker Drive)
Chi-Town Rising returns to ring in the new year with a bang. The celebration features music stages, celebrities and a fireworks display at midnight. Tickets to the event are free and there are two viewing areas on each bank of the Chicago River, but be sure to get there early to get a good view.
Jan. 5 – Jan. 26 — The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival @ Stage 773 (1225 W. Belmont Ave.)
The largest sketch comedy festival in the nation, more than 180 groups from all over the world are scheduled to perform in 180 shows over 8 days. January can be cold and miserable, but the 16th Annual Sketch Comedy Festival will make you forget about the horribly low temperatures outside with its packed list of hilarious performers.
Jan. 6 — Saba @ Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.)
The 22-year-old Chicago MC Saba is firing at all cylinders in 2016. After releasing his third full-length project, “Bucket List Project,” his homecoming show is sure to be crazy. This Chicago rapper is ready to step into the spotlight, so it’s a good idea to see him at a small venue now before he becomes famous.
Ends Jan. 8 — “Christmas Around The World” @ Museum of Science & Industry (5700 S. Lake Shore Drive)
At this annual exhibit, you can view more than 50 trees and other displays that aim to showcase Chicago’s diverse holiday customs and traditions. Each tree is spectacularly different, and this is a great opportunity to see how various cultures come together to celebrate Christmas and the New Year.
Jan. 11 – Jan. 15 — Tomorrow Never Knows @ Multiple venues
Hosted by two local Chicago venues, Schubas and Lincoln Hall, this music festival gathers the best up-and-coming indie musicians from around the country. The festival takes place over five days in January, and some of this year’s acts include BADBADNOTGOOD, Chicago rapper Femdot and The Hotelier.
Jan. 14 — JEFF The Brotherhood @ Lincoln Hall (2424 N. Lincoln Ave.)
There’s a chance JEFF The Brotherhood escaped your radar. This Nashville duo consisting of two brothers has consistently put out surfy, stoner punk-rock that will rattle your bones. With high-energy shows and songs to match, this is slated to be the perfect way to end your 2016-17 winter break.