Bucket List for 2016 in Downtown Chicago

December 29, 2015 | By JD Eaton
Reading Time: 3 Minutes

As the new year approaches and we set our resolutions for 2016, it’s the perfect time to look forward and choose some local events to attend. Here are eight of our picks for things to do in downtown Chicago this year:

1. Adler After Dark

Every third Thursday of the month, Adler After Dark offers open access to museum exhibits and galleries, unlimited sky shows, and access to the Doane Observatory from 6:00-10:00 pm. First Contact and Stellar Speakeasy are the first two themes of 2016, where cocktails, entrée items and snacks are available for purchase. The 21+ event includes live entertainment, hands-on educational programs, and some of the best skyline views in Chicago. Advance tickets are $20 and can be purchased here.

2. Chicago Authored

In a new café-style space, the city’s first crowd-sourced exhibition is now open at the Chicago History Museum. Open daily, the multimedia-based gallery experience pays tributes to the authors of Chicago.  Visit the Chicago Authored website here to learn more.

3. Chicago Polar Plunge

On Sunday, March 6th, thousands of people will head into Lake Michigan for a freezing swim to raise money for Special Olympics Chicago.Vince Vaughn and Lady Gaga showed up for last year’s event, which is held at North Avenue Beach and starts at 10 am. Visit the Polar Plunge website to register or donate.

4. Baconfest

Tickets are now available for the eighth Baconfest held at UIC Forum. The three sessions offer attendees bacon-inspired cocktails, craft beer and unlimited bacon treats. In 2015, over 170 chefs participated and served up Chicago’s most creative bacon dishes to more than 4,500 people. Tickets are $75 and include unlimited access to all of the bacon and seven drink tickets for the selected session. A portion of the event proceeds support the Greater Chicago Food Depository’s programs; Baconfest Chicago has donated a total revenue of $303,690 from 2010-2015.

5. Bike The Drive

Get outside and enjoy the only day without traffic on Lake Shore Drive. Thousands of participants will bike from Bryn Mawr on the north to 57th Street (and back) on Sunday, May 29th.

6. Taste of Randolph

This West Loop festival is the perfect opportunity to find a new favorite spot on Restaurant Row without a reservation. The three-day celebration runs from June 17-19 and extends six blocks; the Taste of Randolph will offer a wide variety of food and drink options, and three stages for musical acts including: Dinosaur Jr., Best Coast, the Dandy Warhols, and Tennis.

7. Chicago Blues Fest

In its 32st year, the Chicago Blues Fest will bring living legends and 12-bar local regulars back to Grant Park. This year’s theme is a tribute to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, with three days of performances on five stages from June 10-12. The biggest name announced for 2016 so far is Hozier, who hits Pritzker Pavillion on June 10. Other headliners include Buddy Giu, Syl Johnson, and Shemekia Copeland. Get all of the details here.

8. Sauced Night Market

Sauced is a night market that will return to Logan Square’s Emporium Arcade, with an expansive lineup of local vendors. It’s a great opportunity to explore new shops or find gifts, from apparel and greeting cards to coffee packages. For those looking to grab a craft beer or dinner, there’s a diverse lineup of local restaurants representing as well. Get the scoop ahead of time and sign up for their monthly newsletter.

The entire team at Luxury Living Chicago extends our best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy 2016.


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