Whether you enjoyed the year or are glad it’s behind you – we hope the start of the New Year has allowed you to eat good food, enjoy company of loved ones and you have been overall merry. For Chicago Food Planet, we had a crazy & exciting year as we created two new food experiences that are now offered during the winter to help locals and visitors alike enjoy exciting Chicago winter activities. However, we all know there have been moments of the year that would not fall under the “good” kind of crazy. With that in mind, let’s toast the new year and look ahead and make the most out of these next winter months. Check out our list of things to do in Chicago this winter; no need to get away, just get out!
The Escape Game
Will you be able to escape? The Escape Game started in Nashville and is the top rated “Fun and Games” attraction on TripAdvisor, with over 1,400 5-star reviews. All of their rooms have the same main objective (to escape within an hour!), but each game has a unique, immersive theme with different surprise elements and game components. Work as a team to escape before the time runs out! If you haven’t participated in an escape room challenge, we can’t stress enough what a cool experience this is and it’s perfect for winter when you want to avoid the weather.
Check Out A New Chicago Restaurant
While we salute many great restaurants that closed up shop, we look forward to a fresh bundle of new restaurants that have or will open their doors in the new year. Two of our new favorites happen to be right across from each other in Wicker Park: The Delta & The Publican Anker. Two entirely different restaurants in one of the most happening neighborhoods in the city.
The Delta is a restaurant and cocktail bar in Chicago’s Wicker Park neighborhood that is an ode to the food, beverage, and culture of the Mississippi Delta region. The Mississippi Delta region is widely known for beginning in the lobby of the Peabody Hotel in Memphis, Tennessee, and stretches due south — ending at Catfish Row in Vicksburg, Mississippi.
The Delta specializes in Mississippi Red Hot tamales and craft cocktails. The Mississippi Delta’s rich and often complex history is a focal point of The Delta here in Chicago. Owner Eldridge Williams, a Memphis native, grew up eating Mississippi Red Hot tamales and his father even worked at a tamale factory when he was a child.
Take a breath from pushing stacks of paper across your desk and head to The Delta for a quick, healthy and delicious dinner or brunch. From shared starters to Mississippi Red Hot Tamales and Fried Green Tomatoes and Catfish; the flavors cover a wide range of tastes while always packing loads of flavor. We are so excited to welcome this hot spot to the neighborhood. Add a cocktail or get a vase full with friends to boost your meal and you’ll be sailing away in no time.
Location:1745 W. North Avenue
Cost: $12-25 for a full meal
The Publican Anker
The newest addition to One Off Hospitality’s restaurant empire, The Publican Anker features an elevated rendition of pub fare spearheaded by chef de cuisine: AJ Walker. “Whether sitting at the bar for a round of German lagers, standing with friends over a bottle of Muscadet and oysters or enjoying a full meal at a spacious booth, Publican Anker is a refuge from the chaos of Milwaukee, Damen and North Avenue,” the owners said in a news release.
They have an atmosphere that allows for all kinds of escape from the chaos of the area while also opening doors to all types of people and desired experiences. We can’t stop talking about their house Manhattan, half roasted chicken or perfectly seasoned dorade. Looking for more of a casual meal? Try their pub burger with caramelized onion, american cheese and special sauce – the extensive beer & wine list allows for a multitude of perfect pairings.
Location: 1567 Milwaukee Avenue
Cost: $15-40 for a full meal (depends on shared plates)
Free February at The Field Museum
For the first part of the year, Illinois residents will receive free basic admission to the Field Museum on select dates including the entirety of “Free February.” The museum estimates these dates will save families of four $74. Illinois families must show a valid proof of residence upon arrival. These discounted/free passes must be purchased on arrival at The Field Museum and are not available online in advance.
Location: 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive
The Field Museum and its collections originated from the 1893 World’s Columbian Exposition (The Worlds Fair of 1893) and the artifacts displayed at the fair. In order to house the exhibits and collections assembled for the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair for future generations, Edward Ayer convinced the merchant Marshall Field to fund the establishment of a museum. Which you can learn more about on The World’s Fare Neighborhood Food Experience…
The World’s Fare Neighborhood Food Experience
The World’s Fare showcases the history of Chicago’s food scene dating back to the famous World’s Columbian Exposition and how it translates into the bustling melting pot of today. Enjoy 4 mouth-watering food & drink pairings from around the world as we journey through Chicago’s unique food scene: mixing the dramatic past of our city with the contemporary restaurants of the present. Our happy hour experience teaches Chicago history locals probably don’t already know. Take a moment to relax and revel in the comfort of Southern American BBQ as you taste the “Best BBQ in the USA,” adventure to Asia with a hearty exploration of Asian Fusion cuisine and finally jet over to Europe as we take you on a food and drink excursion. All food and drink tastings are included in this adults only happy hour experience.
Location: Wicker Park Neighborhood
Cost: $69 for four food & drink pairings, plus a bonus stop at Tapster
How To Book: Go to www.chicagofoodplanet.com
If this pulled pork from @lilliesqchicago doesn't make you all warm and fuzzy inside, then pair it with a local beer from @offcolorbrewing and that should do the trick! Grab a friend and jump on our #chifoodplanet The World's Fare experience and you'll get to taste exactly what we are talking about…plus 3 other delicious food and drink pairings! www.chicagofoodplanet.com
Lincoln Park Zoo
While their wonderful Zoo Lights nights are over, you can join many of Lincoln Park Zoo’s additional activities or just explore on your own! Check out their upcoming event schedule!
Join Lincoln Park Zoo’s teen Conservation Ambassadors Board for a special, FREE event at the Walter Family Arctic Tundra. Engage in stations and activities while admiring artwork. You’ll learn how to take little steps to reduce your carbon footprint!
Location: 2001 N Clark St.
Chicago Restaurant Week
Chicago Restaurant Week returns on January 26 and continues through February 8 with two weeks of great dining deals all throughout the city. The 10th annual culinary celebration features special prix fixe menus starting at $22 for brunch (back from 2017!) and lunch, and starting at $33 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax and gratuity).
Check out Choose Chicago’s website for information regarding the featured restaurants. You can search by cuisine type, neighborhood or by restaurant. Get out and support your local restaurants! It’s the perfect activity during this dreary winter season to get your tastebuds tingling.
The Second City
One of our favorite things to do all year long is catch a show at The Second City. What better way to cure winter blues than with drinks and laughter? Grab a drink (and/or dinner) at the 1959 Kitchen & Bar before you see one of their upcoming shows (official descriptions featured below):
The Second City e.t.c.’s 41st revue, Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno, reminds us that as divided as the nation may be, there is still hilarity in our humanity. This exciting new cast illustrates that there is still plenty to laugh at in ourselves and though they may be slightly shattered, America still has two legs to stand on. Fantastic Super Great Nation Numero Uno proves that as long as we’re still willing to listen to each other, laughter is our international language.
The Second City’s latest revue The Winner… of Our Discontent asks if it’s broken, should we fix it? Chicago’s premier sketch comedy troupe finds big laughs in the country’s collective disappointment and fears. If you’re scared for the future of America, guess what? So are we! From pot smoking moms to Russians targeting Altoona, Iowa to a few suburban dads who are sure they have it all figured out, this show sifts through all of the divisiveness to find a winner. (Spoiler: It’s the Cubs and that’s it.)
Check out all their classes and showtimes here.