Cool Things To Do in Chicago

Even with so much to see and do in the city, breaking out of your usual off-work routine can be surprisingly difficult. It’s easy to hit up the same local spots for entertainment because they are familiar, but you can easily mix in some rather off-beat activities without much effort (at least on your part). We’ve rounded up a few ideas that’ll get locals and tourists discovering Chicago in a whole new light.

Full Moon Fire Jam

In the warmer months, Chicago gets a little weird when the sun goes down on nights with a full moon. If hobbyist and professional fire dancers wielding flaming whips to the percussive beats of local musicians sounds like a good time, then the Full Moon Fire Jam is surely your kind of party. Check out the detailed jam schedule of the free, monthly celebrations (now part of the Chicago Parks District Night Out in the Park series), which take place on the lakefront between Foster and Lawrence Avenues.

Room Escape Adventures

Ever wonder how well you’d fare on a reality TV show like Fear Factor, Survivor, or The Amazing Race? Now you can test your team-building and quick sleuthing skills through various 60-minute room escape scenarios created by Room Escape Adventures in the Loop. Participants will have to find clues and solve puzzles—all while relying on other participants you may or may not actually know—in a race against the clock to unlock the door. Whether you successfully unlock the door or not, the adrenaline-pumping circumstances are sure to bring you closer to fellow escapees.

El Circo Cheapo Cabaret

Going to the circus doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Get your fill of what they call “world class acrobats, jugglers, puppeteers, aerialists, clowns, and side show freaks” at the poor man’s Cirque du Soleil—that’s El Circo Cheapo Cabaret—on the first Saturday of every month in an unmarked BYOB studio space. No two shows are ever the same; even frequent attendees will never quite know what to expect with an ever-changing cast of artists performing at the family-friendly 7 p.m. and 18-and-up 10 p.m. shows. Sit close to the action (and even participate) from the budget-friendly “picnic seats” or snag folding chair seating for a few dollars more… just be sure to check for tickets to go on sale for the upcoming show early!

Big Joe’s Turtle Racing

Why head to your regular pub on Friday night when there’s bizarre entertainment to be had in Ravenswood? Big Joe’s 2 & 6 Pub hosts weekly turtle races every Friday on a special ring set atop a pool table; the first turtle to reach the outer edge of the ring wins. Patrons earn raffle tickets for each pitcher of beer purchased, which means you’ll want to get there to start racking up tickets well before the initial buzzer. An announcer calls out numbers, and racing turtles are assigned to patrons with matching tickets. First-place and last-place turtles award bar-goers free t-shirts and beers about every 15 minutes throughout the night.

Robot City Workshop

Robot City Workshop in the Lakeview neighborhood attracts robot enthusiasts, hobbyists, kids, and even couples looking for a fun date night. Learn how to build, repair, and program through classes ranging from beginner workshops that start with your very first robot kit and progress to soldering, microcontroller, and in-depth code-writing workshops. Tinker with DIY robot-building kits and connect with your significant other over simple circuits on Robot Date Night.

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