CHICAGO, ILLINOIS – Chicago is known for our resilient and welcoming spirit, shaped by our place in the heart of the country. We’re the city that feels like home, no matter where you are in the world. While we all continue to pause, we invite you to connect with and experience our city — from taking a virtual tour of our immersive museums and attractions to enjoying recipes from Chicago Chefs at home. When the time is right, we look forward to warmly welcoming you to Chicago.
Check out the latest experiences and offerings our partners have shared with us below, and visit www.choosechicago.com/chicagohome for more information and ongoing updates:
VIRTUAL TOURS AND DIGITAL EXPERIENCES
With Google Arts & Culture, virtual visitors can roam the halls of many Chicago Museums from the comfort of their home. Museums and attractions include Adler Planetarium, The Art Institute of Chicago, DuSable Museum of African American History, Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, Chicago History Museum, National Museum of Mexican Art, Oriental Institute Museum, and IIT Institute of Design.
The Chicagoland area is home to the largest collection of Frank Lloyd Wright-designed structures in the world. This is where you’ll find some of the iconic architect’s most influential works, including two UNESCO World Heritage sites — Oak Park’s Unity Temple and the Frederick C. Robie House in Hyde Park. Take a look inside with these video tours:
The Art Institute of Chicago is known for their astounding collection, which includes some of the most famous paintings on the planet. And more than 40,000 of their works have been digitized in high-resolution, so you can explore them from the comfort of your own home. A good place to start is with some of the museum’s essential works — zoom in to see each tiny dot in a A Sunday on La Grande Jatte or admire the brushstrokes in Monet’s Water Lilies. See the digital collection and explore more ways to visit virtually here.
The Adler Planetarium is America’s first planetarium and it has become a recognized leader in space education. Bring the lab to your little scientist and spark curiosity and encourage exploration with the Adler Planetarium’s Let’s Do Science video series. Designed for families and educators, these engaging at-home experiments use household materials for fun hands-on, minds-on science activities. Experiments range from floating an egg in water to building a space-age lava lamp, and more.
Chicago History Museum is a place of learning, discovery, creativity, and of course, history. Delve into Chicago’s rich history with the Chicago History Museum’s entire portal of online exhibitions, which presents a fascinating look at our city’s past. Learn about the Great Chicago Fire, the life of Abraham Lincoln, the Haymarket riots, and the evolution of Chicago’s culinary scene. One of their coolest digital experience is the Chicago θθ Project, which offers free virtual reality experiences of defining Chicago moments like the SS Eastland Disaster and the 1933 World’s Fair. Explore online exhibits.
The Field Museum is a revered Chicago institution and one of the world’s great museums of natural history. From home, message Máximo the museum’s titanosaur through online chat or text message. You can ask the Field Museum‘s friendly titanosaur what life was like during the Cretaceous Period, how he came to be at the museum, and even his favorite color or what he likes to eat. Send Máximo a message using the button on this page or text him at 70221.
This hidden gem, located on the University of Chicago campus, houses a treasure trove of artifacts from the most ancient days of Egypt, Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, and beyond. The Oriental Institute‘s virtual tour lets you explore many of the objects uncovered during their excavations, from early pottery to a massive statue of King Tut. Take the virtual tour.
The Museum of Contemporary Photography is the world’s premier college art museum dedicated to photography. Located within the Columbia College Chicago’s Loop campus, the museum is home to more than 15,000 objects by over 1,500 artists. Their digital collections showcase photographs from the MoCP permanent collection that have been selected by artists, curators, and students. See here for the museum’s digital exhibitions.
The National Hellenic Museum, home to the largest collection of Greek American artifacts in the world, offers a free digital museum. The digital museum is home to 20,000+ artifacts, photos, historic newspapers, and books, plus more than 450 recorded oral histories. See here to view the collection and archives.
The National Museum of Mexican Art is home to one of the country’s largest Mexican art collections, staffed by curators and experts who are passionate about Mexican art. The museum’s staff and their families are finding creative ways to stay busy and entertained with at home activities. See here for some of their favorite activities to enjoy during this time.
The Newberry Library houses an extensive non-circulating collection of rare books, maps, music, manuscripts, and other printed material as Chicago’s independent research library since 1887. You can explore more than one million of these items digitized online.
ZOOS AND ANIMALS
Brookfield Zoo, a 216-acre oasis that is home to over 2,000 animals, is bringing the zoo to you with Facebook broadcasts to make time home with kids entertaining and educational. See African painted dog puppies get their first physical exam, gorillas using tools to get food, and much more.
The Lincoln Park Zoo, one of the largest zoo-based conservation and science programs in the country, is providing unique experiences for supporters to ‘keep in touch’ with their favorite animals and spaces at the zoo. Tune in to Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram for keeper chats, virtual habitat tours, Q&As, relaxing videos, and Facebook Lives with Zoo Director Megan Ross, Ph.D. Check out the zoo’s blog for an inside look at how Lincoln Park Zoo provides world-class care to nearly 200 species, as well as ways to connect young ones with nature and much more.
The Shedd Aquarium, home to 32,600 species of sea life, is giving visitors a live glimpse into the aquarium to enjoy from home. With the Shedd Aquarium’s Underwater Beauty live cam, enter a world of shimmer, color, pattern and rhythm, where jellies pulse, eels ribbon and a rainbow comes alive with reef fishes in the aquarium’s most diverse special exhibit ever. Underwater Beauty shows how every aquatic animal is beautifully adapted to thrive in its environment — and how this beauty is worth saving.
DINING & IMBIBING AT HOME
RECIPES FROM OUR CHEFS
Recipes can be found here; check back for more.
Executive Chef Derek Dupree of Bernie’s shares his hummus with lamb recipe and notes, “hummus is fairly easy to make and uses ingredients that are non-perishable, and that you likely already have. Hummus also makes for a great work-from-home snack.”
Learn new cooking tips and techniques in The Chopping Block‘s online video library. Chef Shelley Young‘s comprehensive, easy-to-follow videos feature recipes, ingredients and techniques designed to answer all of your cooking questions. Can’t remember how to make risotto or need to brush up on how to chop an onion? The Chopping Block is your free, go-to online cooking resource.
Cochon Volant Brasserie, Francois Frankie, and Taureaux Tavern Executive Chef Mike Sheerin shares his roasted chicken recipe and states, “this is my go-to recipe for a simple dinner that’s guaranteed to have leftovers for a few days. You probably already have the spices in your kitchen, it’s family-friendly, and the cooking process is easy.”
Executive Chef and Partner Brian Jupiter at Frontier and Ina Mae Tavern & Packaged Goods provides his Lima Beans and Jambalaya recipe for those looking for cooking inspiration. Chef Brian shares, “I am from New Orleans, so Jambalaya has always been a go-to recipe that reminds me of home and family. The great thing about Jambalaya is you can really add in whatever vegetables and meat you have available and it turns out delicious. Have fun when cooking it and add your own flair.”
The Langham Chicago’s Pastry Chef Danielle Marelli shares a home-friendly recipe – Lucky Charm bars to add a sweet treat to anyone’s day. Travelle at The Langham is also sharing home-friendly recipes including: a cocktail recipe perfect for springtime, a delicious pasta recipe and three delightful desserts.
Award-winning Chef Bill Kim of Urbanbelly and The Table at Crate creates at home recipes that are uniquely his own bringing together, his wide-ranging passions of Asian and American fine-dining techniques and neighborhood comforts including Korican fried rice, miso soup, and his classic pasta recipe.
Visit The Revel Group on Instagram @therevelgroup for home-friendly recipes from Executive Chef Tony Quartaro on Fridays.
GET CREATIVE WITH OUR ARTISTS AND ENTERTAINERS
The GhostLight Theatre is hosting a live Virtual Cabaret on Friday, March 27 at 6:30 p.m. CST on YouTube for free featuring performers from all over the US. Visitors are asked to monitor GhostLight’s website homepage for the link to the show.
The Second City Training Center is bringing real, live fun straight to you by expanding the online programming with brand-new classes. These totally digital, totally fun classes are designed for everyone, and especially for the millions of people craving social interaction instead of social media right now. Internet and web camera access required. Pajamas optional. Four-week, eight-week or one-time drop-in classes are available for all ages (including teens). Pricing starts at $25. More information can be found here.
With the lights out on Steppenwolf‘s stages, the company is sharing multiple initiatives to keep the virtual lights on during this hiatus.
Steppenwolf announces “Half Hour: A Steppenwolf Theatre Podcast,” a Steppenwolf produced, Ensemble member hosted, interview-style podcast that uses the most magical amount of time there is in the theatre — the half hour before a show begins — to sit down and make connections between artists in the Steppenwolf family. To hear their stories. To learn about their processes. And to discover what motivates them to create theatre. Hosted by Audrey Francis, Caroline Neff, Cliff Chamberlain and Glenn Davis, four of Steppenwolf’s newer ensemble members, “Half Hour” takes audiences behind the scenes for candid, intimate, one-on-one conversations between members of the nation’s premier ensemble theatre. “Half Hour” is produced by Patrick Zakem, and recorded and engineered by Matt Chapman. The first episode of the podcast will air in early April with special guest Steppenwolf co-founding ensemble member Jeff Perry.
Steppenwolf is sharing the never-before-publicly-released 40th anniversary Gala video featuring ensemble members telling candid and hilarious stories. Watch the video online here. Additionally, Steppenwolf’s production of Pass Over, which was made into a movie by Spike Lee, can be viewed on Amazon Studios.
FAMOUS MOVIES AND TV SHOWS FILMED IN OUR CITY
Need some inspiration for your next movie or TV night? Chicago has been featured on the big and small screen for over a century, including starring roles in classic movies like The Blues Brothers, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, and The Dark Knight. The city has also become a hotspot for television filming for the popular series Chicago Fire, Chicago PD, Chicago Med, and Shameless. More information on movies filmed in Chicago can be found here, and to see where many of your favorite Chicago shows are filmed in Chicago, see here.
2020 YEAR OF CHICAGO MUSIC
CHICAGOANS GIVING BACK
The Chicago History Museum is contributing to the fight against COVID-19 by donating a large number of gloves, N95 face masks, aprons, eyewear, and other personal protection equipment (PPE) to Cook County Health. The museum’s collections staff uses PPEs when handling artifacts that could have been treated with hazardous substances, possibly have toxic molds or fungi, and to protect artifacts from oils and other materials.
Chicago-GO Off The Beaten Path Tours offers the opportunity to purchase a tour to be donated to a healthcare employee. After the tour has been purchased, Chica-GO Off The Beaten Path Tours will present it to a healthcare worker that has been helping us during this time.
Tradeshow booth design and building company Dimension Design has converted its production capabilities from booth design and building to making masks and gowns for first responders and nursing homes. The effort allowed the company to rehire employees who had been recently furloughed. The first masks and gowns are being delivered the week of March 23. The company, which is now on the hunt for additional cotton fabric, expects to produce about 500 items per day.
Doing their part to support medical professionals on the frontlines of the COVID-19 response, Goodman Theatre is donating face masks and cleaning supplies to hospitals and emergency care workers.
KOVAL Distillery, typically known for organic and kosher whiskeys, gins, and specialty spirits, is focusing its efforts on providing hand sanitizers in bulk to the medical community, retirement homes, and those on the front lines in this war against COVID-19.
The LEE Initiative, Chef Edward Lee, One Off Hospitality and Chef-Partner Paul Kahan have announced that beginning Tuesday, March 24, Big Star Wicker Park will transform into an ongoing headquarters for restaurant workers relief. With the help of Makers Mark, the One Off team will prepare and pack hundreds of to-go dinners and grocery bags each night that will be offered to recently unemployed restaurant workers who are in dire need of food and supplies. Dinners will be offered on a first-come/first-serve basis, limiting one per person with strict social distancing guidelines in place for pick-up. In addition to meals, Big Star will also have groceries on hand for those in need. As with the meals, there will be a limit of one pre-packed grocery bag per person. The Restaurant Workers Relief program will be offered throughout the quarantine period or for as long as supplies last. Donations to the LEE Initiative are welcome and will help extend this service. All donations should be directed to www.leeinitiative.org.
Lula Cafe Owner and Chef Jason Hammel is banding restaurants together and calling on the government to take action; addressing this issue to help city-wide hospitality employees out of work, as well as abatement of payroll taxes and rent. Jason led a national James Beard Foundation webinar to share how he started this campaign. He had a city-wide chef meeting prior to closures, where he pulled in over 50 chefs/independent restaurant owners from across the country to discuss how to support Chicago’s now unemployed restaurant staff. Jason continues to spread the message over social media.
Chicago advocacy group My Block, My Hood, My City is providing necessary supplies to seniors and those with disabilities to help them combat the spread of COVID-19.
The Obama Foundation is sharing global stories of hope – people/groups/organizations that are going above and beyond for others and their community during this time. The timeline is continuously updated with stories, but they encourage others to share if they hear of stories on their own.
Sittercity, known for digitally connecting families with quality child care, is giving all Chicago parents working as first responders three free months of Sittercity Premium. See here for more information.
If you are seeking additional opportunities to support Chicago, consider purchasing a membership for an organization or purchasing merchandise from online gift shops, and for restaurants and small businesses, consider purchasing a gift card.
About Choose Chicago
Choose Chicago is the official sales and marketing organization responsible for promoting Chicago as a global visitor destination leveraging the city’s unmatched assets to ensure the economic vitality of the city and its member business community. For more information, visit choosechicago.com. Follow @ChooseChicago on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.