February is still quite cold, usually, so let’s adventure indoors, shall we? Did you know that The University of Chicago Folklore Society is hosting their 58th annual Folk Festival on the 9th and 10th? Folk traditions, music and dances from around the world are celebrated; Irish, Scandinavian, Morris (English), Cajun and barn dancing workshops are each luring us into the fun, while legendary bluegrass musician Mike Compton leads off the Friday night concert that includes the Chicago’s own Western Elstons. There is far more to take in, so check them out, grab some tickets at http://www.uofcfolk.org/index.shtml and we’ll meet you on campus – Mandel Hall, 1131 E. 57th St, Chicago.
Regardless of what the groundhog sees, February in Chicago kicks off with one of the year’s great adventures – The Chicago Auto Show. From the 10th through the 18th, McCormick Place will be filled. This year’s new models, concept cars and futuristic ideas are just a few of the highlights. At both the Mercedes and the Jeep booths you can ride up and down a man made mountain guaranteed to scare you when it points downhill. Never fear! The makers are showing off just how daring you can be in their very capable cars. There is lots and lots to see, so wear comfortable shoes. https://www.chicagoautoshow.com/
All through the month there are Free Museum Days at the always incredible Museum of Science and Industry; take your pick from February 1, 5–8, 12–15, 20–22, 26–27, all Illinois Residents are welcome. Take in the Future Energy Chicago exhibit, a fast-paced simulation that asks you to help build a more sustainable city. Be sure to take in The Art of the Bicycle! 5700 S Lake Shore Dr, https://www.msichicago.org
The Field Museum of Natural History, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr. is free throughout the month. Have a good, long look at Sue, the largest and most complete Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton ever discovered. Then go upstairs to the Fossil Prep Lab and watch scientists use jackhammers and sandblasters to reveal the secrets embedded in rocks for millions of years. https://www.fieldmuseum.org
Valentine’s Day is here. What romance, adventure and mystery can we conjure up to win the undying love of the woman or man we so earnestly desire? Romance them in style!
I’ll be taking my sweetheart to dinner at Geja’s Cafe, 340 West Armitage Avenue, where we’ll take our time over the romantic “famous cheese fondue, Geja’s Cafe salad, a choice of meat or seafood combinations with assorted fresh vegetables, eight gourmet dipping sauces, flaming chocolate dessert fondue (Holy cow!) and freshly brewed coffee.” Doesn’t that sound perfect? https://gejascafe.com
Then we’ll head to iO Chicago, 1501 N Kingsbury St, where we’ll thoroughly enjoy a night of improv comedy, at one of their four theaters. Come on, gentlemen, be different- give your date an experience she won’t soon forget, and can tell all her friends about for weeks. https://www.ioimprov.com
You, my Ukrainian friends, might want to explore either of two great eateries, right in the Village: Trysub Ukrainian Kitchen, 2201 W. Chicago Ave, offers “traditional Ukrainian fare with a modern twist” including handmade varenyky, goulash and other delights, presented in a sophisticated, modern Ukrainian environment. http://tryzubchicago.com; or MJ Restaurant, 912 N. Western Ave, where red embroidered table cloths, paintings by local Ukrainian artists, and cozy wood paneling invite you to linger and enjoy fresh cooked Chicken Kyiv among other delicious choices.
Speaking of comedy, consider The Annoyance, 851 W. Belmont Ave, for one of the three shows they will have that night. Two are at 8:00pm, on the main stage and the small theater, or wait for “Nuggets” a hysterically funny, short-form improv show at 9:30pm.
The very next evening, February 15th, sweep your true love up again at the Planetarium; Adler After Dark will present “Mars or Bust,” showcasing technologies being developed to explore Mars. We’ll check out planned missions, current and future – public and private. We’re especially looking forward to learning how NASA plans to tackle the challenges of sending humans 90 million miles from home. This event always sells out, so buy your tickets early! Adler Planetarium, 1300 S. Lake Shore Dr, http://www.adlerplanetarium.org/events/adler-dark-mars-bust-feb-15/
The month ends on yet another bright note: Chinese New Year! Saturday, the 25th, come to Chinatown and celebrate the start of Year of the Dog, 4716, with a parade, street dancers in traditional and beautiful costumes, and fireworks, of course! This is always a great adventure; then we can eat at one of many fine restaurants, and walk past the outdoor displays, learning just a bit about this fascinating culture. 24th St. & Wentworth Ave, http://www.ccc-foundation.org/ See you there!