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Chicago Jan 28–Feb 3: Restaurant Week & Polar Bear Plunge

What to do in and around Chicago this week

You’ll have plenty of inexpensive restaurants to choose from this week because it's restaurant week. Grab a three-course meal before dashing over to catch Domesticated, a play filled with scandal, at the Steppenwolf Theatre. And be sure to test you stamina at the Polar Bear Plunge (or at least witness the bravery of real Chicagoans).

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Through February 7 | Theater
Pulitzer Prize–winning author Bruce Norris wrote another winner with this play, which was first seen off-Broadway three years ago. It’s about a politician who is involved in a sex scandal—he was caught with a prostitute dressed as a schoolgirl who fell or was pushed and fell, hit her head, and is in a coma—and is left to deal with the aftermath with his wife when he resigns from his post at the beginning of the play.
Times vary | Steppenwolf Theatre Company, 1650 N Halsted St., Chicago | 312-335-1650 | From $20 | website

January 22–February 4 | Food
Chicago Restaurant Week
This is a big one. Choose from a list of more than 360 participating restaurants that are offering prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33 or $44 for dinner. For example, at Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse Chicago you can get a mini crabmeat avocado followed by a soup or salad and a bone-in filet for $44 per person. Some of the more notable restaurants involved this year are Atwood, Benny’s Chop House, Blackbird, The Boarding House, BOKA Restaurant, The Bristol, Café Spiaggia, Fig & Olive, Gene & Georgetti, Gibson’s Bar & Steakhouse Chicago, and mk the restaurant. Contact the restaurants directly for reservations.
Locations vary | website

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January 30 | Take the plunge
Polar Bear Plunge
When in Chicago, do as Chicagoans do. And if you’re going to be in Chicago just once, you should take the plunge or at least cheer on others who are brave enough to do it. As long as the water isn’t frozen, people are going to head over to the Oak Street Beach, race into that water, and hope not to die (just kidding, sorta). It’s all to raise money for various families (this year, the money goes to a 2-year-old with chronic intestinal pseudo obstruction and a 14-year-old with hypoplastic left heart syndrome). There's an afterparty ($35) at Fatpour Tap Works with drinks and appetizers.
12 p.m. (arrive at 11 a.m. to register) | Oak Street Beach, 1000 N Lake Shore Dr., Chicago | $40 | website

<3 donuts

January 30–31 | Escape the city
Grayslake, Illinois
Make the one-hour trip to Grayslake this weekend for Sunday's International Kennel Club Dog Show. The public is invited to mingle with the dogs, to watch the show, and to shop. Both dog owners and those who have never got closer than watching Best in Show will love how informal this show is—you can even pet the dogs here and watch their fur being brushed pre- and post-show in the “backstage” area. While you’re in Grayslake, take a few hours to stop at the Grayslake Heritage Center & Museum to learn about the history of the area and how it merges with larger national and world history.
Lake County Fairgrounds, 1060 E. Peterson Rd., Grayslake, IL | Free (parking $5) | website

January 31 | Donuts
Donut Fest Chicago
There’s nothing like a warm, crusty donut or 10 on a Sunday morning. So Chicago is gathering its best donut makers in one spot—expect the likes of Stan’s Donuts, Glazed & Infused, Ipsento, Pleasant House, and Dark Matter—to provide endless stacks of donuts for this fundraiser festival. Eat as much as you want to raise money for Un86’d, which benefits restaurant professionals in need. Purchase tickets in advance, as this is likely to sell out.
9 a.m.–12 p.m. & 2–5 p.m. | Chop Shop, 2033 W North Ave., Chicago | 773-537-4441 | $35 | website

Danielle Braff lives in Chicago with her husband, two daughters, two cats, and her dog. When she’s not writing, she’s out photographing her city and running around frantically trying to fit as many events as she can into her day. You can check out her other articles at Daniellebraff.com.

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