Here are the five coolest things to do in and around Chicago this week. We publish a new list every Wednesday, covering Thursday through Wednesday. Stay tuned for insider updates on restaurant openings, festivals, exhibitions, shows, weekend escapes, and more.
August 21 | Summer camp for adults
Camp Northerly Island
The kids are back from camp and getting ready to start school; now it’s the adults’ turn! For one night only, you can pitch a tent on the 91-acre strip of land just south of the Shedd Aquarium and enjoy all the summer camp fun of your youth, hosted by the Chicago Park District and the Chicago Parks Foundation. Expect such classic activities as sunrise yoga, archery class, twilight hike, and s’mores, alongside more adult fun like happy hour (courtesy of Revolution Brewing), pig roast, stand-up comedy, and a midnight movie—Wet Hot American Summer, of course. Every camper gets a tent (BYO sleeping bag), bug spray, soft-sided cooler, beer koozie, sunscreen, and flashlight.
5:30 p.m.–10 a.m. | 1521 S. Linn White Dr., Chicago | $125 | website
August 22 | Brewery on a road trip
Deschutes Street Pub
This summer, Oregon-based brewery Deschutes is taking its highly rated beers on the road with a traveling bar. The Chicago stop is in Logan Square this Saturday. This isn’t just a small truck with a few beers: The brewery constructed a 400-foot wood-and-steel bar outfitted with 40 taps. Twenty beers will be on offer, including some rare offerings from the brewery’s Reserve Series. Revolution Brewing is co-hosting the pop-up pub and will have its own guest tap. Add food pairings from Deschutes’s executive chef and live music from local bands, and you’ve got one of the best bars in the city, at least for a day. Proceeds benefit the Alliance for the Great Lakes.
2–10 p.m. | 2291 N. Milwaukee Ave. | website
Through August 23 | Art exhibition
Jean-Luc Mylayne: Mutual Regard
You have just a few days left to get lost in the extraordinary works of French photographer Jean-Luc Mylayne, whose large-scale shots of birds are at once stunning and disquieting. Taking up a portion of the Art Institute‘s Modern Wing, Mutual Regard intentionally gives you the impression of being out in nature while safely behind glass. If you miss the exhibition here, you can still get a taste of Mylayne’s work at what the artist calls a free “chapel” in Millennium Park, through December 31. Inside the windowless white structure, a collection of photos of sparrows covers the entire ceiling, giving viewers the feeling of being a predator approaching their prey from below.
The Art Institute of Chicago, 111 S. Michigan Ave. | (312) 443-3600 | From $22 | website
August 25–29 | Dance
Chicago Dancing Festival
What started in 2007 as one free dance performance in Millennium Park has turned into a weeklong series of performances at several venues across the city. It’s still free, and a fantastic opportunity to check out different dance styles and companies from Chicago and beyond, including Hubbard Street Dance Company, the Joffrey Ballet, and Miami City Ballet. One of the biggest draws is the opening night celebration at Millennium Park’s Pritzker Pavilion, featuring New York City’s Ballet Hispanico and Chicago’s own Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. Also don’t miss Modern Women at the Museum of Contemporary Art on Wednesday evening, which is modern dance from such female choreographers as Martha Graham.
Times and locations vary | Free | website
Weekend escape | Festival
Iowa State Fair
Donald Trump arriving in his helicopter, Hillary Clinton walking the grounds while engulfed by the media, Jeb Bush flipping burgers—that was last weekend. This weekend, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines will be blissfully free of presidential candidate chaos, making it a worthwhile road trip. Just a five-hour drive from Chicago, this fair is home to a life-size cow sculpted out of butter, every food imaginable on a stick (including pork chops and deep-fried peanut butter and jelly sandwiches), and contests for hog calling, rubber-chicken throwing, and beard-growing. Summer in the Midwest doesn’t get any better than this.
7 a.m.–1 a.m. (grounds) | Iowa State Fairgrounds, 3000 E. Grand Ave., Des Moines, IA | $11 | website
Laura Baginski is a Chicago-based writer and editor who specializes in travel and parenting. Because of the latter, the former doesn’t happen as much as she’d like.
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