The best of what to do in and around Chicago this week.
When the snow melts in Chicago, the city’s summer festivals aren’t far behind. There are two great ones this week: a weekend dedicated to artisan chocolate and the Greek Independence Day Parade. There’s also a new Japanese restaurant that’s become an instant hotspot, and a concert and performance that promises to be nothing like you’ve ever seen or heard before in Chicago—or anywhere else, for that matter.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
April 14–17 | Music
Mozawa’s Y-Portraits 2.0
Twenty artists stretching across all different artistic mediums, including classical music, dance, art, and more, will be gathering in one space for Mozawa’s Y-Portaits 2.0 exhibition. The interdisciplinary art show will be a venue for all types of artists to mesh together in a performance on the topic of originality. The mission of Mozawa, a Chicago-based performing arts company, is to break the barriers between different forms of artistic expression and see what amazing things can happen when art from different disciplines connects.
Times vary | 1579 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | $20 | website
April 16–17 | Festival
The Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival
Local chocolatiers, along with chocolate artisans from across the United States, will be in attendance this weekend at the tastiest festival of the year. Included in your ticket price are tastings of all the chocolates, along with talks and demonstrations, like the real-time chocolate sculpting. The resulting sculpture will be raffled off to benefit pediatric cancer. You’ll also be able to sample rare chocolates, learn how to make ganache-dipped strawberries, and more.
11 a.m.–7 p.m. Saturday, 11 a.m.–6 p.m. Sunday | 1340 W. Washington Blvd., Chicago | $55 | website
April 16–17 | Escape the city
Evanston is home to Northwestern University, but this suburb has a lot going for it beyond its famed college. The town is just a 45-minute ride on the purple line of the L train from Chicago. Take a tour of the Charles G. Dawes House, which was the home of Calvin Coolidge’s vice president (now the Evanston History Center). Spend happy hour at Bat 17, which has more than 40 craft brews, along with pool tables and some great deli sandwiches. Make sure you don’t leave without clocking time at Northwestern’s fine art museum, the Mary and Leigh Block Museum of Art, which houses 5,000 works.
April 17 | Parade
Greek Independence Day Parade
Opa! Chicago has a huge Greek population, so this annual parade is actually a huge party including over-the-top floats, bands, costumes, and singing. You certainly don’t have to be Greek to appreciate the event. Of course, food is a big part of the celebration. This area is home to some really fantastic Greek restaurants, including Santorini, Pegasus Restaurant and Taverna, and Athena Greek Restaurant—so come hungry.
2:30 p.m. | Halsted and Randolph Streets, Chicago | Free | website
Now open | Restaurant
Break out the chopsticks for Chicago’s newest sushi restaurant. This one focuses on everything from sashimi to Japanese small plates (tuna tacos and edamame rice crisps are a must), but also adds a dash of humor with an Asia-inspired cocktail list. Sample the “Gin & Guava,” or try the “Miso Old Fashioned.” If you’re not imbibing, you can still get your fix with Naoki’s impressively large non-alcoholic cocktail list.
2300 N Lincoln Park West, Chicago | (773) 868-0002 | 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.