It’s all about the entertainment this week in Chicago, starting with dance festivals sprinkled throughout the city. Then entertain yourself at the video game expo and at multiple circuses. And be sure to check out the aptly named new restaurant, Rogue Fusion, which bends all the food rules.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
Aug 23–27 | Dance festival
Chicago Dancing Festival
The only thing better than a ton of dance performances is a ton of free dance performances. At the nation’s largest free dance festival, there will be six free dance performances offered over five days throughout Chicago—and by major companies, including The Royal Ballet, The Joffrey Ballet, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, and Martha Graham Dance Company. Tickets are needed for some performances, and some are first-come, first-seated, so get your schedule figured out stat.
Times & locations vary | Free | website
Aug 25–27 | Arcade game expo
Arcade, Video and Game Room Expo
It’s time for gamers to crawl out of the basement and see the light. At the Arcade Game Expo, more than 200 arcade and game machines will be set on free-play so that you can play to your heart’s content. Or you can show off your skills in a tournament, up your game by listening to a seminar, and shop for new gaming machines, parts, and movies at this gigantic expo dedicated totally to arcade and video games. There will also be icons of the gaming industry, along with world record–holders and film stars. We expect to see many pale people there who still haven’t seen the sun this summer. We won’t judge.
10 a.m.–midnight | Crowne Plaza Chicago O’Hare, 5440 N. River Rd., Rosemont | $35 per day or $60 for both days (children receive discount) | website
August 27–28 | Escape the city
Cleveland is a six-hour drive or a 45-minute flight from Chicago. Go for the Cleveland Orchestra, which rivals the Chicago Symphony, or to spend the entire day roaming the Cleveland Museum of Art, filled to the brim with expressionist paintings, Asian art, and an incredible collection of ceramics. When you’re ready for a bite, head over to the West Side Market, where vendors sell something for everyone, from fresh pastries to seafood, artisan sandwiches, and local cheeses.
Aug 27–Oct 16 | Circus
Midnight Circus in the Parks
Although it’s called the Midnight Circus, the performances are usually at noon or 3 p.m. (never at midnight). Still, it’s a cool traveling show. Formed in Europe, Midnight Circus only performs in small parks to create an intimate, community experience that lets you stay in your own neighborhood instead of going to a big arena. Now in their 10th year, the circus’s tradition is still alive: They’ll be traveling through many different Chicago-area parks to bring the circus directly to you.
Times & locations vary | $15–20 | website
Take some Latin American flavors, blend them with Italian flavors, then use them to create tacos, pastas, fish, and steak. Pop those dishes in the heart of a Hispanic neighborhood, and you’ve gone totally rogue. That’s the concept behind Rogue Fusion, a new BYOB in the Rogers Park neighborhood that’s smack in the middle of taqueria-town. It’s something you’ll have to eat to believe, but when you do, you’ll wonder why it wasn’t done years ago.
7027 N Clark St., Chicago | 773-293-6966
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.