On the menu this week: blooming orchids, a celebration of all things chocolate, one-minute plays, and performances from both up-and-coming and established ballet stars.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
February 11 - March 26 | Nature
Chicago Botanic Garden Orchid Show
Drive 30 minutes out of Chicago to Glencoe, where the Chicago Botanic Garden is a pop of color in this long winter. The annual Orchid Show is on, which means there are more than 10,000 orchids in bloom along with plenty of spring flowers. Warm up inside the greenhouse, and purchase plants to take home.
10:00 AM - 4:00 PM | 1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe | $10 | website
February 15 - 26 | Dance
Joffrey Ballet Game Changers
Expect peak performances at the Joffrey Ballet Game Changers, where notable Joffrey dancers will be taking the stage solo, in doubles, and in triples. The program is just over two hours long and features three contemporary ballets, including the Chicago premiere of Year of the Rabbit by New York City Ballet’s resident choreographer Justin Peck. Also on the program are the return of Tony Award–winning choreographer Christopher Wheeldon’s Fool’s Paradise and Wayne McGregor’s INFRA.
50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago | From $34 | website
February 17 - 19 | Escape the city
In Celebration of Chocolate
Celebrate Valentine’s Day a few days late (or, just celebrate your love of chocolate) with the city of Kohler, Wisconsin (two hours outside of Chicago), which is throwing a party in celebration of all things cacao. The festival will include interactive cooking sessions, a chocolate and wine dinner, a lesson on bean-to-bar farming, and a mimosa and chocolate breakfast. When you tire of sweets, take advantage of it being off-season for the destination to snag a coveted reservation at Blackwolf Run Restaurant.
Times & locations vary | From $25 | website
February 18 - 19 | Dance
Ballet de Lorraine
The beloved European ballet company Ballet de Lorraine is finally coming to the United States to perform Works by Merce Cunningham and Others. Expect fast-paced ballets driven by the scores of David Tudor and Emanuel Dimas de Melo. Also on the program is a piece combining dance and film, choreographed by Petter Jacobsson and Thomas Caley. This event is sold out online, but arrive an hour early and you can snag waitlist tickets at the door.
Museum of Contemporary Art, 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago | $30 | website
February 21 - 22 | Theater
One-Minute Play Festival
This is a theater festival made for the modern age (and modern-age attention spans). The One-Minute Play Festival features—surprise—plays that last one minute from more than 60 local playwrights and directors, both established and emerging. These talented theater geeks have figured out how to condense entire stories into 60-second spots—and they’re so good that this festival is back for a seventh year. The prompt for the plays this year is “America is,” so you’ll definitely see some commentary on politics, social issues, and current events.
8:00 PM | The Den Theatre, 1333 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | $18 | 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.