Chicagoans are back from their holidays and they’re ready to battle it out with some bulls over at Allstate Arena. Others are fighting with lightsabers while they watch Star Wars at the 4DX movie theater. There’s a new Asian fusion restaurant and a world premiere dance performance for those looking for something less violent this week.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
January 7–9 | Stand-up comedy
Rachel Feinstein at UP Comedy Club
A nationally known comic, Rachel Feinstein returns to the Chicago stage with a show that includes lots of material about gender and ethnic stereotypes. She recently acted in the film Trainwreck and has had numerous TV appearances, including on Inside Amy Schumer. Feinstein also has a recurring role on the Amazon series Red Oaks.
8 p.m. & 10:30 p.m. | Up Comedy Club, 230 W North Ave., Chicago | 312-662-4562 | $20 | website
January 9 | Dance
Thodos Dance Chicago
In this world premiere celebrating Japanese-American dancer Sono Osato, Thodos Dance Chicago performs works tracing Osato’s career from the audition that launched her journey right through to her position today, at the age of 96, as one of the country's most inspirational dancers. For those who want to get more active and hands-on, there's a 9 a.m dance master class led by Thodos dancers that teaches you some of what they will be performing later. Prior dance experience is required for the class.
7:30 p.m. | Auditorium Theatre, 50 E Congress Pkwy, Chicago | 312-341-2300 | From $28 | website
January 9–10 | Bull riding
Professional Bull Riders Tough Series
The Professional Bull Riders are kicking off their 2016 series in Chicago. It’s a two-day event where you’ll watch 35 bull riders take on bulls weighing 1,700+ pounds in pursuit of a $30,000 prize. But you can play, too, taking eight-second rides of your own. The series culminates in Las Vegas in November, where the winner will receive $1 million—but the Windy City is where it all begins.
6:50 p.m. Sat | Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Rd., Rosemont | 847-635-6601 | From $25 | website
January 9–10 | Escape the city
You’ve already seen Star Wars. But now’s the time to really and truly experience the movie—in the Midwest’s first 4DX movie theater, in Gurnee. The theater's special effects include wind, fog, lightning, bubbles, water, rain, and even scents, so you'll feel like you’re actually stepping inside the world of Star Wars. Complete the treat for your kids by staying at the KeyLime Cove Indoor Waterpark Resort. Adults who need some respite can check out Gurnee's new local brewery, Only Child Brewing Company.
Gurnee Mills Cinema, 6144 Grand Ave., Gurnee, IL | (847) 855-9940 | website
New opening | Restaurant
Spotted Monkey, the eagerly anticipated Latin-Asian eatery, joins the financial district thanks to Chef Amy Le, who is also the chef and founder of the popular Saucy Porka. Breakfast and lunch specials include rice bowls, banh mi sandwiches, hearty soups, and their signature Baucos (bao bun–style tacos with shrimp, tofu, chicken, beef, and pork).
Mon–Fri 8 a.m.–4 p.m. | Spotted Monkey, 335 S Franklin St., Chicago | 773-415-1786 | 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.