Explore everything from food to music to puppets this week. First, the Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival kicks off with thousands of people descending on the city for the 10-day event. Next, start your Chinese New Year festivities early with a party at the Garfield Park Conservatory. Finish the week with Mozart performed at the Harris Theater and then a taste of Lincoln Park, the neighborhood known for its eclectic—and delicious—restaurants.

AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.

January 19 - 29 | Art festival
Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival
This is an art festival unlike any other, and one worth visiting more than once. The International Puppet Theater Festival spans 10 days and features performances by more than 50 artists from seven countries, with genres ranging from opera to ballet. Last year’s inaugural puppet fest drew more than 14,000 people, so get on those tickets early before they sell out.
Times & locations vary | From $20 | website

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January 21 | Chinese New Year
Chinese New Year Celebration
Although Chinese New Year isn’t officially until January 28th, you can start the celebrations early (and get out of the cold) at the Garfield Park Conservatory this week. The conservatory has been luring visitors for years thanks to its (man-made) rain forest–like climate and exotic plants. This weekend, the space is hosting a traditional Chinese tea ceremony, a dragon dance, and other activities to ring in the Chinese New Year a week early.
12:00 PM - 4:00 PM | 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago | Free | website

January 21 - 22 | Escape the city
Fenton, Michigan
Adventure seekers should head to this cold-weather getaway just an hour’s drive from Detroit (and just a one-hour flight from Chicago), where they can climb an ice tower (with a guide, of course). Set up the experience with Peabody Ice Climbing Club, which offers lessons for beginners in a controlled environment with seasoned and certified climbing guides. After your climb, warm up with hot apple cider at the 136-year-old Parshallville Cider Mill, where you can also grab homemade doughnuts and apple pie.
Peabody Ice Climbing Club, 12326 Foley Rd, Fenton, Michigan | From $20 | website

Chicago International Pupper Theater Festival

January 23 | Music
Music of the Baroque: The Mass in C Minor
Settle in for a night of classical music at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance. Music of the Baroque features a special performance of Mozart’s C Minor Mass with soprano singer Susanna Phillips, plus music by Beethoven. Get to the show early so you can take a photo with the famous Cloud Gate statue—the evening light will be ideal for capturing a reflection of downtown Chicago.
7:30 PM | 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago | From $27 | website

January 24 | Food
Savor Lincoln Park
Try a dozen or so restaurants at Savor Lincoln Park, a celebration of the neighborhood’s finest food establishments. Participating eateries include Geja’s Café, Stan’s Donuts, Vanille Patisserie, and Earl’s Kitchen—you won’t leave hungry. There will also be a silent auction and a vintage photo booth so you can document your great night. It’s the best way to get a feel for all the new (and old!) eats in the area.
6:00 PM - 9:00 PM | The iO Theater, 1501 N. Kingsbury St., Chicago | $40 | 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.

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