Chicago’s got you on your feet this week, running the quarter marathon around the lake before racing off to the beer festival at the Field Museum. Take a breather to see a star opera singer perform at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance, then indulge at a new restaurant headed by a Top Chef alum.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
March 26 | Marathon
Chicago Quarter Marathon
Take a tour of Chicago while getting in some exercise during this 6.55-mile race—the perfect length for those who want to conquer a mini-marathon. It kicks off outside Soldier Field; from there, you’ll run along the Lake Michigan shoreline before looping around back to the stadium for a post-party with live music and snacks. It’s a stunning, classically Chicago run along the lake on any day. Proceeds will benefit Prevent Child Abuse America.
9:15 a.m. | 1410 S. Museum Campus Dr., Chicago | $60.25 | website
March 26 | Festival
Chicago Beer Festival
Get your fill at the Chicago Beer Festival, where you’ll be able to sample spring seasonal brews from more than 70 local and domestic brewers. Breweries include Lagunitas Brewing Company, Ten Ninety Brewing, Blue Nose Brewery, La Trappe, and Bucket List Brewing, among plenty of others. Admission includes all beer samples, though food is sold separately. Bonus: Since the fest is in the special setting of the Field Museum, you can wander around a select area of exhibits open to all attendees.
7 p.m. | 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago | From $45 | website
March 30 | Opera
Only twice in the New York Metropolitan Opera’s history has there been an encore, and one of those times was for Javier Camerena’s performance in Rossini’s La Cenerentola. Camerena is appearing for the first time in Chicago at the Harris Theater for Music and Dance to perform works by Beethoven, Liszt, and Tosti. The intimate setting will offer the audience a rare experience up close with this star opera performer, who is revered for his fiery tone and supple vocals.
7:30 p.m. | 205 E. Randolph Dr., Chicago | From $35 | website
March 26–27 | Escape the city
This time of year, the Morton Arboretum is a wonderful place to spend a day or even a weekend. Just about an hour outside of Chicago, the 1,700-acre space holds more than 222,000 plants. Test your puzzle skills in the maze garden, which changes its path season-to-season, or watch others try to figure it out from a lookout platform above. At weekend’s end, cap off your stay with dinner at the Mexican restaurant Yerbabuena.
Morton Arboretum, 4100 Illinois Route 53, Lisle | $9 | website
Now open | Restaurant
Top Chef finalist Sarah Grueneberg chose the Near West Side neighborhood in Chicago as the home of her new Italian restaurant, Monteverde—and it’s a winner here. The menu offers a range of super affordable pastas, plus tons of light bite appetizers (the skewered octopus with Japanese sweet potato is crave-worthy). Best bets are the ragu alla napoletana, which is fusilli pasta in a tomato sauce with pork shank, sausages, and meatballs (not for dieters or vegetarians). Finish the evening with the butterscotch budino. This is no runner-up restaurant.
1020 W. Madison St., Chicago | (312) 888-3041 | 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.