Stick around Chicago's United Center this week, where a new restaurant opening and an intense rivalry game will keep your attention on the moment. Or, catch the last weeks of a colorful exhibit and learn the moves of a famous and presidential-approved choreographer.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
Through March 27 | Art exhibit
Pop Art Design
One of the coolest art exhibits in Chicago is coming to a close at the end of the month. If you gravitate toward Andy Warhol (are there people who don’t?), then head over to the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago to see a new take on the pop art movement Warhol made famous. Organized with the help of Germany’s Vitra Design Museum, Pop Art Design places artworks from the movement alongside chairs, lamps, and sofas to show how art from this era influenced design during the 1960s and ‘70s.
Times vary | 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago | (312) 280-2660 | Suggested donation of $12 | website
March 5–6 | Escape the city
Just an hour out of Chicago, Wauconda is a slowed-down village where you can hike, bike, and get away from it all. Grab a bite at Lindy’s Landing, a local favorite for bites just feet from Bangs Lake. If you’ve got kids in tow, don’t miss the Lake County Discovery Museum, which is small but filled with tons of interesting and constantly rotating exhibits about local history, as well as bigger exhibits about cool photographers like Ansel Adams. Afterwards, stop by the newly opened Side Lot Brewery for beer, cider, and small plates like the bacon jam—bacon smoked and served with brie and crostinis.
March 6 | Ice hockey
Blackhawks vs. Red Wings
Chicago is famous for its deep dish pizza, its freezing winters—and for its ice hockey team. On March 6, the Chicago Blackhawks—last year’s Stanley Cup winners—are making a move to grab the medal again. This time, they’re taking on the Detroit Red Wings in a highly contested match. This is an intense rivalry: The teams faced off against each other in the playoffs for the 2013 Stanley Cup, and the Blackhawks won that series by a hair, four games to three. The fans are just as rowdy as the players, so be ready for an exciting match.
4 p.m. | United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago | (312) 455-4500 | From $70 | website
March 8–13 | Dance
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater (AAADT)
The New York dance company is taking to the Chicago stage, where it will perform new productions of the classic choreographies of its late founder Alvin Ailey, along with new works by its current star choreographers. Ailey founded his namesake company in 1958, which became known for having a diverse cast of talented dancers. Ailey himself is credited with the popularization of modern dance, and especially the popularization of African Americans in modern dance. He even received a posthumous Presidential Medal of Freedom from Barack Obama for his work. Catch the work of this legend onstage throughout the week, and stop by a special pre-performance workshop on March 9 to learn a piece of it yourself.
Times vary | Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy, Chicago | 312-341-2300 | From $33 | website
Now open | Restaurant
Ten times better than your average sports bar, the new Mad Social eatery is in a primo location for ball fans—just down the street from the United Center, home to the Chicago Bulls NBA team. The restaurant is filled with leather booths, dark wood, exposed brick, and, of course, a couple of TVs (for those away games). Owner Gina Stefani is the daughter of locally famous Chicago restaurateur Phil Stefani, so you can bet her menu lives up to the family craft. Think Havarti mac and cheese with wild mushrooms and a butter-crumb crust, and braised beef tenderloin with a sundried tomato hollandaise sauce.
1140 W. Madison St., Chicago | (312) 243-2097 | 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.