This week in Chicago is bookended by music. First, the Chicago Harp Quartet is kicking off its 2016 season with a free concert, while Ani DiFranco is in town for one night to seduce us with her soulful songs. In the middle, check out the city’s first Malaysian restaurant, and stop by the Museum of Science and Industry’s throwback Lego exhibit.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what's happening in cities around the U.S.
April 1 | Concert
Chicago Harp Quartet
Take a lunch break with the only harp quartet in Chicago, which will be performing at downtown’s historic Fourth Presbyterian Church on Friday. This rock-star group of women tours internationally, but they’re kicking off their 2016 season right here in their hometown with a free concert. They’ll be playing pieces by Saint-Saens, Patterson, and Liszt, among others, in the church, which is just a few blocks away from the Water Tower, the Hancock Building, and all of the shopping on the Magnificent Mile.
12 p.m. | 126 E. Chestnut St., Chicago | (312) 787-4570 | Free | website
Through February 2017 | Museum exhibit
Brick by Brick
The Museum of Science and Industry (MSI) is astounding its visitors yet again, this time with its Lego-themed exhibit, Brick by Brick, fit for kids and grown-ups alike. On display are creations like a five-foot-tall Lego Cinderella castle, which took 145 hours to design and 230 hours to build, and a 60-foot-long Golden Gate Bridge made out of 64,500 bricks, which took 215 hours to design and 260 hours to build. These masterpieces are likely to give you the itch to play on your own. Luckily, there are tons of areas for kids and adults to tinker.
5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Chicago | (773) 684-1414 | $27 | website
April 2–3 | Escape the city
Milwaukee is only just over an hour outside of Chicago, and it’s got plenty of attractions that rival the Windy City. The Milwaukee Art Museum was recently remodeled, and the building itself is an architectural wonder. Housed inside is a strong American art collection and contemporary art in addition to many impressive rotating exhibits. The Harley-Davidson Museum is not to be missed either, even for those who aren’t bikers, as it really gives a history of how the iconic bike impacted out country. Milwaukee is known for its cheese curds, so stop in at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart on your way back to Chicago.
April 6 | Concert
She’s back. Singer-songwriter Ani DiFranco is in Chicago with her guitar to make us weep with her expressive style. The outspoken songstress is sure to tell us a little about her latest causes (maybe we’ll hear her thoughts on the election?), along with her ongoing work with feminist issues. She’s expected to sing a mix of songs from her impressive 18-album-long discography.
8 p.m. | Park West, 322 W. Armitage Ave., Chicago | (773) 929-5959 | $40 | website
Now open | Restaurant
Chicago gained its first Malaysian restaurant with the opening of Serai. The Logan Square BYOB restaurant specializes in South Asian comfort food, such as nyonya curry chicken and pulut hitam (black rice pudding with coconut milk), but there are also spicy meat dishes like the rending lamb. Be sure to order a Malaysian iced coffee, which is sweet and rich at the same time. When you’re in Logan Square, take a walk on the 606, Chicago’s newish equivalent of New York’s High Line.
2169 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago | (872) 206-8368 | 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.