Chicago’s music, dance, and other cultural institutions are kicking off their winter seasons this week. Celebrate at the Joffrey Ballet, which is performing a contemporary version of Romeo and Juliet. The United Center is hosting the Tour of Gymnastics Champions, and the Lyric Opera is presenting Lucia di Lammermoor. Finish off with a four-course meal and wine pairings from Chicago's beloved Oriole restaurant.
AFAR Local is our weekly insider guide to the best of what’s happening in cities around the U.S.
October 13 | Gymnastics
Kellogg’s Tour of Gymnastics Champions
Members of the 2012 and the 2016 U.S. Olympic gymnastics teams will be performing awe-inspiring routines at the annual Tour of Gymnastics Champions. Yes, Olympic favorite Simone Biles is expected to be there, along with Gabby Douglas, Laurie Hernandez, Shawn Johnson, Madison Kocian, Aly Raisman, and Nastia Liukin, plus some members of the men’s gymnastics team as well. This is a chance to see them hit all their stunts, minus the pressure of the Olympic games.
7 p.m. | United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago | From $29 | website
October 13–23 | Dance
Romeo and Juliet
The Joffrey Ballet kicks off its new season with Krzysztof Pastor’s choreography of Romeo and Juliet. This isn’t your classic version of the story, however: It’s a neo ballet, which uses a multimedia video backdrop depicting three political eras of the 20th century to give the performance a generation-spanning feel. The show is directed by Joffrey Music Director Scott Speck and accompanied by the Chicago Philharmonic.
Times vary | Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago | From $34 | website
October 15–16 | Escape the city
Spring Green, Wisconsin
Fall is the perfect time to visit Spring Green, Wisconsin. Check out the changing leaves, tour architect Frank Lloyd Wright’s home, and make sure you catch a show at the American Players Theatre. There are plenty of local art galleries and wineries to keep you busy all weekend. Drive 15 minutes to Plain, WI, and stop by Cedar Grove Cheese, a family-run cheese farm that’s been operating for over a century. See cheese being made the old-fashioned way, and then visit the retail store to buy some to bring home.
October 15–November 6 | Music
Lucia di Lammermoor
The Lyric Opera recently started off a new season, and its first show offers a creative way to get in the mood for Halloween. Lucia di Lammermoor tells a haunting tale of madness and love. The story follows a bride, Lucia, and her lover Edgardo—and there will be blood. On top of being downright creepy, this opera has some memorable love duets and a story reminiscent of Romeo and Juliet.
Times vary | Civic Opera Building, 20 N. Upper Wacker Dr., Chicago | From $17 | website
October 16 | Food and drink
Arietta’s 20th Anniversary at Oriole
Chicago’s Oriole is helping Napa Valley winery Arietta celebrate its 20th anniversary with a four-course dinner to pair with eight of the winery’s bottles. Arietta’s sommelier Fritz Hatton will be in attendance to answer all your tasting-note questions, and Oriole’s open kitchen (and small 28-seat capacity) will give you a front-row seat to the cooking action.
Call for reservations | 661 W. Walnut St., Chicago | $275 per person | 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.