The five best things to do in and around Chicago this week
This week in Chicago is all about food. Not only is Latinicity finally bringing cuisine from across Central and South America to the Loop, we're also celebrating the city's first French Restaurant Week, and local runners will be participating in the beloved Hot Chocolate 5K and 15K runs. (The reward for training has never been so sweet.) Also make sure to check out Twyla Tharp's 50th anniversary tour, where she presents two new, and very different, works.
November 5 | Restaurant opening
When Latinicity finally opens on November 5, Loop workers may fall to their knees in gratitude for this new lunch and dinner option. After many delays, Block 37 mall’s third floor will finally be filled with stalls cooking Latin-inspired eats, along with a full-service tapas restaurant with a bar. This food hall, the largest and most ambitious project yet from world-renowned chef/restaurateur Richard Sandoval, will pay homage to the cuisines of Latin American countries with stations featuring everything from Mexican hot chocolate to Peruvian-style stir-fry to Brazilian steak. Commuters coming to and from the Red and Blue Lines will even be able to grab coffee and to-go sandwiches from a Latinicity station set up near the Pedway.
11 a.m. (grand opening) | 108 N. State St., Chicago | website
November 5–8 | Dance
Twyla Tharp 50th Anniversary Tour
When a legendary choreographer breezes through town with two world-premiere dances—on a 50th anniversary tour, no less—you shouldn’t miss the opportunity to see it. Twyla Tharp—a giant of modern ballet who is responsible for popular shows like Billy Joel rock musical Movin’ Out, the Bob Dylan tribute The Times They Are A-Changin’, and the Frank Sinatra–inspired Come Fly Away (originally Come Fly with Me)—combines jazz, ballet, modern, and even martial arts to create a dance style all her own. And the two world premieres this week, Preludes and Fugues and Yowzie, couldn’t be more different: The former is set to Bach’s The Well-Tempered Clavier, and the latter pairs modern and ballet with old jazz and blues tunes. The November 8 performance includes a post-show Q&A with Tharp.
7:30 p.m. (2 p.m. Nov. 8) | Auditorium Theatre, 50 E. Congress Pkwy., Chicago | (312) 341-2300 | From $33 | website
November 8 | Fun run
Hot Chocolate 5K/15K
Why is the Hot Chocolate race one of the most popular fun runs in Chicago? It's not just the chocolate (which is offered as a post-race reward), it's also the always-great goodie bag, which this year includes a zip-up fleece you will see runners wearing every time you hit the lakefront trail from now until summer. The course takes runners past some of city’s coolest landmarks, such as Millennium Park, the lakefront, the Chicago River, and, if they’re doing the 15K, the old Motor Row in Bronzeville and Soldier Field. After the race, they’re handed both a cup of cocoa and mug of chocolate fondue with dippable snacks.
7 a.m. | Grant Park, 337 E. Randolph St., Chicago | From $54 | website
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November 9–19 | Restaurants
A La Carte Chicago
Say bonjour to Chicago’s first French Restaurant Week, a celebration of the country’s food, wine, and culture. Francophiles can check out special prix-fixe menus at some of the best French restaurants in town (don’t miss Le Bouchon’s great deal—three courses for $33), get discounts on French pastries at bakeries like Vanille Patisserie and La Fournette, and attend some France-inspired events. There are also cooking classes, including one on November 11 will teach you how to cook five dishes from chef Jacques Pepin’s new book, Jacques Pépin Heart & Soul in the Kitchen. And on November 14, you can follow chef Dominique Tougne during a 15-hour day of French cooking, which includes eating breakfast at La Fournette, checking in at his restaurant, Chez Moi, shopping for ingredients for the night’s service, cooking in the kitchen, and, finally, sitting down to dinner.
Times, locations & prices vary | website
Mineral Point, Wisconsin
Just 180 miles northwest of Chicago, the adorable artists’ community of Mineral Point is an ideal retreat from city life. The first town in Wisconsin to be listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Mineral Point was founded by miners from Cornwall, England. Its pre–Civil War homes, restored opera house, and thriving downtown lined with 19th-century buildings make it a popular destination for architecture buffs. But for the art-inclined, the place to be is Shake Rag Alley, an arts education center with a historic 2.5-acre wooded campus where you can learn how to make a fabric landscape "painting," a rustic armchair out of pliable willow branches, and more. You can easily spend a weekend here just taking classes—you can even spend the night on campus at the Coach House, a stopping point for stagecoaches in the 1800s (from $99/night).
Laura Baginski is a Chicago-based writer and editor who specializes in travel and parenting. Because of the latter, the former doesn't happen as much as she'd like.