How are you feeling in the first month of the new year? Whether you’re taking it slow or are already chasing your dream at full throttle, never forget to treat yourself to a good meal, some delicious drinks, and a refreshing artistic experience. Plus, we all know we got lucky this year with the temperature, even though part of it is our Chicago gene defining 40 degrees as warm weather. Therefore, seize your day and mark a few from our list of things to do in Chicago this January.
Eat & Drink
Enjoy a Dry January Mocktail
If you’re taking a step back from alcohol this month, kudos to you. Luckily, that doesn’t mean you won’t have anything fancy to drink other than juice, kombucha, and plain water. Our favorite restaurants and bars are pioneers when it comes to spirit-free mocktails. See what your top bartender has created to make your Dry January as delicious as a wet one!
Celebrate Chicago Restaurant Week
What’s the biggest happening in Chicago this January? Why — it’s, of course, the 2023 Chicago Restaurant Week! Kicking off with First Bites Bash on Jan. 19th, this year’s CRW is more exciting than ever, with a ton of first-time participants. Stay tuned as we’re diligently putting together our editor’s menu picks from this year’s extensive list of participating restaurants.
New Brunch at LIVA
739 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60654
LIVA at Chicago Winery in River North is a chef-driven, community-inspired restaurant. They’ve launched a limited-time, must-try brunch special: Bubbles and a Board! It includes two glasses of Chicago Winery Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine paired with menu favorite Chef’s Whim Board, featuring After Glow cheese by Blakesville Creamery for $40.
One Night Only Omasake at Maple & Ash
Two MICHELIN-starred Chef Danny Grant is flying in Maple & Ash’s sister restaurant from the Lone Star State for one night only to present a special eight-course Omakase experience in the heart of the restaurant— the enclosed atrium.
On Tuesday, January 24th, from 5:30 pm – 8:30 pm, guests will be treated to an elegant tasting experience featuring collaborative menu items like Koji Dry-Aged Wagyu Strip in addition to sought-after Kessaku staples like nigiri flights, Uni Bucatini with purple sea urchin, and the stunning Kessaku Tower plated on an extravagant ice sculpture featuring sashimi, tuna & truffle, hamachi & crispy ginger, oysters, caviar, and prawns, plus passed appetizers and more.
New Brunch at The Loyalist
177 N Ada St #001, Chicago, IL 60607
Chefs John and Karen Urie Shields are thrilled to introduce a one-of-a-kind Sunday brunch at The Loyalist beginning January 15, 2023. Located downstairs beneath two Michelin-starred Smyth, the new brunch at the beloved West Loop neighborhood bar builds on the restaurant’s warm, welcoming ambiance and an excellence in French-inspired food and craft cocktails. The inaugural brunch will be offered from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. beginning January 15 with reservations available via Tock.
Pigskin Weekend at Frontier
1072 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago, IL 60642
On Saturday, January 21st and Sunday, January 22nd, Frontier will be hosting their Pigskin Weekend! With the NFL playoff games being aired throughout the weekend, come root on your favorite teams while enjoying a Bacon Lover’s Brunch, Smokehouse Pork Platter, WhistlePig Whiskey specials, & more! Frontier will also be offering $100 OFF Whole Smoked Pigs for those ready to indulge! Make your reservations today via Tock.
Duck Sel Dinner Series
A cross between a dinner party and a fine dining restaurant experience, Duck Sel allows up to 16 attendees to enjoy MICHELIN-caliber contemporary American cuisine during intimate, communal events held on Friday, January 27 at 7 p.m. (15-course experience), Saturday, January 28 at 5:30 p.m. (seven-course experience), and Saturday, January 28 at 8:30 p.m. (15 course-experience).
Feast upon fascinating selections created by Young, including Mangalica Ham Donut with umibudo, fennel and egg yolk; Everything Spice Gougere with foie gras, pistachio and rhubarb; Tteokbokki with wagyu short rib, blueberries and corn; an Omelette with Ora king salmon, trout roe, umami and more. Tickets are available now on Tock.
Get Cozy Around the Fireplace
The weather might be mild, but it’s still chilly at night. Instead of heated patios, how about some retro-style fireplaces for a night out this year? Many Chicago bars and restaurants have a lovely fireplace. Crackling wood, shiny sparkles, a hot cocktail or a glass of wine… May it be a date with your love or with yourself, a fireplace is what you need in life this January!
New Monthly Collab Dinner at Ramen-San
The Ramen-san team and Executive Chef Kevin Marquardt, are excited to invite some of their favorite chefs and culinary teams to Ramen-san for an ongoing collaboration dinner series. Each visiting chef will create a ramen dish inspired by their cooking style that will be available at all Ramen-san locations for a limited time for dine-in, carryout, and delivery.
The partnership will culminate with a one-night-only event, where the visiting chef will serve an exclusive multi-course dinner to guests, with tickets available for purchase through Tock. The series kick off on Tuesday, Jan. 31st.
Thai Dang x The Goddess and Grocer
Debbie Sharpe, aka The Goddess, and Chef Thai Dang (HaiSous) are teaming up to bring their unique flavors and specialties to pop-ups at The Goddess and Grocer Fulton Market & Bucktown locations this winter. Debbie and Chef Thai will be on hand to mix and mingle with guests while dishing out delicious plates including Dang Good Wings & Fries (fix honey sriracha or Haisous famous caramelized fish sauce), Steak & Egg Sandwich, Crispy Chicken Bánh Mì, and more.
The pop-up will happen at the Fulton Market location Friday, January 27 thru Sunday, January 29, from 11am-3pm (until supplies last), and the Bucktown location Friday, February 3 thru Sunday, February 5, from 11am-3pm (until supplies last).
art, music, and performance
See an Art Show
Chicago is never short of art exhibitions, plus, you can take advantage of free museum days in January! Explore MCA, the Art Institute, or check out the various galleries spanning across the entire city. Whether you’re looking for a fine art experience or pop art, there is an art exhibition in January for you.
Stage 773, 1225 W Belmont Ave, Chicago, IL 60657
Tired of all the immersive experience that really is just a giant projection screen? Check out WHIM. Collaborating with your favorite local artists, WHIM is a truly immersive experience where guests walk through, touch and feel, and interact with the brilliant art installation and displays in the venue, accompanied by delicious bites and drinks.
Get Your Tix for Chicago Theatre Week
Don’t underestimate the enthusiasm of theater lovers. You’ll be regretting when all seats run out within the first few weeks of ticket sales, especially those discount ones! Now is the perfect time to grab your tickets for the 2023 Chicago Theatre Week and plan accordingly. From musical, drama, to standup comedy, this year’s program provides a great variety of surprises and entertainment. Visit Choose Chicago for the full schedule!
See a Concert at City Winery Chicago
1200 W Randolph St, Chicago, IL 60607
City Winery Chicago is ready to fill your spring with an unforgettable music experience! Concerts announced include psychobilly legend Reverend Horton Heat, hip-hop MC Talib Kweli, gospel vocalist Anita Wilson, New Orleans organist John “Papa” Gros, R&B Trio The Hamiltones, a Fleetwood Mac tribute, and more. The shows go on sale to the public on Friday, January 13th at 12 PM CST. Tickets and detailed programming will be available at citywinery.com/chicago.
The MLK House Party Celebration at Horseshoe Hammond
777 Casino Center Dr, Hammond, IN 46320
American actor, comedian, and DJ, best known for his role in the sitcom “Black-ish,” Deon Cole has been nominated for two SAG Awards and two NAACP Image Awards. He will start the party with a lively DJ set, continued with exciting performances by Grammy-nominated DJ Terry Hunter, mixtape icon Boolu Master, Chicago’s premier female DJs Sundance and DJ Chyna, and world-renowned DJ Slugo. Doors open at 5 p.m., Show starts at 6 p.m. Tickets are available here.
Watch AFC & NFC Games at Lottie’s
1925 W Cortland St, Chicago, IL 60622
We can all agree that Lottie’s Pub is the place to go on game days. Join in on the fun for the AFC & NFC Championship Games starting at 2 PM & 5:30 PM. Put your own football skills to the test by tossing a touchdown for the chance to win prizes! Lottie’s will also be offering drink specials that include $5 Mimosas, $6 22 oz Miller & Coors Drafts, $6 Proper 12 Shots, and $6 Dobel Shots. Tables can be reserved by emailing email@example.com; walk-ins are also welcomed.
Shop at Neighborhood Boutiques
Showcase your unique personality with one-of-a-kind goods! Explore the many boutiques in Chicago’s diverse neighborhoods this month and go on a shopping spree: because who doesn’t need new things for the New Year? If you need some pointers, check out our Andersonville shopping guide and Wicker Park shopping guide while we put more together!
Celebrate Lunar New Year
Dumplings, dim sums… Okay, okay. Lunar New Year is not just about food, I know that! Honestly, there is no better time of the year to head to Chinatown than January, because this is the best time to experience eastern culture. Because Lunar New Year is one of the most significant holidays in Asian culture, Chinatown will be full of festivities. Remember how hyped we were for the Christmas season last month? Chinatown will be just as hyped for Lunar New Year!
Chicago Puppet Fest
DuSable Black History Museum and Education Center, 740 E 56th Pl, Chicago, IL 60637
On January 27th, from 10:30 am to 12:00 pm, explore one of the oldest theatre forms at the DuSable Museum! Chicago Puppet Fest will show how humans and puppets interact, mesh, and coil to present some of the well-known drama classics. The festival will present celebrated South African artist Janni Younge’s new adaptation of Shakespeare’s Hamlet, told through beautifully-crafted life-size puppets.
Plan a Wellness Retreat
If you dove right back into work like we did the moment January hit, now is the perfect time to plan a wellness getaway! Explore the many spas in Chicago, or book a hotel to enjoy their luxury wellness amenities. Either way, don’t let the new year stress get to you. It’s great to hustle, but just as great to pamper yourself.
Featured Image: Anthony Tahlier