Chicago is a stalwart on the American tourism scene. It’s an all-round great city to visit, with prestigious museums, plenty of culinary offerings, and shopping for days.
If you’re a regular visitor, however, you may be in search of something new or different to occupy your time. Fortunately, in a bustling city like this one, there are more than enough new things to do and places to go for visitors and locals alike. (So much so, in fact, that it can sometimes be overwhelming to track it all!)
To help you sort through all the buzz around what’s new in Chicago for 2019, we’ve put together a handy guide. This is by no means an exhaustive list – instead, we’ve curated a selection of our favorite new things for you to enjoy.
Museums & Attractions
wndr: collapsing the word “wonder” into its consonants is far from the most exciting thing about this new museum that focuses on interactive installation exhibits. Located in the West Loop, this exciting new institution features Chicago’s first Infinity Mirror Room by legendary Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama alongside works by Barbara Kruger, Alex Israel, and Richard Price. It opened at the end of 2018 and is a must-see for 2019.
American Writer’s Museum: Although it actually opened in the spring of 2017, this new museum in Chicago is still flying pretty far under the radar. It’s filled with an historic survey of American authors that’s anything but stuffy – think more interactive exhibits, things to play with, read, touch, and listen to. The American Writer’s Museum also within easy distance of many other top attractions due to its proximity to Millennium Park.
“Connoisseurship of Japanese Prints” Exhibit: Located at the Art Institute, this limited time exhibit features some of the world’s most famous and evocative ukiyo-e, more commonly understood as images of waves. With contributions from iconic Japanese artists like Hokusai, Utamaro, and Sharaku, this exhibit invites visitors to compare their prints and evaluate subtle differences to emerge with a great appreciation for this nuanced art form. On now until June 23, 2019.
SUE’s New Home: With Máximo the Titanosaur stealing all the headlines coming out of the Field Museum, you may not know that their famous fossil-turned-acerbic Twitter personality SUE has a new place in the museum. A 40-foot-long and 90-percent-complete Tyrannosaurus rex, SUE is more than deserving of a new place of pride in the Elizabeth Morse Genius Hall of Dinosaurs.
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Young American: This new spot in Logan Square centralizes uber-creative dishes like “goth bread” (darkened with leek ash and activated charcoal) and can’t-miss cocktails that incorporate the trendiest ingredient around – CBD.
Galit: A delightful new Middle Eastern restaurant right near Lincoln Park, this offering from James Beard award-winner Zach Engel serves up an array of innovative dishes. Reservations are hard to come by, but keep stalking Open Table.
Machine: Engineered Dining and Drink: A new addition to Wicker Park’s already impressive dining and cocktail scene, Machine is not only a restaurant and bar, but also a flower shop. So sip on some zippy cocktails, post a photo of their sexy food on Instagram, and then grab some flowers on your way out
The Smith: A River North installation of this restaurant which also has locations in NYC and DC, the Smith is American food done right. This chic spot offers brunch, lunch, and dinner, as well as a mix of classic and funky cocktails. Stop by for lunch to avoid the busiest times.
Virtue: Pop on down to Hyde Park to enjoy this new Southern, soul food-style restaurant that’s already won many converts, including former President Obama. Think southern favorites with an upscale twist, like a pork chop with heirloom Egyptian grains.
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Lululemon: While this new “experiential” shop has yet to open, this highly anticipated space will feature food, drinks, fitness classes, a meditation room, plus their usual stock of coveted workout apparel. The shop is set to open at the corner of North and Sheffield avenues in July of 2019.
Macy’s at State Street: This retail giant is far from new, but their innovative curatorial concept is. Starting in 2019, Macy’s on State Street will curate their merchandise offerings around a given theme, and the products (and theme) will rotate every month or do. Their first—very successful—theme was “color,” featured everything from makeup to candy to denim.
Amazon Books: Now officially opened in Lakeview, this brick-and-mortar version of the online retail giant focuses exclusively on books. You can also purchase Kindles and other Amazon devices, but expect the bulk of the merchandise to be a large collection of highly rated books (selected according to online reviews).
Free People: The West Loop really is booming right now, with new restaurants and shops opening left and right on a seemingly regular basis. Ethereal indie darling Free People is one of the most recent, with two massive levels featuring their signature bohemian garb.
Rapha Cycling Club: This London-based retailer is forging ahead in the Midwest market with their Wicker Park clubhouse location. If you’re a cycling junkie, it may be worth it to join as member for the access to local events, affordable high-end bike rentals, and free coffee. Anyone, though, is welcome to shop their selection of chic cycling apparel.
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Looking for More?
If you’re hoping to keep on top of what’s new in Chicago on a regular basis, Go City can help. Our easy-to-use passes make it simple to see the best of Chicago for less, while taking advantage of new museums, tours, and attractions.
So save up for that date at a swanky new restaurant, and enjoy the exciting new things Chicago has to offer without worrying about your budget.