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T+L's Definitive Guide to Chicago


Photo: Kevin Miyazaki

See + Do

Chicago’s top cultural pursuits (beyond Cloud Gate).

Art Institute of Chicago: The Renzo Piano–designed Modern Wing at the renowned museum showcases contemporary art and design. The original 1893 Beaux-Arts building has a great collection of European, Impressionist, and Post-Impressionist paintings (including Seurat’s A Sunday on La Grande Jatte), as well as photography and Asian ceramics.

Aspect Ratio: Avid collector Jefferson Godard curates forward-thinking installations by emerging and established talents at his new West Loop gallery, which has the city’s only video art space. Highlights include Spanish artist Casilda Sánchez and Tel Aviv–born Einat Amir.

Chicago’s First Lady: The best way to learn about the city’s historic buildings (the Tribune Tower; Merchandise Mart) is on a boat tour run by Chicago Architecture Foundation guides. It’s the most popular game in town for good reason: a knowledgeable staff, the longest running time (90 minutes), and a comfortable boat.

Second City: The 54-year-old sketch comedy club has been turning out A-list stars—Tina Fey; Steve Carell; Stephen Colbert—for more than 50 years. While outposts have sprouted up in Toronto and Hollywood, the original is still the place to catch fledgling writers and actors.

Steppenwolf Theatre: Many of the silver screen’s preeminent names (John Malkovich; Joan Allen) have performed at this legendary theater, with three venues for plays, musicals, and other events; the Garage Theatre next door stages smaller shows.


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