Chicago Events Calendar 2014: A Look Ahead to the Really Big Events of 2014

Chicago Events Calendar 2014:  A Look Ahead to the Really Big Events of 2014
Wrigley Field pulls out all the stops in 2014 for its 100 year celebration

Today Show Me Chicago has put together a roundup of some of the really big Chicago events for 2014. Many of the old favorites return, along with some newbies including The Great Chicago Fire Festival plus a duo of blockbuster anniversary blow-outs.

1. Chicago Restaurant Week

Hungry? Whet your appetite at Chicago Restaurant Week with gourmet menus at bargain prices.  This Chicago favorite event celebrates its 7th year with more than 250 restaurants throughout the Chicago area, including 40 new participating restaurants. Chicago Restaurant Week 2014 will run for 14 days from January 24 through February 6.  Prix fixe menus starting at $22 for lunch and $33/$44 for dinner, excluding beverages, tax, and gratuity, for all participating restaurants. For the list of participating restaurants and online reservations, click here.

2. The Chicago Auto Show

The 106th edition of the Chicago Auto Show, which has been around almost as long as the automobile and is the largest auto show in North America, rolls into  the McCormick Place convention center February 8 through February 17th with a black tie gala, First Look for Charity on Friday, February 7, 7 p.m. to 11 p.m.

3. Chicago Theatre Week

Chicago Theatre Week 2014, which celebrates the rich tradition of theatre-going in Chicago, returns for its second year February 11th through February 16th.  Over 100 productions are expected to participate.  New to this year’s Theatre Week is a partnership with area hotels, which will be offering Chicago Theatre Week packages to include a hotel room and a pair of tickets to one of ten productions.  Chicago Theatre Week is presented by the League of Chicago Theatres in partnership with Choose Chicago. For tickets, click here.

4. Chicago St. Patricks Parade and Dyeing the River Green

Chicago, whose St. Patrick’s Day celebrations rival those of Ireland, will once again be dyeing the Chicago River green right before the St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year the greening of the river begins at 10 a.m. followed by the parade at noon on Saturday, March 15, 2014.   Another favorite St. Patrick's Day celebration is the South Side Irish Parade which takes place the following day, March 16.

5. Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater

A Show Me Chicago favorite and a perennial Chicago favorite, as well, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Auditorium Theatre February 28th through March 9th.

6. Baseball Season Opening Days

  • Chicago White Sox vs. Twins, Opening Day March 31st.
  • Chicago Cubs vs. Phillies, Home openner, Friday, April 4 kicks off the 100th Anniversary season of Wrigley Field

7. Wrigley Field Turns 100 on April 23

Wrigley Field will celebrate its 100th birthday in 2014, and just like any good birthday party, Wrigley Field’s celebration will feature special guests, gifts, cake, entertainment and even a serenade to the tune of “Happy Birthday.” Chicago Cubs fans are invited to the “Party of the Century” throughout the 2014 season.  The big party will take place on April 23, the 100-year anniversary of the day Wrigley Field, originally named Weeghman Park hosted its first game, where the Chi-Feds defeated the Kansas City Packers 9-1.  The team will continue its celebration of the ballpark’s rich century of history during 10 decade-themed homestands complete with historic player uniforms, specialty food offerings, promotional items and entertainment.

8. Motown the Musical National Tour Kicks off in Chi Town

The National Tour of Motown the Musical launches in Chicago in April 2014 at the Oriental Theatre. Motown is the true American dream story of Motown founder Berry Gordy’s journey from featherweight boxer to the heavyweight music mogul who launched the careers of Diana Ross, Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Marvin Gaye and so many more.  April 22 to July 13, 2014. For tickets and information, click here.

9. The Unofficial Start of Chicago’s Summer Festival Season

May starts Chicago’s summer festival season with various Cinco de Mayo celebrations including the Pilsen/Little Village parade and fest, May 2nd through the 5th.  The festing continues throughout the month with fests including Mayfest, May 16 through May 18 then more fests and parades on Memorial Day weekend followed by the Belmont Sheffield Music Fest on June 6 and 7--considered by many to be the kick off to the summer season.

10. Bike the Drive

The popular, Bike the Drive, event closes Lake Shore Drive to traffic and allows bikers five hours of riding bliss along 15 miles of Chicago's lakefront on May 25, 2014.

11. Millennium Park turns 10

It may be hard to believe but Millennium Park celebrates ten years this summer.  The official tenth anniversary of Millennium Park's opening is July 16, 2014.  Various events,TBA, will be scheduled throughout the summer to celebrate the park's exciting first decade.  In addition, a soft opening is tentatively planned this summer for Maggie Daley Park (formerly the Daley Bicentennial Plaza) which is scheduled for completion in 2015.

12. The Chicago Blues Festival

Chicago, “The Blues Capital of the World” presents their annual Chicago Blues Festival, the largest free blues festival in the world, in Grant Park June 13th through the 15th. The popular event showcases five stages of the best in blues by top performers throughout the blues world.

13. Chicago Bike Week

A week full of bike related activities and events are on tap throughout Chicago and the suburbs June 13th through June 20th.

14. Pride Parade

It’s year 45 for Chicago’s Gay Pride Parade stepping off at noon on June 29th from Montrose and Broadway. For more information on the parade and related events, click here.

15. Taste of Chicago 2014

The Taste of Chicago returns in its newish time slot promising an even better musical line-up, great restaurants and food trucks from July 9th through July 13th in Grant Park.

16. Pitchfork Music Festival

The alternative rock, rap and hip hop Pitchfork Music Festival is on the 2014 calendar for Friday July 18th through Sunday, July 20th in Chicago’s Union Park. 1501 W.  Randolph.

17. Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza, the popular three-day music festival with more than 100 of the top names in alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and hip hop bands hits the grass in Grant Park and around town with after parties and more--August 1st through August 3rd.

18. The Chicago Air and Water Show

Chicago’s most popular festival--at least with the 2 million plus expected visitors--is the Chicago Air and Water Show.  The high flying show returns the weekend of August 16th and 17th (with a full rehearsal on August 15th) for its 56th year of daredevil thrills and death-defying action at North Avenue Beach and along Chicago’s lakefront.

19. Chicago Jazz Fest

The Chicago Jazz Fest fills Chicago's Labor Day weekend calendar with Jazz performances and events at the Chicago Cultural Center, Grant Park and clubs around town.

20. The Great Chicago Fire Festival

The inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival will introduce an annual urban ritual to Chicago in the form of a massive event celebrating Chicago’s powerful spirit of resilience.   The free festival will be highlighted by a Grand Spectacle float parade down the Chicago River, Saturday, October 4, 2014.  The Great Chicago Fire Festival is a project of Redmoon in partnership with the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE).  This year's inaugural Great Chicago Fire Festival will become an annual tradition celebrating the diversity of Chicago's great neighborhoods.  Tens of thousands are expected to watch the procession and spectacle from Chicago’s newly developed riverfront, featuring acrobatics, live music, wild mechanical objects, and more.

21. Chicago International Film Festival

The Chicago International Film Festival returns this October with more than 100 short and full-length films from 50 countries, free panel discussions, and an opening night gala. October 9th through October 23rd.

22. The Chicago Marathon

The free Chicago Marathon Health & Fitness Expo is Friday and Saturday at McCormick Place. The Chicago Marathon begins and ends Sunday, October 12th in Grant Park, with an after-festival in Butler Field. October 10th through October 12th.

23. The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival

Dubbed the nation's largest evening holiday event, The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival, will take place on Saturday, November 22nd with a day of family activities and events followed by the light parade down the Mag Mile and fireworks.

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