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9 things to look forward to in Chicago in 2023

9 things to look forward to in Chicago in 2023

Dog shows, immersive exhibitions and new Guinness brews await you.

Written by 

Emma Krupp


Jeffy Mai

As we near the end of 2022, it’s time to start looking ahead to what’s coming in the new year. Lots of big projects are in the works, including a Guinness brewery, several new music venues and NASCAR’s first-ever street race. So don’t let the winter blues get you down—there are plenty of bucket list-worthy activities on the horizon. While delays can, and invariably do, happen, we’re optimistic that the next 12 months will bring the city a wealth of notable openings. Without further ado, here are the things we’re most looking forward to in Chicago in 2023

A dog jumps over a post at a dog show
Photograph: Winter Churchill

Finding out who’s best in show at a new dog show coming to Chicago

Kick off 2023 with the first annual edition of the Great American Dog Show, a dog show extravaganza that’s taking up residence in the Renaissance Schaumburg Convention from January 6-8 with more than 200 breeds and four participating kennel clubs in competition for a series of prizes. Tickets start at $25 per person ($20 for seniors and $15 for seniors) and grant access to demonstrations, a marketplace full of vendors selling dog-friendly goods and a series of “Meet the Breeds” booths to acquaint you with different types of pups, among other interactive features. — Emma Krupp  

People laughing and watching a movie at Alamo Drafthouse
Photograph: Heather Leah Kennedy

Dinner and a movie at Alamo Drafthouse 

In February, the Texas-based movie theater chain Alamo Drafthouse—famous for its food options, themed screening nights and strict no-cellphone policy—revealed its debut Chicago location was headed to Wrigleyville. Beginning in January, Chicago moviegoers can finally catch a flick at the six-screen theater, which is taking up residence in the Addison and Clark development near Wrigley Field. Might we suggest a viewing of the latest Avatar installment? —EK

The Chicago skyline and the Morton Salt building in the foreground
Photograph: Sandra Steinbrecher

Catching a concert inside the former Morton Salt Building

After debuting its outdoor venue last summer, Salt Shed will finally open the long-awaited indoor portion of its venue complex at the site of the former Morton Salt Factory on February 17, complete with a roster of food and drink options that will eventually include Goose Island’s new brewpub. The inaugural lineup is pretty good, too, with appearances from Third Eye Blind, The Roots, Bikini Kill and Iggy Pop—though be warned that some of these shows are already sold out, so better snag tickets sooner rather than later. — EK

Guinness pints
Photograph: Shutterstock

Sipping brews at the Guinness factory opening

Do you remember way back in 2021, when Guinness announced it was bringing its second U.S. taproom to the West Loop? That vision is finally coming to reality sometime in early 2023, when the taproom and brewery is slated to debut inside 15,000-square-foot space housed in a former railroad depot at 375 N Morgan Street. Visitors can expect to sip brews exclusive to the Chicago location, hopefully in time for St. Patrick’s Day revelry this March. — EK

NASCAR cars on a track
Photograph: Shutterstock

Watching cars rip down Michigan Avenue during NASCAR’s first-ever street race

Chicago’s plans to host a weekend of NASCAR street racing was controversial from the start—and a recent WBEZ analysis found that the deal provides “minimal financial benefit” to the city— but you can’t deny it will at least be interesting to see race cars zooming along Grant Park at breakneck speeds when the event rolls into town over Fourth of July weekend. Prepare to fork over a pretty penny if you’re hoping for tickets; general admission passes haven’t gone on sale yet, but reserved seats currently start at $415, with certain VIP packages soaring to an eye-popping $4,300 a ticket. — EK

The exterior of Double Door
Photograph: CC/Flickr/Subbu ArumugamThe original Double Door in Wicker Park.

Rocking out at the new Double Door

Chicagoans mourned the closing of beloved music venue Double Door after it was evicted from its longtime Wicker Park home in 2017. But sorrow should soon turn to joy as Double Door is making its return next year inside the Wilson Avenue Theater in Uptown, a century-old building that’s currently under renovation. The finished project will have two mezzanine levels on top of the main floor, a balcony plus a lounge in the basement, Block Club Chicago reports. And it’ll also sport a new 17-foot-tall sign—a nod to the original club’s iconic neon sign that was taken down. — Jeffy Mai

Hell’s Kitchen rendering
Photograph: Courtesy of Gordon Ramsay North America

Sitting down to meal at Gordon Ramsay Hell’s Kitchen

Celebrity chef and polarizing television personality Gordon Ramsay is bringing his notorious restaurant Hell’s Kitchen to Chicago. Inspired by the eponymous cooking competition, it will span two stories and 18,000 square feet in River North, with a vertical, airy design intended to evoke the history of the city’s skyscrapers. On the food side, expect signature items like beef Wellington and sticky toffee pudding. Hell’s Kitchen will be Ramsay’s second concept, joining Gordon Ramsay Burger. — JM

A rendering of Ramova Theater
Photograph: Courtesy of O’Riley Office

Enjoying a beer and a show at a restored Bridgeport venue

A historic Bridgeport development is coming back to life next year as a mixed-use venue. Originally opened in 1929, Ramova Theater operated as a cinema house until its closure in 1985. Now, a complete restoration is underway, which will transform it into a live music hall flanked by a brewpub and a restaurant according to Block Club Chicago. The Duck Inn chef Kevin Hickey will be in charge of the food concept and he plans to pay tribute to Ramova Grill—the diner previously attached to the theater—by bringing back its most popular dish, chili. — JM

Illuminarium rendering
Photograph: Courtesy of the Rockwell Group

Going on an immersive adventure without leaving the city

Navy Pier is helping locals see the world with a new attraction in 2023. A 32,000-square-foot immersive space, dubbed Illuminarium, will transport visitors to far-flung places through virtual reality-esque exhibits that feature laser projections, 3D audio, scents and more. The multi-sensory experience will include an African safari and a trip through the solar system, so there are surprises in store for even the most seasoned travelers. — JM