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Arts Outdoors on Chicago's North Shore

Stretch out the warmer months with a cornucopia of arts in the parks and beyond. Out in the sunshine or under the stars, Chicago’s North Shore brings its reputation for world-class performing arts and visual arts beyond the theaters and galleries. Catch a concert or musical theater, schedule the musician of your choice for a memorable lawn or block party, and hunt for colorful murals and towering sculptures. Movies and plays are afoot, too. As with all outdoor events, keep an eye on the weather and check with the host to see if rain dates apply.

Outdoor concert
   

Out Back Summer Sessions
North Shore Center for Performing Arts
9501 Skokie Blvd., Skokie (parking lot)
Come back out and go out back of the North Shore Center for a rousing, safe outdoor summer concert series. Sure to be super popular, these great nights of entertainment will also provide much-needed support for local artists and musicians. With a capacity of 200 people, you’ll want to pick your tickets now from a range of shows, such as The Four C Notes recreating the music of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons (Aug. 13); modern guitar virtuoso and Chicagoan Fareed Haque and The Secret Tango Society (Aug. 22); or Music Theater Works: Richard Rodgers’ Greatest Hits (Aug. 28–29).

The Four C Notes, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie
The Four C Notes, North Shore Center for the Performing Arts, Skokie

Bad Dates – Drive-In Premiere
Oil Lamp Theater
Our Lady of Perpetual Help, 1775 Grove St., Glenview (parking lot)
Oil Lamp Theater debuts their fully-produced, filmed production of Bad Dates by Theresa Rebeck in true drive-in fashion. Catch this one-day event taking place in the parking lot across from the theater (two showings available). LED video walls will screen this slyly sweet comedy while you listen on your car’s radio using an FM station. A sole actor portrays Haley, a divorced single mom in New York, as she makes a journey of self-discovery dealing with not only a series of bad dates, but the challenges of raising a teen daughter, working as a restaurant manager, and wrangling a huge shoe collection. One ticket per car; tickets run $25 to $50, some with “snack packages.” (Streaming at-home option also available).

The Big Picture: A Mural Treasure Hunt
Various locations, Evanston
Looking for a creative, free outdoor art activity to really take advantage of these warmer months? The Big Picture: A Mural Treasure Hunt is just the ticket for hours or even days of adventure. This self-guided tour is perfect for all ages and even comes with the possibility of prizes! Follow the interactive Google map to find 17 different Evanston Mural Arts Program paintings all around town while answering fun questions and following prompts on your phone. Learn about the artwork and artists along your journey. Go at your own pace but submit your completed entry by Aug. 30 for a chance to win gift cards and other prizes from Blick Art Materials.

Dustin Harris Mural, Evanston
Dustin Harris Mural, Evanston

Art in the Sculpture Park
Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park
McCormick Blvd. between Dempster St. and Touhy Ave., Skokie
This open-air museum presents art in an informal, easy-to-enjoy venue. While some of their usual  programming isn’t on the calendar right now, this renown park is great for a Self-Guided Tour of the free public art. Abstract forms mixed with representational pieces, these 70+ pieces tower above as you walk, jog, or bike along the long, two-mile expanse of landscaped pathways (with areas for picnicking, too). Touching the sculptures is encouraged (though no climbing, please) and dogs on leashes are welcome. Follow the North channel of the Chicago River to explore different “galleries” like “New Turf” and “Young Artists.” Open during daylight hours.

Skokie Sculpture Park, Skokie
Skokie Sculpture Park, Skokie

Starlight Movies in the Park
Various Evanston parks
Free, feel-good family fun fills the parks this summer! Interactive activities will be offered from 7:00 p.m.–8:00 p.m. before contemporary movies start up at dusk. The gripping and timely legal drama Just Mercy with Michael B. Jordan and Jamie Foxx runs Aug. 8 (Baker Park, Keeney and Forest). Enjoy Beatles classics in Yesterday, a charming romantic comedy (Aug. 11; Dawes Park, Lakefront between Dempster and Church). A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood stars Tom Hanks in this critically-acclaimed biopic of Mr. Rogers (Aug. 15; James Park, Oakton and Dodge). Then enjoy the ride of Jumanji: The Next Level (Aug. 18; Twiggs Park, South of Canal between Simpson and Payne).

SPACE To-Go Concerts
Your place! In and around Evanston
A To-Go Concert brings the best of what you love about SPACE right to your home in a portable micro-concert experience. These intimate shows are crafted for you and your family to enjoy and feature a world-class musician or two, a bit of food and drink, and some decor reminiscent of the esteemed venue. Choose from more than a dozen artists like the Gerald McClendon Soulkeeper Trio performing Motown hits and more; Jon Langford of The Mekons and Waco Brothers; solo cello or string trio featuring Anna Steinhoff; or the high energy virtuosity of Funkadesi with their blending of musical styles of India with funk and Afro-Caribbean grooves; plus many more. Prices vary based on the particulars, but start at $750 for a 35-minute performance in Evanston.

Space To-Go Concerts, Evanston Space
Space To-Go Concerts, Evanston Space

This entry was posted in Events, Music, Outdoors, Theater, and tagged Chicago Day Trip Ideas, Chicago Day Trips, Chicago North Shore Theater, Chicago North Shore, Chicago's North Shore, Day Trip Ideas, Downtown Evanston, Evanston, Free Live Outdoor Music Chicago North Shore, Illinois, Live Music, Music, North Shore Center For The Performing Arts, North Shore Chicago, North Shore Concerts, North Shore Drama, North Shore Plays, North Shore Theater, North Shore Theatre, North Shore, Oil Lamp Theater, Performing Arts, Skokie Northshore Sculpture Park, Skokie, Summer On Chicago's North Shore, Summer, Theater, Things To Do On The North Shore, Things To Do, .

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