The new year is in full swing, and boy is it off to a good start! From a new bluesy museum to temporary intrigues just passing through and a record-breaking coaster waiting for your screams of terrified delight, we’ll keep you looped in on all the must-knows in Chicago for 2019. Read on for our favorite exhibits, installations, activities and more to hit the scene this year.

photo: Wired to Wear courtesy of Kamil Krzaczynski/AP Images

NEW EXHIBITS AND MUSEUMS

Wired to Wear at Museum of Science and Industry
Wired to Wear showcases how technology is transforming clothes to enhance our lives. From making us healthier, stronger and safer to helping us see in the dark, express emotions or even soar through the air, you’ll see the merging of technology and the human body on display. The exhibit includes a prosthetic unicorn-horn-shaped arm that shoots glitter envisioned by a 13yo disability activist, temporary tattoos with built-in musical instruments, a dress outfitted with a lie detector, life-saving cordless monitors used for NICU babies that are no more intrusive than a bandaid, a hat that helps truck drivers stay awake, wearable technology to improve the quality of life for Parkinson’s patients, the original Back to the Future Nike shoes, and more. It’s inspiring to realize that at the infancy of each idea, the real motive was to improve lives—whether it be with life-saving or life-enhancing medical devices, monitors that track athlete performance or wearables that change the way we interact or connect with the world.

Now open through May 2020
Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. Lake Shore Dr., Hyde Park
Online: msichicago.org

New Home for SUE at The Field Museum
SUE, the world’s biggest, best-preserved, and most complete T. rex, is back on display and better than ever. The world’s most famous dino is also now up to date with the latest scientific research and is in a new interactive, 5,100-square-foot private suite that shows what SUE’s world was like. A narrated light show highlights specific bones on SUE’s skeleton, revealing everything from healed broken ribs to a jaw infection that might have ultimately killed the dinosaur.

Now on display
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Online: fieldmuseum.org

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Sound Playground at Chicago Children’s Museum
Chicago Children’s Museum’s newest exhibit, Sound Playground, invites visitors to experience and experiment with the physical and imaginary auditory world. Open as of May 4, kids and their favorite adults can explore the interactive nature of sound, and all the surprising ways it can be created.

Museum goers can play with musical sound makers and one-of-a-kind interactive sonic sculptures including the String Thing, Airophone and Merry Marimba. The experience will also include a Foley installation, the art of surprising sound makers that help communicate the connection between storytelling and sound effects, resulting in endless play possibilities and narrative building.

Opening May 4
Chicago Children’s Museum, 700 E. Grand Ave., Navy Pier
Online: chicagochildrensmuseum.org

photo: The Field Museum via Mike O’Neill © Te Papa 2016

Fantastic Bug Encounters at The Field Museum
Don’t get too creeped out, but all around us, bugs, such as insects and spiders have built an amazing world that we rarely notice. They can camouflage themselves as flowers, communicate with flashing lights, and even perform “brain surgery” to turn their prey into zombies. This summer, the Field Museum is giving visitors a peek into this hidden world with the new exhibition Fantastic Bug Encounters!, opening June 28. In this hands-on experience, visitors will discover how bugs’ incredible adaptations are changing the world through interactives, larger-than-life models and a bug zoo where visitors will be able to see (and even hold) live bugs from all over the planet.

Opening Jun. 28
The Field Museum, 1400 S. Lake Shore Dr., Museum Campus
Online: fieldmuseum.org

Hamilton: The Exhibition
Thanks to the success of the wildly popular musical Hamilton, Chicago has a new attraction coming its way. Northerly Island will welcome Hamilton: The Exhibition, an interactive, one-of-a-kind exhibition that will provide a historical journey into the creation of our country through the lends of one of the Founding Fathers of our country.

Opening Apr. 6
Northerly Island, Near Southside
Online: hamiltonexhibition.com

Chicago Blues Museum
As the proud birthplace of the modern blues, Chicago will open the city’s new Chicago Blues Museum that will celebrate pioneering artists and generations of musicians that influenced the blues scene and continue to carry on its traditions. Located near Millennium Park, the new museum will contain numerous interactive displays, tributes to local legends and Chicago blues memorabilia, as well as a performance lounge and restaurant.

Opening Apr. 8
Millennium Park, Grant Park
Online: chicagobluesexperience.com

Imagine the Moon at Adler Planetarium
Alder Planetarium kicked off the new year with a brand new sky show, Imagine the Moon, which takes a closer look at humanity’s relationship with Earth’s nearest neighbor.

Showing now
Adler Planetarium,
Online: adlerplanetarium.org

photo: Morton Arboretum’s Trolls

JUST PASSING THROUGH

Trolls at Morton Arboretum
Something special has emerged from the woods, meadows and vast open spaces at The Morton Arboretum’s grounds. . . unusual creatures, each made of reclaimed wood and measuring 15- to 20-feet-tall. Danish artist Thomas Dambo and crews of woodworkers and volunteers constructed the mammoth mythical creatures of Troll Hunt, which are trying to make sense of the human world and make us think about our impacts on the planet

Open through Jun. 21
Morton Arboretum, 4100 IL Rte. 53, Lisle
Online: mortonarb.org

Art on theMart
Merchandise Mart’s Art on theMart is the world’s largest digital art projection, appearing on the Mart’s nearly three-acre exterior facade.

Running March-December
Merchandise Mart, 222 Merchandise Mart Plaza, River North
Online: artonthemart.com

Frida Kahlo Exhibit
The Cleve Carney Art Gallery has announced an exhibition in the works centered on Frida Kahlo, who is considered one of the greatest artists of her time. The 26-piece collection will feature work spanning Kahlo’s career with a series of photographs detailing the artist’s life and interactive video presentations. Leading up to the exhibition, the gallery will host a series of Frida-inspired events that are family friendly—so be on the lookout for those announcements.

Running Jun.-Aug. 2020
Cleve Carney Art Gallery at College of DuPage, 425 Fawell Blvd., Glen Ellyn
Online: clevecarneygallery.org

photo: Altitude Trampoline Park

PLAYSPACES AND KID-LOVED ACTIVITIES

Altitude Trampoline Park
Altitude Trampoline Park, a cutting-edge trampoline playspace and activity center has moved into West Fulton Market, making it Chicago’s first-and-only trampoline park. Altitude Chicago will feature state-of-the-art trampoline entertainment as well as a variety of activities such as Wipe-Out, Basketball, Dodgeball, Rock Wall, Foam Pit, Trapeze, Kids Court for toddlers and a parent lounge for adults. Keep them top-of-mind for birthday parties, corporate team outings, school events, social groups, sports teams or just plain jumping around!

Open as of December 2018
Altitude Chicago, 404 N. Armour St., West Fulton Market
Online: altitudechicago.com

Lucky Strike Social
Lucky Strike Entertainment debuted its latest creation, Lucky Strike Social at Wrigleyville, with sweet views of Wrigley Field. This 30,000-square-foot social space brings together chef-driven food and craft beverages with eight Lucky Strike Lanes, over 100 electronic gaming systems including the exclusive Daytona Championship USA Motion SDLX, a first in the world of its kind, ping pong and pool tables, air hockey, board games, a very addictive basketball Connect Four and more. Tip: If you have a chance to visit during the day when school is in session, you have very little competition to play the games.

Open now
1027 W. Addison St., Lakeview
Online: luckystrikesocial.com

Maxx Force Roller Coaster at Six Flags
Oh boy! Six Flags is about to get a whole lot more exciting. This summer they will unveil the fastest launch roller coaster in North America, reaching speeds of 78 miles per hour in under two seconds. This incredible record-breaker features the fastest inversion and tallest double inversion of any other coaster in the world.

Opening Summer 2019
Six Flags Great America, 1 Great America Pkwy, Gurnee
Online: sixflags.com/greatamerica

photo: Jon L. via YELP

HOTELS

The Hoxton Hotel
Located in the booming Fulton Market District, the branch of London-based Hoxton hotels will open its doors under developer Shapack Partners. The new hotel designed to echo the building’s industrial past will stand 11 stories tall with 182 rooms, two levels of office space, ground-floor retail and a luxurious rooftop terrace. In addition, Boka Restaurant Group will open both a restaurant and bar in the hotel.

Opening Spring 2019
200 N. Green St., West Loop
Online: thehoxton.com

Hyatt House Hotel/Hyatt Place
The old Cook County Hospital is undergoing a transformation into a dual branded Hyatt Hotel that will operate as the first hotel in Fulton Market district to cater to extended-stay corporate travelers. The 14-story, 167,000-square foot, 200-room development will include an indoor pool, fitness center, bar/lounge and a green roof.

Opening Summer 2019
105 N. May St., West Loop
Online: skender.com

photo: JoJo’s Milk Bar

RESTAURANTS

JoJo’s Milk Bar
Open as of February 28 in River North, JoJo’s Milk Bar brings Chicago a nostalgic take on creative desserts and a reimagined and elevated take on classic diner fare. Along with deliciously whimsical desserts, you’ll find tongue-and-cheek decor including a lifesize Lite Brite wall, Got Milk mural and more.

Open as of Feb. 28
23 W. Hubbard, River North
Online: jojosmilkbar.com

Time Out Market Chicago
Fulton Market District has quickly become a go-to foodie destination and now they’re about to welcome their first food hall. The three-story structure will include 16 food counters, three bars, a demo kitchen, event and retail space and a rooftop deck.

Opening in 2019
916 W. Fulton Market, West Loop
Online: timeoutmarket.com/chicago

photo: SX Sky Bar

SX Sky Bar
SX Sky Bar, the new bi-level restaurant, lounge and nightclub, is now open in Chicago’s South Loop neighborhood. Operated by the adjacent, newly reimagined Hotel Essex, SX Sky Bar provides a fresh destination for dining, imbibing and dancing. The culinary program at is led by Chef de Cuisine Christopher Suzuki, who brings Californian and Asians flavors to a curated menu of sushi and shareable plates—which pair with a thoughtful selection of seasonal craft cocktails.

Open now
808 N. Michigan Ave., South Loop
Online: sxskybar.com

—Maria Chambers