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Hot Seats: How to Do Hamilton Chicago

Somehow, you managed to score tickets to Hamilton Chicago, the Pulitzer-winning, Tony-grabbing hip-hop musical. But if the prospect of navigating the Windy City in February has a chilling effect on your enthusiasm, look on the warm side: Fear of frostbite keeps the crowds down. With legwork and willingness to brave the elements, you can stage a hit weekend without much fuss.
On Saturdays, for example, Broadway in Chicago tours explore two of the Loop’s three historic theaters: the Cadillac Palace, the Oriental, and/or the restored 1906 PrivateBank Theatre, where Hamilton is playing. And if one show isn’t enough—or you don’t have tickets to the show—Chicago Theatre Week (February 9–19) includes companies ranging from esteemed playhouses such as Steppenwolf Theatre and Lyric Opera of Chicago to alt-artsy storefront operations.
Handy to the theater district, the Art Institute of Chicago’s new Islamic galleries are getting some applause, and the Chicago History Museum’s Making Mainbocher exhibit shows off the work of Chicago-born couturier Main Rousseau Bocher. During Chicago Restaurant Week (through February 9), participating eateries offer special prix fixe menus for dinner, lunch, and brunch.
What if you want to see Hamilton but don’t have a seat? Bad weather on the morning of a performance could be your big break. Day-of-show standby tickets are released beginning two hours before curtain to hopefuls who queue at the PrivateBank Theatre box office (18 W. Monroe St.). Then there’s the long-odds option: the Hamilton digital lottery, where winners are drawn each day for a chance to purchase one of 44 seats for $10. So you get to see Hamilton and it only costs a Hamilton. Pretty cool, even for Chicago in February.
Classic Italian restaurant Petterino’s knows how to get you in and out by curtain time without making you feel rushed.
The Peninsula is ultra-luxurious, but the Hampton Inn Majestic above the PrivateBank Theatre steals the show for convenience.
Hamilton Chicago

Since first joining Indianapolis Monthly in 2000, West has written about a wide range of subjects including crime, history, arts and entertainment, pop culture, politics, and food. His feature stories have twice been noted in the Best American Sports Writing anthology and have received top honors from the Indiana chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists. “The Collapse,” West’s account of the 2011 Indiana State Fair tragedy, was a 2013 National City and Regional Magazine Awards finalist in the category of Best Reporting. He lives on the near-east side.