Chicago is diverse in culture, especially in the black community. For decades, Chicago has hosted more and more black businesses dedicated to helping their community, showcasing the arts and fostering the cultivation of black history. If you have plans to visit Chicago with your family or if you live in the area and want to continue your new year resolution of more family time, we’ve put together a short list of fun places to enjoy with your families!
For the Thespian
The Black Ensemble Theater (BE) – Founded by playwright, actress, and singer Jackie Taylor, this uptown theater identifies as one the most diverse theaters in the country. The theaters’ mission is “to eradicate racism and its damaging effects upon our society through the utilization of theater arts.” BE is currently showing The Other Cinderella Story, which is now in its 43rd year! Perfect for anyone and all ages. The play is showing until January 19th, so hurry and get your tickets. For those living in Chicago, BE hosts many outreach programs for teenagers and children who are interested in the arts.
To find out more about BE and purchase tickets, please visit https://blackensembletheater.org/.
For a History Lesson
Dusable Museum – This staple for African American history located in the historic Hyde Park Chicago, founded to “preserve the experiences and achievements of people of African descent.” It is also named after Jean Baptiste Point DuSable who established the trading post, which would later become the magnificent city we now know as Chicago. The museums mission is “To promote understanding and inspire appreciation of the achievements, contributions, and experiences of African Americans through exhibits, programs, and activities that illustrate African and African American history, culture and art.”
Families will enjoy ongoing exhibits like “The Harold Washington Story” and “Freedom & Resistance” and new exhibits like “South Side Stories—The Art and Influence of Dr. Margaret T. Burroughs,” which opened September of 2019. Tuesdays are the museum’s free days! To find out more about the Dusable Museum and purchase tickets, please visit https://www.dusablemuseum.org/
For a Sweet Treat
Shawn Michelle’s- Located in Bronzeville, this sweet little ice cream shop pulls you right in with its bright colors and welcoming staff.
Families will enjoy homemade old-fashioned ice cream with flavors like raspberry cookies and cream, lunchroom butter cookie, and pralines and cream. Plus, more treats like sundaes and cobblers. Shawn Michelle’s mission is “To bring back the feeling of tradition and togetherness.“ Shawn Michelle’s is open seven days a week!
To find out more, please visit https://www.shawnmichelles.com/
For a Cultural Dance Class
Ayodele Drum and Dance – Ayodele is a Yoruba word meaning Joy in the home. Ayodele Drum and Dance is an all-women created African dance company that offers dance classes to youth and adults. Started by seven African women dancers, it has now blossomed to over twenty women who use drum and dance to motivate women and children. Their mission is “to foster community from a feminine perspective through the study and performance of diasporic African drum and dance. “ Not only do they offer classes, but they also have incredible performances and youth and teen programs. Ayodele is offering classes for adults and youth every Monday and Thursday!
To find out more about Ayodele Drum and Dance, please visit http://www.ayodeledrumanddance.com/ Find out about their events on their Facebook page.
5) To Shop for The Little Ones
Kido – A charming children’s clothing boutique located in the south loop! This bright and colorful shop brings all the positive vibes you can ever fancy. Owned by a mom and pop, Kido is “dedicated to uniting families and speaking up for what’s right.” You won’t have to worry about the little ones here, as this shop is super kid-friendly. Kido also hosts many events for families, including Story Time, Kido Music Series, Baby Soul Jam (co-host Mama Fresh), and more!
To find out more about Kido and their events, please visit https://www.kidochicago.com/