Best bets: Anita Baker, CSO's 'Star Wars,' NASCAR Chicago & more

CSO at the movies

The Chicago Symphony Orchestra performs John Williams' famous “Star Wars” score live as part of the CST At the Movies series. Conductor/film composer David Newman conducts the orchestra in the 1977 score to George Lucas' “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” at Symphony Center, 220 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $55-$215. (312) 294-3000 or 7:30 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, June 29-July 1

Anita Baker

Tapping the title of her 1983 debut album, soul singer Anita Baker brings her Grammy-winning jazzy hits to Chicago's United Center, 1901 W. Madison St., Chicago, when she stops here as part of “The Songstress Tour.” Tickets start at $70.50 at 8 p.m. Friday, June 30


The crews are setting up and drivers are gunning their engines for the start of the NASCAR Chicago Street Race in and around Grant Park this weekend. The festival, which features practice laps and races both afternoons, also includes carnival rides, vendors, meet-and-greets, VIP packages, and music from The JC Brooks Band, The Black Crowes and The Chainsmokers on Saturday and Charley Crockett and Miranda Lambert on Sunday. General admission tickets start at $133.93 per day or $240.18 for the weekend; find packages at Gates open at 9 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, July 1-2

Find what you need to know to get to (or around) the NASCAR races this weekend at

Beer Mile World Classic

Arlington Heights native, Rolling Meadows High School graduate, classically trained oboist and longtime runner Melanie Pozdol is among the athletes competing this weekend in the ninth annual Beer Mile World Classic. Pozdol, the 2022 Women's World Champion, will compete in this combination “gastric challenge and athletic endeavor” during which competitors drink a 355ml beer (5% minimum ABV) before every quarter mile of the race for a total of four beers over the one-mile course. Two Brothers Brewing and Athletic Brewing are among the sponsors for the event, which takes place at the Hope Academy track, 728 S. Washtenaw Ave., Chicago. $20 general admission, $100 VIP admission. Doors open at 2 p.m. Saturday, July 1, with livestreaming beginning at 5:30 p.m. on Beer Mile Media's YouTube channel

Straight No Chaser shares its a cappella twist on yacht-rock favorites at Ravinia Sunday, July 2. Courtesy of Nick DuPlessis

Yacht a cappella

A cappella group Straight No Chaser brings a fresh trove of yacht rock classics from their new release, “Yacht On The Rocks,” to an outdoor show at Ravinia Festival, 200 Ravinia Park Road, Highland Park, with special guest Ambrosia. Lawn admission is $46-$60, reserved pavilion seating is $60-$95 at 7 p.m. (gates open at 5 p.m.) Sunday, July 2

Adams & Jett

Sporting his latest release, 2022's Grammy-nominated “So Happy It Hurts,” Canadian rocker Bryan Adams hits the Allstate Arena, 6920 Mannheim Road, Rosemont, with his “So Happy It Hurts 2023 Tour,” including a performance by Joan Jett and the Blackhearts. Tickets are $26.50-$250 at 7:30 p.m. Sunday, July 2

The Museum of Science and Industry celebrates its 90th anniversary with its new exhibition "90 & Beyond: Our Stories, Your MSI." Courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry

90 years and counting

The Museum of Science and Industry, 5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, celebrates its 90th anniversary with an exhibition that includes many artifacts that the public has not seen in years. Among the items on display as part of “90 and Beyond: Our Stories, Your MSI” is the 1969 Transparent Anatomical Manikin (TAM) as seen on Nirvana's “In Utero” album cover; a 1977 Atari 2600 Gaming System; a 2011 Baxter robot; and others that reflect important cultural, historical and technological moments in history. Adults $25.95; kids 3-11 $14.95; special exhibitions extra. 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily

Weekly storytime returns to "Harry Potter Magic at Play," the interactive experience at Chicago's Water Tower Place. Courtesy of Harry Potter Magic at Play

Storytime, Harry Potter-style

“Harry Potter Magic at Play,” an interactive entertainment experience inspired by literature's famed boy wizard, hosts a weekly storytime reading of “Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone” in the Butterbeer Café at Water Tower Place, 835 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago. $25 per child. 11 a.m. Thursday, July 6, 13, 20 and 27

The Chicago Botanic Garden celebrates connections with its current exhibition "Love in Bloom." Courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden

Love in Bloom

The Chicago Botanic Garden, 1000 Lake-Cook Road, Glencoe, celebrates the connection humans have with nature and the connection between plants and their ecosystems as part of its ongoing “Love in Bloom” showcase consisting of playful stories, displays, strategically placed love seats and site-specific poetry. $9.95-$25.95, parking $8. (847) 835-6801 or 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily

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