Top Classes in Chicago
Chicago is one of America’s most culturally diverse and vibrant cities, and with a population of over 2.5 million people, it is the third largest city in the nation. Often referred to as part of The Third Coast, Chicago is often thought of in the same category as cities like Los Angeles and New York, and, as such, there is always something to do in the Windy City. Whether you are looking for a laid-back night out on the town or to pick up a practical skill or new hobby, there are plenty of classes and events running all year round for you to participate in. Regardless of the kind of class you want to find, CourseHorse has collected the best courses in Chicago for you to explore. Read on to learn more about some of the fun, unique and immersive classes in the Chicagoland area.
Art classes can be among the most enjoyable and relaxing courses that students can take to learn new skills and socialize. These classes allow students to learn new hobbies or practice the ones they already have in a welcoming and supportive environment designed to help every student find their unique voice. Art classes can also give students a chance to express themselves in new and exciting ways. Plus, once you finish the course, you will have completed an art project that you can take home with you to display. There is a wide range of art classes available in Chicago, so regardless of whether you want to learn painting, sculpture, pottery or another plastic art, there is no shortage of classes you can take.
The Color Cocktail Factory is an all-encompassing art studio located in Pilsen that aims to bring the diversity of Chicago’s art scene into a single campus studio environment. They bring together artists specializing in painting, sculpture, photography, dance, film, sound, and performance work to create a collaborative and supportive space for artists of all skill levels to explore their creative fancies. New students can enroll in the Wheel Throwing for Beginners pottery course and learn the basics of navigating a pottery wheel. This class will teach students the basic process of utilizing a pottery wheel to transform a lump of clay into various shapes and forms, including your choice of a cup, mug, plate or dish. Students will also learn how to cut and trim a completed clay object in preparation for the heating and drying process. Color Cocktail Factory also offers a Succulent Terrarium Workshop for students looking to create living works of art out of plants, rocks and mosses. This course will allow students to create their own terrarium display and learn how to ensure that the ecosystem in the terrarium thrives. This course is a great alternative to more traditional art classes like painting or pottery courses, and students who enroll in this class will learn the skills they need to expand their terrariums into more complex ecosystems.
Students can also find various art classes offered at The Evanston Art Center, one of Chicago’s oldest and most storied art training and education schools. The Evanston Art Center aims to make art education as accessible as possible, and they regularly sponsor lectures, courses and scholarships for up-and-coming artists and prospective students. Students may be interested in taking the Screen Printing class. In this class, students will get hands-on experience making complex stencil designs and using those stencils to ink posters, prints and even shirts in black and white or in color. Students can even take a more advanced version of the course focusing on creating screen-printed objects (including T-shirts, tote bags and aprons) that you sell at your own business or on an online marketplace. If you are looking for something a bit more large-scale, you can enroll in the Intro to Woodturning for Adults course. In this studio course, students will have the opportunity to get real-world experience working in a woodworking shop to see how professionals make finely detailed wooden furniture and display pieces using a wheel system. Students will receive important safety training before they start their projects, and then they will be able to make their own designs and display pieces using the Evanston Art Center’s tools and equipment.
Students with an art background looking for a unique experience in the city should consider enrolling in one of the small workshop courses offered through Ingrid’s Originals Inc. a boutique painting student located in Lakeview. Students can enroll in the Paint Expressive Paintings course, a three-day workshop focusing on advanced watercolor techniques. Students will work alongside professional artist Eudes Correia to get practice creating vibrant and expressive paintings using watercolors, including a day dedicated to landscape painting. This course is a great opportunity for experienced watercolor artists to get a once-in-a-lifetime chance to work with an acclaimed artist in their medium. Students can also enroll in the Expand Your Creative Voice workshop. In this small workshop (no more than 8 participants will attend), art instructor Joan Fullerton will guide students through the creative process, teaching them how utilizing simple techniques and incorporating the neutral tones she is best known for can help expand an artist's creative potential and let them see their work in a new light. The goal of this class is to help students explore new ideas and concepts in their work, and this is an ideal opportunity for any aspiring artist to get hands-on experience and pick the brain of a master of their craft.
If you aren’t yet confident in your artistic skills, you can enroll in an introductory art class offered by Aartwerk Studio. This art studio was founded to make art education as fun and accessible as possible. Their courses are as beginner-friendly as possible, and they encourage experimentation and creativity in their courses. Students without a background in art should consider enrolling in the Painting for All course. In this class, instructors will provide students with detailed and guided lessons on the foundational elements of painting in an inviting and laid-back environment that is perfect for getting your creative juices flowing. Students in this class will work alongside students enrolled in more advanced painting classes, giving them an opportunity to witness other aspects of the creative process. Students interested in drawing can enroll in the Drawing I course, which aims to provide students with a foundational knowledge of drawing techniques, including beginner-friendly lessons on concepts like shading, line art and sketching. Students will need to provide their own materials, but a list will be provided in advance of the seminar. This course deals strictly with black and white drawing, color is introduced in a later course.
If you are looking to take a class that will provide you with the relaxing social elements of an art class while still teaching immediate practical skills, consider enrolling in a cooking class and learning how to prepare fresh meals in your home kitchen. These classes offer students the opportunity to learn how to cook in a hands-on environment with a professional chef on hand to help guide students around common mistakes and misconceptions. Learning to cook can help you save money, live healthier and lead a less stressful life, especially if you start meal prepping or regularly cooking from home. In addition, learning how to cook can be a gateway to other cultures as you learn about other countries and peoples' rich culinary traditions. No matter what you are looking to learn to cook, there is sure to be a cooking class in Chicago that meets your expectations.
The Chopping Block in Lincoln Square is Chicago’s premiere recreational culinary school, and it offers students the opportunity to receive professional culinary training in a real test kitchen environment. Students can enroll in basic classes that teach introductory skills, recipe classes teaching students how to prepare specific meals or culinary bootcamps that provide them with a complete cooking education. In the introductory Knife Skills course, students will learn the basics of working with kitchen knives, which can be an intimidating part of the learning process for new chefs. Students will learn how to dice, slice, chop and mince vegetables, and they will learn basic knife maintenance skills, including what to look for when buying knives and how to keep your knives sharp. If you are looking for recipe classes, The Chopping Block offers a wide range of options, such as the Hands-On Sushi Workshop. In this course, students will receive guided instruction on the process of preparing sushi rice, cutting fish, shaping rice for nigiri and rolling and cutting maki rolls. This course is a great way to learn an easy but delicious dish, and The Chopping Block offers versions of this course covering pasta, pizza, and a host of other options. In the Culinary Bootcamp I, students will spend a full week learning dozens of different recipes, this accelerated introduction to professional culinary training. The course is beginner-friendly and covers everything from basic knife skills and butchering to complex flavor profiles and ingredient selection processes. This is an immersive course, but anyone looking to get a firm grip on the art of cooking should consider it.
While you might not expect it, The Chicago Botanic Gardens has a wide variety of hands-on cooking classes available as part of their educational outreach programs. While the Gardens themselves are a rich botanical experience and a perfect place to learn about plants from around the world, they have expanded to become one of the city's most diverse education centers. Students can enroll in classes like the Demonstration Cooking: Salmon Bowls course. Here, students will learn how to make this affordable, delicious lunch bowl using only steamed salmon, rice and your choice of vegetable (plus a handmade sauce). This course is a great way to learn how to make an easy and delectable meal from scratch, and it is incredibly easy to replicate. Students can also enroll in more focused courses, like Hands-On Cooking: Make Ahead Thanksgiving class. Here, you’ll learn to save time and money by learning how to prepare side dishes, desserts and cocktails in advance of Thanksgiving so that everything is ready on the day of your event. The menu for this course includes garlic mashed potatoes, cranberry compote, sweet potato pie, pumpkin ice cream pie, and an apple crisp martini, but many of these recipes are easy to substitute and modify to meet your own event’s needs.
If you are looking for a course focused on healthy eating and healthy living, you can enroll in one of the classes offered by Nourished. Nourished is a culinary training center that aims to provide students with the skills they need to start cooking healthy, affordable meals that consider the need to balance certain vitamins, antioxidants, fats, oils and other nutrients. For example, in The Blue Zones: Need to Know Daily Habits, students will learn all that they need to know to make small changes in their daily lives that have consequential long-term health benefits. Lessons will cover nutritional meal planning, making organic and herbal teas designed to stimulate wellness and common recipes for easy, nutritional lunches you can make daily. Students can also enroll in a course like Dr. Mom: A Healing Dose of At-Home Care. In this class, students will learn practical, easy recipes designed to facilitate health when you or someone in your family is sick. Lessons will cover at-home remedies for various ailments, including fever, diarrhea, stomach aches and headaches, and practical demonstrations of how to treat insect bites, cuts and bruises through the healing power of food as medicine.
Wine and Spirits Classes
If you are interested in enjoying a happy hour libation or a nightcap cocktail, consider enrolling in one of the wine and spirits classes offered in Chicago. In these classes, students will have the chance to sample the finest spirits that Chicago has to offer (perhaps, excluding Malört) and learn how professionals craft the drinks that they are enjoying. There are also numerous different appreciation courses for everything from wine and beer to rum and whiskey, so no matter what kind of beverage you drink to take the edge off a rough day, a wine and spirits course in Chicago will be up your alley.
The Discovery Center, one of Chicago’s premiere adult education centers and one of the largest providers of classes in the city offers a range of courses for students looking to learn the basics of professional or hobby mixology. In their Essential Mixology course, students will learn the art of creating mixed drinks and cocktails for friends and family or in a professional setting. Students will learn the science that goes into mixing cocktails, and they will learn how to make popular drinks in a quick and effective manner. This course covers all of the basic skills every bartender should know, such as how to shake, stir and blend drinks, how to incorporate fruits, juices, bitters and garnishes and how to make the most commonly ordered cocktails, such as sours, flips, Old Fashioned and Martinis. In the Mixology 102: Sophisticated and Complex Cocktails course, students will learn more advanced cocktail techniques, and they will learn how to create specialty cocktails that require more delicate effort and attention. This course will cover the use of bar spoons, layering cocktails for visual effects, blending drinks and creating flaming drinks. In this course, students will prepare a Ramos Gin Fizz (a legendary hard drink to make, often taking 10 minutes to prepare), a Red, White & Blue, a Frozen Daiquiri, a Goblet of Fire and a Rock Lobster.
If wine is more up your alley, you can enroll in one of the wine-tasting classes offered through the Discovery Center. For example, in their Wine Tasting: Becoming a Wine Connoisseur course, students will learn the art of wine tasting from a professional sommelier. This course will introduce students to important concepts in the world of wine and will give them a lesson in the art and science of cultivating, fermenting and aging different kinds of wine grapes. Students will taste wines from all over the world and learn how different cultivation techniques and climate and soil conditions produce the subtle differences in wine output that professional tasters are able to pick up on in their assessments. Another option is the Rum Appreciation course, which will see students sampling some of the finest rums of the Caribbean in a course designed to teach students more about the available rum varieties. This course will see students learn the difference between dark and light rums, and they will learn the history of rum. Finally, students will learn about the finer differences that separate quality rums from bottom-shelf options, so students will know which rums to mix with coke and which rums to sip on their own slowly.
For a more immersive tasting experience, you can look at the options to make your own spirits, beer and wine at Beverage Art Inc. Home to Wild Blossom Meadery & Winery, this school aims to help students learn how to brew, ferment and age their own alcoholic beverages and the courses that they offer give students the chance to take advantage of on-site equipment to take the home fermenting process to the next level. In the Wine Making course, students will learn how wine is made, from grape to bottle, and they will get to create their own first varietal, choosing from Chardonnay or Cabernet. After students complete the initial process, the fermentation process will take place in the winery cellar, and it will be overseen by the professional staff of Beverage Art Inc. Weeks later, students will return to approximately 6 gallons (or about 30 bottles) of wine. In the Hands On Beer Brewing course, students will follow a similar path to fermenting their beer. Students can brew anything from a light red ale to a hearty imperial stout, and after 3-4 weeks, you’ll return to the brewery to bottle or can their 5 gallons of beer (additional fees may apply at this stage).
Another common training course for students to enroll in is career-focused technology courses that teach students how to use systems and applications professionally. These classes help students become more efficient (and therefore more productive and desirable) employees, and they can be the gateway to a new, high-paying career. These courses tend to take two forms: career-focused certificate programs, in which students learn a wide range of skills to prepare for a job in a new field and skill-focused bootcamps, which teach students individual applications, programming languages or other job skills. Read on to learn more about the options available for tech training classes in Chicago.
Computer Training Source, Inc. has provided the Chicagoland area with quality tech training and instruction since 1991, and they have opened multiple campuses in and around the suburbs, making them an ideal place to look for computer training. Students looking to learn basic skills that they are likely to use in any computer-related field can enroll in the Excel Introduction course. Here, students will learn the basics of data input and organization using Microsoft Excel, the most commonly used desktop computer application in almost every professional industry. Students will learn to input data, organize sheets and automate calculations and functions using the internal tools offered by Excel. This class is an ideal introductory lesson for students who feel that they need to learn the basics of using Excel but aren’t going to use its more advanced data science features regularly. Students looking to learn the basics of web development can enroll in the HTML Introduction and CSS Part 1 courses. In these classes, students will be introduced to the world of computer programming as they learn how to write simple web page code using Hypertext Markup Language and Cascading Style Sheets, the two foundational programming languages of modern internet infrastructure. Students looking to code web applications professionally will need more advanced training, but every programmer needs to start by learning the basics.
An alternative option is to look at the courses offered through Sprintzeal Americas Inc. They offer a wide range of courses centered around sales, management, marketing, operations and consulting work, and they provide a slew of professional development and certification exam prep programs. If you are looking to find a professional skills development program focusing on skills like product management or team leadership, Sprintzeal is likely to have a certified training program that will cover all of the skills you are looking to learn. Prospective project managers can enroll in the PMP Certification Training program. This course will see students learn how to master the skills tested on the PMP certification exam for project managers, including planning, initiating, executing, controlling and delivering the project. Professionals who can ensure that a project is completed on time and under budget are in high demand across every field, making this an ideal opportunity to train your skills and improve your professional marketability. Students can also enroll in courses like the CAPM® Certified Associate Project Management, which covers many of the same skills but emphasizes different theories of management (and prepares you for a different certification exam). Regardless of the path you take to professional certification, Sprintzeal Americas Inc. has a course that can ensure your success (the cost of the exams is not included as part of the course fees).
Performing Arts Classes
While not as prolific as New York or Los Angeles, Chicago has one of the nation's largest and most diverse performing arts communities. Whether you are looking to learn to dance, act or sing, there are schools in the Chicagoland area that are built to emphasize the skills you are hoping to develop. Far too many people assume that because they aren’t naturally gifted, learning the performing arts will be beyond their reach, which is far from the truth. Whether you are learning these skills as a hobby or to build a career in the performing arts, practice is essential, and these courses will allow you to practice your skills under the guidance of professional instructors. To learn more about the performing arts classes available in Chicago, consult the options available on CourseHorse.
Regardless of what residents of New York or LA will tell you, Chicago is the improv capital of the world and home to some of the most significant theaters in the country, including the famous Second City, which has produced some of the most recognizable names in Hollywood (Tina Fey, Amy Poehler, Jordan Peele, to name a few). Thus, there are more than a few excellent improv training schools in the city, including Piven Theatre Workshop. The Piven Theatre has been in operation for over 40 years and now trains over 1000 students annually, making it among the largest theater training programs in the city. Students who are interested in learning the basics of improv can enroll in the Improvisation, Games and Risk Taking workshop. In this class, students will learn the basics of improv techniques and decorum and have the chance to practice their skills in live games that encourage them to take chances and experiment with the form. The lessons aim to help students learn to work as an ensemble rather than as individuals. In the Improv and Scene course, students will learn more advanced techniques, particularly those utilized in long-form improv. Students will work with scenes from famous plays and utilize their improv techniques to generate a deeper understanding of their characters.
The Dance Center Chicago offers various dance classes for students of all skill and experience levels. They understand that dancing can be an intimidating skill, so they strive to make all their classes as accessible and beginner-friendly as possible. In these courses, students will receive guided instruction on dance techniques and get live practice putting their skills to the test. In the Intro to Argentine Tango class, students can learn this popular partner dance that has become increasingly popular amongst dancers in clubs and studios. Students can also enroll in classes like the Intro to Swing I course, the Intro to Brazilian Zouk class or the Intro to Bachata course, among many other options. All of these classes will make dancing approachable and fun for new students while offering detailed and immersive instruction for students looking to carry their training on to more advanced dance lessons.