02/17/2012 04:14 pm ET Updated Feb 17, 2012

Chicago Weekend Plans: Jazz, Seedlings And George Washington's Birthday (2/17-2/19)

It's been a big week, Chicago! We've been working long and hard on the big award we won this week--and it's definitely something worth celebrating. So is Rahm's promise he'll push for gay marriage, our namesake's birthday (the big 203!) and the prospect of Beyonce descending on Grant Park this summer. So what excuse do you have to stay in? That's what we thought. Choose from your options below.

Winter Jazz Fest
Just because you can't sway outside, beer-in-hand, doesn't mean you can't take in some great jazz this season. Head to the McAninch Arts Center at the College of DuPage for the last weekend of their Winter Jazz Fest. Performances include Kidjazz!, Patricia Barber and the Chicago Afro-Latin Jazz Ensemble.
Where: McAninch Arts Center, Fawell and Park Boulevards, Glen Ellyn
When: Times vary from Friday, Feb. 17 to Sunday, Feb. 19
Price: Varies

Chicago Auto Show
Whether you get there by plane, by plane or--duh--automobile, the Chicago Auto Show at McCormick Place is not to be missed. Featuring the newest innovations and the hottest rides headed for the market, car buffs and casual drivers alike will enjoy this preview of the next big things on wheels.
Where: McCormick Place, 2301 S. Lake Shore Dr.
When: 10 a.m. - 10 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10 - Sunday, Feb. 12
Price: $11 adults, $7 seniors and children

PAWS Chicago Animal Magnetism
Tired of leaving your pooch behind when you go out on the town? Make like Paris Hilton, dress Sparky to the nines and head to PAWS Chicago's Animal Magnetism benefit. Their 6th annual fundraiser will help support PAWS mission to save the lives of homeless pets, and features an open bar, dinner and even a doggie buffet.
Where: Galleria Marchetti, 825 W. Erie St., Chicago
When: 7 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
Price: $150 per person, $25 per dog

George Washington's Birthday Party
We're willing to bet you don't have plans to celebrate President's Day--show some respect by dropping into George Washington's birthday, hosted as part of the transmedia "I Made America" project. Our country's first president will be throwing down a hosted bar from 8-9 p.m. at Rebel Bar & Grill, featuring a musical performance by Thomas Jefferson at 9:30.
Where: Rebel Bar & Grill, 3462 N. Clark St., Chicago
When: 8 p.m. - 11 p.m. Friday, Feb. 17
Price: Free

Mardi Gras at The Red Canary
Can't make it to New Orleans in time for Mardi Gras next Tuesday? Get the next best thing in the Windy City at The Red Canary gastro-lounge's Mardi Gras party. They'll be partying all day, so there's no excuse not to squeeze some festivity into your Saturday schedule.
Where: The Red Canary, 695 N. Milwaukee Ave., Chicago
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 17 - 3 a.m. Sunday, Feb. 18
Price: Three-hour drink package $25

Starting Spring
With all this spring-like weather, you may not have realized that winter is starting to wind down this year. Welcome the warmer season by "inviting spring in" with Lincoln Park Zoo's Starting Spring workshop. Learn how to get a jump on spring gardening with tips for winter planting, and advice on how to find heirloom and uncommon varieties of seeds and bulbs.
Where: Lincoln Park Zoo, 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago
When: 9:30 a.m. – 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 18
Price: $24 ($20 for zoo members)

The Film That Changed My Life: Harlan County U.S.A.
Have you seen Harlan County U.S.A.? Need some reasons to? Stop by Robert K. Elder's series "The Film That Changed My Life," based on his book of the same title, for its third installment with guest speaker Steve James, filmmaker behind the recent documentary The Interrupters. Elder and James will dissect the film after a screening at the Music Box Theatre.
Where: Music Box Theatre, 3733 N. Southport Ave., Chicago
When: 1:30 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 19
Price: $12