Events, Festivals

Things to do in Chicago in May

Chicken wings festival
May 6, 2018
3 miles SW
Restaurants compete to win the “Best of Fest” award at WingFest, and your ticket includes unlimited samples at UIC Pavilion for age 10+. No pets.
Elmhurst Art in the Park
May 6, 2018
17 miles west
Art in Wilder Park is a juried show of fine art, craft, and design, which is held rain or shine in Elmhurst, with food for sale in Wilder Mansion. Free.
Critics film festival
May 6 – 10, 2018
6 miles north
Billed as the first film festival to be created and curated entirely by film critics, Chicago Critics Film Festival is held at the Music Box Theatre.
Hilton Hotels
Lilac festival
May 6, 2018
27 miles west
Enjoy lilac-themed events at Lilac Time in Lombard, including concerts, plant sales, tours, a formal ball, a stroll through Lilacia Park, beer and wine tasting, 5K, and an art & craft fair.
Chicago attractions
May 6 – June 30, 2018
multiple locations
These discount prices include all taxes and fees.
Aquarium + SkyDeck + Field Museum + more
CityPass gets you into 5 attractions for $107.

Axe throwing (1.5 hours)
Ticket deal $25 (reserve 2 days ahead)

Chicago History Museum
Ticket deal $13

Segway Tour of Downtown Chicago (2 hours)
Ticket deal $37 (reserve 2 days ahead)

The Wizard of Oz
May 8 – 20, 2018
0.4 miles SW
Featuring brightly colored sets, a timeless score, and new special effects, The Wizard of Oz takes you over the rainbow to a magical kingdom full of munchkins, witches, flying monkeys, and wizards at The Chicago Theatre.
Ticket deal $35 to $55

J.C. Superstar
May 8 – 20, 2018
1 mile SW
Jesus Christ Superstar is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic rock musical with unforgettable songs, high-energy dance, and powerful storytelling at Lyric Opera House.
Ticket deal $48 to $116

Dinner cruise
May 8 – June 14, 2018
1 mile east
Enjoy a buffet meal aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise, with views of the Chicago skyline and DJ dance music, departing from Navy Pier.
Ticket deal $66 to $82

Tropical musical
May 8 – June 17, 2018
18 miles west
South Pacific is the Rodgers & Hammerstein story of Americans living in exotic lands during World War II, dealing with love, prejudice, and cultural differences at Drury Lane Theatre.
Ticket deal $37 to $45

Roaring Twenties musical
May 9 – 27, 2018
4.8 miles north
It’s 1928, the world is at peace, and the stock market is booming, but issues of life and death face diverse characters we meet as they share their hopes and dreams in the lobby of the Grand Hotel at Theater Wit.
Ticket deal $28

Magic show
May 10 – 27, 2018
3.1 miles NW
The Rosenkranz Mysteries is a “truly unusual and immensely likable magic show” [Chicago Tribune] by a local medical doctor who performs tricks and illusions at Royal George Theatre.
Ticket deal $25 to $38

Urban arts festival
May 11, 2018
1 mile south
Manifest is a full day of student art, live performances, fashion shows, original game design, and literary readings in and around Columbia College. Free.
Cinco de Mayo
May 11 – 13, 2018
15.4 miles SW
Viva Cinco De Mayo Festival has live music, Mexican food, arts & crafts, a carnival, and family activities outdoors at Toyota Park. Children age 12 and younger are free.
Tour tiny homes
May 11 – 13, 2018 (10 a.m to 8 p.m.)
32.4 miles NW
Tiny homes are getting big attention, and now you can visit 20 of them during Chicago Tiny Home Show at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, easily reached by Chicago Metra Rail Line. Moms get free admission.
Magic show
May 11 – 25, 2018 (Fridays 7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles west
Magic & Mystery is an evening of astonishing magic, mind reading, and hypnosis by professional magician Mat LaVore at the Den Theatre.
Ticket deal $20

Magic show
May 11 – 26, 2018
0.7 miles south
The Magic Parlour is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel.
Ticket deal $49

Adult variety show
May 11 – July 21, 2018
7 miles north
Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, song, and variety acts for age 21+ Fridays and Saturdays at Uptown Underground.
Ticket deal $12 to $14

Science talks
May 12, 2018
1 mile west
Hear six experts talk about fascinating science subjects ranging from animals to engineering at Chicago Science Fest, with exhibits about electric cars, biology, and edible bugs at the Merchandise Mart.
Yoga event
May 12, 2018
1 mile south
Wanderlust 108 combines three events in one: a 5K run/walk, 75 minutes of yoga with DJ music, and 30 minutes of guided meditation, plus other activities at Butler Field in Grant Park. Optional lunch.
Pop music party
May 12, 2018 (2 p.m.)
7 miles north
Watch Europe’s pop singing competition live from Lisbon at Eurovision Song Contest Viewing Party at Dank Haus. Free, with beer and snacks for sale.
Small art fair
May 12, 2018
16 miles NW
Arts & Crafts Adventure is a friendly juried show at Hodges Park in Park Ridge. Repeats in Sept. Free.
Family theater
May 12, 2018 (10 a.m.)
34 miles north
A gullible king buys magical clothes “invisible to fools” and only a young boy can teach him an important lesson about outward appearance in The Emperor’s New Clothes at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire.
Ticket deal $9

Pilsen craft fair
May 12 – 13, 2018
3.5 miles SW
Shop from independent artisans at Renegade Craft Fair, with food trucks and craft cocktails for sale on Halsted Street (from W. 18th Street to S. Canalport Avenue). Free.
Meet the authors
May 12 – 20, 2018
13 miles north
Evanston Literary Festival includes dozens of author readings and workshops on its schedule, plus a book fair on May 12 at the library. Free.
Mother’s Day restaurants
May 13, 2018
Chicago locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day.
Gospel Brunch
May 13, 2018
0.4 miles west
Take Mom to the Gospel Brunch [website has sound] for a fine buffet of Southern and Creole-inspired food and joyful singing at the House of Blues.
Mother’s Day cruise
May 13, 2018
1 mile east
Take a brunch or dinner Chicago Mother’s Day Cruise from Navy Pier.
Mother’s Day Brunch – zoo
May 13, 2018
2.5 miles north
Make a reservation for the Mother’s Day Brunch buffet with live music at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Mom gets a free mimosa.
Mother’s Day run/walk
May 13, 2018
6.8 miles north
Join the 5K/10K Komen Chicagoland Area Race for the Cure at Montrose Harbor to help cure breast cancer.
Mother’s Day house walk
May 13, 2018 (12 to 5 p.m.)
12 miles north
Tour six historic homes plus the Dawes House on the annual Mother’s Day House Walk in North Evanston.
Mother’s Day garden brunch
May 13, 2018 (SOLD OUT)
24 miles north
Treat Mom to an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch followed by a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.
Adult night at the planetarium
May 17, 2018 (6:30 to 10:30 p.m.)
2.5 miles SE
Adler After Dark offers open access, unlimited shows, entertainment, and no-host bars at Adler Planetarium for age 21+. May theme is Planetary Prom: Fire & Ice.
Wine in the garden
May 17, 2018 (6 to 8 p.m.)
24 miles north
Try wines from eight wineries and light fare at Grapevines & Wines in McGinley Pavilion at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe for age 21+.
Antiques show
May 17 – 20, 2018
1 mile west
The Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show promises 100 vendors of fine antiques and decorative & fine arts on floor 7 of the Chicago Merchandise Mart.
Nerdy comedy
May 17 – 20, 2018
5 miles north
If you love comedy about nerdy subjects like Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Jane Austen, then The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival will keep you laughing at Stage 773.
Beer at the conservatory
May 18, 2018 (6 p.m., VIP 5 p.m.)
5 miles west
Enjoy craft beer and food trucks at Beer under Glass indoors and outdoors at Garfield Park Conservatory.
German party
May 18, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
7 miles north
Celebrate spring and the arrival of Maifest at the Stammtisch – Maifest with traditional white asparagus and Maibock beer in the 6th floor lounge at Dank Haus. Free admission, with food and drinks for sale.
Small press festival
May 18 – 19, 2018
multiple locations
A zine is a cheap, self-published, underground publication. Chicago Zine Fest offers panel discussions Friday evening, plus exhibitions by 200 writers, artists, and publishers on Saturday. Free.
Wine tasting
May 18 – 20, 2018
4 miles north
Taste 80 wines at Lincoln Park Wine Festival, which has tented wine and food pavilions, live music, and crafts at Jonquil Playlot Park.
Ticket deal $33 to $39 at Goldstar

Ticket deal $33 to $39 at Groupon

May 18 – 20, 2018
5 miles NW
Mayfest features bands in a giant tent, festival food, pretzels, and beer at 3100 N Ashland Ave. Saturday includes a kids’ day from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. [Not to be confused with Maifest listed under May 31.]
French classical music
May 18 & 20, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
12.7 miles north
Paris in the Springtime stars the Rembrandt Chamber Players performing four works by French composers.
May 18 – St. James Episcopal Cathedral, Chicago
Ticket deal $19

May 20 – Nichols Concert Hall, Evanston
Ticket deal $19

Anime convention
May 18 – 20, 2018
16 mile NW
Anime Central (ACen) is billed as the largest Midwest anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture convention, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the convention center in Rosemont.
Craft beer week
May 18 – 25, 2018
Chicago locations
Illinois Craft Beer Week [formerly Chicago Craft Beer Week] typically offers hundreds of craft beer events in the greater Chicago area, from special tastings of rare beer to beer dinners. It’s sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.
Dog party
May 19, 2018 (9 a.m. to noon)
2.5 miles south
Register online for a 5K walk along the lakefront with your dog at 9 a.m., or arrive at 10 a.m. for the activities, vendors, and entertainment during Bark in the Park on the green near Soldier Field.
Food trucks at the zoo
May 19, 2018 (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
2.5 miles north
The Food Truck Social features dozens of trucks selling food and beverages, plus activities, DJ music, and an opportunity to wander Lincoln Park Zoo after hours.
Running music festival
May 19, 2018
2.7 miles south
Night Nation Run includes a pre-party with dance music, a 5K run/walk with a starting-line light show, party zones along the course, and an after party stage show with DJs and special effects at Soldier Field.
Ticket deal $30

Baseball pub crawl
May 19, 2018
5 miles north
Cover Your Bases is a baseball-themed pub crawl that includes 10 bars, beginning at Murphy’s Bleachers. You get a T-shirt printed with “bases” that you cover with stickers from the bars you visit.
Ticket deal $10

Asian-American party
May 19, 2018 (7 to 11 p.m.)
6.5 miles SW
Dress up for the Lunar Ball to enjoy music, dancing, restaurant tasting, an open bar, and a silent auction at Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport.
Street fair
May 19, 2018
10 miles west
What’s Blooming on Harrison offers arts and crafts, artist demos, live music, and dance in Oak Park. Free.
Architectural tour
May 19, 2018
11.8 miles west
Tour innovative homes and buildings designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright on the Wright Plus Housewalk in Oak Park.
Charity dinner
May 19, 2018 (6 to 9:30 p.m.)
26.7 miles NW
A $125 ticket to Hunger to Hope gets you a three-course dinner, live music, an international craft market, and a live auction at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.
Riverside Arts Weekend
May 19 – 20, 2018
12 miles SW
Riverside Arts Weekend (RAW) has a juried arts fair with live music, a children’s corner, and a food court at Guthrie Park in Riverside. Free.
International festival
May 19 – 20, 2018
15 miles NW
Experience ethnic folk music and dance, exotic food, unique arts and crafts, international children’s games, beer tasting, a bazaar, and cultural exhibits at the Skokie Festival of Cultures in Oakton Park. Free.
Civil War event
May 19 – 20, 2018
33 miles west
See a Civil War encampment, meet actors like Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman in costume, hear a brass band, watch a battle at 2:30 p.m., buy food, and shop from vendors during Civil War Days at Naper Settlement.
Wine tasting
May 20, 2018 (3 to 6 p.m.)
9 miles north
Andersonville Wine Walk offers you a choice of three different routes that each have 10 retail shops serving wine to adults.
Elmhurst Museum Day
May 20, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)
19 miles west
Elmhurst Museum Day includes the museums of art, history, and minerals, with a free trolley connecting all three. Free.
Doggie dash
May 20, 2018
37 miles NW
Dash for the Dogs is a 5K run/walk and a one-mile family walk, followed by awards and food in Barrington, with the proceeds benefiting Animal House Shelter.
Rhubarb Festival
May 20, 2018
62 miles south
The Rhubarb Festival features rhubarb and strawberry pies and jams, a baking contest, kids’ games, and historic tours at Kankakee County Museum. Free entry.
BBQ tasting
May 24, 2018 (5:30 to 9 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
A ticket to Smokin’ Pork in the Park gets you unlimited baby back ribs from competitors, plus macaroni & cheese, cornbread, coleslaw, and watermelon outside the Park Grill.
R & B music festival
May 25, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
1 mile south
Dress up in black attire for All Black Affair featuring Kindred Family Soul, Jon B, Carl Thomas, Ginuwine, Dru Hill, and a cash bar at Auditorium Theatre.
Ticket deal $73

Tropical beer tasting
May 25, 2018 (6 p.m.)
2.6 miles north
“Sip on tropical-inspired craft beer from more than 60 local and out-of-state breweries and sample gourmet small bites” at Good Libations at Theater on the Lake for age 21+. Creative tropical attire is welcome.
Mexican food festival
May 25 – 27, 2018
5.2 miles SW
Mole de Mayo features “mole” and other foods, a crafts market, two stages of entertainment, and a wrestling ring in historic Pilsen (at Ashland & 18th Street). Donation.
May 25 – 27, 2018
23 miles west
Billed as the state’s largest BBQ competition, Red, White, and Bar-B-Q has live music, craft vendors, a carnival, beer tent, and barbecue in Westmont. Free.
Big music festival near Peoria
May 25 – 27, 2018
144 miles SW
Summer Camp Music Festival typically attracts 20,000 fans watching 125 bands on 9 stages in Chillicothe.
Irish festival
May 25 – 28, 2018
26 miles south
Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest offers music, dancing, food, beer, wine, room, vendors, and children’s activities in Oak Forest.
Memorial Day Parade
May 26, 2018
0.5 mile SW
A wreath laying ceremony is 11 a.m. on Daley Plaza. The Memorial Day Parade at noon has high-school marching bands, drum and bugle corps, veterans’ groups, and active duty military on State Street (from Lake to Van Buren). Free.
Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest
May 26 – 27, 2018 (noon to 10 p.m.)
5 miles north
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with local bands, entertainers, food, drink, and street vendors at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival on N. Sheffield Avenue (from Belmont to Roscoe). Donation.
Art fair in Barrington
May 26 – 27, 2018
38 miles NW
Barrington Art Festival features 130 juried artists, live music, food, and children’s activities. Free.
Games convention
May 26 – 28, 2018
15.3 miles NW
Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at The Pavilion near the airport. Held in May and November.
Movie music
May 27, 2018 (3 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Chicago Philharmonic plays excerpts from the original scores of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Wonder Woman, The Magnificent Seven, etc. during Hollywood Heroes at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.
Ticket deal $20

Spectacular bike ride
May 27, 2018 (opens 5:30 a.m.)
1 mile south
Register to ride your bike on 15-mile Lake Shore Drive when it closes to vehicles during Bike the Drive, and join the after-festival until noon at Butler Field.
Dirty Dancing
May 30 – June 3, 2018
0.7 miles SW
See the romantic story Dirty Dancing, with passionate dancing and hit songs from the movie live at Cadillac Palace Theatre.
Ticket deal $29 to $59

May 31 – June 3, 2018
8 miles NW
The German festival known as Maifest Chicago serves beer, brats, sauerkraut, and music in Lincoln Square at Lincoln Ave. and Leland Ave. Free. [Not to be confused with Mayfest listed under May 18.]
see June


Events, Festivals

Things to do in Chicago in April

Chicago Events

April 2018

Easter restaurants

April 1, 2018

Chicago locations

OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special menus for Easter. Also see Easter Bunny Brunches.

Easter brunch with a view

April 1, 2018 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

0.8 miles north

Easter Brunch includes a buffet, an entree, desserts, and a visit from the Easter Bunny at The Signature Room at the 95th.

Easter dining cruise

April 1, 2018

1 mile east

Odyssey Cruises offers a brunch cruise with the Easter bunny, and a dinner cruise departing from Navy Pier.

Easter in the garden

April 1, 2018

24 miles north

Enjoy a festive Easter Egg Brunch and bring a basket for the Easter egg hunt at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Easter at Cantigny

April 1, 2018 (begins March 31)

27 miles west

Breakfast with the Bunny on Saturday includes a breakfast buffet, the Easter Bunny, face painting, and a balloon artist. The elegant Easter Brunch is Sunday. Both events are at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.

Easter at the arboretum

April 1, 2018 (begins March 30)

27 miles west

Enjoy a breakfast buffet or a fine brunch, plus a visit with the Easter Bunny at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Films from Europe

April 1 – 5, 2018 (begins March 9)

0.5 miles SW

Chicago European Union Film Festival screens 62 new feature films from the 28 nations of the European Union at Gene Siskel Film Center.

Flower show

April 1 – 8, 2018 (begins March 25)

0.5 mile south

Macy’s Flower Show features flowers and exotic topiaries in landscapes, plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street. Free.

Latino film festival

April 5 – 19, 2018

Chicago locations

See 100+ films from Latin America, Brazil, South America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S. during the Chicago Latino Film Festival at AMC River East 21 theaters and venue partners throughout Chicagoland.


April 6 – 7, 2018

3 miles SW

Chicago’s best chefs serve bacon dishes and drinks for lunch and dinner at Baconfest Chicago in UIC Forum.

Blues dance

April 6 – 8, 2018

multiple locations

BluesShout includes weekend workshops and dances with live music that go late into the night.

Asian film festival

April 6 – 19, 2018

0.5 miles SW

Asian American Showcase screens independent dramas and documentaries, including selected screenings with filmmakers in person, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Festival of colors

April 7, 2018

32 miles west

Wear white and buy brightly colored organic flour for $2 to throw at friends and foes to celebrate Holiand mark the arrival of spring, with music and Indian food for sale at the Grand Pavilion in Naperville.

Superhero convention

April 7 – 8, 2018

17 miles NW

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest celebrates comics, sci-fi, TV, and movies with guest actors, panel discussions, costume contests, role-playing, and vendors in the Rosemont convention center.

Discount tickets $9 to $35.

Zombie, horror, sci-fi convention

April 7 – 8, 2018

17 miles NW

Zombie lovers unite at Walker Stalker Con for panels, celebrities, vendors, and a costume party at the convention center in Rosemont.

Discount tickets $9 to $35.

Robots at the museum

April 7 – 15, 2018

8 miles south

Celebrate National Robotics Week by viewing robots on display, interacting with some, hearing talks by robotics professors, and watching a live robotics competition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Pig feast

April 8, 2018 (5 p.m., VIP 4 p.m.)

1.2 miles south

Cochon is a stand-up tasting featuring dozens of chef-made dishes plus wine, cocktails, and beer at Hilton Chicago for age 21+.

Discount tickets $98 (VIP $150).

African fashion show

April 12, 2018 (6 to 9 p.m.)

0.4 miles south

The $150 Fashion Challenge is a designer runway show that highlights scarves made by African women, followed by a $40 party with drinks and dessert at Chicago Cultural Center. Attend either or both.

Quilt festival

April 12 – 14, 2018

17 mile NW

Shop for quilts and take mini-classes at Quilt Festival Chicago in Rosemont convention center.

Teen literature festival

April 13 – 14, 2018

1 mile south

Teenagers express themselves and attend workshops at ChiTeen Lit Fest on Saturday at Columbia College Chicago. The Friday night kick-off party is at a nearby library. Free.

Audio expo

April 13 – 15, 2018

26.8 miles NW

Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) features 400 vendors of high-end audio (headphones, speakers, turntables, musical instruments, amps, and vinyl), plus 125 listening rooms, live concerts, and lectures by industry leaders at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

Discount tickets $7.75.

Diabetes expo

April 14, 2018

3 miles south

Learn how to prevent and manage diabetes at the American Diabetes Association Expo, which has health screenings, cooking demonstrations, experts, and exhibitors at McCormick Place. Free.

Silent films + live music

April 14, 2018 (7 and 9:30 p.m.)

8 miles north

Watch modern silent films as a new score is played live at Sound of Silent Film Festival at Davis Theater. The late show is R-rated.

Beer and wine festival

April 14, 2018

28 miles SW

Tinley Park Brew & Vine Festival features breweries, vintners, restaurants, and live entertainment at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Cheese tasting

April 15, 2018 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

3.4 miles NW

Taste cheesy foods like pizza, grilled cheese, poutine, and macaroni & cheese from restaurants and cheese vendors during Say Cheese Fest at Concord FiftyFive. Held in April and October.

Discount tickets $20 to $30.

Roaring Twenties musical

April 16 – May 27, 2018

4.8 miles north

It’s 1928, the world is at peace, and the stock market is booming, but issues of life and death face diverse characters we meet as they share their hopes and dreams in the lobby of the Grand Hotel at Theater Wit.

Discount tickets $13 to $28.

Cocktail evening

April 19, 2018

1.7 miles NW

A ticket to Chicago Cocktail Social gets you premium cocktails made by bartenders from 17 establishments, gourmet food, and live music at Galleria Marchetti.

Villa Park arts & crafts

April 20 – 22, 2018

21 miles west

See hundreds of craft booths at Spring Festival, An Arts & Crafts Affair in the Odeum Expo Center. Children age 10 and younger are free.

Modern pop festival

April 20 – 28, 2018

10 miles north

International Pop Overthrow (IPO) is a cutting-edge pop and rock music festival based in Los Angeles that brings dozens of the latest bands to The Red Line Tap.

Brunch walk

April 21, 2018 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

0.9 miles west

A ticket to Brunch Bites lets you sample brunch food and drink at 8 restaurants in River North for age 21+.

Mexican children’s day

April 21, 2018

2.8 miles SW

Celebrate Mexican culture and family health at Día del Niño Family Festival. Begin with a two-mile walk from the National Museum of Mexican Art to UIC Pavilion. Continue with games, art, and activities. Free.

Chocolate & wine

April 21 – 22, 2018

2.5 miles west

Chocolate, Wine & Spirits Expo promises 50 vendors displaying products for you to sample and purchase, with wine and spirits tasting, and chef demonstrations at Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium.

Discount tickets $16.

Money week

April 21 – 28, 2018

Chicago locations

Money Smart Week is a series of classes and activities designed to help you better manage your personal finances. Search for events near your zip code. Free.

Films about Palestine

April 21 – May 3, 2018

0.5 mile SW

The Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors as well as films about Palestine at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Famous speakers

April 24, 28, 29, 2018

Chicago locations

Hear today’s leading authors, thinkers, and fashion icons speak at the Springfest organized by the Chicago Humanities Festival.

Wine tasting

April 26, 2018

8 miles NW

Sample wine plus hors d’oeuvres on the Spring Wine Stroll in the shops of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood. Repeats in Nov.

Adventure race

April 27 – 28, 2018

1.9 miles SW

Questival is a 24-hour race that begins with a check-in party at Brooklyn Boulders. Your team completes the challenges assigned by a smartphone app to win prizes. Video.

Crafts fair

April 27 – 29, 2018

1 mile west

One of a Kind Show and Sale features handmade crafts by 300 artists, food, and entertainment at the Merchandise Mart. Repeats in Dec.

Bach festival

April 27 – May 4, 2018

Chicago locations

Bach Week Festival is a series of three classical music concerts in North Chicago and Evanston.

Japanese children’s festival

April 28 – 29, 2018

24 miles north

Learn about children’s celebrations in Japan at Malott Japanese Garden Spring Festival. Listen to koto harps and shakuhachi flutes, hear folktales, and watch a tea ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Free except parking. Repeats in Aug.


Events, Festivals, Holidays

Things to do in Chicago in March

March 2018
best events in Chicago

Irish film festival

March 1 – 4, 2018

5 miles NW

Chicago Irish Film Festival focuses on films that exemplify the spirit of Irish culture at Logan Theatre and the Society for Arts.

Classic love story

March 1 – 4, 2018

10.2 miles north

Anna Karenina is torn between love and truth when she falls in love with a handsome count despite her marriage to a Russian aristocrat at Lifeline Theatre.

Discount tickets $20.

Orchid Show

March 1 – 25, 2018 (begins Feb. 10)

24 miles north

See 10,000 blooms at the Orchid Show, which has a photographer hour (Thursdays 8:15 a.m.), an orchid sale (March 10 & 11), and an Evening with Orchidscocktail tasting (March 7) at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Monster trucks

March 2 – 5, 2018

18 mile NW

Big trucks with big wheels create big noise and excitement at Monster Jam in Rosemont’s Allstate Arena.

Ecology film festival

March 2 – 11, 2018

Greater Chicago area

One Earth Film Festival shows films about climate change, sustainability, and environmental activism.

Chinese New Year

March 3, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)

1 mile south

Celebrate the end of Chinese Lunar New Year with Chinese music, art, storytelling, and lantern making workshops. At sundown, lion dancers lead a procession of lanterns from the Art Institute of Chicago to Maggie Daley Park.

Beer festival

March 3, 2018 (SOLD OUT)

1.9 miles south

A ticket to The Chicago Beer Festival includes 40 tasting tickets, with live music and food for sale at The Field Museum for age 21+.

Shopping-cart race

March 3, 2018

3 miles west

Shopping cart riders race through Wicker Park pulled by humans in the Chiditarod, on the same day the Alaska Iditarod dog-sled race begins. Donate food.


March 3, 2018 (3 to 10 p.m.)

11 miles west

Choose from a dozen different jazz performances in Oak Park restaurants during Jazz Thaw, with the option of ordering food. Free.

Irish day in Oak Forest

March 3, 2018

25 miles SW

Oak Forest Fleadh includes a 5K race at 8:30, bikers and walkers on car-free Cicero Avenue at 10 a.m., a family parade at 11 a.m., and Irish pub specials.

Children’s expo

March 3 – 4, 2018

27.4 miles NW

The Kids Expo features family-oriented vendors plus children’s activities (some ticketed) at Schaumburg Convention Center.

Festival of colors

March 4, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)

1.3 miles east

Global Connections: Holi features Indian music and performances in the Aon Grand Ballroom at Navy Pier. Wear a white shirt to be permanently stained if you want to join the traditional throwing of color, with free color powder provided (outdoors 2 to 4 p.m.). Free.

Polar Plunge

March 4, 2018

2 miles north

Join 5,000 fundraisers who wade into the cold waters of Lake Michigan to support charity at Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach, or watch from shore.

Female films

March 7 – 9, 2018

1.5 miles south

See films addressing issues of gender, sexuality, race, and other forms of inequality at Chicago Feminist Film Festival at 1104 S Wabash Avenue (floor 8). Free.

Film festival

March 8 – 10, 2018

42 miles west

The Geneva Film Festival screens a variety of independent short and feature-length films from around the world in downtown Geneva.

St. Patrick’s Day party

March 9, 2018

0.4 miles south

Forever Green is a big event with a DJ, two Irish bands, Trinity Irish Dancers, and beverages at the Chicago Cultural Center for age 21+.

Knitting show

March 9 – 11, 2018

1.2 miles south

Vogue Knitting Live features knitting classes, fashion shows, and vendors at the Hilton Chicago.

Peaceful film festival

March 9 – 11, 2018

7.8 miles north

Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF) features works that raise awareness of peace, non-violence, social justice, and an eco-balanced world, at Davis Theater in Lincoln Square.

Custom car show

March 9 – 11, 2018

17 miles NW

World of Wheels features hot rods, competition cars, specialty, and concept vehicles at the Rosemont convention center.

Films from Europe

March 9 – April 5, 2018

0.5 miles SW

Chicago European Union Film Festival screens 62 new feature films from the 28 nations of the European Union at Gene Siskel Film Center.

Beer tasting

March 10, 2018 (1 and 6 p.m.)

7.5 miles SW

A ticket to Windy City Brewhaha gets you 15 samples of beer from the brewers at The Geraghty.

St. Patrick’s parade (west)

March 10, 2018 (noon)

19 miles west

Celebrate Irish tradition with leprechauns, clowns, jugglers, dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, and floats at Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Free.

St. Patrick’s beer run/walk

March 10, 2018

23.8 miles NW

Your reward for participating in the Shamrock Chicago 5K Beer Run is a three-ounce beer each kilometer and a pint at the finish in Arlington Heights for age 21+.

St. Patrick’s parade (north)

March 11, 2018 (noon)

13 miles NW

Northwest Side Irish Parade begins at Onahan School and is free. Buy a ticket for the optional after-partyfor dinner and family fun.

St. Patrick’s parade (south)

March 11, 2018 (noon)

17 miles south

South Side Irish Parade is on Western Avenue and goes south from 103rd to 115th Street. Free.

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

March 16, 2018

1.2 miles south

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner honors the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and includes cocktails, dinner, and Irish music at Hilton Chicago for $175.

Pet expo

March 16 – 18, 2018

27 miles NW

Chicagoland Family Pet Expo features entertainment, exhibitors, and demos at Arlington Park Racetrack. No pets.

St. Patrick’s Day – green river

March 17, 2018 (9 a.m.)

0.4 miles east

Watch the Chicago River flow green at Dyeing of the Chicago River “best viewed from the east side of the bridge at Michigan Ave. or upper and lower Wacker Drive between Columbus and Lake Shore Drive.”

St. Patrick’s parade

March 17, 2018 (noon)

1.3 miles south

The St. Patrick’s Day Parade goes north on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe, rain or shine. Free.

St. Patrick’s run

March 17, 2018

2.7 miles south

Wear green to the Get Lucky half marathon, 14K, and 7K that begin at Soldier Field Stadium Green and go south along the lake.

St. Patrick’s run/walk

March 17, 2018 (9:30 a.m.)

2.8 miles north

The best costumes get prizes at St. Paddy’s Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk [formerly called Leprechaun Leap], which begins in Lincoln Park and ends with Irish music, entertainment, and refreshments.

St. Patrick’s Festival

March 17, 2018

9 miles NW

After the big parade, enjoy Irish music, dance, food, activities, and Irish gifts for sale at St. Patrick’s Festival throughout the Irish American Heritage Center. Children age 12 and younger are free.

Maple sugar fair – Schaumburg

March 17 – 18, 2018

29 miles NW

Enjoy an outdoor pancake breakfast with real maple syrup and see how it’s made in a pioneer sugar camp at Sugar Bush Fair, which includes a puppet show and a hayride in Schaumburg. [Sunday has its own page.]

Estefan musical

March 21 – April 8, 2018

0.7 miles SW

On Your Feet! is a musical about the Grammy winning husband and wife team of singers Emilio and Gloria Estefan (Conga & 1-2-3) at Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Discount tickets $45 to $79.

War games convention

March 22 – 25, 2018

26.7 miles NW

AdeptiCon is a small event with tournaments, event games, pirate gaming, cosplay contests, and hobby seminars at the Renaissance Schaumburg Hotel.

Sportsman’s show

March 22 – 25, 2018

29.4 miles NW

Chicago Outdoor Sports Show has fishing and hunting seminars, kids’ activities, and hundreds of vendors at Arlington Park Race Track.

Whisky festival

March 23, 2018

0.2 miles SE

Taste 300 whiskeys, and learn from master distillers and blenders at WhiskyFest Chicago at the Hyatt Regency Chicago.

Food festival

March 23 – 24, 2018

3 miles SW

Good Food Expo is all about locally produced food, with speakers, micro workshops, chef demonstrations, vendors, and a kids’ corner.

Tattoo convention

March 23 – 25, 2018

17 miles NW

Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention features live tattooing, sideshows, and entertainment at Rosemont convention center.

Easter for kids in Schaumburg

March 24, 2018 (10 a.m. to 1 p.m.)

32 miles NW

Celebrate spring with egg hunts, games, crafts, moon bounce, concessions, and pony rides at Bunny Bash at the Community Recreation Center.

Craft fair

March 24 – 25, 2018

27 miles west

Browse handcrafted goods from 175 juried exhibitors at Shower of Crafts Craft & Art Fair at College of Du Page in Glen Ellyn.

Shamrock 8K race

March 25, 2018

1.5 miles SE

Billed as the world’s largest timed 8K race, the Shamrock Shuffle begins and ends in Grant Park and includes a post-race party. The free health and fitness expo is Friday and Saturday at McCormick Place.

Flower show

March 25 – April 8, 2018

0.5 mile south

Macy’s Flower Show features flowers and exotic topiaries in landscapes, plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street. Free.

Easter at the arboretum

March 30 – April 1, 2018

27 miles west

Enjoy a breakfast buffet or a fine brunch, plus a visit with the Easter Bunny at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Easter at Lincoln Park Zoo

March 31, 2018

2.5 miles north

Eat breakfast with the Easter Bunny, hunt for eggs, visit animals, and ride the train & carousel (if it’s dry) at the Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Science-fiction films

March 31, 2018

6 miles north

See science-fiction and fantasy short films from around the world at Juggernaut Film Festival, an annual event at the swanky, art deco Music Box Theatre.

Rockin’ race & egg hunt

March 31, 2018

6.8 miles north

Bunny Rock at Montrose Harbor features 1980s rock music, a 5K run/walk at 9 a.m., a petting zoo, and a giant egg hunt for ages 2 to 10 at 10:15 a.m.

Asian-American party

March 2018 (undated)

1.1 miles SW

Dress up for the Lunar Ball to enjoy music, dancing, food, drinks, and networking at Wintrust Bank on S. LaSalle Street to support charity.

Barrel-aged beer

March 2018 (undated)

6 miles NW

Festibarrel features dozens of beers aged in wood on tap at Riverview Tavern. Free entry. Bring cash.

Swedish Easter buffet

March 2018 (undated)

7.6 miles north

Påskmiddag is a family-friendly event with a smorgasbord and indoor Easter egg hunt at the Swedish American Museum.