The snow is melting, temperatures are warming and the rains are starting to fall. It didn’t seem like spring would ever get here, but it’s finally arriving — and in earnest! That means those of us cooped inside all winter are suddenly itching to go out and explore the world again. Fortunately, there is plenty to do in the spring in Chicago and all of its diverse, surrounding neighborhoods.
If you’re a long-time city resident, you’ve probably been to many of the city’s more famous attractions. Yet we’re willing to bet there are still a few places — and a few surprises — you’ve missed.
If you’re visiting for a weekend, or if you’ve just moved here, then we’ve got good news for you. There are so many wonderful and fun spring events in Chicago to keep you busy and active from late February to May.
If you’re looking for some fun ways to spend time this spring, we’ve got you covered. It doesn’t matter whether you like an active, fast-paced lifestyle or a more artsy and cultured scene. It doesn’t matter if you’re married and have a few small kids or if you’re single and looking to hang out with some friends. No matter your situation, there are plenty of exciting Chicago events and activities to fill your time.
Are you ready to kickstart your spring plans? We hope so, because we’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Chicago in the spring.
Spring Events and Activities in Chicago
Pull out your calendar and start planning how to fit some of these activities into your spring schedule.
1. The Orchid Show
After a long winter of snow and cold, nothing is more beautiful than the countless eye-catching and colorful blossoms you can see at Chicago’s annual Orchid Show. This show is held every spring and showcases more than 10,000 different blooms in all colors, shapes and hybrid varieties.
The Orchid Show is held at the Chicago Botanic Gardens from February through March, making it the perfect solution to help you beat back the winter blues while ushering in spring’s true arrival.
Do you love bacon more than life itself? If so, then you’ll be excited to learn that Chicago has an entire festival dedicated to celebrating this tasty treat.
During this festival, local restaurants come together in the UIC Forum to share bacon-flavored and bacon-inspired dishes. You can browse the forum and play the part of happy taster to all of these delicious, different bacon-filled creations. You can even sample bacon-flavored brews!
3. Lincoln Park Wine Fest
Some days, you just want an activity with your spouse or some friends where you can kick back and not worry about the kids. For days like this, we recommend the Lincoln Park Wine Fest.
This event lasts a few days, where you can stroll around beautiful Jonquil Park and sample a wide variety of wines from around the globe — all while listening to elegant samples of classical music.
4. Grapevines and Wines at Chicago Botanic Garden
Love wine and seeking another event to attend in addition to the Lincoln Park Wine Fest? To double the wine fun, check out Grapevine and Wines at the Chicago Botanic Garden in May. This event is another a great choice for a spring activity.
At this event, you can sip wines from around the world, and you can do it all while exploring the stunning beauty of the flowers and foliage at the Chicago Botanic Gardens.
If pop culture, games, graphic novels and cosplay are your thing, then you can’t miss C2E2, the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo. This annual event is held every spring and is a celebration of all things pop culture. Big industry names are known to make appearances, and you’ll be sure to get a glimpse of the current best in graphic novels, games and more.
Even if you don’t go to this event with the intention of buying anything, it’s still fun to wander the crowds, check out the best cosplays while taking in the festive atmosphere. And because it’s the largest comic convention Chicago hosts, it’s one area event you don’t want to miss.
6. Spring Awakening Music Festival
If you’re into music — particularly electronic music — you’ll want to be in the know about the Spring Awakening Music Festival. This is an annual concert that celebrates electronic music and is the official kickoff of the summer music scene in Chicago.
Dates and artists vary every year, and tickets are usually in high demand. Be sure to do your artist research early and book your tickets with plenty of time in advance.
7. Music Box’s Sound of Silent Film Festival
Everyone loves a good movie, but how much do you know about the history and origins of those movies? If you’re interested in film history, or if you enjoy silent films, we think you’d love the Sound of Silent Film Festival, held annually at the Music Box.
This is a one-day festival celebrating the art of silent filmmaking by playing modern silent films — all featuring beautiful scores that will be performed by live musicians. Whether you’re a film nerd, a music geek or both, this is definitely an event to put on your calendar.
It doesn’t matter if you have German roots or not. This traditional, German-centric springtime celebration is a great time that anyone can enjoy. The celebration takes place every spring in Lincoln Square and this year you can experience the fun for yourself.
Enjoy live music, traditional German foods, a springtime maypole dance and plenty of other German-cultural traditions and festivities as you celebrate the arrival of spring to the city.
9. Cinco de Mayo
While this holiday is celebrated across the country and beyond, we argue Chicago puts on one of the best celebrations around.
First, you’ll want to check out the stunning parade in Little Village, an event that’s fun whether it’s just you, a party of friends or the whole family.
After the parade, be sure the check out one of the many restaurants around town that will be serving up delicious tacos all day long.
10. Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
As relaxing it is to have a day out with the adults, the kids want to have fun too! When it comes to fun activities that get the whole family out enjoying the spring air, there’s nothing better than the Kids and Kites Festival.
To take part, just show up at Cricket Hill between Montrose Ave and Lake Shore Drive. Here, you and your family and friends can fly kites, build your own or sit back and watch professionals make their’s dance across the sky.
11. American Girl Place Chicago
If you have young girls, this is one place you absolutely cannot skip on any Chicago vacation or trip. While not the most wallet-friendly stop, it’s a once-in-a-lifetime experience your child will treasure for years. Kids can dine with their dolls, go shopping and more as they explore all there is to see and do at the American Girl Place.
12. The Chicago Lego Store
Girls and boys alike will love visiting the wonderful world at the Lego Store in Chicago. Here, you can shop for new Lego sets, marvel at the gigantic completed sets depicting famous landmarks and more. There’s also a huge Lego play area where both kids and adults can build and experiment with Legos to their hearts’ content.
13. Bike the Drive
This exclusive event happens only once a year, just in time as Chicago spring transitions into Chicago summer. If you’re an avid cyclist, or even a casual enthusiast, why not give it a spin?
By registering for this event, you can be part of the huge caravan of bicycles riding down beautiful Lake Shore Drive. The entire road is closed from automobile traffic on this day, leaving it completely open to cyclists. Riders of all ages and skill levels are encouraged to take part, and all proceeds from the event are used to make walking and biking in Chicago a little safer.
14. The Shamrock Shuffle
After being shut inside all winter, spring makes us feel like bursting outside and getting active. If you’ve been feeling this way, sign up to join the annual Shamrock Shuffle.
Chicago’s 8K race takes runners through downtown Chicago, making it a great way to get a whirlwind tour of the city as you run. And don’t worry — if you’re not ready to commit to running a race that long, there are walking options as well.
15. National Robotics Week at the Museum of Science and Industry
Are you a secret sci-fi nerd? Do you have any little budding scientists in your house? National Robotics Week is the perfect event for all science and technology lovers to enjoy together.
Here, you can see the latest robots designed by students in the Chicago area, watch a robotics competition and even get the chance to interact with the robots yourself.
Even if you aren’t available for National Robotics Week, there’s plenty to see and do at the Museum of Science and Industry throughout the rest of the spring season.
16. The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is a wonderful place to spend the day, whether you want to browse it quietly by yourself or take the whole family and crowd of friends. There are activities allowing you to create your own artwork, games, self-guided tours and so much more.
Depending on the day you visit the Institute, you may also be able to attend one of the special events they regularly host. You might stumble across one of the free family-friendly activities offered on Sundays, for example. However you choose to spend your visit to the Art Institute, it’s a trip you won’t soon forget.
17. The Color Wheel Studio
Springtime has a way of awakening the artist in all of us. If the warmer temperatures have you looking for an artistic outlet, why not check out the Color Wheel Studio in the suburbs of Arlington Heights?
Here, you can pay a small fee to choose a piece of pottery, then painting it in any color and design you choose. When you’re finished, the piece of pottery is yours to take home. Not only will you get to enjoy your handiwork for years to come, but you’ll also have it as a souvenir reminding you of your fun day out.
18. Wrigley Field
Are you a diehard sports fan? Do you follow baseball like there’s no tomorrow? If so, then you need to stop by Wrigley Field, home of the Chicago Cubs. Depending on the spring timing of your visit, you might be able to catch the Cubs for a home game.
If you’re not a Cubs fan, the field itself is worth checking out as a historic baseball venue. You can catch a tour if you come by on a day when the team isn’t playing.
19. Logan Square Farmers Market
Nothing says springtime like some fresh, tasty produce. Instead of visiting the grocery store, why not instead head to Logan Square on a Sunday morning or afternoon to shop at the farmer’s market?
No matter what type of fruit or vegetables you’re looking for, you’ll find them here. This market is enormous and stretches the length of several city blocks. Even if you’re not shopping for produce exclusively, you’ll be able to find plenty of other treats and snacks. Vendors sell baked goods, flowers and much more.
20. Take the Grand Tour of Chicago With Bobby’s Bike Hike
If you’re new to Chicago or just stopping by for a visit, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by how much there is to see and do. Wouldn’t it be great if there was some activity that let you see it all?
With Bobby’s Bike Hike, you can do just that. We offer unique, fun and healthy ways for you to explore the exciting metropolis of Chicago. You can learn all about the unique landmarks, history and attractions of our beautiful city while walking and biking through our guided tours. Since we believe cities are truly experienced using all five senses, our tours allow you to stop and see the sites, taste the food and so much more.
If you’re looking for things to do in Chicago in February, March, April or any time of the year, don’t miss Bobby’s Bike Hike. Ready to get started? Schedule your tour of the city today.