Spring is nature’s way of saying ‘Let’s Party!’
Spring is officially here. Marked by Chicago’s breathtaking Chicagohenge spring equinox spectacle, from here on out things start to look up each year once the notorious Midwest winter has passed us by.
Chicago is gearing up for bloom, growth, and warmer days ahead. At the same time, relative normalcy has returned to the city and along with it countless possibilities and events in Chicago.
There’s so much to do regardless of whether we’re treated to sunshine or April showers so here are our top activities to do this April and the best ways of embracing the spring cheer.
1. Take in the tulips of Michigan Avenue
Every fall the City of Chicago plants tens of thousands of tulip bulbs in the Michigan Avenue medians from Oak Street to Roosevelt Road. At the start of April, these bulbs then begin opening up and filling Michigan Avenue with a kaleidoscopic sea of tulips. They have become synonymous with the arrival of spring in Chicago and they immediately fill the air with spring cheer.
An equally as impressive floral spectacle is provided charm of cherry blossom trees in full bloom. Typically, the sakura blooms start within the first two weeks of April in Chicago. Though it can be a guessing game and they could flourish at their peak towards the end of April.
The soft, delicate blossoms only bloom for a week or two, making it a rare sight. Especially options for where to see them in Chicago are somewhat limited. If you want to behold the blooming season this year, head to our article on where to view the cherry blossoms in Chicago this spring and take a look at our map with all the hot cherry blossom viewing spots.
Not to go over-the-top on floral fun, but of the spring activities that begin announcing themselves in March and April, the flower shows at Chicago’s fantastic conservatories are some of the most eagerly anticipated.
Known for its gorgeous sprawling rooms filled with flora and fauna alike, The Lincoln Park Conservatory is one of these. Each year it hosts an extraordinary spring flower show and this year it is inviting guests to reimagine gardens in a whole new way. Namely, from a vertical perspective. To help plant lovers reignite their passion, the “Pillars of Spring” spring flower show incorporates free-standing pillars and invites plant lovers to learn more about planting vertically in their own homes, too.
Another brilliant spring flower show takes place over at the Garfield Park Conservatory each year. This year they are inviting guests to walk through giant doorways for their “Knock Knock” 2022 spring flower show. In addition to a plethora of beautiful blooming flowers, including tulips, hydrangeas, daffodils, and hyacinth there are a series of giant vintage hanging doors courtesy of Rebuilding Exchange and many plant-themed knock-knock jokes throughout the Show House as part of the playful reprieve from the long Chicago winter.
One of the lights at the end of the tunnel every year comes in the form of artistic projections on the 2.5-acre river-façade of the Merchandise Mart. It has been several months since Chicago has been treated to the stunning art spectacles but now after some spellbinding displays last year, Art on the MART is about to return for its 2022 run.
On April 9 at 8:30 pm, Art On The MART will fire up all 34 digital projectors for its Spring 2022 Program and once again breathe life into the 25-story-tall face of the Merchandise Mart. This time the new program features the premiere of two climate change-themed projections presented in partnership with Shedd Aquarium.
If all that color has your creative juices flowing there’s no better place to let your inner artist run wild than at Chicago’s incredible BYOB Urban Art Workshops.
Taking place weekly within Studio W.I.P. at The Chicago Kedzie Plaza, there’s no pressure and no presumptions, just creativity and fun flowing in all forms. Trained professional artists will teach you the tricks of the trade as unleash your inner artist on a mural with your favorite drink in one hand and a spray can in the other.
Grab your tickets to a Spray Paint ‘n’ Sip Urban Art Workshop here.
For the first time ever, world-famous royal photographers (Anwar Hussein and his two sons Zak and Samir) shared their experiences with the iconic princess and her family in February and now dates have been extended through to April 24th due to popular demand.
Princess Diana, by most accounts, is the most photographed human in history. She grew up in the public eye. One of the people that was there capturing the biggest and most important moments was Royal Photographer Anwar Hussein. Later, his sons Zak and Samir joined the family business.
The exhibition is told from their perspective: what they heard, what they saw, what they witnessed first-hand will all be shared. This is not a story you have heard before. Whether you are a hard-core fan or new to her legacy, you will be blown away by the fascinating depth and detail shared by the Hussein family.
Grab tickets to the Princess Diana Exhibit before they gohere.
Talking of royalty, your presence is soon requested at the most exclusive ball of the season! On April 20th this immersive Regency-era ball comes to Chicago and now is your chance to secure your invitation and wait to be transported to England’s Regency era with stunning decor and period costumes.
Prepare to mingle with other members of the Ton as you sip on cocktails and partake in an evening of music and dance. Rumour has it that Her Majesty Queen Charlotte is looking for the diamond of the season, but will you be the one to win her favor?
Grab tickets to the Queen’s Ball here.
For another British experience a little drive away in Wisconsin, Dressing The Abbey: A Costume Exhibition offers you the chance to transport yourself to the early 20th century and relive your favorite memories and nostalgia of the costumes of Downton Abbey™.
The British television series explores the lives of its aristocratic inhabitants and their servants – together with the latest fashion trends. Through 35 bespoke costumes created for the series, the exhibition presents a fashion history of the period surrounding World War I, a period that changed the social fabric of Great Britain. A fine selection from the series’ wardrobe, including accessories and mannequins, reflects on the changing times through fashion from 1912 to the mid-1920s. Don’t miss this closer look into the award-winning costumes!
You can grab tickets to Dressing The Abbey: A Costume Exhibition here.
Back in Chicago, you can enjoy more than a casual day at Wrigley Field. Wrigley View Rooftop offers state-of-the-art stadium-style design and seating while offering a warm, hospitable, friendly environment adjacent to the historic stadium and just steps beyond the left-field ivy. Get a spectacular, unobstructed view of home plate, the infield action, and outfield excitement as you enjoy food & drinks perfect for the occasion!
Chicago’s sublime Candlelight Concert series offers breathtaking spectacles throughout the year but this April there are some extra special concerts taking place in extraordinary venues all over the city. Flickering candles and melodic sounds combine phenomenally to create magnetic atmospheres in some of Chicago’s most unique spaces with surreal acoustics. Here are some of our favorite festive concerts taking place this month:
- Candlelight: Latin Jazz Tribute to Celia Cruz, Tito Puente and More at Salvage One
- Candlelight: A Tribute to ABBA at Stan Mansion
- Candlelight Ballet: Featuring Tchaikovsky and More at Oak Park’s Free Church
- Candlelight: Women of Pop ft. Songs by Beyonce, Lady Gaga, and Lizzo at Wicker Park Lutheran Church
- Candlelight: Romantic Jazz ft. Frank Sinatra & Nat King Cole at Salvag One
- Candlelight: A Tribute to Ed Sheeran at Oak Park Arts Center
See the full list of candlelight concerts taking place in Chicago here.
When it comes to live music, few places offer a better jazz experience than Chicago. There are so many wonderful places to see live jazz in its rawest form here in the Windy City. Alongside esteemed venues like South Loop’s The Jazz Showcase, and Uptown’s Green Mill Cocktail Lounge, Le Piano has emerged as a phenomenal new jazz hideout.
In the middle of Le Piano sits a magnificent grand piano where some of Chicago’s most talented pianists and jazz performers come to play. Here you will find a mind-blowing musical experience merging dinner and intimate performances. Immersive Live Jazz & Dinner for Two and Immersive Live Jazz & Cocktails both ensure memorable nights of dining, drinking, and the magic of jazz in a truly vivacious venue.
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Another brilliant experience comes in the form of a live Drunk Shakespeare show. Taking place on a stage in a hidden speakeasy located behind the Chicago Theater, guests will find a glam cocktail bar and library with over 10,000 books. Five classically-trained actors meet as members of “The Drunk Shakespeare Society”. One of them has had at least 5 shots of whiskey and then they (quite over-confidently) attempt to perform a major role in a Shakespearean play! Hilarity and mayhem ensue while the four sober actors try and keep the script on track. Every show is different depending on who is drinking… and what they’re drinking!
Grab tickets to a Drunk Shakespeare show here.
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We could all do with a chuckle with the tumultuous years we’ve had and luckily there’s no place better for that than a Chicago comedy show. At Laugh Factory Chicago some of today’s biggest names and local comedians are delivering something for every taste and style throughout April. You’ll also find a variety of the city’s best comedians every Tuesday at Shady Babies Comedy Showcase and for those who want to escape to another reality with something a little different, Redline VR is currently offering a Multi-Cam Comedy Special featuring 5 cameras, 6 acts, and infinite nonsense!
Grab tickets to a show at Laugh Factory Chicago here.
Grab tickets to a show at Shady Babies Comedy Showcase here.
Grab tickets to a Multi-Cam Comedy Special at Redline VR here.
Some days you just need some one-on-one time with a pasture full of adorable goats, you know? Experience the pinnacle of wholesomeness by hanging out with the billy kids over at GlennArt Farm and afterward, double down on those warm fuzzy feelings with a few flights of delicious craft beers on the rooftop of One Lake Brewing with this exclusive Brews n ‘Baahhs’ experience. If there’s one way to relax and let your mind unwind it’s with a pasture full of adorable billy kids followed up by a selection of craft beer.
If craft beer floats your boat another fun tasting experience this month comes in the form of a beer flight at Pilot Project Brewing. Pilot Project Brewing is a brewery incubator, tasting room & cafe located on Milwaukee Ave in Logan Square, Chicago. Pilot Project was launched as a collaborative and artistically curious space to help support talented brewers in an industry with exceptionally high barriers.
Modeled after the music industry, Pilot serves as a launchpad for start-up breweries, offering assistance with fine-tuning recipes, production, business development, marketing, distribution, and more. They are Chicago’s incubator dedicated to the art of brewing and a community inspired by the craft. Pick from 24 taps to make your perfect flight of beer and taste and compare with your besties
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If rum is more your speed, indulge your senses in this can’t-miss tasting festival. With an endless array of options to sample from and informative brand seminars to attend, it’s time to immerse your senses in all things rum. You’re in for a treat as you network away with other fanatics, connect with like-minded individuals and learn all you can about this storied beverage. If you’d like early access, purchase a VIP package for an extra few hours of knowledge.
Get tickets to the event here.
With over 20 tasting cups to sip from, you’re bound to find a new favorite whiskey at this 2022 festival. Enjoy your time alongside fellow whiskey enthusiasts, as this is the perfect opportunity to learn more about the different varieties, and sample ultra-high-end bottles. Additional samples are also available for purchase with 100% of the proceeds going to charity. This premiere tasting festival is an ultra-exclusive opportunity to network, sample, and connect with 200 other whiskey-lovers.
Book your ticket here and prepare to enjoy.
Get ready to laugh at this action-packed drinking game show event. The fast-paced sketch show is set at the fictional Franks Bar and includes a dedicated “bar staff” and an exciting narrative storyline that highlights the pitfalls of drinking culture. This long-running interactive game show is the perfect place to gather with friends for an unforgettable, humor-focused evening.
Learn more about the event and grab your tickets here.
If you’re more of the active type and thrive on adrenaline and competition another exhilarating experience can be found down at Kanya Lounge’s exclusive 2-story adult playground. Five Axe Throwing Lanes allow you to test your inner lumberjack and blow off some steam while a Rage Room Experience offers 3 unique custom-made rage rooms providing the ultimate stress reliever after the torrid months we’ve had. Either way, signature cocktails and a bucket of beers can be enjoyed in the bar and lounge area while you’re at it.
More information and tickets can be found here.
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If you really want a buzz we suggest you head down to West Loop’s Grand Cabaret After Dark this month for a roster of rip-roaring revelry. On Fridays, STRIPPED provides a decadent and debaucherous night of burlesque while on Saturdays you’ll find vintage evenings of cabaret, jazz, and magic in Chicago’s newest speakeasy followed by Boozy BBQ Drag Brunches on Sundays. All promise a mesmerizing experience in one of Chicago’s most exciting new venues.
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Circus Vazquez is back with brand new shows in Chicago. Prepare for outstanding performances from the new generation Vazquez family, David Larible who is known as the world’s greatest clown, amongst many others from around the world that will blow your mind. Classic circus vendor items are available for purchase such as popcorn, cotton candy, nachos, funnel cakes, churros, snow cones, and more! Get the family together and share an unforgettable experience.
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Get your theater fix (with a twist) at this fantastic new burlesque and variety cabaret show. Every 3rd Saturday of the month, Redline VR hosts the incomparable Crescent Moon Nerdlesque, a unique and nerdy cosplay group that’s sure to keep you engaged in the act. Each month features a new and exciting storyline so write down the date, grab your friends and prepare to be amazed at this month’s unique showing.
Learn more and get your tickets here.
As well as boasting an extraordinary live entertainment scene, Chicago is famous for its plethora of world-renowned museums. One of the most bizarre yet brilliant exhibitions we’ve seen in a while is currently taking place at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry. ‘The Art of the Brick’ features more than one million LEGO bricks transformed into more than 100 sculptures by award-winning artist Nathan Sawaya.
You’ll walk through recreations of famous masterpieces like Van Gogh’s ‘Starry Night’, Da Vinci’s ‘Mona Lisa’, and Grant Wood’s ‘American Gothic’, as well as a sculpture of a 20-foot-long Tyrannosaurus Rex skeleton.
Speaking of stunning experiences, it’s time to embrace your whimsical, artistic nature at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago. This unique, grand structure houses exciting temporary and permanent exhibitions that are sure to leave you awe-struck. Make it a whole family day and prepare for an unforgettable experience in contemporary art. Or, gather a group of friends and explore the fascinating collections and multiple artistic disciplines available for viewing. Filled with endlessly intriguing paintings, sculptures, and photos, this museum is always one for the books.
Grab a ticket here or opt for a reduced entrance if you’re a senior resident, teacher, or student.
Another of Chicago’s famed attractions, The Adler Planetarium, is reopening this month after a two-year hiatus. The planetarium will reopen to visitors once more at the start of March and now boasts a brand new telescope in the Doane Observatory which holds the title of the largest public telescope in the Chicago area.
As well as a new observation park, guests will notice the planetarium’s shiny new dome roof which has been restored with brand-new copper tiles giving the 80-year-old dome an iconic new glow. The best news, however, is that Illinois residents will be able to enter for free every Wednesday evening from 4-10 pm provided they bring proof of residency.
More information and tickets can be found at adlerplanetarium.org.
Field Museum’s new exhibit ‘Jurassic Oceans: Monsters of the Deep’ takes visitors on an underwater journey where they can encounter some of the most fascinating, fierce, and strange creatures that dominated Earth’s Jurassic seas while dinosaurs ruled the land.
It features over 100 fossils ranging from enormous marine reptiles to small, stranger creatures as well as huge replicas and CGI projections that offer visitors the chance to come face-to-face with some of history’s most terrifying marine predators to have ever existed.
That’s not all there is at the Field Museum. Spend as long as you like exploring the museum’s collection of more than 26 million artifacts. Get to know SUE, the world’s largest T. Rex, or stroll through the sparkling Hall of Gems. Time travel through 13,000 years of history in the Americas, from the Ice Age to Inca and Aztec temples. Don’t forget to meet Maximo, the museum’s newest titanosaur at over two stories tall! You can do all the above with a Field Museum All-Access Pass which includes access to all ticketed exhibitions and one 3D movie.
Speaking of field trips, take a day-cation to the Lincoln Park Zoo for an unforgettable scavenger hunting adventure. Let’s Roam is the #1 app-led scavenger hunting company and provides a can’t-miss reason to explore the infamous Chicago zoo. This family-fun activity is perfect for all ages at an ultra-exciting location. Play in teams or compete on your own for a fun interactive day filled with trivia questions, riddles, and competition-based challenges.
Get your tickets here.
The consequence of a thriving artistic community is not just a plethora of museums and stunning public art installations. Today the street art and graffiti scene in Chicago is alive and kicking more than ever before with new pieces popping up all over the city every week. Some of these are so esteemed that they’ve embedded themselves in the very fabric of Chicago and are now part and parcel of the Windy City’s identity.
With more formality and respect from the local community street art has thrived in Chicago over the last decade and with the events of the last two years many, many, astounding new murals have gone up of late. Today murals do more than just provide an extraordinary spectacle for our eyes. They pay homage to icons, fight for racial equality, celebrate different heritages, and honor the essential workers of our societies during turbulent times.
Hunting down the many masterpieces in our great city is a rewarding experience any time of the year. Many of these wonderful murals reside in West Town in the mile-long street art corridor in Chicago’s Fulton Market meatpacking district known as the B_Line. With the West Town Street Art Walking Tour run by Tours By Native you can enjoy an immersive tour that will engage the senses like never before!
For foodies who prefer to sample tasty delicacies over perusing extraordinary street art, there is a range of fantastic food tours for all manner of foodies.
Taste all of Chicago’s classic eats on a four-hour guided bicycle tour courtesy of America’s longest-running city bicycle tour company with Bikes, Bites, and Brews: Chicago’s Signature Dishes Bike Tour. The journey is 14 miles in total (traversed at a nice leisurely pace) and includes a slice of deep-dish pizza, a gourmet brownie, a Chicago-style hot dog, and a few samples of Chicago’s legendary craft beer!
Alternatively, you can sign up for the ultimate foodie adventure in Chicago’s historic River North with Lonely Planet Experiences: River North Historical Food Tour. Join a local expert and uncover hidden gems and the best spots for some of the city’s best-loved dishes. This tour will leave you filled with delicious local foods as well as some insider knowledge of the city’s culinary history and culture.
Despite having a kaleidoscopic food scene offering all manner of savory and sweet treats, nothing in Chicago has truly celebrated donuts in all their glory, until now. The Underground Donut Tour is Chicago’s first-ever donut tour and was born to give those who truly enjoy donuts the perfect excuse to sample the Windy City’s very best. Tours include such favorites as Do-Rite Donuts, Firecakes, Stans, and Doughnut Vault as well as some lesser-known spots.
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Speaking of endlessly appealing events, if bottomless drinks are more your speed, take an after-work trip to the ultra-trendy Hubbard Inn for all-you-can-drink beverages. Grab your co-workers and decompress from the work week with this special 4-6 PM deal. Everything from beer to wine to sprits is included along with a delicious cheeseburger and fries. Start your weekend off right with what’s sure to be the happiest happy hour.
Grab a ticket here and tell a friend, too.
Rife with an amalgamation of different types of architecture, Chicago is one of the best places in the world to take a tour and learn the ins and outs of the city’s fabric from an expert. A Chicago family tradition since 1935, the Chicago Lake and River Architecture Tour is the tour that started it all. This unique excursion tells the story of more than 200 years of fascinating social, cultural, and political history, and explores more than a century of groundbreaking architecture.
The journey begins with an up-close perspective of Chicago’s internationally-known architecture as seen from the Chicago River. Then venture through the Chicago Lock onto the calm, cool waters of Lake Michigan for expansive views of Chicago’s extraordinary 26-mile skyline. Take the selfie of a lifetime on this inspirational experience!
Another architectural journey awaits you on this next walking tour. Only this time, it’s all about capturing those Instagrammable moments. A local host will take you along a scenic tour of Chicago’s most famous spots so get ready to take in all the architectural feats, hidden gems and snappable landmarks you can imagine. The half-day tour is sure to inspire a caption or two and is jam packed with endless breathtaking views, exciting fun facts, and memorable moments.
Learn more and grab a ticket here for an unforgettable tour.
While Chicago’s museums, hotels, temples, and towers attract all the attention, there are breathtaking buildings of more modest stature in every corner of the city. Hordes of unique, understated homes in Chicago boast just as striking architectural features from all kinds of architectural backgrounds. Gothic, victorian, romanesque, art deco, an array of different modernist styles, you name it – Chicago has it.
Along with the help of Doorways of Chicago we have rounded up some of the most beautiful, iconic homes in and around the city, straying away from lavish modern mansions and high rise buildings to instead focus on those understated off-the-beaten-path homes that have charm, history, and character in abundance.
If you’re interested in exploring the city and carrying out your own independent tour completely free you can head to our article on 50 fabulous facades with stunning architectural attributes in Chicago!
Heading out into the wilderness is another way you can enjoy a fulfilling experience without paying more than the cost of travel. If you’re one who enjoys being surrounded by nature then heading out to the quiet of Illinois’ natural beauty is a great spring experience. Though our state may not boast wonders with the universal magnitude of the Grand Canyon nor the grandiose reputation of Niagra Falls, Illinois is teeming with diverse ecological landscapes that transform into incredible spring spectacles this time of the year. From monolithic marvels to cascading waterfalls, here are 7 natural wonders of Illinois that you can visit while they’re about to peak:
- Garden Of The Gods: Saline County
- Wildcat Canyon In Starved Rock State Park: La Salle County
- Cache River State Natural Area: Johnson County
- Cave-In-Rock: Hardin County
- The Pomona Natural Bridge: Jackson County
- Cascade Falls In Matthiessen State Park: La Salle County
- Bork Falls In Ferne Clyffe State Park: Johnson County
More information can be found here.
Or course, you don’t have to leave the Windy City to find natural escapes. Chicago is certainly no far friend from nature, there are many places you can get back in touch with Mother Nature right here in the city. The Lakefront, lush parks, and incredible hiking trails offer great natural experiences but Chicago also has numerous secret gardens hidden across the city.
If you’re the outdoorsy type who likes a thrill you’re probably the type who would be interested in testing your skydiving skills in one of Chicago’s state-of-the-art indoor skydiving centers. With an iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Lincoln Park and another iFly Indoor Skydiving Center in Rosemont, there are two conveniently located cutting-edge centers to choose from. Kids and adults can both experience the same sensation you’d get 12,000 feet up in the sky and if you feel you have what it takes, you can test your vertigo above Chicago’s iconic skyline at Skydive Chicago, one of the world’s largest skydiving resorts
For more taste of the action this spring take a short drive down to Lemont, where The Forge: Lemont Quarries offer an all-around day of fun. From mountain biking and climbing walls to yoga to a tactical laser tag course, the 300-acre park is packed with everything you can think of with something for everyone!
Read the full article here.
For a slightly more relaxing experience after those adrenaline-pumping activities, Chicago’s many spas are the optimum places to seek some spring revitalization. The Midwest’s notorious winter can be taxing on our mind, body, and soul and there’s no better place to relax and unwind during these months than at Chicago’s many wonderful spas and bathhouses.
Whether you’re looking to soak away stress, restore your mental balance, or alleviate aches and pains in bones and muscles, spas are medicine for the mind, body, and soul. From therapeutic massages to rejuvenating facials, these Chicago spas and bathhouses cater to all.
So if you’re seeking somewhere to obtain that ethereal feeling you have returning to the real world after a restorative spa day head to our article on 10 serene Chicago spas where you can relax and unwind!
[Featured image from Shutterstock]