*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). Thank you for supporting the work I put into this site!
The month of March brings the first glimmer of hope that winter is on its way out. We hold on to the promise that the sun and the warmth will eventually happen even though the weather won’t feel like it for a few months.
Although the weather can suck at this time of year, some exciting events are about to occur for Chicago.
The city is about to kick off its springtime events!
Springtime Events in Chicago
In March, the city celebrates St. Patrick Day by turning the Chicago River a lovely shamrock green.
Film enthusiasts will want to check out several film festivals that celebrates Chicago’s diversity and immigrant roots – something most residents of this city are proud of.
If you’re a runner, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K kicks off Chicago’s 2020 racing season.
Another big festival that signals that spring is almost here is the Flower and Garden Show.
Spring shopping season begins with the opening of the Randolph Street Market, every last weekend of the month until October.
And the city salutes that famous breakfast meat with the BaconFest.
In May, the city warms up a bit.
The first big music festival of the year kicks off with the GospelFest. It means soon summer will be here, the anticipation of more fun things to come.
In this article, I discuss:
- 14 Events you don’t want to miss this spring
- Where to stay during your spring visit
Things to do in Chicago in March
1. Chicago Irish Film Festival (Feb 27-Mar 1, 2020) – The Chicago Irish Film Festival showcases United States premiers of Irish films that have been shown at Tribeca, SXSW, and Sundance. This is your chance to view some of the films shortlisted for the Academy Awards.
For more information about the Chicago Irish Film Festival, click here.
2. Chicago Jewish Film Festival (Mar 1-14, 2020) – celebrates through its diverse selections of films the contributions the Jewish community has made to the world. The 2019 festival year was a tribute to strong female protagonists whose experiences made a difference for their families and society. The 2020 festival year promises to be just as exciting.
For more information about the Chicago Jewish Film Festival, click here.
3. Chicago Beer Festival (Mar 14, 2020) – held at the Field Museum of Natural History, this event will feature over 60 breweries, music, food, and a select number of the museum’s exhibits. General admission is $50 and includes beer tastings plus access to the museum (food is extra).
For more information about the Chicago Beer Festival, click here.
4. St Patrick’s Day Events (Mar 14, 2020) – There’s so much going on this day but here’s are some events you don’t want to miss:
- Chicago River dyeing green (Wacker Drive and Columbus Drive) – grab you a spot along Columbus Drive bridge, Wacker Drive, the Riverwalk, or any of the bridges along Wacker Drive. The river starts turning green at 9 AM, but you’ll want to claim your spot early for a good view.
- St Patrick’s Day Parade (procession north down Columbus Drive, beginning at Balboa Street ends at Monroe Street) – This is the LARGEST St. Patrick Parade in America! The parade usually starts at noon (2020 time hasn’t been announced yet) and goes on for three hours. Bring a lawn chair and grab your spot early along the parade route.
- Catch a performance of the Gaelic Storm at the House of Blues (329 North Dearborn Street) – Gaelic Storm is a Celtic band with quite a following. The group is known for its traditional country music (Ireland) and has mass appeal for anyone who’s into rock and bluegrass. For more information on tickets, click here.
For more information on St. Patrick Day events around the city, click here
5. Runners on your mark! Bank of America 8K Shamrock Shuffle (Sunday, Mar 22, 2020) is Chicago’s first major run of the year and kicks off the spring racing season. TheShamrock Shuffle starts in Grant Park, weaves through the Chicago Loop neighborhood and ends right where it began.
For more information on the 8K Shamrock Shuffle, click here.
6. Chicago Flower and Garden Show (Navy Pier, Mar 18-22, 2020) – The Chicago Flower and Garden Show have been held annually since 1847. The event is symbolic in that it signals the beginning of spring for Chicago for most Chicago residents. The Chicago Flower and Garden Show is chock full of garden exhibits and seminars on improving your green thumb.
For more information on the Chicago Flower and Garden Show, click here.
7. Opening Day for the White Sox 2020 season is Mar 26, 2020. The White Sox play at Guarantee Field in the Chicago neighborhood of Bridgeport. For more info, click here.
8. Home Opener game for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Park (Wrigleyville neighborhood) is Mar 30, 2020. For more information, click here.
Things to do in Chicago in April
9. The Annual Asian American Showcase (Gene Siskel Film Center, TBA) – Asian Americans’ contributions to the arts have been under-represented. The Foundation for Asian American Independent Media was established in 1995 to educate the public on creative and talented Asian-American artists. Every year the FAAIM holds this showcase to support local artists and build a grassroots audience.
For more information and to be notified of exact dates, click here.
10. National Free Museum Day (Apr 4, 2020) – sponsored by the Smithsonian Magazine, if you happen to be visiting Chicago on this day, it is the perfect opportunity to check out a museum in the city for FREE! If you’re not in Chicago, you can still participate in Free Museum Day at a local museum in your area.
For more information on Free Museum Day and participating museums nationwide, click here
11. Chicago Latino Film Festival (Apr 16-30, 2020, River East 21 Theater, Streeterville neighborhood) is considered the most comprehensive Latino film festival in the United States. Over 100 films will be showcased from Latin America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S.
For more information on the Chicago Latino Film Festival, click here.
12. Chicago’s 12th Annual salute to bacon happens on Apr 18, 2020, at the UIC Forum (725 West Roosevelt Road). At Baconfest, Chicago’s best chefs serve up mouth-watering bacon dishes. Ahhh, but there’s more than just bacon at this fest. There will be vendors and sponsors showcasing libations that compliment bacon, such as beer and wine. And here’s your chance to hobnob with bacon-friendly brands and businesses.
For more information on purchasing tickets, click here
13. Randolph Street Market (1341 West Randolph Street) is the largest urban antique market in the Midwest. Better Homes and Garden has dubbed it one of nine flea markets you must visit before you die. Beginning on April 24-26, 2020, the Randolph Street Market opens every 4th weekend of the month until October. Not to be missed if you love flea markets!
For more information on purchasing tickets, click here
Things to do in Chicago in May
14. Chicago Gospelfest (May 26-30, 2020, Millenium Park) kicks off the summer music festival series with its celebration of gospel music. Some of the most popular gospel artists and choirs have performed at this festival over the years. I’m sure 2020’s 35th annual Gospelfest will not disappoint. Admission is free.
Check back here for updates on the Chicago Gospelfest and other May events occurring in Chicago
Where to stay in Chicago during the Spring
Downtown Chicago is where you want to stay. It will put you in the center of all the action. Expect a rush of adrenaline-lined excitement during your stay here. It is positively the best city in the midwest.
To ensure the absolute best time, I recommend staying in the downtown Chicago area in one of the following downtown neighborhoods (for more information on each neighborhood, click on each link):
For the best hotel deals, I recommend booking well in advance. Downtown Chicago accommodations fill up quickly for the spring and summer months. The city is in festival mode full of people from visitors to conventioneers. Competition for affordable space will be fierce.
To check out the best hotel deals on Booking.com by clicking here.
To save money on accommodations, you might want to think about staying at an Airbnb in one of Chicago’s neighborhoods outside of the downtown area.
Great neighborhood options near downtown Chicago (or a short L ride) for Airbnb are:
- Lincoln Park/DePaul (Northside)
- Hyde Park (Southside)
- Little Italy/University Village (Near Westside)
- River West (Near Northwest side)
- Old Town (Near Northside)
Spring means the beginning of the festival season in Chicago. It also means only a few more months to go until summer.
- Film enthusiasts will want to check out several film festivals that celebrates Chicago’s diversity and immigrant roots – something most residents of this city are proud of.
- If you’re a runner, the Shamrock Shuffle 8K kicks off Chicago’s 2020 racing season.
- Spring shopping season begins with the opening of the Randolph Street Market, every last weekend of the month until October.
- And the city salutes that famous breakfast meat with the BaconFest.
Spring is an exciting time in Chicago. There’s something for everybody.
You don’t want to miss out on the fun!