Chicago Cityscape from Chicago River Waterfront at Dusk. Small boats and tourist ferries cruising on the Chicago River towards the Michigan Lake. Chicago, Illinois, USA.
Spring Travel

7 Cool Things to Do in Chicago This Spring

Looking for big-city adventure and laid-back Midwestern charm? Chicago's got both in spades. While most avoid the Windy City in the winter (for obvious reasons), once the ground begins to thaw in March, it's well worth a visit. Here, seven springtime events and openings to check out in Chi-Town this year.

See recent posts by Andrea Williams

Rows of Mint Cookies
Glass of Chardonnay White Wine Close UpGlass of Chardonnay White Wine Close Up
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Cookies and Bubbly at Lynfred Winery

Chicago residents know you don’t need to travel far for great wine. Right outside the city in the nearby village of Roselle, Lynfred Winery is the oldest and largest family-owned winery in Illinois, currently producing over 70 varietals and 30,000 cases of wine per year. Through March, the winery is hosting a VIP Girl Scout Cookie Pairing for folks who’ve always wondered what to pour alongside their Thin Mints and Samoas. Then on May 9—National Moscato Day—the winery’s Moscato & May Flowers event bundles a lesson in floral arrangement with wine and cheese pairings. Enjoyed a little too much to drink while there? Lynfred offers several wine country-themed suites that'll make you feel like you’re thousands of miles from Illinois, traipsing through the vineyards of the Italian countryside or lounging in a villa in Bordeaux.

Hamilton rendering

Hamilton: The Exhibition

It's been almost four years since Lin-Manuel Miranda first brought Hamilton to the stage, and even now, the play's success shows no signs of slowing down. The musical is currently playing at Chicago’s CIBC Theatre through July, but for fans who want to maximize their experience, Hamilton: The Exhibition will provide an even deeper dive into the life of Alexander Hamilton, the American Revolution, and the founding of the United States. Housed in a football field-sized, specially built structure cleverly named the "HamilTent" on Northerly Island, The Exhibition features an audio tour narrated by Miranda himself as well as music, multimedia effects, and historical artifacts. Tickets are available now for the exhibit's April 27 opening date and beyond, with plans to travel to select cities across the U.S. following Chicago.

rendering of Galley Group’s hall in Fulton Market
Top view of friends toasting with beer glasses in the pub. Unrecognizable people. High angle view of table.
A young couple having snack and drink at an outdoors music festival. Eating burgers with fries and drinking beer.

Interior Rendering by Dimit Architects LLC


Fulton Market Food Hall

Chicago has remained at the forefront of America’s food hall trend since chef Mario Batali and partner Joe Bastianich opened a Windy City outpost of Eataly, their popular Italian concept, in 2013. Since then, many more food halls have opened in Chicago and across the country. Like the sophisticated big sister of the shopping mall food court, these halls provide plenty of dining options in one location, but there’s a focus on local restaurateurs as opposed to national chains. In Spring 2019, Galley Group, the team behind Pittsburgh’s Smallman Galley and Detroit’s Fort Street Galley, will open Chicago’s newest food hall in Fulton Market. The space will feature communal seating and a 30-seat bar as well as five kitchens that showcase the culinary works of some of Chicago’s most innovative chefs.

RELATED: Where to Eat, Play, and Stay in Cincinnati

woman holding onto another woman

Othello, presented by the Babes with Blades Theater Company

Since its founding in 1997, the nonprofit Babes with Blades Theater Company has focused on creating opportunities for underutilized theater talent. One show per quarter is staffed with an all-female cast of actors and stagehands, and every other year, that lens is turned toward Shakespeare. Othello, this spring's production, traditionally touches on themes of love, jealousy, betrayal, and racism and features a black man in the titular role, but BWBTC takes it steps further by fielding only actors who identify as female, trans, or gender-nonconforming. Theater geeks and newbies can catch the performance at the Factory Theater in Rogers Park from April 11 to May 25.

Frederick C. Robie House

Photo: Carol M. Highsmith


The Reopening of the Frederick C. Robie House

Preeminent American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was a visionary who regularly incorporated nature and the wider environment into his office building, hotel, museum, church, and residence designs. Having launched his professional career in Chicago, some of Wright’s most famous works are in the city, including the Frederick C. Robie House, which has been named one of the ten most significant buildings of the 20th century by the American Institute of Architects. The Robie House is considered a masterpiece of Wright’s “Prairie Style,” a design approach identified by horizontal lines that bring to mind the flatlands of America. After temporarily closing for a $3 million interior restoration, tours of the Robie House will resume this spring on March 29.

Horizontal outdoor garden shot of Thunderchild crab apple branch in soft light and breeze. Focus on branch.

Crabapple Blooms at the Chicago Botanic Garden

While the Chicago Botanic Garden is open year-round, spring is one of the best times to plan a visit thanks to the crabapple trees that typically bloom during the last two weeks of May—creating a kaleidoscope of reds, whites, and pinks enhanced by the garden's blooming tulips. In addition to this all-natural display, spring also brings new exhibits to the Botanic Garden, including this year's "A Pollinator’s Perspective" showcase, opening May 11. Even better (in our opinion, anyway), the Rose Terrace Beer Garden opens for the season on May 24, allowing visitors to take in the wonder of the gardens while also enjoying a selection of local and regional craft beers, wine, and light bites.

RELATED: 9 Incredible Spring Break Getaways to Take This Year

suite interior with red accents at Hotel Blake
front exterior of Hotel Blake

Celebrate Baseball’s Opening Day at Hotel Blake

For sports fans, spring marks the start of a new season of America’s favorite pastime. Chicago, home to both the American League White Sox and the National League Cubs, celebrates like few other cities. This April, baseball enthusiasts can revel in their team spirit with the Home Opener package at Hotel BlakeConveniently located near both Wrigley Field (less than seven miles) and Guaranteed Rate Field (less than four miles), the hotel will deck your room out in White Sox or Cubs memorabilia. Even if you have no alliance, the supply of homegrown treats (including Garrett’s Popcorn, Green River Soda, and Fannie May chocolates) is worth the stay. Be sure to snag a complimentary Chicago Dog from the Vienna Beef Hot Dog cart in the lobby and stop by the iconic Lou Malnati’s Pizzeria for a complimentary chocolate chip pizza after the game. FYI: The package is only available on the date of the teams' home openers (April 4 for the White Sox, April 8 for the Cubs).

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