Wondering what there is to do in Chicago on spring break? Below are the best things to do in Chicago for spring break 2021 from a local.
Due to current events, a few indoor attractions are still temporarily closed although most places have reopened. I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I plan to update it regularly with any new information or updates.
For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in the spring is very very unpredictable and changes from day to day and even hour to hour. Temperatures have started warming up after the cold winter, the river and lake are no longer frozen, but you might still encounter cold temperatures (and even snow). Pack a travel umbrella, layers and make sure to check weather forecasts right before your trip to know what to expect.
Things to Do in Chicago for Spring Break 2021
- Things to Do in Chicago for Spring Break 2021
- See the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
- Experience the Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry
- See the Nom Nom: 40 Years of Pac-Man Design and History Exhibit at Chicago Gamespace
- Visit the New Museum of Illusions Chicago
- Admire Famous Works of Art at The Art Institute of Chicago
- Enjoy the views from 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
- Get Some Culture at The Field Museum
- Visit the Shedd Aquarium
- See Wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo
- The Garfield Park Conservatory’s 2021 Spring Flower Show “Saturation”
- FRIENDS™ Experience
- Chicago Restaurant Week 2021
- Take an Architecture Cruise
Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you make a booking using my links at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.
See the Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit
Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, a massive indoor digital presentation of Vincent Van Gogh’s artwork, made its U.S. premiere in Chicago in mid-February. From the creators of the blockbuster show at Atelier des Lumières seen by over 2 million visitors in Paris and Toronto and featured in Emily in Paris (one of my favorite travel shows on Netflix, this is a very popular exhibit). Tickets must be purchased online in advance and they are selling quickly!
Where: Lighthouse ArtSpace at Germania Place, 108 W. Germania Pl, Chicago IL
Cost: Tickets start at $39.99 plus fees for off peak times. See https://www.vangoghchicago.com/ for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.
Experience the Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes Exhibit at Museum of Science and Industry
The Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes celebrates Marvel history with more than 300 artifacts including original comic book pages, sculptures, interactive displays and costumes and props from Marvel’s blockbuster films. Guests can examine the origins of iconic characters such as Spider-Man, Black Panther, Hulk, and Captain Marvel and see how they have evolved alongside society over the past 80 years, making these characters a pop culture mainstay. Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes will run through October 24.
When: Wednesday through Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Closed Mondays and Tuesdays
Where: 5700 S Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60637
Cost: Not included in Museum Entry. Requires an additional, timed-entry ticket: Adults $18, Children (3-11) $14, Members $9.
See the Nom Nom: 40 Years of Pac-Man Design and History Exhibit at Chicago Gamespace
If you didn’t catch the @WGNNews spot by @MarcellaWGN of Chicago Gamespace live yesterday, you can learn why Pac-Man endures 40 years after it was made and merits an exhibition here: https://t.co/FDgfSK7UxO
— Chicago Gamespace (@chigamespace) March 1, 2021
Are you a Pac-Man fan? Then you might want to check out the new Nom Nom: 40 Years of Pac-Man Design and History exhibit at Chicago Gamespace (a video game museum and gallery). Comprised of playable arcade cabinets and console titles, art and artifacts from its development and advertising, this exhibit explores the game’s development and evolution from its beginnings at Namco in Tokyo in the late 1970’s to its introduction in the U.S. market where it became a household name. This is a temporary exhibit only through May 30, 2021 so spring is your only opportunity to see it.
When: Open 1:00 – 5:00 pm on Saturdays and Sundays by advance ticket purchase only.
Where: Chicago Gamespace, 2418 W Bloomingdale Ave, Chicago, IL 60647
Cost: Admission is $5. Kids under 12 are free.
Visit the New Museum of Illusions Chicago
The new Museum of Illusions Chicago offers an interactive, immersive and fun experience for both adults and kids. Visitors can engage in over 80 astonishing and mind-bending exhibits that will teach you about vision, perception, the human brain and science.
When: Sunday – Thursday: 10am – 8pm Friday – Saturday: 10am – 9pm
Where: 25 E Washington St, Chicago, IL 60602
Cost: Adult (ages 18+): $21; Child (ages 5 – 12): $15; Child (ages 4 and under): FREE;
Student (ages 13+), Teachers, Military / First responders and Senior Citizens (ages 60+): $18 with ID; Family (2 adults + 2 children): $65
Admire Famous Works of Art at The Art Institute of Chicago
The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States. In addition to its large permanent collection of art from around the world, you can see the popular “Monet and Chicago” and “Bisa Butler: Portraits” exhibitions.
When: Hours are Monday and Thursday–Sunday from 11 a.m.– 6 p.m. (10–11 a.m. for members). Closed on Tuesday–Wednesday. Must purchase tickets online in advance.
Where: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Cost: $25 for adults, $19 for seniors, students and teens (14-17); members and children under 14 are always free. Visit their website to purchase tickets in advance. (Free admission on April 3 and 4 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.)
Enjoy the views from 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
360 CHICAGO, the observatory on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Building, has the best views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. (Since the Skydeck at Willis Tower is still closed, this is the only skyscraper to visit for spring break 2021.)
Where: 875 North Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Cost: $25 for adults, $15 youth.
Get Some Culture at The Field Museum
The Field Museum is a natural history museum in Chicago, Illinois, and is one of the largest such museums in the world.
When: Open 9am to 5pm, Thursday through Monday. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Must purchase timed tickets to enter.
Where: Chicago’s Museum Campus, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
Cost: Prices vary. Click here to see prices and purchase tickets online in advance.
Visit the Shedd Aquarium
Visit the Shedd Aquarium for unforgettable encounters with belugas and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons.
When: Advance purchase of timed tickets is required.
Where: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
Cost: Admission is $39.95 ($19.95 for Chicago residents) for adults; $29.95 ($14.95 for Chicago residents) for children (3–11). Free admission on April 4 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.
See Wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo
Lincoln Park Zoo is a 35-acre zoo in Lincoln Park. The zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in North America and one of a few free admission zoos in the United States.
When: Hours are 10 a.m.–3 p.m. daily. Advance reservations are required.
Where: 2400 N. Cannon Drive (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
The Garfield Park Conservatory’s 2021 Spring Flower Show “Saturation”
The Garfield Park Conservatory is one of the largest and most stunning botanical conservatories in the US. Often referred to as “landscape art under glass,” the Garfield Park Conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. Outdoor gardens remain closed. The Garfield Park Conservatory’s 2021 Spring Flower Show “Saturation” will immerse visitors in virtually the entire spectrum in the rainbow. Instead of typical garden design which incorporates different colors scattered throughout the landscape, Saturation concentrates groups of blooming flowers so that visitors will be able to see and understand the wide range of hues and tints within each color and enjoy their vivid, rich and intense nuances. All visits must be pre-booked in advance and bookings can only be made two weeks in advance.
Hours: Wednesday 10am-8pm; Thursday – Sunday 10am-5pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday
Where: Garfield Park Conservatory, 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624
Cost: Admission: FREE but donations appreciated
If you loved the TV show Friends, this pop-up experience is for you. After a break, the FRIENDS™ Experience will reopen on March 17, 2021. Get ready to explore FRIENDS™ like never before, with 12 rooms of set recreations, original props and costumes, photo ops, a retail store and a Central Perk set. They will donate a portion of the proceeds to My Block, My Hood, My City, an organization that provides underprivileged youth in Chicago with opportunities beyond their neighborhood.
When: Reopening March 17, 2021
Where: The Shops at North Bridge, 540 N Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL (corner of N Michigan Ave and E Ohio St)
Cost: Tickets start at $35 + tax + fees. Standby tickets can also be purchased at the door for an additional $2 fee. Children 3 and younger are free. See https://www.friendstheexperience.com/chicago/tickets/ to purchase tickets in advance.
Chicago Restaurant Week 2021
During Chicago Restaurant Week 2021 diners can enjoy special prix fixe menus from restaurants throughout Chicago and nearby suburbs. This year, diners will have the flexibility to experience Chicago Restaurant Week through indoor and outdoor dining, or at home with delivery and takeout options.
When: March 19 – April 4, 2021 (reservations not required but are highly encouraged)
Where: You can see the full list of 250+ participating restaurants, view menus and make reservations here.
Take an Architecture Cruise
Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago. Cruises start up again in the spring (after being on pause in the winter since the water freezes).
As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago during spring break (even this year).
Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:
- 3 Days in Chicago Itinerary + Travel Tips From a Local
- The Perfect Itinerary for One Day in Chicago (According to a Local)
- Most Instagrammable Places in Chicago