Searching for what there is to do in Chicago on spring break? Below are the best things to do in Chicago for spring break from a local.
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, dress in layers and make sure to check weather forecasts right before your vacation to know what to expect.
I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I plan to update it regularly with any new information and events.
Things to Do in Chicago for Spring Break
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Take an Architecture River Cruise
Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago. Cruises start up again in March (after being on pause in the winter since the water freezes). If the weather is not too cold (it is colder on the lake), you might enjoy a combination river and lake cruise for more skyline views.
Visit the Museum of Ice Cream
Museum of Ice Cream is one of Chicago’s newest attractions. Step into an ice cream wonderland that is bound to ignite your senses through a theatrical experience with unlimited ice cream treats as you journey through 14 installations. Ride on the pink Sprink-L line, put your golf skills to the test on the Putt-Putt course, or take a dip in a pool filled with millions of sprinkles.
Where: Tribune Tower, 435 North Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60611
Cost: You can see full prices and purchase tickets in advance here.
Admire Famous Works at The Art Institute of Chicago
Chicago has many great museums which are worth visiting but my top pick is the Art Institute of Chicago conveniently located next to Millennium Park. It is one of the oldest and largest art museums in the United States and is frequently found on lists of the top museums in the world. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines).
Where: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603
Hours: 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.
Cost: $25 for adults, $19 for seniors, students and teens (14-17); members and children under 14 are always free. (Free admission on April 1 and 2, 2023 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.)
Visit 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. Inside the museum you will see Maximo, the Titanosaur, the largest dinosaur that ever lived. (Click here to purchase an Early Access VIP Tour if you want to avoid crowds).
Where: Chicago’s Museum Campus, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
Hours: Open daily 9am to 5pm (last admission at 4pm)
Cost: Prices vary.
Enjoy the Views from 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck
Where: 875 North Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Cost: $25 for adults, $15 youth.
Enjoy the Views from Skydeck Chicago
Skydeck Chicago in Willis Tower offers spectacular views spanning up to four states. Make sure to visit The Ledge, a glass balcony extending four feet outside the 103rd floor of Willis Tower. The Skydeck has implemented timed ticketing and they recommend reserving your tickets in advance to guarantee access. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines).
Where: 233 S Wacker Dr, Chicago, IL 60606
Hours: Open daily from 9AM–10PM
Cost: Adult: $28-$35; kids age 3 to 11: $22-$26; and children under 3 are free. They also offer expedited entry for $55 and early bird for $65.
Visit the Color Factory
Color Factory is a new interactive art museum located on the lower level of Willis Tower. The Color Factory is a sensory celebration of color, with interactive installations, immersive rooms and carefully curated moments inspired by the city of Chicago including its signature ball pit and confetti room.
Hours: Hours vary, advance tickets are required.
Where: Willis Tower, 320 W Jackson Blvd, Chicago, IL 60606
Cost: Tickets start at $28 per person.
Visit the Shedd Aquarium
Visit the Shedd Aquarium for unforgettable encounters with belugas and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons.
Where: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
When: Open 9 am – 5 pm. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required.
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 2, 2023 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.
Visit Adler Planetarium
The Adler Planetarium is dedicated to the study of astronomy and astrophysics is the first planetarium in the Western Hemisphere. Make sure to step outside for one of the best skyline views of Chicago.
Where: 1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr., Chicago, IL 60605
Hours: 9:00 am–4:00 pm daily. 4:00 pm–10:00 pm on Wednesdays.
Cost: Admission starts at $28 for adults and $17 for children (ages 3-11). Every Wednesday is free Museum Entry for Illinois residents with proof of residency. All tickets must be purchased online and in advance.
Attend a Candlelight Concert
Adults, teens and older kids will enjoy Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts, a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful venues bathed in candlelight. Some of the concerts taking place during spring break include:
You can find the full list of candlelight concerts in Chicago here.
Have Fun at Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a must if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids. Fun attractions include a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line), rides and games, restaurants, shops and the Chicago Children’s Museum.
Navy Pier is also the starting point for various boat rides and lake cruises.
Look for Street Art
Chicago is full of street art and there are always new murals popping up. One of the most famous Chicago murals is “Moose Bubblegum Bubble” (pictured above) by Jacob Watts located at 33 E. Ida B. Wells Drive. It is part of the Wabash Arts Corridor which is walking distance to Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and other tourist attractions.
Watch a Baseball Game
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: Open daily from 10 a.m.–5 p.m.
Where: 2400 N. Cannon Drive (detailed directions and parking information is available here)
Visit the Garfield Park Conservatory
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. Visitors can enjoy the lush flora and tropical temperatures indoors even if it is cold or rainy outside.
During spring break you can also check out the Spring Flower Show Bee’s Knees, a peek into the wondrous relationship between bees and blooms and features beautiful blooming Spring bulbs such as tulips, daffodils, hyacinth, hydrangeas, and delphiniums.
Where: 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624
Hours: Wednesday 10am-8pm; Thursday – Sunday 10am-5pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday. Advance reservations are required.
Cost: Admission is FREE but donations suggested
Enjoy Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show
Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, all guests must exit by 3:00 pm.
Where: 2391 N Stockton Dr., Chicago, IL 60614
Hold and Feed a Bunny
Where: Cuddle Bunny, 2901 N Clark St, Chicago, IL 60657
When: Open daily from 10:00 am – 08:00 pm. Reservations are strongly encouraged. Activities and bunny interaction after 6pm are by reservation ONLY.
Cost: Price varies.
Chicago Spring Break 2023 Events
In addition to the activities mentioned above, other events scheduled to take place in Chicago during spring break 2023 include: Unicorn World (March 10-12, 2023), Chicago St. Patrick’s Day River Dyeing & Parade (March 11, 2023), Shamrock’n the Block (March 11, 2023), Northwest Side Irish Parade (March 12, 2023), Southside Irish Parade (March 12, 2023), Uncorked Wine Festival (March 25, 2023), Shamrock Shuffle (March 26, 2023), C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (March 31-April 2, 2023), Golden Con: Thank You For Being a Fan (March 31-April 2, 2023), The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chicago) (April 13–16, 2023) and Night Nation Run (April 22, 2023).
As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago during spring break.
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
- Best Free Things to Do in Chicago