BEST Things to Do in Chicago in the Spring 2024 (From a Local)

Looking for what to do in Chicago this spring? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in the spring 2024 (from a local).  From beautiful gardens and parks  to flower shows to the best spring 2024 events, there is no shortage of things to do in Chicago in March, April and May.

Chicago in the Spring

Spring is a good time to visit Chicago. The weather is getting warmer and locals and visitors start spending more time outdoors enjoying the rising temperatures and blooming flowers.

For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in the spring is very unpredictable and changes from day to day and even hour to hour. Temperatures have started rising after the cold winter, the river and lake are no longer frozen.  However, you  might still encounter days with cold temperatures (and even snow) so be prepared for a wide range of temperatures. Make sure to check weather forecasts right before your trip to know what to expect.  Make sure to pack a travel umbrella and wear layers.

I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I will be updating it regularly with new events.

Things to Do in Chicago in the Spring (2024)

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Below are the best things to do in Chicago in this spring including the best Chicago spring 2024 events and attractions.

Take an Architecture River Cruise

Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago.

Have Fun at Navy Pier

rides at Navy Pier Chicago

Navy Pier is a must do if you are visiting Chicago with toddlers or kids with rides and games, restaurants, shops and the Chicago Children’s Museum.

Make sure to ride the large Ferris wheel for great skyline views. Click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line.

Don’t miss the new Flyover Chicago ride, an immersive flyover experience that opened in March.

Attend a Candlelight Concert

Chicago’s Candlelight Concerts is a series of special classical music concerts that take place in beautiful venues bathed in candlelight. Some of the concerts taking place this spring include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Adele
Candlelight: A Tribute to Coldplay
Candlelight: Neo-Soul & Hip-Hop Favorites
Candlelight: The Best of Hans Zimmer

You can find the full list of candlelight concerts in Chicago here.

Enjoy Garfield Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show

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.

Through May 12, 2024, visitors can see this year’s Spring Flower Show, What’s in a Name?, which explains the history and science of botanical nomenclature alongside a beautiful flower show full of blooms.

Where: 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago, IL 60624

Hours: Wednesday 10am-8pm; Thursday – Sunday 10am-5pm; Closed Monday and Tuesday. Reservations are required.

Cost: Admission: FREE but donations suggested

Titanic: The Exhibition

Titanic: The Exhibition is in the Chicago area only for a limited time. This interactive experience allows you to step inside recreations of the Titanic’s interior. Immerse yourself in the stories of its passengers, see hundreds of artifacts, and discover the tale of the design, creation, launch, maiden voyage, and tragedy of the historic ship.

Where: 4963 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL 60077 (about 17 miles from downtown Chicago)

Cost: Price varies. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition is in the Chicago area only for a limited time. Delve deep into the post-Edwardian era with never-before-seen treasures, from original costumes to iconic props, and exclusive series footage. Traverse the grandeur of the Crawley estate, from the bustling kitchen to the opulent dining room. Explore British society, culture, and fashion amidst historical upheavals.

When: Opens April 28, 2024.

Where: 4963 Old Orchard Shopping Center, Skokie, IL 60077 (about 17 miles from downtown Chicago)

Cost: Price varies. Click here for full prices and to purchase tickets in advance.

Admire Famous Works at The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best things to do in Chicago Illinois in the spring
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 rotating exhibits. (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: Thursday 11am–8pm; Friday to Monday from 11am– 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Cost:  Price varies; members and children under 14 are always free.

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.

Where: 875 North Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611

Cost: Price varies. Click here to buy a skip the line ticket.

Visit the Field Museum

The Field Museum is one of the largest natural history 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: Price varies.

Tip:  If you are visiting a few museums and indoor attractions, consider purchasing a Chicago CityPASS or Go Chicago Card to save money on entrance fees.

Enjoy Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show

Although not as large as the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Lincoln Park Conservatory is worth a visit and is more conveniently located for visitors. Advance online reservations are strongly recommended.

Through May 12, 2024, visitors can see this year’s “Sweet Gnome Chicago” Spring Flower Show.

Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays from 10am-5pm.

Where: 2391 N Stockton Dr., Chicago, IL 60614

Cost: FREE

READ: Best Indoor Things to Do in Chicago on a Rainy Day for more indoor Chicago attractions.

See the Tulips on Michigan Avenue

tulips on Michigan Avenue Chicago in the spring
Every year thousands of tulip bulbs are planted in Michigan Avenue medians from Oak Street to Roosevelt Road. You can enjoy the tulips while shopping (or window shopping) on The Magnificent Mile (or The Mag Mile), an upscale section of Michigan Avenue, running from Oak Street to the Chicago River. Although a few stores on Michigan Avenue are pricey, it is totally free to window shop. Landmarks on the Mag Mile include the 360 Observation Deck, the historic Chicago Water Tower and the Tribune Tower. South of the Magnificent Mile you will find Millennium Park and the Art Institute of Chicago.

When: Tulips are in bloom from mid-April to mid-May but exact dates vary annually

Where: Michigan Avenue from Oak Street to Roosevelt Road.

Cost: Free.

Look for Street Art

Moose Bubblegum Bubble by Jacob Watts one of the most famous street art murals in Chicago

Spring is a good time to walk around Chicago looking for street art while enjoying flowers and pleasant temperatures with fewer crowds.

One of the most well known Chicago murals is “Moose Bubblegum Bubble” by Jacob Watts which located at 33 E. Congress (South Wall).  This famous mural is part of the Wabash Arts Corridor and is walking distance to Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and other well known tourist attractions.

Another famous mural is the Greetings From Chicago Mural at 2226 N Milwaukee Ave. You can see this mural and other street art on this street art tour.

See Digital Art Projections at Art on the Mart

Art on theMART will resume in the spring (after a three month hiatus) projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.

ART on THE MART’s 2024 season kicks off on April 12, 2024 with a new commission by internationally acclaimed artist Nora Turato which will explore contemporary society’s fixation with self-optimization while also continuing the artist’s exploration of language. On view alongside Turato’s work for the 2024 spring season will be the annual Chicago Public Schools projection (May 1 – May 12) made in conjunction with the All-City Visual Arts program and featuring artwork by CPS seniors.

When: 30-minute program of projections are shown twice nightly starting April 12, 2024.

Where: The Merchandise Mart, 222 W Merchandise Mart Plaza, Chicago, IL 60654. Spectators can watch the show from the jetty section of the Chicago Riverwalk on Wacker Drive between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

Admire Spring Flowers Outside

There are many places in and near Chicago to admire beautiful spring flowers. Some of the best spots to see flowers in the city and suburbs outside include:

• Although not as many as tulips as Michigan Avenue, you can also find some tulips on State Street in the Loop. There are some tulips on State Street between W Wacker Drive and Monroe – including right across the Chicago Theatre (a popular Chicago photo spot). RELATED: Best Places to See Tulips in and near Chicago

Lurie Garden – a 2.5-acre garden located at the southern end of Millennium Park. The garden is a combination of perennials, bulbs, grasses, shrubs and trees and offers great skyline views.

• The area surrounding the Columbian Basin in Jackson Park, located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry, is home to about 160 cherry blossom trees that typically bloom in April.

Morton Arboretum (in Lisle about 26 miles west of downtown) is home to more than 4,000 different types of trees among 1,700 acres.

• The Chicago Botanic Garden (in suburban Glencoe about 24 miles north of downtown) is one of the world’s great living museums and conservation science centers with 27 gardens and four natural areas, situated on 385 acres on and around nine islands, with six miles of lake shoreline. You can check their seasonal bloom chart here to see what’s in bloom at the Chicago Botanic Garden during your visit.

Chicago Spring 2024 Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other major spring 2024 events in Chicago include: Shamrock Shuffle (March 24, 2024), The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chicago) (April 11–14, 2024), C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (April 26-28, 2024), One of a Kind Spring Show (April 26–28, 2024), Beer Under Glass (May 3, 2024), Night Nation Run (May 11, 2024), Chicago Mayfest (May 17-19, 2024), Spring Lincoln Roscoe Art & Craft Fair (May 18-19, 2024), Renegade Craft Fair (May 18-19, 2023), Paint the Town Red (May 23, 2024), Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade (May 25, 2024), Mole de Mayo (May 24-26, 2024), Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival (May 24-26, 2024), Mayfestiversary (May 25-26, 2024), Sueños Music Festival (May 25-26, 2024), Randolph Street Market Festival (May 25-26, 2024), Lincoln Park Greek Fest (May 31, 2024) and Chicago House Music Conference (May 31, 2024).

As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago in the spring.

Planning a trip to Chicago? Check out my Chicago guides and itineraries:



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