BEST Things to Do in Chicago in April (From a Local!)

Wondering what there is to do in Chicago this April? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in April (from a local).

April is usually a popular month to visit Chicago due to spring break and warming temperatures.

For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in April is very unpredictable and temperatures can vary greatly. Be prepared for both cooler and spring temperatures as well as rain. Make sure to pack a travel umbrella, layers and check the weather right before your visit to know what to expect.

I suggest bookmarking this blog post as I plan to update it regularly with any new information or events.

Things to Do in Chicago in April


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Take an Architecture River Cruise

Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago. If you want to see more skyline views, you might enjoy a combination river and lake cruise.

 

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 conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. The Garfield Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show runs all of April. Reservations are required.

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 is FREE but donations suggested



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. The Lincoln Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show, “Pillars of Spring” runs all of April and invites visitors to imagine gardens in a different way – vertically by planting from the ground upwards. Free registration is required for entry.  A limited number of pre-registered, timed-access tickets are released on a rolling basis two weeks prior to the visitation date.

Hours: Wednesdays through Sundays. Timed entry every 15-minutes from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, all guests must exit by 3:00 pm.

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

Cost: FREE
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See the Tulips on Michigan Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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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.

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best things to do in Chicago Illinois in April 2023
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, there are rotating exhibitions. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines).

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. Free admission on April 3 and 4 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.

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.

 

Enjoy the Views from 360 CHICAGO Observation Deck

360 CHICAGO, the observatory on the 94th floor of the former John Hancock Building, has one of the best views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket).

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

Cost:  $25 for adults, $15 youth.

See the Cherry Blossoms in Jackson Park

cherry blossoms in Jackson Park in Chicago in April
Did you know that Chicago has its own cherry blossoms? The area surrounding the Columbian Basin in Jackson Park, is home to about 160 cherry blossom trees that typically bloom each spring. 

While you are at Jackson Park, stop at the Garden of the Phoenix. This small and peaceful Japanese garden has bridges and a koi pond.

Jackson Park is located just south of the Museum of Science and Industry so you can combine your cherry blossom viewing with a visit to the museum.

When: The timing of the cherry blossoms varies annually but peak bloom usually occurs sometime from early April to early May. The peak bloom period for these trees typically lasts for about 6 to 10 days but can be shorter depending on the weather. You can track their progress on this page

Where: Jackson Park, 6401 S Stony Island Ave, Chicago, IL 60637

Cost: Free.

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).

When: Open daily 9am to 5pm (last admission at 4pm)

Where: Chicago’s Museum Campus, 1400 S Lake Shore Dr, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)

Cost:  Prices vary.


Visit Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium fully reopened in March after a two year hiatus. The public museum 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.

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.

 

Hold and Feed a Bunny

Looking for a unique thing to do in Chicago? Visit the Cuddle Bunny in Chicago, where visitors can pet and feed bunnies.  Cuddle Bunny also hosts special events like yoga and story time.

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.

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. Concerts taking place in April include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to ABBA at Stan Mansion

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

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

Watch a Baseball Game

what to see in Chicago

Baseball season is here. The Chicago White Sox home opener is April 3, 2023 and the Chicago Cubs home opener is March 30, 2023.

See Digital Art Projections at Art on the Mart

Art on theMART resumes in April projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.

When: 30-minute program of projections are shown twice nightly

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.

Cost: Free.

Look for Street Art

Chicago is full of street art and there are always new murals popping up.

street art mural in Chicago

One of the most famous Chicago murals is “Moose Bubblegum Bubble” (pictured above) by Jacob Watts located at 33 E. Ida B. Wells Drive (formerly 33 E. Congress Parkway). It is part of the Wabash Arts Corridor and is walking distance to Millennium Park, The Art Institute of Chicago and other tourist attractions.

Another famous mural is the Greetings From Chicago Mural at 2226 N Milwaukee Ave.

Other neighborhoods that have a high concentration of street art include Pilsen as well as West Town.

Admire Spring Flowers Outdoors

There are many places in and near Chicago to admire beautiful spring flowers which usually bloom around mid to late April. Some of the best spots to see flowers in the city and suburbs outside include:

Lurie Garden is 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.

 

• 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

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.

Chicago April 2023 Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other April events include: The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chicago) (April 13 -16, 2023) and One of a Kind Spring Show (April 28-30, 2023).

As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago this April.


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