Wondering what there is to do in Chicago this April? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in April (from a local).
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
Enjoy the Warm Temperatures Inside 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 conservatory showcases thousands of plant species from around the world throughout eight indoor display gardens. 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. 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 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, all guests must exit by 3:00 pm.
Where: 2391 N Stockton Dr., Chicago, IL 60614
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.
Have Fun at Navy Pier
Navy Pier is a must do 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.
Starting April 22, Navy Pier will be home to Pixar Putt, a pop-up, open-air 18-hole mini-golf course featuring characters from some of Pixar’s most beloved films including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc., Finding Nemo, Coco, A Bug’s Life, Wall-E, and Inside Out.
Visit 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, 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
Where: 875 North Michigan Avenue, 94th floor, Chicago, IL 60611
Cost: $25 for adults, $15 youth.
See the Cherry Blossoms in Jackson Park
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
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.
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.
Watch a Baseball Game
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 (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.
See Digital Art Projections at Art on the Mart
Art on theMART, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART, will resume in April with a new commission by internationally acclaimed artist Derrick Adams entitled Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides Through Four Seasons.
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.
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 Events
In addition to the activities mentioned above, other April events include: C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (April 26-28, 2024), The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chicago) (April 11–14, 2024), and One of a Kind Spring Show (April 26-28, 2024).
As you can see there are many things to do in Chicago this April.
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)
- Free Things to Do in Chicago
- Most Instagrammable Places in Chicago