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Best Things to Do in Chicago in April

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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Cubs Home Opening Day

Baseball season in Chicago starts in April with the Chicago Cubs home opener at Wrigley Field, the oldest ballpark in the National League. Cubs season ticket holders will have an opportunity to secure tickets to games before they go on sale to the general public during the week of March 15 here.

When: Opening Day is the first week of April. You can find their schedule here.

Where: Wrigley Field, 1060 W Addison St, Chicago, IL 60613

White Sox Opening Day

The White Sox Opening Day also takes place in April at Guaranteed Rate Field. You can purchase tickets here.

When: White Sox Opening Day is in the first week of April.

Where: Guaranteed Rate Field, 333 W 35th St, Chicago, IL 60616

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).

 

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, you might want to also make a quick 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 varies annually but peak bloom usually occurs sometime from mid April to early May. However, the cherry blossoms bloomed almost a month early in 2021 (first week of April).  The peak bloom period for these trees typically lasts for about 6 to 10 days but can be shorter depending on the weather.

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

Cost: Free.

See the Tulips on Michigan Avenue

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Every year thousands of tulip bulbs are planted in the 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.

Watch Digital Art at Art on the Mart

Art on theMART is the largest permanent digital art projection in the world, projecting contemporary artwork across the 2.5-acre river-façade of theMART.

When: 30-minute program of projections are shown nightly at 8:30 p.m. & 9:00 p.m.

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.

The 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. Outdoor gardens remain closed. The Garfield Park Conservatory’s Spring Flower Show  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

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best things to do in Chicago Illinois in April 2021
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 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.

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.

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. 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. Click here to see prices and purchase tickets online in advance. Illinois residents get free admission on free admission days.


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 3 for Bank of America credit or debit cardholders under the Bank of America Museums on Us program.

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.

Visit the Museum of Illusions Chicago

The 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

See Flowers at Lincoln Park Conservatory

Lincoln Park Conservatory is one of Chicago’s oldest public gardens. Visitors will need to reserve timed-entry tickets and the conservatory will carry out a one-directional traffic flow.

When: Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Hours may be expanded as conditions allow.

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

Cost: Admission is free, but visitors are encouraged to leave a suggested donation of $10 for adults and $5 for children and seniors.

Admire Spring Flowers

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 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.

Richardson Adventure Farm (in Spring Grove about 65 miles northwest of downtown Chicago) will be hosting its second Tulip Festival starting approximately mid-April. They have 5 acres of tulip fields with 300,000 tulips of 30 different varieties.

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:



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