BEST Things to Do in Chicago in April 2024 (From a Local!)

Wondering what there is to do in Chicago this April? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in April 2024 (from a local) from the top attractions to the best April 2024 events.

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

Chicago in April
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.

Things to Do in Chicago in April 2024

Below are the top things to do in Chicago in April including all of the best April 2024 festivals and events.

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. I may make a small commission if you make a booking using my links at no extra cost to you. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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.

Experience the New Flyover Chicago at Navy Pier

rides at Navy Pier Chicago

Experience Flyover Chicago, an immersive flyover experience. This is Chicago’s newest attraction and is opening this spring at Navy Pier.

Other fun attractions at Navy Pier include a large Ferris wheel (click here to purchase a fast pass ticket and skip the long line) and other rides and games.

Navy Pier is also home to the Chicago Children’s Museum which is perfect for toddlers and younger kids.

Titanic: The Exhibition

Titanic: The Exhibition is ending its limited time run in the Chicago area in a few weeks. 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.

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 April include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Coldplay
Candlelight: A Tribute to Arctic Monkeys

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

See the Tulips on Michigan Avenue

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.

See the Spring Flower Show at 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 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 the entire month of April, 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

Cost: FREE (suggested donation)

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 required for entry.

During the entire month of April, 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

Visit the Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best things to do in Chicago Illinois in April 2024

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: Thursday 11am–8pm; Friday to Monday from 11am– 5pm. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Where: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Cost:  Price varies.

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

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. UPDATE: Due to weather, the cherry blossoms will not bloom this year.

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.

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. You can see this mural and other street art on this street art tour.

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.

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.

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 March 28, 2024 and the Chicago Cubs home opener is April 1, 2024.

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 Nora Turato.

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 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 2024 Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other April 2024 events include: The International Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art (Expo Chicago) (April 11–14, 2024), Chicago Latino Film Festival (April 11-22, 2024), Chicago Rum Festival (aka Midwest Rum Fest) (April 20, 2024), Zoo-ologie (April 26, 2024), C2E2: Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo (April 26-28, 2024), One of a Kind Spring Show (April 26-28, 2024) and Valborg (April 30, 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:



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