Best Things to Do in Chicago in March

Wandering what to do in Chicago this March? Here are the best things to do in Chicago in March (from a local).

Things to Do in Chicago in March

March is an interesting month to visit Chicago. The end of winter in Chicago is in sight and Chicagoans are looking forward to spring.  March is usually a popular month to visit Chicago due to spring break and St. Patrick’s Day festivities.  Unfortunately Chicago’s two big Saint Patrick’s Day parades are cancelled this year, but there are still plenty of things to do in Chicago this March.

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

For out of town visitors, please note that the weather in Chicago in March is very unpredictable. Temperatures might start warming up a bit from February but you will likely still encounter winter temperatures (and even snow) especially earlier in the month.  Be prepared for both winter and spring weather, pack layers and make sure to check the weather right before your visit to know what to expect.

See the Chicago River Dyeing

Every year the Chicago River is dyed shade of bright emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day.
This is a popular Chicago tradition since 1962, representatives of the Journeymen Plumbers Local Union 130 pour environmentally friendly dye into the Chicago River.

Where: Saturday morning before St. Patrick’s Day

Where: Chicago River

Cost:  Free

Participate in the (Virtual) Chicago Polar Plunge

The annual Chicago Polar Plunge is going virtual in 2021. Instead of everyone jumping in the lake at North Avenue Beach in person, supporters can do a virtual plunge (by jumping in a pile of snow, running through sprinklers, jumping into a pool, or any other way they choose). Participants can share videos and pictures of their virtual fundraising adventures to be featured in promotional videos and their Virtual Meltdown Party, which will be live-streamed the evening of March 7. All funds raised will benefit the Special Olympics Chicago and Special Children’s Charities programs.

When: March 1–7, 2021

Where: Anywhere.

Cost:  Participants are encouraged to create a fundraising page to reach their fundraising goal.

Run the “Virtual” Shamrock Shuffle

The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K race is a Chicago tradition for runners and kicks off the outdoor running season. This year, Shamrock Shuffle is “virtual” in that runners will not all run in one race at the same time. Instead, Shufflers compete with friends and family in a variety of virtual races (8K, 2-Mile walk or The Mile) in their neighborhoods.

When: The race weekend will take place March 19 – 21, 2021

Where: Anywhere.

Cost:  The registration fee for the virtual Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle is $30.

Chicago Restaurant Week

During Chicago Restaurant Week 2021 diners can enjoy special prix fixe menus from restaurants throughout Chicago and nearby suburbs. This year, diners can experience Chicago Restaurant Week through indoor and outdoor dining, or at home with delivery and takeout options.

When: March 19 – April 4, 2021 (reservations not required but are highly encouraged)

Where: You can see the full list of 250+ participating restaurants, view menus and make reservations here.

Cost: Multi-course meals are $25 for brunch or lunch, and $39 and/or $55 for dinner (excluding beverages, tax, gratuity, and delivery fees).

Outdoor Curling

Curling is a winter sport in which players slide stones on a sheet of ice or a lane towards a target. Two Chicago hotels have outdoor curling rinks on their rooftops.

Curling at The Gwen


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The Gwen Hotel, a luxury hotel, has custom-designed, an iceless curling rink on its outdoor rooftop terrace.

When:  Through March 14, 2021. See their website for times and to make a reservation.

Where: Upstairs at The Gwen, 521 North Rush Street, Chicago, IL, 60611

Cost:  Admission is $30 per person (for a minimum of 2 people), which includes a choice of one cocktail and 45 minutes of curling play time.

Curling at The Kennedy Rooftop
The Kennedy Rooftop, on top of the new Hyatt Place Wicker Park, also offers outdoor curling with amazing skyline views.

When:  See their website for times and to make a reservation.

Where: The Kennedy Rooftop at Hyatt Place Chicago / Wicker Park, 1551 W North Ave, Chicago, IL 60622

Cost:  $30 non-refundable deposit for 1 hour.

Visit the Museum of Illusions Chicago

The new 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

The Garfield Park Conservatory’s 2021 Spring Flower Show “Saturation”

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 2021 Spring Flower Show “Saturation” 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

Admire Famous Works of Art at The Art Institute of Chicago

The Art Institute of Chicago is one of the best things to do in Chicago Illinois in March
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 popular “Monet and Chicago” and “Bisa Butler: Portraits” exhibitions.

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. Visit their website to purchase tickets in advance.

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:  $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.

When: Open 9am to 5pm, Thursday through Monday. Closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Must purchase timed tickets to enter.

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. Free admission days for Illinois residents on March 8, 11 and 15.

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)

See Wildlife at Lincoln Park Zoo

Lincoln Park Zoo is a 35-acre zoo in Lincoln Park. The zoo is the fourth oldest zoo in North America and one of a few free admission zoos in the United States.

When: Hours are 10 a.m.–3 p.m. daily. Advance reservations are required.

Where: 2400 N. Cannon Drive (detailed directions and parking information is available here)

Cost: Free

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

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


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