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

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

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.

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, a travel umbrella and make sure to 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 March

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.

Outdoor Ice Skating

Early March is your last chance to go outdoor ice skating in Chicago before the rinks close for the season.

One of the best and instaworthy places to go ice skating is the McCormick Tribune Ice Rink right in front of The Bean (a must on any Chicago bucket list).

outdoor ice skating is one of the best things to do in Chicago in March 2024

Another picture perfect spot is the skating ribbon at Maggie Daley Park which has a path twice the length of a lap around a traditional skating rink.

Take an Architecture River Cruise

Taking an architecture river cruise is a must when visiting Chicago.

River cruises start up again in March (after being on pause in the middle of winter when the water is frozen).

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 March include:

Candlelight: A Tribute to Taylor Swift
Candlelight: A Tribute to Juan Gabriel
Candlelight: The Best of Hans Zimmer at Music Box Theatre
Candlelight: A Tribute to ABBA at Stan Mansion

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

Admire Famous Works 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 and is frequently found on lists of the top museums in the world. In addition to its large permanent collection of art from around the world, you can see the rotating temporary exhibits. (Click here to buy a skip the line ticket if you want to avoid long lines).

Where: 111 S Michigan Ave, Chicago, IL 60603

Hours: Monday and Thursday–Sunday from 11 a.m.– 5 p.m. (10–11 a.m. for members). Closed on Tuesday–Wednesday. Must purchase tickets online in advance.

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 the best views of the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan.

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

(Click here to buy a skip the line ticket).

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).

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

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

Cost:  Prices vary.

Visit the Shedd Aquarium

Visit the Shedd Aquarium for unforgettable encounters with belugas and bluegills, stingrays and sturgeons.

Where: 1200 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago, IL 60605 (detailed directions and parking information is available here)

Hours: Open 9 am – 5 pm. Advance purchase of timed tickets is required.

Cost: Price varies depending on day.

Visit Adler Planetarium

The Adler Planetarium is 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.

Enjoy Warm Temperatures Inside 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.

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)

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

See the Chicago River Dyeing

green Chicago River for St. Patrick's Day
Every year on Saturday morning before St. Patrick’s Day (March 16, 2024), the Chicago River is dyed a shade of bright emerald green for St. Patrick’s Day. This is a popular Chicago tradition since 1962. The color is most vivid for a few hours after the dyeing but you can still see some green in the river for a few days.

The Chicago River dyeing takes place between Columbus Drive and State Street. For the best views, head to the Michigan Avenue, Wabash Avenue or State Street bridges or find a spot along the Riverwalk.

For a festive celebration, join a St. Patrick’s Green River Morning Booze Cruise here to party on the Green River.

You can also join an architecture river cruise right after the river turns green.

Attend a Saint Patrick’s Day Parade

St. Patrick’s Day is a big deal in Chicago with three St. Patrick’s Day parades taking place in Chicago during the weekend before St. Patrick’s Day.

The main St. Patrick’s Day parade takes place downtown after the river dyeing on Saturday, March 16, 2024.

The Southside Irish Parade and Northwest Side Irish Parade take place on Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day.

Chicago March Events

In addition to the activities mentioned above, other Chicago March events include: Chicago Irish Film FestivalBrewsology Beer FestChicago Polar PlungeShamrock’n the Block, Shamrock Shuffle (March 24, 2024) and
Golden Con: Thank You For Being a Fan.

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

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



Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.