Chicago is our kind of town anytime of the year, but even we concede that burdensome winters do take their toll. That’s why we come rushing out of our homes each spring (45 degree temperatures be damned) to take advantage of the city’s first thaw and all the happenings that come with it. Our friends at PureWow have compiled an impressive Chicago “to do” list of activities to liven up the coming months. Book your next Chicago vacation at CheapTickets.com.
Sometimes it feels like we’re just trudging along until summer comes. Well, at least based on our Netflix history. That was the case until we did a little digging and came up with these 23 restaurants, events and shows to fill our calendar for the next three months. Drinking rosé in a weatherproof bubble? Count us in.
1. City Winery’s Riverwalk location officially reopens May 1. Can’t wait? As of March 17, you can sip your rosé and take in the views within a protected dome. Call ahead to reserve your bubble, which fits up to six guests for 90 minutes.
2. It’s not quite rooftop season, but you can enjoy the skyline views from the newly redesigned space at Terzo Piano. Tony Mantuano’s updated menu (housemade gnocchi, anyone?) is another key draw.
3. Or visit the fourth floor of Celeste, recently weatherproofed into a year-round Victorian-inspired garden. Order up a Troubled Times (Belvedere, Diplomatico Blanco, cinnamon, passionfruit, vanilla, angostura) and remark how this is anything but.
4. Forget about views and put your head down and get to work on Imperial Lamian’s dollar dim sum. In honor of the restaurant’s one-year anniversary, Shanghai xiao long bao (classic pork soup dumplings) will cost you just a buck until March 31.
5. Also celebrating a birthday is Chopping Block. The neighborhood cooking school has been going strong for 20 years and has invited back some of its most noted alums (including the chefs behind Fat Rice and Antique Taco) to teach free classes on April 1 and 8.
6. If you’d rather let someone else cook, try the newly opened Temporis. For an unheard of $110, you get an eight-course tasting menu of showstopping New American.
7. Talk about showstoppers: Rick Bayless is on hand for the Good Food Festival & Conference, happening March 16 to 18 at UIC Forum. Taste local, artisanal foods and attend workshops and demos at this event devoted to local, sustainable dining.
8. Unlimited bacon dishes. Do you need more reason to attend Baconfest (March 31)? We’re talking chocolate-and-bacon-chess-pie bites from Bang Bang Pie and Biscuits and bacon chicken and grits from Honey Butter Fried Chicken.
9. The now liquor-less South Side Irish Parade on March 12 is one of the best ways for families to celebrate the holiday thanks to marching bagpipers and dancers. For the more raucous event, join the festivities throughout the city on March 11.
10. Lake Shore Drive is one of the city’s most scenic thoroughfares, and you’ll have free rein of it during Bike the Drive on May 28. Go at your own pace, for as many (or as few) miles as you want — if only driving were this relaxed.
11. If the first leaves of spring put a…well, spring in your step, harness that energy at Morton Arboretum’s Champion of Trees race. The 10K on April 23 proceeds through the arboretum’s gorgeous, rolling terrain and ends with a party with food and beer.
12. A slightly less active way to enjoy the season’s foliage comes at the annual Macy’s Flower Show (March 26 through April 9). This year’s theme is carnival — think rhododendron-studded carousels, not scary clowns.
13. Head to Pilsen May 13 and 14 for the Renegade Craft Fair pop-up market. Expect handmade jewelry and textiles, yummy street food and leashed pups — in short, all the happiest things.
14. We’re easily on our sixth viewing of Ali Wong: Baby Cobra on Netflix and still laughing. It seems high time we saw the comic live — good thing tickets are on sale for her April 8 show at Chicago Theatre.
15. For an altogether different type of comic, there’s C2E2, the Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (April 21 to 23). Dress like your favorite Stranger Things character and get ready to geek out.
16. In honor of the 150th anniversary of Frank Lloyd Wright’s birthday, take a walking tour of ten homes designed by the visionary Prairie Style architect on May 20 in Oak Park. Take in the private living spaces, but no, you can’t move in.
17. Poet Gwendolyn Brooks heralded from Chicago’s South Side and was the first African American to receive the Pulitzer Prize. University of Chicago and Poetry Foundation fete the 100th anniversary of her birth at a festival April 6 to 8.
18. There’s more writerly love to go around at the opening of the American Writers Museum on May 16. The first and only museum of its kind will celebrate America’s writers and explore their influence on our national identity and daily lives.
19. Come June 6, MCA will showcase the work of Japanese artist Takashi Murakami, known for blurring the lines between commercial media and fine art. We just love seeing all the whimsical flowers.
20. Our two favorite things collide at the Chicago International Movies and Music Festival (April 20 to 23). At the top of our list: Cracked Actor, a David Bowie doc (because we can never get enough).
21. Ridley Scott’s classic dystopian noir Blade Runner is getting rebooted (with Ryan Gosling, swoon) this year. Before it does, catch the original at Music Box starting March 24.
23. Like a sunny day in December, Hamilton was something we’d resigned ourselves to never seeing. That is until mobile app TodayTix announced it has tickets available starting at $70.