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Things to Do in April in Chicago

Updated: December 28, 2023
 By Mel

This post covers the best things to do in Chicago this April.

We include free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities, all updated for 2024.

TIP: Find Chicago Hotel Deals on TripAdvisor – If you haven’t already booked your accommodations.


Chicago is lovely in April, but don’t forget your umbrella since April showers bring May flowers.

Check out the suggestions below for a variety of activities, including sports, theatre, music, and lots of indoor activities to stay warm!

For some of the more popular things to do in Chicago, read the following posts:

1. Go to a Sporting Event

Chicago loves sports no matter what season, so if you are visiting and want to feel like a local be sure to catch a game. 

In April, you can head west to the United Center for a Basketball or Hockey game. 


To appreciate the speed of a hockey game, check out a live game with the Chicago Blackhawks or Chicago Wolves.


If you're in the mood for a dynamic and fast-paced basketball game, you can find that with the Chicago Bulls.


To see Chicago's professional baseball teams in play, check out the Chicago Cubs or Chicago White Sox.


To catch the most popular sport in the world, purchase soccer tickets for the Chicago Fire.

Check here for even more sporting events in Chicago here.

2. Go to a Concert

Chicago is a music-loving city! There are many music venues throughout the Chicago area and beyond with plenty of concerts to enjoy.


Music Festivals

Click here to see more Chicago-area concerts happening in April.

3. Enjoy the Theater

Chicago is home to many many regional theatres, small black box spaces, and Broadway Tour houses.

There is something for everyone!  


Dance/Performance Art


Check here for even more events in the Chicago area in April.

Also, take a look at our self-guided theatre tour where you can admire the exterior of some of the oldest movie palaces in the downtown Loop.

4. See More for Less with a Chicago City Pass

Many of Chicago’s biggest attractions have entry fees.

While you do pay for a tourist discount pass, it can give you a bulk discount and free admission into some interesting tours and museums, saving you up to 55%.

They can also save you time with skip-the-ticket-line privileges.

Each Chicago tourist discount pass includes a variety of fun activities and attractions.

Here are a few examples of what you can visit with a tourist pass, for a discount, or for free.

For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.

5. Go to a Stand-up Comedy Show

If you need of a good laugh, some of the most famous comedians in the world will be performing stand-up in the Chicago area this April.

Each of these performances is scheduled to take place either in Chicago or within around 30 minutes of the downtown area.

Comedy Shows

Comedy Clubs


Check here for a even more comedy shows taking place in Chicago in April.

6. Attend the Chi-town Blues Festival

Even if you're not interested in any of the artists holding concerts this month, you may want to consider heading out to the Chi-Town Blues Festival.

This event will be celebrating its 18th year on April 20th.

Surprisingly, this event is taking place in Hammond, Indiana, which is just outside of Chicago.

The current lineup includes performers such as Lenny Williams, King George, Theodis Ealey, Pokey Bear, and more.

If you're a blues or jazz fan, this is one event you definitely won't want to miss.

That said, it's worth noting that we have a Chicago Blues post for a few suggestions to enjoy the blues.

7. Go on a Sightseeing Tour

We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours every day of the week in April in the Windy City. 

Be sure to bring your umbrella as April often has showers! Our guides will be ready to show you the city

If you’d prefer a heated bus tour, we have a great comparison of Chicago’s best. From hop-on-hop-off buses to dedicated tours, you’ll find one to suit you here.

8. See the Chicago Symphony Orchestra

There will be several opportunities to hear live performances from the Chicago Symphony Orchestra this month.

No matter who your favorite composer is, chances are you'll have a chance to hear them in April.

Chicago's orchestra will be performing the work of masters such as Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Mendelssohn, and more.

Tickets for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be purchased here.

9. Enjoy Rum Fest

On April 20th the 8th Chicago Rum Festival returns to Logan Square Auditorium.

A little-known fact is that Chicago is the largest rum consumer in the US market, making this the perfect place to hold Rum Fest.

There will be seminars and tastings throughout the day.

Tickets can be purchased here.

10. Attend C2E2

In April the 15th annual C2E2 festival brings comics, cosplay, gaming, and more to downtown Chicago.

Thousands of people come to see some of their favorite comic book creators, writers, and folks from movies and TV.

All of this takes place at at McCornick Place in the South Building, April 26th-28th.

For tickets and additional information, visit the Chicago Comic and Extertainment Expo website.

Go to Expo Chicago

Over 170 international galleries bring contemporary art and more to the 11th annual Expo Chicago.

The expo also supports local and regional artists, and include panel discussions with artists, curators, and designers.

The expo takes place April 11th-14th on Navy Pier.

For more information, visit the the website.


There are many free activities to take advantage of in Chicago, during every season of the year.

Many of our Top Ten are also free to explore, but below you will find a couple of other free options this month.

Check out our comprehensive post, Top Free Things to Do in Chicago, for more ideas.

Under the Picasso

Daley Plaza offers free programming throughout the year Under the Picasso!  There is music, festivals, markets, and interactive events. 

Check their calendar for updates. Daley Plaza and the Picasso are also sites to see on our Loop & Millennium Park Tour.

Stroll along the Riverwalk 

Now that the weather is getting warmer, this is a perfect time to explore more of the Riverwalk. 

This beautiful stretch allows you to make your way from Wolf Point all the way to Lake Michigan while going under bridges and getting breathtaking views of the buildings that line the river. 

Learn more about the Riverwalk and the history that surrounds it on our Riverwalk and History Tour.

Visit the Maxwell Street Market

Bundle up to enjoy the international flare at the Maxwell Street market on Sunday mornings between 9:00 am – 3:00 pm which has been a Chicago tradition for over 100 years. 

Take in the bargains and culture at this year-round market. The market has free admission.

For more details click here

Attend a Free or Donation Museum

There are many wonderful museums in the Windy City that are actually free!   A couple of them are:

The Jane Addams Hull-House. This is an incredible museum located in one of the original Hull-House homes. There is a suggested donation of $5.

The National Museum of Mexican Art is also a wonderful museum highlighting the arts of Mexican culture. It's free to enter.

Check Out the Chicago Cultural Center

The Cultural Center was completed in the 1890s and served as the city’s first public library.

It is free and open for the public to explore, and the Cultural Center offers its own free tours every Thursday and Friday at 1:15 pm.

Beyond the art that lines the walls, you will find free traveling films, lectures, and performances. 

Check out their calendar of events to see what is going on during your visit.


Many of our top ten activities are perfect for the evening hours, such as seeing a sporting event, going to the theater, or attending a concert.

Below are some more ideas. Be sure to read our post about the top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.

Go out for a Cocktail

Chicago is known for locally brewed craft beers and a unique liquor called Malort. Taking a shot of Malort will definitely warm you up!   

Another fun option is to check out one of our famous speakeasies – fitting for the mobster history of the Windy City. 

The Office is a unique cocktail experience that is indulgent with completely personalized beverages.

Mixing music with cocktails is always fun! Check out Kingston Mines to enjoy the blues or Davenport’s Piano bar for a unique experience.  

Be sure to check out our post on top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.

Adler At Night

Each Wednesday the Adler Planetarium opens up for a fun night-time event for adults.

There will be activities for folks of all ages, including shows about the universe, meetings with scientists, STEM activities, and more.

Tickets and information can be found here.

Check out a Drag Show

Head to the South Loop to attend the Lips Drag show which has been around for more than 25 years.

It has performances on Wednesdays - Sundays


Below you will find several great options to keep your children entertained this month, including parks, museums, and theater!

Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.

Go to a Museum

Chicago has a lot of museums that are very interactive and ideal for kids. Some of our favorites include:

Check here for free museum days.

Kids Theater

Chicago is known for its theater scene, and while there will be shows that are fun for the whole family, a great place to start would be the Children’s Theater.

A Year with Frog & Toad will be on tap from April 13th-May 26th, 2024.

Also, Chicago Kids Company will be putting on a few different productions in April.

Beauty and the Beast runs from January 19th-April 27th.

Doze with Dinos

Families with kids ages 6 to 12 can pack their sleeping bags and spend the night at the Field Museum!

You can stay up late with the scientists and tour the exhibits with your flashlight.

When it's time for lights out, you’ll have a spot in the Genius Hall of Dinosaurs.

Find out more about the Field Museum on our post and if you want to stay the night, get tickets here,

Dates: April 5th, April 19th

Go to a Family-Friendly Improv Show

ComedySportz is known for being family-friendly!  It is a game-inspired improv show- similar to Who’s Line is it Anyway? 

If anyone on the team uses a curse word- they actually lose points! This means that this show is really made for all ages.

Go to the Park

With the weather warming up, a trip to the park is a great family-friendly activity!

There are many wonderful parks dotted across the city, with playgrounds, open spaces, and fresh air!

One of the best parks for kids is also one of our newest, Maggie Daley Park.  There are many playgrounds here, for different age groups. 

Look here for a more complete list of parks in the city.

Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.


About The Author


Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!
Updated: December 28th, 2023
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