This post covers the best things to do in Chicago this April, including, free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities, all updated for 2020.
- Top 10 Things to Do
- Free Things to Do
- Nighttime Activities
- Family Friendly
- How’s the Weather
- Free Tours by Foot
TIP: Find Chicago Hotel Deals on TripAdvisor – If you haven’t already booked your accommodations.
TOP 10 EVENTS AND THINGS TO DO IN APRIL
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:
- Best Historic Bars
- Where to find a Locally Brewed Beer
- How to get downtown from Midway Airport and O'Hare Airport
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.
For a list of all sporting events happening this month, check this list.
2) Go to a Concert
Chicago is a music-loving city! There are many music venues in Chicago to explore throughout the city where great concerts are held year-round.
Here are just a few of the larger-scale concerts happening in April of 2020.
- Widespread Panic | April 2-4 at the Chicago Theatre
- Tom Yorke | April 4 at the United Center
- Davido | April 4 at the House of Blues
- Real Estate | April 10 at Thalia Hall
- Dance Gavin Dance | April 10 at the Aragon Ballroom
- Sofi Tukker | April 11 at the Riviera
- Dan & Shay | April 17 at the United Center
- James Arthur | April 24-25 at The House of Blues
- King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard | April 24 at Thalia Hall
Check out our Chicago Blues post for a few suggestions to enjoy the blues.
3) Go to the Theater
Chicago is home to many many regional theatres, small black box spaces, and Broadway Tour houses. There is something for everyone!
Here are just a few of the many shows happening in April 2020:
- Blue Man Group - Runs All Month
- Her Honor Jane Bryne - February 26 - April 12
- School Girls; or, the Afrian Mean Girls Play - March 7 - April 12
- What the Constitution Means To Me - March 2 - April 12
- My Fair Lady - March 24 - April 12
- Once Upon a One More Time - April 14 - May 17
- The Choir of Man - April 14 - 19
You can find tickets for shows here.
Check out our self-guided theatre tour to 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.
- Shedd Aquarium
- Skydeck Chicago
- Adler Planetarium
- Art Institute of Chicago
- The Field Museum
- Museum of Science and Industry
- 360 Chicago Observation Deck
For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.
Sweet home Chicago loves to sing the blues! bluesSHOUT is a wonderful music event on April 3-5 that connects audiences to the music and culture of the blues.
This event is a weekend with workshops, dancing, and of course, the blues.
Whether you are a music lover, blues aficionado or just looking to try something new, this is a great event.
6) Night at the Stacks
Ever wanted to boogie in the library? Now it is your chance!
On April 4, attend Night at the Stacks, a fundraiser party at Harold Washington Library. We promise you won’t get Shh..ed!
The theme is enchantment and imagination from children's literature, and the night will feature food and drinks, a DJ, and a photo booth.
All of the proceeds will be donated to various projects and programs in the Chicago Public Library.
7) Easter Brunch
There are a lot of options for celebrating Easter in Chicago as well as MANY places to give the Bunny a high-five.
There will be Easter-themed brunches throughout the city- let us know which one you discover!
8) Celebrate Easter with an Easter Egg Hunt
On April 11, head to the Lincoln Park Zoo to meet the Easter Bunny at the Easter Egg-stravaganza!
There will be music to hip and hop to as well as free rides on the Endangered Species Carousel.
For Free Bunny Events, the Chicago Parks also have days of craft making, face painting, and egg hunting both the weekend before and the weekend of Easter.
Find out the details and dates for each park here.
The Egg Hunts will be based on age and tickets are required. But hop to it before the event sells out!
9) Heroes and Villains FanFest Chicago
Imagine a world where sci-fi, horror, and all Heroes and Villains come together in a convention center…
This is FanFest! It is a fun opportunity to geek out about your favorite character.
This year some of the guests include Nikolaj Coster-Waldau and Pilou Askbiek from Game of Thrones!
Find more information about this event on April 18 & 19.
10) 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.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN APRIL
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.
Unearth Science Festival at the Chicago Botanical Gardens
Science Fairs aren't just for school kids. The second annual Unearth Science Festival on April 18-19 presents a weekend full of free events celebrating science and nature.
There are night sky viewings, workshops, and film screenings at the Chicago Botanical Gardens as part of this weekend festival.
Though not free, you can also kick off the event with a themed night of drinks and food at the Science After Hours event.
Macy's Flower Show
During this two week show (exact dates TBD), Macy’s welcomes spring with beautiful flowers on display, breathtaking blooms, and plants from around the world.
This festival includes themed events and specialty gardens.
Learn more about the history of the historic building that Macy’s calls home on our Loop and Millennium Park Tour.
Made in Chicago
Shop local vendors at the Made in Chicago Event on April 18th! Expect handmade art, clothing, jewelry, food & drink. This event takes place in April, August, and November at Plumbers Hall.
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 history that surrounds it on our Riverwalk and History Tour.
Maxwell Street Market
Bundle up to enjoy the international flare at the Maxwell Street market on Sunday mornings between 7:00 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.
Attend a Free or Donation Museum
There are many wonderful museums in the Windy City that are actually free!
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 Wednesday – Saturday 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.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN APRIL
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.
Flashlight Easter Egg Hunt
Bring the kiddos out to hunt easter eggs at twilight! The event is for kids ages 3-12. Be sure to check their page for an update with dates.
B.Y.O.F. Bring Your Own Flashlight.
Chicago Humanities Spring Fest
There will be a variety of authors and speakers at this festival. Tickets are cheap so get them soon, click here for more information.
Head to the Howard Brown center to dance and drink with performances by Jeezy’s Juke Joint at the LGBTQ community.
Laugh at a Comedy or Sketch Show
Chicago is known for its food and funny! Some of the best comedians came out of the Windy City. Amy Pohler, Tina Fey, Chris Farley- to name a few.
In the chilly nights of April, a good laugh will be sure to warm you up. Check out Second City for sketch comedy, stand up and improv.
MSI After Dark
The MSI After Hours is an Adults Only experience to explore the museum after the day time guests have left.
Each After Hours event lets you enjoy cocktails, beer, snacks, and new programs each month.
Adler After Dark
On the third Thursday of each month, Adler Planetarium opens up for a fun night-time event for adults.
There will be drinks, music, and entertainment while enjoying looking at the stars. Escape the cold and enjoy this monthly event.
THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS IN APRIL
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.
ChiTeen Lit Fest
On April 24-25, you can attend a Lit fest that focuses on works by teens FOR teens. There will be panels and workshops, but also access to published authors for connections and advice.
Essays, poetry, graphic novels and more are welcome as part of the festival competitions and reviews.
Chicago Children’s 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.
In April check out Me...Jane.
Juice Box Concerts at the Cultural Center
Head to the Cultural Center with your family of little ones every first and third Friday and Saturdays at 11:00 am-11:45 am for an engaging musical event!
While this will be enjoyable for the whole family, it is geared to kids between the ages of 1-6.
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 a Museum
Chicago has a lot of museums that are very interactive and ideal for kids. Some of our favorites include:
- The Field Museum- There is a giant T-Rex skeleton!
- Museum of Science and Industry - Watch baby chicks hatch!
- Children’s Museum- Loads of interactive and positive play!
- Where to Store Your Luggage
- Things to Do Year-Round
- Chicago Bus Tours
- Tourist Attraction Discount Passes