This post lists top things to do in Chicago in April, updated for 2019, as well as things to do at night, free activities and family-friendly events. Be sure to look at what’s going on in Chicago in March and May or things to do all year round!
This section covers our top ten list for April. When possible, we’ve noted activities that are free or kid-friendly. For more ideas on popular things to do in Chicago, check out our posts on bus tours and walking tours of the city.
Some of the items listed in this post are included for free with the purchase of a tourist discount pass.
April 5-7, 2019
Chicago has really transformed the Blues, and made it its own. This event allows all who participate to connect to the music and culture of the blues. bluesSHOUT! is a weekend full of workshops, dancing, and music that goes well into the night.
Whether you’re a newbie or an all star, looking to dance or just to watch, there is something for everyone.
2. Baseball Season Home Openers
Both teams kick off their seasons in early April, then continue with many home games throughout the month.
While you’re at Wrigleyfield, read our post about visiting Wrigleyville.
4. Sound of Silent Film Festival
April 20, 2019
Take in the novelty of modern day silent films at the historic Davis Theater. These films from around the world are accompanied by live music. Enjoy the main show, late night show, or both.
The 7:00 main show features films that have been meticulously scored and rehearsed with the music conducted live to the films.
The 9:30 “late night” show is a more experimental format with improvisation and composers performing their own music.
Explore Chicago with an expert guide as the weather warms up for April. You’ll find more tours offered this month and with Spring flowers, it is a great time to visit Millennium Park, where our Loop Tour ends. Check out our calendar here.
You may also want to look into the Chicago Hop on Hop Off Bus Tours. April is the month that many of the seasonal Architecuter Boat Cruises start up again for the season, so be sure to look into our post on the best ones to take.
Meet the Easter Bunny at the Lincoln Park Zoo as part of the Easter Egg-Stravaganza! There will also be music to hop to and free rides on the Endangered Species Carousel. And of course, Easter Egg hunts through the zoo based on age. Tickets are required and reservations for the Easter Egg hunts are recommended as space is limited.
For Free Bunny Events, the Chicago Parks have days of craft making, face panting, and egg hunting both the weekend before and the weekend of Easter. Find out the details and dates for each park here.
Enjoy some live music coming through Chicago this April.
Alternatively, check out one of our favorite local spots for live music.
Step into one of Al Capone’s favorite spots. This establishment is the oldest nightclub in the city that operates under the same name.
This building first opened up in 1907 as Pop Morse’s Roadhouse before being renamed the Green Mill Gardens. This was a lavish place of dancing and overflowing with champagne, but was soon was forced to turn into a speakeasy during the years of Prohibition.
Today, the Green Mill Lounge has much of its original charm from the 1930’s and 40’s, and you will still be able to find Al Capone’s favorite booth. Enjoy this spot as it maintains its tradition of jazz music, swing dancing, and poetry readings.
This month has some great food and drink festivals to enjoy the culinary side of Chicago.
April 19-21, 2019
This year the Hereos & Villains Fan Fest teams up with Walker Stalker for joint festival bringing you stars and characters from comics AND the Walking Dead.
A highlight of this event is not just meeting superheroes but training to be one yourself – with bungee jumpers and archery events. For a darker side, cross the hall to the Walker Stalker Fan Fest.
Visitors who are working with a budget should think about getting a Chicago tourist pass. These services provide heavy discounts at some of the most popular attractions in the city.
Here are a few of the sites you can visit with various discount passes:
These are just a few of the activities you can enjoy. If you plan to visit even a few of these attractions, you could easily end up saving a lot of money over general admission prices.
For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.
There are a number of things to do in Chicago at night. For additional ideas on how to spend your evening, make sure to check out our master Top Ten Things to Do in Chicago at Night post. Some of our Top 10 offers nighttime options.
April 5, 2019
For ages 3-12, bring a flashlight (or a cell phone that has one) to select Chicago City Parks for a nighttime Easter Egg Hunt.
Chicago is fascinated with the 1920’s era of prohibition, and the gangsters and speakeasies that went along with that. Today you will find many of these hidden bars across the city, with crafty cocktails, an intimate atmosphere, and often live entertainment.
Find some of the best speakeasies with our Guide to Chicago Speakeasies.
April 3, 2019
From Jumbo Jenga to Game Show competitions, grab a drink and play some games with friends … or a beluga whale.
Admission includes all permanent and special exhibits, touch experiences, and entertainment. Food, beverages, and 4-D Experiences are available for purchase. This is a 21+ and up event.
Many of our Top Ten are great activities for children, but check out our post about Family Friendly Activities in Chicago for a more complete guide. Below you will find a couple of other options to keep your children entertained this month!
April 6-7 & 13-14, 2019
The Museum of Science and Industry celebrates National Robotics Week with two weekends worth of engineering fun. You can interact with different robots designed by local Chicago students and teams.
Robots and times will vary—stay tuned for an events schedule.
All activities are included in Museum Entry. Look into different tourist passes if you’re interested in entrance into the Museum of Science and Industry at a discount.
There are two literature festivals in Chicago this April geared to teens.
Chicago Young Adult Book Festival | April 6, 2019
The Book Cellar hosts this annual event to celebrate young readers and its completley free. There will be panels, book signings and discussions on your favorite Young Adult publications with many local Chicagoland authors.
Authors for 2019 include:
ChiTeen Lit Fest | April 26-27, 2019
This festival focues 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.
April 14, 2019
Celebrate Earth Day a week early at the Brookfield Zoo with tree and flower plantings, animal chats and fun activities for the whole family.
Admission is required to enter the Brookfield Zoo, but you can find entrance included on some Tourist Passes.
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 about the Top Free Things to Do in Chicago for more ideas.
April 12-14, 2019
Science Fairs aren’t just for school kids. The second annual Unearth Science Festival presents a weekend full of free events celebrating science and nature. There are nighsky 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 an themed night of drinks and food at the Science After Hours event.
March 24 – April 7, 2019
Macy’s: 111 N. State Street
During this two week show, 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.
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, passing by dining options and fountains, 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.
The Cultural Center was completed in the 1890’s, and served as the city’s first public library. It is free and open for the public to explore, and the Cultural Center offers their own free tours every Wednesday – Saturday at 1:15pm. 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.