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 2023.
- 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.
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.
Here are some teams with games with month.
Find all the sporting events in Chicago here.
2. Go to a Concert
Chicago is a music-loving city! There are many music venues throughout the city with plenty of concerts to enjoy at any time of year.
Here are just a few of the concerts happening in April.
- Depeche Mode | April 5th
- Morgan Evans | April 7th
- Lady A | April 20th
- Ana Gabriel | April 22nd (Rosemont)
- Maná | April 28th, 29th
Find all Chicago area concerts available here.
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:
- Book of Mormon | April 1st - 16th
- TINA - The Tina Turner Musical | April 1st, 2nd
- Blue Man Group | April 1st, 2nd, 21st
- Lyric Opera | April 2nd, 5th, 7th, 8th
- Jagged Little Pill | April 11th - 23rd
- A Soldiers Play | April 4th - 16th
- Into the Woods | April 25th - 29th
- The Little Mermaid | April 19th - 29th (Ballet)
Additional shows can be found 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.
5. Go to a Stand-up Comedy Show
If you're in need of a good laugh, this is the perfect time to visit the windy city.
There will be several notable comedians performing stand-up in the Chicago area throughout the month of April.
Here are a few of the more popular comics appearing:
- Carlos Mencia | April 1st, 2nd (Schaumburg)
- David Cross | April 6th, 7th
- Jo Koy | April 7th
- Marlon Wayans | April 13th - 23rd (Schaumburg)
- Paul Reiser | April 15th (Skokie)
Click here for an additional list of comedians appearing 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 17th year on April 8th, 2023.
Surprisingly, this event is actually taking place in Hammond, Indiana, which is just outside of Chicago.
The current lineup includes performers such as Calvin Richardson, 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.
Purchase tickets to the Chi-town Blues Festival.
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 Vivaldi, Mozart, Rachmaninov, and more.
In addition, the Monterey Jazz Festival on Tour will be appearing at Symphony Center on April 14th.
Tickets for the Chicago Symphony Orchestra can be purchased here.
9. Attend Rum Fest
On April 22nd the 7th 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 a seminars and tastings throughout the day.
Tickets can be purchased here.
10. Enjoy Easter Activities
There are a lot of options for celebrating Easter in Chicago as well as MANY places to give the Bunny a high-five.
One idea is to take an Easter-themed River cruise with Spirit of Chicago or Odyssey Cruises.
There will also more than likely be Easter Egg Hunts at Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago Botanic Garden, Women's Park and Gardens, and many other locations in the Chicago area.
Find out the details and dates for each park here.
There will be a Bunny Rock 5K Run and Walk on April 8th at Montrose Harbor.
Head up to the Talbot Hotel for Brunch with The Bunny. If you’d prefer brunch with a view, head to the Signature Room.
There will be Easter-themed brunches throughout the city- let us know which one you discover!
For more things to do with kids in April, read our section below.
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.
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.
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! 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.
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.
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, and Chris Farley- to name a few.
On 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.
Another local favorite is i.O. which is improv and sketch. Head to the Laugh Factory for stand-up. There are shows for everyone’s budget.
There's also the Best Night Event
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 25 years.
It has performances on Wednesdays - Sundays
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES 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.
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!
Note that there is a Free Family Day with the Chicago Children's Museum on April 27th.
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.
The Very Hungry Caterpillar Show will be on tap from April 15th - May 14th.
Also, Chicago Kids Company will be putting on a few different productions in April.
The Three Little Pigs runs from April 1st - 10th. And the Tortoise and the Hare runs from April 1st - 31st
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 soon here.
Dates: April 1st, April 14th
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.