This post covers the best things to do in Chicago in March, updated for 2024.
We include free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities.
Disclosure: While our recommendations are always unbiased, we may receive a small share of sales through some of the links below at no cost to you. See the full text.
March in Chicago is a lovely time to visit as spring is just around the corner!
The crocus’ will be poking from the ground even if it is under an inch of snow.
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 Concert
If you are a music lover or a fan, be sure to check out a concert while in Chicago.
There are many venues in the Chicago area, from giant spaces to intimate bars.
- Richard Marx | March 1st
- Jason Isbell | March 1st
- Zach Bryan | March 5th, 6th, 7th
- Eagles | March 8th, 9th
- Mitski | March 21st, 22nd, 23rd, 24th
- Sleater-Kinney | March 21st
- Chicago Symphony Orchestra | March 1st-29th
- Stawdew Valley Festival | March 9th
Click here to see more Chicago-area concerts happening in March.
Check out our Chicago Blues post for a few suggestions on how to enjoy the blues.
2. 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.
- Chicago Bulls
- Northwestern Wildcats - Men's
- DuPaul Blue Demons - Men's
- DuPaul Blue Demons - Women's
- Loyola Chicago Ramblers - Men's
- Loyola Chicago Ramblers - Women's
- UIC Flames
- Chicago White Sox | Opening Day is March 28th
Click here to see more sports events taking place in Chicago in March
3. Go to the Theatre
Chicago is home to many many regional theatres, small black box spaces, and Broadway Tour houses. There is something for everyone!
- Message in a Bottle | March 1st, 2nd, 3rd
- Chicago Kids Company: Little Red Riding Hood | March 2nd, 6th, 7th, 8th
- Mrs. Doubtfire | March 2nd, 6th, 7th,
Check here for even more events in the Chicago area in March
Check out our self-guided theatre tour to admire the exterior of some of the oldest movie palaces in the downtown Loop.
4. Go on a Sightseeing Tour
Be sure to wear layers while roaming outside in Chicago during March as the weather varies.
We offer pay-what-you-like walking tours nearly every day of the week in the Windy City.
As the month begins to warm up, the tour schedule starts to grow too!
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.
5. Enjoy Some Comedy
If you're in need of a good laugh, some of the most famous comedians in the world will be performing stand-up in the Chicago area this March.
Each of these performances is scheduled to take place either in Chicago or within around 30 minutes of the downtown area.
The Windy City Comedy Festival is also in town March 1st.
Check here for a even more comedy shows taking place in Chicago in March.
6. Attend the Opera
From one of the leading opera companies in the United States come a few gorgeous shows in the 2023-2024 season.
Mozart Requiem | March 22nd, 24th
Aida | March 9th-April 7th
7. Go to a Beer Festival
On March 2nd, enjoy the Museum of Science and Industry in a unique way – at this annual festival where over 70 beers are featured.
Guests can sample from a wide variety while enjoying live music and exploring select exhibits of MSI at night during the Brewsology Beer Festival.
General admission includes beer samples, but food is sold separately. Ticket prices start at $55 per person.
Hours are from 8 pm - 11 pm for general admission. Early bird tickets provide access at 7 pm, and VIP tickets will give you access at 6 pm.
Read our full post to learn more about the Museum of Science and Industry.
8. 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.
9. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
A great way to celebrate is to attend St. Patrick’s at the Irish American Heritage Center. They have the Irish band Screaming Orphans there on March 17th.
If you’re interested in drinking a beverage and saying “slainte!” then check out the live music event called Forever Green on March 8th, 2024.
Here are some St. Patrick's themed pub crawls:
- Chicago Shamrock Crawl | Wrigleyville
- TIP: Check out our self-guided tour of the Wrigleyville neighborhood.
- 2024 Chicago St. Patrick's Day Bar Crawl | Wicker Park
- The OfficialLucky's St. Patrick's Day Bar Crawl | SPIN Chicago
- St. Patrick's Day Lucky Charms Bar Crawl | River Noth
For more information about St. Patrick’s Day, check out our blog!
10. See the River Dyed Green
This year, the city gets to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day on March 16th.
The annual parade and dyeing of the river green will take place on Saturday and will draw in hundreds of thousands of spectators!
Start the celebration with the parade that travels north on Columbus Drive from Balbo to Monroe.
The parade is full of green and pays tribute to the Irish with flags, dancing, and bagpipes.
The dyeing of the river itself has been a tradition for over 60 years!
45 pounds of vegetable dye color is poured into the river between Columbus and Wacker drives, allowing the river to turn bright green for about 5 hours.
Our Riverwalk and History Tour will tell you more about this tradition and the crucial role this river has played in Chicago’s history.
Attend a Film Festival
In March at the Gene Siskel Film Center, you'll find the European Union Film Festival, the country’s largest film festival dedicated to films from the European Union.
The official 2024 dates for this film festival have yet to be announced at the time this post was updated, but should be soon.
Also taking place is the Irish Film Festival.
Tiketholders can see films from February 29th-March 10th, and get 25% off by using the code ChicagoIrish25.
Experience the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be performing at the Symphony Center a number of times throughout the month of March.
You can expect to hear music from master composers such as Bach, Beeethoven, and others.
Check out some other festivals and events
There's plenty to do in Chicago in March. Just a few of the activities include:
Epic Cons Chicago | March 22nd-24th
Tattoo Arts Festival | March 22nd-24th
Uncorked Wine Festival | dates not yet accounted
There are many free activities to take advantage of in Chicago, during every season of the year.
Check out our comprehensive post about the top free things to do in Chicago.
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.
Attend a Free or Donation Museum
There are many wonderful museums in the Windy City that are actually free!
The Jane Addams Hull-House is an incredible museum that is located in one of the original Hull-House homes.
The National Museum of Mexican Art is a donation-based museum for art lovers.
Another option is to go into the bottom of Water Tower for a small but mighty free art museum!
If you are joining us on our pay-what-you-like Magnificent Mile walking tour- you will enter this museum with your tour guide.
During the winter months, locals will find that many of the museums offer free days to Illinois residents, teachers, veterans, etc.
The Bridgeport Art Center
Located in the Bridgeport building which is a creative home for local artists and designers, there is an outdoor sculpture garden and three curated art galleries.
On the 3rd Friday of each month (in this case March 24th), between 7:00 pm - 10:00 pm, people are invited to see the painters, sculptors, photographers work.
Check out the Chicago Cultural Center
This beautiful and historic building is free and open for the public to explore.
They offer their 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 here.
Check out their calendar of events to see what is going on during your visit.
Find more fun, free activities on our full post.
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 top ten things to do in Chicago at night post.
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 March, a good laugh will be sure to warm you up. Check out Second City for sketch comedy, stand up and improv.
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.
Go out for a Cocktail
Keep your layers on and head 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.
Be sure to check out our post on top things to do in Chicago at night for even more suggestions.
Some 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.
Be sure to check out our post about family-friendly activities in Chicago for a more complete guide.
Shamrock Shuffle 8K
On March 24th, 2024, bring the entire family to cheer on the runners of the Shamrock Shuffle which brags of being the largest timed 8k in the world!
Join the waves of green making their way around the city, starting and ending in Grant Park, followed by a post-race party.
Take advantage of the free Shamrock Shuffle Health and Fitness Expo on Friday and Saturday before the race at McCormick Place.
Learn more about Grant Park and the buildings that are near it on our pay-what-you-like Architecture Tour.
Orchid Show at the Botanical Gardens
From February 10th - March 24th, you can visit the Chicago Botanical Garden to see the Orchid Show.
There will be over 10,000 orchids in bloom and many lovely tropical plants.
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.
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.
Check out their calendar for more details.
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 the show is really made for all ages.
Go to a Museum
Chicago has a lot of museums that are 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!
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 space, and fresh air!
One of the best parks for kids is also one of our newest, Maggie Daley Park. There are many playgrounds here, these 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.