This post covers the best things to do in Chicago in March, updated for 2023.
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:
- Best Historic Bars
- Where to find a Locally Brewed Beer
- How to get downtown from Midway and O'Hare
1. Go to a Concert
March is the perfect month to enjoy a concert.
There are many music venues in Chicago to explore, especially downtown and in Lincoln Park.
We've listed a few of the most popular below. Search for even more March concerts on StubHub.
Here are just a few of the larger-scale concerts happening in March of 2023.
- Ja Rule/Ashanti | March 4th
- Pink Martini | March 4th
- Elle King | March 4th
- Iggy Pop | March 10th
- Kenny Wayne Shepherd | March 17th (Hammond)
- The Roots | March 18th
- New Edition | March 23rd
- Il Divo | March 24th (Waukegan)
Search for even more March concerts on StubHub.
Check out our Chicago Blues post for a few suggestions 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.
In March, you can head west to the United Center for a Basketball or Hockey game.
For a list of most of the sporting events happening this month, check this list on StubHub.
The Monster Jam comes to Allstate Arena in Rosemont over March 3rd-5th.
Find all the sporting events in Chicago, check out the list on StubHub.
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!
To find tickets for shows, search on StubHub.
Here are just a few of the many shows happening in March 2023.
- Les Miserables | March 1st-5th
- 1776 | March 1st-12th
- Into the Woods | March 1st-19th
- Annie | March 7th-19th
To find tickets for other shows, search on StubHub.
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.
Try our seasonal Chicago Pedway tour to experience the indoor paths that run under the city or the seasonal Winter Loop Tour for a winterized Loop experience.
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. See a Famous Stand Up Comedian
There will be some famous and well-known stand up comics performing in and around Chicago this March.
If you're in need of a good laugh, there will be a lot of great comedy shows to choose from.
Here are a few of the best comedians you can see in Chi-town this month:
- Joe List | March 2nd
- Lewis Black | March 24th, 25th (Skokie)
- Impractical Jokers | March 26th (Rosemont)
- Sarah Millican | March 29th
If you're looking for other options, make sure to check this list of stand up comedy shows in Chicago.
6. Attend the Opera
From one of the leading opera companies in the United States come a few gorgeous shows in the 2022-2023 season.
In March, you'll find the following at the Lyric Opera House of Chicago.
Carmen | March 11th, 15th, 19th, 22nd, 25th, 30th
Proximity | March 25th, 25th, 29th
For tickets to any of these show, look here.
7. Take the Kids to a Kid-Friendly Show
If your little ones are fans of Paw Patrol, you could take them to Paw Patrol Live.
There are a number of showings over March 25th and 26th at Chicago Theatre.
Older kids (and adults) might enjoy the energy and excitement of Blue Man Group.
The blue headed members of the group put on an amazing performance, all without saying a word. Think drumming, a light show, physical comedy, and much more.
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.
If you would like to purchase a pass, you can find one here: All Inclusive - Chicago Go City | Explorer - Chicago Go City | Chicago CityPass
9. Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day
A great way to celebrate is to attend the St. Patrick’s Day Festival at the Irish heritage site. In 2023, this takes place on March 12th.
Over various days in March you can find the South Side Parade, the North Side Parade, the West Side Parade or the Downtown parade, all free to attend!
If you’re interested in drinking a beverage and saying “slainte!” then check out the live music event called Forever Green on March 3rd.
Here are some St. Patrick's themed pub crawls:
- Chicago Shamrock Craw
- TIP: Check out our self-guided tour of the Wrigleyville neighborhood.
- Chicago St. Patrick's Day Bar Crawl
- Saint Paddy's Pub Crawl
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 11th.
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 50 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.
Go to a Beer Festival at MSI
On March 4th in 2023, 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 $50 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.
Attend a Film Festival
In March at the Gene Siskel Film Center, the European Union Film Festival is the country’s largest film festival dedicated to films from the European Union.
The official 2023 dates for this film festival have yet to be announced at the time this post was updated, but should be soon.
Also taking place in March are the Irish Film Festival and the JCC Chicago Jewish Film Festival.
Experience the Chicago Symphony Orchestra
If you're not very interested in any of the modern musicians performing concerts this month, perhaps you'd rather hear the Chicago Symphony Orchestra perform beloved classical music instead!
The Chicago Symphony Orchestra will be performing at the Chicago Symphony Gall multiple times from March 10th - 31st, 2022.
You can expect to hear music from master composers such as Bruckner, Mahler, Mazzoli, and many others throughout the month.
Purchase tickers or learn more.
Go to C2E2 - Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
From March 31st - April 2nd, 2023 a huge event for comic lovers and gamers is in town.
Attend what is called "the biggest geek party in the Midwest", where you'll get to meet some of your favorites stars and artists.
Events take place at McCormick Place near downtown Chicago.
Visit their website for more information.
FREE THINGS TO DO IN MARCH
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 the Watertower 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 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.
THINGS TO DO AT NIGHT IN MARCH
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.
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.
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.
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.
Mixing music with cocktails 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.
FAMILY-FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES IN MARCH
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 26th, 2023, 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-March, 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.
Find out more about the Field Museum on our post and if you want to stay the night, get tickets soon here. Dates: March 2nd, March 24th
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 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!
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.