What to Do in Chicago in March (2020)

This post covers the best things to do in Chicago this March, including, free, family-friendly, as well as nighttime activities, all updated for 2020.

 

 

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.

TOP 10 THINGS TO DO AND EVENTS IN MARCH

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

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 2020. 

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. 

 

 

Hockey 

Basketball  

Baseball

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 2020.

To find tickets for 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) Beer Festival at the Field Museum

On March 14th on 2020, enjoy the Field Museum 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 the Field Museum at night.

Read our full post to learn more about the Field Museum.


5) 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.

 

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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.

For more details, make sure to read our full post covering Chicago tourist passes.


6) Attend a Film Festival 

In March 2019 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. 

 

 

February 27-March 1 is the Irish Film FestivalThere are three amazing locations.

February 28-March 15 is the Jewish Film FestivalExperience 48 different films!


7) 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.


8) Macy’s Flower Show

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.

As of writing this guide, the exact dates are still to be determined but keep checking the website for updates.


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.   

Attending one of the South Side Parade, the North Side Parade, the West Side Parade or the Downtown parade (see below!) is a free way to enjoy the day.

 

 

If you’re interested in drinking a beverage and saying  “slainte!” then check out the live music event called Forever Green on March 6.

Here are some St. Patrick’s themed pub crawls:

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 14.

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.

 


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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.


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. For more details, click here. 


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.


Art on the Mart

Even with the cold, the Art on the Mart will persist!

Head the Riverwalk at sunset to see an amazing art projection on the Merchandise Mart Building (a building so large, it has its own zip code!). 


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.

 


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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.  


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.


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.

 


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THINGS TO DO WITH KIDS 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 22, 2020, 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 8-March 22, 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: January 17 & 24, February 7 & 28, March 7 & 27


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 March, check out Red Kite, Brown Box which plays February 28 – March 21, 2020.


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. See their website for more.


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:


Go to the Park

With the weather warming up, a trip to the park is a great family-friendly activity! T

here 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.

 


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About the author

Manager | Chicago & Los Angeles

Mel loves to be a tourist in her own city. With a background in performing arts, tourism, and photography, giving tours and being a story-teller comes naturally to her. She loves traveling, food, and theatre. Mel splits her time between Chicago and Los Angeles (#theatrelife) and leads tours and manages both cities!