30 of the Best Things to Do in Chicago and the Suburbs This April

The sound of birds chirping and a slightly warmer air coming off Lake Michigan reminds us that spring has sprung around Chicago. Now is the time to embrace the freshness of the season and venture out into the city where everything from the arts and culture scene to cuisine and cocktails are in bloom once more. Read on for our lineup of the best things to do in the city and suburbs this April.

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All Month:

The Comedy of Errors

Photo by Liz Lauren

Now through April 16, catch the hilarious rendition of Shakespeare’s classic, A Comedy of Errors, set in the Golden Age of film era — on run now at the Chicago Shakespeare Theatre. “Backstage drama and slapstick antics abound as an eccentric group of stage and screen actors gather on a London soundstage in 1940 to film some much-needed comic relief for the troops.” Tickets are on sale now, grab them before they’re gone — registration and production details can be found at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre.

800 E. Grand Ave.

Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk

London-based Chinese artist and animation director Kong Khong-chang, known as Kongkee, uses multi-screen videos, neon installations, vibrant graphic works, ancient Chinese objects and more to tell the story of legendary poet Qu Yuan, who lived during the Warring States Period (c. 481-221 BCE). “The exhibition transports viewers into an imaginary world where past and future collide.” This unique work is on exhibition starting April 14 at Wrightwood 659, and will be on until July 15. Visit the Kongkee: Warring States Cyberpunk webpage for registration.

659 W. Wrightwood

Damn Yankees

Based on the novel “The Year the Yankees Lost the Pennant,” the Marriott Theatre presents Damn Yankees, a “devilishly clever” musical comedy that centers on America’s favorite pastime: baseball. After selling his soul to the devil, will Joe Boyd lead his favorite team to victory? Find out in this Tony award winning production, running April 19 – June 4 — advanced tickets and show logistics can be found on the Marriott Theatre website.

10 Marriott Dr., Lincolnshire, Illinois

Destination/El Destino: a Decade of GRAFT

Themes of cultural hybridity are the foundation for Hyde Park Art Center’s newest exhibition, Destination/El Destino: a decade of GRAFT, by Puerto Rican artist, educator and community organizer Edra Soto. The exhibition features “a new large-scale commission of the artist’s GRAFT series with porous sculptures, documentary photographs, drawings and games that activate the Art Center’s indoor/outdoor main gallery.” Through this, a playful and open environment is created for “dialogue, transformation and communal healing.” Catch the exhibit from April 23 until August 6 — details on the Hyde Park Art Center site.

5020 S. Cornell Ave.

360 Sky Yoga

The euphoric feeling of yoga is enhanced with a view at 360 Sky Yoga where the backdrop to your session is the skyline and Lake Michigan from the 360 Observation Deck downtown. This one-hour weekly class gives participants of any age and experience the chance to breathe in and then have their breath taken away by the beautiful sites. Registration is $50 and also includes a mimosa or coffee for your class. Remember to bring your own yoga mat and to sign up on the 360 Sky Yoga page — available until the end of April.

875 Michigan Ave., 94th Floor

Artmakers North: The Artist’s Voice

The Evanston Art Center (EAC) presents its latest installment, “The Artist’s Voice,” featuring art by members of Artmakers North, running from April 15 – May 21. This exhibit showcases how each artist can have a different approach to subject matter and process but still arrive at a masterfully finished piece. “Artists may be showing you what the world looks like to them, how they feel about politics, history, love, beauty, our planet, art history, design or religion. Each artist in this exhibition has a unique experience and an individual manner of expressing it through art.” For more details on how to see the show, visit the Evanston Art Center online.

1717 Central St., Evanston, Illinois

April 1: Belmont Bunny Hop

With spring comes the resurgence of sidewalk sales and local business deals. In Lakeview Roscoe Village, the neighborhood celebrates Easter with the Belmont Bunny Hop. Attendees can walk up and down Belmont — from Ravenswood to Western — “to shop, grab an egg and get a sticker from each location to turn in for a raffle ticket to win a $100 gift certificate from the Chamber and a Squishmallow from Building Blocks Toy Store,” and, of course, see the Easter Bunny, too. Visit the Lakeview Roscoe Village site for more details.

April 1: Strong Beer Time at Half Acre

In celebration of “strong lagers and outdoor drinking,” Half Acre is inviting guests to share in the fun of Strong Beer Time from 1-7pm at their Ravenswood location. Enjoy grilled brats, music, games, plenty of strong lagers and even grab your friends for a Hammerschlagen competition. Non-Half Acre lagers hail from other parts of Chicagoland and Atlanta, too, and with free admission, it’d be hard to pass up such an inviting offer. For more on what to expect, visit Half Acre.

2050 W. Balmoral Ave.

April 1-2: Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan

Between late-night cheesecake and witty quips, what’s not to love about the Golden Girls? If you consider yourself a fan, then you’ll love  Golden-Con: Thank You for Being a Fan — a weekend-long celebration of the show and its lasting impact, featuring performances, speakers, costumes and more! The con will be held at the Sheraton Grand Chicago Riverwalk and is open to all ages. For event specifics and to register with one of their many packages, visit the Golden-Con website.

301 E. North Water St.

April 1-8: The Underground Donut Tour

This tour runs Thursday-Saturday the first week of April and you better prepare yourself for a day full of sprinkles, glaze and a pillowy pastries as your guide takes your tour group to some of Chicago’s best donut shops. Local favorites like Stan’s Donuts or Do-Rite Donuts will be featured, but the two-hour tour has a lot more to offer and is open to the whole family — ages 4 and up. Register on Fever.

April 5: The Healthcare Divide

In conjunction with Steppenwolf’s How Go Blood, FRONTLINE and NPR “investigate the growing inequities in American healthcare exposed by COVID-19.” The Healthcare Divide — as part of Congo Square Theatre’s Celebration of Healing series — will explore how pressure to up profits and uneven government support are widening the gap between “rich and poor hospitals, endangering care for low-income populations.” Join panelists for this discussion, held at Equal Hope starting at 6pm — specifics can be found at Congo Square Theatre.

300 S Ashland Ave #202

April 6: Girl Forgotten: An After-School In-Store Pizza Party with April Henry

At The Book Stall this month, young adult, “New York Times” bestselling author April Henry will host an after-school teen pizza party in celebration of the release of her new book, “Girl Forgotten!” — which follows Piper Gray as she starts a true-crime podcast investigating a seventeen-year-old cold case. Also featured at the event is a Q&A between Henry and author Amelia Brunskill; pizza will also be served and there will be a raffle for prizes. Register at The Book Stall.

811 Elm St., Winnetka, Illinois

April 7-9: Shen Yun

Take an extraordinary trip through 5,000 years of Chinese history and culture through Shen Yun, which returns to Chicago for three nights only this month. “Exquisite beauty from the heavens, profound wisdom from dynasties past, timeless legends and ethnic traditions all spring to life through classical Chinese dance, enchanting live orchestral music, authentic costumes and patented interactive backdrops.” To witness the wonder, register for tickets at Auditorium Theatre.

50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.

April 8: Spring Egg-Stravaganza Presented by Kinder Joy® 

Lincoln Park Zoo invites families to join them for a Spring Egg-Stravaganza on April 8 from 8am-noon. Egg hunts, photos with the Easter bunny, outdoor activities, chats with zoo experts, musical performances — all of this and more can be expected from Chicago’s favorite free zoo. Ticket registration can be found at the Lincoln Park Zoo, as well as more tips to know before you go. Happy hunting!

April 11: Get (Green) Lit: Mini Golf, Big Vibes

Join the American Writers Museum as they transform into a mini-golf course for the night. “Play nine holes of specially designed golf in our galleries, enjoy green-themed drinks and learn about sports writing with quotes and clips from famous American writing.” The evening will also feature golf writer Tom Coyne — author of the forthcoming book “A Course Called America.” One night only, 5:30-7:30pm, visit American Writers Museum to register. 

180 N. Michigan Avenue, 2nd Floor

April 13-16: EXPO CHICAGO

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Returning for its 10th year, EXPO CHICAGO is set to feature more than 170 galleries from 36 countries and 90 cities, in addition to a full lineup of onsite programming. EXPO explores the impact and awe of modern and contemporary art with a massive exhibition held at Navy Pier. Another tier to their programming is EXPO ART WEEK, from April 10-16, “featuring citywide partner exhibitions, openings, screenings and programs.” Want more details on what to expect from the series that has captivated the city for a decade? Visit EXPO CHICAGO.

800 E. Grand

April 13-23: Chicago Latino Film Fest

Courtesy of Landmark Century Centre Cinema

Returning for a remarkable 39th year — making it the longest running Latino film fest in the states — the Chicago Latino Film Festival will deliver to audiences a lineup of films from Latin America, Spain, Portugal and the US via screenings at Landmark Century Centre Cinema and AMC River East. Audiences can expect to fall in love with Latino cinema all over again, or for the first time, as the fest has something for everyone. For a full list of screenings and more details, visit Chicago Latino Film Fest.

April 14: Art on The Mart Spring 2023

The Art on The Mart series has become one of Chicago’s favorite displays of public art, showcased on the exterior of Merchandise Mart. That wonder continues with their 2023 spring season, kicking off April 14 with their latest installment, Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides Through Four Seasons, created by artist Derrick Adams. The project celebrates “Black joy, love and play, [and] coincides with EXPO Chicago’s 10th edition.” If past exhibitions are any indicator, this year’s season is sure to be a hit. Get more details about the show and the artist at Art on The Mart.

222 Merchandise Mart Plaza

April 14-16: American Ballet Theatre

The American Ballet Theatre is considered by many to be one of the best dance companies in the world, and this month, they return to Chicago for three performances only. The catalog will include mixed rep programs, featuring both classics and contemporary works — two of which will be Chicago premieres. Come see the brilliance that has kept this company thriving for over 80 years. Tickets can be purchased at Auditorium Theatre.

50 E. Ida B. Wells Dr.

April 15: Drip! Drop! Slice! Exhibition

Drip, drop and slice your way through the colorful new exhibit at the You Are Beautiful Gallery. The show features “an array of local, national and international artists working with ceramics, paint, textiles, glass and paper, the group exhibition is an explosion of color and texture.” And while you’re there, meet some of the local artists as well. Admission is free but to reserve your spot, visit the Drip! Drop! Slice! Exhibition registration page.

3368 N. Elston Ave.

April 15: Taste of Northalsted: Food & Drink Sampling Crawl

Taste of Northalsted is back again with a fun and delicious lineup for this year’s neighborhood “rainbow” crawl. Walk through Northalsted as you taste selected items from the area’s top eight eateries, as well as sample a variety of beers, spirits and cocktails. Early ticket buyers only pay $15 — what a steal! This outing is for ages 21+ and quantities are limited. Head to Taste of Northalsted to secure your spot.

April 16 & 23: Sound of Silent Film Festival

This month, Access Contemporary Music highlights the importance and entertainment of silent films, as showcased in their 17th annual Sound of Silent Film Festival — taking place this year on April 16 and 23. This unique program will show new short silent films from countless genres as well as a live performance of each film’s score. The first date will be held at Music Box Theatre, while the second installment will be virtual. Find details and film lineups at Access Contemporary Music.

3733 N. Southport Ave.

April 19-30: The Little Mermaid

Photo by Todd Rosenberg

From the sea and into our world, experience this “hauntingly beautiful” rendition of The Little Mermaid, created by John Neumeier. This long-awaited production blends color and shadow to bring the fairytale to life on stage at the Lyric Opera House. The Joffrey Ballet Chicago will perform this timeless piece for a limited run — tickets start at $36; secure yours at The Joffrey Ballet.

20 N. Wacker Dr.

April 20: Violins of Hope

Join JCC Chicago on April 20 as they honor and celebrate the history of Jewish triumph through music — particularly, the violin — at their Violins for Hope opening night performance. “Through hands on experiences of performance, learning about [the violins] unique stories and thinking into the future with the powerful knowledge of the ability of the human spirit to overcome hate and evil, we aspire to make a difference for all who experience this amazing project.” Catch this incredible exhibit while you can before it begins its Chicagoland tour. Details and registration on the JCC Chicago website.

North Shore Congregation Israel, 1185 Sheridan Rd., Glencoe, Illinois

April 21-23: CineYouth Festival 2023

Year round, Cinema/Chicago offers endless programming for every type of film buff. This April, they return with their acclaimed CineYouth Festival, which offers youth ages 22 years and younger a chance to showcase their cinematic talents. Not only that but the program offers them a chance to learn about filmmaking from experts and network with their fellow peers. Visit Cinema/Chicago for details on this series that has been embraced by the film community for nearly two decades.

April 22: Chicago Rum Festival 2023

The Annual Chicago Rum Festival — which celebrates its 7th year in 2023 — will bring together rum lovers and trade professionals from all over the nation for an afternoon of drinking and mingling at Logan Square Auditorium. This time around, prepare yourselves for one of the best year’s yet with the promise of premium rum being poured, speaker programing, entertainment and more. “The state of Illinois is one of the largest rum consumer markets in the USA” and this year, attendees can try two Illinois-based vendors, Star Union Spirits and Chicago Cane Collective. Tickets can be purchased at Chicago Rum Festival.

2539 N. Kedzie Blvd.

April 23: Jada’s Journey First Annual 5K Fun Run/Walk

The mission behind Jada’s Journey is simple yet impactful, ”to provide guidance and financial support to families who have children who suffer from addiction or mental illness and who have exhausted all financial resources for treatments and related programs.” In honor of this — and Jada, who passed away after her years-long battle with addiction and mental health issues — the first annual Jada’s Journey 5k will be kicking off this month. To join them in support, visit the Jada’s Journey website or registration page where donations can also be made.

April 23: Mexico in a Bottle Chicago

Returning for a 6th year, Mexico in a Bottle invites attendees to sample and enjoy some of the best of the country’s spirits — like mezcal, rum, whiskey, gin, wine, beer and more from the finest Mexican brands. After sipping, nosh on food from notable local restaurants like Carnitas Uruapan and Mi Tocaya, and stick around for Chicago artist Teresa Magana to unveil a commissioned art piece. Purchase tickets at Mexico in a Bottle.

Bridgeport Art Center, 1200 W. 35th St.

April 29: Chicago Pickle Fest

The crunch and tang of something that has been pickled is a taste adored by many — which is why Chicago Pickle Fest is in full swing this year. The event is based around Wrigleyville and will be held at bars like Old Crow Smokehouse, Cubby Bear and HVAC Pub and includes cocktails, mocktails, pickle-focused food, pickleback shots, photo ops, live performances and more — sounds like a mighty brine event to us! Details and tickets can be found at Chicago Pickle Fest.

April 30: Sample-a-Camp

Porchlight Music Theatre’s Summer Camp is a haven for all musically inclined, Broadway-inspired children who want a creative outlet for the summer. Want to be sure their various programs are the right fit for your child? Attend Sample-a-Camp on April 30, which invites potential students to get a lay of the land, sample activities and make friends — while parents are invited to stay for coffee as they get all their questions about the program answered. Sound like fun? Visit Porchlight Music Theatre for registration and details.

DePaul School of Music, 2330 N. Halsted

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Margaret Smith is a Chicago-based writer and editor with a passion for socio-political storytelling about their community. They are a graduate of Columbia College Chicago.

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