31 Best Things to Do in Chicago and the Suburbs This March 2024

Whether you’re celebrating Women’s History Month; the traditions of St. Patrick’s Day; or merely the resurgence of spring, Chicagoland is blossoming with events and celebrations of community, food, art and more — for everyone. For those who patiently waited for winter to pass, the time has come to explore the city once again. Read on for our roundup of the best things to do in Chicago and the suburbs this March.

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The Band’s Visit

When a lost bus carrying an Egyptian Police Band arrives in a small desert town, what is the band to do? With no hotel and no buses until morning the group is taken in by the locals for the night — creating a scenario rich in humor and “ the unifying power of music.” See this Tony Award winning show at Writers Theatre until March 25. Tickets and more information can be found on the Writers Theatre website.

325 Tudor Court, Glencoe

Unseen Oceans

Beginning March 15 at the Field Museum, a new exhibit will showcase the awe-inspiring, unimaginable vastness of the oceans. Guests will be able to explore everything from the ocean’s “white-capped waves to their inky depths” and a lot in between. The exhibit includes screens to watch life-sized creatures, tanks full of real ocean dwellers, immersive experiences and more. Visit the Field Museum to reserve your spot.

1400 S. Dusable Lake Shore Dr.

Cosmic Rhythms

Action Lines Media, The Joffrey Ballet and the Adler Planetarium present a new, cutting-edge collaboration of Cosmic Rhythms — running Wednesday evenings now through April 17. Projected inside the Adler’s Grainger Sky Theater, the full-dome experience takes audiences on a mesmerizing journey through the universe by blending dance with animation, computer-generated imagery and insightful commentary from Adler astronomers. Visit the Adler Planetarium online to get all the details for your visit.

1300 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr.

Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition

Since 1970, the Black Creativity Juried Art Exhibition has made an annual appearance at the Museum of Science and Industry — making it the longest-running exhibition of Black art. The exhibit features paintings, drawings, fine art prints, sculpture, mixed-media, ceramics and photography from artists both professional and amateur, including youth artists between the ages of 14 and 17. The show is open now through April 21, secure your tickets at the Museum of Science and Industry online.

5700 S. DuSable Lake Shore Drive

Navy Pier Flyover

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Discover the beauty and awe of Chicago with Flyover — the latest attraction on Navy Pier that takes guests on a virtual, up-close tour of the city. The immersive journey connects users with the city by soaring over iconic locations and diving into authentic stories, all from the comfort of Navy Pier. Sound like your kind of adventure? Get your tickets now by visiting Navy Pier Flyover online.

600 E. Grand Ave.

Threaded Visions: Contemporary Weavings from the Collection

This exhibit draws entirely from the Art Institute’s permanent collection, exploring the ancient and global practice of weaving through the works of 13 artists from five countries. Some of these artists are internationally admired and have decades-long careers; others have come to prominence quite recently. The exhibit is open until August 26. For more specifics about the exhibit or to plan your visit, check out the Art Institute website.

111 S. Michigan Ave.

Black By Popular Demand: A Black Excellence Revue

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Need a pick-me-up during these long days of winter? Then join in the “celebration of Black Joy” via Second City’s show Black By Popular Demand: A Black Excellence Revue. Enjoy brand new songs, sketches and improv brought to you by “this cast of future stars” — running until March 25. Last year sold out, so grab your tickets now by visiting Black By Popular Demand: A Black Excellence Revue online.

230 W. North Ave.

The Orchid Show of Wonders

“A grandiose dose of silliness and fun” awaits you at this year’s Orchid Show at the Chicago Botanic Garden — which is open until March 24. At the show, expect to see your favorite carnival and circus attractions to come to life in new ways. Guests will walk under Ferris wheel seats, marvel at unicycles on tightropes and many other gravity-defying surprises. This Orchid Show will take you where you’ve never been, all while surrounded by 10,000 fresh, vibrant blooms. Tickets and details can be found on the Chicago Botanic Garden website.

1000 Lake Cook Rd., Glencoe

Notes from the Field

TimeLine Theatre proudly presents the powerful stories of 19 individuals fighting to overcome and transform America’s education and criminal justice systems. In a piece dubbed “strikingly intimate” the cast presents snapshots of life for real people “documenting their intersections with the American dream and the obstacles that work to block them from it.” This moving and “deeply human” piece is on run now through March 24. Tickets can be purchased at Notes from the Field online.

615 W. Wellington Ave.

007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond

The Museum of Science and Industry wants to welcome guests to the first-ever “official exhibition to focus on the science and technology behind the world’s longest-running movie franchise” — 007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond. From iconic cars and gadgets to props from the James Bond film series, this exhibit has it all. Go behind the scenes to learn how the production team pulled off the marvel that is the James Bond series. All exhibit logistics and tickets can be found online at 007 Science: Inventing the World of James Bond.

5700 South Lake Shore Dr.

Spring Flower Show: What’s In A Name?

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This year’s Spring Flower Show at the Garfield Conservatory covers the history and science of botanical nomenclature alongside a beautiful flower show full of gorgeous flora. Over the years, through plant names, we have created ways of communicating history, culture and identity. Stop by for the beautiful blooms, and stay for the history lesson. Make your reservation online by visiting Garfield Conservatory, now through May 12.

300 North Central Park Ave.

Downton Abbey: The Exhibition

For a limited time only, experience “The History, The Fashion and The House” of Downton Abbey. Located at the Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center, the experience will give guests the opportunity to be fully immersed in the fascinating social history, the culture and memorable moments that made the show the smash-hit that it is. The exhibit runs from now until the end of March, but tickets are going quickly. Grab yours at the Downton Abbey: The Exhibition.

4905 Old Orchard Center, Skokie

Improvised Jane Austen

This series tells classic tales, made up on the spot, in the style of the beloved 19th century author, Jane Austen. The audience can expect anything from hearty laughter to passionate tears all while considering how much has changed in two hundred plus years since Austen’s prime. This improv show is great for friends or couples and performs every Saturday. Visit Improvised Jane Austen for tickets and details.

“I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli

From authentic memorabilia to photos and more, the “I’ll Have What She’s Having”: The Jewish Deli exhibit at Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center is sure to entice you. As with any other ILHMEC exhibit, they aim to educate just as much as spark a curiosity inside each visitor. From now through April, catch the exhibit in all its delicious glory. Check out the Illinois Holocaust Museum and Education Center online for more details.

9603 Woods Drive, Skokie

March 1-10: Richard III

Shakespeare lovers will want to gather around for this one, because the latest rendition of Richard III is at Chicago Shakespeare Theatre through March 10. This gender-swapped version of a classic tale will entice audiences near and far — and has had rave reviews calling it “highly arresting” and “a triumph.” Secure your tickets now before the show’s run ends, visit Chicago Shakespeare Theatre for more.

600 E. Grand Ave.

March 1-15: North Side Restaurant Week

Chicago Restaurant Week is an annual success, no doubt. But for North Side neighborhoods, they want to keep the good times going and the delicious food flowing. Visit participating restaurants in Andersonville, Edgewater, Lincoln Square/Ravenswood, Northcenter, Rogers Park, Uptown where you’re guaranteed a good price and a good meal. The North Side Restaurant Week website has all the info you need, visit them online.

March 3: Chicago Polar Plunge

It may seem a bit extreme for hundreds of people to gather around freezing water in early March, but believe us, it’s for a good cause. The Chicago Polar Plunge is an annual fundraiser that collects funds to support Special Olympics programs in Chicagoland. So before you let logic get to your head, sign up to take the cold plunge and donate to a deserving organization. You can find registration and more details on the Chicago Polar Plunge site.

March 2: Brewsology Beer Festival

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The Chicago Beer Festival presents the Brewsology Beer Festival, which in addition to delicious beer offers the unique experience of a night at the Museum of Science and Industry. There will be over 60 breweries offering samples of their seasonal beers as well as food on site for purchase. Admission times and ticket packages vary — tickets must be purchased beforehand, visit the Brewsology Beer Festival online to buy them.

5700 South Lake Shore Dr.

March 7: Women Winemakers

Join Le Sud Wine Club in Roscoe Village for their celebration of Women’s History Month. While there, you can learn more about trailblazing women winemakers from various countries and how they are shaping the future of the field. With your ticket purchase you are guaranteed four glasses of wine, light fare and a bottle to take home. Seating is limited, so secure your spot now, visit Women Winemakers online for more.

2301 W. Roscoe St.

March 8-10 & 15-17: Joffrey Academy’s Winning Works

The Joffrey Academy of Dance will premiere five new works, selected from a breadth of submissions from ALAANA (African, Latinx, Asian, Arab and Native American) artists, as a part of the Academy’s Winning Works Choreographic Competition. This year’s program features an additional weekend of performances, and some new updates as well. Information and tickets for these limited performances are available now, visit Joffrey Ballet Chicago online for more.

220 E. Chicago Ave.

March 9: Haymarket Sausagefest

Haymarket Pub, the host of this event, said it best: Sausagefest is “an extravaganza of encased meats, beer and great friends.” This event in the West Loop will feature guest brewers and sausage makers — to be announced — and allows guests to mingle and fill up on the best sausages Chicagoland has to offer. Want to join the fun? Visit Haymarket Sausagefest for more details.

737 W. Randolph St.

March 9-10: International Women’s Day Market

The Lincoln Square Ravenswood neighborhood is brimming with locally-owned businesses. On March 9-10, in honor of International Women’s Day — celebrated on March 8 — the community will be hosting their 3rd annual International Women’s Day Market. Local, women-owned vendors will congregate at Artifact Events for a day of shopping small and giving big, with booths that carry jewelry, home goods, beauty products, food, drink and much more. Details on the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce website.

4325 N. Ravenswood Ave.

March 16: Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Chicago’s favorite Irish tradition is back in full swing this year. Following the Chicago River dyeing at 10am, the St. Patrick’s Day Parade kicks off at 12:15pm. The parade route follows Columbus Drive between Balbo Drive and Monroe Drive and will be lined with happy, shamrock-adorned Chicagoans. Head over to the official parade website for more information.

March 16: The Official Chicago St. Patricks Day Bar Crawl

For many, St. Patrick’s Day is synonymous with a day full of drinking and merriment. If you find yourself in that group, then you’ll love this premiere bar crawl experience. Find your greenest outfit, shamrock accessories and some friends to take on this day-long event. Food, music, contests and more are also sprinkled throughout the day as you and hundreds of other participants weave through a handful of bars in River North. Details and tickets on the Bar Crawl LIVE! website.

March 16-17: Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure

The Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure, held at Chicago Theatre this month, is perfect family fun. Join Skye, Chase, Marshall and all the heroic pups as they save the day and find the pirate treasure before Mayor Humdinger. Tickets and more information can be found at Paw Patrol Live! The Great Pirate Adventure.

175 N. State St.

March 17: 2024 South Side Irish Parade

Go back to the roots of the Irish community in Chicago by visiting the South Side Irish Parade. This celebration of Irish heritage — and the largest community-based parade for the holiday outside of Ireland — will route through 103rd and Western Avenue, marching south to 115th and Western, starting at noon. More specifics and historical information can be found on the South Side Irish Parade website.

March 22-24: Chicago Tattoo Arts Festival

Now in its 14th year, the Chicago Tattoo Arts Festival is bringing the sweet, sweet pain of tattooing to Rosemont. Enjoy a curated lineup of artists, entertainers, vendors, special offers and more. Whether you want new ink or just want to browse the festival, all are welcome. Check out Chicago Tattoo Arts Festival online for programming and more.

Donald E Stephens Convention Center, 5555 N. River Rd., Rosemont

March 23: Holi at Navy Pier

As a part of the Global Connections series presented by ComEd, Navy Pier will host a free Holi celebration. This event will feature live music, dance and interactive programming in the Aon Grand Ballroom, and who could forget the iconic powder throwing — which is available for purchase on-site while supplies last. Bring friends and family, and share in this rich tradition. More information can be found online by visiting Holi at Navy Pier.

600 E. Grand Ave.

March 24: Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle

Runners in Chicago know that with St. Patrick’s Day comes the annual Shamrock Shuffle — which features three tiers, the 8K Run, 2-Mile Walk and The Mile. Weave through the heart of Chicago’s beautiful downtown, ending at Buckingham Fountain in Grant Park for a post-race party. Registration can be found on the Shamrock Shuffle homepage.

March 25: Ritmo del Mar at the Shedd

An evening of music, cuisine, culture and mesmerizing animals awaits at the annual Ritmo del Mar, held at Shedd Aquarium. “Dance to the sounds of salsa, cumbia, merengue and Latin jazz” while enjoying the exhibits at the Shedd. Food and drink available for purchase as well. This event is for ages 21+ and runs from 7-11pm; find out more on the Shedd Aquarium website.

1200 S. DuSable Lake Shore Dr.

March 25: South Loop Easter Egg Hunt

Bring the kids! Bring the family! The annual South Loop Easter Egg Hunt is in full swing this spring with lots of activities in store. Your kids can enjoy hunting for 15,000+ eggs in Women’s Park; an animal petting zoo; great prizes; piñatas; treats; and a visit with the Easter Bunny. This event is rain or shine, and of course, family friendly. Secure your tickets now, visit South Loop Easter Egg Hunt online.

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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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