31 of the Best Things to Do in March in Chicago and the Suburbs

Temperatures are beginning to warm, the snow is melting and museums and other attractions are reopening, making it the perfect time to get out and enjoy the arts, local restaurants and shopping. And if you’re not quite ready to venture out, there are still plenty of virtual events to keep you entertained. Here are the best things to do this March around Chicago and the suburbs.

All Month

View the Lyric Opera of Chicago’s newest performances

Photo courtesy of Kyle Flubacker

To begin the second half of its 2020/21 season, Lyric Opera of Chicago is premiering previously announced programs and new spring experiences virtually. Offerings include “Sole e Amore,” “Twilight: Gods,” The Sonata Sessions and more, featuring the Lyric Opera Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Chorus, Patrick G. and Shirley W. Ryan Opera Center Ensemble and artists from around the world. 

“The Long Dream” at the Museum of Contemporary Art

This exhibition encourages viewers to see Chicago, the world and themselves through the eyes of 70 local artists. Organized by the Artistic Division which includes the curatorial, learning and content teams, “The Long Dream” features painting, performance, sculpture, video and sound art. The exhibition will be on display in the Griffin Galleries on the fourth floor through May 2. 220 E. Chicago Ave., Chicago 

“Monet and Chicago” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Claude Monet. Arrival of the Normandy Train, Gare Saint-Lazare, 1877. The Art Institute of Chicago, Mr. and Mrs. Martin A. Ryerson Collection.

Explore Chicago’s connection to the Impressionist artist Claude Monet with this new exhibition. The Art Institute became the first American museum to purchase one of Monet’s paintings in 1903 and its collection has expanded since then. The exhibit, running through June 14, requires an additional $7 ticket in addition to general admission. 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 

Immersive Van Gogh Experience

Photo courtesy of Michael Brosilow

After debuting in Toronto, the Immersive Van Gogh experience is opening in Chicago and running through September 6. The hour-long, walk-through exhibit features more than 50 projectors showing Van Gogh’s works including “The Starry Night,” “Irises” and more, and music by Italian multimedia composer Luca Longobardi. Ticket prices for the digital art exhibition start at $39.99 for adults and $24.99 for children 16 or younger. 108 W. Germania Place, Chicago 

“Bisa Butler: Portraits” at the Art Institute of Chicago

Butler uses fabric to construct images of Black life. The quilts engage with themes such as family, community, migration and more. Ticket prices vary depending on area of residency. An exhibition ticket is not required to view “Bisa Butler: Portraits,” but guests must join the virtual line. The exhibition will run through September 6. 111 S. Michigan Ave., Chicago 

“Mandela: Struggle for Freedom” at the Illinois Holocaust Museum

Photo courtesy of the Illinois Holocaust Museum

This special exhibition details Mandela’s fight against apartheid in South Africa. It includes a recreation of the cell where he spent 18 of his 27 years in jail as well as original artifacts such as a letter he wrote from prison. Admission is $15 for adults and $6 for children 5-11, and includes access to all special exhibits. 9603 Woods Drive, Skokie

Joffrey Ballet & Action Lines for 150 Media Stream

“Interim Avoidance” features six dancers experiencing loneliness and solitude who launch into movement. The video installation is the inaugural work by the Chicago-based production company Action Lines, in collaboration with The Joffrey Ballet. You can view the installation Monday through Friday 8-9:30 a.m. and 4:30-8 p.m., and Saturday 1-7 p.m. through April 30. 150 N. Riverside Plaza, Chicago 

Logan Square Farmers Market

This indoor farmers market takes place every Sunday until the end of March. Face masks are required and high risk shoppers can shop from 9-10 a.m. before the market opens to the public. There’s even a virtual version of the farmers market if you’d like to shop from home and order items for pick up or delivery. For more information and a list of vendors, visit the website. 3029 & 3031 N. Rockwell St., Chicago 

Visit the Museum of Illusions Chicago

The new Museum of Illusions is open again after closing for COVID-19 in late 2020. Guests can view over 80 exhibits such as the Rotated Room, the Infinity Tunnel and more while grabbing the best Instagram photo. Adult tickets cost $21 and children ages 5-12 cost $15. Purchase tickets here. 25 E. Washington St., Chicago

Experience the WNDR Museum

The popular museum is reopening with brand new touchless installations. You will get to experience the famous Yayoi Kusama “Let’s Survive Forever” Infinity Mirror Room for 1 minute as the artist intended. Tickets are $30 plus taxes and fees, and must be purchased online. 1130 W. Monroe St., Chicago

Schitt Happens Pop-up at Replay

For fans of the comedy, Replay is bringing the show to life with a recreation of the Rosebud Motel, Cafe Tropical, Moira’s Wig Wall, the welcome to Schitt’s Creek sign, and more. Tickets are $20 per person and the pop-up will include a new food and drink menu. The experience is open to guests 21+. To make a reservation, visit Tock. 2833 N. Sheffield Ave., Chicago

“Apsáalooke Women and Warriors” at the Field Museum

Photo courtesy of Latoya Flowers

March is Women’s History Month so what better way to celebrate than to see this exhibition at the Field Museum. It highlights the history, values and beliefs of the Apsáalooke people of the Northern Plains. Apsáalooke scholar Nina Sanders guest curated the exhibition in collaboration with Apsáalooke Nation and Native artists and scholars. Entry to the exhibition requires an All-Access Pass or Discovery Ticket. For more information, visit the website. 1400 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago

360 CHICAGO’s Inaugural Photo Exhibit “Apart, Together”

“Much Better Off” – Photo courtesy of Harvey Pullings II

This exhibit will showcase the work of eight Chicago photographers who captured the impact of COVID-19 and social unrest on some of the millions affected during 2020. 21 images will hang in the Skywalk windows through April 30. Entry to the exhibit is included in general admission which is $25 for adults and $15 for youth ages 3-11. Find more information and purchase tickets here. 875 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago

Spring Flower Show: “Saturation” at Garfield Park Conservatory

Every Saturday and Sunday through May 9, this year’s spring flower show will be on display. Instead of typical garden design, the show features groups of blooming flowers so guests can view the range of hues within each vivid color. Reservations must be made in advance, less than 14 days before your desired visit. Admission is free but donations are welcome. 300 N. Central Park Ave., Chicago

March 1-7: Greektown Restaurant Week

The Greektown neighborhood is kicking off a month-long commemoration of the 200th anniversary of Greek Independence Day with its first-ever Greektown Restaurant Week. Customers must mention Greektown Restaurant Week when ordering to receive the special offers. For a full list of restaurants and specials, visit the website. Various locations

March 3-25: Andersonville Restaurant Month

Photo courtesy of Uvae

Instead of a single restaurant week, the event will run through the entire month of March this year. Participating restaurants will offer prix fixe menus and to-go options for guests not comfortable dining in. Restaurants include Fiya, Oda Mediterranean Cuisine, Big Jones and more. For a list of restaurants, the schedule and to make reservations, visit the website. Various locations 

March 4: “In Focus: The Chicago Freedom Movement and the Fight for Fair Housing”

Photo courtesy of Bernard Kleina

The Elmhurst Art Museum presents an exhibit highlighting race-based discrimination in housing around Chicago and the suburbs. The exhibit contains photos taken by Wheaton-based photographer and activist Bernard Kleina around 1965-67 and 1968. It will run through June 20 along with an exhibition that is open now, “There is Black Housing in the Future: Equitable Public Housing as Memorial,” featuring references to national, community and grassroots organizations advocating for affordable housing for all. For more programming and to purchase tickets, see here150 Cottage Hill Ave., Elmhurst

March 5-14: One Earth Film Festival

For the 10th anniversary of the film festival, it is going completely virtual. Showcasing a variety of films about conservation, environmental justice, climate and more, the festival gives viewers the opportunity to learn how to save the planet and participate in Q&As with the filmmakers and experts. Most viewings are free with a suggested donation of $8. For more information and to register, visit One Earth Film Festival

March 5: Visit the Lincoln Park Zoo for its reopening

Photo courtesy of Christopher Bijalba

This zoo is opening up to the general public beginning March 5 with limited capacity and safety guidelines. All visits are reservation-only and can be made via Eventbrite or phone. There will also be a Beers and Bears fundraiser on March 7 to celebrate the zoo coming out of hibernation. It will include an exclusive virtual Second City show and a beer crafted especially for the event. For tickets, visit Eventbrite. 2001 N. Clark St., Chicago

March 7: “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” at the Museum of Science and Industry 

Photo courtesy of the Museum of Science and Industry, Chicago

Explore Marvel history with artifacts including original comic book pages, costumes and props from the movies and more. The exhibit, running through Oct. 24, allows guests to learn about how characters have evolved over time. An additional ticket must be purchased to experience this exhibit. Tickets cost $18 for adults and $14 for children ages 3-11. 5700 S. Lake Shore Drive, Chicago 

March 8: Virtual KOVAL & Vosges Tasting: International Women’s Day Celebration

Photo courtesy of KOVAL

KOVAL’s founder Sonat Birnecker Hart, and Vosges Haut-Chocolat founder Katrina Markoff will team up for a conversation on female entrepreneurship at 6:30 p.m. The two founders will share their experiences along with a tasting of spirits and Vosges treats. Tickets are $10 and will go directly to Sarah’s Circle, an organization serving women who are homeless or in need of a safe space. For more information and to register, visit KOVAL. 4241 N. Ravenswood Ave., Chicago

March 8: Let’s Talk Womxn Chicago: Let’s Talk & Dine Together

Photo courtesy of Let’s Talk Womxn

In celebration of International Women’s Day, Chicago’s women restaurateurs are collaborating for multi-restaurant tasting dinners for takeout and a moderated Zoom discussion. The conversation will be moderated by Congresswoman Marie Newman from 7-8 p.m. and focus on parity, power and positive collaboration. The $85 four course dinner for two adults or $160 eight course dinner includes the Zoom conversation. To register and find more information, visit Tock

March 11 & 25: The Second City’s Virtual Happy Hour

For two Thursdays a month at 7 p.m., The Second City brings comedy to your living room. The event is interactive with games, special guests, suggestion-driven improv and more, and the cast changes every episode. Tickets are $15. 

March 12-28: “Tomás and the Library Lady” at Northwestern University

For a family-friendly activity, the Wirtz Center is offering “Tomás and the Library Lady on demand. Directed by an MFA student and composed by a student composer, the production tells the true story of 9-year-old Tomás Rivera and his journey developing a love for reading and writing. The play is recommended for those ages 5-12 and tickets are $20 for a three day rental for one household. To purchase tickets, visit the Wirtz Center website

March 13: Participate in a Maple Syrup Harvest

From 10-11 a.m. or 11:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., learn how to harvest maple syrup at Sunset Woods Park. Attendees will learn how to identify the right tree, how to tap the tree and the process of making syrup, and have a pancake with maple syrup at the end. Tickets are $12. 1801 Sunset Road, Highland Park

March 17: Yotam Ottolenghi with Claire Saffitz on Flavor

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A post shared by Yotam Ottolenghi (@ottolenghi)

The Chicago Humanities Festival presents a talk with Chef Yotam Ottolenghi and pastry chef and host Claire Saffitz about Ottolenghi’s new cookbook, “Ottolenghi Flavor.” He will provide an exclusive cooking demo, and talk about his approach to flavor and preparing wonderful food. The pre-recorded event will premiere at 7 p.m. on YouTube. Registration is free and donations are welcome. 

March 17: The Friends Experience

Photo courtesy of Justin Barbin

Explore the popular TV show when The Friends Experience reopens March 17. The experience will run through May 31 and is complete with set-recreations, original props, costumes and more. Tickets are $35 plus tax for a timed entry to visit the 12 rooms and activations. 540 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago 

March 19-20: Zzz’s Under the Seas: Virtual Slumber Party

Photo courtesy of Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

This virtual Shedd program allows you and your family to experience the wonders of the aquarium from the comfort of your own home. Guests can explore habitats, meet animals, watch a live dive and feeding and more. The slumber party begins from 6-8 p.m. Friday night, then resumes the next morning from 8-9 a.m. The cost is $125 per household and you can purchase tickets here

March 19-21: Shamrock Shuffle

Photo courtesy of Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle (2019)

The race is moving virtual this year this year which gives participants the opportunity to show off their green attire in their neighborhoods. Race options include an 8K run, 2-mile walk or The Mile. The registration fee is $30 and includes race apparel, a digital bib number and digital resources. Register here

March 19-April 4: Chicago Restaurant Week

Photo courtesy of Miki’s Park

Support local businesses during Chicago Restaurant Week 2021. Guests can enjoy special prix fixe menus from restaurants throughout Chicago and the suburbs. The multi-course meals are $25 for brunch or lunch, and $39 and/or $55 for dinner. For a list of participating restaurants and to make reservations, visit the website. Various locations

March 25: Virtual Artist Talk: Miranda July on Mail Art

Filmmaker, artist and author Miranda July will lead a conversation exploring the history of mail art from 6:30-7:30 p.m. She will discuss her approach to mail as an artistic practice while also examining the work of Ray Johnson, an early pioneer of mail art. Registration is required for this free event. 

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Aliyah Armstrong is an intern at Better with a passion for arts and entertainment reporting. A senior in Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism, she is also minoring in Sociological Studies. Aliyah supports the Greater Chicago Food Depository and Black Youth Project 100, an organization that aims to create justice and freedom for all Black people.

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