12 Ways to Celebrate Earth Day Around Chicago & the Suburbs

Between gardens, lakes and the city’s overall cleanliness, Chicagoans don’t have to look far on Earth Day to witness the city’s beauty. What’s more, it’s in great thanks to these natural wonders that Chicago was voted the most beautiful city in the U.S. by Timeout in 2021.

With tulip season in full swing, Chicago once again honors itself by emphasizing nature. In good time, too, as Earth Day is just around the corner on April 22, marking its 52nd anniversary since its commencement in 1970. This holiday celebrates the modern environmental movement with efforts such as: raising awareness about pollution, promoting sustainable practices and cleaning local parks.

Here is a sample of events in the Chicagoland area to help you and your family get into the environmental spirit.

April 22: Candlelight Happy Hour in Honor of FamilyFarmed

Head to Reviver for a candlelite happy hour in honor of Earth Day. Specials include the Spring Equinox cocktail, made with gin, St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur, Pamplemousse liqueur, basil and lime juice. There will also be live music and food specials, including a fan-favorite vegan Beyond Burger. 

Ten percent of all sales from the happy hour will be directly donated to FamilyFarmed, a non-profit organization committed to expanding the production, marketing and distribution of locally grown and responsibly produced food. Check out the full menu.

3-7 p.m., 540 N Michigan Ave, Chicago

April 22-28: Recycle Bottled Chai at Chiya Chai

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Chiya Chai (@chiyachai)

Chiya Chai is encouraging customers to recycle. Starting on Earth Day, guests who bring back their empty chai bottles will receive $2 off their order.

Chiva Chai, the Loop and Logan Square

April 22: The Insect Asylum Celebration

The Insect Asylum is opening its doors for a one-day experience. Starting at 11 a.m., guests will participate in a neighborhood trash cleanup followed by refreshments. Then, a re-potting class will be led by Lynn, owner of Rooted By Pollen. Afterwards a vermicomposting discussion will take place followed by a plant exchange led by Catherine Woods of The Green Light District. To end the night will be an artist driven conservation lecture by Pam Sloan, whose most recent work focuses on 12 species that are being monitored for rehabilitation. 

2870 N Milwaukee Ave, Chicago

April 22: Sacred Serve Sustainable Sundaes at Mariano’s West Loop

Sacred Serve will host a tasting party of the world’s most sustainable sundae at Mariano’s West Loop. The free event includes sustainable ice cream samples, music and drinks. Registration information can be found on Eventbrite.

4-6 p.m., 40 S Halsted St, Chicago

April 22: Good Ambler and Cacao Barry Pop Up

Good Ambler. Courtesy of Good Ambler

Good Ambler is partnering with Cacao Barry for a pop-up that focuses on sourcing cocoa beans responsibly and sustainably. A chocolate special from Chef Dimitri Fayard, head chef of the Chicago Chocolate Academy, will be available for the weekend. 

216 N Peoria St, Chicago

April 23: Earth Day Parks & Preserves Cleanup

“Invest ‘our Parks, Preserves, Planet”. Courtesy of Friends of the Parks

Join the Chicago Park District and Friends of the Parks for a citywide parks and reserves “cleanup“. More than 80 parks are participating in the clean-up this year so volunteers are encouraged to register as limited gloves and bags will be available. Parks include Douglass Park, North Park Village Nature Center, McKinley Park and Ogden Park.

April 23: Backyard Biophilia Nature Hike

Head to the forest for a naturalist led hike and pottery workshop with Clare Willis Pottery, a woman-owned small art studio in Deerfield. All ages are welcome (3 and under with a caregiver). Don’t miss the great weather and opportunity to kick of spring in a fun and meaningful way! The nature hike takes place April 23rd with a second day of pottery on April 30th. Book online.

$75/per person, 2-4 p.m., Middlefork Savanna, Lake Forest

April 23: Earth Day Storytime

Author Alyssa Nicole will be reading her book, Protector of the Ocean, at Time Out Market from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. She hopes it will raise awareness of the effects of pollution on our environment and inspire children and adults to take action. Protector of the Ocean follows an adventurous girl named Kai who loves to spend time by the ocean. Register online.

916 W Fulton Market, Chicago

April 23: A Party for the Planet

The Brookfield Zoo will be showcasing steps you can take to help animals and the environment. They will also collect electronics, textiles and used books.

9 a.m. – 2 p.m., Brookfield Zoo North Parking Lot

April 23: Earth Day Beauty Party

Credo Beauty. Courtesy of Eventbrite

Join Credo Beauty for free in-store services from sustainable brands. The Indie Lee team will provide customized product recommendations to maximize individual skin goals, and the Axiology team will help find the perfect Balmie shade, teach you how to use it and assist with application. Register online.

12 p.m. – 5 p.m., 1659 N Damen Ave, Chicago

April 24: Earth Day Run at Brookfield Zoo

Brookfield Zoo’s A Run for the Planet. Courtesy of Chicago Zoological Society

There’s no better way to celebrate Earth Day than by getting outside. The Earth Day Run – A Run for the Planet is a 2.2 mile run through Brookfield Zoo during pre-park hours. The non-competitive run is geared to runners of all ages. Register online.

8400 31st Street, Brookfield

April 24: Earth Day Celebration at Emily Oaks Nature Center

Emily Oaks Nature Center. Courtesy of Facebook

This year, earth friendly foods and plants will be available for sale at the Emily Oaks Nature Center in the North Shore. Participate in engaging activities for the whole family! All ages are welcome. 

12 p.m. – 4 p.m., 4650 Brummel Street, Skokie

More from Better:


Alyssa Asaro lives in downtown Chicago with her fiancé. She is a published poet and writer who graduated from the University of Central Florida.