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City Guide: Chicago Events

City Guides
By on Mar 18, 2019
City Guide: Chicago Events

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Are you moving to the windy city and wondering what there is to do? While you might know about the bigger summertime events, like Taste Of Chicago, there are events that happen all year-round that make every season a great time to be a Chicagoan.

Get out your planner and mark these down, because these are events you won’t want to miss. Here are a few Chicago events for each season.

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What To Do In Chicago In Spring?

If you’re heading to Chicago during the springtime, you should know we have a different definition of spring here. While for many areas of the country, the weather starts to become milder and bulbs start to peak out from the ground, this likely won’t happen until mid-to-end April. So, dress for the weather.

One of the biggest annual springtime events is the St. Patrick’s Day Parade & dyeing of the Chicago River. Thousands flock to the Riverwalk to see, what seems like magic; the water is dyed bright green in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. Most year’s events begin at 9 a.m. but you’ll want to get there very early if you want a good view.

As the weather gives Chicagoans a few nice days, why not take your bike out and go for a ride on The 606? This is an urban bike and running path that will take you through some popular northwest side neighborhoods like Logan Square, Bucktown, and Wicker Park. No bike? Try out the Divvy bike share, there’s a station at every entrance of The 606.

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What To Do In Chicago In Summer?

When people ask me, “how do you live through a Chicago winter?” the response is often, “Because of the summer!” Don’t be fooled however, we certainly have our hot days!

Summer in Chicago is truly when the city comes alive. There’s a festival almost every weekend in any given neighborhood of the city. Street festivals are a great place to go try local food, buy from craft vendors and enjoy music and performances from your neighbors. Some of my favorite festivals to attend include Andersonville Midsommarfest, 57th Street Art Fair, Square Roots Festival, Chicago SummerDance, Chicago Hotdog Fest, and the Chicago Jazz Festival. These are only a few of a large list, see more festivals here.

Another reason to love summer in Chicago is Movies In The Parks! With 570 parks within city limits, you can almost always find a free movie to go to on weeknights. The movies shown vary, but you can keep up to date by downloading the MyChi Parks app.

One thing to be aware of, as a local Chicagoan, is the headline summer events such as Lollapalooza and Taste Of Chicago. If you choose to attend, note that these events are very crowded and can sometimes lead to congestion on roads and public transit.  

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What To Do In Chicago In Fall?

As the weather gets cooler, Chicagoans choose to find one last hurrah outdoors. There are a few street festivals such as Renegade Craft Festival and Lincoln Square Apple Festival, that you won’t want to miss.

However, if you’re looking for an excuse to get out of town for a bit, it’s the perfect time to go apple picking. Farms like Honey Hill Orchard or All-Seasons Orchard provide family fun picking apples and the beloved apple cider donuts that everyone loves.

If you’re a baseball fan, it’s a great time to catch a game. In fact, you might want to bring your pup along with you. White Sox fans have the opportunity to bring their dogs with them as they watch the game during “Bark At The Park” every fall. Reserve your seat for you and your best friend to enjoy some snacks at the ballgame.

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What To Do In Chicago In Winter?

While some residents might grumble that the changing weather, there’s a lot to be enjoyed about a Chicago winter, especially around the holidays. The weekend before Thanksgiving, the season kicks off with the annual Lights Festival Parade down Michigan Avenue. Mickey Mouse turns on all the holiday lights down the Magnificent Mile. Get there early to see bands perform and even get some winter treats.

If you’re looking to start a new holiday tradition in Chicago, then you don’t want to miss Caroling At Cloud Gate. With the backdrop of the famous “Bean” sculpture, carolers sing the classics and even get the audience involved. Make a day of it with some ice skating in Millennium Park and a few photos by the city’s Christmas tree.

Finally, is it really Christmas in Chicago without a visit to Christkindlmarket? This German market features the sights and smells of the holidays. Grab a mug of gluehwein and wander around each of the booths, looking at the handcrafted treasures you can gift to friends and family.

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Things To Do In Chicago Year-Round

Of course, there’s plenty to do all year here in Chicago. World-Class museums such as the Art Institute or the Field Museum are open every month, sometimes even with free days to Chicago residents.

The lakefront is where many flock to during nice weather. I love taking my pup to the Montrose Dog Beach, to run around and play. I can even use that time to enjoy the sunshine for a bit too, and if it’s warm enough, dip my toes in the water. Promontory Point is another hidden gem of the city. Right on the lakefront, it provides a beautiful view of the city and is the only place in Chicago where you can have a public campfire, in the pits provided.

Farmers Market’s are a big deal in Chicago, with some like the Logan Square Market, running year-round both indoors and outdoors. The Randolph Street Festival is a monthly activity that also runs outdoors in the warmer months and indoors when it gets cooler. Be sure to look up the dates for these events and get them on your calendar.

Chicago is a great city with plenty to do in every season. It’s a guarantee you’ll never get bored here. If you’re moving soon, be sure to read City Guides: What To Know Before Moving To Chicago.

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