Put away the warm winter clothes and say hello to springtime in Chicago! It’s the perfect season to explore all the city has to offer. With an array of activities and events including art exhibitions, sporting events, and tours, Chicago is in full bloom this spring.
Visitors to the city are invited to make their first stop the Visitor Information Center in the Chicago Cultural Center, located at 77 East Randolph Street. For more information on visiting Chicago this spring, or to book accommodations, visit www.explorechicago.org.
Get a Head Start With Spring Flower Shows
Spring makes an early entrance with the help of the Spring Flower Shows at the Lincoln Park Conservatory and Garfield Park Conservatory daily until May 8. These free annual flower shows offer visitors a chance to experience the beauty of spring with a rare opportunity to meet the direct descendents of the great Azaleas that once bloomed at the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893. In addition, this year’s flower shows will feature a changing selection of spring blooming plants including Azaleas, spring flowering annuals and spring flowering perennials. The Chicago Flower and Garden Show will again green the shores of Lake Michigan from March 5-13 at Navy Pier. Visitors will be treated to the best of landscape design and see the latest in sustainable and green products. The 2011 theme, “The Sport of Gardening”, will highlight more than 25 gardens spotlighting top Midwest landscapers, growers, and garden designers
Fun for the Whole Family When Baseball Season Kicks Off
The Major League Baseball season kicks off on March 31 when the 2008 American League Central Division champions, the Chicago White Sox, play their home opener at U.S. Cellular Field. With tasty ball park food and original features like the Pontiac Fundamentals, an interactive area especially for kids, U.S. Cellular is fun for the entire family. Experience a bit of history and head up north to baseball’s 2nd oldest stadium, Wrigley Field, to watch the 2008 National League Central Division champions, the Chicago Cubs, take on their National League rivals. The Cubs open their home season on April 1 against Pittsburgh.
Large-Scale Sculptural Installation Comes to Millennium Park
Interconnected: The Sculptures of Yvonne Domenge will feature four monumental works by Mexican sculptor Yvonne Domenge beginning April 6. Often referencing the natural world, Domenge’s work reveals a fascination with form and geometry. Her large spheres defy gravity and space, conveying a rhythmic beauty and the sense of a larger universal order.
New Half-Day Bus Tours Explore Chicago’s Many Vibrant Neighborhoods
Discover Chicago’s diverse communities with Chicago Neighborhood Tours, half-day bus excursions that highlight the history, traditions and people of Chicago. Tours begin at the Chicago Cultural Center. The following are new tours for 2011:
- Anderson & Edgewater May 7
- Avondale, Old Irving & The Villa May 14
- Back of the Yards & Bridgeport April 9
- Bronzeville, South Loop & IIT Campus May 7
- Uptown & Argyle Street April 9
Chicago Architecture Foundation Adds New Bus And Walking Tours
These new bus and walking tours give locals and travelers a chance to get to know the city better in a shorter period of time. All tours are provided by Chicago Architecture Foundation docents.
- Razzle Dazzle: Architecture Tour of Theater District
- Skyscraper Walk Through Time
- Inland Steel Building
- Skyscraper Express Bus
Artropolis Celebrates Art, Antiques and Culture
Art enthusiasts should head to the Merchandise Mart from April 29-May 2 to attend Artropolis 2011, Chicago’s celebration of art, antiques and culture. Consisting of Art Chicago, NEXT and The Merchandise Mart International Antiques Fair, Artropolis once again features something for everyone - from the novice art enthusiast to the veteran collector.
Tulips Brighten the Magnificent Mile
The Magnificent Mile is not only home to numerous restaurants, shops and hotels but also to thousands of tulips that bloom each spring during Tulips on the Magnificent Mile, May 1-31. Celebrate the season and view the tulip gardens that line the Magnificent Mile while taking advantage of exclusive offers from the businesses along the colorful street.
Go Fly a Kite
There’s no better way to take advantage of Chicago’s nickname, “The Windy City” than with Mayor Daley’s Kids & Kites Festival at Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park. This festival allows children to decorate and fly their own kites with kite kits. This free event on May 7 also offers face painting, storytelling and crafts.
Observe Memorial Day with Parade and Wreath Laying
Commemorate Memorial Day Weekend in Chicago. As one of the largest events of its kind in the country, the Chicago Memorial Day Wreath Laying Ceremony and Parade honors all who have given their lives for their country. The celebration will begin at the Eternal Flame in Daley Plaza with the parade on State Street kicking off at noon on May 28.
Explore Chicago’s Diverse Selection of Museums
Chicago is world-renowned for its diverse collection of museums which bring to life a variety of subjects, including Chicago history, modern art, African American culture, astronomy, natural history and much more. A variety of exhibitions will be on display throughout the spring including:
- The Museum of Contemporary Art - Jim Nutt: Coming Into Character, through May 29
- Art Institute of Chicago - Kings, Queens, and Courtiers: Art in Early Renaissance France, through May 30
- The Field Museum - The Horse, through August 14
- Museum of Science and Industry - Body Worlds & The Cycle Of Life, through September 5
Keep It Fresh at Farmers Markets
The main components of a healthy and balanced diet are fruits and vegetables and what better place to buy your fresh fruits and vegetables as well as condiments, preserves and seasonings than at Chicago’s Downtown Farmstand. Located at 66 E Randolph Street in downtown Chicago, the Farmstand features local products grown or produced within 250 miles of Chicago. The Farmstand also hosts programs and activities such as lunchtime demonstrations and discussions between local growers and Chicago residents. Green City Market, celebrating its 12th season, is Chicago’s only year round farmer’s market. In addition to over 60 sustainable and/or organic farmers and producers, Green City Market also offers educational programs including chef demonstrations; a kids program, Club Sprouts, which encourages children to sample produce; Savor the Season, highlighting products at the height of their taste and availability; and much more. From May to October at the south end of Lincoln Park, Green City Market is open every Wednesday and Saturday from 8:00am-1:00pm.
Visitor Information Resources
Visitors and Chicagoans planning to entertain out-of-town guests can receive trip-planning assistance and information by visiting www.ExploreChicago.org. Brochures and information on Chicago’s exciting events and activities are also available at the Visitor Information Centers. Friendly Visitor Representatives can answer questions and assist in planning an unforgettable itinerary. The visitor centers are located in two of the city’s most popular areas: across from Millennium Park in the Chicago Cultural Center, 77 E. Randolph Street entrance; and at the historic Water Works pumping station, 163 E. Pearson Street at Michigan Avenue.
For daily alerts about fun and free things to do in Chicago, follow ExploreChicago on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/ExploreChicago. Receive answers to your Chicago questions on the go, and tips on the latest citywide events and activities, via the FREE Twitter Concierge Service (@explorechicago) available daily.
The Chicago Office of Tourism is dedicated to promoting Chicago as a premier cultural destination to domestic and international leisure travelers and to providing innovative visitor programs and resources. For more information please visit www.ExploreChicago.org.