There are times in Chicago where the incessant snow and howling gales seem as if they will never vacate the Windy City. Although winter hasn’t entirely released its clutches on Chicago, the fantastic events on the calendar will surely lure you out of your front door. With the variety of things to do in Chicago from spring until fall, it can be difficult to decide which events to attend. While a few uncertainties may linger, be sure to check out these five incredible events in Chicago that best represent the vibrant character of the city.
With the largest Irish-American population in the United States, there is no doubt that this is the place to be for St. Patrick’s Day. Before you get ahold of too many pints of Guinness, be sure to rise and shine the Saturday prior to the holiday in order to join in on the emerald green rumpus of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade in Chicago. Arrive early for a prime viewing spot of the 10am dyeing of the Chicago River along the Michigan Avenue Bridge or the west side of the Columbus Drive Bridge, as the serpentine waterway assumes a festive shamrock hue. After the main event,check out Chicago’s greatest Irish pubs, such as McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon and The Galway Arms for a long night of celebration.
Just in case your thirst wasn’t quenched on St. Patrick’s Day, the Chicago Beer Festival is just around the corner! On March 30th, Chicago’s Union Station will be transformed into a debaucherous beer hall for the masses. With 65 hoppy participants to choose from, such as the highly rated Ommegang and Goose Island breweries, the unlimited sampling included in the ticket price is a dream come true. A word to the wise, this event does not sell tickets at the door, so be sure to purchase tickets online prior to attending the festival.
Despite its curious name, Dillo Day has elevated itself to one of the foremost annual Northwestern University traditions since it began in 1972. The event, which derives its moniker from a Texas variation on Groundhog Day, serves as a celebration for the end of the academic year with the raucous liberty of a music festival. With big names such as Nelly, Regina Spektor and Arcade Fire lining up on stage, there’s no doubt that this is the coolest way to say adios to textbooks. As a side note, this festival is only open to members of the Northwestern community and their registered guests.
For those looking for the best way to welcome in the glorious Chicago summer, make sure to mark your calendars for the Chicago Blues Festival. As one of the city’s biggest summer events, the festival tops the charts for the largest free blues festival in the entire world, regularly drawing crowds of over 500,000 each year. Throughout the three day festival, residents and tourists alike flood Millennium and Grant Parks for blissful days spent lounging on the grass with food from local vendors and the soulful tunes of jazz legends such as Etta James and B.B. King in the background.
If you’re in search of another incredible free Chicago festival, check out the foodie mecca, Taste of Chicago. The festival sieges Millennium Park for a glorious ten day spread, during which over 70 local food vendors offer Chicago classics such as deep dish pizza and Polish sausages. In between meals, take a stroll through the park and catch a live musical performance or perhaps a movie screening once the sun begins to set. This year is sure to be another jam-packed festival, as Fun headlines at the opening concert to celebrate another year of indulging in Chicago’s finest cuisine.
Daniel Hogan is a writer at Party Earth – a global media and entertainment company that publishes reviews and listings of the best social experiences around the world including: bars in Paris, pubs in London, beaches in Ibiza, plazas in Rome, parks in New York, festivals and concerts everywhere, and more.