Image of Movies in the Park from the Chicago Park District
There’s no denying it – winter can be rough on us all. But we’re in the home stretch now – the end is near. Spring officially begins Tuesday, March 20th, which means warmer days are ahead. And with those warmer days come many things to look forward to — green grass, blue skies, warm sun, and tons of great things to do in Chicago.
So, as we wrap up another winter and send it out with a shove, here are a few things to look forward to as we transition into the warmer months.
#1 Trying something new on a Chicago Food Planet tour
Chicago Food Planet tours are back in action, which is a sure sign that warmer weather is ahead. Starting March 16th, you can join us on one of many culinary tours of Chicago. Whether tourist or local, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the neighborhoods on our tours including 3-1-Chew in Bucktown/Wicker Park, Second City Classic in Gold Coast/Old Town, Chinatown Adventure, Gateway To The West Loop and our Best In Chow in River North/Streeterville. Tours run daily through the end of November, so there’s plenty of time to try all of them!
Get 20% off right now for all weekday tours in April with code “SPRING18” – see all available Chicago Food Tours today.
#2 Listening to tunes at the Grant Park Music Festival
This summer, the Grant Park Music Festival celebrates its 84th season of bringing stunning classical performances to Chicagoans. The 2018 season, held at the beautiful Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park, takes place Mondays, Wednesdays and Saturdays from June 13th through mid August. Ten weeks of glorious classical music performed by the Grant Park Orchestra & Chorus, plus friends. Pack a picnic basket (food and beverages are welcome) and a blanket — admission is free for those sitting in the lawn. Breathtaking skyline views are also complimentary.
#3 Taking yourself out the ball game
Whether you’re a Cubs fan or a Sox fan, one thing’s for sure – Chicago loves baseball. And nothing says summer like grabbing a hot dog, a beer and a seat at your ballpark of choice. Spring training is currently in progress, which can only mean one thing — summer is right around the corner. The Sox home opener is April 5th, while the Cubs open at home on April 9th. Go, CUBSOX!
#4 Shopping local at Green City Market
Since 1998, Green City Market has made a variety of fresh, local and sustainable goods available to Chicagoans. And while the market technically runs year round, there’s something extra special about visiting in the spring and summer. The outdoor market, opening again May-October, is held every Wednesday and Saturday from 7am to 1pm at the south end of Lincoln Park (approximately 1817 N. Clark). Local vendors sell everything from vegetables and fruits to maple syrup and artisan breads, so grab your reusable shopping bag, pick your favorite goodies, and eat well.
#5 Festing (and feasting) on Chicago’s streets
Chicago does street festivals better than anyone else. And this summer, the Chicago streets will host more than 400 neighborhood festivals, each offering a variety of music, food, culture and fun. Festival season officially ramps up in May and runs through September. Check this schedule for a more detailed list of festivals near you. Check out some of our favorites listed below:
Baconfest: April 6-7th
The annual ode to bacon event showcases extraordinary bacon creations from top local chefs, along with “bacon arts” poetry and music segments, plus the awarding of the Golden Rasher Awards. The perfect event for Ron Swanson – give us all the bacon you have, Chicago. Ticket prices vary but plan on at least $60.
Say Cheese Fest: April 15th
We believe cheese is it’s own food group, and the best food group. So a whole festival dedicated to this dairy delight is a must. From cheese-filled delights like Philly cheesesteaks, mac & cheese, and cheesecake you’ll get plenty of variety. The fest benefits charity so you don’t even have to feel guilty about your consumption (not that you would). It’ll cost you about $40-60, but that’s what I spend a week on cheese products anyway. How about you?
I Heart Halal Fest: April 13th-15 at Navy Pier
A first for Chicago, and for America, we are hosting the first-ever halal fest this spring with a “Taste of Halal” food hall, halal-themed bazaar, cooking demonstrations, comedy shows, concerts, and beauty classes. Not sure how the beauty classes come into play, but our interest is piqued! Entry is also super cheap, as far as Chicago festivals go. Entry only costs $5!
#6 Watching your favorite Movies in the Park
Embarking on its 18th season, the 2018 edition of Movies in the Park will most likely feature more than 175 screenings of current and classic movies in parks across the city. The official schedule has yet to be released, but you can stay updated on the Night Out In The Parks website and see a bunch of other things happening. Parks and rec will have a new meaning for you this summer!
#7 Get Boozy.
Chicago Wine Festival: Lincoln Park Zoo
New favorite past time: strolling the zoo with a wine glass in hand. Enjoy the warm weather and furry friends as you enjoy food and live performances at the historic Café Brauer. Just bring $30-60 to get in.
Chicago Rum Festival: April 14th
Picture it: you’ve got a mojito in your hand, a tank top on and the sun shining down on you and the warm sand. Even if summer is a few months away, rum is still appropriate and this festival is dedicated to it. It’ll feature three separate sessions depending on your taste – if you’re in the food and beverage industry you’ll have a special networking session too! Coming in cheap at just $10-20.
Old Style Pizza Summit: April 22nd @ Thalia Hall
This could have probably fallen under our food festival session, but when it starts with a Chicago staple beverage, it belongs under the booze title. Old Style + two sessions packed with pizza, a pop-up exhibit from the US Pizza Museum, art and music. It’ll run you about 45 bucks.
Here’s to spring, Chicago! Have any other warm weather favorite that you’re looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below, or send us a tweet at @ChiFoodPlanet.