It's cold right now. It was cold yesterday. Tomorrow it's going to be even colder!! You know when it's not cold? Spring. Let's put aside right now, and focus on Spring.
To get your mind ready for better days, we put together the best Spring to-do list ever, but instead of "Take out the garbage", which you should probably do before Spring anyway, it's got stuff like, "Have a cosplay lightsaber war", and "Pray to the Metal Gods on Dark Lord Day", and "Survive on bacon & beer for entire weeks at a time".
Here's our checklist of the 12 things you need to get ready to do in Chicago this Spring (assuming we don't all freeze and die before then)…
Watch the Sweet 16 on a 16x8ft screen
Where: American Junkie
Catch the NCAA tournament on the biggest TV in the Midwest -- a 16x8ft 1080i LED screen on the second floor sunroof loft of this patriot pourhouse. Down any of the 26 beers on draft, along with the requisite chicken nachos, BBQ wings, and crisp phyllo shrimp.
Brush elbows with SNL
veterans at the Chicago Improv Festival
March 31st-April 6th
Where: The Second City
Many of today's comedic actors have passed through the improv proving grounds of Chicago. And every year, the world's largest improv festival brings a few surprise comedians back to the epicenter. Maybe Bill Murray will show up... you can never really rule him out on anything.
Pledge your baseball allegiance to the White Sox or Cubs
: March 31st (White Sox); April 4th (Cubs)
Where: US Cellular Field/ Wrigley Field
Make your choice in the North Side-South Side sporting rivalry: see the White Sox and the ancient Konerkosaurus take on the Twins, or catch the "rebuilding for three years from now" Cubbies.
Run free with the Wookiees at Chicago’s Comic Con: C2E2
Where: McCormick Place
Whether you’re looking to mingle with sexy zombies or convince Stan Lee you’d make a great body-double for Captain America in the Avengers
sequel (OhMyGod you totally would!!), indulge your inner nerdly desires at the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo.
Stock up on nitrates at Baconfest Chicago
Where: UIC Forum
The ultimate bacon paradise will feature chefs from more than 150 restaurants (including Chris Pandel from The Bristol) cooking more than 5,000lbs of bacon. FIVE. THOUSAND. POUNDS. OF. BACON.
Down tacos at Rick Bayless’s new restaurant
The Top Chef Master
’s new Mexican restaurant will model itself after quick-service cafe XOCO in River North with a few tweaks: a larger space with an outdoor patio, table service, and a bar stocked with local craft beer.
Slay demons with beer and metal at Dark Lord Day
Where: Three Floyds Brewing
in Munster, IN
Beer geek brethren converge at Three Floyds for the one day a year you can purchase their legendary Dark Lord Russian Imperial Stout. The gathering is also a chance to sample rare brews while thrashing to the likes of Lair of the Minotaur, Sweet Cobra, and Pig Destroyer.
Kick off Craft Beer Week
Where: Garfield Park Conservatory
Start off a hopped-up week with 45+ local brewpubs and restaurants providing small plates and infinity 3oz samples at a West Side parkscape.
Fill a growler with fresh Lagunitas beer
Lagunitas Brewery and Taproom in Douglas Park
The pale ale powerhouse from California is venturing into the Midwest with a full brewery and mezzanine taproom, opening in a former steel mill space where you can get a fresh taste of a Little Sumpin' Sumpin'.
Put back one of 90 tequilas on Cinco de Mayo
Where: Masa Azul
The extensive tequila list runs from blancos to single-barrel extra anejos, and includes a selection of mezcal and lesser-known sotol, aka the NEXT mezcal
: Kayak the Chicago River
Where: Kayak Chicago
Pretend you're Tao Berman (he's a famous kayaker, apparently), and motor your way under every bridge that outlines the Loop, enjoying the now-actually-pretty-clean water after we reversed the flow from Lake Michigan down to St. Louis (they're still pretty upset).
: Root for the US to destroy Ghana in the World Cup
Where: The Globe Pub
Time to gather around for the one time every four years Americans pretend to like soccer! Spend it with some truly knowledgable hooligans at The Globe and pray the US can assert its First World dominance (because we're not beating Germany or Portugal).
Sean Cooley is Thrillist's Chicago Editor and he once drank 64 beers on a cross-country flight. Follow him @SeanCooley.