Events

14 Things You Absolutely Must Do in Chicago This Spring

Published On 03/07/2016 Published On 03/07/2016
bacon pastries at baconfest in chicago
Baconfest | Jim Vondruska/Thrillist
Sean Cooley/Thrillist

Date

Event

Location

Apr 2 Sat

Roll Into the River North Donut Fest This new donut festival will have you asking for weird-sounding edibles like crullers, rings, bearclaws, and long johns from local donut shop vendors. Pair the latter with three drink tickets valid for beer, mimosas, Irish coffee, or “adult” hot chocolate.

Moe’s Cantina

Roll Into the River North Donut Fest Moe’s Cantina This new donut festival will have you asking for weird-sounding edibles like crullers, rings, bearclaws, and long johns from local donut shop vendors. Pair the latter with three drink tickets valid for beer, mimosas, Irish coffee, or “adult” hot chocolate.

Date

Event

Location

Apr 3 Sun

Fill up at the Firkin Fest What the firk is firkin beer? It’s cask-conditioned ale served in a cask. Try some at this rare tasting of 40 custom brews from established players like Lagunitas, Revolution, and Half Acre, plus a few up-and-comers we’re really rooting for, like Alarmist.

Headquarters Beercade

Fill up at the Firkin Fest Headquarters Beercade What the firk is firkin beer? It’s cask-conditioned ale served in a cask. Try some at this rare tasting of 40 custom brews from established players like Lagunitas, Revolution, and Half Acre, plus a few up-and-comers we’re really rooting for, like Alarmist.

Mike Gebert/Thrillist

Date

Event

Location

Apr 3 Sun

Visit the Chicago Pizza Summit The Empty Bottle and Old Style present this crowded new assemblage of 12 local pizza makers who will serve up their take on the Chicago classic either by-the-slice or via pizza-inspired dishes over two sessions. The event includes DJs, a pizza-shaped plate, and a keynote speech by the pizza party king himself, Andrew W.K.

Chop Shop

Visit the Chicago Pizza Summit Chop Shop The Empty Bottle and Old Style present this crowded new assemblage of 12 local pizza makers who will serve up their take on the Chicago classic either by-the-slice or via pizza-inspired dishes over two sessions. The event includes DJs, a pizza-shaped plate, and a keynote speech by the pizza party king himself, Andrew W.K.

Date

Event

Location

Apr 9 Sat

Drop in on the Mad Hatter Mayhem Pub Crawl Stupid hats are the excuse for this pub crawl through Wicker Park haunts like Nick’s, Flat Iron, and Chop Shop, plus prizes for best hat, raffles, contests, and appetizers. So, yeah, that “Bears 2016 Super Bowl Champs” hat should do nicely.

Starts at Emporium Wicker Park

Drop in on the Mad Hatter Mayhem Pub Crawl Starts at Emporium Wicker Park Stupid hats are the excuse for this pub crawl through Wicker Park haunts like Nick’s, Flat Iron, and Chop Shop, plus prizes for best hat, raffles, contests, and appetizers. So, yeah, that “Bears 2016 Super Bowl Champs” hat should do nicely.

Colin Joliat/Thrillist

Date

Event

Location

Apr 30-May 1

Belly up to Baconfest In case you’ve been living in a bacon-free cave (poor bacon-free you), Baconfest is the annual mother lode of bacon parties. This year, it's spaced out over three glorious sessions (Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, and Sunday brunch) featuring over 100 restaurants and chefs serving up bacon-centric dishes alongside the “Golden Rasher” awards and accolades for “bacon arts” poetry, video, and song.

UIC Forum

Belly up to Baconfest UIC Forum In case you’ve been living in a bacon-free cave (poor bacon-free you), Baconfest is the annual mother lode of bacon parties. This year, it's spaced out over three glorious sessions (Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, and Sunday brunch) featuring over 100 restaurants and chefs serving up bacon-centric dishes alongside the “Golden Rasher” awards and accolades for “bacon arts” poetry, video, and song.

Date

Event

Location

May 7 Sat

Drop by Whiskey and Tequila Fest What better way to prepare for the Kentucky Derby than by pounding 50 whiskeys, bourbons, and tequilas from noon to 4pm? You can’t think of one, can you? Wait, did you black out already?

Moe’s Cantina

Drop by Whiskey and Tequila Fest Moe’s Cantina What better way to prepare for the Kentucky Derby than by pounding 50 whiskeys, bourbons, and tequilas from noon to 4pm? You can’t think of one, can you? Wait, did you black out already?

Date

Event

Location

May 7 Sat

Catch the Chicago Beer Classic The city’s largest beer festival (and in this town that’s saying something) kicks off summer six weeks early via two sessions, 75+ breweries, 48 2oz samples, a pretzel necklace, and “beer education” throughout the event. See, mom? It’s educational.

Soldier Field

Catch the Chicago Beer Classic Soldier Field The city’s largest beer festival (and in this town that’s saying something) kicks off summer six weeks early via two sessions, 75+ breweries, 48 2oz samples, a pretzel necklace, and “beer education” throughout the event. See, mom? It’s educational.

Date

Event

Location

May 14 Sat

Hit up Handmade Chicago Hit up this hip (dare we say hipster?) outdoor fashion show to peep cool handmade works from DIY artists ranging from clothing and furniture to art and mixed media, plus art demos and booth chats.

Journeymen Plumbers Hall

Hit up Handmade Chicago Journeymen Plumbers Hall Hit up this hip (dare we say hipster?) outdoor fashion show to peep cool handmade works from DIY artists ranging from clothing and furniture to art and mixed media, plus art demos and booth chats.

Mayfest

Date

Event

Location

May 20 Fri

Make a day of it at Mayfest The traditional kickoff of the Chicago summer street festival season pops up the big-top tent and fills it with humans, animals, food, beer, and bands. You kinda gotta be there.

3100 N. Ashland Ave

Make a day of it at Mayfest 3100 N. Ashland Ave The traditional kickoff of the Chicago summer street festival season pops up the big-top tent and fills it with humans, animals, food, beer, and bands. You kinda gotta be there.

Courtesy of Ferris Fest

Date

Event

Location

May 20-22

Skip class, go to Ferris Fest: A 30th Anniversary Leisure Weekend Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller's Day Off with a screening at the John & Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest. Actors from the movie will be in attendance for a Q&A hosted by Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper. Other features include a tour of all film locations, a live reenactment of the "Twist & Shout" parade sequence, and a recreation of Ferris' bedroom.

Various locations

Skip class, go to Ferris Fest: A 30th Anniversary Leisure Weekend Various locations Celebrate the 30th anniversary of Ferris Bueller's Day Off with a screening at the John & Nancy Hughes Theater in Lake Forest. Actors from the movie will be in attendance for a Q&A hosted by Sun-Times film critic Richard Roeper. Other features include a tour of all film locations, a live reenactment of the "Twist & Shout" parade sequence, and a recreation of Ferris' bedroom.

flickr/swimfinfam

Date

Event

Location

Jun 10-12

Dance your face off at Spring Awakening Chicago’s leading dance music festival celebrates its fifth year at a new location in Jackson Park. Sounds cool and all, but we’ll miss you, Soldier Field.

Jackson Park

Dance your face off at Spring Awakening Jackson Park Chicago’s leading dance music festival celebrates its fifth year at a new location in Jackson Park. Sounds cool and all, but we’ll miss you, Soldier Field.

Flickr/ian freimuth

Date

Event

Location

Jun 10 Fri

Hit up Ribfest Chicago XVIII Is 50,000lbs of ribs enough ribs? Only Ribfest can answer that question, with the help of 30 local rib and non-rib restaurants, booze, indie bands, and a seriously competitive rib-eating contest (hint: it’s called Ribmania).

Lincoln/Irving Park/Damen

Hit up Ribfest Chicago XVIII Lincoln/Irving Park/Damen Is 50,000lbs of ribs enough ribs? Only Ribfest can answer that question, with the help of 30 local rib and non-rib restaurants, booze, indie bands, and a seriously competitive rib-eating contest (hint: it’s called Ribmania).

Date

Event

Location

Jun 17 Fri

Check out Chicago Ale Fest Buckingham Fountain isn’t just that place to text your lost friends at Lolla. It’s also the site of this festival, which features over 200 beers from 100 craft brewers, live music, and (obviously) food from local restaurants.

Buckingham Fountain

Check out Chicago Ale Fest Buckingham Fountain Buckingham Fountain isn’t just that place to text your lost friends at Lolla. It’s also the site of this festival, which features over 200 beers from 100 craft brewers, live music, and (obviously) food from local restaurants.

Flickr/smussyolay

Date

Event

Location

Jun 17-19

Totter over to Taste of Randolph One of Chicago’s most prominent summer festivals is showing its age this year, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Almost old enough to drink...

West Loop

Totter over to Taste of Randolph West Loop One of Chicago’s most prominent summer festivals is showing its age this year, celebrating its 20th anniversary. Almost old enough to drink...