Chicago events calendar for March 2016. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend fairs, shows, St. Patrick’s Day parades, Easter egg hunts in Chicago, Illinois.

Best events for 12 months
Best events for 12 months
March 2016
March 2016

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Spirits tasting

March 1, 2016 (5:30 to 10 p.m.)

6.3 miles NW

Meet distillers and sample their spirits at Distillinois, with live jazz, cocktail samples, and food for sale in Logan Square Auditorium for age 21+.

Free entertainment

March 1 - 4, 2016 (begins Feb. 19)

multiple locations

OnEdge is a series of experimental theater, modern dance, and performance art. Arrive early. Free.

A musical about choices

March 1 - 6, 2016 (begins Feb. 23)

0.5 miles SW

In the contemporary musical If/Then, a woman lives out two different lives in New York City at Oriental Theatre. Discount tickets $29 to $59.

Orchid Show

March 1 - 13, 2016 (begins Feb. 13)

24 miles north

See 10,000 blooming orchids on display at the Orchid Show, which has weekend classes, Tuesday morning music, and a March 10 Evening with Orchids cocktail tasting at Chicago Botanic Garden.

Dramatic comedy

March 1 - May 8, 2016 (begins Feb. 4)

3 miles NW

Misfits running a small-town movie theater grapple with life in tragicomedy The Flick at Steppenwolf Theatre. Discount tickets (Feb. 23+) $40.

Smart comedy

March 2 - 13, 2016

31 miles north

Educating Rita is about a hairstylist who goes back to school and the professor who helps her, at Citadel Theatre in Lake Forest. Discount tickets $19.

Romantic opera

March 2 - 19, 2016 (begins Feb. 22)

1 mile SW

Romeo and Juliet is the classic love story about two star-crossed lovers, performed in French with English subtitles at the Civic Opera House. Discount tickets $52 to $149.

Peaceful film festival

March 3 - 6, 2016

0.5 mile south

Peace on Earth Film Festival (POEFF) features works that raise awareness of peace, non-violence, social justice, and an eco-balanced world, at the Chicago Cultural Center’s Claudia Cassidy Theater. Free.

Adult drama

March 3 - 6, 2016

5 miles north

The Shape of Things is a chilling, fast-paced story of sexual gamesmanship that asks just how much you are willing to change yourself to please your partner, at Athenaeum Theatre. Discount tickets $17.

Irish film festival

March 3 - 6, 2016

5 miles NW

Chicago Irish Film Festival focuses on the spirit of Irish culture at Logan Theatre and the Society for Arts.

Mary Poppins live

March 3 - 27, 2016

5 miles north

Hear those catchy songs and watch the new nanny fly in Mary Poppins at Stage 773.

Discount tickets for March 2, $22.

Funny Hitchcock play

March 3 - April 3, 2016 (begins Feb. 18)

26 miles NW

The fast-paced play 39 Steps is a comedic spoof of the classic film about a wrongly accused man racing to clear his name while evading the law, at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Discount tickets $19.

Magic lounge

March 3 - June 25, 2016 (8 p.m.)

7 miles north

Chicago Magic Lounge is an old-school magic show with close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts at beautiful Uptown Underground. Discount tickets $15 at Groupon and Goldstar.

St. Patrick’s Day party

March 4, 2016

2.5 miles north

Forever Green has 2 Irish bands, Trinity Irish Dance Company, and beverages for age 21+ at Park West.

Green film festival

March 4 - 6, 2016

Greater Chicago area

One Earth Film Fest shows films about climate change, sustainability, and environmental activism.

Custom car show

March 4 - 6, 2016

17 miles NW

World of Wheels features hot rods, competition cars, specialty, and concept vehicles at the Rosemont convention center.

Adult variety show

March 4 - 26, 2016 (also Feb.)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground. Reviews.

Discount tickets $13 (Feb. 12, 19, 20).

Award-winning drama

March 4 - April 3, 2016

3.1 miles NW

Catherine’s mathematician father dies, leaving behind a mysterious Proof and a student who has romantic intentions in this moving drama at Royal George Theatre: discount tickets $19

Also in Glenview: discount tickets $18

Beer tasting

March 5, 2016 (1 & 6 p.m.)

1.9 miles west

Taste beer from a dozen breweries at the annual Windy City Brewhaha at Revel Fulton Market.

Shopping-cart race

March 5, 2016 (12:30 p.m.)

3 miles west

Shopping cart riders race through Wicker Park pulled by humans in the Chiditarod, on the same day the Alaska Iditarod dog-sled race begins. Donate food.

Whiskey Walk

March 5, 2016 (12 to 10 p.m.)

6 miles north

Taste 8 premium whiskeys with snacks at 8 bars during Whiskey Walk in and near Casey Moran’s.

Discount tickets $29.

St. Patrick’s parade (west)

March 5, 2016 (noon)

19 miles west

Celebrate Irish tradition with leprechauns, clowns, jugglers, dancers, bagpipes, marching bands, and floats at Elmhurst St. Patrick’s Day Parade. Free.

Small-town craft fair

March 5, 2016

21 miles south

Alsip Spring Craft Fair & Community Expo has handmade arts and crafts, local business exhibitors, and kids’ activities at Prairie Jr. High School. Free.

Irish day in Oak Forest

March 5, 2016

25 miles SW

Oak Forest Fleadh includes a 5K race at 8:30, bikers and walkers on car-free Cicero Avenue at 10 a.m., a family parade at 11 a.m., and Irish pub specials.

Emotional play

March 5, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

27 miles west

Arthur Miller’s classic play All My Sons examines how we face our weaknesses while trying to do our best for those we love, at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. Discount tickets $8.

Walking tour & brunch

March 5 - 26, 2016 (9:30 a.m. Sat.) also Feb.

0.4 miles SE

Pedway Brunch Tour is a 3-hour excursion starting at the Radisson Blu Hotel and following the city’s heated pedestrian walkway, with an included buffet brunch. Discount tickets $35 (2 left).

Culture of Italy

March 6, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of Italy at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Polar Plunge

March 6, 2016

2 miles north

Join 3,000 who wade into the cold waters of Lake Michigan to support charity during Chicago Polar Plunge at North Avenue Beach, or watch from shore.


March 6, 2016

11 miles west

Hear nine jazz performances in different Oak Park restaurants during Jazz Thaw. Free.

African-American dance

March 8 - 13, 2016

1 mile south

Award-winning Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs at the Auditorium Theatre.

Discount tickets $49.

Tap-dancing musical

March 8 - 20, 2016

0.7 miles SW

42nd Street is an upbeat musical with popular songs about a chorus girl working hard to be make it on Broadway, at Cadillac Palace Theatre. Discount tickets $29.

Film festival

March 10 - 12, 2016

42 miles west

The Geneva Film Festival screens a variety of independent short and feature-length films from around the world in downtown Geneva.

St. Patrick’s Day Dinner

March 11, 2016

1.2 miles south

The $175 St. Patrick’s Day Dinner honors the grand marshal of the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and includes cocktails, dinner, and Irish music at Hilton Chicago.

Magic show

March 11 - 12, 2016

0.8 miles north

Ivan Amodei involves the audience in his entertaining 90-minute magic show Intimate Illusions, with live cello accompaniment at the Ritz-Carlton. Discount tickets $36.

Wine tasting

March 11 - 12, 2016

1.7 miles west

Choose from 250 wines to taste at Wine Riot at Venue One, and track your favorites on the free mobile app. Repeats Oct.

St. Patrick’s parade

March 12, 2016 (noon)

1.3 miles south

The Chicago River flows green at 9:30 a.m. near Michigan Ave. & Wacker Dr. The St. Patrick’s Day Parade begins at noon, rain or shine, at Balbo Ave. and goes north on Columbus Dr. to Monroe St. Free.

St. Patrick’s run

March 12, 2016

2.7 miles south

You’ll see plenty of costumes at the Get Lucky half marathon, 14K, and 7K that begin at Soldier Field South Parking Lot and go south along the lake.

St. Patrick’s run/walk

March 12, 2016 (9:30 a.m.)

2.8 miles north

St. Paddy’s Day 5K & 8K Run/Walk in Lincoln Park begins near N. Cannon Drive & W. Fullerton. It ends with Irish music, entertainment, and refreshments.

Irish tasting

March 12, 2016 (11 a.m. to 6 p.m.)

3.5 miles NW

A ticket to Chicago Irish Crawl includes a green Irish beanie hat, $5 in food-taste tickets, and drink specials at Wicker Park.

St. Patrick’s Festival

March 12, 2016 (1 p.m. to midnight)

9 miles NW

After the big parade, enjoy Irish music, dance, food, activities, and gift shopping at St. Patrick’s Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center.

Maple sugar fair - Schaumburg

March 12 - 13, 2016 (9 a.m. to noon)

29 miles NW

Enjoy an outdoor pancake breakfast with real maple syrup and see how it’s made in a pioneer sugar camp at Sugar Bush Fair. Includes a puppet show, hayride, and food market in Schaumburg.

Maple sugar fair - Naperville

March 12 - 13, 2016

33 miles west

Watch maple tree tapping, taste a maple treat, learn to dance a reel, and join a scavenger hunt at Maple Sugaring Days at Naper Settlement.

Flower and garden show

March 12 - 20, 2016

1 mile east

Chicago Flower & Garden Show features 20 gardens, 100 vendors, cooking demonstrations, seminars, and a kids’ activity garden at Navy Pier.

Culture of Lithuania

March 13, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of Lithuania at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Dinner cruise

March 13, 2016 (6 to 8:30 p.m.)

1 mile east

Enjoy a buffet meal, DJ dance music, and views of the Chicago skyline aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise, leaving Navy Pier.

Discount tickets $63.

St. Patrick’s parade (north)

March 13, 2016

13 miles NW

Northwest Side Irish Parade begins at Onahan School and is free. Buy a ticket for the optional after-party for dinner and family fun.

St. Patrick’s parade (south)

March 13, 2016 (noon)

17 miles south

South Side Irish Parade is on Western Avenue and goes south from 103rd to 115th Street. Free.

St. Patrick’s Day bar crawls

March 5 - 17, 2016

Chicago locations

These events usually include drink specials and party souvenirs, with no cover charges at multiple bars.

Dark comedy

March 17 - 20, 2016

4.8 miles north

Based on the cult-classic movie with Winona Ryder, Heathers: The Musical is about three high-school divas and a girl who dares to put them in their place, at Theater Wit. Discount tickets $29.

Whisky festival

March 18, 2016

0.2 miles SE

Taste 300 whiskeys, and learn from master distillers and blenders at WhiskyFest at Hyatt Regency Chicago. This event sells out early.

Magic night

March 18, 2016 (8 p.m.)

1.1 miles SW

Magic & Mystery is an evening of astonishing magic by professional magician Mat LaVore in the beautiful W Chicago. Discount tickets $38.

Motown musical

March 18, 2016 (8 p.m.)

16 miles NW

Hear the 1960s Motown Sound blend of soul music with a pop influence at Dancing in the Streets music revue at Rosemont Theatre. Discount tickets $34.

Comic and Entertainment Expo

March 18 - 20, 2016

3 miles south

Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo (C2E2) is a convention for fans of comics, graphic novels, anime, manga, video games, toys, movies, and pop culture at McCormick Place.

Paper money expo

March 18 - 20, 2016

16 miles NW

Chicago Paper Money Exposition includes an auction and 85 booths of rare paper money, stocks, and bonds at Crowne Plaza in Rosemont. Free on Sunday.

Sports memorabilia

March 18 - 20, 2016

17 miles NW

Sports Spectacular is a sports collectibles convention with 300 vendors plus athletes selling autographs at Rosemont convention center. Repeats in Nov.

Tattoo convention

March 18 - 20, 2016

17 miles NW

Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention features live tattooing, sideshows, and entertainment at Rosemont convention center.

Pet expo

March 18 - 20, 2016

27 miles NW

Chicagoland Family Pet Expo features entertainment, exhibitors, and demos at Arlington Park Racetrack.

Star Trek show

March 19, 2016 (8 p.m.)

0.4 miles SW

Star Trek: The Ultimate Voyage features film and TV footage from Star Trek on a 40-foot wide screen plus a live orchestra playing the music at The Chicago Theatre. Discount tickets $24 to $64.

St. Patrick’s beer run/walk

March 19, 2016 (11 a.m.)

23.8 miles NW

Shamrock 5K Beer Run includes a 3-ounce beer every kilometer and a pint at the finish in Arlington Heights.

Modern ballet

March 19, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

27 miles west

Thodos Dance Chicago performs A Light in the Dark, The Story of Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan plus short works at McAninch Arts Center in Glen Ellyn. Discount tickets $9.

Easter for kids in Schaumburg

March 19, 2016 (9 a.m. to noon)

32 miles NW

Celebrate spring with egg hunts, games, crafts, moon bounce, concessions, pony rides, and a petting zoo at Bunny Bash at the Community Recreation Center.

Easter brunch at the zoo

March 19 - 27, 2016

14 miles SW

Breakfast with the Bunny is an all-you-can-eat buffet and a visit with the Easter bunny March 19, 20, and 26. The Easter Champagne Brunch is March 27. (No web page until mid February.)

Family musical

March 19 - April 10, 2016

0.9 miles north

A brother and sister travel back in time to meet young Louis Armstrong in the jazzy musical A Night in New Orleans based on the Magic Tree House books, at Broadway Playhouse. Discount tickets $18.

Ritzy bridal show

March 20, 2016 (5 to 8 p.m.)

0.8 miles north

Evening of Bridal Luxury includes a runway show by Vera Wang, vendors, cocktails, champagne, passed hors d’oeuvres, and desserts at the Ritz-Carlton.

Culture of the Philippines

March 20, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of the Philippines at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Shakespeare meets Star Wars

March 20, 2016 (7:30 p.m.)

8.2 miles north

Characters of Macbeth fight with light sabers and travel in outerspace in MacSith at City Lit Theater.

Discount tickets $15.

Flower show

March 20 - April 3, 2016

0.5 mile south

Macy’s Flower Show features 2 million flowers and exotic topiaries plus scheduled events at Macy’s on State Street. Free.

Food festival

March 24 - 26, 2016

3 miles SW

Good Food Festival is all about locally produced food. Visit exhibitors, Good Food Commons, Chefs at Play, and kids’ corner at UIC Forum.

Easter at the arboretum

March 25 - 27, 2016

27 miles west

Enjoy Breakfast with the Bunny on Friday and Saturday, or a fine buffet

Easter Brunch on Sunday at Morton Arboretum in Lisle. Tickets go on sale Feb. 9.

Beer festival

March 26, 2016 (7 p.m.)

1.9 miles south

A ticket to The Chicago Beer Festival includes 40 tastings in the afternoon or evening, with food sold separately at The Field Museum. Repeats in Oct.

1/4 marathon

March 26, 2016 (9:15 a.m.)

2 miles south

Chicago Quarter Marathon begins at Soldier Field and goes south along Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Easter Kids’ Hop at 10:45 a.m. to age 10.

Easter at Lincoln Park Zoo

March 26, 2016

2.5 miles north

Eat breakfast with the Easter Bunny; hunt for eggs; visit animals; and ride the train & carousel (if it’s dry) at the Easter Egg-Stravaganza at Lincoln Park Zoo.

Easter fairy tales

March 26, 2016 (2 or 5 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Kids to age 5 enjoy art, music, stories, snacks with Mother Goose, and an egg hunt with Peter Rabbit during Bubble Egg Hunt at Bubbles Academy for $30. They have not posted a web page so call 312-944-7677.

Rockin’ race & egg hunt

March 26, 2016

6.8 miles north

Bunny Rock at Montrose Harbor features 1980s rock music, a 5K run/walk at 9 a.m., a petting zoo, and a giant egg hunt for ages 2 to 10 at 10:15 a.m.

Easter restaurants

March 27, 2016

Chicago locations

OpenTable lists restaurants offering special menus for Easter.

Culture of Greece

March 27, 2016

1 mile east

Enjoy the folk music, traditional dance, food, and crafts of Greece at Neighborhoods of the World in the Crystal Gardens at Navy Pier. Free.

Burlesque competition

March 27, 2016 (8 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

4.7 miles north

Burlypicks is a national burlesque and variety-act competition and show at Lincoln Tap Room.

Easter in the garden

March 27, 2016

24 miles north

Enjoy a festive Easter Egg Brunch and bring a basket for the Easter egg hunt at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.
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© March 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, entertainment, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.