Chicago events, festivals, things to do – April 2018

April 2018
best events in Chicago

Easter in the garden

April 1, 2018

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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Easter at the arboretum

April 1, 2018 (begins March 30)

27 miles west

Enjoy a breakfast buffet or a fine brunch, plus a visit with the Easter Bunny at Morton Arboretum in Lisle.

Films from Europe

April 1 - 5, 2018 (begins March 9)

0.5 miles SW

Chicago European Union Film Festival screens 62 new feature films from the 28 nations of the European Union at Gene Siskel Film Center.

Latino film festival

April 5 - 19, 2018

Chicago locations

See 100+ films from Latin America, Brazil, South America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S. during the Chicago Latino Film Festival at AMC River East 21 theaters and venue partners throughout Chicagoland.


April 6 - 7, 2018

3 miles SW

Chicago’s best chefs serve bacon dishes and drinks for lunch and dinner at Baconfest Chicago in UIC Forum.

Blues dance

April 6 - 8, 2018

multiple locations

BluesShout includes weekend workshops and dances with live music that go late into the night.

Comic and Entertainment Expo

April 6 - 8, 2018

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.

Asian film festival

April 6 - 19, 2018

0.5 miles SW

Asian American Showcase screens independent dramas and documentaries, including selected screenings with filmmakers in person, at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Indoor art show

April 7 - 8, 2018

1 mile east

Browse the work of 100 artists at the Chicago Art & Design Show, with painting classes plus food, beer, and wine for sale in the Exhibit Hall at Navy Pier. Free.

Superhero convention

April 7 - 8, 2018

17 miles NW

Heroes & Villains Fan Fest celebrates comics, sci-fi, TV, and movies with guest actors, panel discussions, costume contests, role-playing, and vendors in the Rosemont convention center.

Discount tickets $9 to $35.

Zombie, horror, sci-fi convention

April 7 - 8, 2018

17 miles NW

Zombie lovers unite at Walker Stalker Con for panels, celebrities, vendors, and a costume party at the convention center in Rosemont.

Discount tickets $9 to $35.

Pig feast

April 8, 2018 (5 p.m., VIP 4 p.m.)

1.2 miles south

Cochon is a stand-up tasting featuring dozens of chef-made dishes plus wine, cocktails, and beer at Hilton Chicago for age 21+.

Quilt festival

April 12 - 14, 2018

17 mile NW

Shop for quilts and take mini-classes at Quilt Festival Chicago in Rosemont convention center.

Teen literature festival

April 13 - 14, 2018

1 mile south

Teenagers express themselves and attend workshops at ChiTeen Lit Fest on Saturday at Columbia College Chicago. The Friday night kick-off party is at a nearby library. Free.

Audio expo

April 13 - 15, 2018

26.8 miles NW

Audio Expo North America (AXPONA) features 400 vendors of high-end audio (headphones, speakers, turntables, musical instruments, amps, and vinyl), plus 125 listening rooms, live concerts, and lectures by industry leaders at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

Diabetes expo

April 14, 2018

3 miles south

Learn how to prevent and manage diabetes at the American Diabetes Association Expo, which has health screenings, cooking demonstrations, experts, and exhibitors at McCormick Place. Free.

Rum tasting

April 14, 2018 (3:30 p.m., VIP 2:30 p.m.)

6.8 miles NW

A ticket to Chicago Rum Festival (formerly Midwest Rum Fest) gets you 1/4 ounce pours, snacks, music, a souvenir snifter, mellow music, and brand seminars at Logan Square Auditorium for age 21+.

Discount tickets 2 for $53 (VIP $60).

Beer and wine festival

April 14, 2018

28 miles SW

Tinley Park Brew & Vine Festival features breweries, vintners, restaurants, and live entertainment at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Cheese tasting

April 15, 2018 (11 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

3.4 miles NW

Taste cheesy foods like pizza, grilled cheese, poutine, and macaroni & cheese from restaurants and cheese vendors during Say Cheese Fest at Concord FiftyFive. Held in April and October.

Discount tickets $20 to $30.

Cocktail evening

April 19, 2018

1.7 miles NW

A ticket to Chicago Cocktail Social gets you premium cocktails made by bartenders from 17 establishments, gourmet food, and live music at Galleria Marchetti.

Brunch walk

April 21, 2018 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

0.9 miles west

A ticket to Brunch Bites lets you sample brunch food and drink at 8 restaurants in River North for age 21+.

Money week

April 21 - 28, 2018

Chicago locations

Money Smart Week is a series of classes and activities designed to help you better manage your personal finances. Search for events near your zip code. Free.

Films about Palestine

April 21 - May 3, 2018

0.5 mile SW

The Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors as well as films about Palestine at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Wine tasting

April 26, 2018

8 miles NW

Sample wine plus hors d’oeuvres on the Spring Wine Stroll in the shops of Lincoln Square and Ravenswood. Repeats in Nov.

Crafts fair

April 27 - 29, 2018

1 mile west

One of a Kind Show and Sale features handmade crafts by 300 artists, food, and entertainment at the Merchandise Mart. Repeats in Dec.

Japanese children’s festival

April 28 - 29, 2018

24 miles north

Learn about children’s celebrations in Japan at Malott Japanese Garden Spring Festival. Listen to koto harps and shakuhachi flutes, hear folktales, and watch a tea ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Free except parking. Repeats in Aug.

Bach festival

April 2018 (undated)

Chicago locations

Bach Week Festival is a series of three classical music concerts in North Chicago and Evanston.

Famous speakers

April 2018 (undated)

Chicago locations

Hear today’s leading authors, thinkers, and fashion icons speak at the Springfest organized by the Chicago Humanities Festival.

African fashion show

April 2018 (undated)

0.4 miles south

The $150 Fashion Challenge is a designer runway show that highlights scarves made by African women, followed by a $40 party with drinks and dessert at Chicago Cultural Center. Attend either or both.

Creativity expo

April 2018 (undated)

0.4 miles south

Hear experts speak about art, fashion, film, food, and music at Lake FX Summit + Expo (formerly called Chicago Music/Film/Fashion+ Summit) at Chicago Cultural Center. Free.

Taste of the Gold Coast

April 2018 (undated)

1.9 miles north

A ticket to Taste of the Gold Coast includes samples from local restaurants and 2 drink tickets at Germania Place. Requires cocktail attire and age 21 ID.

1/4 marathon

April 2018 (undated)

2 miles south

Chicago Quarter Marathon begins at Upper Hutchinson Field in Grant Park and goes along the lakeshore, followed by treats and live entertainment.

Freaky carnival show

April 2018 (undated)

2.6 miles south

The Midnight Cabaret by Carnivale Delirium is a “neo-vintage circus sideshow extravaganza” with live music, DJs, and performers at Reggies Chicago for age 21+.

Mexican children’s day

April 2018 (undated)

2.8 miles SW

Celebrate Mexican culture and family health at Día del Niño Family Festival. Begin with a two-mile walk from the National Museum of Mexican Art to UIC Pavilion. Continue with games, art, and activities. Free.

Silent films + live music

April 2018 (undated)

7.2 miles north

Watch modern silent films as a new score is played live at Sound of Silent Film Festival at Music Box Theater.

Robots at the museum

April 2018 (undated)

8 miles south

Celebrate National Robotics Week by viewing robots on display, interacting with some, hearing talks by robotics professors, and watching a live robotics competition at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Zombie pub crawl

April 2018 (undated)

8 miles north

Chicago Zombie Pub Crawl for adults begins at the pH Comedy Theater in Andersonville.

Modern pop festival

April 2018 (undated)

10 miles north

International Pop Overthrow (IPO) is a cutting-edge pop and rock music festival based in Los Angeles that brings dozens of the latest bands to The Red Line Tap.

Classical music festival

April 2018 (undated)

13.5 miles north

American Liszt Society Festival includes performances, lectures, and classes featuring Liszt and other composers, held mostly in Galvin Recital Hall at Northwestern University.

Festival of colors

April 2018 (undated)

32 miles west

Wear white and buy brightly colored organic flour for $2 to throw at friends and foes to celebrate Holi and mark the arrival of spring, with music and Indian food for sale at the Grand Pavilion in Naperville.

Easter brunch - Macy’s

April 2018 (undated)

Chicago and Oak Brook

Bunny Brunch buffet at Macy’s includes entertainment for the kids (a face painter, a balloon artist, and the Easter Bunny).

Easter brunch - Hard Rock Cafe

April 2018 (undated)

0.6 miles NW

Breakfast with the Easter Bunny includes a large brunch buffet and beverages (cocktails extra), plus an Easter egg hunt for kids at Hard Rock Cafe Chicago.

Easter brunch with a view

April 2018 (undated)

0.8 miles north

Easter Brunch includes a buffet, an entree, desserts, and a visit from the Easter Bunny at The Signature Room at the 95th.

Easter dining cruise

April 2018 (undated)

1 mile east

Odyssey Cruises offers a brunch cruise with the Easter bunny, and a dinner cruise departing from Navy Pier.

Rockin’ race & egg hunt

April 2018 (undated)

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 at Cantigny

April 2018 (undated)

27 miles west

Breakfast with the Bunny includes a breakfast buffet, the Easter Bunny, face painting, and a balloon artist. The elegant Easter Brunch is the following weekend. Both events are at Cantigny Park in Wheaton.