Three Events Perfect for Celebrating Spring in Chicago

Even though St. Patrick’s Day has come and gone, there’s no reason not to celebrate the Irish culture in Chicago

  • Head to Beverly, a historic Irish neighborhood with a higher concentration of Irish bars here than anywhere else in the city as well as the multi-disciplinary Beverly Arts Center.
  • Head to the city’s Northwest side, where the Irish American Heritage Center is a nonprofit organization that offers year-round cultural programming incorporating music and theater, literature, and language. (You may recognize it as the place which taught Conan O’Brien Irish step-dancing back in 2012.)
  • Keep an eye out for the grand opening of Guinness’s second U.S. taproom and brewery, which is slated to open later this year in the West Loop neighborhood. 

April: EXPO Chicago Opens at Navy Pier 

EXPO Chicago, the Exposition of Contemporary & Modern Art, celebrates its10th anniversary edition by opening this year at Navy Pier, from April 13-16. This year the fair features more than 170 international exhibitors from 36 countries and 90 cities, fostering an environment for creative discovery paired with a week of citywide collaborations with museums, galleries, and the City of Chicago.

  • Prominent Chicago galleries exhibiting include Corbett vs. Dempsey, Stephen Daiter Gallery, McCormick Gallery and more, as well as galleries from major domestic cities (such as New York, Los Angeles and Houston) and international cities (such as London, Madrid and Cape Town). The full list can be accessed here
  • In the lead up to the centerpiece fair, the city will also host an EXPO ART WEEK (from April 10-16), offering a series of aligned programming including museum exhibitions and gallery openings for locals and visitors alike. 
  • Those in town for the art fair shouldn’t miss the opportunity to stop by the Art Institute of Chicago to check out the Salvador Dalí exhibition (the first devoted to the Spanish Surrealist at the museum) and Fresh Up, an exhibit on the intersection on Blackness and womanhood from multidisciplinary artist Gio Swaby.
  • Also, check out programming at local hotels. For example, The Peninsula Chicago will be presenting Neo Chicago, featuring highlights from the Beth Rudin DeWoody Collection. The installation debuts on April 14 and will be displayed throughout the hotel’s public space through May 2023, as a part of the latest iteration of Art in Resonance, The Peninsula Hotels’ global contemporary art program dedicated to being an originator of culture through its engagement with artists who push the boundaries of their mediums, in works that engage the senses.

May: Celebrate Chicago’s Newest National Park with Railroad Days at Pullman

In December 2022, President Biden signed a designation declaring Chicago’s Pullman District (which was first designated a National Monument under President Obama in 2015) now a National Historic Park! 

  • The Pullman Company played a transformative role in American train travel as well as a pivotal role in the U.S. labor movement due to the Pullman Strike of 1894. 
  • From May 20-21, the district is celebrating the second annual Pullman Railroad Days where, in partnership with Metra, and the American Association of Private Railroad Car Owners, visitors will be able to explore historic Pullman rail cars from different eras at the 111th Street/Pullman Metra Electric station.
  • Included are the 1923 New York Central 3, the 1950 Royal Street Observation car, and the 1950 Blue Ridge Club.
  • The weekend-long event is a mix of free events and single-ticket entry access to some sites.