There’s nothing quite like a beautiful spring day in Chicagoland! After a winter spent cooped up indoors, the first sights and sounds of spring can feel downright magical.
From the city to the suburbs, our area really blossoms to life come springtime. The sun peeks out from behind the clouds, the days grow warmer, the spring showers fall, the flowers begin to bloom — and people from all over start thinking about all of the incredible opportunities that the season brings.
Do you have a favorite way to make the most of lovely spring weather? If you’re still looking for fresh ways to savor the season, we’ve got you covered. Here are ten creative ways to go out and enjoy a spring day around Chicagoland — what local favorites would you add to our list?
Pack a Picnic
What could be a better way to embrace a clear afternoon than with a blanket, a basket, and some of your closest family and friends? There are wonderful parks and greenspaces all over Chicagoland that are perfect for a spring picnic. The Chicago Parks District alone owns more than 8800 acres of space, including more than 600 parks, 26 miles of lakefront, and 23 beaches. The Forest Preserves of Cook County, similarly, boast 70,000 acres of “wild and wonderful” land to enjoy. And don’t forget to savor the special pleasure of shopping for fresh spring ingredients! There are local farmers markets that spring to life all over the region, or you could shop for seasonal produce at a destination like Mitsuwa Marketplace near Arlington Heights, or the West Loop’s much-loved Chicago French Market.
Hit the Trails
Break out the bike or lace up your favorite shoes! A spring day is a great time to go out and explore the miles and miles of walking and biking trails that wind through Chicagoland, including the 606 Trail, the Lakefront Trail, the North Branch Trail, the Des Plaines River Trail and Greenway, and the Robert McClory Bike Path, to name just a few of the area’s exciting options.
See a Game
“Take me out to the ball game…” The Chicago area is packed with destinations for sports lovers, including some of the most iconic ballparks and teams in the country. Every spring, sports fans from all over Chicagoland flock to Wrigley Field to root on the Chicago Cubs, or head to Guaranteed Rate Field to cheer on the historic Chicago White Sox. Big baseball fans can also find independent and minor league teams all over the region, including the Joliet Slammers and the Chicago Dogs. And for local fans of soccer, no spring season would be complete without seeing the Chicago Fire FC take to the field.
Go Into Nature
Looking to enjoy one of Chicagoland’s most impressive outdoor sights? A spring day can be an incredible chance for nature lovers to tick something special off their local bucket list. How about a trip to see the incredible trees of the Morton Arboretum, or an afternoon spent enjoying the beautiful views at the Chicago Botanic Garden? If you’re looking to do a little exploring, the Chicago area also puts you close to some remarkable destinations for hiking and camping, including Starved Rock State Park, Indiana Dunes State Park, and Kankakee River State Park.
Enjoy the Water
While the early days of spring may be a bit too cold to splash around, you can still enjoy a day on the water in spots all over Chicagoland! On warm, bright days, adventurers can take advantage of the weather by taking out a kayak or canoe on one of our area’s many waterways. You could also launch your boat in the lake; the city of Chicago and many North Shore communities offer great places to head out on the open waters of Lake Michigan. Don’t have a vessel of your own? Hitch a ride! Many different companies offer riverboat tours in Chicago and the surrounding communities; you could also hop aboard the Chicago Water Taxi, or catch a Lake Michigan excursion from Navy Pier.
Visit a Festival
While the summer months are when Chicago’s outdoor festival season really heats up, there are still plenty of wonderful festivals and community events to enjoy throughout the early days of spring. The Chicago Flower & Garden Show typically sets up shop in March, for instance, while BaconFest Chicago starts frying come April. In 2020, foodies may also want to carve out some time in March for the Chicago Beer Festival, the Uncorked: Chicago Wine Festival, and WhiskyFest Chicago.
Eat and Drink In the Great Outdoors
On a lovely spring day, what could be better than enjoying a great meal in the great outdoors? If you’d rather avoid packing a picnic, don’t worry — there are still plenty of opportunities for enjoying a meal al fresco. Across Chicagoland, countless restaurants welcome springtime by opening up their rooftops and patios to visitors. While many of the area’s most famous rooftops are centered downtown, your options for outdoor dining are certainly not limited to just the Loop or River North! From the city to the suburbs, there are all sorts of unique restaurants that offer outdoor eats here in Chicagoland. Rooftops run the gamut, from the German street food of Gene’s Sausage Shop & Delicatessen in Lincoln Square to the chic eats of Five & Dime in Evanston. To keep your feet on terra firma, seek out the rows of picnic tables and string lights at diverse spots like Big Star in Wicker Park, or Parson’s Chicken and Fish in Logan Square.
Embrace Your Green Thumb
The spring season is the perfect time to work in your garden, or bring some greenery inside to refresh your indoor decor. Need to stock up before you start digging, planting, and potting? The Chicagoland area is full of incredible places to shop for fresh flowers, plants, and all the equipment you need to bring your spring garden goals to life. If you have a local farmer’s market in your neighborhood, this may be a great seasonal spot to stock up on seeds and trimmings. You could also load up on plants and accessories at iconic local shops like Gethsemane Garden Center or Adams & Sons. Need some springtime inspiration? You can learn more about both local and exotic plants at one of the Chicagoland area’s many amazing year-round conservatories, such as the Lincoln Park Conservatory, the Garfield Park Conservatory, the Oak Park Conservatory, or the Wilder Park Conservatory.
Take a Trip
Looking to get out of town for a few days? A nice spring weekend can be a great excuse to take a day trip to that one local hotspot you’ve been meaning to visit. From Chicagoland, you could hop on the Metra to take a trip into Wisconsin or a suburban community you’ve never visited before. Or you could hit the road and get to know a new city by trekking to Milwaukee, Madison, or South Bend, or escape into farmland by spending the day in rural Michigan.
Find a Tour
Chicagoland’s history is unbelievably rich, and there’s something astonishing to see around every corner. This spring, why not discover a new side of Chicagoland by taking a local tour? For architecture buffs, you could make time to see the area’s most impressive structures by foot, bus, boat, or segway. Helicopter tours can provide an unparalleled chance to see the Chicago skyline from a new angle, while trolley tours can be a pleasant way to get to know communities like Naperville, Elgin, and Elmhurst. Whatever you love, you’re sure to find a local tour experience that’s right for you — whether you want to see a haunted house, learn more about local history, or even feast at the area’s best pizza joints.
Baird & Warner: Helping Families Discover Chicagoland Since 1855
At Baird & Warner, we’re all about connecting people with the best things to see, do, and experience around Chicagoland. After all, we’ve been a part of helping to build and grow this community since 1855.
Whether you’re looking to find the neighborhood that’s right for you, get your home ready to sell, or just start discovering all the wonderful things that make the Chicago area unique, we get you. Our agents are hyperlocal experts who are here to help you find exactly what you’re looking for, while making the entire real estate experience easier at every step of the way.