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48 exciting openings in Chicago in March

Written by
Nick Kotecki

March marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, bringing an end to our fear of the outdoors and a little more sun in our days. Nevermind the month's historically unpredictable weather—it's time to start filling the gaps in your closet at new Chicago shops, browse the best rooftop bars in Chicago for a warm, sunny day and plan a hike out to see the wildflowers. And, you know, should there be anymore snow, you can always curl up with a good read from one of Chicago's best bookstores.


Mar 5: Load up a shopping cart and compete in a wacky, costumed race through Wicker Park at the cleverly named Chiditarod X.

Mar 6: Chicagoans strip down to their swimsuits and trunks in defiance of winter for the annually icy Chicago Polar Plunge.

Mar 12: The Chicago St. Patrick's Day Parade marches through Grant Park with plenty of bagpipes, drum corps, Irish dancers and other merrymakers for one of the most festive days of the year.

Mar 12: Watch the Chicago River change color before your eyes with the annual Chicago River dyeing prior to the downtown St. Patrick's Day Parade.

Mar 12: Prior to drinking all the green beer your belly and brain can muster, try burning a day's worth of calories at the Leprechaun Leap, an annual 5K and 8K running event.

Mar 12–20: Every year, the Chicago Flower and Garden Show brings picturesque displays of flora to Navy Pier.

Mar 13: The South Side Irish Parade, the city's southernmost St. Patrick's Day celebration, returns with its alcohol-free march.

Mar 17: You don't need the luck of the Irish (but it does help!) to celebrate all things green with our guide to the best St. Patrick's Day events in Chicago.

Mar 17: Adler After Dark hosts a geek-worthy edition of its adults-only night at the planetarium in celebration of C2E2 coming to town the next day.

Mar 18–20: The Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo returns to fill McCormick Place with comic book creators, fans and some notable TV and movie stars.

Mar 18–20: Plan out some new ink and talk with the best in the tattoo biz at the Chicago Tattoo Arts Convention in Rosemont.

Mar 18–20: The Chicagoland Family Pet Expo is the perfect time to find a new furry friend to welcome into your family.

Mar 20–Apr 3: Macy's Flower Show brings another giant display of fine bouquets and manicured gardens to Chicago's Macy's on State Street. This year's theme is "America the Beautiful."


Mar 3–6: Have a pint or two while checking out what's on the big screen for the Chicago Irish Film Festival.

Mar 11 & 12: Glug, glug, glug—it's wine time! Sample 250 wines from around the world at Wine Riot, a tasting event with talks by grape vine experts and sommeliers.

Mar 12: Do St. Paddy's Day in Chicago the traditional way with the St. Patrick's Festival at the Irish American Heritage Center.

Mar 18: Pace your way through WhiskyFest as the brown-spirits blowout rings in its 17th year.

Mar 19 & 20: Randolph Street Market Festival returns to the Plumbers Union Hall with more than 200 local craft vendors.

Mar 20: Time Out Chicago's very own Mac and Cheese Smackdown takes over Lincoln Hall to determine who makes the best rendition of the classic dish in Chicago.

Mar 26: Taste brews from local and national breweries when the Chicago Beer Festival changes its venue to the Field Museum.


Mar 1: Aviva opens with a contemporary take on traditional Mediterranean fare in Greektown.

Mar 4: The international upscale Chinese restaurant, Imperial Lamian, opens its first U.S. spot in Chicago.

Mid-Mar: Lettuce Entertain You opens il Porcellino, with rustic Italian dishes from former Intro chef Aaron Martinez and drinks from LA bartender Julian Cox.

Mar TBA: Chef Bill Kim will open a second Urbanbelly in Wicker Park.

Mar TBA: Aloha Pokê brings the pokê movement to Chicago, opening the first fast pokê spot in the French Market.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed. Call ahead before setting out.


Mar 1: Dreamy Baltimore duo Beach House brings twinkling synths and hazy guitars to the Vic Theatre.

Mar 7 & 8: Garage rock savant Ty Segall returns to Thalia Hall behind his abrasive, erratic LP Emotional Mugger.

Mar 10–12: German krautrock legends Faust and reunited punk duo Royal Trux headline the psychedelic Levitation Chicago festival.

Mar 12: Embrace your inner poptimist while screaming along to "Call Me Maybe" when Carly Rae Jepsen comes to Metro.

Mar 18: Aussie duo Bag Raiders unleashes bouncing beats and effervescent synth lines at Lincoln Hall.

Mar 19: Get reacquainted with living gospel legend Mavis Staples, who celebrates the release of her latest album, Livin' on a High Note.

Mar 21: Hushed Swedish folk singer José González is joined by string ensemble yMusic at the Rockefeller Memorial Chapel.

Mar 24: Lucius peddles pristine vocal harmonies and sunny, drum-beating pop tunes at Metro.


Mar 5–26:  Conceptual artist E. Aaron Ross presents biological material suspended in resin at various stages of decomposition in "Whatever You Residue Don’t Leave Me.”

Mar 5–Aug 7: The Art Institute exhibits more than 100 prints by 17th-century artist Anthony van Dyck in “Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print."


Mar 1–13: UK company Filter Theatre stages Twelfth Night, a playful version of Shakespeare's comedy of mistaken identities and misplaced affections.

Mar 10–Apr 10: Tony nominee Kristine Nielsen makes her Chicago stage debut as Dolly Gallagher Levi, the relationship broker who makes her own match in Thornton Wilder’s 1955 comedy The Matchmaker.

Mar 10–Apr 10: Playwright David Auburn directs a revival of Eugene O’Neill’s semi-autobiographical family tragedy, Long Day's Journey Into Night.

Mar 16–Apr 24: Writers Theatre opens its new building with a revival of Tom Stoppard’s time-hopping 1993 work Arcadia, about math, love, history and the heat death of the universe.

Mar 18–May 15: The Hypocrites' Geoff Button stages the first new Chicago production of Joshua Schmidt and Jason Loewith's musical adaptation of Elmer Rice's Expressionist satire, Adding Machine: A Musical.

Mar 22–Apr 10: In Matilda the Musical, the spunky title character faces off against nasty headmistress Miss Trunchbull in this joyful adaptation of Roald Dahl's 1988 novel.

Mar 31–May 29: An ordinary woman lives an ordinary life, played out by seven actresses in Tracy Letts’s new work, Mary Page Marlowe.


Mar 8–Mar 13: Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater presents a medley of dance performances, including artistic director Robert Battle’s first new piece since taking the helm of the dance ensemble.

Mar 17–Mar 20: Hubbard Street’s spring triple bill includes resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo’s The Impossible, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano’s George Balanchine homage I Am Mister B and a world premiere piece by Lucas Crandall. 

Mar 3: Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip by Lucky Plush Productions uses comic book–style graphics and effects to tell the story of a group of burned out superheroes turned nonprofit do-gooders.


Mar 12: Latrice Royale, a RuPaul's Drag Race fan favorite is on tour and stops at Park West in support of her new album, Here's to Life.


Mar 20–22: Upper West Side weirdos George St. Geegland and Gil Faizon, who bear striking resemblances to comedians John Mulaney and Nick Kroll, bring their show Oh, Hello to the Athenaeum for a three-night run.

Mar 26: Less than a year into his tenure as host of The Daily Show, South African comedian Trevor Noah puts in a pair of stand-up shows at the Chicago Theatre.

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