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C2E2 Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, March 19, 2016
Photograph: Max Herman

52 exciting openings in Chicago in April

Written by
Grace Perry

Daylight saving time and over-enthusiastic attempts at patio dining have begun, while baseball season is merely days from now. It’s officially spring in Chicago! While it may not feel like spring (or, perhaps a drizzly 45 degrees is exactly what spring feels like), April is chock-full of the best things to do in spring in Chicago. From Easter events to a killer concert lineup, you’ve got no excuse to stay inside, and this compilation of 52 openings is the perfect place to start.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete April events calendar


Apr 1: Ring in April with an afternoon at vintage shopping, DJs and sweets at the Vintage Ice Cream Social in Logan Square.

Apr 2, 3: Learn everything cocktail-related, from mixing a drink to creating a beverage program, at Chicago Cocktail Summit.

Apr 6–8: Join hundreds of vendors selling quilts, fabrics, supplies, gifts and more at the International Quilt Festival. You can even try mixed-media quilting classes, whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pro.

Apr 8: Music lovers can peruse vinyl, vintage and hand-made buttons at the annual CHIRP Record Fair

Apr 8: Spend the night at Baderbrau Brewery for their Rockability Social fundraiser, with all donations benefiting Streetwise.

Apr 12: NPR’s pop culture roundtable podcast, Pop Culture Happy Hour, comes to the Harris Theater for its first live show in the Midwest.

Apr 14: Bring the family down to Maggie Daley Park for the Great Chicago Egg Hunt an epic, 1,000-egg easter egg hunt, complete with knights and princesses from Medieval Times.

Apr 14, 15: Dan Savage’s traveling amateur porn festival, Hump! Film Festival, celebrates sexual diversity among people of all genders and kinks.

Apr 21–23: While CIMMfest proper has been moved to the fall, the fest's organizers are throwing Spring Fling Thing, a three-day celebration of documentary and live music at Chop Shop. 

Apr 20–23: Feeling left out that everyone has been going to Iceland lately? Celebrate Icelandic cuisine, music, film and art at Taste of Iceland in Chicago.

Apr 21: WhiskyFest brings over 300 whiskies, bourbons and scotches (including Welsh, Canadian and Japanese varieties) to Chicago for a one-night brown liquor bonanza.

Apr 21–23: Step into geek heaven for a weekend of panels, cosplay and so much more at Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo, a.k.a. C2E2.

Apr 21, 22: Peek into the future of Chicago at Lake FX CreativeCon, where creative industry leaders head up workshops and showcase local film and music.

Apr 21–23: Take five courses made-from-scratch at the a pop-up dining experience, PlaceInvaders, as they invade Chicago for a weekend.

Apr 22, 23: Okay, but how much do you really love chocolate? Take in talks, watch demonstrations and purchase gourmet chocolates to-go at the Chicago Artisan Chocolate Festival.

Apr 23: Whether you like ‘em deep-fried, slathered in buffalo sauce or doused in blue cheese dressing, Indulge your chicken wing cravings at WingFest presented by Time Out Chicago.

Apr 27: Choose a pre-planned route and drink your way from local business to local business at the biannual Lincoln Square Wine Stroll.

Apr 29: Pretend college never ended at Chicago Sport and Social Club’s 7th Annual Flip Cup Tournament at Old Crow Smokehouse.

Apr 28–30: Chicago Humanities Festival's spring series, Springfest/17: Stuff, brings Caitlyn Jenner, Sheryl Sandberg, Marie Kondo and more to Chicago for illuminating talks and panels. 

Apr 30: Opa! Celebrate Greek Independence Day in (where else?) Greektown, for a day of authentic food, dance, and a parade. 


Apr 1: Celebrate the life and music of Prince with performances from former collaborators Sheila E. and Morris Day and the Time.

Apr 3: British synth-pop at Bastille update the ‘80s New Romantic movement for the EDM generations.

Apr 7: Decked out in matching suits, L.A. quartet Chicano Batman gets soulful at Lincoln Hall.

Apr 11: Prepare for barrage of blues riffs and awkward guitar solo faces as John Mayer comes to the United Center.

Apr 14: Reunited Chicago hip-hop duo the Cool Kids celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Empty Bottle with a special show.

Apr 17: Psych-rock veterans the Flaming Lips offer up the usual selection of woozy pop, gratuitous confetti and colorful costumes.

Apr 19, 20: Stephin Merrit's long-running Magnetic Fields project performs his autobiographical album, 50 Song Memoir, over two nights at Thalia Hall.

Apr 19, 21: Canadian power-pop super group New Pornographers return (with singer Neko Case in tow) to Metro behind its latest album, Whiteout Conditions.

Apr 21, 22: Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy goes solo during his annual all-request education benefit shows at the VIc.

Apr 23, 24: Purple Rain backing band the Revolution pays tribute to Prince with two nights of funky music at Metro.

Apr 28: Tycho blends post-rock instrumentation with the moody synthesizers of trance and house music at the Riviera Theatre.


Apr 15–Aug 20: Tania Pérez Córdova uses borrowed items, like a cell phone SIM card or a single earring, in the sculptures that make up "Smoke, Nearby."

Apr 21–June 18: The Block Museum explores the legacy of a 1967 mural depicting black figures and leaders located on the city's South Side in "The Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement."

Apr 22–June 18: German multimedia artist Astrid Klein and local experimental photographer B. Ingrid Olson confront life in the modern world in the duo exhibition, "Klein / Olson."

Apr 27–Aug 6: Dominican-American artist Firelei Báez is the subject of "Vessels of Genealogies," an exhibition of her large-scale paintings that examine cultural identity.

Apr 28–Aug 12: The Chicago Design Museum celebrates the life and work of an influential post-modern graphic designer in "Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist."


Apr 1–May 20: Tracy Letts’s latest work, Linda Vista, centers on a middle-aged divorced man who escapes from his ex-wife’s garage to his own apartment.

Apr 1–23: They’re not horsing around at Odysseo, the Cirque du Solieil-esque equestrian spectacular, which features 68 horses and 48 humans under a three-story-tall big top tent (in a Soldier Field parking lot).

Apr 11–Sep 10: The Disney classic-turned-Broadway smash hit Aladdin begins its residency at the Cadillac Palace Theatre this month.

Apr 14–May 21: Take in La Havana Madrid, Sandra Delgado’s show based on a real-life Lakeview nightclub where Caribbean-Latino immigrants hung out in the ‘60s.

Apr 20–Jun 18: The merry murdresses of Cook County Jail are back on stage in Chicago at Drury Lane Oakbrook Terrace.


Apr 1: Hear local Chicago comics share their most humiliating personal stories at We Still Like You, a show that aims to celebrate life’s most embarrassing moments.

Apr 8: Stand-up comedian and Fresh Off the Boat writer Ali Wong makes her first appearance at the Chicago theatre this month.’

Apr 7–9: Deon Cole comes back to his hometown for a three-night engagement, fresh off recent roles on black-ish and Angie Tribeca.

Apr 15: Late-night show favorite and The Daily Show correspondent Roy Wood Jr. brings his stand-up to Thalia Hall.

Apr 25: New web series, BrewTube Comedy, spotlights two things Chicago does very well: craft breweries and local comedy. Catch Dwight Simmons’ lineup at On Tour Brewing.

Apr 28: Lewis Black brings his cranky, crotchety, too-true political comedy to Chicago on his Rant, White and Blue Tour.


Apr 1–May 1: April is Chicago Dance Month! Take in the diversity of the city’s dance scene with free open rehearsals, site-specific performances, discussions and workshops all month long.

Apr 26–May 7: Joffery Ballet’s spring program, Global Visionaries, includes Swedish, Ukrainian and Dutch choreography, much of which is making its Chicago debut.


Mid-April: Apogee will open on the rooftop of the Dana Hotel with drinks from Benjamin Schiller (The Fifty/50 Group, The Sixth, Berkshire Room) with large-format cocktails.

April: Broken English Taco Pub will open its third location in Lincoln Park (2576 N Lincoln Ave) with margaritas and of course, tacos.

April 3: DMK Restaurants will open its Werewolf Coffee Bar (1765 N Elston Ave) featuring beans from Dark Matter, Stumptown and Metropolis alongside Floriole Cafe & Bakery pastries.

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

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