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April 2017 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your April in Chicago with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, theater openings and art exhibits

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Lincoln Park

So long as it's not one of those Aprils cursed by snowstorms, it's finally safe to crawl out of hibernation and start scouring new Chicago shops for lighter clothes, and maybe even pay a visit to a few Chicago beaches on one of the nicer days. Celebrate the arrival of spring with a trip to the patio at your favorite cocktail bar, start hashing out your warm weather plans and figure out a few things to do on a rainy day—you know what they say about April showers, don't you?

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2017

Featured events in April 2017

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

Recommended

Each year, C2E2 brings a ton of comic book creators and some notable TV and movie stars to McCormick Place. In 2016, the geeky guestlist features actor John Cusack, Batman writer Scott Snyder, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and more. If you hit the floor, you'll find costumed attendees mingling in a sea of comics, toys and assorted memorabilia. The event also features panels hosted by major publishers like Marvel, DC and Dark Horse; a costume contest and activities for your little heroes (and villains).

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McCormick Place , Museum Campus Friday April 21 2017 - Sunday April 23 2017

Baconfest

Bacon lovers rejoice! Baconfest is coming back to Chicago with more bacon than ever. Current attendees include Black Dog Gelato, The Duck Inn, Xoco Wicker Park, Celeste, Stan's Donuts and more. Each participating restaurant and brewery is offering a bacon dish or drink, so loosen your belt and you'll be in bacon heaven.

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UIC Forum , Little Italy, UIC Friday March 31 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017

Shamrock Shuffle

Recommended

Shake off winter with this 8K through Grant Park. Each participant receives a T-shirt, a medal and access to the post-race party, featuring live music and refreshments.

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Grant Park , Millennium Park Sunday April 2 2017

International Quilt Festival

Hundreds of vendors selling hundreds of quilts, fabrics, supplies, gifts and anything else related to quilting can be found at the International Quilt Festival. The fest sets down for a three-day run that also includes mixed-media classes and an open studio where four artists will be working on individual projects simulanteously for observation.

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Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Thursday April 6 2017 - Saturday April 8 2017

Champion of Trees 10K Run

Make like the Lorax and speak for the trees by running during this sixth annual 10K run, a key part of the Morton Arboretum's Arbor Day celebration. The course follows the east side of the arboretum's main route through USATF-certified terrain. The run also includes a complimentary post-race beer, food and a free T-shirt. Registration is required.

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Morton Arboretum , Suburbs Sunday April 23 2017

Vintage Garage

Shop from up to 100 vintage vendors selling everything from furniture to clothes to vinyl in an Uptown parking garage on the third Sunday of each month from April to October. Dont' miss your last chance to load up on everything retro this year.

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St. Andrew's Greek Orthodox Church , Edgewater Friday February 24 2017 - Sunday October 15 2017

Randolph Street Market Festival

Recommended

More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months of May–September, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.

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Beaux Arts Plumbers Union Hall Building , West Loop Saturday February 25 2017 - Sunday December 17 2017

Concerts in April 2017

The Flaming Lips

After a brief stint as Miley Cyrus' backing band, the Flaming Lips return to their psychedelic (to a fault) roots with Oczy Mlody. Striking a balance between the ambient drone of The Terror and the effervescent pop of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, the Oklahoma group's 15th album will fulfill your craving for synth-drenched arrangements and Wayne Coyne's falsetto philosophizing. Likewise, if your life is lacking spectacle, the Lips' gratuitous confetti, colorful costumes and hamster ball crowd surfing should fill the void.

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Riviera Theatre , Uptown Monday April 17 2017

Bach Week Festival

It's Bach! The classical music festival enters another season with a series of concerts showcasing the compositions of the Baroque composer, as played by the Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra (a classical music supergroup comprised of players from the city's best orchestras) and the Bach Week Festival Chorus. A Friday night candlelight concert includes gourmet chocolates and a glass of champagne.

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Music Institute of Chicago, Nichols Concert Hall , Evanston Friday April 28 2017 - Sunday May 7 2017
See more April 2015 concerts

Festivals in April 2017

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo

Recommended

Each year, C2E2 brings a ton of comic book creators and some notable TV and movie stars to McCormick Place. In 2016, the geeky guestlist features actor John Cusack, Batman writer Scott Snyder, Hellboy creator Mike Mignola and more. If you hit the floor, you'll find costumed attendees mingling in a sea of comics, toys and assorted memorabilia. The event also features panels hosted by major publishers like Marvel, DC and Dark Horse; a costume contest and activities for your little heroes (and villains).

Book now Read more
McCormick Place , Museum Campus Friday April 21 2017 - Sunday April 23 2017

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

Recommended

The eighth-annual CIMMfest brings more than 100 screenings and concerts celebrating movies about music and music about movies to the city. Highlights include a screening of Smart Studios Story, a documentary about the Wisconsin recording facility where producer Butch Vig made albums by the likes of Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and his own band, Garbage. Acts such as Local H, Deer Tick, Tim Hecker, the Taj Majal Trio and more artists will also perform. CIMMcon, an entertainment industry conference that runs in tandem with the festival, will take place April 16 and 17. The fest occurs in various theaters, concert clubs and venues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

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Various venues , Loop Thursday April 20 2017 - Sunday April 23 2017

Lake FX Summit + Expo

Recommended

Produced by the Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, the inaugural Lake FX Expo + Summit will give practicing artists and creative professionals a place to meet and learn more about their craft. The conference will feature keynotes by industry leaders, workshops, networking opportunities and showcases of local music and film. Confirmed guests include Sire Records founder Seymour Stein and a Second City creative team.

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Chicago Cultural Center , Loop Friday April 21 2017 - Saturday April 22 2017

Baconfest

Bacon lovers rejoice! Baconfest is coming back to Chicago with more bacon than ever. Current attendees include Black Dog Gelato, Piece, Glazed and Infused, Bang Bang Pie Shop, Taco in a Bag and a whole lot more. Each participating restaurant and brewery is offering a bacon dish or drink, so loosen your belt and you'll be in bacon heaven.

Book now Read more
UIC Forum , Little Italy, UIC Friday March 31 2017 - Saturday April 1 2017

International Quilt Festival

Hundreds of vendors selling hundreds of quilts, fabrics, supplies, gifts and anything else related to quilting can be found at the International Quilt Festival. The fest sets down for a three-day run that also includes mixed-media classes and an open studio where four artists will be working on individual projects simulanteously for observation.

Book now Read more
Donald E. Stephens Convention Center Thursday April 6 2017 - Saturday April 8 2017

WhiskyFest Chicago

Take a trip around the world with more that 300 whiskies, bourbons and scotches—including Welsh, Canadian and Japanese varieties—at this 17th annual brown-spirits blowout. Should you want to know how the sausage is made, WhiskyFest also includes three free seminars conducted by master distillers and blenders.

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Hyatt Regency Chicago , Loop Friday April 21 2017

Bach Week Festival

It's Bach! The classical music festival enters another season with a series of concerts showcasing the compositions of the Baroque composer, as played by the Bach Week Festival Chamber Orchestra (a classical music supergroup comprised of players from the city's best orchestras) and the Bach Week Festival Chorus. A Friday night candlelight concert includes gourmet chocolates and a glass of champagne.

Book now Read more
Music Institute of Chicago, Nichols Concert Hall , Evanston Friday April 28 2017 - Sunday May 7 2017

Free events in April 2017

Logan Theatre's Comedy Open Mic

Sink into leather armchairs and sip on a craft beer while you watch comedians and performers take the mic. Test out your own jokes if you're brave enough.

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Until Mon Apr 4

Macy's Flower Show

Catch the final days of the annual Macy's Flower Show. This year Macy's celebrates the wide variety of flora in our nation's most iconic destinations.

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Until Sun Apr 3

The Paper Machete Show

Recommended

Christopher Piatt hosts this weekly "live magazine," a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Tune in every Saturday from 3-5pm.

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Until Sat Dec 26

Congrats on Your Success

Recommended

Head down to Logan Square's Uncharted Books for a laid-back night of free BYOB comedy. This rowdy, supportive crowd gets to watch Chicago's comedy staples (such as Liza Treyger and C.J. Sullivan now on Comedy Central) and up-and-comers

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Until Thu Aug 4

Wood Street Farm Stand

If it wasn't for the Wood Street Farm Stand you'd have to wait until mid-May for most farmer's markets to open in the city. Get fresh greens at this market that supports the Englewood community.

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West Englewood

"MoCP at 40"

See moments in frozen in history through the eyes of iconic photographers such as Sally Mann, Diane Arbus and Andy Warhol. These photographs, unearthed from the archives of the Museum of Contemporary, are displayed in honor of the museum's 40th anniversary. This month guests can attend a lecture by Nadav Kander, best known for documenting the Yangztee River, and an opening reception for a new exhibition about the contemporary Iranian generation.

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Until Sun Apr 10

Soul Summit

Recommended

This killer monthly of dusty grooves and rare soul has been going strong for five years. The dance party is so popular it has its own line of apparel. Resident DJs Dave Matta, Duke Grip and Sloppy White regularly invite crate-digging experts like the Numero Group guys to spin dirty, deep 45s. Get down to vintage rhythms every third Saturday at Double Door.

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Until Sat Dec 17

Shows at Door No. 3

Every month Door No. 3 hosts free shows with local bands. On April 1 they'll kick off the month with a free show by BLOOM, MAMA and Electric Sheep. Let's hope this isn't an April Fools joke.

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Wicker Park

Beauty Bar Disco Night

Boogie down at Beauty Bar with a Wednesday night disco party. Expect DJs, cocktails and manicures in this retro salon and bar. Free admission all night long on April 13.

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River West/West Town
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Theater in April 2017

Chicago International Movies and Music Festival

Recommended

The eighth-annual CIMMfest brings more than 100 screenings and concerts celebrating movies about music and music about movies to the city. Highlights include a screening of Smart Studios Story, a documentary about the Wisconsin recording facility where producer Butch Vig made albums by the likes of Nirvana, the Smashing Pumpkins and his own band, Garbage. Acts such as Local H, Deer Tick, Tim Hecker, the Taj Majal Trio and more artists will also perform. CIMMcon, an entertainment industry conference that runs in tandem with the festival, will take place April 16 and 17. The fest occurs in various theaters, concert clubs and venues in Logan Square and Wicker Park.

Book now Read more
Various venues , Loop Thursday April 20 2017 - Sunday April 23 2017

I Saw You

Bruised Orange Theater Company’s long-running weekly show mines Chicago personal ads for dramatic (and comic) interpretation.

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Town Hall Pub , Lake View Wednesday February 22 2017 - Wednesday December 27 2017

Art and dance in April 2017

"Hélio Oiticica: To Organize Delirium"

Though his career was relatively brief, Brazilian artist Hélio Oiticica made huge contributions to the development of contemporary art, especially in Latin America. "To Organize Delirium" presents a retrospective of his output, filled with the elegant prints that dominated his early work and the ambitious, maze-like installations that were designed to encourage interactions between artworks and viewers.

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Art Institute of Chicago , Grant Park Until Sunday May 7 2017

"Merce Cunningham: Common Time"

Dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham was an innovator both on the stage and behind the scenes, creating costumes, lighting, and set designs for his company's performances. The MCA's latest exhibition explores Cunningham's creative process, assembling videos, photos, costumes and backdrops that immerse viewers in the world of contemporary dance. Organized with help from the Walker Art Center (which will simultaneously present a version of the exhibit), "Common Time" serves as a celebration of Cunningham's life and his unstoppable creative spirit.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday April 30 2017

"If You Remember, I’ll Remember"

Reflect on the past at this group exhibition, which gathers works by contemporary artists such as Kristine Aono, Shan Goshorn, Samantha Hill, McCallum & Tarry, Dario Robleto and Marie Watt. The work on display invites visitors to reconcile with the persistence of war, racism and xenophobia throughout history, through pieces that depict humanity's worst impulses.

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Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art , Evanston Until Sunday June 18 2017

"Above, Before & After"

A painter may insist on hanging their canvases on a gallery wall, but some artists prefer to blur the line between their work and the environment in which it is presented. In "Above, Before & After," the MCA assembles a collection of two- and three-dimensional works that exploit the relationship between art and the viewer, including intricate mobiles by Alexander Calder and lightbox sculptures by Alfredo Jaar.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday June 18 2017

"Design Episodes: Form, Style, Language"

Ahead of the Fall 2017 opening of the Art Institute's permanent display of architecture and design works, the museum exhibits examples of postmodern design in the 1970s and ’80s, including colorful pieces by Italian group Memphis and architectural firm Coop Himmelblau.

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Art Institute of Chicago , Grant Park Until Sunday June 25 2017

"MCA DNA: Riot Grrrls"

The MCA's latest exhibition in its ongoing DNA series confronts the gender inequality that still haunts the art world. Named after the ‘90s feminist punk movement, "Riot Grrrls" showcases paintings by notable female artists like Mary Heilmann, Charline von Heyl and Judy Ledgerwood. The exhibition also features work by younger artists, including Molly Zuckerman-Hartung and Amy Feldman.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday June 4 2017

"Kader Attia"

Growing up between the Algeria and the suburbs of Paris, Kader Attia always felt culturally out of place. His collages, sculptures and installation confront his search for identity, exploring the differences between Western and non-Western approaches to history and tradition. His latest exhibition at the Block Museum is centered around newly commissioned work informed by Attia's research in the collections of Northwestern University’s Herskovits Library of Africana Studies.

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Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art , Evanston Until Sunday April 16 2017

“Vostell Concrete, 1969–1973”

Best known for encasing a Cadillac in concrete, German artist Wolf Vostell adopted the material as a motif, using it to demonstrate permanence, urban renewal and unrest. "Vostell Concrete" collects 45 of the artist's sculptures, films, collages and prints, examining the motivation behind his use of materials and what they signified.

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Smart Museum of Art , Hyde Park Until Sunday June 11 2017

“Chicago Works: Chris Bradley”

The latest exhibition in the MCA's "Chicago Works" series focuses on local sculptor Chris Bradley, who replicates everyday objects and places them in new contexts. An ordinary bag of ice is a creative challenge for the artist, achieved by casting cubes out of glass (so that it will never melt). The objects he creates are approached with a sense of humor—why else would a flower pot and a ladder be found affixed to the blades of a ceiling fan?

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday July 2 2017

"Four Saints in Three Acts"

Named after a 1920s opera by Virgil Thomson, this group exhibition features works that appropriate religious iconography in an effort to explore each artist’s respective relationship to faith and spirituality. "Four Saints in Three Acts" contains works by Rodrigo Lara Zendejas, Jeni Spota C., Kehinde Wiley, Nate Young and Andrea Büttner.

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DePaul Art Museum , Sheffield & DePaul Until Sunday April 2 2017
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Comments

1 comments
Eileen B
Eileen B

Interested in supporting a non-profit organization of supporters and survivors of sexual abuse/assault?

Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP) is hosted a walk on April 9th to raise awareness and collect donations for survivors to attend the 2016 SNAP Conference being hosted in Chicago.

Come out and walk for a great cause April!!!