We almost don’t want to say this out loud—surely we’re jinxing it—but it looks like the worst of winter is behind us. While there’s always a chance of a freak snowstorm in March, no blizzard can deter us from blindly pretending spring is finally here. In addition to lighter jackets, blooming flowers and muddy paws, March brings an exciting flurry of new activities to Chicago. The month kicks off with the beloved Chiditarod race through Ukrainian Village and Wicker Park before St. Patrick’s Day celebrations really take hold. Concerts from Miguel, Justin Timberlake and Lorde (making up for her all-too-short Lolla set) make March an epic time to be in Chicago. Take advantage of the (slightly?) warmer weather with these 61 awesome openings.
RECOMMENDED: Our complete March events calendar
THINGS TO DO
Mar 2–5: Gigantic trucks slam, crush and perform cheesy stunts at Monster Jam at the Allstate Arena.
Mar 3: Throw together your most eccentric outfit for Chiditarod, Ukrainian Village’s annual food drive-slash-shopping cart race.
Mar 3: Celebrate the arrival of the Year of the Dog at the Art Institute’s Chinese New Year Lantern Celebration.
Mar 4: Brave the elements for a quick dip in Lake Michigan at the Chicago Polar Plunge, which benefits Special Olympics Chicago.
Mar 6,7: Hit up anime movie night at Wicker Park ramen joint Kizuki, where they’ll screen classics Spirited Away and Bleach the Movie.
Mar 7–9: Now in its third year, the Chicago Feminist Film Festival features independent films created by individuals from diverse backgrounds from across the globe.
Mar 9–11: Take in some thought-provoking cinema at the Peace on Earth Film Festival, which showcases social justice-oriented movies.
Mar 9–17: Replay Lincoln Park is transforming into Paddy’s Pub, the bar from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, just in time for St. Patrick’s Day.
Mar 11: Head to Beverly for the South Side Irish Parade down Western Avenue, where families can enjoy floats, bagpipes and marching bands.
Mar 14–18: Will spring into existence at the Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier, which includes seminars, grand displays and cooking demonstrations.
Mar 16, 17: Check out Jeezy’s Juke Joint: A Black Burly-Q Revue, an annual black burlesque revue at the Promontory.
Mar 17: Watch the Chicago river turn bright green, then head down to the St. Patrick’s Day parade, complete with marching bands and Irish dancers.
Mar 17: The Irish American Heritage Centers throws its annual St. Patrick’s Festival with traditional live music and dancing.
Mar 23: Celebrate your love for brown liquors at WhiskyFest Chicago, which has samples of whiskies, bourbons and scotches from around the world.
Mar 23, 24: Learn exactly where your food comes from and new ways to prepare it at the Good Food Festival and Conference at the UIC Forum.
Mar 2: Marvel at the virtuosic riffs of guitarist Yonatan Gat, who mixes psychedelic rock, avant-garde jazz and everything in-between.
Mar 2, 3: Odd Future head honcho Tyler, the Creator comes to the Aragon behind the (slightly) more mature verses of his Flower Boy LP.
Mar 3, 4: Make some "Time to Pretend" as psych rockers MGMT re-embrace their electronic roots at the Riv.
Mar 5: Prepare for a sexy evening with Miguel, whose sultry R&B juxtaposes carnal pleasures with global unrest.
Mar 6–8: Balaclava-clad Russian punk rockers Pussy Riot headline a three nights of “live music performance art."
Mar 9: Hear Demi Lovato belt out "Sorry Not Sorry" and DJ Khaled yell his own name as the pair co-headlines Allstate Arena.
Mar 9, 10: Go see Pink show off her formidable vocal range, or just show up to hunky acrobats stunt-dancing from bungee cords.
Mar 12: Detroit rapper Danny Brown headlines a free show at House of Vans in celebration of Goose Island's fake holiday, 312 Day.
Mar 14: Take it easy with classic rockers the Eagles, who are embarking on their first tour since the death of founding member Glenn Frey in 2015.
Mar 18, 19: Canadian post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor unleashes a cacophony of violins, horns, guitars and drums and Metro.
Mar 24, 25: German musician Nils Frahm unloads neoclassical compositions from a stage filled with keyboards, synths and a pipe organ.
Mar 27: Lorde makes up for that super-short Lollapalooza set with a stop at Allstate Arena, accompanied by Run the Jewels and Mitski.
Mar 27, 28: Justin Timberlake may have embraced flannel and beard oil, but we're confident he'll bring "SexyBack" in concert.
Mar 30: Composers Kyle Dixon and Michael Stein set up vintage synthesizers to play spooky selections from the Stranger Things soundtrack.
Mar 29, 30: Indie-rock elder statesmen (and woman) Yo La Tengo stitch together stream-of-conscious jams and tracks from their new album, There's a Riot Going On.
Mar 30, 31: EDM producer Bassnectar throws a miniature two-day music festival in Rosemont, with support from TOKiMONSTA, Ivy Lab and more.
THEATER & DANCE
Mar 2–Apr 8: Hang Man, a portrait of a “shitty Southern town” in the wake of a murder, opens at the Gift Theatre.
Mar 7–11: New York-based dance company Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre performs its annual series at the Auditorium Theatre.
Mar 7–Apr 15: A gay Iranian man fleeing persecution resettles in Chicago in Through the Elevated Line at the Chicago Temple Building.
Mar 13–Apr 15: Chicago gets a first look at the Broadway-bound Pretty Woman: The Musical, and missing it would be a big mistake. Huge. (Sorry.)
Mar 23, 24: Giordano Dance Chicago presents its Spring Series, which features world premiers by Davis Robertson and Joshua Blake Carter.
Mar 23, 24: Hubbard Street Dance Company performs a program dedicated entirely to the works of resident choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo.
Mar 28–May 13: The Gentleman Caller imagines a fictionalized version of the relationship between Tennessee Williams and William Inge in the 1940s.
Mar 2–June 3: The Video Game Art Gallery hosts “Gun Ballet: the Aestheticization of Violence in Video Games,” an exhibit which unpacks the brutal, beautiful and meaningful ways that games use combat.
Mar 2–Apr 28: Artists Lori Nix and Kathleen Gerber photograph intricate dioramas of decaying urban landscapes in "Empire."
Mar 3–Sept 23: The Chicago Cultural Center displays 36 sections of the “The Chicago Mural,” which artist Keith Haring created with the help of local students in 1989.
Mar 3–17: Local street artist LIE presents “Bloom,” which includes pieces depicting animals and birds contrasted with images of flowers, motorcycles and classic cars.
Mar 11–June 24: Chicago-based painter Anna Kunz explores the properties of color and light through her Hyde Park Art Center installation “Color Cast.”
Mar 16–Apr 28: Filter Photo displays its juried spring exhibition “Context 2018,” which features work culled from an open call for photography.
Mar 22–Aug 26: In "Exercises in Seating," English designer Max Lamb displays a selection of chairs, stools and benches that balance form and function.
Mar 26–May 20: Drawings, paintings and never-before-seen sculptures, prints and lithographs by Ed Paschke are part of a new display called "Mixed Media."
Mar 31–Sept 9: Nigerian artist Otobong Nkanga uses drawings and tapestries to explore the mining industry in Africa and the ways in which the harvested raw materials are used throughout the world in “To Dig a Hole That Collapses Again.”
Mar 2–30: Chicago actor/writer/comedian Atra Asdou performs her solo sketch show, A Poodle In People Clothes, Friday nights at iO Chicago.
Mar 4–Apr 8: Catch an original musical comedy about one of America’s most ubiquitous companies at PRIME DAY: An Amazonian Musical.
Mar 7: British podcasters My Dad Wrote A Porno, whose name says it all, perform live at the Chicago Theatre.
Mar 7: Comedian Sean Flannery hosts Drunk Science, a show dedicated to what happens to your brain when you drink.
Mar 16: Named for the popular piece of writing advice, Kill Your Darlings promises the audience they’ll never hear the jokes performed on this stage ever again.
Mar 17: March madness meets stand-up comedy at Late Late Breakfast’s 5th annual Tournament of Champions at the Hideout.
Mar 18: The Second City unveils its 42nd sketch revue on the e.t.c. stage, welcoming new cast members Emily Fightmaster and Katie Kershaw to the stage.
Mar 23: Longtime fixture of the alternative comedy scene and comic of Wet Hot American Summer cult fame Janeane Garofalo performs live at Thalia Hall.
Mar 24: See Barbershop star and one of the original Kings of Comedy Cedric the Entertainer perform stand-up at the Chicago Theatre.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Early Mar: Tied House technically opened its doors on February 27, but the gorgeous Schubas-adjacent restaurant and bar is in full swing this month.
March 2: Beloved Beverly ice cream purveyor Original Rainbow Cone opens for the season.
Mar 10: "Eatertainment" epicenter Punch Bowl Social will open in the West Loop with 30,000 square feet of interactive games (think shuffleboard, Ping-Pong and bowling) alongside a robust food and drink program.
Mar 12: Parlay at Joy District, a new first-floor sports parlor within the River North club, will open just in time for March Madness festivities. Expect upscale bar bites, plenty of TVs and booth seating.
Mar 19: For one night only, fine-dining destination Oriole will preview its new spring menu, which is inspired by chef Noah Sandoval's recent trip to Cognac with the chef/bartender program Atelier of Taste from Grey Goose vodka. Expect a five-course tasting menu with accompanying pours from bartender Julia Momose.
Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; We recommend calling ahead.