Experience the best the city has to offer.

Chicago is an exciting city full of great dining and shopping, beautiful scenery along Lake Michigan, and vibrant art. While there is plenty to do any night of the week throughout the year, there are some Chicago events and activities you will want to put on your calendar, so you don’t miss out on some of the best events and experiences the city has to offer. Learn more about popular and lesser-known Chicago events you’ll want to participate in for 2020.

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day

Chicago’s Riverwalk is a world-famous promenade that offers a picturesque place to see art, hear live music, and get a real feel for the spirit of the city. On St. Patrick’s Day, the Riverwalk becomes the site of one of the biggest and best Chicago events in the country. Beginning at around 9 a.m., the city dyes the Chicago River a bright green in honor of the holiday. The environmentally safe dyes last for about five hours, so you can head down to the river in the morning, catch it at its peak brightness, and enjoy some lunch at one of the many pubs and restaurants along the river. You can also watch the parade that runs through some of the most scenic parts of the city and enjoy marching bands, Irish dancers, and much more.

Visit Millennium Park

Millennium Park is a truly unique public space that spreads over 24.5 acres and features stunning art installations, activities, and other performances. Perhaps best of all, the park is completely free and offers activities throughout the year, including free ice skating. In the large city, the park offers a place for people to gather, interact, and enjoy the rich artist community that helps define the city. The park provides a great way to spend the day, and you will want to put this Chicago activity on your calendar more than once.

Check out the Lincoln Park Zoo

The Lincoln Park Zoo is another free activity that should be on your Chicago must-see list. The lush grounds and winding walkways provide the perfect backdrop to wander the habitats and take in the beautiful architecture. Visitors can learn about animals from all over the world and take plenty of great pictures. While there is never a bad time to visit this year-round attraction, you may want to check the zoo’s events page and take advantage of its special events.

Get Tickets for Lollapalooza Chicago

Music lovers from all over the country will be headed to one of the most popular Chicago events: the Lollapalooza Festival that runs from July 30th to August 2nd. This annual event is held in Grant Park and showcases some of the biggest names in music. Prepare yourself for four full days of rocking out to artists, including Ariana Grande, King Princess, and The Chainsmokers. There aren’t many other opportunities to catch so many great shows in one place, and the downtown Chicago setting is one that you won’t soon forget. Be sure to secure your tickets early, so you don’t miss out on this epic event.

Attend the NBA All-Star Weekend

On February 14, 2020, the NBA All-Star Weekend will kick off in Chicago. For basketball fans, this is a chance to watch league stars and future hall-of-famers face off at the United Center. The weekend will be full of fun events, including a celebrity game and the main matchup on Sunday. This is a premiere event that attracts high-profile fans, so be sure to get your tickets early and expect to pay a decent amount to see the world’s best players all on one court.

Visit the Smart Museum of Art

In addition to major concerts, festivals, and sporting events, Chicago offers a wide range of free activities. The city is known for its commitment to supporting and showcasing the arts, and the Smart Museum of Art is a perfect example of this. The museum is located on the campus of the University of Chicago and is named after the first publishers of Esquire Magazine, David and Alfred Smart. In addition to special rotating exhibitions, the museum has an extensive permanent collection that includes works from Degas, Rodin, Diego Rivera, and Mark Rothko. The museum provides a family-friendly activity and can be the perfect way to spend a rainy day.

See a Show at Second City

If you have a favorite comedian, there is a good chance they spent some time at Second City learning the ropes and honing their skills. This iconic theater and school provides an intimate venue with a small stage and just a few chairs for the audience. You can see up-and-coming performers participate in improvisation skits and enjoy a good laugh at jokes that cover a wide range of topics. For fans of Tina Fey, Steve Carell, and many others, the theater is a comedy mecca.

Enjoy the Chicago Architecture Foundation River Cruise

Some of the rich artistic history of Chicago includes stunning architecture. Even locals who have spent years walking the city streets will enjoy viewing and learning about famous buildings from the deck of a river cruise boat. This unique perspective will provide you with a new appreciation for the city and an understanding of both historic and modern feats of design and architecture that have helped shape the skyline and add to the aesthetic of a city that was once just a small Midwest town.

Whether you are looking for unique events that only happen once a year or activities that you can take advantage of any time, Chicago offers plenty of options. Be sure to do your research and mark your calendar, so you don’t miss out on any of the fun. With a little bit of planning, you can get the most out of 2020 while also experiencing the best that Chicago has to offer.