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Chicagoist's Guide To March: 20 Fun Things To Do This Month

By Michelle Meywes Kopeny in Arts & Entertainment on Mar 1, 2016 5:00PM

March came in like this African Lion from Lincoln Park Zoo, but we can handle it. Photo via Lincoln Park Zoo's website.

After a streak of spring-like temps, March is coming in like a lion. No matter the weather, we've got you covered with 20 fun things to do in the city this month.

The heros of SuperStrip. Photo courtesy of Lucky Plush.

March 3


Contemporary dance meets animated graphic novel in Lucky Plush’s new production, Trip the Light Fantastic: The Making of SuperStrip. The dance-theater combo follows washed up superheroes as they attempt to start a non-profit think tank, but find real-world complications more challenging than superhero work. The Chicago-based dance company was one of the 14 local recipients of the prestigious MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions announced just last week. Tickets start at $10.

March 4

SONS OF THE SILENT AGE (Concert/Benefit)

Back in 2013, rockers Chris Connelly (The Revolting Cocks, Ministry) and Matt Walker (Filter, Smashing Pumpkins, Garbage, Morrissey) put together a supergroup dedicated to performing songs by the legendary David Bowie. It all came together for a benefit concert for Pablove, a nonprofit supporting pediatric cancer patients and their families. The band and the concert still thrives and they’ll take the stage at Metro on Friday, March 4 with a little help from their friends. This year they’ll be joined by former Bowie collaborator and backup singer Ava Cherry as they perform Station to Station in it’s entirety and celebrating the 40th anniversary of Bowie’s Isolar Tour. Also playing are Death on the Autobahn as Kraftwerk, DJ Heaven Malone and Angela Eve and Eve’s Parlor Cabaret. Tickets are $20 ($22 day of).

2016_3_1_Chiditarod_2015_Snejana Iordanova.jpg
Teams get really creative for CHIditarod. Photo by Snejana Iordanova.

March 5

CHIDITAROD (Fundraiser/Race)

It’s the 11th year for the shopping cart race benefiting the Greater Chicago Food Depository. Participants dress in crazy costumes and even decorate their carts as they race to erase hunger. Over the last decade, they’ve raised 134,000 pounds of food and more than $145,000 for local nonprofits. The race starts at Hubbard and Wolcott at 12:30 p.m., but festivities get started early with a party and performances from eclectic marching band Environmental Encroachment. Even if you’re not running, you’re invited to watch the spectacle and donate!

March 5


Think you’ve got the “larger-than-life personality” it takes to be a reality TV star? Try out for the next season of MTV’s "Real World" at Bar Louie Printers Row from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. They’re looking for seven strangers to “stop being polite... and start getting real” as roommates for the cameras. Bring a recent picture of yourself and photo ID. Applicants must be 21 or older by June. Check the Real World website for more information.

March 5-6


Get a peek the next wave of choreographers and dancers at the Joffrey Ballet’s "Winning Works" at the Museum of Contemporary Art. The annual competition puts the spotlight on emerging minority choreographers who get to have their works performed by the prestigious Joffrey Studio Company and Academy Trainees. The winners making up this year’s program are American Ballet Theatre soloist Jeffrey Cirio, River North Dance Chicago alum Christian Denice and The Union Project Dance Company’s Mariana Oliveira. There will also be a new piece on the bill from Academy Artistic Director Alexei Kremnev that combines the artistic spirits of Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky. Tickets are $24.

March 6

POLAR PLUNGE (Fundraiser/Fun)

Vince Vaughn’s done it. Jimmy Fallon’s done it. Even Lady Gaga has jumped into the icy cold waters of Lake Michigan to raise funds for the Special Olympics. The annual Chicago Polar Plunge kicks off at 10 a.m. with the first wave of plungers on North Avenue Beach. You can register to take the plunge yourself, or watch as a spectator for free. There’s also a post-event "Melt Down Party" from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Castaways.

March 8-13


The legendary Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater returns to the Auditorium Theatre with new programs and new works as well as classics from the founder. The program will feature a wide variety of dance from Tango to Cuban to Hip-hop and more. Tickets start at $33.

March 10

THAW X (Arts Fundraiser/Party)

Links Hall is ground zero for innovative performance art in Chicago. Through residency programs, festivals and workshops, they provide a home for artists to explore their craft, but they can't do it alone. Their annual Thaw benefit party—celebrating ten years of ballyhoo—is at Salvage One this year. There will be pop-up performances everywhere you turn, plus drinks and eats to be had. Tickets are $40 ($50 door).

Brick by Brick opens at MSI March 10. Photo courtesy of MSI.

March 10-February 2017

BRICK BY BRICK (Museum Exhibit)

The Museum of Science and Industry’s next big exhibit involves building with LEGOs! Brick by Brick will show how architecture and engineering can create incredible and beautiful structures. LEGO Certified Professional Adam Reed Tucker has built more than a dozen models that will be on display including a 60-foot-long Golden Gate Bridge and St. Louis Gateway Arch, plus there will be stations for guests to build their own structural challenges. Entry tickets are $9 for adults and $7 for kids.

March 10-12


Originally called Austin Psych Fest, Levitation highlights music and bands that can’t be bound to any one genre. Creators The Reverberation Appreciation Society have teamed up with Empty Bottle Presents for this second annual festival that brings more than a dozen bands to Thalia Hall over the weekend. The lineup so far includes Faust, Royal Trux, Chelsea Wolfe and Oneohtrix Point Never, and there’s still more to come. Weekend passes are sold out, but individual day tickets are still available starting at $30.

March 11-12

WINE RIOT (Wine Fest)

What other wine tasting has a DJ, photo booths and a tattoo station? Wine Riot returns to Chicago with three different sessions at VenueOne. Try more than 250 wines and belly up to the special bubbly bar for sparkling wines from around the world. You’ll still get to talk with experts and learn about what’s in your glass at Wine 101 and Crash Courses on site. Tickets are $60.

The Chicago Flower & Garden Show has a long history in the city. Photo via Chicago Flower & Garden Show's website.

March 12-20


Navy Pier is the home of the Chicago Flower & Garden Show where you can visit more than 20 life-sized gardens, daily seminars and DIY workshops. The roots of the show can be traced all the way back to 1847 with an Exhibition of Fruits and Flowers where horticulturists showed off plants and traded secrets. Pick up your own gardening tips, shop the market and more at this year’s show. Tickets start at $10.

March 12


It’s a sight to be seen. Every year the Chicago River gets dyed bright green for the downtown St. Patrick’s Day parade and festivities. The Loop and the Riverwalk will be packed with people dressed in green looking to party. River dyeing happens at 9 a.m. and the parade steps off at noon at Columbus and Balbo. The parade will also be broadcast live on ABC7. Free.

March 13


The South Side Irish Parade was once known as quite the drunk fest, but that changed a few years ago after organizers banned alcohol on the route. There’s still plenty of fun to be had at this family-friendly event that celebrates the neighborhood’s Irish heritage, and there are plenty of local restaurants and pubs nearby for folks to responsibly enjoy a frosty beverage. The parade steps off at 11 a.m. and runs from 103rd to 115th streets on Western Avenue. Free.

March 17-20


One of the city’s hottest contemporary dance companies presents their annual spring series at Harris Theater over four performances. The Hubbard Street Dance program features works from Resident Choreographer Alejandro Cerrudo, Gustavo Ramírez Sansano and a large-scale World Premiere from Lucas Crandall. They’re also offering a couple of pre-show talks with Artistic Director Glenn Edgerton and other guests. Tickets start at $30.

These pugs know how to party. Hang with your pup at PAWS Animal Magnetism fundraising event on March 18. Photo via PAWS's website.

March 18


Bring your furry friend out for a night of dinner, dancing and cocktails at PAWS Tenth Annual Animal Magnetism event. The spring celebration takes place at Morgan Manufacturing and benefits the no-kill animal community that is saving pet lives every day. General admission is $150 and pet tickets are $25.

March 18


The Whiskey Advocate hosts the 17th Annual WhiskyFest at Hyatt Regency Chicago from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Not only will there be opportunities to taste more than 350 distinguished whiskeys, but they’ll also have seminars from Master Distillers and Blenders throughout the night. There will also be a “never-ending” gourmet buffet to help soak up all those samples. Tickets are $275 and come with a commemorative Glencairn crystal nosing glass, gift bag and more.

March 18-20

C2E2 (Comic Convention)

Don’t be alarmed when you see superheroes and villains on the train this month. It’s time for the midwest’s largest pop culture convention, the Chicago Comics and Entertainment Expo, or better known as C2E2. They’ll be taking over McCormick Place with celebrity appearances, cosplay and costume contests. John Cusack, Greg Capullo and Ryan Hurst from "Sons of Anarchy" are among the celebrities scheduled to appear. Tickets start at $30.

March 20

MAC & CHEESE SMACKDOWN (Food Competition)

Why should Mac & Cheese be relegated to a side dish? TimeOut Chicago makes it the main event at their inaugural Mac & Cheese Smackdown at Lincoln Hall. They’ve invited eight local restaurants to compete, but you’ll be the real winner when your belly is full of macaroni, cheese and beer. Three sessions to choose from: 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., 2 to 4 p.m. or 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Tickets are $25 and include tastings and two beverages.

March 26


Chicago Beer Festival moves festivities to the Field Museum for 2016. Sample dozens of local and domestic brews while perusing museum artifacts and experiences. They’ve got dozens of local and domestic breweries signed up including Atlas, Founders, Bell's and more. 7 to 11 p.m. Tickets are $45.