Congratulations Chicago, you did it. You survived another winter — not that this one was that bad. But spring has arrived, the days are longer and your cabin fever has started to abate. Your need to get outside has turned to desire, so here are ten great reasons to leave the house in April.
Whistler’s Mother Returns
What: The iconic Americana portrait painted by James McNeill Whistler returned to Chicago for the first time in 60 years.
When: Through May 21
Where: Gallery 272 at the Art Institute
Chicago Cocktail Summit
What: Professionals and at-home bartenders gather for a two-day summit to learn more about mixology, best practices, different ingredients and more. Top members of the local and national cocktail scene will be on hand.
When: April 2-3
Where: The Logan Theatre
Linda Vista Starring Tracy Letts
What: Award-winning writer/actor Tracy Letts, who wrote and won a Tony for August: Osage County, is back in his latest show, Linda Vista, a show about the 50-year-old Wheeler, a man whose marriage is over and has to rediscover himself through love, sex and open eyes.
When: Through May 21
The Cool Kids
What: Chicago hip-hop duo the Cool Kids blew up the scene in the mid-aughts but called it quits in 2012. Now, as part of the Empty Bottle’s year-long 25th anniversary celebration, the Cool Kids will blow the roof off the venue once again in anticipation of their new release, Write In, set to drop sometime this year.
When: April 14
Where: Empty Bottle
The Rolling Stones Exhibition
What: This expansive — and so damn cool — retrospective covers the Rolling Stones’ entire 50-plus-year career, showcasing costumes, album art, posters, videos, interactive sound mixing boards, recording studio, interviews, instruments and so much more. If you’re a fan of the band, you need to see this.
When: April 15 through July 30
Where: Navy Pier
The Flaming Lips
What: On tour to support their 15th album, Oczy Mlody, the Oklahoma City psych rockers land in Chicago to do what they do best: put on one of the best live shows you’ve ever seen. If singer Wayne Coyne doesn’t roll over the crowd in a giant bubble ball, we’ll definitely be disappointed.
When: April 17
Where: Riviera Theater
CIMM Fest: The Spring Fling Thing
What: The Chicago International Movies and Music Festival showcases independent films and live music during this mini fest as the larger CIMM Fest moves to November.
When: Various locations
Where: April 20-23
What: The Wilco frontman and Chicago musical hero sets up a mini residency for two nights to raise money for the Montessori school his kids attended. It’s an open-mike type of show as the first 30 people in line at the show each night get to request the songs Tweedy will play, solo and acoustic.
When: April 21-22
Where: Vic Theatre
C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
What: Any fan of comic books, sci-fi, fantasy and the like will not want to miss this annual conference where big names like Stan Lee, CM Punk and FitzSimmons (if you watch Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. you know who they are) will make appearances. Come mingle with costumed fans and get ready to geek out.
When: April 21-23
Where: McCormick Place South Building
What: Celebrating its 20th anniversary, WhiskeyFest brings together more than 300 whiskies from all over the world, whether Scotch, Irish, Japanese, Tennessee, Kentucky and more. Attendees will get to sample, sip and learn about the distillation process. If you’re into the brown booze, you’ll want to get tickets ASAP.
When: April 21
Where: Hyatt Regency