5 Things to Do: Memorial Day Weekend 2018

Observe Memorial Day this weekend at the Pritzker Military Museum & Library and at events throughout the city. Multiple exhibits (both new and old) will also open in the Chicago area, and the Chicago Dogs will begin play in Rosemont.

The Science Behind Pixar

5 Things to Do Around Chicago Memorial Day Weekend 2018: The Science Behind Pixar at the Museum of Science and Industry

Guests will have the opportunity to take their photo with human-size recreations of many of their favorite Pixar film characters. (Photo: © Nicolaus Czarnecki)

Opens May 24

Pixar fans will now be able to discover how the animation studio uses science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) to create their beloved films in this new special exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry.

Chicago Dogs vs. Kansas City T-Bones

5 Things to Do Around Chicago Memorial Day Weekend 2018: Chicago Dogs home opener

Impact Field, home of the Chicago Dogs (Photo by Daniel Boczarski.)

May 25-27

The Chicago Dogs, Chicagoland’s new American Association of Independent Professional Baseball team, will play their first games at home this weekend. Buy tickets for Friday and Saturday to enjoy a fireworks show after the games.

Underwater Beauty

5 Things to Do Around Chicago Memorial Day Weekend 2018: "Underwater Beauty" at Shedd Aquarium

©Shedd Aquarium/Brenna Hernandez

Opens May 25

Shedd Aquarium’s newest exhibit will feature more than 1,000 animals (including eels, shrimp, and sea jellies) “to bring guests closer to the stunning and surprising spectrum of shapes, sizes, movement, patterns and colors that exist within the aquatic animal world to inspire the notion of ‘beauty worth saving.’” Opening day activities include photo ops, an Underwater Art Workshop, and giveaway opportunities for the first 100 guests.

Memorial Day at Pritzker Military Museum & Library

5 Things to Do Around Chicago Memorial Day Weekend 2018: Pritzker Military Museum & Library

Photo by John Silliman on Unsplash.

May 26

Chicago’s Pritzker Military Museum & Library will observe Memorial Day by offering free regular admission on Saturday and a marathon of “Citizen Soldier.” Veterans will also have the opportunity to share their stories for the museum’s Holt Oral History Program. The museum will be open on Monday as well.

Butterflies & Blooms

5 Things to Do Around Chicago Memorial Day Weekend 2018: Butterflies & Blooms at Chicago Botanic Garden

Photo courtesy of Chicago Botanic Garden.

Opens May 26

Chicago Botanic Garden’s annual Butterflies & Blooms exhibit will let guests get up close to hundreds of butterflies. Plus, the garden’s Garden Chef Series, which welcomes local chefs for outdoor cooking demonstrations, will also kick off this weekend.


  • Lincoln Park Zoo will celebrate its 150th anniversary with a special exhibition, From Swans to Science: 150 Years of Lincoln Park Zoo, which opens May 20. Visitors will find 10 stations throughout the zoo grounds where they’ll learn about the history of the zoo and current care, conservation, and community efforts.
  • From May 25-27, Skydeck Chicago will offer “Secret Hours” (10 a.m. to midnight) so you can take in the best views of Chicago throughout the long weekend.
  • To kick off its 15th anniversary celebration, Randolph Street Market will host a Garden Party Summer Season Opener May 26-27. Guests will be able to shop from more than 300 vendors, enjoy cooking demonstrations from top local chefs, relax in the market’s cabana and Shade Shack, and more.

Feature photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash


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Anna Carlson writes the weekly 5 Things to Do column and monthly Recommended Events. A graduate of the University of Missouri, her work has been published in Chicago Parent, Inside Columbia Magazine and Central California Parent Magazine. She is a proud supporter of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital





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