Awaiting the arrival of spring and the great outdoors can be a daunting task here in Chicago.  But this weekend in March not only brings us Daylight Saving Time on Sunday, it also brings us a little tease of what’s to come!

Start and/or end your weekend at the Chocolate Wine & Spirits Expo held at the Stephen M. Bailey Auditorium – Plumber’s Hall (1340 W. Washington Blvd.) in the West Loop neighborhood this Saturday (11:00 a.m.-6:00 p.m.) and Sunday (11:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m.). Over 50 vendors display their products for you to sample and purchase.  Chat with the artisans to learn about their process and more.  Plus chefs and chocolatiers will give informational demos and show you the best pairings of wine and food.  Sample wines, liqueurs, and spirits of all varieties with 100% of the net proceeds benefitting Holiday Heroes who bring joy to hospitalized children!  It’s sure to be a fun-filled, sweet day!!

Enjoy a night at the Field Museum (1400 S. Lake Shore Dr.) in the South Loop neighborhood as it hosts the Chicago Beer Festival this Saturday (7:00 p.m.-VIP, 8:00 p.m.-General to 11:00 p.m.).  This event features over 70 local and domestic breweries offering samples of their spring seasonal beers.  Your ticket includes 40 tasting vouchers.  Food, music, and a select number of the museum’s exhibits will be open to attendees as well. It’s a one-of-a-kind experience!

Shop from 100+ of the Midwest’s finest artisans in food, fashion, home goods, and art at the Chicago Artisan Market this Sunday (10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.) at Morgan Manufacturing (401 N. Morgan St.) in the West Loop neighborhood.  This curated, family-friendly event not only has a Kids’ Zone with complimentary face painting, arts & crafts, snacks, and beverages; it also has DIY classes such as Spring Floral Design 101, DIY Gemstone Terrarium, and others!  Look, feel, and taste your way through this delightful market!!

Need to add some color to your cold and gray winter days?  Then In the Tropics: The Orchid Show is waiting for you at the Chicago Botanic Garden (1000 Lake Cook Rd.) in Glencoe (24 miles north of Chicago).  This year’s show captures the spirit of tropical islands, warm beaches, and rainforests in places like the South Pacific and the Amazon.  Come see 10,000 orchids in bloom, paired with sweeps of bromeliads and birds of paradise.  Walk under sunlit palm trees and in forest canopies teeming with color and life.  Can you feel it?  The tropics are closer than you think!

It’s that time of year again for the 12th annual Pre-St. Paddy’s Day Charity Pub Tour which meets up at the Edison Park Inn (6715 N. Olmstead Ave.) in the Edison Park neighborhood on Saturday (1:00 p.m.-7:00 p.m.).  Ticket includes complimentary pizza at Edison Park Inn, a great T-shirt, and 8 drink tickets to use throughout the tour.  Last stop is Moretti’s (also includes complimentary pizza).  Raffle tickets are available for $5 each or 5 for $20; benefitting the New Horizon Center!  It’s never too early to prepare for St. Patrick’s Day – especially here in Chicago!!

I’m Ready for Spring and the Great Outdoors!  Who’s With Me?