Chart an art course
The newest art district in Chicago offers a self-guided walking tour of more than 30 Pilsen lofts, studios and retail spaces. The venues showcase new art exhibitions, fashion, shopping opportunities and other events in the neighborhood. Visitors also have a chance to meet gallery owners and artists during Chicago Arts District 2nd Fridays.
6 to 10 p.m. Friday, March 8, at 1821 S. Halsted St. Free. (312) 738-8000, ext. 108, or chicagoartsdistrict.org.
Walk, talk, taste
Bottoms up with Chicago Beer Experience Beer Tours, which offer weekly walking tours in neighborhoods like Lakeview, Wicker Park, Bucktown and Lincoln Park. You'll learn about Chicago history and beer on the guided three-hour tour, which features craft beer tastings. All tour participants must be at least 21 years old.
3 to 6 p.m. Thursday through Saturday through Dec. 27. Tickets cost $59.90 per person inclusive of beer tastings; nonbeer tasting tickets cost $33.90. (800) 979-3370 or www.chicagobeerexperience.com.
When Irish guys are smiling
Where would Wisconsin's largest St. Patrick's Day Parade step off? Milwaukee or Madison? The 29th annual celebration along with an Irish festival takes place in downtown New London, Wis. Leprechauns at the local Shamrock Club change the town's name to "New Dublin" for the week before the grand parade, which includes bagpipe and marching bands, clowns, clan units and Finnegan's Wake. The festival is held under a huge heated big top and features dynamic Celtic bands, beverages, Irish food, caroling and entertainment.
Monday through Saturday, March 11-16, in New London, Wis. (920) 982-3891 or www.newdublin.com.
Time for a paddling
You'll get into a spring state of mind if you visit Canoecopia, the world's largest consumer paddlesports expo in Madison, Wis. Through workshops, demonstrations and speaker presentations, you can learn everything you need to know to select, purchase and use the perfect gear for your style of paddling. Those who prefer wheels can attend Bike-O-Rama next door. You can comparison shop, test ride, accessorize and buy from all 2013 bicycle brands in one place.
4 to 9 p.m. Friday, March 8; 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday, March 9; and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, March 10, at Alliant Energy Center, 1919 Alliant Energy Center Way, Madison. Tickets for Canoecopia are $15 for a day pass, $25 for a weekend pass and ages 17 and younger admitted free. Free admission for Bikeorama. www.canoecopia.com or www.bikeorama.com.