Chicago-area winters can feel like they last forever. But the calendar has rolled into March, the weather is warming, and the signs of Spring in Chicago and throughout the western suburbs will soon be evident. Below are a few of the signs that we are coming out of the winter doldrums:

Spring Training Has Started – Professional sports have hit the lull between the Super Bowl and the start of the baseball season, but the teams are busy practicing down south. The Cubs and Sox will soon be home to begin their seasons on their respective sides of town. In roughly one more month, the stadiums will be filled, and the national pastime will be back. Even more locally, we’ll have Kane County Cougars baseball to soak in.

Nature Returns to Full Bloom – As the weather warms, the trees will fill with leaves again and the grass will be greener. If you look around at local parks and gardens, the flowers are in bloom. It’s a beautiful time to enjoy local nature.

We’re All Spending More Time Outside – Instead of being hunkered up watching movies, we can get outside and enjoy the beautiful weather. A walk through the neighborhood may end with the scents of burgers on the grill. It’s also a time to go on hikes through local forest preserves or state parks, ride on the bike trails, or play catch with the kids.

The Days Become Noticeably Longer – As the sun sets later and later, you’ll have more time to enjoy the beautiful outdoor weather in the Chicago area. More time at the park, playing with your kids and generally enjoying the outdoors is good for all of us as come out of our winter hibernations.

Outdoor Festivals Begin – As you drive through the local suburbs, you may start to see art and food festivals, nature walks, and other ways to mark the beginnings of the outdoor season.