Things to do July 29 – 31

The mega-festival, Lollapalooza, may be dominating many people’s plans for the weekend, but the concert in Grant Park is far from the only show in town. If you’re in the mood to get outdoors and listen to a little music, here are some alternatives to the sold-out music festival.

Bites, Blooms and Bordeaux

Bites, Blooms & Bordeaux
Location: Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago
When: Friday July 29, 6pm – 10pm
Cost: $79 – $110
More info online here

The zoo is not just for kids. Indulge in an adult night out in nature during the zoo’s annual summer garden party. Sip wine, enjoy small bites and take in some live music among lush scenery.

Fiesta Del Sol

Fiesta del Sol
Location: 1400 W. Cermac Road, Chicago
When: Friday July 29 – Sunday July 31
Cost: Free admission
More info online here

Now in its 43rd year, the fiesta is billed as the biggest Latino festival in the Midwest. Make a visit to the Pilsen neighborhood to enjoy a weekend of music, traditional Mexican food, art offerings from vendors and a children’s area.

Chicago Margarita Festival

Chicago Margarita Festival
Location: South Shore Cultural Center, 7059 S. South Shore Drive , Chicago
When: Saturday July 30 – Sunday July 31
Cost: Single day GA tickets start at $15
More info online here

Key West may claim the title of Margaritaville, but the Windy City may try to take the title for the weekend with this rum-soaked festival. Enjoy live music, margaritas and games such as cornhole and giant Jenga. While the kids are a Lolla, enjoy a taste of the islands – this event is only for those 21 and up.

Pepsi Tall Ships

Pepsi Tall Ships
Location: Navy Pier, Chicago
When: Wednesday July 27 – Sunday July 31
Cost: Varies – single day GA tickets start at $10
More info online here

The annual Tall Ships events returns to Chicago with a fleet of 13-plus international vessels. From Thursday on, ticketed guests can view, tour, and sail into the sunset on the fleet of boats.

Lolla

Lollapalooza after-shows
Location: Varies
When: Wednesday July 27 – Sunday July 31
Cost: Varies
More info online here

Want to get into the spirit of Lolla without battling the heat and the crowds? Tickets are still available to a variety of nightly after-shows at various venues across the city such as House of Blues and Lincoln Hall. Here’s your chance to see bands such as the Arcs and Bastille in the more intimate setting.

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Things to do July 15 – 17

While the 10th annual Pitchfork Music Festival may take center stage on many people’s to-do list this weekend, it’s not the only show in town. Those looking for fewer crowds and more economical entertainment have plenty of options. Here are just a few.

Wicker Park Fest

Wicker Park Fest
Location: 1600 N. Milwaukee (at North Avenue), Chicago
When: Saturday July 16 – Sunday July 17
Cost: Suggested $10 donation
More info online here

Looking for a less expensive alternative to Pitchfork? The annual festival offers three stages of live music with indie headliners such as the Mountain Goats and Rocket from the Crypt, Pup, Alvvays. Between bands, browse offerings from record stores and vintage shops.

Windy City Smokeout

Credit: Windycitysmokeout.com

Windy City Smokeout
Location: 560 W. Grand Ave., Chicago
When: Friday July 15 – Sunday July 17
Cost: Varies, tickets start at $30
More info online here

Beer. Country Music. BBQ. They combine for a perfect summer weekend at this three-day festival. The venue offers a ton of vendors offering smoked meats and tunes from nightly headliners Old Dominion, Chase Rice and Billy Currington.

Celebrate Clark Street

Credit: Cityofchicago.org

Celebrate Clark Street World Music Festival
Location: 1700 Morse Ave., Rogers Park, Chicago
When: Saturday July 16 – Sunday July 17
Cost: $5 – $10 donation
More info online here

Two stages of live world music take the spotlight at this festival celebrating Rogers Park on the city’s north side. The lineup also includes ethnic food, a crafts market and activities for kids.

Southport Art festival

Credit: Starevents.com

Southport Art Festival
Location: 3700 N. Southport Ave. (at Waveland), Chicago
When: Saturday July 16 – Sunday July 17
Cost: Suggested $5
More info online here

Head to this trendy section of Lakeview to check out art offerings that include oil, acrylic and watercolor paintings, as well as jewelry, sculpture, photography and mixed media.

Far from a stuff museum, the festival also includes a children’s area with interactive games.

Chinatown Summer Fair

Credit: Chicagochinatown.org

Chinatown Summer Fest
Location: Wentworth Avenue and Cermak Road, Chicago
When: Sunday July 17
Cost: Free admission
More info online here

While the kids are at Pitchfork, take the time to celebrate the city’s Asian culture. The day offers music, dance, food, children’s activities and more. Get the flavor of the Orient without leaving the Windy City!

 

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Things to do July 8 – 10

Just because the Fourth of July has come and gone doesn’t mean Chicago activity as slowed for the summer. In fact, the city is just getting into gear with festival season and all sorts of things to do. Here are few good bets for the weekend.

Taste of Chicago

Credit: Cityofchicago.org

Taste of Chicago
Location: Grant Park, Chicago
When: Through Sunday July 10
Cost: Free admission
More info online here

Billed as the world’s largest free food festival, the streets of the park with be lined with vendors from local restaurants. Don’t forget to stop by and lend an ear to one of the nightly free concerts from artists such as The Decemberists and The Roots!

Roscoe Villa Burger Fest

Roscoe Village Burger Fest
Location: Clybourn and Diversey, Chicago
When: Saturday July 9 – Sunday July 10
Cost: $8 suggested donation
More info online here

Calling all carnivores – over a dozen restaurants will be offering up the the meatiest party around when the annual Village BurgerFest returns for its 10th anniversary. In between burger bites, slide on over to one of the live music stages or stop by the kids’ area.

Irish American Heritage Festival

Credit: Irishfestchicago facebook

Irish American Heritage Festival
Location: 42646 Knox Avenue, Chicago
When: Friday July 8 – Sunday July 10
Cost: Tickets for adults start at $8
More info online here

Take part in this celebration of Irish culture and entertainment! Located at the Irish American Heritage Center, the festival offers several stages of music and dance, a children’s area, cultural exhibits and of course, plenty of authentic beer and food.

Tour De Fat

Credit: Newbelgium.com

Tour De Fat
Location: Palmer Square Park, 2200 N Kedzie Ave., Chicago
When: Saturday July 9
Cost: Free
More info online here

It’s a day to celebrate bicycles and brews thanks to New Belgium Brewery. The festivities launch with a bike parade through Humboldt Park and Logan Square and continues with circus performers and music in Palmer Square Park. The best part? The eco-friendly event benefits West Town Bikes.

War Paint

Credit: Goodmantheatre.org

War Paint
Location: Goodman Theatre, 170 N. Dearborn St., Chicago
When: Through August 21
Cost: $48 – $118
More info online here

Two A-listers of the stage, Patti LuPone and Christine Ebersole, portray makeup mavericks – and rivals — Helena Rubinstein and Elizabeth Arden – in this new musical at the Goodman that may land on Broadway. Escape the heat and head indoors to the theater to cool off!

 

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Things to do July 1 – 4

 

With July 4 landing on a Monday this year, many folks get treated to a four-day weekend! Those looking to keep cool can spend a day at one of Chicago’s many museums – some for free. There are also festivals celebrating BBQ to hot air balloons and plenty of places to catch fireworks. Here’s a roundup of some of the weekend’s best bets.

International Festival of Life

Credit: Internationalfestivaloflife.com

International Festival of Life
Location: Union Park, 1501 W Randolph St., Chicago
When: Friday July 1 – Monday July 4
Cost: Children free, adults tickets start at $15
More info online here

The annual, four-day celebration will offer live music, food — even the annual Chicago Music Awards. Come join nearly 50,000 visitors for this showcase of culture, food, music on three stages feature more than 70 reggae, world music, R&B, gospel, Latin, rock, blues and jazz bands.

Art Institute

Bank of America Museums on Us
Location: Several participating Chicago museums
When: Saturday July 2 – Sunday July 3
Cost: Free admission
More info online here

Are you a Bank of America card-holder? If so, take a trip to one of several participating museums this weekend – including the Shedd Aquarium, The Art Institute and the Adler Planetarium. Present your Bank of America or Merrill Lynch credit or debit card and an ID, and get one free general admission. The offer stands the first full weekend of every month.

Eye to the skies

Credit: Suntimes.com

Eyes to the Skies
Location: 1825 Short St., Lisle
When: Friday July 1 – Sunday July 3
Cost: $8 entry fee, children, Lisle residents and military members are free
More info online here

Hot air balloons take center stage during this spectacular annual festival in west suburban Lisle. In addition, there’s also a carnival, a July Fourth parade and fireworks, a children’s area and a food court to keep the family busy between daily balloon launches and a balloon glow.

Naperville Rib Fest

Credit: Dailyherald.com

Naperville Rib Fest
Location: Knoch Park, 724 S. West Street Naperville
When: Friday July 1 – Monday July 4
Cost: $20 general admission, $125 VIP
More info online here

There’s plenty of pork to be found at this suburban celebration, but you can also fast your ears on some good music. Headliners for this year include 3 Doors Down, Sheryl Crow and Lee Brice. Plus, there’s a July 4th fireworks display.

Navy Pier

Navy Pier fireworks
Location: Navy Pier
When: Monday July 4, 9:30pm
Cost: Free
More info online here

Come early to take a spin on the new Centennial Wheel or enjoy a meal on the pier. Cap off your holiday weekend with a free fireworks show presented by the Illinois Lottery’s 4th of July raffle ticket.

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Things to do June 24 – 26

The summer festival season is hitting full swing. Those in the mood for a festival can get their Greek on during the annual Old Town Greek Fest, check out what billed as the world’s largest block party, or head north to Lakeview for the annual Pride Parade Sunday in Boystown.

There’s tons of ways to keep busy this weekend. Here are a few suggestions.

 

Pride Parade

Credit: Chicagopride.gopride.com

Pride Parade
Location: Broadway – Uptown, Lakeview and Lincoln Park, Chicago
When: Sunday June 26
Cost: Free
More info online here

Celebrate pride and diversity as the city’s famed parade dances down Broadway from Montrose to Diversey. Come early to see the spectacle — an expected 750,000 people will take in the show, culture and experience.

 

Greek Festival

Credit: Dnainfo.com

Greek Festival
Location: : Annunciation Greek Orthodox Cathedral of Chicago, 1017 N. LaSalle Drive, Chicago
When: Friday June 24 – Sunday June 26
Cost: Free
More info online here

Even if you’re not Greek, that’s no reason not to enjoy the festival full of traditional favorites – delicacies such as gyros from the city’s Greek eateries, Greek music, dancing, beverages and more.

Logan Square Arts Festival

Credit: Logansquareartsfestival.com/

Logan Square Arts Festival
Location: :The monument on Logan Square — 2304 N. Sawyer Ave., Chicago
When: Friday June 24 – Sunday June 26
Cost: $10 suggested donation
More info online here

Immerse yourself in the culture of the neighborhood as area artists turn Logan Square into a living gallery as dozens of art installations will be on display throughout the neighborhood. In addition to art, there will be live music from local bands, craft beers and edibles from Logan restaurants.

 

Old St. Pats

Credit: Worldslargestblockparty.com

Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party
Location: :UIC Festival Lot, 1145 S. Morgan St., Chicago
When: Saturday June 25 – Sunday June 26
Cost: Varies, from $30 – $90
More info online here

This year’s headliners include Passion Pit, JD McPherson and 7th Heaven. Sponsored by Old St. Pat’s Church – the city’s oldest public building – proceeds from the 32nd annual block party go toward social justice initiatives.

Summer Dance

Credit: Cityofchicago.org

Chicago Summerdance
Location: :UIC Festival Lot, 1145 S. Morgan St., Chicago
When: Fridays – Sundays through summer
Cost: Free
More info online here

Head to Gran Park Friday for the launch of the summer’s series of dance parties. On weekends during the warm months, 43 different live bands perform live while visitors show off their moves. If you dance skills are rusty, come early for dance lessons beforehand.

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Things to do June 17 – 19

Diversity is the name of the game when it comes to activities right now in Chicago. From three-day country music festivals to samples of the city’s best food and beer to celebrations of diversity and pride, there’s plenty to keep visitors and locals alike busy. Here’s our list of five to-dos for the weekend.

Lake Shake Music Festival

Credit: Lakeshakefestival.com/

Windy City LakeShake
Location: FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island, Chicago
When: Friday, June 17 – Sunday 19
Cost: $99.50 and up
More info online here

Country music comes to the Windy City for this three-day festival. This year’s headliners includes Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw, Brooks & Dunn and more.

Chicago Ale Festival

Credit: Chicagoalefest.com/

Chicago Ale Festival
Location: Buckingham Fountain
When: Friday, June 17 – Saturday 18
Cost: GA $50, $25 for designated drivers
More info online here

With scenic Buckingham Fountain as the backdrop, attend one of two sessions of beer tastings offering more than 200 craft brews.

Taste of Randolph

Credit: Tasterandolph.com/

Taste of Randolph
Location: Randolph Street, Peoria Street to Racine Avenue, Chicago
When: Friday, June 17 – Sunday 19
Cost: $10 suggested donation
More info online here

Located in the West Loop’s restaurant row, the food fest offers six blocks of edibles, drinks and live tunes. For its 20th anniversary, there will be 20 restaurants, ranging from Belly Q to Gus’ Fried Chicken, to Publican Quality Meats.

 Scottish Festival

Credit: Scottishfestivalchicago.org/

Scottish Festival and Highland Games
Location: Hamilton Lakes, 333 Pierce Road, Itasca
When: Friday, June 17 – Saturday 18
Cost: Varies, tickets start at $10
More info online here

Chicago may be a world away from Scotland, but you can get your fill of the country’s culture — and competition — during the festival and highland games. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, the festival is the largest of its kind in the Midwest and combines food, music and feats of strength.

Pride Festival

Credit: Northalsted.com

Chicago Pride Fest 
Location: 3200 N. Halsted St., Chicago
When: Saturday, June 18 – Sunday 19
Cost: $10 suggested donation
More info online here

Held in the midst of National Pride Month, the two-day festival comes the weekend before next weekend’s famous Pride Parade. During the event, entertainers from all over perform as crowds celebrate LGBTQ history.

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There’s no reason to be bored in Chicago this weekend with festivals that let you dance, please your inner bookworm or simply let you fill your belly with food. Take a few of our tips and have an exciting weekend in the city.

June 10 – 12

Spring awakening

Credit: Springawakeningfestival.con

Spring awakening festival
Location: Adams/Medill Park, 1301 W. 14th St., Chicago
When: Friday, June 10 – Sunday 12
Cost: Single day tickets start at $89
More info online here

Fans of electronic dance music get to groove to DJs for three days during the annual music festival. While not required, short-shorts and flower crowns appear to be the uniform of choice.

Ribfest

Credit: Ribfest-chicago.com

Ribfest Chicago
Location: Lincoln, Damen and Irving Park Road
When: Friday, June 10 – Sunday 12
Cost: Suggested donation $5
More info online here

Come hungry and don’t worry about getting messy as you feast on ribs and other smoked meats from some of the city’s best BBQ joints with listening to bands and sipping a beer.

Blues Festival

Credit: CityofChicago.org

Chicago Blues Festival
Location: Grant Park, Jackson and Columbus Drive
When: Friday, June 10 – Sunday 12
Cost: Free
More info online here

Billed as the world’s biggest free blues festival, the annual jam session has attracted upwards of a half-million music fans. Over the years, headliners have ranged from Bonnie Raitt to Ray Charles to B.B. King and the late Bo Diddley.

Printers Row Lit Fest

Credit: Printersrowlitfest.org

Printers Row Lit Fest
Location: Printers Row, Dearborn Street from Congress to Polk
When: Saturday, June 11 – Sunday 12
Cost: Free
More info online here

The Windy City’s one-time bookmaking hot spot now hosts the Midwest’s largest free outdoor literary event each June. Stop by to browse or buy books, meet authors or lend an ear to literary talks and discussions.

Louis Vitton America's Cup

Credit: Americascup.com

Louis Vuitton America’s Cup World Series
Location: Start line at Navy Pier
When: Saturday, June 11 – Sunday 12
Cost: General admission tickets start at $29 for kids, $59 for adults
More info online here

Lake Michigan will serve as the first freshwater venue to host the sailboat racing event in the cups’s 164-year history. A qualifying event for the 2017 America’s Cup in Bermuda, spectators can take in the action from Navy Pier.

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The official start of summer is still a few weeks away, but the busy season is already heading into full swing in Chicago. Festival season is starting to heat up with options this weekend ranging from gospel, art and German-inspired offerings across the city. Here are five suggestions.

For a full lineup of June festivals, check out our newly launched festival guide!

June 3 – 5

Gospel Music Festival

Credit: Choosechicago.org

Chicago Gospel Music Festival
Location: Chicago Cultural Center (78 E. Washington St.) and Millennium Park (201 E. Randolph St.)
When: Friday, June 3 – 4; Noon – 9:30pm
Cost: Free
More info online here

Now in its 31st year, the Chicago Gospel Music Festival brings some of the genre’s best local, national and international performers in one place for two days of soulful music.

Do Division Street Festival

Credit: Do-divisionstreetfest.com

Do Division Street Fest and Sidewalk Sale
Location: Division Street; Ashland to Leavitt
When: Friday, June 3 – Sunday June 5; 5pm- 10pm (Friday), Noon – 10pm (Saturday & Sunday)
Cost: $5 suggested donation
More info online here

Ten city blocks, two stages and countless local merchants offering food, drinks and goods – it all combines into one festival. It offers fun for all ages with adult beverages to a Family Fun Fest area for kids.

606 Block Party

Credit: The606.org

606 Block Party
Location: Various locations – 606 trail
When: Saturday, June 4; 10am- 9pm
Cost: Free
More info online here

Celebrate the rail-turned-elevated park’s first birthday with a day-long celebration! The block party will include two stages of live music, food and activities for those of all ages.

57th Street Art Fair

Credit: Artsyshark.com

57th Street Art Fair
Location: Various locations – 606 trail
When: Saturday, June 4 (11am – 7pm) – Sunday June 5 (10am – 5pm)
Cost: Free
More info online here

Held outdoors on 57th Street, adjacent to the University of Chicago and President Obama’s local home, the event is dubbed the oldest juried art fair in the Midwest with roughly 250 exhibitors.

 

Maifest Chicago

Credit: Choosechicago.org

Maifest Chicago
Location: Lincoln Square 4700 N. Lincoln Ave.
When: Thursday June 2 (5pm – 9:30pm) – Sunday June 5 (Noon – 10pm)
Cost: Free
More info online here

It’s Octoberfest in June in the traditionally German neighborhood. Celebrate the start of summer, German style, with offerings that include live music, steins of beer and plenty of fresh pretzels.

 

 

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Memorial Day weekend is upon us, and there’s no shortage of ways to celebrate the start of summer.  From watching parades to taking a spin on a new Chicago landmark, we’ve got five ways to get your fun on in Chicago.

May 27 – 29

 

Bike the Drive

Credit: Bikethedrive.org

Bike the Drive on Lake Shore Drive
Location: Columbus Drive and Jackson Drive, Chicago
When: Sunday, May 29 7:00 am
Cost: $53 per adult
More info online here

Watch the sun rise above the city during this 15th annual event. From 5:30 to 11 a.m., scenic Lake Shore Drive will be closed to traffic to allow bicyclists to cruise. Make your ride as short – or as long—as you like, up to 30 miles.

Memorial Day parade

Credit: CityofChicago.org

Chicago Memorial Day Parade
Location: Parade steps off at State and Lake streets
When: Saturday, May 28 noon
Cost: $53 per adult
More info online here

Bring the kids to honor veterans while taking in floats, bands and more! The event will honor the fallen with a wreath-laying ceremony in Daley Plaza at 11 a.m. The parade steps off at noon, then marches south on State Street from Lake to Van Buren.

Navy Pier

Credit: Navypier.org

Navy Pier Centennial Wheel
Location: Navy Pier, Chicago
When: Friday May 27, noon
Cost: Prices start at $12
More info online here

Navy Pier’s new and improved Ferris wheel opens Friday! The new 196-foot attraction rises 49 feet taller into the skyline than its predecessor, and carries 180 more passengers per ride. The new model also offers temperature-controlled gondolas, padded seats, TV screens and speakers.

Belmont Sheffield Festival

Credit: Chicagoevents.com

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
Location: Sheffield Avenue, from Belmont to Roscoe, Chicago
When: Saturday, May 28 and Sunday May 29, noon – 10pm
Cost: $5 suggested donation
More info online here

The annual festival celebrates the start of summer with a street party in the Lakeview neighborhood. It comes complete with local tribute bands, food, eats and artisans.

Green City Market

Credit: Greencitymarket.org

Green City Market
Location: South end of Lincoln Park, 1817 N. Clark, Chicago
When: Wednesday and Saturdays, 7 a.m. to 1 p.m., through October
Cost: Free admission
More info online here

Eat healthy and shop local! The outdoor version of the market is now open for the season. Take advantage by spending Saturday shopping for fresh fruits and veggies or watching demos from Chicago chefs!

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From museum offerings to outdoor festivals, from chocolate to craft beer celebrations, here’s a sample of what’s happening this weekend in and around Chicago.

May 20 – 22

The official start of summer, Memorial Day, is still a week away, but that doesn’t mean there’s any shortage of fun activities of all kinds to keep you and your family busy this weekend.

Mayfest

Credit: starevents.com

Mayfest
Location: 3100 N. Ashland, Chicago
When: Friday, May 20 through Sunday, May 22
Cost: $10 per person
More info online here

Kick off the summer festival season the traditional way. The event is celebrating its 21st anniversary with an abundance of munchies such as pretzels, music and a beer garden in a heated tent.

Craft Beer Festival

Credit: chicagobeergeeks.com

Chicago Craft beer week
Location: Varies
When: Friday through May 29
Cost: Varies
More info online here

Raise a glass as the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild unites the region’s craft brew community for nine days of tastings, meals and beer-centered events across the city.

Terracotta Warriors
Source: Wikipedia

Terra Cotta Warriors
Location: The Field Museum
When: Daily through Jan. 2017
Cost: Varies
More info online here

China’s First Emperor, Qin Shihuang, planned to spend his afterlife buried in an elaborate tomb. For protection around the tomb, he built an army of 8,000 terracotta figures. The warriors were unearthed by accident in 1974, and the resulting exhibit includes nearly 200 objects — including 10 of the large-scale clay figures — associated with the emperor’s transformative reign 2,000 years ago.

Long Grove Chocolate Festival

Source: visitlonggrove.com

Long Grove Chocolate Fest
Location: 437 Robert Parker Coffin Road, Long Grove, Illinois
When: Friday, May 20 to Sunday, May 22
Cost: $5 per person
More info online here

Enjoy some sweet suburban fun this weekend featuring everyone’s favorite delicacy, as well as music, brews and some savory treats. Head to Long Grove and enjoy some chocolate-covered fun.

Dream Girls

Source: Chicago Reader

Dreamgirls
When: Thursday, May 19 to Sunday, May 22
Location: Stage 773 – 1225 W. Belmont Ave., Chicago
Ticket cost: $39-$45

More info online here

The live-action version of the musical Dreamgirls – which tells the story of an all-girl group of singers through the highs and lows of success – plays life on stage this weekend at the Lakeview theater.