Hyde Park Summerfest
Hyde Park Summer Fest is returning to Chicago’s iconic Hyde Park neighborhood with a lineup of performers, DJs and vendors that are sure to provide a good time for the whole crew. Enjoy food from local restaurants alongside performances from Chicago-born musicians like Vic Mensa and Twista and a headlining act from 2 Chainz. Secure your spot by purchasing tickets now at the link below or at the event website!
Chicago Blues Festival
Chicago honors its legacy as a city of 12-bar melodies and wailing guitar solos by hosting this annual blues music festival, bringing living legends and local players to Millennium Park for four days of electrifying performances. This year's lineup includes headlining sets from rockers Los Lobos, gospel group The Blind Boys of Alabama with Bobby Rush, and singer Mud Morganfield. Plus, new this year is a a blues-inspired smokehouse, dubbed Wally's BBQ Pit, where guests can feast on delicious barbecue in between acts.
The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash
Local hip-hop blog and music video production house Lyrical Lemonade brings its Summer Smash festival to SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview this year, hosting a lineup of both established and rising rappers. Kid Cudi, Future and Playboi Carti headline the fest. Other highlights on the lineup include Vince Staples, Ski Mask the Slump God and Trippie Redd. As usual, the undercard is filled with rising acts—for those looking for a glimpse at the future of hip-hop, you'll probably see it at the Summer Smash.
Heatwave Music Festival
The hottest house music fest takes over Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island for two days of scorching beats. Now in its second year, Heatwave will be headlined by GRiZ, Kx5, Gryffin, Slander, Tiësto and more. If that’s not enough, a host of afterparties at venues across the city will keep the good times going.
No, you haven’t stumbled into an early Oktoberfest—this is just how Lincoln Square welcomes street-festival season and the beginning of spring. Hoist a stein, grab a pretzel, watch some lederhosen- and dirndl-costumed dancers and embrace the neighborhood’s German heritage over the course of one fun-filled weekend.
Andersonville's beloved summer street fest returns to Clark Street for its 57th year of Swedish-themed festivities. Catch live entertainment across six stages from dozens of musical and entertainment acts. Plus, shop local vendors for gifts and food. And of course, don't miss out on Swedish heritage activities, including a traditional dance around the Midsommar Maypole.
Taste of Randolph
Taking place on the same street occupied by some of Chicago's best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drinks and music. You'll find bites from more than 16 restaurants (on Randolph Street and beyond) as well as two stages packed with performances throughout the day. This year's lineup includes local DJ Derrick Carter, singer-songwriter Jamila Woods and hip hop trio Digable Planets peforming Reachin' (A New Refutation of Time and Space) in honor of the album's 30th anniversary. Proceeds from the festival support the West Loop Community Organization.
Chicago House Music Festival and Conference
This annual fest and conference celebrating the iconic dance music genre born in Chicago brings a full day of DJ sets to the Humboldt Park boathouse lawn. Acts this year include DJ Roy Davis Jr., DJ Psycho-B, NoshaLuv, DJ Emmaculate and DJ V. The live music will be preceded by panel discussions touching on key house topics at the Chicago Cultural Center. For a full list of programming, visit the DCASE Chicago House Music Festival and Conference website.
Do Division Street Fest
Kick off the start of summer festival season at Do Division, the street shindig with live music booked by Empty Bottle and Subterranean in West Town. Catch performances at two stages—including acts like Dan Deacon, Vundabar and W.I.T.C.H.— and check out food trucks, a fashion show, vendors for shopping and a Family Fun Fest area with kids activities, among other attractions.
Chicago’s premier celebration of Latin music will bring together some of the biggest names in the industry across a variety of genres, including reggaeton, salsa, bachata, banda and rock. The two-day fest boasts a lineup of exciting acts, such as Elvis Crespo, Prince Royce, Natti Natasha, Gerardo Ortiz, R.K.M & KEN-Y, Banda Los Recoditos, DAAZ and more, plus delicious local eateries, talented artists, a full carnival experience and plenty of micheladas.
Lincoln Park Greek Festival
The street in front of St. George Greek Orthodox Church hosts three days of gyros, spicy feta spread, dancing, traditional music and more during Lincoln Park's annual celebration of Hellenic culture. Show up to feast on Greek delicacies, shop for gifts at the craft fair or catch some live music.
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
The Chicago Gospel Music Festival will bring a roster of choirs and contemporary artists to Pritzker Pavilion for a day of family-friendly music. Highlights include performances from award-winning RIZE Youth Company, Grammy winners Karen Clark Sheard and Tye Tribbett and more—for a full lineup, visit the festival's website.
57th Street Art Fair
The oldest juried craft fair in Hyde Park features paintings, sculptures, jewelry and ceramics from more than 150 artists. The event also features blues and jazz acts, courtesy of Buddy Guy's Legends, as well as a family-friendly activity area and various food vendors. Attendees can shop for artwork created in a variety of mediums, including glass, jewelry, leather, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, wood, ceramics or fiber.
Jazz'n on the Steps
The South Side Jazz Coalition is hosting a series of free monthly jazz performances this summer on the steps of the St. Columbanus Catholic Church in Greater Grand Crossing. Bring a lawn chair, some snacks and prepare to hear some top-notch music from the Chicago jazz community—plus, every performance ends with a jam session.
Windy City Hot Dog Fest
Whether you like your hot dogs dragged through the garden or topped with ketchup, this Portage Park fest has you covered. Local favorites, including Byron’s, Chicago Doghouse and Lola’s Coney Island, will compete to see who makes the best frankfurter, as voted on by fest-goers. In addition, there will be live entertainment, arts and craft vendors, a kids area, a top dog parade and a hot dog eating competition.
Have you hopped on the hard seltzer craze? Mosey around the grounds The Lot at Plumbers Hall during this hard seltzer tasting event, where you'll have the chance to sample countless sparkling bevvies, from Vizzy to the the iconic White Claw. Varying entry times for each ticket ensures space between groups; a premier ticket will also net you complimentary snack bites, a take-home can of seltzer, a commemorative tasting cup and other goodies.
Wells Street Art Festival
See the work of more than 200 juried artists and purchase original photography, paintings, jewelry and more at this two-day fest in Old Town. Food options include fare from local restaurants, and live entertainment will play throughout the weekend.
Old Town Art Fair
Take a stroll and browse the work of more than 200 artists on the streets of Old Town at this annual two-day art fair. Attendees can also take a self-guided tour of more than 50 local gardens, enjoy live music from local performers and explore a selection of food and drinks provided by area restaurants and vendors. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged.
Logan Square Arts Festival
Stages, tents and food trucks will once again spring up around the Illinois Centennial Monument this year for the annual Logan Square Arts Festival. The beloved community fest celebrates local art, food, beer and music—this year's lineup includes headliners Duster, Sextile and Global Currency.
Chicago Pride Parade
The Chicago Pride Parade is set to return to the streets of Uptown and Lakeview this June. Chicago's LGTBQ+ community and its allies will gather along the usual route: winding south from Montrose and Broadway via Halsted and Diversey before ending at Sheridan. The parade typically attracts more than one million attendees—plan on staking out your spot along the route early if you can.
Chicago Pride Fest
Chicago Pride Fest brings two days of music, drag, vendors and LGBTQ-friendly event to Northalsted. Swing by to catch headlining sets from British singer Heather Small, pop punk band Meet Me at the Altar, Slayyyter, JORDY and Eureka O'Hara. Plus, browse arts and crafts from more than 150 vendors and don't miss out on the Proud Pet Parade at noon on Sunday.
Pride in the Park
More than a dozen performers will take to Grant Park this June for the two-day Pride in the Park festival, a musical celebration of Pride Month and the city's LGBTQ+ community. Zedd, Years & Years and Zara Larsson headline, with appearances from Circuit Mom, Lady D and more.
Chicago is a Dollhouse
After making its debut in 2019 and hosting an online edition during the pandemic, the Chicago is a Drag Festival returns this year (with a new name) for an outdoor celebration of Chicago's thriving drag scene, complete with performances from kings, queens and more than 35 other trans and non-binary performers. And for the first time ever, the event is free.
Gay Prom at Dorothy
Kick off Pride Month with a queer dance party at subterranean cocktail lounge Dorothy. Put on your best outfit and get ready to celebrate in style—the bar will be slinging drink specials while DJ TORi delivers the tunes. When you need a break from the action, snap some pics in the photobooth to remember the evening. Admission is free.
Boat owners are invited to deck out their vessels in rainbow-colored decor before setting off on this Pride-themed cruise, which will depart from the Playpen and head north along the coast toward Kathy Osterman Beach. The pre-parade circle begins north of the Playpen at 12:30pm, and the parade will commence at 1pm. No boat? Soak in the colorful action from vantage points at Ohio Street, Oak Street or North Ave Beach.
Catch performances by BLK OUT, DJ DigiMark and tons of other DJs on two stages at this three-day block party in the Glenwood Arts District of Rogers Park. Admission is free.
Navy Pier Pride
Navy Pier's annual day-long celebration of LGBTQ+ culture is back with music, dancing, educational programs and more. Check the Navy Pier website for a full lineup of shows and performances.
Shedd Pride Night
The Shedd Aquarium will celebrate Pride Month with an evening of inclusive festivities. DJs will provide the beats while a variety of performers put on an ocean-themed drag showcase. Guests are also welcome to explore the aquarium or engage in chats to learn more about penguins and sharks.
Drag Brunch in the Walnut Room
Macy's opulent Walnut Room will host a series of drag brunches this summer. Starring local performer Lucy Stoole, the brunch themes will include Totally '80s, '90s Pride and Taylor Swift. While you watch, you'll be treated to raspberry-stuffed French toast, mimosa flights and other colorful snacks.
Gaming for Green
The 16th annual Gaming for Green is back for another year at Galleria Marchetti. Guests will enjoy an evening of live music, Italian fare and an open bar while participating in a host of charitable games, including roulette, craps and blackjack. The highlight of the event is a Texas Hold ‘Em tournament, with the top 10 players taking home fabulous prizes. Proceeds will benefit Chicago Gateway Green, a nonprofit dedicated to the greening and beautification of Chicago’s gateways, expressway and neighborhoods.
Craft Brews at Lincoln Park Zoo
The eighth annual Craft Brews at Lincoln Park Zoo invites guests to sample more than 100 beers and ciders while wandering around the premises after hours. You'll get to see amazing animals, listen to music, play lawn games and purchase delectable bites to complement the alcohol. General admission includes tickets for 20 three-ounce tastings and a souvenir glass.
Chicago Friday Night Flights
The Illinois Craft Brewers Guild and Choose Chicago team up to curate a lineup of mini-beer fests this summer, taking place in neighborhoods throughout the city. Each end-of-the-week event welcomes a collection of local breweries, accompanied by food and live music. Admission to all Friday Night Flights festivals is free, but you can buy a tasting pass (good for 10 three-ounce pours) in advance for $25.
Unleash the Bubbles at Pioneer Court
Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte, the #1 Champagne brand in France, is transforming Pioneer Court on Michigan Avenue into a French garden labyrinth, complete with a giant cork display, life-sized bubbles, photo ops, interactive experiences and free tastings.
Miles for Migraine Chicago
Lace up your shoes and go on a two-mile walk or 5K run for a good cause. Taking place at Montrose Park in Lincoln Park, the event raises funds for migraine and headache awareness, treatment and research. All participants who cross the finish line will receive a medal. Registration is free, but donations are encouraged.
"West Side Story"
The Lyric Opera captivated audiences with its 2019 debut of this Broadway classic—and they’re bringing that magic back for three weeks this June, when we’re once again in the world of Sharks and Jets—and of Maria and Tony. Leonard Bernstein's music and Stephen Sondheim's lyrics soar as strongly as ever, reminding spectators that even in the midst of power battles and familial strife, love perseveres.
Steve Martin & Martin Short
Everyone’s favorite Steves take to the stage yet again this June, when they grace The Chicago Theatre for two nights with their “You Won’t Believe What They Look Like Today” tour. Expect plenty of jabs at Hollywood and the oddities of fame, and, of course, some affectionate and sharp puns at one another.
Chicago Humanities Spring 2023 Festival
This annual festival assembles luminaries from the fields of politics, journalism and the arts for a multi-week series of programming across the city, with events ranging from lectures and discussions to screenings and musical performances. Not sure which events to hit? Some of the fest’s biggest speakers include Hillary Clinton, Rainn Wilson, Andrew Rannells and Andy Cohen. You can see a full schedule of programming on the Chicago Humanities Festival website.
Maxwell Street Market
Originally established in the late 1800s, the Maxwell Street Market brought vendors, musicians and cooks to an open-air flea market where shoppers could find just about anything they wanted. The market introduced the Maxwell Street Polish sausage, provided a venue for rising Chicago blues musicians and was immortalized in a scene in The Blues Brothers. These days, the market sets up on nearby Desplaines Street (between Roosevelt and Howard) every Sunday, where visitors will find vendors hawking their wares, an abundance of delicious Mexican food and occasional performances by local bands and dance troupes. Don't let the cold or wet weather scare you away—the Maxwell Street Market takes place outdoors year-round.
Movies at Gallagher Way
Wrigley Field-adjacent plaza Gallagher Way is once again showing free outdoor movie screenings this summer. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to bring their own food, enjoy on-site concessions or snag a meal from nearby restaurants like Big Star and Smoke Daddy. VIP seating is also available for $33—check out the Gallagher Way website for more details. Gates open at 6pm for each screening and the movies start at 7:30pm.
- May 17: Ferris Bueller's Day Off
- May 31: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial
- June 7: The Mitchells vs. The Machines
- July 5: Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
- July 12: Clueless
- July 26: Top Gun: Maverick
- August 23: Puss in Boots: The Last Wish
- August 30: The Dark Knight
- September 13: Back to the Future
- September 27: The Blues Brothers
Navy Pier Fireworks
During the summer, one of the best aerial displays you'll find in Chicago originates from Navy Pier. The Chicago attraction hosts twice-weekly fireworks shows (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, with stunning views available from across the pier's public spaces. Of course, you can also take in the show from nearby beaches or while cruising along the Lakefront Trail.
ART on THE MART
Projecting a 25-story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, ART on THE Mart's 2023 programming kicks off with a new piece by internationally-renowned artist Derrick Adams—“Funtime Unicorn: Ruby Rides Through Four Seasons”—which will be on display from April 14 to July 5. The spring season will also feature artwork from soon-to-graduate Chicago Public School students, officially titled “Select Works from the CPS Class of 2023.” ART on THE MART's array of 34 digital projectors show the creations at 8:30pm and 9pm every evening. It’s best viewed from the section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells Street and Franklin Street.
“Harry Potter: Magic at Play”
Yer a wizard, Harry! Or at least, you can pretend to be one at this immersive Harry Potter experience that’s popping up at Water Tower Place through September 2023. Visitors are invited to step into Harry’s life at Hogwarts with interactive features like Quidditch lessons, Charms and Defense Against the Dark Arts classes, sipping sweet drinks at the Butterbeer Bar, Patronus-seeking in the Forbidden Forest and learning their Hogwarts house via the Sorting Hat, among other magical experiences. FYI: In addition to regular operating hours, the exhibition is open on “select” Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and may offer different hours around holidays.
"Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius"
From the team that created Immersive Van Gogh, Mozart Immersive: The Soul of a Genius is a new production that brings the famous Classical composer’s brilliant works to life with captivating visuals built around the auditory experience. Audiences will be surrounded by bustling city streets, ornate royal auditoriums, lavish paintings and otherworldly dreamscapes, all accompanied by some of Mozart’s most beloved melodies. Some of Mozart’s best compositions will be featured, including Symphony No. 40, Requiem, Turkish March, Ave Verum Corpus and selections from his acclaimed operas. Immersive Van Gogh is also currently running in the same space and customers who purchase tickets to Mozart Immersive can watch both shows back to back.
“Mold-A-Rama™: Molded for the Future”
Tap into feelings of childhood nostalgia at the Museum of Science and Industry’s newest exhibit, a colorful glimpse into the world of Mold-A-Rama™ machines. Explore a collection of popular, rare and experimental souvenirs, learn about the history of the machines’ production and breathe in the iconic scent of their plastic toymaking—you can even take home a few new Mold-A-Rama™ souvenirs if you’re looking to expand your collection.
Pixar Putt returns to Polk Bros Park at Navy Pier for the 2023 season. The mini golf pop-up presents 18 holes of fun inspired by some of Pixar’s most beloved films, including Toy Story, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, Wall-E and more. Looking for a date night activity? Visit Thursday-Sunday from 7pm-10pm for Pixar Putt After Dark, which is reserved for patrons over 18. Illinois residents can save $3.50 off each ticket with proof of residency.
"LIGHT CYCLES: 40 Years of TRON in Games and Film"
Chicago Gamespace, a video game museum in Logan Square, is opening a new exhibition dedicated to the game universe of TRON. Visitors will enter through Flynn's Arcade, the immortal arcade owned by Jeff Bridges' Flynn character in the sci-fi classic, and learn about the original TRON arcade game’s history and development before entering an immersive Light Cycle arena featuring other games from the franchise. General admission is $8 for adults and $5 for kids, and includes access to the video game history collection.
The Paper Machete
This weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours.
“Death: Life’s Greatest Mystery”
Delve into the often-mystifying process of death in this surprisingly life-affirming exhibit at the Field Museum, which explores dying through a variety of natural and cultural processes. Attendees can explore highlights like a full-sized ofrenda made by Chicago artist Norma Rios-Sierra, a replica of a whale's body on the ocean floor and check out a variety of interactive media and soundscapes to help ponder some of life's big questions about death.
“Nostalgia for My Island: Puerto Rican Painting from the Museo de Arte de Ponce (1786-1962)”
Working in partnership with the Museo de Arte de Ponce in Puerto Rico, the National Museum of Puerto Rican Arts & Culture is bringing a stunning selection of paintings to Chicago—some of which have never been shown outside of Puerto Rico—for an exhibition highlighting several of the island's most important artists. Centered around three curatorial themes (“My Home,” “My People” and “My Island”), the works span from the 18th century to the first half of the 20th century, showcasing artists like José Campeche, Francisco Oller, Miguel Pou and Myrna Báez, among others. Tickets to the exhibition are free, but you might consider a small online donation to the Museo de Arte de Ponce, which is still recovering from damage sustained in a 2020 earthquake.