Events & Festivals

Your guide to the best upcoming festivals and events in Chicago

Things to Do

December events calendar

Take a break from the stress of the holidays and make the season bright at these top events

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Shopping and style

Holiday market guide

Find unique gifts for everyone on your list at these seasonal markets

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Things to Do

Photos: Daley Plaza tree lighting

The city kicked off the holiday season with the help of Dee Snider

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Things to Do

Photos: Chicago Thanksgiving Parade

Inflatable cartoon characters, marching bands and Doug Sohn of Hot Doug's paraded down State Street on Turkey Day

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Things to Do

December festival calendar

Celebrate the most festive month of the year with twinkling lights and hot beverages

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This week's top events

Shopping and style

Christkindlmarket

Chicago's largest open-air market is a favorite of locals and tourists alike. Inspired by a Nuremberg, Germany, market that was founded in 1545, this market...

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Hot Georgia Sunday

Haven Theatre. By Catherine Trieschmann. Directed by Marti Lyons. With Ed Dzialo, Rob Fenton, Kay Kron, Julie Schroll, H.B. Ward, Emily Woods. Running time:...

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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The Mousetrap

Northlight Theatre. By Agatha Christie. Directed by Jonathan Berry. With ensemble cast. Running time: 2hrs 15mins; one intermission. Theater review by Kris...

Time Out says
  • 4 out of 5 stars
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Do-It-Yourself Messiah

After seeing a few performances of Handel's Messiah, you might think to yourself, Hey, I can do this. Well, here's your chance to show off your inner Adele....

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Month-by-month calendars

Things to Do

December 2014

Finish your Christmas shopping and bid farewell to 2014 at these year-end events

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Things to Do

January 2015

Kick off the first month of 2015 at a music festival, an ice rink or sketch comedy show

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Things to Do

February 2015

The shortest month of the year is packed with some great events to check out

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Things to Do

March 2015

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day and get ready for the (eventual) end of the winter

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Full events calendar for Chicago

Upcoming Chicago festivals

Things to Do

ZooLights

Head to the Lincoln Park Zoo to see the lights (and maybe a few animals) at this annual winter tradition. The first 1000 people through the gates each night receive special glasses to view the lights with, but everyone can enjoy nightly ice carving demonstrations, hot beverages and ice skating on the zoo's rink.

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Things to Do

Winter WonderFest

Navy Pier's annual indoor winter carnival returns with a selection of new activities, including a toboggan tunnel, winter mini golf and a 15-foot "snow tubing" hill. Returning attractions include the Blackhawks ice skating rink, a Ferris wheel and various carnival rides. Kids can also snap a picture with Santa or decorate a cookie.

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Comedy

The Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival

January can be a rough month in Chicago, so it's a good thing we've got something to laugh about. In its fourteenth year, the largest sketch comedy festival in the country will present a packed line-up of hilarious performers that will make you forget about those frigid temperatures outside.

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Chicago International Puppet Theater Festival

The inaugural Chicago Puppet Festival welcomes puppeteers from across the globe to the city for 12 days of symposiums, workshops and shows. Each event is individually ticketed, taking place at venues like the Museum of Contemporary Art, Links Hall and the Field Museum. A detailed schedule of shows and events can be found on the festival's website.

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Cubs Convention

It's a big year for the Cubs. The team has a new manager, a newly renovated stadium and another chance to win the World Series for the first time since 1908. The season starts at the 30th annual Cubs Convention, where fans can interact with players, coaches and alumni, while attending Q&A sessions and checking out interactive exhibits.

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Chicago Travel & Adventure Show

Start planning your next vacation at the Travel & Adventure Show, where you can get tips from travel experts and book a trip to someplace warmer than Chicago in January. Visitors can walk the show floor, attend a seminar, take in a performance or sample food from a faraway place.

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Concerts in Chicago

Do-It-Yourself Messiah

After seeing a few performances of Handel's Messiah, you might think to yourself, Hey, I can do this. Well, here's your chance to show off your inner Adele....

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Tsukasa Taiko: Taiko Legacy 11

Three generations of drummers unite for a two-show performance of percussive Asian music. Music and dance artists from Tokyo, San Francisco, and Chicago...

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Nightmare After Christmas: Bingo Players + Wolfgang Gartner + Tommy Trash

Bingo Players, now a solo act of Holland's Maarten Hoogstraten, brings dirty Dutch house as a holiday treat. While the rest of the boys were duking it out on...

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Flosstradamus

Shake the tinsel off this holiday season. Chicago DJ vets J2K and Autobot have been attacking booties with dirty bass for years. There's always been a heavy...

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Comedy events

Red, White & Blaine

Waiting for Guffman fans rejoice! The homage to Blaine, Missouri, as featuring in Christopher Guest's 1996 comedy is coming to iO, including songs and scenes...

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Comedy

TJ & Dave

This two-man show puts master improvisers TJ Jagodowski and Dave Pasquesi together for an hour of long-form.

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The Blue Show

If you miss the adult language in the usual ComedySportz match, than this is the show for you. Especially for the 18 and over crowd, this is improv is...

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The Second City's Holidazed and Confused Revue

Come to The Second City this winter and enjoy an R-rated sketch show poking fun at all the crazy and insufferable parts of the holidays.

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The top Chicago music festivals

Music

Lollapalooza

Chicago's largest summer music festival takes over Grant Park with big acts and even bigger porta-potty lines

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Music

Pitchfork Music Festival

Union Park turns into a hipster paradise at this indie-leaning summer festival

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Music

Spring Awakening

A sea of bros in neon tank tops flock to this massive EDM festival in Soldier Field

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Music

Riot Fest

The punks invade Humboldt Park at this sprawling rock festival on the city's Northwest Side

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Music

North Coast

Do your Labor Day plans include jam bands, hip-hop acts, DJs and glow sticks? You're probably a Coastie

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Find more Chicago music festivals