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42 exciting openings in Chicago in August

Written by
Laura Rote
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Summer isn’t over yet, people. We’ve got a whole lot of things to do before Labor Day, from hanging out at colorful street festivals to listening to some great live music—some of it it’s even free. When you’re not out enjoying frozen drinks at some of Chicago’s best rooftop bars or lounging by the city’s beaches, we hope to see you at any one of the best events or openings in August.  

THINGS TO DO

Aug 5: Bring the kids for after-hours access to the planetarium during Adler After Dark: Family Edition and you can all try out the telescopes or build a robot.

Aug 5–7: You won’t go hungry at Chicago Hot Dog Fest. The annual food festival at Chicago History Museum has more than enough to go around, with three days of eats from vendors all across the city.

Aug 6: Beloved Oregon brewery Deschutes brings its 400-foot bar and dozens of taps back to Logan Square so you can drink outside as part of the Deschutes Street Pub. Proceeds benefit the Alliance the Great Lakes and Logan Square Preservation Partnership.

Aug 6 & 7: Head to Edgewater for a weekend of EdgeFest and fill up on some funnel cake before belting it out with karaoke.

Aug 6 & 7: Wrigleyville Summerfest has you covered when it comes to good food, cold beer and live music at a popular neighborhood festival, complete with a bounce house and plenty of activities for the kids.

Aug 12–14: Ginza Holiday Festival celebrates Japanese culture with cool crafts and meet their makers, watch live martial arts and fill up on authentic Japanese fare.

Aug 12–14: Festival Cubano returns to Riis Park with music, dancing and carnival rides, plus a change to snag a hand-rolled cigar. 

Aug 13: The Bud Billiken Parade is the world's largest and oldest African-American parade The parade's two mile route begins in the Bronzeville neighborhood and continues north on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, concluding in Washington Park with a picnic that features vendors and performers.

Aug 18: Don't miss your chance to set sail on Time Out Chicago's final Yacht Party of the summer. Your ticket includes stunning views of the city from Lake Michigan, a DJ, Dark Horse Wine, giveaways and more.

Aug 18–21: A lot of good guys, maybe a few bad guys and kids and kids at heart alike will love Wizard World Chicago Comic Con in Rosemont.

Aug 19–21: The free Edison Park Fest transforms the park into a carnival wonderland for all ages to enjoy, with amusement park rides, magic shows and live music.

Aug 19–21: Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest in Rogers Park combines three stages of music and performance acts with locally made arts and crafts from more than 100 vendors.

Aug 20 & 21: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, oh wait, it’s another plane. The Chicago Air and Water Show draws tens of thousands of onlookers each year, whether they’re swimming and gawking at North Avenue Beach or at just about any neighborhood in the city, craning their necks to wait for the Blue Angels to soar overhead.

Aug 20 & 21: Fill up on international cuisine and witness entertainment from all over the world at Albany Park World Fest

Aug 24–27: Relax with some Turkish coffee, stuff your face with some baklava and try some orchid ice cream at the Chicago Turkish Festival at Daley Plaza.

Aug 25–27: Be a kid again and play more than 200 old-school arcade games as part of the Arcade, Video and Game Room Expo in nearby Rosemont.

Aug 27 & 28: Fill up on delicious Greek food and dance the night away at Taste of Greektown.


RESTAURANTS & BARS

Aug 1: John Manion’s (La Sirena Clandestina) El Che Bar will open with a food menu centered around wood-fired cuisine and drinks focused on cachaça, mescal and pisco.

Mid-August: The Revival Food Hall by 16” on Center will open in the Loop with a slew of beloved quick-serve restaurants.

Note: Restaurant and bar openings are subject to change and can be delayed; call ahead before setting out.

MUSIC 

Aug 1: Wind down after a long weekend at Lollapalooza with a free Millennium Park concert from subdued folk singer José González.

Aug 2: Of-the-moment pop stars Demi Lovato and Nick Jonas team up for a co-headlining show at Allstate Arena.

Aug 5: Experimental indie rockers Deerhoof brings its latest batch of energetic tracks to Lincoln Hall.

Aug 13: Immerse yourself in island vibes provided by Toots and the Maytals and Lee "Scratch" Perry at the inaugural Reggae Fest Chicago.

Aug 21: Wilco returns for a hometown show in Millennium Park, debuting tracks from its cheekily-titled new album, Schmilco.

Aug 21: Diplo and Kesha come to Northerly Island to headline the annual Mad Decent Block Party.

Aug 25: The Millennium Park concert series closes with a performance by genre-defying collective Tortoise.

Aug 28: Pump those fists—the Boss is back in town. Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band return for a victory lap at the United Center.

ART

Aug 12–Oct 2: The Intuit teams up with the Kinsey Institute to present "Private Eyes," an intimate collection of homemade erotic objects.

Aug 27–Jan 29: Sketches and drawings by artists like Edgar Degas and "American Gothic" painter Grant Wood go on display in "Master Drawings Unveiled" at the Art Institute. 

THEATER

Aug 3–7: Toruk—The First Flight is Cirque du Soleil's latest touring production to pitch its tent outside the United Center. Inspired by James Cameron's 2009 sci-fi CGI fest Avatar, TORUK depicts the first of the Na'vi people to successfully ride a great leonopteryx through the Pandoran skies.

Aug 4–Aug 14: Merchant of Venice, the acclaimed Shakespeare’s Globe production starring Jonathan Pryce as Shylock, comes to us from London as part of Shakespeare 400 Chicago.

Aug 15: The annual Broadway in Chicago Summer Concert at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion includes cast members and songs from the upcoming season, including Aladdin, The Bodyguard, Finding Neverland, Hedwig and the Angry InchThe Phantom of the Opera and more. 

Aug 31–Sept 10: The annual Chicago Fringe Festival brings about 200 performances to venues throughout Jefferson Park over 11 days. While some of the performances have participated in more prominent fringe festivals, the fest’s lottery-based selection process means you could see something daring, unique and memorable or something that evokes a different set of adjectives. 

DANCE

Aug 18–Sept 3: Don't miss The Fly Honey Show, the Inconvenience's annual raucous, rock & roll cabaret and burlesque affair at the Chopin Theatre's basement space.

Aug 20: Chicago’s finest dance companies, including Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Joffrey Ballet and River North Dance Chicago, come together on one stage for this 25th annual performance benefiting the AIDS Foundation of Chicago and the Dancers’ Fund as part of Dance for Life.

Aug 23–27: You can watch the best of the best international dance companies perform for free as part of the Chicago Dancing Festival at Pritzker Pavilion.

COMEDY

Aug 3: The Lincoln Lodge is on summer hiatus, but that won’t stop them from presenting this special evening with Chicago alum Nick Vatterott and his special guests getting their weirdest.

Aug 3: This special Chicago Underground Comedy show, Community Cervix, benefits Planned Parenthood. Alex Kumin is the headliner, with sets by a half-dozen more comedians and music by local bands and DJs.

Aug 19: On the heels of her innovative Netflix series Lady Dynamite, Maria Bamford puts in a one-night stand-up set at the Athenaeum.

Aug 25–28: In its second year, the Chicago Musical Improv Festival features four nights of impromptu tunes.

Through Aug 28: The Second City and Slate team up for this election-season look at one very weird political climate in Unelectable You. The show has a monthlong run at UP Comedy Club before setting out on tour.

LGBT

Aug 13 & 14: The biggest LGBT event of August, Northalsted Market Days takes over the streets of Boystown with plenty of booze and phallic junk food. 

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