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Pitchfork Music Festival 2016, Sunday
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

59 exciting openings in Chicago in July

Written by
Grace Perry

If you blink during the month of July in Chicago, you’re bound to miss something amazing. Summer in Chicago is cruising full steam ahead this month, kicking off with 4th of July festivities, a seemingly infinite number of street festivals, and, of course, Pitchfork Music Festival. There’s literally no way to do everything July in Chicago has to offer, but selecting from these 59 exciting openings is certainly a good place to start.

RECOMMENDED: Our complete July events calendar


July 1, 2: Get your hands messy at Windy City Ribfest in Uptown, which brings live music and the region’s most delicious barbecue.

July 1–4: Celebrate Afro-Caribbean culture with a weekend of reggae, dancing, soccer, food and art at the African Caribbean International Festival of Life.

July 5: The Hideout’s weekly game night, Veggie Bingo is back for the summer. If you’re lucky, you could win a treasure trove of fresh greens.

July 5–9: Grab a turkey leg and a slice of Eli’s Cheesecake, because the Taste of Chicago is back in Grant Park! This year’s musical headliners include Alessia Cara, Ben Harper and Passion Pit.

July 7–9: Celebrate summertime St. Paddy’s Day, a.k.a. The Irish American Heritage Festival, which features three days of Irish-American music, dance, family activities and, yes, beer.

July 8: The Bristol Renaissance Faire opens up for the summer (until Labor Day), so head up to Wisconsin and party like it’s the 16th century.

July 8, 9: Devour burgers from some of Chicago’s tastiest spots at the annual Roscoe Village Burger Fest.

July 14–16: Bring the whole family out to BenFest in North Center, St. Benedict Parish’s massive annual street fair.

July 15: Head out to the ’burbs for the Naperville Ale Fest, where you’ll drink national craft beers in the middle of the historic Naper Settlement.

July 16: Venture to Wentworth Avenue and Cermak Road for a Lion Dance, martial arts instructions, and traditional food, art and music at the Chinatown Summer Fair.

July 18: Join us for a drink out on the high seas (okay, Lake Michigan) for the July edition of Time Out Chicago’s Sunset Sail Happy Hour Series.

July 19: Help us crown the very best burger in the city at Time Out Chicago’s Battle of the Burger 2017 presented by Guinness.

July 21–23: Dig into samples of trendy area restaurants at the Taste of River North, which include live music and a family fun area.

July 22: The first-ever Pokémon Go Fest takes over Grant Park this month, and while it’s already sold out, hopefully you can snag a ticket to catch those rare Pokémon you’ve been looking for.

July 22, 23: Whether you’re looking to adopt or just want to learn more about Fido, the Windy City Pet Expo is the place to be for pet owners.

July 22, 23: Taste from more than 70 local, regional and national craft beers from 35 brewers at the Chicago Craft Beer Festival in Lincoln Park.

July 22, 23: Browse Lincoln Park’s most gorgeous gardens, then take in a performance from indie rockers Foxygen at the Sheffield Garden Walk Music Festival.

July 27–29: Satisfy your inner bookworm at the Newberry Library Book Fair, where you can browse more than 200,000 used books for sale.

July 27–29: Celebrate the sunshine in Pilsen at Fiesta del Sol, a carnival with rides, music, art and Mexican cuisine that happens to be one of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest.


July 8: With Saved by the Max closed, Riot Feast takes its place with carnival-inspired eats from executive chef Brian Fisher and the the minds behind Riot Fest.

July 10: Chef Michael Mina’s French cuisine concept Margeaux Brasserie opens at the Waldorf Astoria Chicago, following Petit Margeaux’s grand opening on June 22.

Mid-July: Anthony Bourdain-approved Pizzarium Bonci opens the first US location of the Rome pizzeria at 161 N Sangamon Street.

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


July 1, 2: Local house music legends gather in Jackson Park for two days of grooves at the Chosen Few DJs Music Festival.

July 1–3: Naperville Ribfest is not like its city counterparts—instead, it’s a gigantic music festival over 4th of July weekend, with headlining performances from Toby Keith, the B-52s, the Wallflowers and more.

July 7: Versatile blues, folk and soul act Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals headlines an evening at the Taste of Chicago.

July 7–9: Rock, pop and electronica en español come's to Pilsen's Addams/Medill Park during the annual Ruido Fest.

July 7–9: Indie rock (Speedy Ortiz, Woods) and house DJs (Derrick Carter, Miles Maeda) hit the streets of West Town during West Fest.

July 7–9: Take in live performances from more than 70 alt-country and Americana bands at the Square Roots Festival, programmed in conjunction with the Old Town School of Folk Music.

July 8: Kicking off their first North American tour in seven year, the humans behind Gorillaz bring the cartoon band's latest album, Humanz, to life.

July 10: Chirpy Virginia singer-songwriter Natalie Prass belts out soul-inflected country ballads at Millennium Park's free summer concert series.

July 14–16: KISS, Korn and Ozzy Osbourne headline the metalhead-friendly lineup at the Chicago Open Air music festival, returning to Toyota Park.

July 14–16: Country stars Jake Owen, Kip Moore and Lee Brice headline this year's Windy City Smokeout in River North. 

July 14–16: Hotly-tipped bands and tastemakers converge at Pitchfork Music Festival, where Solange, LCD Soundsystem and A Tribe Called Quest top the varied three-day lineup.

July 14–16: Taking place on a crowded festival weekend, Phish turns in three shows at Northerly Island for anyone who enjoys watching gratuitous jam sessions.

July 15: Party at Chicago’s only one-day EDM festival, Volleywood featuring Corona Electric Beach, where Borgeous headlines the North Avenue Beach bash.

July 17: Adult-contemporary mainstay James Taylor takes his timeless catalog to Wrigley Field, with support from blues singer-songwriter Bonnie Raitt.

July 20: Southern rockers the Drive-By Truckers unpack America's political division with twangy balladry at a free Millennium park concert.

July 22: Long-running genre-fusing instrumental outfit Tortoise headlines a benefit gala for local non-profit Experimental Sound Studio.

July 22: The Art of Rap Tour comes to the Chicago Theatre, with DMX, Rakim, KRS-One, Raekwon, Ghostface Killah and more hip-hop legends in tow.

July 22, 23: Folk and Americana take the spotlight at the Great Lawn music festival, featuring sets from folk duo Shovels and Rope, indie rockers Dr. Dog and more.

July 25, 26: Paul McCartney returns to Chicago for another set of nostalgic tunes from his early solo records, Wings and—of course—the Beatles.

July 27: Hip-hop's reigning poet laureate Kendrick Lamar comes to the United Center behind the nimble verses of his latest album, DAMN.

July 29: For the first time, Tour de Fat departs Palmer Square and moves to Northerly Island, where the Roots headline New Belgium Brewing's beer circus.

July 29, 30: One of the city's premiere street festivals, Wicker Park Fest packs the streets for performances from prolific indie rockers Guided By Voices and hip-hop collective Doomtree.


July 7–Aug 11: Anonymous local artist Don't Fret presents his latest solo show, “Big Shoulders," at Johalla Projects, reflecting on life in Chicago.

July 13–Oct 1: In “Re:collection”, the Museum of Contemporary Photography arranges photos from its collection to highlight the obvious (and subtle) connections between each work.

July 16–Oct 22: A group of artists consider the various ways in which patriotism manifests itself in “Virture of the Vicious” at the Hyde Park Art Center.


July 11–22: Something Rotten! is musical spoof about down-and-out Elizabethan playwrights inventing musical theater in the shadow of Shakespeare.

July 21–Aug 20: Definition Theatre Company stages the Chicago premiere of An Octoroon, a deconstruction of a 19th-century plantation melodrama by Irish playwright Dion Boucicault.

July 21–Sept 3: For Cirque du Soleil’s latest spectacle, the French-Canadian circus troupe looks south to Mexico for inspiration, with Luzia described as “a waking dream that transports you to an imaginary Mexico.”

July 25–Aug 13: Adapted from the 1951 MGM movie musical, this 2014 stage musical of An American In Paris won Tony awards for choreography, lighting design, scenic design and orchestrations.

July 29–Aug 20: Playwright and performance artist Taylor Mac’s 2015 play Hir  follows Isaac, a PTSD-stricken soldier who returns home from Afghanistan to confront big changes in his homelife.


July 5: Chicago native Tommy McNamara returns to his hometown for a one-night engagement at the Hideout, presented by Lincoln Lodge.

July 9: Take in a comic retelling of an ill-fated radio promotion at Comiskey Park in 1979 at Disco Demolition Night at the Annoyance.

July 11: Weekly variety showcase Ten Dollar Comedy kicks off at Judy’s Beat Lounge at the Second City, with a rotating lineup of Chicago comedy vets each Tuesday.

July 12: SNL player Kyle Mooney comes to Thalia Hall for a night of stand-up, character bits, video sketches and more.


July 1–31: The Millennium Park Foundation presents the annual Family Fun Festival, which offers free daily activities, music and arts and crafts for kids of all ages.  

July 8–30: Morton Arboretum’s production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream is a family-friendly affair intended to introduce young ones to the bard.

July 22: The whole family is invited to explore drawing exhibitions and then create their own masterpieces together with families from across Chicago at Kaleidoscope Family Day at the Art Institute of Chicago. 

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