Summer’s in full swing, and there’s so much going on it’s hard to keep track of it all. We’re here to help you cram every nook and cranny of your calendar with the best things to do this month. With almost too many summer festivals, killer concerts and the Chicago Air and Water Show, sleep is the only acceptable reason to be home.
THINGS TO DO
Aug 5: Test your movie memory at the Whistler’s monthly Movieoke night.
Aug 6–20: Thursdays in the Loop, Four40 Eats serves up lunch from local vendors.
Aug 6–Sep 10: Movies on the Pier screens a different blockbuster each Thursday night.
Aug 8: Celebrate Chicago’s youth at the Bud Billiken Parade, the country’s largest and oldest African-American parade.
Aug 8 & 9: Northalsted Market Days brings back the biggest fest in the whole Midwest!
Aug 13–23: The Illinois State Fair is everything a state fair ought to be—the butter cow’s just gravy.
Aug 15 & 16: A Chicago summer classic returns to our city’s skies at the Chicago Air and Water Show.
Aug 21: Book a babysitter, go wild and enjoy a brew in the zoo because it's Adults Night Out.
Aug 20–23: Wizard World Chicago Comic Con is back with comics, costumes and celebs.
Aug 22 & 23: The Chicago Food Social brings yet another fest to Wicker Park, but this time the food’s the focus.
Aug 27: It’s an art show, it’s a DJed dance party, it’s in an alley, it’s ACTIVATE.
Aug 29–Oct 18: August welcomes Midnight Circus in the Parks, filling our parks with big tops and circus acts.
Aug 1: Don’t let the badass name fool you, Edge Fest is all about fun for the whole family.
Aug 1 & 2: Hungry for something other than a massive music fest this weekend? Taste of Latin America is a great alternative to Lolla.
Jul 30–Aug 2: The huge Latino fest, Fiesta Del Sol, is a must, featuring music, food and a pageant.
Aug 7–9: Ginza Holiday Festival celebrates its 60th year this year, bringing the best in Japanese food and culture to Chicago for you to enjoy.
Aug 7–9: Celebrate a Chicago staple—the hot dog!—with local vendors at the Chicago Hot Dog Fest, and don't miss the lecture on "Ketchup: The Condiment of Controversy."
Aug 8 & 9: Wrigleyville Summerfest takes the party outdoors.
Aug 13–16: Head to Festa Italiana for the meatball eating contest; stay for the bocce ball tournament and grape-stomping.
Aug 14–16: The three-day Festival Cubana brings the music, dancing and tastes of Cuba to life, right here in Chicago.
Aug 14–16: Shop crafts from more than 100 vendors at the Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest.
Aug 15 & 16: The Great American Lobster Fest is the perfect pairing for the Air and Water Show, so order your Boston lobster and pack your bib!
Aug 22: Pilsen Fest celebrates the historic neighborhood’s art and culture with live music and festivities.
Aug 22 & 23: Get a taste of foreign fare at Albany Park World Fest.
Aug 22 & 23: Taste of Greektown—the name says it all.
Aug 28–30: Who will be crowned Sausage King and Queen at this year’s Sausagefest? The festival returns, this year in Old Town.
Aug 29 & 30: Bucktown Arts Fest has grown considerably over the last 30 years, and the mega event now offers more art, music, poetry, theater and dance than ever before.
Aug 29 & 30: Get schooled on style at Chicago Fashion Fest, where models strut the runway after dark.
Aug 8: Formento’s is launching brunch with dishes like lemon ricotta pancakes, cinnamon rolls and carbonara frittata.
Aug TDB: Maple & Ash brings a new steakhouse to the Gold Coast.
Aug TBD: Replay and Elixir are opening new Andersonville spots this month, with food from chef Paul Dobroski (NoMI Kitchen).
Aug TBD: DMK Burger Bar and Fish Bar will open locations on Navy Pier.
Aug 4–Oct 13: “Tools of the Trade” shows off architectural trends via a collection of 19th- and 20th-century commercial catalogs.
Aug 5–30: Noted Vivian Maier collector Ron Slattery displays photos from his archives at Comfort Station’s Vernacular Photography Festival.
Aug 21–Jan 2016: The Art Institute’s Department of Textiles presents “Kesa: Japanese Buddhist Monks’ Vestments,” an exhibition of traditional garments dating back to 1615.
Aug 21–Mar 13: The National Museum of Mexican Art displays the bold, pop culture-inspired paintings of Chicago-native Errol Ortiz.
Aug 25–Jan 31: The Museum of Contemporary Art’s Chicago Works series turns its eye to the architecturally-informed work of Ania Jaworska.
Aug 5: A must for Wallace and Gromit fans, Shaun the Sheep could just be the best silent film since The Artist.
Aug 7: Will twisty psychological thriller The Gift wrap up neatly?
Aug 7: Nicolas Cage goes to Washington in The Runner.
Aug 7: Mamma mia! Meryl Streep’s vocal cords are back in Ricki in the Flash.
Aug 7: We have some hope for the latest attempt at a Fantastic Four movie, which considers the physical ramifications of superpowers.
Aug 14: Rebooting goes retro with Guy Ritchie's spy flick, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Aug 28: Sinister 2 picks up where the first sleeper horror hit left off.
Jul 31–Aug 2: Metallica, Florence + the Machine and a host of less famous acts take over Grant Park during another year of Lollapalooza.
Aug 1: Tinley Park will be swarming with teeny boppers when pop punk boy band 5 Seconds of Summer play First Midwest Bank Amphitheater.
Aug 7: Take in an evening of '90s alt-rock as the Smashing Pumpkins and Marilyn Manson stop through town on this co-headlining tour.
Aug 9: The only thing in danger of extinction at Dinosaur Jr.'s Subterranean gig is your hearing—bring some earplugs because it's going to rock.
Aug 11: Evanston native Ezra Furman returns to Lincoln Hall with verbose tunes from his new solo record.
Aug 14: If the lyrics on Wildheart are any indication, Miguel's performance at the Vic will be a steamy affair (and we're not referring to the fog machines).
Aug 23: Even if you didn't snag a ticket to One Direction's sold-out show at Soldier Field, you'll likely be able to hear the prepubescent shrieks from miles away.
Aug 27: Taking a break from his regular gig at Madison Square Garden, Billy Joel brings his "Piano Man" schtick to Wrigley Field.
Aug 29: After a packed show at the Cubbie Bear last year, the Foo Fighters return to Wrigleyville and put on a show in the Friendly Confines.
Aug 1–30: Midsommer Flight returns to the Chicago Park District with an outdoor staging of Shakespeare's cautionary tale, Macbeth.
Jul 30–Aug 29: A trailer-park twink sets off to find love by becoming a porn star in Stanley in the Name of Love, the "absurdist gay porn dance-pop musical."
Aug 14–22: Kafkapalooza metamorphosizes into a tribute to the life and work of Franz Kafka.
Aug 14–Sep 26: Patrick Marber adapts Strindberg's Miss Julie with After Miss Julie.
Aug 5–30: The Boy from Oz, a biographical musical about Australian singer Peter Alle, opens.
Aug 28–Oct. 25: The Hypocrites stage the first Chicago production of Green Day’s rock musical American Idiot.
Aug 6: Chicago native, former SNL writer and in-demand stand-up comedian John Mulaney returns.
Aug 7–10: Master improvisers David Pasquesi, Scott Adsit, John Lutz, Stephnie Weir, Bob Dassie and T.J. Jagodowski improvise a full-length play in Stolen House.
Aug 15–29: In You’re Being Ridiculous, a varying lineup of performers, from live-lit regulars to first-timers, reads true, funny stories from their own lives.
Aug 29: Aziz Ansari headlines, joined by special guest Amy Schumer, for Funny or Die’s Oddball Comedy & Curiosity Festival.