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August 2019 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your August in Chicago with our events calendar of the best things to do, including concerts, theater openings and art exhibits

Air & Water Show Sunday, August 21, 2016
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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Is it August already? Summertime (and beach weather) is slipping away, so it's time to get serious about planning the remaining weeks. If you still haven't made it out to a music festival this year, join the crowds at Lollapalooza or dance with the hippies at North Coast (plus, Drake and Beyoncé are in town this month). If you demand some visual spectacle, you'll find it at the Air and Water Show or amid the crowds of cosplayers at Wizard World Chicago Comic Con. Don't forget to enjoy some warm weather cuisine at the Logan Square Food Truck Festival or the Chicago Hot Dog Fest. You'll find all these event and many more on our August events calendar for Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2019

Featured events in August 2019

Lollapalooza 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Music festivals

Lollapalooza

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Taking over Grant Park for four days each summer, Lollapalooza is Chicago's largest music festival, attracting an estimated 100,000 attendees each day. This year, the Weeknd, Bruno Mars, Jack White and Arctic Monkeys headline the fest, topping a bill that includes acts like St. Vincent, Franz Ferdinand, Tyler, the Creator and more. With more than 180 artists, grub from local eateries and plenty of beer, this is the kind of weekend that Chicago summers were made for.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Photograph: Courtesy the artists
Music, Pop

Beyoncé + Jay-Z

The past few years have been tumultuous (to say the least) for musical power-couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but the pair has weathered the rough times and is getting ready to celebrate with—what else?—a co-headlining tour. Dubbed OTR II (a nod to their 2014 On the Run tour), the stadium show will mash up Jay's increasingly conscientious hip-hop with Bey's immaculately choreographed anthems, plus cuts from their new collaboration Everything is Love.

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Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Photograph: Stephen Jensen
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

icon-location-pin Stockton Dr and LaSalle Dr, Loop
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The Chicago History Museum organizes this celebration of one of the city's most famous dishes, serving creative franks from the likes of Byron's, Chicago's Dog House, Edzo's and more. While you're chowing down on neon green relish and sport pepper, you can listen to live music or attend a lecture that will teach you about the history of the Chicago-style hot dog.

Bud Billiken Day Parade on Martin Luther King Junior Drive on Saturday, August...
Photograph: Simon Brubaker
Things to do, Festivals

Bud Billiken Parade

The world's largest and oldest African-American parade enters its 89th year celebrating Chicago's youth. 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.

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Lagunitas Beer Circus
Photograph: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Things to do, Festivals

Lagunitas Beer Circus

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
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After holding its annual Beer Circus in its the parking lot of its Lawndale brewery for the past few years, Lagunitas is moving the party to nearby Douglas Park this year (the same place where Riot Fest is held). As usual, the event will bring together live music, burlesque, sideshow acts, aerialists and some limited-release beers. Admission includes your first pour of beer and a portion of proceeds will benefit local no-kill dog rescue One Tail at a Time. 

Northalsted Market Days brings LGBT-friendly pop acts like Belinda Carlisle, Karmin, and Neon Trees to Boystown for the Midwest's biggest two-day street festival, August 9 and 10, 2014.
Photograph: Kaitlin Hetterscheidt
Things to do, Festivals

Northalsted Market Days

icon-location-pin Halsted and Roscoe Sts, Boystown
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Northalsted Market Days is the largest two-day street festival in the Midwest and features lots of booze, phallic junk food (think corn dogs and chocolate-dipped bananas), music acts and terrific street fashion.

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Drake
Photograph: Courtesy REX/Shutterstock
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Drake + Migos

After collaborating on "Walk It Talk It," Canadian R&B superstar Drake joins forces with hip-hop trio Migos on the Aubrey and the Three Migos Tour. While you shouldn't expect Drake to address the “The Story Of Adidon” diss track that Pusha-T released, you'll probably hear plenty of ubiquitous new tracks from his latest album Scorpion. Here's hoping that Drake and Migos play at least part of the show in their Soul Train-themed attire.

The U.S. Navy Blue Angels, Firebirds Delta Team and more perform aerial stunts at the Chicago Air and Water Show, August 16, 2014.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Air and Water Show

icon-location-pin North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park
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Don't be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event. Join throngs of people at North Beach and surrounding areas to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

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Half Acre Balmoral
Photograph: Nick Murway
Things to do, Festivals

The Big North

icon-location-pin Half Acre Brewery Balmoral, Lincoln Square
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Half Acre Beer Company throws its annual bash at its expansive Balmoral Brewery, welcoming guests into its taproom, production space and patio to enjoy drinks, music and more. This year's festivities will feature samples of newly-developed beers and music from local psych outfit Post Animal, indie rockers Dehd and dream pop act Divino Niño. Tickets include food, a glass, a coozie and first-come, first-served access to a variety of barrel-aged and wyld beers.

French Toast at Jam
Photograph: Ken Carl
Things to do, Conventions

BrunchCon

Your favorite meal finally gets the convention it so rightly deserves, as 30 vendors serve up brunch bites, accompanied by open mimosa and Bloody Mary bars. During two separate sessions, guests will be able to explore the "Museum of Brunch," shop for supplies to take home in the BrunchCon market and play mimosa pong with friends. Like a great brunch, you'll wish you could do this every day of the week.

Festivals in August 2019

lollapalooza 2018
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Music festivals

Lollapalooza

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Taking over the fields of Grant Park for four days each summer, Lollapalooza is a behemoth of a music festival, welcoming an estimated 100,000 attendees to a sea of stages, brand activations and concession stands set beneath the beating sun. This year, pop princess Ariana Grande, rapper Childish Gambino, alt-rock duo Twenty One Pilots, rockers the Strokes, psych act Tame Impala and EDM hit-makers the Chainsmokers headline the main stages. Some people come for the music, some come for the people-watching and others come to get drunk on a blanket in the middle of a field—there's no wrong way to Lolla.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

icon-location-pin Stockton Dr and LaSalle Dr, Loop
icon-calendar

The Chicago History Museum organizes this celebration of one of the city's most famous dishes, serving creative franks from some of our favorite hot dog stands. While you're chowing down on neon green relish and sport peppers, you can listen to live music or attend a lecture that will teach you about the history of the Chicago-style hot dog.

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Festival Cubano
Photograph: Courtesy Festival Cubano
Things to do, Festivals

Festival Cubano

icon-location-pin Riis Park, Belmont Cragin
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Back in Riis Park, the three-day Festival Cubano brings together musicians, dancers and food for a weekend of cultural celebration. Begin by checking out the festival's more than 30 Cuban vendors, who will be serving dishes such as jibarito sandwiches, ropa vieja, lechón and tostones. Once you're full, play a game of dominos, shop for hand-rolled cigars, watch boxing matches or catch a performance from Cuban musicians.

Photograph: G Nagata
Things to do, Festivals

Ginza Holiday Festival

icon-location-pin Midwest Buddhist Temple, Lincoln Park
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Celebrate Japanese culture, food and entertainment at the annual Ginza Holiday Festival. Meet and buy crafts from master craftsmen (called Waza), who will be flown in from Tokyo to share their skills. Live martial arts, Taiko drumming, ukulele performances, classical dances and Japanese food (teriyaki, sushi, Spam musubi, Hawaiian shave ice and more) give Chicagoans a taste of Japan.

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Northalsted Market Days
Photograph: Kaitlin Hetterscheidt
Things to do, Festivals

Northalsted Market Days

icon-location-pin Halsted and Roscoe Sts, Boystown
icon-calendar

Northalsted Market Days is the largest two-day street festival in the Midwest, welcoming 100,000 to the streets of Boystown for an LGBTQ-friendly summer celebration. Headlining acts at this year's fest include former Prince collaborator Sheila E., "Don't Let Me Down" singer Daya and Swedish pop duo Icona Pop. When you're not dancing in the streets, you can chow down on fried foods, shop for colorful local goods or head to an afterparty at a nearby club.

Retro on Roscoe
Photograph: Courtesy Retro on Roscoe
Things to do, Festivals

Retro on Roscoe

icon-location-pin Damen Ave and Roscoe St, North Center
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Antique vendors and classic cars fill six blocks of Roscoe Village at this throwback street market, where everything old is new again. The music lineup is usually equally nostalgic, featuring tribute acts that perform hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

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The Big North
Photograph: Courtesy Half Acre
Things to do, Festivals

The Big North

icon-location-pin Half Acre Brewery Balmoral, Lincoln Square
icon-calendar

Half Acre Beer Company throws its annual bash at its expansive Balmoral Brewery, welcoming guests into its taproom, production space and patio to enjoy drinks, music and more. This year's event will feature more than 60 beers, including wyld varieties, barrel-aged brews and some never-before-seen creations. Los Angeles psych-rock outfit the Allah-Las, garage rockers the Cowboys and local quartet Skip Church provide the live soundtrack for the evening, accompanied by some interactive experiences and surprises. Tickets include a tasting glass, koozie and one food token that can be redeemed at the festival.

North Avenue Beach was the perfect place to watch aerial acrobatics at the Chicago Air and Water Show on August 15, 2015.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Air and Water Show

icon-location-pin North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park
icon-calendar

Don't be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event. Join throngs of people at North Beach and surrounding areas to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

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Sangria Festival Chicago
Photograph: Courtesy Sangria Festival Chicago
Things to do, Festivals

Sangria Festival Chicago

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park, Humboldt Park
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Humboldt Park transforms into an outdoor tapas bar during this boozy bash, which pairs bites from local restaurants with pitchers of red wine and chopped fruit. Lay our a blanket to sip sangria on the lawn, put color on a canvas at the festival's painting station or watch flamenco dancers sway to Spanish music.

Lagunitas Beer Circus
Photograph: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Things to do, Festivals

Lagunitas Beer Circus

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
icon-calendar

The Chicago outpost of Lagunitas Brewing Company throws a Beer Circus in Douglas Park (the same place where Riot Fest is held), with more than 100 performers, two stages of live music, food trucks, games and more diversions. In addition to a menu that includes one-of-a-kind Lagunitas brews, you'll be able to take in burlesque, sideshow acts and aerialists.

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Concerts in August 2019

Tycho
Photograph: Tim Navis
Music, Dance and electronic

Tycho + Edamame

When he's not on tour, Tycho mastermind Scott Hansen works as a graphic designer—no surprise considering that the down-tempo compositions he favors sound like the product of a mind that obsesses over details. Each snare hit and vintage synthesizer tone on the group's 2016 album, Epoch, seems seems deliberately and painstakingly arranged to evoke a very specific mood (sometimes, to a fault). In concert, the trio blends instrumental post-rock structures with the atmosphere of trance and house music—you can dance if you want to.

Lollapalooza 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music

Lollapalooza

If you want to attend the biggest music festival in Chicago, get your tickets to Lollapalooza. Attendees gather in Grant Park from August 2–5 for four whole days of bands, heat and huge crowds near some of Chicago's best attractions. This year, the Weeknd, Jack White, Bruno Mars and Arctic Monkeys headline the main stages, while acts like St. Vincent, Tyler, the Creator and Chvrches take over the rest of the park (and probably a few aftershows at local rock music venues).

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The National
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

The National + Alex Lahey

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
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Armed with a surplus of achingly melancholy songs, two pairs of brothers and the haunting baritone of singer Matt Berninger, Brooklyn-via-Ohio rockers the National are somehow one of the biggest rock bands in the world. Before headlining an evening at Lollapalooza, the group brings the larger-than-life arrangements of its recent Sleep Well Beast LP to Metro for an intimate performance that is sure to sell out quickly—hopefully you've got a friend who managed to snag some tickets.

Brockhampton
Photograph: Courtesy Ashlan Grey
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Brockhampton + Romil

Formed through a Kanye West fan message board, the members of hip-hop collective Brockhampton moved into a house together, started making music and insisted on being called a "boy band." Led by rapper Kevin Abstract and harnessing an intensely collaborative approach that echoes the work of Odd Future, the 15-member group released no less than three records in 2017, each filled with tracks that bristle with DIY enthusiasm and unfettered charisma. It's no surprise that Brockhampton has quickly found a young and vocal fanbase—the group produces the kind of music that inspires other to go out and make their own.

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Pitchfork Music Festival 2016, Friday
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Music, Pop

Carly Rae Jepsen

No matter how you feel about mainstream pop music, Carly Rae Jepsen's “Call Me Maybe” is one of those undeinable tracks that gets stuck in your head, whether you want it to or not . Her follow-up, E-MO-TION, never yielded a ubiquitous single (if only she'd included her post-album track “Cut to the Feeling”), but it demonstrated the Canadian singer's ability to craft versatile pop songs, ranging from modern electro-pop bangers to ’80s-inflected synth anthems. Perahps you'll hear her latest earworm at this special Lollapalooza aftershow.

Lizzo
Photograph: Jabari Jacobs
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Lizzo + Davie

She isn't headlining arenas yet, but spend just a few minute watching Lizzo perform and you'll know that she'd be up to the task. The Minneapolis singer is unrelentingly self-assured and armed with a scathing sense of humor—whether she's celebrating her body or calling out her exes, Lizzo pulls no punches. After signing to a major label and contributing a breakout track ("Good As Hell") to the latest Barbershop movie soundtrack, we're looking forward to the day when Lizzo is headlining Lollapalooza. Here, she tops the bill at a festival aftershow, joined by Los Angeles R&B singer Davie.

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Jack White
Photograph: David James Swanson
Music, Rock and indie

Jack White

It's been four years since Jack White last passed through Chicago, playing a pair of theater shows (at the Chicago and Auditorium) and attending a Cubs game in Wrigley Field where a broadcast of the game captured the musician looking incredibly miserable. Before he hits the stage on the final night of Lollapalooza, White will headline a special Lollapalooza aftershow at Metro—a venue he hasn't performed at since 2002, when the White Stripes visited Chicago on the duo's White Blood Cells tour.

Bahamas
Photograph: Courtesy High Road Touring
Music, Rock and indie

Bahamas + Bad Bad Hats

“It wasn't long ago that I wasn't offered a show of any kind,” Afie Jurvanen sings on his ode to supporting bands, “Opening Acts”, summing up the blessing and curse of working in an industry that commodifies creativity. On Earthtones, the latest album released under his Bahamas moniker, Jurvanen shows off his warm baritone throughout a collection of easy-going, R&B-inflected songs. Minnesota indie-rockers Bad Bad Hat open this Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert.

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Beyoncé and Jay-Z
Photograph: Courtesy the artists
Music, Pop

Beyoncé + Jay-Z

The past few years have been tumultuous (to say the least) for musical power-couple Jay-Z and Beyoncé, but the pair has weathered the rough times and is getting ready to celebrate with—what else?—a co-headlining tour. Dubbed OTR II (a nod to their 2014 On the Run tour), the stadium show will mash up Jay's increasingly conscientious hip-hop with Bey's immaculately choreographed anthems. Plus, we wouldn't be surprised if Blue Ivy makes a cameo.

Whitney
Photograph: Sandy Kim
Music, Rock and indie

Whitney + NE-HI

When Logan Square roommates Max Kakacek and Julian Ehrlich (former members of the Smith Westerns and Unknown Mortal Orchestra, respectively) began making music together, they found inspiration in the lovelorn, soulful folk-rock of the Band and Neil Young. Whitney's 2016 debut, Light Upon the Lake, wears its heart on its tattered plaid sleeve, wistfully reflecting on failed relationships and youthful trysts atop easy-going horn arrangements. Fellow local indie rockers NE-HI get the evening started at this sure-to-be-packed Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert.

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Free events in August 2019

Camp a Comedy Show
Photograph: Courtesy Camp
Comedy, Stand-up

Camp: A Comedy Show

Audiences at comedy shows don't get much more supportive than the ones that fill Camp every week in the Village Tap's beer garden. The summer camp-themed showcase gives comedians a place to test out new material and take risks, whether they're developing a new set of jokes or working out the kinks of a wacky character. Hosts Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman act as counselors, keeping the evening lively with sketches and unexpected hijinks.

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