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August 2017 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

Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
North Avenue Beach

Is it August already? Time to get serious about maximizing your swimming pool time and making this summer count. 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. Looking for some visual spectacle to round out your summer? Try watching the stunt planes at the Chicago Air and Water Show or the acrobatics on display at the Chicago Dancing Festival. With so much to do this month you're going to work up an appetite, so make sure to hit SausageFest for a hot dog or the Food Truck Social for a delicious meal on the city's streets. It's all included in our August events calendar for Chicago.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2017

Featured events in August 2017

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Recommended

The Chicago History Museum's celebration of one our city's signature dishes is back again, and it's still growing. The three-day festival collects some of the best sausage-slinging vendors from all across the city. 

Read more
Chicago History Museum , Lincoln Park Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Bud Billiken Parade

The world's largest and oldest African American parade enters its 86th 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.

Read more
Martin Luther King Dr from 35th to 55th , Douglas Saturday August 12 2017

Illinois State Fair

Recommended

Come for the festival fare, stay for the Butter Cow—the fair's unofficial icon and Paula Deen's life-long dream, a life-size cow sculpture made of 500 pounds of butter. Watch tractor pulls, horse races, parades and musical acts. Some events require additional tickets.

Read more
Illinois State Fairgrounds Thursday August 10 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017
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Chicago Air and Water Show

Recommended

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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North Beach Chicago , River North Saturday August 19 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017

Wilco

Recommended

Chicago's most beloved active rock act celebrates the arrival of summer with an outdoor concert at Pritzker Pavillion. Last summer, Wilco debuted its ninth studio album, Star Wars, during its headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Frontman Jeff Tweedy recently revealed that the band already has another album in the can—could this show mark its debut? Regardless, you can expect Pat, Glenn, Nels, John and Mikael to dig into Wilco's extensive catalog and deliver some deep cuts, if only to placate the super fans incessantly yelling out "Magazine Called Sunset."

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Until Sun Feb 26
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Midnight Circus in the Parks

Recommended

Get under the big top at parks all over the city, as an eclectic ensemble of acrobats, aerialists and eccentrics perform in an intimate setting. Proceeds from these family-friendly events benefit the Chicago Park District.

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Until Sun Oct 16

Concerts in August 2017

Sinkane + Mark de Clive-Lowe

Sudan-born multi-instrumentalist Ahmed Gallad toured with Caribou, Of Montreal, and Yeasayer, before striking out on his own under the name Sinkane. He specializes in hooky riffs, anthemic choruses and Afrobeat flourishes, harnessing a silky smooth falsetto that floats through each track on his 2014 release Mean Love. New Zealand-born producer Mark de Clive-Lowe opens the night with an eclectic blend of jazz, world and progressive electronic music. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Until Thu Feb 23

Ghostface Killah + Raekwon

Recommended

Two of the Wu-Tang Clan's strongest rappers join forces once again on the RAGU Tour (not a reference to the pasta sauce, it actually stands for "Rae And Ghost United"). Last year Ghostface and Raekwon teamed up to celebrate the the 20th anniversary of the pair's collaborative album Only Built 4 Cuban Linx, so expect plenty of classic tracks and some of each emcee's respective solo material. G-Ball and Freefam open the show.

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Until Fri Aug 5

Deerhoof + The Hot Club of Cowtown + The Blisters

Recommended

After more than two decades together, the effervescent and erratic energy of art rockers Deerhoof shows no signs of dissipating. The Magic, the quartet’s latest album, once again melds Satomi Matsuzaki’s chirpy vocals with blistering funk-punk arrangements.

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Until Fri Aug 5
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Mbongwana Star + Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra

Hailing from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mbongwana Star is a seven-piece band that fuses traditional Congolese rumba with contemporary rock and electronica. The group's 2015 release, From Kinshasa, features contributions from noted French producer Liam Farrell, who lends an otherworldly flourishes to the group's pulsing rhythms. Chicago's own Dos Santos Antibeat Orchestra opens the show with a set of Latin dance music. This free concert is part of the 2016 Millennium Park Summer Music Series.

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Until Thu Aug 11

Reggae Fest Chicago

The inaugrual Reggae Fest Chicago comes to Addams/Medill Park, bringing a lineup that includes some of the genre's biggest stars. Legendary Jamaican outfit Toots and the Maytals headlines the one-day festival, which also features dub producer Lee "Scratch" Perry and Brooklyn Afrobeat group the Budos Band. 

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Addams/Medill Park , Little Italy, UIC Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma

Cellist Yo-Yo Ma and his globe-spanning collective of virtuoso musicians from the East, the West and all points in between, tour behind their latest record, Sing Me Home. The new album features a mixture of traditional and original songs arranged by members of the ensemble, celebrating the varied cultural heritage of the group, from India to Japan.

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Until Tue Aug 16
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Snoop Dogg + Wiz Khalifa

Presented by Snoop Dogg's weed-centric online publication (called Merry Jane, naturally) this co-headlining gig teams the West Coast rapper with similarly cannabis-obsessed emcee Wiz Khalifa. Expect plenty of hazy rhymes from the duo's respective weed-themed LPs and clouds of smoke that aren't derived from a fog machine.

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Until Tue Aug 16

Pearl Jam

Avowed Chicago Cubs fan Eddie Vedder can’t pass up a chance to play in Wrigley Field, especially during a season when his beloved team seems to have a shot at the World Series. Keep your fingers crossed that the storms that plagued Pearl Jam's last appearance in the Friendly Confines don't return for these shows. The band is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2016, so expect a career-spanning set—that includes Vedder’s heartfelt ode to the Cubs, “All the Way.”

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Until Mon Aug 22

Wilco

Recommended

Chicago's most beloved active rock act celebrates the arrival of summer with an outdoor concert at Pritzker Pavillion. Last summer, Wilco debuted its ninth studio album, Star Wars, during its headlining performance at the Pitchfork Music Festival. Frontman Jeff Tweedy recently revealed that the band already has another album (called Schmilco) in the can—could this show mark its debut? Regardless, you can expect Pat, Glenn, Nels, John and Mikael to dig into Wilco's extensive catalog and deliver some deep cuts, if only to placate the super fans incessantly yelling out "Magazine Called Sunset."

Read more
Until Sun Feb 26
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Mad Decent Block Party

After taking over the Hawthorne Race Course in Cicero last year, the Mad Decent Block Party returns to Chicago for an EDM-centric concert on Northerly Island. Mad Decent head honcho Diplo, electronic producer Gryffin and pop artist Kesha headline the one-day festival.

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Until Sun Aug 21
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Festivals in August 2017

Edge Fest

Not a celebration of U2's guitarist. The "edge" here is Edgewater. This year, the 'hood hosts a long weekend of wholesome family entertainment featuring tons of interactive, kid-friendly activities including karaoke night and DockDogs, a traveling aquatics dog competition. Vendors willl serve up the anticipated array of festival foods (corn dogs, funnel cakes, blintzes, donuts), while local artists display handmade goods and crafts.

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Broadway from Thorndale to Ardmore Saturday August 5 2017 - Sunday August 6 2017

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Recommended

The Chicago History Museum's celebration of one our city's signature dishes is back again, and it's still growing. The three-day festival collects some of the best sausage-slinging vendors from all across the city.

Read more
Chicago History Museum , Lincoln Park Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Ginza Holiday Festival

Recommended

Throw on a yukata, the summer kimono, at this 62nd annual celebration of Japanese culture. Meet and buy crafts from master craftsmen (called Waza). Live martial arts, cultural songs, classical dances and Japanese food give Chicago a taste of Japan.

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Midwest Buddhist Temple , Lincoln Park Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017
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Bud Billiken Parade

The world's largest and oldest African American parade enters its 88th 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. This year, South Side native Chance the Rapper will serve as the parade's Grand Marshall.

Read more
Martin Luther King Dr from 35th to 55th , Douglas Saturday August 12 2017

Northalsted Market Days

Recommended

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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Halsted and Roscoe Sts , Boystown Saturday August 12 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Illinois State Fair

Recommended

Come for the festival fare, stay for the Butter Cow—the fair's unofficial icon and Paula Deen's life-long dream, a life-size cow sculpture made of 500 pounds of butter. Watch tractor pulls, horse races, parades and musical acts. Some events require additional tickets. The music lineup this year includes Meghan Trainor, Pat Benator, Jake Owen and more.

Read more
Illinois State Fairgrounds Thursday August 10 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017
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Festival Cubano

Back in Riis Park for another year, the three-day Festival Cubano brings together musician, dancers and food for a weekend of cultural celebration. See sets from Cuban musicians, enjoy carnvial and animal rides, enter the domino tournament or enjoy a hand-rolled cigar.

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Riis Park , Belmont Cragin Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Festa Italiana

The UIC area gets in touch with its Italian roots by showing off neighborhood restaurants at this magnifico festival. A bocce-ball tournament, grape-stomping challenge and meatball-eating contest get the competitive juices flowing while bands provide the event's soundtrack.

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Taylor St and Ashland Ave , Little Italy, UIC Friday August 18 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest

The weekend artists' market in Rogers Park combines three stages of music and performance acts with locally made arts and crafts from more than 100 vendors. The festival kicks off on August 14 with the Friday Night Cobblestone Jam.

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Glenwood Ave Friday August 18 2017
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Edison Park Fest

This street festival turns Edison Park into a giant carnival, complete with rides for the kids, magic shows, jugglers and an entire lineup of tribute bands.

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Edison Park , Edison Park Friday August 18 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017
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Free events in August 2017

Tuesdays on the Terrace

Recommended

Each Tuesday, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a free concert in its Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden. The lineup features performers from the Chicago jazz community, including Fred Anderson and Joshua Abrams. Attendees can order food à la carte from the outdoor grill or pig out at the buffet (it's $26). If it's raining outside, the event moves indoors to the MCA Café.

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Until Tue Sep 27

"Move Your Body: The Evolution of House Music"

Recommended

Gathering memorabilia, interviews and equipment, the Chicago Cultural Center's latest exhibition delves into the history of house music, charting its origins in Chicago clubs during the 1980s and its recent resurgence in pop music.

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Until Sun Aug 16

Movies on the Pier

Recommended

A new outdoor film series has cropped up in Chicago at Navy Pier with a perfect line up of beloved classic films to add to your busy summer calendar. Each Thursday night, a different film will be screened at the skyline stage starting at 8pm in August, and 7pm in September. The series kicks off with Chicago favorite Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and continues over the next six weeks with blockbusters like Top Gun, Ghostbusters and Jaws. The screenings are free and first come first serve. Children under 18 must be accompanied by an adult or guardian.

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Until Thu Sep 10
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Chicago Hot Dog Fest

Recommended

The Chicago History Museum's celebration of one our city's signature dishes is back again, and it's still growing. This year, the festival expands to three days and welcomes sausage-slinging vendors like Chubby Wieners, Fatso's Last Stand, Frank Meats Patty and more. Cover bands will be serenading the encased meat consumption throughout the weekend and a Northwestern University professor will give a lecture entitled, “Ketchup: The Condiment of Controversy.”

Read more
Chicago History Museum , Lincoln Park Friday August 11 2017 - Sunday August 13 2017

Bud Billiken Parade

The world's largest and oldest African American parade enters its 86th 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.

Read more
Martin Luther King Dr from 35th to 55th , Douglas Saturday August 12 2017

Macbeth

Midsommer Flight returns to summer in the Chicago Park District with an outdoor staging of Shakespeare's cautionary tale of the future King of the Scots and his ambitious wife. Beth Wolf directs.

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Until Sun Aug 30
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Chicago Air and Water Show

Recommended

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.

Read more
North Beach Chicago , River North Saturday August 19 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017

Chicago Dancing Festival

Recommended

Even though this terrific festival of international dance companies is free, tickets sell out faster than Lar Lubovitch can plié. This year, the Harris Theater, Museum of Contemporary Art and Pritzker Pavilion will host performances by some of the nation's top troupes.

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Until Sat Aug 27

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