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Air & Water Show Sunday, August 21, 2016
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

August 2022 events calendar for Chicago

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

Emma Krupp
Edited by
Emma Krupp
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It's the last full month of summer in Chicago, but that doesn't mean summertime events are stopping anytime soon! From the return of the two-day Chicago Air and Water Show to summer festivals like Ruido Fest, Windy City Smokeout and Ribfest Chicago, you'll find plenty of ways to keep busy in the hazy late summer heat. Plus, don't forget to plan a couple of languid afternoons at the best Chicago beaches—Lake Michigan's often frigid water is at its warmest this month. Looking for even more ways to fill your summer days? Scroll through our list of the best things to do in Chicago this August. 

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2022

Featured events in August 2022

  • Things to do
  • Fireworks
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  • Streeterville

During the summer, one of the best aerial displays you'll find in Chicago originates from Navy Pier. The Chicago attraction hosts twice-weekly fireworks shows (on Wednesdays and Saturdays) from Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day weekend, with stunning views available from across the pier's public spaces. Of course, you can also take in the show from nearby beaches or while cruising along the Lakefront Trail.

  • Movies
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From June through September this year, dozens of movies will screen in parks all over Chicago as part of the city's annual Movies in the Parks program. From recent blockbusters like Encanto and Sing 2 to classics like The Princess Bride and Space Jam, you're sure to find good something to watch (for free!) beneath the stars this summer. Screenings typically begin at 8:30pm each evening. Take a look at the full list of movies and participating parks.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
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  • Millennium Park

For classical music lovers who enjoy taking in a show set beneath Chicago's skyline, the annual Grant Park Music Festival is¬†perennial favorite summer event. This year's series of classical concerts runs from June 15‚ÄďAugust 20 with performances ranging from world premiere works and performances of symphonies by Mozart, Haydn and¬†Shostakovich to an evening of classic Broadway arrangements and the annual Independence Day salute. Take a look at the complete schedule of events below and find more information on the Grant Park Music Festival website: June 15:¬†Mozart Symphony No. 35June 17, 18:¬†Mendelssohn Reformation SymphonyJune 22:¬†Schubert Unfinished SymphonyJune 24, 25:¬†Shostakovich Symphony No. 11June 29, July 1:¬†Britten Spring SymphonyJuly 2:¬†Independence Day SaluteJuly 6:¬†Cirque Goes to HollywoodJuly 8, 9:¬†Lights on BroadwayJuly 13: Haydn Drum Roll SymphonyJuly 15, 16:¬†Beethoven Eroica SymphonyJuly 20:¬†Dvorak Symphony No. 8July 22, 23:¬†Rachmaniov Piano Concerto No. 2July 27:¬†A Gospel JubileeJuly 29, 30:¬†Mahler Symphony No. 9¬†Aug 3:¬†A Mariachi FiestaAug 4: 60th Anniversary Choral Spectacular¬†Aug 5, 6: Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique¬†Aug 10: Franck Symphony in D MinorAug 12, 13: Tetzlaff Plays ShostakovichAug 17: Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty¬†Aug 19: Haydn Creation

  • Music
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  • Millennium Park

Head to Pritzker Pavilion every Monday and Thursday from June 20‚ÄďAugust 18 for the 10-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which showcases a wide range of music from both emerging and¬†well-established performers. The series kicks off on June 20 with performances from Afrobeat saxophonist Femi Kuti (son of iconic Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) and Moroccan-born electronic artist HAT; throughout the rest of the summer, catch acts like Ukrainian folk-fusion quartet DakhaBrakha (July 18), Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk (August 11) and none other than Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy (July 21), who will perform along with students from The People's Music School as opening act.¬†

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  • Comedy
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  • Uptown

This weekly ‚Äúlive magazine‚ÄĚ is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown‚Äôs iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to¬†run about two and a half hours.

  • Comedy
  • Sketch shows
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  • Lake View

Bye Bye Liver combines two robust Chicago traditions: comedy and heavy drinking. The show opened a decade ago for a three-week run, then kept getting extended. A cast of four to six performers portray characters at the fictional "Franks Bar," telling stories that explore the city's robust drinking culture. Each show incorporates interactive audience drinking games, allowing you to sip a cocktail or beer while taking cues from the cast. And if you're up for a nightcap after the performance, you can stick around for the official after party and mingle with the cast.

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  • Art
  • Painting
  • Grant Park

The Art Institute of Chicago has teamed up with London's Tate Modern to mount the first major retrospective of Paul Cezanne's work in more than 25 years, exploring the post-Impressionist painter's legacy across a variety of mediums and genres. Visitors can explore some of Cezanne's most enduringly iconic works‚ÄĒincluding his lush still life paintings and landscapes‚ÄĒas well as rarely-seen compositions pulled from private collections, encompassing a total of 90 oil paintings, 40 watercolors and drawings and two complete sketchbooks. You'll need an additional ticket to gain access to the exhibit, but you'll rarely find such a comprehensive perspective on this seminal artist's life and work.¬†

  • Art
  • Mixed media
  • Streeterville

The Museum of Contemporary Art hosts the first career-spanning retrospective of Chicago artist Nick Cave's work at Forothermore, a comprehensive dive into Cave's acclaimed body of visual art alongside his roles as an activist and community builder. Dedicated to those who exist as the "other" (whether through racism, homophobia or other modes of discrimination), Forothermore spans everything from installations and sculpture to fashion, performance and video work, with never-before-seen highlights like a continuation of Cave's lauded Soundsuits series. 

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  • Art
  • Sculpture
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  • Hyde Park

Want to see recreations of¬†Van Gogh's ‚ÄúStarry Night,‚ÄĚ Da Vinci's ‚ÄúMona Lisa‚ÄĚ and Michaelangelo's ‚ÄúDavid‚ÄĚ‚ÄĮ constructed with Lego bricks? The Museum of Science and Industry's latest exhibition collects the work of Nathan‚ÄĮSawaya, a former lawyer who turned his passion for tiny plastic bricks into contemporary art. ‚ÄúThe Art of the Brick‚ÄĚ include more than 100 of his creations, include a 20-foot-long T.rex skeleton and a life-sized sculpture of a man pulling his chest apart. The traveling show is the first major museum exhibition to use Lego bricks as its sole medium‚ÄĒand a testiment to the creativity that can be achieved¬†with hundreds of thousands of tiny pieces of plastic. This Museum of Science and Industry exhibit rquires a seperate ticket for entry, in addition to regular museum admission.

  • Movies
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  • Wrigleyville

Wrigley Field-adjacent¬†plaza Gallagher Way¬†is once again teaming up with the Music Box Theatre to program free outdoor movie screenings this summer. Admission is free and attendees are welcome to bring their own food, enjoy on-site concessions or snag¬†a meal from¬†nearby restaurants like Big Star and Smoke Daddy. VIP seating is also available for $30‚ÄĒcheck out the Gallagher Way website for more details. Gates open at 6pm for each screening and the movie starts at 7:30pm May 11:¬†Bill and Ted's Excellent AdventureMay 25:¬†RocketmanJune 8:¬†Mamma Mia!June 22:¬†Josie and the PussycatsJuly 6:¬†Dirty DancingJuly 20:¬†School of RockJuly 27:¬†Pitch PerfectAugust 3:¬†GreaseAugust 17:¬†EncantoAugust 31:¬†Almost FamousSeptember 14:¬†SelenaSeptember 21:¬†Bohemian Rhapsody

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