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naked bike ride 2019
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

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Written by
Zach Long
&
Emma Krupp
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Welcome to the city's hottest month, when the nights are muggy and the water at Chicago beaches is finally warm enough to go for a dip without making your teeth chatter. Embrace the balmy weather with Chicago's packed roster of summer festivals and events happening in August, from the classical concerts of the Grant Park Music Festival and hip hop tunes at Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash to the many Movies in the Parks screenings throughout the city's green spaces in the evenings. Sick of the heat? Strip down to your undies for the annual World Naked Bike Ride, or escape the sun for a few hours and catch the last few weeks of "The Obamas in Chicago" at The Art Institute of Chicago—by the time you've finished browsing, you'll be ready for summery drinks at the best rooftop bars in Chicago. Raise a glass to summer and check out all the best things to do in Chicago this August. 

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2021

Featured events in August 2021

  • Things to do
  • Markets and fairs
  • price 0 of 4
  • Lower West Side

Nonprofit gallery and community space Pilsen Art House hosts this weekly indoor and outdoor market, featuring local vendors and artists selling jewelry, candles, paintings and other handmade goods. You can stop by every Sunday afternoon throughout the summer—just don't forget to bring (and wear) a mask.

  • Art
  • Film and video
  • price 0 of 4

Projecting a 25-story-tall video installation on the side of the Merchandise Mart, Art on theMart's latest program showcases the work of conceptual artist Barbara Kruger. Throughout the fall, you'll be able to see Kruger's video piece "Untitled (Questions), 1990/2021," which projects a series of questions across the face of the building in a bold font. The presentation conicides with Kruger's new exhibition at the Art Institute of Chicago, "Thinking of You. I Mean Me. I Mean You." Art on theMART's array of 34 digital projectors display the 30-minute program at 7:30 and 8pm every evening. The show is best viewed from the section of the Chicago Riverwalk between Wells Street and Franklin Street.

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  • Movies
  • price 0 of 4
  • Suburbs

The Rock Island Public House hosts a themed drive-in movie series every weekend, screening classic genre flicks accompanied by beer and food that you can enjoy in your car. Upcoming weekends will feature German films, Brendan Fraser movies and more. Screenings are free to attend and first come, first served, so check out the calendar and show up early to secure your spot in front of the makeshift screen!

  • Art
  • price 2 of 4
  • Old Town

Step inside of Starry Night and The Bedroom in Arles with the help of more than 50 digital projectors in this high-tech exhibition that explores the work of Vincent Van Gogh. Designed by the Italian creative team that worked on the "Atelier des Lumières" exhibitions in Paris, "Immersive Van Gogh" covers 35-foot walls with animated versions of the Dutch painters work, accompanied by a score that blends electronic and classical compositions. The show takes up residence in the Germania Club Building in Old Town, which will go by the name Lighthouse ArtSpace Chicago and host additional interactive art exhibitions in the coming years. Occupying four rooms in the space, the "Immersive Van Gogh" presentation is around 35-minutes in length, with mostly-identical projections displayed in each of the rooms throughout the show. Visitors to "Immersive Van Gogh" will find a variety of saftey measures in place, including social distancing circles within the exhibit, reduced capacity, a touchless ticketing system and face covering requirements for all guests. "Immersive Van Gogh" is currently scheduled to run through September 6.

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  • Art
  • Design
  • price 0 of 4
  • Loop

Comic artist and author Chris Ware and historian Tim Samuelson curate an exhibition devoted to the early days of the comic strip. Showcasing work from the period of 1880 to 1960, the exhibit includes early strips that ran in newspapers as well as work by African-American cartoonists and publishers. The exhibit also pays tribute to Frank King, who penned "Gasoline Alley," creating one of the very first autobiographical comics based on real Chicagoans and the neighborhoods they lived in. If you've already seen the Museum of Contemporary Art's “Chicago Comics: 1960s to Now” exhition, this show will give you an even deeper understanding of the artforms ties to the Second City.

  • Art
  • Installation
  • price 2 of 4
  • West Loop

The home of Chicago's only Infinity Mirror Room (created by Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama) is open to the public once again, presenting a new collection of one-of-a-kind art installations alongside some old favorites. New additions to WNDR Museum include a multi-sensory experience from S̶A̶N̶T̶IA̶G̶O̶X that uses artificial intelligence, sounds, visuals and scents, as well as an installation called I Heard There Was a Secret Chord that allows guests to become part of an evolving virtual choir.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • price 3 of 4

Chicago Gourmet, the annual food festival hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association, returns this year with a month-long lineup of smaller events and dinners celebrating the city's dining scene. Normally a three-day event, the lengthened version of the festival is dropping the massive Grand Tasting event (which is scheduled to come back in 2022) in favor of an expanded version of its Go Gourmet events—featuring multi-course dinners and parties hosted by local culinary luminaries—plus returning events like the Hamburger Hop, Rick Bayless' Tacos & Tequila, Grand Cru and more.  You can view a full festival schedule on Chicago Gourmet's website, where you can also buy tickets to individual events. Attendees are required to present proof of full vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test obtained within 72 hours of the start of the event. 

  • Art
  • Sculpture
  • price 1 of 4
  • Suburbs

See five towering sculptures by South African artist Daniel Popper at the Morton Arboretum's new outdoor exhibition, which spreads the 15- to 26-foot-tall works throughout the natural area. Made of glass-reinforced concrete, wood, fiberglass and steel, the one-of-a-kind pieces in "Human+Nature" depict human figures that evoke the natural landscape they're set amid, including a pair of 36-foot-long hands reaching out from a grove of oak trees and a maternal figure that springs up amid magnolia trees. Access to "Human+Nature" is included as part of timed-entry admission to the Morton Arboretum, and there's a map that will allow you to easily plan your visit and spot all five of the sculptures along the way.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • price 0 of 4
  • Millennium Park

Experience a series of 30-channel sound installations played on the Pritzker Pavilion's array of speakers that are suspended on the trellis above the Great Lawn during the Sonic Pavilion Festival. Local nonprofit Experimental Sound Studio commissioned six 20-minute pieces from artists like Whitney Johnson (Matchess), Natalie Chami (TALsounds), Kioto Aoki, Stephan Moore, Kitundu, I Gusti Ngurah Kertayuda and Bill Parod. Commissioned as part of the City of Chicago's celebration of the Year of Chicago Music, each sound installation is mixed across 30 channels, allowing visitors to move between speakers and experience a shifting soundscape. The two-hour Sonic Pavilion Festival program will be played on eight dates between August 5 and September 30.

  • Museums
  • Movies and TV
  • price 2 of 4
  • Hyde Park

Iron Man, Spider-Man, Black Window and more famous costumed crusaders take over the Museum of Science and Industry in this pop-culture-focused exhibition that explore more than 80 years of Marvel comics, movies and memoribelia. You'll find more than 300 items on display, include costumes and props from Marvel movies and original art created for the company's comic books. Much of the exhibit takes design cues from the popular Marvel cinematic universe, including a mirrored room inspired by the trippy visuals of Doctor Strange and a recreation of Tony Stark's lab as it appeared in the Iron Man films, stocked with multiple versions of armor. You'll be able to snap photos with recreations of some of your favorite character and learn how a comic company became a multi-media cultural juggernaut.

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