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July 2017 events calendar for Chicago

Plan out your July in Chicago with our calendar of the best events and things to do, including fireworks, theater, art and music

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas

The smell of barbecue is in the air, the beaches are packed, and festivals have taken over the streets and parks. Yes, summer is in full swing in Chicago and we're trying to enjoy everything that our fine city has to offer. The month kicks off with some explosive Fourth of July fireworks, leading into the city's annual culinary celebration at Taste of Chicago. If you're looking for some musical fun in the sun, you'll want to head out to Pitchfork Music Festival. Start enjoying summer with the help of our July events calendar for Chicago. 

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2017

Featured events in July 2017

Fourth of July Fireworks

Recommended

The city of Chicago ditched its official fireworks show a few years back, but Navy Pier picks up the slack with its explosive Independence Day celebration. Revelers can head down to the pier or Millennium Park for an up-close view, but if you're not a fan of crowds you'll want to hit the lakefront or find a friend with a rooftop by the shore.

Read more
Until Mon Jul 4

Pitchfork Music Festival

Recommended

It's all about triumphant returns at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, where fest alum LCD Soundsystem and Solange will be joined by reinvigorated alternative hip-hop outfit A Tribe Called Quest as the weekend's headliners. The rest of the three-day event should be equally joyous, filled with hotly-tipped bands, a tent back with records and some free kefir samples (probably). 

Book now Read more
Union Park , West Loop Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017

Eyes to the Skies Festival

Recommended

In Lisle, the Fourth of July features plenty of airborne eye candy, including fireworks and hot air balloons. Balloons launch daily, filling the sky with colorful inflatables of all shapes and sizes. In the evening, the balloons come down and the fireworks begin. Attendees can also check out the festival's carnival, kids area, live music and craft fair.

Read more
Lisle Community Park , Suburbs Wednesday June 28 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017
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Taste of Chicago

Recommended

Since 1980, Grant Park has been hosting what has become the granddaddy of food festivals. You know the drill: Trade tickets for a taste of Chicago's street fare. Hopefully what you gain in weight, you'll lose from your wallet. As always, there will be music at Petrillo for you to listen to while you devour your turkey leg, Eli's Cheesecake or deep dish pizza. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Taste of Chicago food festival

Read more
Grant Park , Millennium Park Wednesday July 5 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Tour de Fat

Recommended

For the very first time, New Belgium Brewery moves its signature celebration of bikes and beer to Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. With the expanded venue comes an even bigger headliner: hip-hop outfit and Tonight Show house band the Roots. You can also expect to see an eclectic mix of circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians and comedians roaming through the beer-soaked festivities. We'll miss the traditional bike parade through Logan Square (it's not happening this year) but at least a portion of proceeds from the event will benefit local non-profit West Town Bikes.

Book now Read more
Huntington Bank Pavilion , Downtown Saturday July 29 2017

Windy City Ribfest

Recommended

Flex your jaw muscles and stretch that waistline at this 'cue fest in Uptown during Fourth of July weekend. Expect plenty of ribs and some live music, including national acts and regional cover bands. This year, vendors include BBQ King Smokehouse, Chicago BBQ Company, Aussom Aussie Australian BBQ and more great meat purveyors.

Read more
Lawrence Ave at Broadway , Uptown Friday June 30 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017
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Square Roots Festival

Recommended

Alt-country and Americana music are the two presiding genres at the annual Square Roots festival, which returns to Lincoln Square in July. Presented in conjunction with the nearby Old Town School of Folk Music, attendees can take in sets from more than 70 bands spread across two indoor stages and two outdoor stages while enjoying eclectic fare from nearby restaurants and beer from craft breweries. There will also be a local market where festival-goers can purchase unique products and fine art from regional vendors. Proceeds from the festival benefits small business workshops, community place-making efforts and the Old Town School of Folk Music Scholarship programs. 

Read more
Old Town School of Folk Music , Lincoln Square Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

West Fest

Recommended

Befitting its location on the hip Chicago Avenue corridor, West Fest can be counted on for a great sleeper of a summer street fest bill. Empty Bottle programs the main stage, pulling together a lineup that typically includes a mix of indie and garage rockers. The 2017 lineup has yet to be announced, but it's certain to provide a fitting precursor to Pitchfork Music Festival the following weekend.

Read more
Chicago Ave between Wood St and Damen Ave , Evanston Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Wicker Park Fest

Recommended

The Crotch hosts this hipster-friendly fest that features three stages of Pitchfork-quality tunes on the cheap. While you're not shopping at record stores and vintage shops, drinking beer or eating donuts, you can catch concerts on three different stages. In 2016, hyper-literate folk trio the Mountain Goats, reunited San Diego punks Rocket from the Crypt, cheerful indie pop act Alvvays and scrappy Canadian rockers Pup headline the fest.

Read more
Milwaukee Ave and North Ave , Wicker Park Saturday July 29 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017
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BenFest

If you're really lucky, you'll walk away from BenFest with $10,000 in your pocket. Even if you don't win the cash raffle, there's still plenty to see and do at this annual benefit for the St. Benedict Parish in North Center, including live music and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for the kids.

Read more
St. Benedict's Parish , North Center Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017

Newberry Library Book Fair

Recommended

More than 200,000 used books will be up for sale at this popular book bonanza. Prices are low, and the selection is vast, including cookbooks, music, fiction, art books, children's literature, collectibles and much more.

Read more
Newberry Library , Rush & Division Thursday July 27 2017 - Saturday July 29 2017

Bristol Renaissance Faire

Recommended

Have a jolly olde time and butcher your favorite European accent as you engage in live-action fantasy play, enjoy interactive riddles, cheer on your favorite jousting knight or revel in period performances from 1574. The festival takes place Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day in July, August and early September.

Book now Read more
Bristol Renaissance Faire Saturday July 8 2017 - Monday September 4 2017
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Chicago SummerDance

Recommended

All ages and skill levels are welcome at this annual series of jives, twirls and jumps. The dancing breaks out Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. A professional instructor conducts dance lessons for the first hour before you cut a rug. This year, SummerDance branches out with events in eight neighborhood parks, including a the first SummerDance-Off competitions, which will find the city's best amateur footwork and steppin' dancers.

Read more
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden , Grant Park Friday June 23 2017 - Thursday September 14 2017

Windy City Smokeout

Recommended

The annual celebration of grilled meats and country music returns to River North with ample amounts of pork, beer and tunes from the likes of Billy Currington, Old Dominion and Big & Rich. Attendees will be able to sample smokey culinary creations from various local barbecue restaurants while licking sauce from their fingers.

Book now Read more
Grand Ave and Chicago River , River West/West Town Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017

Chicago Craft Beer Festival

Recommended

Foamy, flat macrobrewed suds in a plastic cup not exactly your idea of a good time? Unleash your inner sophisticate at this Lincoln Park fest, which serves up more than 80 local, regional and national craft beers from 40 brewers. Purchase tickets before making your way to the tasting session each day from 11:30pm-4:30pm—each ticket is good for one 3 oz sample of beer.

Book now Read more
Sheffield Ave. between Webster & Fullerton Saturday July 22 2017 - Sunday July 23 2017
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Concerts in July 2017

Dead & Company

If you thought the Grateful Dead's Fare Thee Well shows at Soldier Field marked the end of the legendary jam band... you were wrong. Made up of surviving core members of the Dead and fronted by guitarist John Mayer, Dead & Company reheats the familiar catalogue of genre-blending, psychedelic tracks. Our only question: With all the construction in Wrigleyville, where will diehard fans find room to hawk homemade tie-dye shirts and merchandise?

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Wrigley Field , Wrigleyville Friday June 30 2017 - Saturday July 1 2017

Chosen Few DJs Music Festival

Chicago's annual celebration of house music continues as a full-fledged two-day music festival in Jackson Park. Throughout the weekend, the Chosen Few DJs will be joined by guest selectors and live performers, including vocalists CeCe Peniston and Donna McGhee. 

Book now Read more
Jackson Park , Woodlawn Saturday July 1 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017

Live on Lincoln

There's another street festival headed to Lakeview this year, taking up residence on a strip of Lincoln Avenue, right next to neighborhood's gargantuan new Whole Foods. Live on Lincoln is all about the music, including headliners like Minneapolis synth-pop act POLIÇA and funk band the Motet. Other notable groups on the bill include psychedelic soul act Chicano Batman and Brooklyn "powerfunk" outfit Turkuaz.

Read more
Lincoln Ave at Belmont Ave , Lake View Saturday July 1 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017
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The Mountain Goats

Mountain Goats frontman John Darnielle wrote the forward to last year's Empty Bottle book, so he clearly appreciates the lasting influence of the Chicago rock club. Here, the group plays a special show at a venue they long ago outgrew, debuting tracks from its new album Goths, a relatively jaunty collection of songs that examine the ways in which we embrace and grow out of communities.

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Empty Bottle , Ukrainian Village Monday July 3 2017

Alessia Cara + Eryn Allen Kane

Canadian pop singer Alessia Cara got her start doing acoustic cover songs on YouTube before she was discovered and signed to Def Jam Recordings—a typical millennial success story. Her 2015 debut, Know-It-All, demonstrated her R&B chops, but it's her vocals on the Lin-Manuel Miranda-penned "How Far I'll Go" (from Disney's Moana) that you're most likely to recognize. During her performance at Taste of Chicago, she's joined by Chicago vocalist Eryn Allen Kane, who developed her soulful pipes singing in church.

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Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell , Grant Park Wednesday July 5 2017

Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals + Twin Peaks

Ben Harper is a musical chameleon of sorts, shifting from bluesman to folk singer to soul crooner. His latest album, Call it What it Is, finds him reuniting with band the Innocent Criminals on a collection of songs that unflinchingly confront recurring instances of police violence in the U.S. He'll be joined at Taste of Chicago by local rockers Twin Peaks, whose recent live album, Urbs in Horto, does an excellent job of capturing the group's energetic performances.

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Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell , Grant Park Friday July 7 2017
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Ruido Fest

Recommended

Returning to Pilsen's Addams/Medill Park, Ruido Fest fills a void in Chicago's summer festival scene: Latin American rock en español, pop and electro. Headliners include Texan Norteño act Intocable, Puerto Rican reggae band Cultura Profética, Mexican alt-rockers Molotov and pop singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas. Ther rest of the bill is equally exciting, with appearances from Columbian electro dup Bomba Estéreo, Chilean art-rocker (and son of director Alejandro Jodorowsky) Adan Jodorowsky and masked electronic act the Wookies.

Book now Read more
Addams/Medill Park , Little Italy, UIC Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

West Fest

Recommended

Befitting its location on the hip Chicago Avenue corridor, West Fest can be counted on for a great sleeper of a summer street fest bill. Occuring the weekend before Pitchfork Music Festival, it's a great way to ease into the summer festival mindset without having to purchase a pricey wristband. This year, the Empty Bottle brings reunited punk-funk act ESG, Australian rockers Royal Headache and indie folk act Woods to the fest. The DJ stage features house music selectors Miles Maeda, Mark Farina and Derrick Carter.

Read more
Chicago Ave between Wood St and Damen Ave , Evanston Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Gorillaz

Embarking on their first North American tour in nearly seven years, Gorillaz kick things off with a show at the Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. The man behind the cartoon band, Damon Albarn, will be bringing the hip-hop and electronic tracks from the group's latest album, Humanz, to life, aided by Jamie Hewlett's signature animated visuals and a cast of collaborators. We're not sure who will show up to perform with Albarn, but Humanz is a record filled with Chicago talent, including singer Mavis Staples, producer Twilite Tone and house vocalist Jamie Principle. Sure, it may not be the Chicago-based festival that Albarn promised in an interview with Q magazine, but we'll still jump at the chance to rap along to "Clint Eastwood" on the lakefront. Tickets go on sale Friday, April 21 at 10am.

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Huntington Bank Pavilion , Downtown Saturday July 8 2017
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Passion Pit + The Kickback

Recommended

Michael Angelakos' latest collection of life-affirming synth-pop, Tremendous Sea of Love, is a self-released gift to his fans (who didn't have to pay a cent for it). Amid Passion Pit's latest batch of chirpy anthemic choruses and gentle ballads, there's a sense of joy and freedom that somehow outshines the most upbeat portions of the project's previous LPs. Local indie rockers the Kickback open this Taste of Chicago concert.

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Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell , Grant Park Saturday July 8 2017
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See more July 2015 concerts

Festivals in July 2017

Eyes to the Skies Festival

Recommended

In Lisle, the Fourth of July features plenty of airborne eye candy, including fireworks and hot air balloons. Balloons launch daily, filling the sky with colorful inflatables of all shapes and sizes. In the evening, the balloons come down and the fireworks begin. Attendees can also check out the festival's carnival, kids area, live music and craft fair.

Read more
Lisle Community Park , Suburbs Wednesday June 28 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017

Windy City Ribfest

Recommended

Flex your jaw muscles and stretch that waistline at this 'cue fest in Uptown during Fourth of July weekend. Expect plenty of ribs and some live music, including national acts and regional cover bands. This year, vendors include BBQ King Smokehouse, Chicago BBQ Company, Aussom Aussie Australian BBQ and more great meat purveyors.

Read more
Lawrence Ave at Broadway , Uptown Friday June 30 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017
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Chosen Few DJs Music Festival,

Chicago's annual celebration of house music, the Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic, gets a makeover this summer, transforming into a full-fledged two-day music festival in Jackson Park. On Saturday, guests can pack a basket and take in performances from the event's namesake DJs, as well as guests like Joe Claussell, Harry Dennis and Curtis McClain. Sunday's lineup highlights soul, R&B and jazz performers, including vibraphone player Roy Ayers and R&B singer Cheryl Lynn.

Book now Read more
Jackson Park , Woodlawn Saturday July 1 2017 - Sunday July 2 2017

Fourth of July Fireworks

Recommended

The city of Chicago ditched its official fireworks show a few years back, but Navy Pier picks up the slack with its explosive Independence Day celebration. Revelers can head down to the pier or Millennium Park for an up-close view, but if you're not a fan of crowds you'll want to hit the lakefront or find a friend with a rooftop by the shore.

Read more
Until Tue Jul 4

Glen Ellyn's Fourth of July Fireworks

Recommended

Looking to escape to the suburbs to celebrate the nation's independence? Glen Ellyn's Fourth of July festivities are an all-day event, including a four-mile run, a picnic and a parade at noon. The festivities culminate with a fireworks display in Lake Ellyn Park that rivals Navy Pier's explosive show, beginning at dusk.

Read more
Until Tue Jul 4
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Taste of Chicago

Recommended

Since 1980, Grant Park has been hosting what has become the granddaddy of food festivals. You know the drill: Trade tickets for a taste of Chicago's street fare. Hopefully what you gain in weight, you'll lose from your wallet. As always, there will be music at Petrillo (The Roots, The Decemberists and more) for you to listen to while you devour your turkey leg, rainbow cone or deep dish pizza. 

Read more
Grant Park , Millennium Park Wednesday July 5 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Square Roots Festival

Recommended

Alt-country and Americana music are the two presiding genres at the annual Square Roots festival, which returns to Lincoln Square in July. Presented in conjunction with the nearby Old Town School of Folk Music, attendees can take in sets from more than 70 bands spread across two indoor stages and two outdoor stages while enjoying eclectic fare from nearby restaurants and beer from craft breweries. There will also be a local market where festival-goers can purchase unique products and fine art from regional vendors. Proceeds from the festival benefits small business workshops, community place-making efforts and the Old Town School of Folk Music Scholarship programs. 

Read more
Old Town School of Folk Music , Lincoln Square Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Ruido Fest

Recommended

Returning to Pilsen's Addams/Medill Park, Ruido Fest fills a void in Chicago's summer festival scene: Latin American rock en español, pop and electro. Headliners include Texan Norteño act Intocable, Puerto Rican reggae band Cultura Profética, Mexican alt-rockers Molotov and pop singer-songwriter Julieta Venegas. Ther rest of the bill is equally exciting, with appearances from Columbian electro dup Bomba Estéreo, Chilean art-rocker (and son of director Alejandro Jodorowsky) Adan Jodorowsky and masked electronic act the Wookies.  

Book now Read more
Addams/Medill Park , Little Italy, UIC Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017
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Barrington Brew Fest

The annual Barrington Brew Fest brings beer lovers to this northern suburb for some celebratory sampling. Each attendee will receive 20 three ounce samples from brewers like Alarmist, Half Acre and Boulevard. Burgers, brats and barbecue will be available for anyone with an empty belly, accompanied by musical entertainment.

Book now Read more
Barrington Metra Station , Suburbs Saturday July 8 2017

Windy City Smokeout

Recommended

The annual celebration of grilled meats and country music returns to River North with ample amounts of pork, beer and tunes from the likes of Billy Currington, Old Dominion and Big & Rich. Attendees will be able to sample smokey culinary creations from various local barbecue restaurants while licking sauce from their fingers.

Book now Read more
Grand Ave and Chicago River , River West/West Town Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017
Advertising

West Fest

Recommended

Befitting its location on the hip Chicago Avenue corridor, West Fest can be counted on for a great sleeper of a summer street fest bill. Empty Bottle programs the main stage, pulling together a lineup that typically includes a mix of indie and garage rockers. The 2017 lineup has yet to be announced, but it's certain to provide a fitting precursor to Pitchfork Music Festival the following weekend.

Read more
Chicago Ave between Wood St and Damen Ave , Evanston Friday July 7 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

Recommended

It's no secret that we unabashedly love burgers, so you can imagine how much we're anticipating Roscoe Village's annual celebration of succulent, beef patty cuisine. Loosen your belt and prepare to taste grilled creations from local restaurants while enjoying live music and ample libations. 

Read more
Diversey Pkwy and Clyborne Ave , North Center Saturday July 8 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Tour de Fat

Recommended

For the very first time, New Belgium Brewery moves its signature celebration of bikes and beer to Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. With the expanded venue comes an even bigger headliner: hip-hop outfit and Tonight Show house band the Roots. You can also expect to see an eclectic mix of circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians and comedians roaming through the beer-soaked festivities. We'll miss the traditional bike parade through Logan Square (it's not happening this year) but at least a portion of proceeds from the event will benefit local non-profit West Town Bikes.

Book now Read more
Huntington Bank Pavilion , Downtown Saturday July 29 2017
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Chinatown Summer Fair

Recommended

Celebrate Chinese culture at this annual Chinatown event, featuring food, art and music from the Far East. Experience the Lion Dance Procession, take in a classical Chinese dance performance or sit in on a martial arts demonstration. Men can take part in a "hot legs" contest while young attendees can participate in the "cutest baby" competition.

Read more
Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd , Armour Square Sunday July 16 2017

Bristol Renaissance Faire

Recommended

Have a jolly olde time and butcher your favorite European accent as you engage in live-action fantasy play, enjoy interactive riddles, cheer on your favorite jousting knight or revel in period performances from 1574. The festival takes place Saturdays, Sundays and Labor Day in July, August and early September.

Book now Read more
Bristol Renaissance Faire Saturday July 8 2017 - Monday September 4 2017

Taste of River North

This riverfront bash offers samples of dishes from trendy area restaurants like Farmhouse, Taco Joint and El Hefe in addition to great view of the skyline. The shindig also includes a family fun area and live music from Rod Tuffcurls & The Bench Press, Sixteen Candles, Sidewalk Chalk and more.

Read more
Ward Park at N. Kingsbury and W. Erie Friday July 21 2017 - Sunday July 23 2017
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Southport Art Festival

The Southport Corridor hosts its annual two-day art festival, bringing together a variety of artists and local vendors near neighborhood landmarks like the Music Box Theatre. Guests can peruse pieces, shop at Southport Avenue stores or get up early and enjoy the annual Gospel Brunch on Sunday morning.

Read more
Until Sun Jul 16

Pitchfork Music Festival

Recommended

It's all about triumphant returns at this year's Pitchfork Music Festival, where fest alum LCD Soundsystem and Solange will be joined by reinvigorated alternative hip-hop outfit A Tribe Called Quest as the weekend's headliners. The rest of the three-day event should be equally joyous, filled with hotly-tipped bands, a tent back with records and some free kefir samples (probably). 

Book now Read more
Union Park , West Loop Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017

BenFest

If you're really lucky, you'll walk away from BenFest with $10,000 in your pocket. Even if you don't win the cash raffle, there's still plenty to see and do at this annual benefit for the St. Benedict Parish in North Center, including live music and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for the kids.

Read more
St. Benedict's Parish , North Center Friday July 14 2017 - Sunday July 16 2017
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Naperville Ale Fest

Ever wondered what it might be like to quaff ale in a historical village? Pack up your tankard and head to Naperville Ale Fest, where the beer is fresh and the buildings are old. The historic Naper Settlement will play host to brewers like Central Waters, Deschutes and Great Lakes.

Book now Read more
Naper Settlement , Suburbs Saturday July 15 2017

Chicago Craft Beer Festival

Recommended

Foamy, flat macrobrewed suds in a plastic cup not exactly your idea of a good time? Unleash your inner sophisticate at this Lincoln Park fest, which serves up more than 80 local, regional and national craft beers from 40 brewers. Purchase tickets before making your way to the tasting session each day from 11:30pm-4:30pm—each ticket is good for one 3 oz sample of beer.

Book now Read more
Sheffield Ave. between Webster & Fullerton Saturday July 22 2017 - Sunday July 23 2017

Wicker Park Fest

Recommended

The Crotch hosts this hipster-friendly fest that features three stages of Pitchfork-quality tunes on the cheap. While you're not shopping at record stores and vintage shops, drinking beer or eating donuts, you can catch concerts on three different stages. In 2016, hyper-literate folk trio the Mountain Goats, reunited San Diego punks Rocket from the Crypt, cheerful indie pop act Alvvays and scrappy Canadian rockers Pup headline the fest.

Read more
Milwaukee Ave and North Ave , Wicker Park Saturday July 29 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017
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Fiesta del Sol

Revelers celebrate under the sun at Fiesta del Sol, one of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest. The Pilsen event memorializes the morning star as a symbol for the Mexican-American people with rides, music, art and hearty Mexican meals.

Read more
Cermak Rd and Loomis St , Lower West Side Thursday July 27 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017

Newberry Library Book Fair

Recommended

More than 200,000 used books will be up for sale at this popular book bonanza. Prices are low, and the selection is vast, including cookbooks, music, fiction, art books, children's literature, collectibles and much more.

Read more
Newberry Library , Rush & Division Thursday July 27 2017 - Saturday July 29 2017

Free events July 2017

Fourth of July Fireworks

Recommended

The city of Chicago ditched its official fireworks show a few years back, but Navy Pier picks up the slack with its explosive Independence Day celebration. Revelers can head down to the pier or Millennium Park for an up-close view, but if you're not a fan of crowds you'll want to hit the lakefront or find a friend with a rooftop by the shore.

Read more
Until Mon Jul 4

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Recommended

Bring your blanket and your favorite movie snacks and sprawl out on the Millennium Park lawn. This season’s film offerings include two of this year’s biggest Oscar contenders (Hidden Figures and La La Land), a special daytime screening of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and the series’s first Spanish-language film, the classic El Norte. Catch them all for free as they're broadcast on the park’s 40-foot-wide LED screen. June 13: The Blues Brothers June 20: Caddyshack June 27: Julie and Julia July 11: El Norte July 18: La La Land July 25: Network August 1: Bend It Like Beckham August 8 double feature: Ghost and The Shining August 15: Hidden Figures August 22: The Five Heartbeats August 24 at 10am: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs August 29: The Princess Bride September 5: Wayne's World  

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Millennium Park, Pritzker Pavilion , Millennium Park Tuesday June 13 2017 - Tuesday September 5 2017

Music Box Theatre Movies at the Park

The Cubs tapped their neighbors at the Music Box to program free outdoor screenings at the new Park at Wrigley every other Wednesday this summer. The theater selected a series of family-friendly films beginning Wednesday, June 14 with (naturally) Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Other movies on the schedule include the 2016 remake of The Jungle Book (June 28), Rookie of the Year (July 12), the original Ghostbusters (July 26) and The Sandlot (August 9). The series will conclude on August 23 with a title yet to be announced.

Read more
The Park at Wrigley , Wrigleyville Wednesday June 14 2017 - Wednesday August 23 2017
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Chicago SummerDance

Recommended

All ages and skill levels are welcome at this annual series of jives, twirls and jumps. The dancing breaks out Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons. A professional instructor conducts dance lessons for the first hour before you cut a rug. This year, SummerDance branches out with events in eight neighborhood parks, including a the first SummerDance-Off competitions, which will find the city's best amateur footwork and steppin' dancers.

Read more
Grant Park, Spirit of Music Garden , Grant Park Friday June 23 2017 - Thursday September 14 2017

Taste of Chicago

Recommended

Since 1980, Grant Park has been hosting what has become the granddaddy of food festivals. You know the drill: Trade tickets for a taste of Chicago's street fare. Hopefully what you gain in weight, you'll lose from your wallet. As always, there will be music at Petrillo for you to listen to while you devour your turkey leg, Eli's Cheesecake or deep dish pizza. RECOMMENDED: Our complete guide to the Taste of Chicago food festival

Read more
Grant Park , Millennium Park Wednesday July 5 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Tour de Fat

Recommended

For the very first time, New Belgium Brewery moves its signature celebration of bikes and beer to Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. With the expanded venue comes an even bigger headliner: hip-hop outfit and Tonight Show house band the Roots. You can also expect to see an eclectic mix of circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians and comedians roaming through the beer-soaked festivities. We'll miss the traditional bike parade through Logan Square (it's not happening this year) but at least a portion of proceeds from the event will benefit local non-profit West Town Bikes.

Book now Read more
Huntington Bank Pavilion , Downtown Saturday July 29 2017
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Millennium Park Summer Workouts

Spin classes and weight lifting can wait for the winter. This summer, jump start your weekend with tai chi, yoga, pilates and Zumba classes on Millennium Park’s Great Lawn every Wednesday and Saturday.

Read more
Millennium Park , Millennium Park Saturday June 3 2017 - Saturday September 2 2017

Newberry Library Book Fair

Recommended

More than 200,000 used books will be up for sale at this popular book bonanza. Prices are low, and the selection is vast, including cookbooks, music, fiction, art books, children's literature, collectibles and much more.

Read more
Newberry Library , Rush & Division Thursday July 27 2017 - Saturday July 29 2017

Fiesta del Sol

Revelers celebrate under the sun at Fiesta del Sol, one of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest. The Pilsen event memorializes the morning star as a symbol for the Mexican-American people with rides, music, art and hearty Mexican meals.

Read more
Cermak Rd and Loomis St , Lower West Side Thursday July 27 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017
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Night Names

Recommended

Set a new high score at this arcade bar’s monthly queer night. Guests can take advantage of free pinball (make sure you take a turn on the classic Star Wars and PIN·BOT tables), enjoy bar specials or bust a move in the back room with resident DJ Essential Logic.

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Logan Arcade , Logan Square Thursday June 1 2017 - Thursday July 6 2017

Theater in July 2017

Moby Dick

Recommended

Note: Lookingglass’s 2015 production returns for a summer 2017 remount after touring to other cities. We are all Jonah in David Catlin’s stunning new adaptation of Moby Dick at Lookingglass Theatre. The skeletal set, by Courtney O’Neill, centers on a vast, metallic rib cage. The bones encompass the stage, the actors and nearly the audience too. This retelling of Melville’s doorstop classic is one told entirely from within the belly of the whale. Produced in association with the Actors Gymnasium, the play begins quietly with Ishmael (Jamie Abelson) uttering his famous request and recounting his first encounter with Queequeg (Anthony Fleming III). But once the Pequod sets sail, the stage lights up with action. Actors scramble up the set and hang near the rafters, intestinal rigging draped around them. Melville’s words haven’t been forgotten, but neither has the power of brute, tribal theatricality. Christopher Donahue’s shabby Ahab is sadder than the usual portrayals but, while his clothes are wrinkled and his voice is hoarse, he still has that ecstatic, maniacal charisma. When Ahab battles Kareem Bandealy’s rationally-minded Starbuck, it feels elemental. Passing wraithlike through the proceedings are three Fates, played by Emma Cadd, Kasey Foster and Monica West. They're the feminine tonic that cuts through the story’s macho pretensions. They are the slaughtered whales, but also the drowning sea. A moment of butchering a whale carcass for meat and oil becomes an act of sex

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Lookingglass Theatre , Magnificent Mile Wednesday June 7 2017 - Sunday September 3 2017

Paradise Blue

TimeLine Theatre Company returns to playwright Dominique Morisseau with her ensemble drama set in a faltering Detroit jazz club in 1949. Ron OJ Parson directs a production that features an original score composed by Chicago Jazz Philharmonic artistic director Orbert Davis.

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TimeLine Theatre Company , Lake View Until Sunday July 23 2017

Parade

This 1998 musical by Alfred Uhry and Jason Robert Brown is based on the real-life case of Leo Frank, a Jewish man convicted in 1913 of raping and killing a young girl in Atlanta in a trial marred by rampant anti-Semitism. Director Gary Griffin’s revival at Writers Theatre is led by Patrick Andrews as Leo Frank and Brianna Borger as his wife, Lucille.

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Writers Theatre , Suburbs Until Sunday July 2 2017
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Great Expectations

British playwright Tanika Gupta’s adaptation brings a colonial eye to Charles Dickens’s story, making Pip an Indian orphan presented with the opportunity to try out life as an English gentleman. Lavina Jadhwani and Nick Sandys direct the U.S. premiere, a co-production between Silk Road Rising and Remy Bumppo Theatre Company.

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Silk Road Rising at Chicago Temple Building , Loop Until Sunday July 2 2017

At the Table

Recommended

Note: At the Table will get a summer remount at the Den Theatre, June 29–July 28.  “Who is me?” is the quirkily-constructed question two relative strangers tease out in a central scene of Michael Perlman’s spiky work, receiving its Chicago premiere in a sharp Broken Nose Theatre production. All of the characters in At the Table, centered on a quartet of college friends now in their early 30s, are wrestling with identity politics and identity, period. Nate (Adam Soule) hosts an annual weekend getaway at his parents’ cabin for pals Stuart (Evan Linder), Elliott (David Weiss) and Lauren (Echaka Agba), with a couple of friends-of-friends invited to join; we see two such retreats a year apart, with supporting cast changes marking shifts among the core group.  The makeup of that group initially suggests a too-schematic approach to the politics that will come into play: Nate, Stuart and Elliott are white, Lauren black; Stuart, Lauren and Nate are straight, Elliott gay. Lauren’s outside friend, Nicholas (Johnard Washington), is a black gay man she intends to set up with Elliott, because they’re both gay and friends with her, so what more could they need? Elliott’s outside friend, Chris (Elise Spoerlein), works for “one of the big women’s rights organizations,” so the play’s opening scene has shit-stirrer Stuart goading her with a spurious argument about abortion rights. (The titular metaphor, referencing who should be allowed “at the table” for discussion of issues that don’t affec

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The Den Theatre , Wicker Park Thursday June 29 2017 - Friday July 28 2017

Pilgrims

The Gift Theatre in Jefferson Park premieres a new work by playwright Claire Kiechel about a soldier and a young girl sharing a spaceship cabin on a voyage to colonize a new planet. (Shades of the recent movie Passengers, but hopefully with less ickiness.) Gift artistic director Michael Patrick Thornton and Jessica Thebus share directing duties.

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The Gift Theatre , Jefferson Park Friday June 2 2017 - Sunday July 30 2017
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I Saw You

Bruised Orange Theater Company’s long-running weekly show mines Chicago personal ads for dramatic (and comic) interpretation.

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Town Hall Pub , Lake View Wednesday May 31 2017 - Wednesday December 27 2017

The King and I

Lincoln Center Theater’s Tony-winning revival of the Rodgers & Hammerstein musical about schoolteacher Anna Leonowens and the King of Siam arrives on tour, starring Laura Michelle Kelly and Jose Llana.

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Oriental Theatre , Loop Wednesday June 14 2017 - Sunday July 9 2017

Something Rotten!

This musical spoof about down-and-out Elizabethan playwrights inventing musical theater in the shadow of Shakespeare, written by Broadway neophytes Wayne and Karey Kirkpatrick and John O'Farrell, became a surprise hit of the 2014–15 season. It arrives at the Oriental on its first national tour.

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Oriental Theatre , Loop Tuesday July 11 2017 - Sunday July 23 2017
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Megastasis

For the second entry in its three-play season devoted to playwright Kia Corthron, Eclipse Theatre Company snagged the world premiere of this war-on-drugs commentary that depicts a single joint derailing a teenager’s future. Aaron Todd Douglas directs.

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Athenaeum Theatre , Lake View Thursday July 13 2017 - Sunday August 20 2017

Madagascar—A Musical Adventure

The animated animals of Central Park Zoo come to life in this stage musical based on the DreamWorks film, with a book by Kevin Del Aguila (Altar Boyz) and original songs by George Noriega and Joel Someillan. Madagascar continues Chicago Shakespeare Theater’s tradition of familiar, family-friendly entertainment for summer visitors to Navy Pier.

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Chicago Shakespeare Theater , Streeterville Thursday July 13 2017 - Sunday August 27 2017

Art in July 2017

“#Aiweiwei”

Recommended

Chinese artist Ai Weiwei was taking photos that bluntly confront political and social issues long before Twitter or Instagram was invented. You’ll find some of his best shots (including one of him giving the White House the bird) collected in this exhibit, which is based around diaristic photographs he took during the 1980s and '90s in New York and Beijing. 

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Museum of Contemporary Photography , Loop Until Sunday July 2 2017

"Little Lower Layer"

The MCA digs through its permanent collection to present an exhibition that looks just below the surface, assembling a group of works dating back to the ’70s that expose deeper meanings. The exhibit's title is interpreted both literally—in the case of Jack Whitten’s scratched painted canvases—and figuratively, through Simon Starling’s photographs of his travels and exploration.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Saturday June 3 2017 - Sunday September 17 2017

"Dan Friedman: Radical Modernist"

Noted graphic desinger Dan Friedman is the subject of the Chicago Design Museum's latest exhibition, which his contributions to the post-modern and new wave typography movements. The self-curated exhibit (completed before Friedman passed away in 1995) includes a collection of Friedman's work, including photographer, prints and furniture that take risks and celebrate self-expression.

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Chicago Design Museum , Loop Until Saturday August 12 2017
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“Eternal Youth”

Larry Clark’s infamous photograph series “Kids” (taken during the filming of the scandalous 1995 film of the same name) is the centerpiece of this exhibition, which examines the portrayal of youth in contemporary art. Grappling with the simultaneous innocent and sexualized depiction of young people, the MCA fills "Eternal Youth" with work by Dawoud Bey, Mona Hatoum, Thomas Hirschhorn, Jack Pierso and more.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Streeterville Until Sunday July 23 2017
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"The Wall of Respect: Vestiges, Shards and Legacies"

As part of Chicago's Year of Public Art, the Chicago Cultural Center pays tribute to the Wall of Respect, a seminal mural that inhabited the side of a building at 43rd Street and Langley Avenue in 1967. Exhibit curators Romi Crawford, Abdul Alkalimat and Rebecca Zorach examine how the Organization of Black Arts and Culture designed and gathered artists to paint the mural, which depicted black leaders and icons.

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Chicago Cultural Center , Loop Until Sunday July 30 2017

"The Wall of Respect and Chicago's Mural Movement"

In 1967, a gigantic mural depicting pivotal black figures and leaders appeared on the side of a building on the South Side of Chicago, quickly earning the name “the Wall of Respect.” The vivid painting only lasted a few years, but its impact has continued to reverberate throughout the years. To celebrate its 50th anniversary, the Block Museum examines how the guerilla work helped inspire similar art in Chicago and beyond.

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Mary & Leigh Block Museum of Art , Evanston Until Sunday June 18 2017
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"L’Affichomania: The Passion for French Posters"

Immortalized on the walls of cafés, bistros and dorm rooms across the nation, vintage French posters are a decorative staple that date back to the late 1800s. The Driehaus Museum's latest exhibition presents 45 turn-of-the-century French posters from its collection, celebrating the affichomania (the "poster craze") that inspired art collectors to acquire these impressionistic creations from the streets of Paris.

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Richard H. Driehaus Museum , River North Until Sunday January 7 2018

“Gauguin: Artist as Alchemist”

French artist Paul Gauguin is best known as painter, composing canvases that moved beyond Impressionism and went on to influence artists such as Pablo Picasso and Henri Matisse. The Art Institute's new retrospective highlights Gauguin's lesser-known work as a multimedia artist, examining his talents as a sculptor, ceramist and printmaker through a collection of 240 pieces.

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Art Institute of Chicago , Grant Park Sunday June 25 2017 - Sunday September 10 2017

"Stranger Things"

Forget about the Demogorgon and twelve-sided dice. The DePaul Art Museum’s latest exhibit is a collection of art containing forms that appear familiar, but are difficult to definitively identify, allowing guests to question their true nature. Pulling from some of the museum's recent acquisitions, "Stranger Things" includes work from Miriam Bloom, David Jackson, Paul LaMantia, Richard Rezac and more.

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DePaul Art Museum , Sheffield & DePaul Wednesday June 21 2017 - Sunday August 6 2017
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