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July 2019 events calendar for Chicago

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

pitchfork 2018
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
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Summer in Chicago is currently in full swing, which means that Chicago beaches are packed and there are more summer festivals every weekend than one person could concievably have time to attend. Kick off the month with fireworks on the Fourth of July, then sample local street food at Taste of Chicago before seeing your new favorite bands at Pitchfork Music Festival. Plus, July brings a giant house music party to Jackson Park, the return of 29Rooms (at a new event space inside the Chicago Board of Trade) and an entire festival devoted to mind-blowing chalk art in Rogers Park. Find all of the best things to do in Chicago this month with our July 2019 events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2019

Featured events in July 2019

SummerDance
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago SummerDance

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
icon-calendar

All ages and skill levels are welcome at this annual event series that will allow you to practice your jives, twirls and jumps. The dancing breaks out Thursday through Saturday nights and Sunday afternoons in the Spirit of Music Garden in Grant Park, where a professional instructor gives dance lessons (with genres ranging from Swing to Argentine Tango) for the first hour before allowing participants to cut a rug with the accompaniment of a live band. You'll also find SummerDance lessons at Buckingham Fountain during Taste of Chicago and one-off events in parks throughout the city. The series culminates with a day of dancing and performances in Millennium Park on August 24. See the complete details of the SummerDance series here.

A fireworks display dazzles onlookers during Navy Pier’s annual Fourth of July celebration.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Fourth of July Fireworks

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
icon-calendar

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

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Hideout Picnics on the Porch
Photograph: Courtesy Hideout
Music, Folk, country and blues

Picnics on the Porch

icon-location-pin Hideout, River West/West Town
icon-calendar

Hideout's annual summer concert series brings the bands out of the back room and onto the venue's front porch for intimate performances under the setting sun. As usual, the Picnics on the Porch series features sets from a selection of folk and country acts, including Big Sadie, Joan Shelley and Freakwater. Ukranian Village eatery All Together Now will be offering a menu of picnic meals and snacks to accompany the music, including "Lunchables for Grownups," brats and roasted beet sandwiches. If you're craving dinner and show, this summer tradition is one of the best ways to spend a warm Chicago evening. This month, you can see Devil in a Woodpile (July 5), Joan Shelley (July 12), Jay Bolotin with Girls of the Golden West (July 19) and Itasca with Glyders (July 26).

333.wk.BristolRenaissanceFaire40.jpg
Photograph: Zach Weiss
Things to do, Festivals

Bristol Renaissance Faire

icon-location-pin Bristol Renaissance Faire,
icon-calendar

Game of Thrones is over, but you can fill the medieval void in your life with a trip to the Bristol Renaissance Faire, which recreates a 16th-century port city (call is King's Landing, if you like). You'll find knights in shining armor, jousting archery, Cornish pasties and dubious English accents throughout the grounds. Plus, for an additional fee you can join in on immersive RenQuest theatrical gaming experience, interacting with chracters to complete quests and solve mysteries.

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Dark Matter Coffee Block party
Photograph: Tori Fried
Things to do, Festivals

Dark Matter Coffee Block Party

icon-location-pin Dark Matter Coffee, River West/West Town
icon-calendar

Dark Matter Coffee throws an old-fashioned Chicago block party every summer, complete with free refreshments, food, a play area for the kids and music from local bands. If you're feeling charitable, you should donate some dollars in return for all the gratis goodies—all money raised at the one-day event benefits a local Chicago nonprofit or charity. The party takes place in a vacant lot at the corner of Chicago and Western, just across the street from Dark Matter's Monthership coffee bar.

West Fest
Photograph: Courtesy West Fest
Things to do, Festivals

West Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Ave between Damen Ave and Wood St,
icon-calendar

Taking place on the weekend after the Fourth of July, you can count on West Fest to continue the celebration with delicious food, cold beverages and a music lineup stacked with exciting local bands and intriguing touring acts. This year, the street fest boasts sets from Welsh indie-rockers Los Campesinos!, experimental pop artist John Maus, dark electronic duo Boy Harsher and psychedelic Columbian outfit Combo Chimbita. The event also features a Pet Fest and a Kids Fest, stocked with activities for your little ones and four-legged friends.

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Chosen Few DJs Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Chosen Few DJs
Music, Music festivals

Chosen Few DJs Picnic and Festival

icon-location-pin 63rd St and Hayes, Woodlawn
icon-calendar

In 1990, a group of Chicago house DJs and a small group of friends gathered in Jackson Park for an impromptu concert. Today, the Chosen Few DJs (Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hachett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn) spin tracks for thousands of fans each summer, joined by special guest performers like producer David Morales, Motown star Thelma Houston, disco singer Taana Gardner and house music vocalist Lady Alma. Attendees can rent a spot for a tent on the lawn or grab general admission tickets and spend the entire day grooving on the dance floor.

Photograph: Pixabay
Things to do, Conventions

Outside Experience

icon-location-pin McCormick Place, Museum Campus
icon-calendar

Avid adventurers can explore their passions and try something new at the Outside Experience convention, which brings together more than 200 exhibitors and lots of activites for attendees to take part in. Guests can shop for the latest in outdoor gear, climb aboard an RV, conquer a mountain biking demo course, scale a climbing wall or start planning for their next vacation—there's even a cornhole tournament with a $5,000 cash prize.

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Taste of Chicago
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Chicago

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
icon-calendar

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 from some of the city's most beloved eateries. 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.

Square Roots Festival
Photograph: Dan Kasberger
Things to do, Festivals

Square Roots Festival

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square, Lincoln Square
icon-calendar

Alt-country, folk and Americana music take the spotlight at Square Roots, a street festival that takes over the main drag of Lincoln Square. This year, alt-country stalwarts Son Volt headline the event (perhaps frontman Jay Farrar will patch up his differences with former Uncle Tupelo bandmate Jeff Tweedy onstage?), joined by rootsy rock outfits Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker. The weekend will also host a 25th anniversary celebration for local label Bloodshot Records, with performances from Mekons, Murder by Death and some yet-to-be-announced guests. When you're not parked in front of a stage, you'll find open jam sessions, dance parties and family-friendly activities that make this fest feel like a gigantic neighborhood block party.

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Old Dominion
Photograph: Courtesy RCA Nashville
Music, Folk, country and blues

Windy City Smokeout

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
icon-calendar

Spend a weekend eating barbecue and listening to country music at the Windy City Smokeout, which fills a parking lot with some of the country's best pitmasters and a stacked lineup of twangy musicians. Sample smoked meats cooked by barbecue masters from Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee (as well as local favorites like Smoque and Bub City) while you listen to tunes from the likes of Chris Young, Old Dominion, Cole Swindell and Ashley McBryde. Dust off your cowboy hat, fill your pocket with moist towelettes and dig into a weekend of delicious meat and music.

Collaboraction
Photograph: Joel Maisonet
Theater, Public and national theaters

Millennium Park Theatre Series

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
icon-calendar

The Year of Chicago Theatre is currently treading the boards and Millennium Park is joining the celebration by hosting a series of free shows that feature some of the city's leading theater companies. The site-specific shows performances will take place at venues throughout the park, integrating the park's architecture and public art into the narratives that each work explores. Like most of Millennium Park's summer programming, admission is free—you can use the money you save to support another local theater production.

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Refinery29 29Rooms
Photograph: Emma McIntyre
Things to do, Exhibitions

29Rooms

icon-location-pin Skylight Board of Trade, Loop
icon-calendar

Refinery29's popular 29Rooms exhibition returns to Chicago for a 10-day engagement, setting up interactive installations on a former trading floor inside the Chicago Board of Trade Building. The latest edition of the event series is entitled Expand Your Reality, allowing to experience 29 installations over the course of a session, including creations by local artists, rooms that have appeared in previous activations (such as a neon-lit dance party called Inner Beauty Ball) and branded collaborations. If you need to add some pizazz to your Instagram feed this summer, you're sure to capture some surreal scenes within this inventive funhouse.

Photograph: Anat Ronen
Art, Outdoor art

Chalk Howard Street

icon-location-pin Howard St and Paulina St, Evanston
icon-calendar

The surface of Howard Street will become a canvas for 3D chalk artists and local street artists at Chalk Howard Street, a festival devoted to art scrawled on pavement. Artists Anat Ronen and Nate Baranowski will reate murals that function as optical illusions, allowing guests to take photos with superheroes and characters that appear to be crawling out of the ground. The free one-day event in Rogers Park will also feature live music, entertainment, food and drinks, as well as plenty of opportunities to snap a mind-blowing shot for your Instagram feed.

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Photograph: Josh Salacup on Unsplash
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Water Lantern Festival

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park, Humboldt Park
icon-calendar

Humboldt Park's lagoon will be illuminated with thousands of floating paper lanterns during the Chicago Water Lantern Festival, which brings live music, food truck and a photogenic spectacle to the West Side park. Each ticket to the event includes a floating rice paper lantern that you can decorate with a maker before releasing it into the water (don't worry, organizers will be retreiving all of the lanterns after the event is over).

ComplexCon
Photograph: Courtesy ComplexCon
Things to do, Conventions

ComplexCon

icon-location-pin McCormick Place, Museum Campus
icon-calendar

Calling all hype beasts! Pop culture publication Complex is bringing a new edition of its ComplexCon event (which has previously taken place in Long Beach, California) to Chicago, with more than 100 brands, a lineup of performers and stacked selection of restaurants in tow. Attendees will be able to snag exclusive merchendice from the likes of Puma and Champion, as well as local streetwear makers like Joe Freshgoods and Jugrnaut (though you'll likely have to spring for early admission to cop the most sought-after drops). Rapper Schoolboy Q and singer Ella Mai headline the convention's live music lineup, while influential designers, musicians and chefs will take the stage for in-depth panels.

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pitchfork 2018
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Music, Music festivals

Pitchfork Music Festival

icon-location-pin Union Park, West Loop
icon-calendar

Curated by tastemaking music publication Pitchfork, this summer music festival typically boasts performances from the most of-the-moment acts. Taking place in Union Park, this year's lineup features headlining sets from pop-rock trio HAIM, Swedish electro-pop star Robyn and Motown R&B legends the Isley Brothers. The rest of the bill is equally exciting, featuring acts like Stereolab, Charli XCX, Pusha-T, Mavis Staples and Kurt Vile. With only three stages set amid a small park, it's easy to move around the fest and see all of your favorites while discovering some new music along the way. While you're there, don't forget to snag a souvenir from the record fair and sample some of the Chicago cuisine being cooked by local restaurants.

Photograph: Pixabay
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Newberry Library Book Fair

icon-location-pin Newberry Library, Rush & Division
icon-calendar

It’s not too late to flesh out your summer reading list at one of the city’s largest used book fairs, where you can browse more than 135,000 titles that are priced to move. Many titles are $3 or less and the selection is vast, including cookbooks, music, fiction, art books and children's literature as well as movies and records (for those who already have all the books that they need, but still want to purchase some physical media). Fill your shelves and support the Newberry while you're at it.

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Wicker Park Fest 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Things to do, Festivals

Wicker Park Fest

icon-location-pin Milwaukee Ave between North Ave and Paulina St, Suburbs
icon-calendar

Wicker Park may be overrun with chain restaurants, boutiques and shoe stores, but the neighborhood still clears out Milwaukee Avenue for a street celebration each summer. The main attraction of the annual fest is the music lineup, which features sets from neo-soul outfit Durand Jones & The Indications, West Coast rockers Wavves, cinematic folk band Murder By Death and New Jersey punks Screaming Females. You'll also find plenty of delicious food, sales at local shops, daily fashion shows and twentysomethings watching the festivities from precarious perches on rooftops, balconies and fire escapes.

Festivals in July 2019

RibFest 2011, ribs
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Windy City Ribfest

icon-location-pin Lawrence Ave at Broadway, Uptown
icon-calendar

Eating pork is a Fourth of July weekend tradition in Uptown, where attendees can flex their jaw muscles and stretch their waistlines at this barbecue fest. You'll find local ribbers as well grillmasters from as far away as Austin, Texas and Austrailia—all cooking tasty racks that you can slather in sauce. Once you're full, you can walk off the meat while browsing a lineup of local vendors or take in a set from your preferred street festival cover band.

Del Toro Michelada
Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Michelada Fest

icon-location-pin Harrison Park, Lower West Side
icon-calendar

The Chicago Michelada Festival honors one of the most ingenious beverages on the planet: Mexcian beer combined with tomato juice, lime and spices, served in a salt-rimmed glass. Vendors like Big Mich, Pinches Miches, Micheladas Los Mochis and Rancheladas will be serving the cocktail throughout this two-day event, accompanied by delicious food, live music and a beer pong tournament.

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331.wk.EyesToTheSkiesFestival43.jpg
Photograph: Sara Mays
Things to do, Festivals

Eyes to the Skies Festival

icon-location-pin Lisle Community Park, Suburbs
icon-calendar

In Lisle, the Fourth of July features plenty of airborne eye candy, including fireworks and hot air balloons. Balloons launch every morning and evening, filling the sky with colorful inflatables of all shapes and sizes (for an additional fee, you can even go for a ride on one of them). When the sun sets, the balloons come down and the fireworks begin. Attendees can also check out the festival's carnival, kids area, live music and craft fair. As always, admission to the morning balloon launches (which typically begin at 5:30am) is free.

Chosen Few DJs Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Chosen Few DJs
Music, Music festivals

Chosen Few DJs Picnic and Festival

icon-location-pin 63rd St and Hayes, Woodlawn
icon-calendar

In 1990, a group of Chicago house DJs and a small group of friends gathered in Jackson Park for an impromptu concert. Today, the Chosen Few DJs (Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hachett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn) spin tracks for thousands of fans each summer, joined by special guest performers like producer David Morales, Motown star Thelma Houston, disco singer Taana Gardner and house music vocalist Lady Alma. Attendees can rent a spot for a tent on the lawn or grab general admission tickets and spend the entire day grooving on the dance floor.

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Dark Matter Coffee Block party
Photograph: Tori Fried
Things to do, Festivals

Dark Matter Coffee Block Party

icon-location-pin Dark Matter Coffee, River West/West Town
icon-calendar

Dark Matter Coffee throws an old-fashioned Chicago block party every summer, complete with free refreshments, food, a play area for the kids and music from local bands. If you're feeling charitable, you should donate some dollars in return for all the gratis goodies—all money raised at the one-day event benefits a local Chicago nonprofit or charity. The party takes place in a vacant lot at the corner of Chicago and Western, just across the street from Dark Matter's Monthership coffee bar.

383.384.wk.FestivalofLife20.jpg
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

African Caribbean International Festival of Life

icon-location-pin Washington Park, Washington Park
icon-calendar

Fourth of July weekend in Washington Park means reggae, soccer, dancing and delicious Afro-Caribbean food. The African Caribbean International Festival of Life promotes cultural awareness by bringing together more than 200 vendors selling handmade goods and traditional dishes.

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West Fest
Photograph: Courtesy West Fest
Things to do, Festivals

West Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Ave between Damen Ave and Wood St,
icon-calendar

Taking place on the weekend after the Fourth of July, you can count on West Fest to continue the celebration with delicious food, cold beverages and a music lineup stacked with exciting local bands and intriguing touring acts. This year, the street fest boasts sets from Welsh indie-rockers Los Campesinos!, experimental pop artist John Maus, dark electronic duo Boy Harsher and psychedelic Columbian outfit Combo Chimbita. The event also features a Pet Fest and a Kids Fest, stocked with activities for your little ones and four-legged friends.

Argyle Night Market
Photograph: Dave Suarez
Things to do, Markets and fairs

Argyle Night Market

icon-location-pin Argyle St and Sheridan Rd, Uptown
icon-calendar

Each Thursday during the latter half of the summer, Argyle Street turns into a market featuring regional farmers, dishes from local restaurants and live performers. The fun takes place on the Argyle Streetscape between Kenmore and Sheridan, welcoming visitors to enjoy an evening of food, shopping and entertainment.

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Photograph: Ben Macri
Things to do, Festivals

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

icon-location-pin Belmont and Damen Aves, North Center
icon-calendar

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 more than 12 local restaurants while enjoying live music and ample libations. Don't forget to vote for your favorite—the most popular burger of the weekend earns the visitors' choice award.

Southport Art Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events
Things to do, Festivals

Southport Art Festival

icon-location-pin Southport and Waveland Avenues,
icon-calendar

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 sit down on a patio to enjoy food and drink specials throughout the weekend.

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Attendees sip craft beers and enjoy an eclectic music lineup at Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square, July 13, 2014.
Photograph: Kristine Kuczora
Things to do, Festivals

Square Roots Festival

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square, Lincoln Square
icon-calendar

Alt-country, folk and Americana music take the spotlight at Square Roots, a street festival that takes over the main drag of Lincoln Square. When you're not parked in front of a stage, you'll find open jam sessions, dance parties and family-friendly activities that make this fest feel like a gigantic neighborhood block party. The event also features multiple craft beer gardens, food from local restaurants and a market stocked with goods from area businesses.

Taste of Chicago
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Chicago

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
icon-calendar

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 from some of the city's most beloved eateries. 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.

Advertising
Old Dominion
Photograph: Courtesy RCA Nashville
Music, Folk, country and blues

Windy City Smokeout

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
icon-calendar

Spend a weekend eating barbecue and listening to country music at the Windy City Smokeout, which fills a parking lot with some of the country's best pitmasters and a stacked lineup of twangy musicians. Sample smoked meats cooked by barbecue masters from Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee (as well as local favorites like Smoque and Bub City) while you listen to tunes from the likes of Chris Young, Old Dominion, Cole Swindell and Ashley McBryde. Dust off your cowboy hat, fill your pocket with moist towelettes and dig into a weekend of delicious meat and music.

Things to do, Festivals

artfest Michigan Avenue

icon-location-pin Tribune Tower, Streeterville
icon-calendar

Looking to add some new fine art to your apartment this summer? You'll find 65 juried artists exhibiting their work at this annual art show, which takes place at the foot of the historic Tribune Tower. Stop by the two-day fest, shop around and see if you can find something worth exhibiting in your personal (home) gallery.

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Photograph: Anat Ronen
Art, Outdoor art

Chalk Howard Street

icon-location-pin Howard St and Paulina St, Evanston
icon-calendar

The surface of Howard Street will become a canvas for 3D chalk artists and local street artists at Chalk Howard Street, a festival devoted to art scrawled on pavement. Artists Anat Ronen and Nate Baranowski will reate murals that function as optical illusions, allowing guests to take photos with superheroes and characters that appear to be crawling out of the ground. The free one-day event in Rogers Park will also feature live music, entertainment, food and drinks, as well as plenty of opportunities to snap a mind-blowing shot for your Instagram feed.

Photograph: Josh Salacup on Unsplash
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Water Lantern Festival

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park, Humboldt Park
icon-calendar

Humboldt Park's lagoon will be illuminated with thousands of floating paper lanterns during the Chicago Water Lantern Festival, which brings live music, food truck and a photogenic spectacle to the West Side park. Each ticket to the event includes a floating rice paper lantern that you can decorate with a maker before releasing it into the water (don't worry, organizers will be retreiving all of the lanterns after the event is over).

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Los Comales
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Tacos y Tamales Festival

icon-location-pin 16th St and Peoria St, Lower West Side
icon-calendar

This three-day Pilsen food festival takes its inspiration from the Tianguis, a traditional Mexican and Central American bazaar. As its name suggests, guests are invited to sample plenty of tacos and tamales, prepared by authentic local restaurants. Between bites, cruise vendor stalls, sip a cold one inside the Modelo beer garden and dance to live Latin music.

Things to do, Festivals

BenFest

icon-location-pin St. Benedict's Parish, North Center
icon-calendar

This annual benefit thrown by St. Benedict Parish in North Center is one of the city's premiere family-friendly fests, stocked with inflatables, a waterslide, basketball, Skee Ball and a plenty of other activities for the kids. Adults can enjoy live music, food from local restaurants and a relaxing afternoon spent in the shadow of the parish's steeple.

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Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Craft Beer Festival

icon-location-pin Lincoln Ave at Addison St., North Center
icon-calendar

If the foamy, flat macrobrewed suds served in a plastic cup that most street festivals serve aren't your idea of a good time, head to Lakeview's celebration of craft beer. You'll find more than 70 local, regional and national craft beers from 35 brewers on offer at this event. Purchase tickets before making your way to the tasting area each day from 1–8pm—each ticket is good for one 3 ounce sample of beer.

ComplexCon
Photograph: Courtesy ComplexCon
Things to do, Conventions

ComplexCon

icon-location-pin McCormick Place, Museum Campus
icon-calendar

Calling all hype beasts! Pop culture publication Complex is bringing a new edition of its ComplexCon event (which has previously taken place in Long Beach, California) to Chicago, with more than 100 brands, a lineup of performers and stacked selection of restaurants in tow. Attendees will be able to snag exclusive merchendice from the likes of Puma and Champion, as well as local streetwear makers like Joe Freshgoods and Jugrnaut (though you'll likely have to spring for early admission to cop the most sought-after drops). Rapper Schoolboy Q and singer Ella Mai headline the convention's live music lineup, while influential designers, musicians and chefs will take the stage for in-depth panels.

Advertising
pitchfork 2018
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Music, Music festivals

Pitchfork Music Festival

icon-location-pin Union Park, West Loop
icon-calendar

Curated by tastemaking music publication Pitchfork, this summer music festival typically boasts performances from the most of-the-moment acts. Taking place in Union Park, this year's lineup features headlining sets from pop-rock trio HAIM, Swedish electro-pop star Robyn and Motown R&B legends the Isley Brothers. The rest of the bill is equally exciting, featuring acts like Stereolab, Charli XCX, Pusha-T, Mavis Staples and Kurt Vile. With only three stages set amid a small park, it's easy to move around the fest and see all of your favorites while discovering some new music along the way. While you're there, don't forget to snag a souvenir from the record fair and sample some of the Chicago cuisine being cooked by local restaurants.

Silver Room Block Party
Photograph: Christopher Dylan Andrew
Things to do, Festivals

Silver Room Block Party

icon-location-pin Silver Room, Hyde Park
icon-calendar

Don't want to deal with the crowds in Union Park? Head to Hyde Park where cultural storefront the Silver Room is organizes an expansive block party, complete with three outdoor stages in addition to performances at businesses and venues throughout the neighborhood. In addition to live music, local food and plenty of libations, this year's block party also features a roller skating rink (soundtracked by a lineup of DJs) and basketball tournaments.

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Photograph: Kaitlin Hetterscheidt
Things to do, Festivals

Chinatown Summer Fair

icon-location-pin Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd, Armour Square
icon-calendar

Chinatown celebrates the arrival of summer at this annual event, featuring food, art and music. The festival opens with a traditional lion dance procession and continues with performances, kung fu demonstrations and cuisine from Chinatown restaurants.

Things to do, Festivals

Taste of River North

icon-location-pin Ward Park at N. Kingsbury and W. Erie,
icon-calendar

River North may not have as many culinary institutions as neighborhoods like the West Loop, but there are some good eats to be found in the area—and you'll be able to try a lot of it at this tasty gathering of local eateries. While you're digesting, you'll enjoy tunes from local cover bands and plenty of beverages.

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Photograph: Courtesy South Loop Beer & Cider Fest
Things to do, Festivals

South Loop Beer & Cider Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Women's Park and Gardens, Near South Side
icon-calendar

Head to the South Loop for an afternoon of beer and cider samples served in Chicago Women's Park. featuring more than 100 beverages provided by some of the region's most popular breweries and cideries. The outdoor festival also welcomes a lineup of Chicago food trucks and live performances from local musicians. All proceeds from the festival will benefit Chicago Women's Park and Gardens.

Bantu Fest
Photograph: Courtesy Bantu Fest
Things to do, Festivals

Bantu Fest

icon-location-pin Midway Plaisance Park, Hyde Park
icon-calendar

The annual Bantu Fest prides itself on bringing people, cuisine and culture from more than 30 different countries together for a two-celebration of Chicago's (and the world's) diversity. When you're not sampling tantalizing dishes from around the globe, you can take in sets from local musicians and enjoy the sights during a summer afternoon on Midway Plaisance.

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Photograph: Chris Litwin
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Margarita Festival

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
icon-calendar

For one weekend each summer, Navy Pier's margarita options extend well beyond what's offered at Jimmy Buffett's joint. A selection of Chicago bars and restaurants mix their finest tequila-filled concoctions during two sessions of tipsy revelry along Lake Michigan. Our advice: Ride the Ferris wheel before you pour a bunch of sugary drinks into your body.

Fiesta del Sol
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Fiesta del Sol

icon-location-pin Cermak Rd and Loomis St, Lower West Side
icon-calendar

One of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest returns to the heart of Pilsen, brings a carnival, delicious food from local vendors and a lineup of traditional music to the neighborhood's streets. Unlike many other summer festivals, Fiesta del Sol is a proudly booze and tobacco-free event, making it ideal for families.

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Wicker Park Fest 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Things to do, Festivals

Wicker Park Fest

icon-location-pin Milwaukee Ave between North Ave and Paulina St, Suburbs
icon-calendar

Wicker Park may be overrun with chain restaurants, boutiques and shoe stores, but the neighborhood still clears out Milwaukee Avenue for a street celebration each summer. The main attraction of the annual fest is the music lineup, which features sets from neo-soul outfit Durand Jones & The Indications, West Coast rockers Wavves, cinematic folk band Murder By Death and New Jersey punks Screaming Females. You'll also find plenty of delicious food, sales at local shops, daily fashion shows and twentysomethings watching the festivities from precarious perches on rooftops, balconies and fire escapes.

Concerts in July 2019

Car Seat Headrest
Photograph: Chona Kasinger
Music, Rock and indie

Car Seat Headrest + Naked Giants

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
icon-calendar

A teenage lo-fi rock wunderkind who self-released 12 records via Bandcamp before signing to indie label Matador Records, Will Toledo has spent much of the past four years revisiting the prolific body of work he created in his youth. After completely re-recording and re-imagining his 2011 release Twin Fantasy, Toledo recently announced a live album compiling recordings from Car Seat Headrest's 2018 tour (he's also hard at work on an album that could take the band's sound in a more electronic direction). Seattle rock trio Naked Giants open this free Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert.

West Fest
Photograph: Courtesy West Fest
Things to do, Festivals

West Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Ave between Damen Ave and Wood St,
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Taking place on the weekend after the Fourth of July, you can count on West Fest to continue the celebration with delicious food, cold beverages and a music lineup stacked with exciting local bands and intriguing touring acts. This year, the street fest boasts sets from Welsh indie-rockers Los Campesinos!, experimental pop artist John Maus, dark electronic duo Boy Harsher and psychedelic Columbian outfit Combo Chimbita. The event also features a Pet Fest and a Kids Fest, stocked with activities for your little ones and four-legged friends.

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Built to Spill
Photograph: Stephen Gere
Music, Rock and indie

Built to Spill + Oruã + Wetface

icon-location-pin Thalia Hall | Chicago, IL, Lower West Side
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Famously crafted from hours of heady jam sessions, Built to Spill's 1999 release Keep it Like a Secret distilled the band's twisting guitar solos and jangling melodies into a concise collection of songs that have remained an indie rock touchstone. 20 years later, Doug Martsch and the current lineup of Built to Spill are marking the album's anniversary with a special tour, where you're likely to hear tracks like the knotty ballad "Carry the Zero" and the classic rock cliché-ridden anthem "You Were Right." Brazillian rockers Oruã and Montreal synth-pop act Wetface open the show.

Chosen Few DJs Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Chosen Few DJs
Music, Music festivals

Chosen Few DJs Picnic and Festival

icon-location-pin 63rd St and Hayes, Woodlawn
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In 1990, a group of Chicago house DJs and a small group of friends gathered in Jackson Park for an impromptu concert. Today, the Chosen Few DJs (Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hachett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn) spin tracks for thousands of fans each summer, joined by special guest performers like producer David Morales, Motown star Thelma Houston, disco singer Taana Gardner and house music vocalist Lady Alma. Attendees can rent a spot for a tent on the lawn or grab general admission tickets and spend the entire day grooving on the dance floor.

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Brent Cobb
Photograph: Don Van Cleave
Music, Folk, country and blues

Brent Cobb + Lydia Loveless

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Georgia-native Brent Cobb is a Nashville transplant who has penned songs for the likes of Luke Bryan, Kenny Chesney, Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town. His 2018 album Providence Canyon shows off his own vocal and instrumental talents, blending twangy country ballads and upbeat Southern rock throughout a collection of song that grapple with finding success and life on the road. Alt-country singer-songwriter Lydia Loveless opens this free Millennium Park Summer Music Series concert.

Courtney Barnett
Photograph: Mia Mala McDonald
Music, Rock and indie

Courtney Barnett + Sunflower Bean

icon-location-pin Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
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Armed with a sharp wit and a penchant for shredding, Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett has quickly become one of indie rock's guiding lights, graduating to increasingly large festival stages and collaborating with the likes of Phillidelphia rocker Kurt Vile. Her latest album, Tell Me How You Really Feel, reflects on the trials of being a woman in the music industry, clapping back at critics and anonymous internet commenters through a collection of empowered anthems. During her performance at Taste of Chicago, Barnett will be joined by young New York rockers Sunflower Bean.

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Bomba Estéreo
Photograph: Courtesy Sony Music Entertainment Latin
Music, Dance and electronic

Bomba Estéreo + Cultura Profética

icon-location-pin Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
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Blending the rhythms of traditional cumbia and salsa with electronic production, Columbian duo Bomba Estéreo were putting a contemporary spin on Latin music long before Latin trap and reggaeton entered the mainstream (the group's 2015 song "To My Love" became a nightclub fixture last year thanks to a remix from Puerto Rican DJ Marcos "Tainy" Masís). And while the group has spent much of its career bringing its buoyant live set to stages across the globe, it hasn't forgotten about its home—Bomba Estéreo is currently spearheading a campaign to stop deforestation in its native Columbia. During the band's concert at Taste of Chicago, they'll be joined by Puerto Rican reggae act Cultura Profética.

De La Soul
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

De La Soul + Taylor Bennett

icon-location-pin Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
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Long Island trio De La Soul's 1989 debut 3 Feet High and Rising is among the rap genre's most vaunted records, harnessing an inspired collection samples and introducing comedic skits to the hip-hop vernacular. Even 30 years after its release, it's an album that sounds ahead of its time—albeit one that you can't easily stream, thanks to the group's fractured relationship with its label, Tommy Boy Records. While younger audiences likely know Posdnuos, Trugoy and Maseo for their collaborations with Damon Albarn's Gorillaz project, we're hoping that De La Soul digs into the classics during their Taste of Chicago set, which features an opening set from local rapper Taylor Bennett.

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The Strumbellas
Photograph: Matt Barnes
Music, Pop

The Strumbellas + Lovelytheband + Joywave

icon-location-pin Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
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Trafficking in the same blend of impassioned folk rock and sleek pop balladry that sent acts like Mumford & Sons and the Lumineers to the top of the charts, Ontario outfit the Strumbellas just want you to sing (and stomp) along to its anthemic refrains. Headlining a bill that includes Los Angeles pop-rock act Lovelytheband (they wrote a song about Coachella) and synth-pop group Joywave, this might be the best Taste of Chicago show to attend if you merely want some pleasant background music to enjoy while you focus on digging into your meal.

India.Arie
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

India.Arie + Meshell Ndegeocello + Bilal

icon-location-pin Grant Park, Petrillo Music Shell, Grant Park
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It has been nearly two decades since India.Arie's debut record Acoustic Soul tore up the charts, went double platinum and garnered a boatload of Grammy nominations. In the years since, she's released a steady stream of R&B albums, collaborated with Stevie Wonder and Herbie Hancock and performed aboard "inspirational cruises" organized by Oprah Winfrey. At Taste of Chicago, she'll perform with support from soul singer-songwriter Meshell Ndegeocello and R&B singer Bilal.

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