Summer is finally here, Chicago beaches are open and snow-covered streets seem like a distant memory. June is one of the months that reinforces Chicagoans' civic pride, with the beginning of summer festivals, summer music festivals, outdoor theater and a whole lot more. Plus, it's Pride Month, which means Pride Fest is just around the corner, followed by the colorful Pride Parade. Start off summer with the help of our June events calendar for Chicago.
RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2017
Featured events in June 2016
Get your lit fix as the city's historic former bookmaking hub hosts the Midwest's biggest free outdoor ode to literature. Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organizations advocate books and related merchandise in different lanuages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion. The kiddies can enjoy special activities at the Lil' Lit Park.
Festivals in June 2017
Every summer, the Two Brothers Brewing Company puts together a weekend full of beer and music while rasing money for charity. This year, the festival moves to RiverEdge Park in downtown Aurora, where Cold War Kids, Lord Huron, The Lone Bellow and PHOX will headline the two-day event. The festival will also host the release of Two Brothers Hop Centric Double IPA and Hop Centric Black.
The oldest juried craft fair in Hyde Park features paintings, sculptures, jewelry and ceramics from more than 200 artists. This year's event will feature pop-up artist talks as well as an artist-at-work area, where attendees can observe the process of creation. Attemdees can shop for artwork created in a variety of mediums, including glass, jewelry, leather, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, wood, ceramics or fiber.
Get your lit fix as the city's historic former bookmaking hub hosts the Midwest's biggest free outdoor ode to literature. Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organizations advocate books and related merchandise in different lanuages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion. The kiddies can enjoy special activities at the Lil' Lit Park. Some of this year's headliners include chef Rick Bayless, journalist Kim Barker, actor Ethan Hawke and illustrator Greg Ruth.
Head to Northcenter to dig into over 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ and don't forget to grab some napkins. The annual celebration of saucy pork will also play host to RibMania, the Midwest's only sanctioned rib-eating contest, which invites amateur and professional competitive eaters to chow down for a cash prize.
With the Copa América Centenario international soccer tournament taking over Soldier Field throughout June, Chicago's biggest EDM festival is moving to Addams/Medill Park this summer. In its new location, local promoter React Presents is planning the biggest Spring Awakening to date, featuring more than 100 acts, five stages and carnival rides. Headliners for the 2016 fest include Deadmau5, Steve Aoki, Flying Lotus, A-Trak more of the biggest and best electronic acts.
Lombard's annual craft beer festival showcases more than 100 seasonal beers from breweries across the country, including Central Waters, Lakefront Brewing and Stone Brewing Co. Thirsty attendees will gather in the downtown Lombard Metra station to sample brews and wash down savory dishes from Chicagoland food trucks.
More than 25 trucks will show up to sling sample portions of tasty grub on the street outside of Thalia Hall at the Pilsen Food Truck Social. A percentage of the proceeds benefits the Illinois Food Truck Owners Association, the St Procopius Church soup kitchen and food panty and local after school programs.
The largest free blues festival in the world brings living legends and local 12-bar regulars to Grant Park for three days of music. Those expecting Blues Brothers cover bands should steer clear (though you're likely to hear a few renditions of "Sweet Home Chicago")—past editions have brought artists such as Willie Dixon, Buddy Guy, Shemekia Copeland and Syl Johnson to the stage. 2016's lineup is yet to be announced, but we're expecting something special.
The annual clothing-optional bike ride takes over the streets of Chicago, attracting hundreds of scantily clad riders who help raise awareness about cyclists and positive body image. Check-in for the ride begins at 6pm in the West Loop and the ride usually runs from 8pm-11pm—for specific route details (typically announced the day of the event) check ChicagoNakedRide.org. Remember to wipe down your Divvy seat the day after.
When summer starts, the party in Humboldt Park never seems to end. The neighborhood’s fiesta season begins with this four-day Puerto Rican heritage festival. Originating in 1964, this celebration includes performances by Latin entertainers, carnival rides and food vendors.
Head to Buckingham Fountain for two sessions of beer tastings, featuring more than 200 different craft brews. Take in the skyline whicle knocking back drafts from 4 Hands Brewing, Southern Tier, Marz Brewing, Rogue and more. Each ticket includes 20 3oz samples. A portion of the proceeds benefit the Grant Park Conservatory.
On the same streets as some of Chicago's (and America's) best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drink and music. Celebrating its 20th anniversary, the event is welcoming 20 restaurants, including Belly Q, Gus's Fried Chicken, Publican Quality Meats and Cemitas Puebla. Swedish indie-pop act Peter, Bjorn and John, electro duo MS MR and Australian rockers Atlas Genius headline the music lineup.
Free events in June 2017
In its 32st year, the Grant Park tradition brings in living legends and local 12-bar regulars. The theme this year is a tribute to Muddy Waters and Willie Dixon, with Billy Branch, Mud Morgenfield and more leading the charge. That all goes down on Sunday. If you're looking for just one day to attend: Buddy Guy headlines on Saturday at 8pm at the Petrillo Music Shell, after Taj Mahal warms up the stage. South Side soul underdog Syl Johnson headlines at the same place and time on Friday, which should be hot. Those with an even looser definition of the blues might want take note of hunky, bruised crooner Hozier, who hits Pritzker Pavilion on June 10.
From June through September, more than 240 movies will screen in parks all over Chicago as part of the city's annual Movies in the Parks program. From recent blockbusters like Maleficent and Gravity to classics like E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial and Space Jam, you're sure to find good something to watch (for free!) beneath the stars this summer. Screenings typically begin at 8:30pm each evening. Take a look at the full list of movies and participating parks.
The annual clothing-optional bike ride takes over the streets of Chicago, attracting hundreds of scantily clad riders who help raise awareness about cyclists and positive body image. The route and start time won't be revealed until the day of the event, so make sure to check ChicagoNakedRide.org if you're interested in participating in or observing the ride. Remember to wipe down your Divvy seat the day after.