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June 2016 events calendar for Chicago

Plan your summer with our calendar June 2016 events and things to do, including our picks for theater, art and music

Photograph: Jaclyn Elizabeth Rivas
North Avenue Beach

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 2016

Featured events in June 2016

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Festivals in June 2016

Maifest

It's Oktoberfest (even though it's June), as the traditionally German neighborhood of Lincoln Square throws down with all the beers, cheers, oompah, Lederhosen and pretzels you'd expect.

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Until Sun Jun 5

Two Brothers Summer Festival

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sat Jun 4

57th Street Art Fair

Critics' pick

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.

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05 Jun 2016

Lincoln Park Greek Festival

Opa! The St. George Greek Orthodox Church hosts Lincoln Park Greek Festival, celebrating the food, culture and hospitality of ancient and modern Greece. Dig into a gyro or sample some hummus while taking in some of the event's live music lineup.

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Until Sun Jun 5

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

The city's annual celebration of gospel music welcomes national touring acts and up-and-coming local talent to Millennium Park for two days of uplifting songs and hymns. Visit the city's website for the full schedule.

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Until Sat Jun 4

Ribfest Chicago

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Spring Awakening Music Festival

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Remix Chicago

Remix Chicago offers up repurposed crafts, workshops, music and food. Enjoy music, eco-friendly workshops, sustainable food options and cold berverages as you learn more about recycled art.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Lombard Ale Fest

Critics' pick

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.

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11 Jun 2016

Pilsen Food Truck Social

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Chicago Blues Festival

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Andersonville Midsommarfest

Critics' pick

Get ready to dance around the Maypole at Andersonville's annual celebration of its Swedish heritage. The LGBT-friendly event showcases international performers, Nordic cuisine and an array of family activities. Skål!

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Until Sun Jun 12

World Naked Bike Ride

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sat Jun 11

Wells Street Art Festival

See the work of more than 200 juried artists and bid on original photography, paintings, jewelry and more at the two-day silent auction in Old Town. Food options include fare from local restaurants.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Old Town Art Fair

Old Town hosts another go-round this year, featuring the work of 250 juried artists. Other highlights of the festival include a self-guided tour through over 50 urban gardens, plenty of vendors, food from local eateries and a stage featuring live music.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Brew to be Wild

Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for this after-hours spirit tasting event, featuring beers, food pairings, music and prime views of the venue's animal residents. The annual event has more than 75 beers to sample from local brewers.

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Until Sat Jun 18

Fiestas Puertorriqueñas

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 19

Chicago Ale Fest

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sat Jun 18

Taste of Randolph

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 19
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Theater and dance in June 2016

Death & Harry Houdini

Critics' pick

This episodic biography of the early 20th century’s most famous escape artist and illusionist was the House Theatre of Chicago's inaugural show back in 2001, with illusions designed by actor-magician Dennis Watkins. The show has become to the company what Lookingglass Alice is to Lookingglass—a signature piece that it revisits periodically. The 2016 edition is its first staging in three years.

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Chopin Theatre , Noble Square Until Sunday July 24 2016

Death of a Streetcar Named Virginia Woolf: A Parody

Critics' pick

The first show to be staged in Writers Theatre’s new studio space delivers exactly what it says on the tin: a parody mash-up of several chestnuts of 20th-century American drama. Developed in conjunction with the Second City, the new show engineers a meeting between Blanche DuBois and Stanley Kowalski, Willy Loman and George and Martha all in the same New Orleans rooming house, together with Our Town’s folksy Stage Manager. The characters’ interaction allows for smart and goofy metacommentary on their original plays (with nods to several others), while also poking fun at the very nature of theater—and theatergoers. 

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Writers Theatre , Glencoe Until Sunday August 14 2016

The Book of Mormon

Critics' pick

Ding-dong! The smash hit musical comedy from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone and Avenue Q's Robert Lopez returns for its third Chicago engagement, a seven-week summer mission at the Oriental.

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The PrivateBank Theatre , Loop Until Sunday August 14 2016

Art in June 2016

"Aaron Siskind: Abstractions"

With photos of chipped paint peeling from walls and carefully framed landscape shots, Aaron Siskind brought the sensibilities of the Abstract Expressionist movement to photography. This exhibition of 100 of his images demonstrate the New York native's eye for detail and irregularity throughout his decades-long career.

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Art Institute of Chicago , Loop Until Sunday August 14 2016

"Tony Fitzpatrick: The Secret Birds"

The drawings, paintings and collages of Tony Fitzpatrick have graced the cover of records by the likes of Lou Reed, Steve Earle and the Neville Brothers. When he's not designing for musicians, the Chicago-based artist is usually drawing birds—his favorite source of inspiration. "The Secret Birds" (originally exhibited at the Poetry Foundation in 2014) collects some of Fitzpatrick's most recent avian-centric work, completed before he decided to pursue a degree in—you guessed it—ornithology.

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DePaul Art Museum , Lincoln Park Until Sunday August 14 2016

"Carlos Rolón/Dzine: I Tell You This Sincerely…"

Chicago-native Carlos Rolón brings his immersive, site-specific installations to the Chicago Cultural Center, which examine the concept of luxury and the touchstones of urban life. Visitors can walk through a recreation of a boxing trophy den, a Caribbean courtyard and other reconstructed environments that reflect Rolón's experience as a first-generation immigrant of Puerto Rican decent.

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Chicago Cultural Center , Loop Until Sunday July 31 2016

"Kerry James Marshall: Mastry"

As an African American man who was born in Alabama before the passage of the Civil Rights Act and witnessed the Watts riots in Los Angeles, Kerry James Marshall is acutely aware of what it means to be black in America. His paintings confront race head-on, incorporating black figures into scenes that would historically exclude subjects who are not white. The Museum of Contemporary Art's survey of Marshall looks back at 35 years of his work, including his iconic 1980 piece, Portrait of the Artist as a Shadow of His Former Self.

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Museum of Contemporary Art , Gold Coast Until Sunday September 25 2016

"Van Dyck, Rembrandt, and the Portrait Print"

During the last decade of his career, 17th century painter Anthony van Dyck began working on a printmaking project that encompassed more than 100 portraits of famous figures of the era. The Art Institute bought a complete collection of the prints in 1927, but this show marks its first public exhibition, displayed alongside prints by other notable portrait artists, including Rembrandt and Chuck Close.

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Art Institute of Chicago , Loop Until Sunday August 7 2016

“Karen Reimer: Shoretime Spaceline”

The Hyde Park Art Center sits on a patch of land that once hosted the Chicago Beach Hotel, which housed travelers during the World's Columbian Exposition of 1983. Reimer’s large-scale installation draws inspiration from this fabled building, using fabric and sand to create an artificial oceanfront scene.

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Hyde Park Art Center , Hyde Park Until Saturday August 13 2016

Free events in June 2016

Millennium Park Summer Film Series

Critics' pick

Bring your blanket and your favorite movies snacks and sprawl out on the Millennium Park lawn. This seasons film offerings include some 80's classics, films made in Chicago and even some musicals you can sing-along to as they're broadcast on the park's 40-foot-long LED screen.

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Millennium Park , Loop Tuesday July 26 2016 - Tuesday August 30 2016

Chicago Blues Fest

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sun Jun 12

Movies in the Parks

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Thu Sep 3

World Naked Bike Ride

Critics' pick

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.

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Until Sat Jun 11

Chicago Pride Parade

Critics' pick

Chicago's LGBT community comes out to celebrate with a parade that attracts over one million attendees. You'll want to head to the parade route early to grab a spot before the procession starts rolling down Halsted and Broadway between Montrose and Diversey.

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Pride Parade Route , Uptown Sunday June 25 2017

Fabitat

Critics' pick

This all-inclusive LGBTQ night at Double Door's Door No. 3 features live music, drag performances and DJ sets. It's one of the most promising new alt-queer party outposts in town.

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Door No. 3 , Wicker Park Wednesday July 27 2016

Slo ’Mo

At this polysexual Logan Square dance-off, party purveyor Kristen Kaza and DJ Tess drop the needle on love-drenched classics by Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Prince and the queen of lovers' rock, Sade.

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The Whistler , Logan Square Thursday August 18 2016 - Thursday June 15 2017

Congrats on Your Success

Critics' pick

Since its start in 2012, stand-up comedy showcase Congrats on Your Success has steadily built up an audience of dedicated regulars, who pack every bit of available space in Logan Square's Uncharted Books. The show's loose, friendly vibe is reinforced by interactive bits and between-set segments that engage attendees with the show's hosts and producers, who describe their audience as "DTF."

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Uncharted Books , Logan Square Thursday August 4 2016

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