June 2018 events calendar for Chicago

Jump into summer in Chicago with our picks for the best art, music, beaches, events and festivals
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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What in the entire world is lovelier than June in Chicago? After months of bundling up, dreaming of beach weather, the time is here. Chicago’s infamous (and endless) street festivals are already in full swing, the patios are open and summer music festivals are already eating up our weekends. Plus, June is Pride Month—as if you needed an excuse to celebrate—so we’ve got the incredible Pride Parade to cap off a gorgeous month. Kick off your summer with a bang and the help of our June events calendar.

RECOMMENDED: Events calendar for Chicago in 2018

Featured events in June 2018

Do Division Street Fest, 6/3/12.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Do Division Street Fest

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Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and Subterranean, kicks off the summer festival season during the first weekend of June. Spanning ten city blocks, the annual celebration brings a selection of local vendors and restaurants to Division Street, as well as family activities, a sidewalk sale and a runway fashion show. Indie rock veterans Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, garage rockers La Luz and afrobeat band Antibalas headline the music lineup at this year's fest.

Taylor Swift
Photograph: Courtesy Big Machine Records
Music, Pop

Taylor Swift + Camila Cabello + Charli XCX

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Taylor Swift may be preoccupied with her Reputation, but we’re still trying to fathom how her latest stadium show will contrast the aggressive, R&B-inflected production of her latest album with the wholesome, enthusiastic pop of her past. Prepare for a bit of musical whiplash as the country crossover star careens from sappy Nashville balladry to hip-hop-inspired anthems about holding grudges. "Havana" singer Camila Cabello and British dance-pop singer Charli XCX support.

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CAKE
Photograph: courtesy CAKE
Things to do, Conventions

CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo

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For readers of independent comics and small press publications, there's no event more sweet than CAKE (short for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo). Each year, the convention brings underground creators and fans to the Center on Halsted for two days of panels, workshops and shopping. If you've ever wanted to see what's possible with a pen, some paper, a stapler and a little imagination, this is one of the city's finest showcases of DIY ingenuity.

Hyde Park Brew Fest
Photograph: Courtesy Hyde Park Brew Fest
Things to do, Festivals

Hyde Park Brew Fest

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Hot beats and cold beers unite at the Hyde Park Brew Fest, which brings a stacked lineup of DJs and breweries to the neighborhood. Attendees will enjoy samples of more than 50 beers and ciders, including selections from 5 Rabbit, Whiner and Middle Brow. DJ Jazzy Jeff (best known for his collaborations with Will Smith) will headling the music stage on Sunday, while a selection of local DJs will be spinning tracks throughout the weekend.

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midsommarfest2011x600
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Andersonville Midsommarfest

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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!

Chicago Blues Festival 2017
Photograph: Max Herman
Music, Music festivals

Chicago Blues Festival

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Chicago honors its history as a destination for musicians by hosting the largest free blues festival in the world, bringing living legends and local 12-bar players to Millennium Park. This year, Pritzker Pavilion hosts headlining sets from Mavis Staples and Fantastic Negrito, as well as a tribute to blues harpist Little Walter and Chicago label Delmark Records. During the day, local acts perform on side stages, giving you plenty of time to snag a spot on the lawn.    

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Ribfest Chicago
Photograph: Courtesy RibFest Chicago
Things to do, Festivals

Ribfest Chicago

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Head to North Center to dig into more than 50,000 pounds of ribs and BBQ and don't forget to grab some napkins. The annual celebration of saucy pork brings together more than 30 vendors, including Austin’s Texas Lightning, BBQ Supply Co, Real Urban Barbecue, Blackwood BBQ and Mrs. Murphy & Sons Irish Bistro. After you pig out, stick around for live music, activities and more.

Spring Awakening Music Festival 2016, Friday
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Music festivals

Spring Awakening Music Festival

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Chicago's largest EDM festival returns each June, armed with some of the biggest DJs and electronic acts in the world. This year, Deadmau5, Afrojack, Kaskade and Steve Aoki are among the acts headlining the stages in Addams/Medill Park. If endless bass drops, pyrotechnics and high-tech light shows are your cup of lukewarm beer, Spring Awakening is the place to kick off summer festival season.

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Cyclists strip down and cruise through Chicago during the World Naked Bike Ride​
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

World Naked Bike Ride

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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.

Kendrick Lamar brought his Kunta's Groove Sessions tour to the Riviera Theatre on November 6, 2015.
Photograph: Max Herman
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Kendrick Lamar + SZA + Schoolboy Q + Jay Rock

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After scoring Marvel's box-office smashing film Black Panther and earning a Pulitzer Prize for his 2017 album, DAMN., Kendrick Lamar hits the road with his Top Dawg Entertainment label mates on the aptly-titled Championship Tour. In addition to a headlining set from Lamar, the lineup also includes R&B singer-songwriter SZA as well as L.A. rappers Schoolboy Q, Jay Rock and Ab-Soul. With so much talent on the bill, you'll probably see some unexpected collaborations throughout the evening.  

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Taste of Randolph
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Randolph

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In the heart of restaurant row, on the same streets as some of Chicago's (and America's) best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drinks and music. This year, R&B crooner Allen Stone, Americana trio the Devil Makes Three, psychedelic soul group Chicano Batman and neo-soul singer Mayer Hawthorne headline the festivities.

Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Music festivals

Country LakeShake Festival

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For country music fans in Chicago, there's no bigger event than the Country LakeShake Festival on Northerly Island. Headliners at this year's fest include The Voice judge (and Sexiest Man Alive, according to People magazine) Blake Shelton, singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley and bro-country duo Florida Georgia Line. In a city where most festivals tend to ignore country music, this is the hootenanny that Nashville devotees have been waiting for.

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Ruido Fest
Photograph: Maria Madrigal
Music, Music festivals

Ruido Fest

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Returning to Pilsen's Addams/Medill Park, Ruido Fest fills a void in Chicago's summer festival scene, championing the diverse sounds of Latin American rock en español, pop and electro. Mexico City rock act Caifanes and cumbia sonidera revivalists Los Ángeles Azules headline this year's festival, joined by acts like Panteón Rococó, Plastilina Mosh and Dread Mar-I.

Photograph: Nick Murway
Things to do, Festivals

Chi-Town Hot Sauce Expo

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Set your taste buds on fire at this inaugural expo, featuring spicy sauces from more than 40 different vendors, a cocktail competition and amateur wrestling. Guests will be able to put their heat tolerance to the test with samples of fiery foods and participate in extreme events like the “Death Wing Eating Challenge" or the "Slaytanic Burrito Challenge." You'll also get to watch someone eat a bunch of super-hot Reaper peppers—hope you're a heat seeker.

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The inaugural Mamby on the Beach music festival brought electronic acts and DJs to Oakwood Beach on July 12, 2015.
Photographer: Cousin Daniel
Music, Music festivals

Mamby on the Beach

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If you can't afford a vacation to the ocean this summer, you can at least enjoy some music with sand beneath your toes at Mamby on the Beach. The lakefront festival takes place on Oakwood Beach, and features headlining sets from local rapper Common, rising hip-hop artist Russ and indie-rock veterans Spoon, Grizzly Bear and Cold War Kids. Plus, you'll see some of Chicago's best homegrown talent, including Jamila Woods, Joseph Chilliams, Kami and more.

More than one million people lined the streets to cheer on participants at the Chicago Pride Parade.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

Chicago Pride Parade

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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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Photograph: Sara Mays
Things to do, Festivals

Eyes to the Skies Festival

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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.

Tour de Fat 2016
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Tour de Fat

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New Belgium Brewery brings its annual celebration of bikes and beer to Humboldt Park this year, setting up a stage by the park's iconic boathouse. L.A. alt-rock duo Best Coast headline the event, which features live entertainment, a bike pit filled with DIY creations and lots of New Belgium's signature beers available for purchase. The day will kick off with Tour de Fat's bike parade, which allows cyclists to take a slow ride through the surrounding neighborhood.

Concerts in June 2018

Taylor Swift
Photograph: Courtesy Big Machine Records
Music, Pop

Taylor Swift + Camila Cabello + Charli XCX

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Taylor Swift may be preoccupied with her Reputation, but we’re still trying to fathom how her latest stadium show will contrast the aggressive, R&B-inflected production of her latest album with the wholesome, enthusiastic pop of her past. Prepare for a bit of musical whiplash as the country crossover star careens from sappy Nashville balladry to hip-hop-inspired anthems about holding grudges. "Havana" singer Camila Cabello and British dance-pop singer Charli XCX support.

David Byrne
Photograph: Jody Rogac
Music, Rock and indie

David Byrne + Benjamin Clementine

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In a 2001 interview with Time Out New York, David Bryne said that his decision to break up the Talking Heads came out of a desire to "change creatively so I could keep people off balance." In the ensuing decades, he's remained true to his word, founding an eclectic record label, writing a book about his relationship to music and collaborating with musicians like Brian Eno and St. Vincent. Touring behind American Utopia, his first solo record in more than a decade, Byrne continues to chase his muse throughout a collection of endearingly optimistic songs. The tracks provide the centerpiece of his "most ambitious" live show since Stop Making Sense, incorporating a cast of marching musicians that synchronize their movements to Byrne's challenging catalog.

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Do Division Street Fest, 6/3/12.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Do Division Street Fest

icon-calendar

Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and Subterranean, kicks off the summer festival season during the first weekend of June. Spanning ten city blocks, the annual celebration brings a selection of local vendors and restaurants to Division Street, as well as family activities, a sidewalk sale and a runway fashion show. Indie rock veterans Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, garage rockers La Luz and afrobeat band Antibalas headline the music lineup at this year's fest.

Photograph: Virginia Rollison
Music, Rock and indie

Bon Iver

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While many fans cling to the mythology of singer-songwriter Justin Vernon writing heartbroken folk songs in a Wisconsin cabin, these days the Bon Iver frontman is collaborating with Kanye West and running his own music festival. Vernon brought his band out of an extended hiatus with his 2016 album, 22, A Million, which wrapped his falsetto vocals around a collection of glitchy, experimental arrangements. Now, he's bringing Bon Iver to Chicago for the first time since 2011—who knows what new tricks (or songs) he'll have up his sleeve?

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Deerhoof
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rock and indie

Deerhoof + Not For You + Solid Freex

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Endlessly catchy and boundlessly energetic, Deerhoof's two-plus decades of musical output is still full of surprises. The quartet's latest album, Mountain Moves, finds the group collaborating with artists like Lætitia Sadier and Xenia Rubinos, providing a contrast to the chirpy vocals of lead singer Satomi Matsuzaki and the band's blistering funk-punk arrangements. Here, the group squeezes back into the Bottle after a set at Do Division, joined by eclectic local act Not For You and Madison punks Solid Freex

Post Malone
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Post Malone + 21 Savage

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Golden-grilled rapper Post Malone is one of the decade's most unlikely hip-hop stars, rising to prominence on the back of hazy SoundCloud single "White Iverson." The outspoken 22-year-old (who credits his interest in music to the Guitar Hero video game) scored another hit with "Rockstar," the lead single from his latest album Beerbongs & Bentleys, which continues doesn't stray far from his vocoder and moody synth-strewn template. "Rockstar" collaborator 21 Savage and Bay Area rap crew SOB X RBE support.

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Alt-J
Photograph: Mads Perch
Music, Rock and indie

Alt-J

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Quickly transitioning from indie darling to festival-headlining modern-rock juggernauts, the rise of quirky English act Alt-J is an unlikely success story. The group's latest release, Relaxer, strays from the pop-culture referencing electro anthems that filled its debut, stripping away the glitchy synthesizers in favor of string arrangements and slow-moving ballads overseen by frontman Joe Newman's nasally vocals. If you're a faithful Alt-J fan, you'll be in for a treat—the rest of us will just wait for a rendition of "Left Hand Free."

Princess Nokia
Photograph: Courtesy Rough Trade
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Princess Nokia

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After showcasing her charismatic flow on her debut album, 1992 Deluxe, rapper Princess Nokia decided to take a very different direction on her follow-up EP. A Girl Cried Red finds the New York emcee channeling the sounds (and vocal styles) of emo and pop-punk, often adopting the elongate pronunciations of former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge. Expect to hear both sides of Princess Nokia's persona when she headlines this free House of Vans concert.

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Mavis Staples performed at the FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island during Farm Aid 30, September 19, 2015.
Photograph: Max Herman
Music, Music festivals

Chicago Blues Festival

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Chicago honors its history as a destination for musicians by hosting the largest free blues festival in the world, bringing living legends and local 12-bar players to Millennium Park. This year, Pritzker Pavilion hosts headlining sets from Mavis Staples and Fantastic Negrito, as well as a tribute to blues harpist Little Walter and Chicago label Delmark Records. During the day, local acts perform on side stages, giving you plenty of time to snag a spot on the lawn.    

Nickelodeon SlimeFest
Photograph: Liam Arthur Norris
Music, Music festivals

Nickelodeon SlimeFest

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Live out your ‘90s kid dreams at Nickelodeon's very first SlimeFest in Chicago—a two-day, family-friendly festival that features live music, Nick stars and buckets of the network's signature green goop. One Direction singer-songwriter Liam Payne, "Low" rapper Flo Rida and EDM producer Zedd headline the music stage, while actors like Kel Mitchell, Ella Anderson and Breanna Yde will be taking selfies with fans. There's also an activity area featuring games and the opportunity to get slimed.

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See more June 2015 concerts

Festivals in June 2018

Music, Classical and opera

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

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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. Lineup to be announced.

CAKE
Photograph: courtesy CAKE
Things to do, Conventions

CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo

icon-calendar

For readers of independent comics and small press publications, there's no event more sweet than CAKE (short for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo). Each year, the convention brings creators and fans to the Center on Halsted for two days of panels, workshops and, of course, shopping. 

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Things to do, Festivals

57th Street Art Fair

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The oldest juried craft fair in Hyde Park features paintings, sculptures, jewelry and ceramics from more than 200 artists. The event features pop-up artist talks as well as an artist-at-work area, where attendees can observe the process of creation. Attendees can shop for artwork created in a variety of mediums, including glass, jewelry, leather, photography, printmaking, painting, sculpture, wood, ceramics or fiber.

Cyclists strip down and cruise through Chicago during the World Naked Bike Ride​
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

World Naked Bike Ride

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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.

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Taste of Randolph
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Randolph

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In the heart of restaurant row, 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. Lineup to be announced. 

0613.chi.ev.pridefest01.jpg26.jpg
Photograph: Sara Mays
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Pride Fest

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Prep for the following weekend's annual Pride Parade with Chicago's LGBT community at this celebration. The event offers musical entertainment and food and drinks from local vendors, right in the heart of Boystown. 

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Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Music festivals

Country LakeShake Festival

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For country music fans in Chicago, there's no bigger event than the Country LakeShake Festival on Northerly Island. Headliners at this year's fest include The Voice judge (and Sexiest Man Alive, according to People magazine) Blake Shelton, singer-songwriter Dierks Bentley and bro-country duo Florida Georgia Line. In a city where most festivals tend to ignore country music, this is the hootenanny that Nashville devotees have been waiting for.

Photograph: Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce
Things to do, Festivals

Ravenswood on Tap

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The stretch of Ravenswood Avenue that calls itself "Malt Row" hosts this annual festival, which prominently features the neighborhood's diverse craft brewing scene. You'll find beer from Band of Bohemia, Begyle Brewing, Dovetail, Empirical, Half Acre and more, in addition to food from local restaurants and live music.

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Shopping

Randolph Street Market Festival

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More than 200 vendors hawk their antique housewares, furniture, ephemera, clothing and more at this indoor-outdoor festival. Stop in for vintage clothes and jewelry, a vinyl swap meet, a fancy food market and global goods bazaar or bring your own items for appraisal. This event typically occurs on the last weekend of each month. During the warm-weather months of May–September, the market adds an outdoor area, offering even more vintage shopping and a beer garden.

The inaugural Mamby on the Beach music festival brought electronic acts and DJs to Oakwood Beach on July 12, 2015.
Photographer: Cousin Daniel
Music, Music festivals

Mamby on the Beach

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If you can't afford a vacation to the ocean this summer, you can at least enjoy some music with sand beneath your toes at Mamby on the Beach. The lakefront festival takes place on Oakwood Beach, and typically features a mix of indie, electronic and hip-hop acts.

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More than one million people lined the streets to cheer on participants at the Chicago Pride Parade.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

Chicago Pride Parade

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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.

Tour de Fat 2016
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Tour de Fat

icon-calendar

New Belgium Brewery brings its annual celebration of bikes and beer to Humboldt Park this year, setting up a stage by the park's iconic boathouse. L.A. alt-rock duo Best Coast headline the event, which features live entertainment, a bike pit filled with DIY creations and lots of New Belgium's signature beers available for purchase. The day will kick off with Tour de Fat's bike parade, which allows cyclists to take a slow ride through the surrounding neighborhood.

Free events in June 2018

Music, Classical and opera

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

icon-calendar

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.

Things to do

Movies in the Parks

Check out a complete list of all the movies screening in Chicago parks this summer, including showings of Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, The Boss Baby and Coco as well as recent blockbusters Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Black Panther.

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CAKE
Photograph: courtesy CAKE
Things to do, Conventions

CAKE: Chicago Alternative Comics Expo

icon-calendar

For readers of independent comics and small press publications, there's no event more sweet than CAKE (short for the Chicago Alternative Comics Expo). Each year, the convention brings underground creators and fans to the Center on Halsted for two days of panels, workshops and shopping. If you've ever wanted to see what's possible with a pen, some paper, a stapler and a little imagination, this is one of the city's finest showcases of DIY ingenuity.

ACTIVATE
Photograph: Courtesy Chicago Loop Alliance
Things to do, Quirky events

ACTIVATE

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Each month, the Chicago Loop Alliance throws a party in an unexpected location downtown with the help of local artists and DJs. Guests can RSVP to receive a free drink when they arrive. To kick off the 2018 season, ACTIVATE brings the celebration to the Chicago Riverwalk (at Wabash and Upper Wacker) in June, setting up an event called "EVO's Bazaar." Attendees will enjoy art installations, music from futuristic jazz band MindSwimmer, a roving magician and a wall of free cotton candy.

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Logan Arcade
Photograph: Martha Williams
Nightlife, Alternative nightlife

Night Names

icon-location-pin Logan Square
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Set a new high score at this arcade bar’s quarterly 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.

Princess Nokia
Photograph: Courtesy Rough Trade
Music, Rap, hip-hop and R&B

Princess Nokia

icon-calendar

After showcasing her charismatic flow on her debut album, 1992 Deluxe, rapper Princess Nokia decided to take a very different direction on her follow-up EP. A Girl Cried Red finds the New York emcee channeling the sounds and vocal styles of emo and pop-punk, adopting the elongated pronunciations of former Blink-182 frontman Tom DeLonge. Expect to hear both sides of Princess Nokia's persona when she headlines this free House of Vans concert.

Advertising
Chicago Blues Festival 2017
Photograph: Max Herman
Music, Music festivals

Chicago Blues Festival

icon-calendar

Chicago honors its history as a destination for musicians by hosting the largest free blues festival in the world, bringing living legends and local 12-bar players to Millennium Park. This year, Pritzker Pavilion hosts headlining sets from Mavis Staples and Fantastic Negrito, as well as a tribute to blues harpist Little Walter and Chicago label Delmark Records. During the day, local acts perform on side stages, giving you plenty of time to snag a spot on the lawn.    

Photograph: Courtesy Inka Essenhigh
Art, Painting

“Parallel Lives”

icon-location-pin West Loop
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Artists working in figuration and portraiture are the focus of this group show, assembled by Kavi Gupta, which explores the ways in which images and representations of people can reveal more than just their physical appearances. The show features work by Firelei Baez, Alfred Conteh, Inka Essenhigh, Jeffrey Gibson, Titus Kaphar, Basil Kincaid and Devan Shimoyama.

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380.wk.LitFest23.jpg
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest

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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 languages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion. The kiddies can enjoy special activities at the Lil' Lit Park.

Cyclists strip down and cruise through Chicago during the World Naked Bike Ride​
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do

World Naked Bike Ride

icon-calendar

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 8 to 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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