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June 2019 events calendar for Chicago

Jump into summer in Chicago with our picks for the best art, music, beaches, events and festivals

Spring Awakening Music Festival 2016, Saturday
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 2019

Featured events in June 2019

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

Do Division Street Fest

icon-location-pin Division St at Damen Ave, Ukrainian Village
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.

Taylor Swift
Photograph: Courtesy Big Machine Records
Music, Pop

Taylor Swift + Camila Cabello + Charli XCX

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

icon-location-pin Center on Halsted, Lake View
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.

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

Hyde Park Brew Fest

icon-location-pin 53rd St and Harper Ave, Hyde Park
icon-calendar

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

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

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

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

Ribfest Chicago

icon-location-pin Lincoln Ave between Irving Park Rd and Berteau Ave,
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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

icon-location-pin Sears Centre, Suburbs
icon-calendar

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

icon-location-pin Various locations throughout Chicago,
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 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

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

icon-location-pin 900 W Randolph St, Downtown
icon-calendar

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, Folk, country and blues

Country LakeShake Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
icon-calendar

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, Latin and world

Ruido Fest

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

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

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

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

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

Eyes to the Skies Festival

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

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 2019

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

Do Division Street Fest

icon-location-pin Division St at Damen Ave, Ukrainian Village
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 several city blocks, the annual celebration brings a selection of local vendors and restaurants to Division Street, as well as a petting zoo for the kids, a sidewalk sale and a runway fashion show. This year's music lineup includes Why?, the Meat Puppets, Mikal Cronin, Pile, Ryley Walker and Laura Stevenson, as well as local acts like Russian Circles, the Cool Kids, Makaya McCraven and Paul Cherry.

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

Chicago Blues Festival

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

Chicago honors its legacy as a city filled with 12-bar melodies by hosting the world's largest blues music festival, bringing living legends and local players to Millennium Park for a three-day celebration. This year's lineup of headlining acts includes “King of the Chitlin' Circuit” Bobby Rush, soul singer-songwriter Bettye LaVette and gospel blues singer Ruthie Foster. Snag a spot on the lawn to secure a great view of the always-packed evening performances at Pritzker Pavilion, or stroll through the park to catch sets from local musicians on the Blue Festival side stages.

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

Spring Awakening Music Festival

icon-location-pin Sears Centre, Suburbs
icon-calendar

Chicago's largest EDM festival returns each June, armed with some of the biggest DJs and electronic acts in the world. This year, Spring Awakening takes over Poplar Creek at 59-90 Entertainment District in Hoffman Estates (just west of the Sears Centre), welcoming a slate of headliners that includes DJ Snake, Zedd, Martin Garrix, Rezz, Griz and DJ Illenium. 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.

John Prine
Photograph: Josh Britt
Music, Folk, country and blues

John Prine + Tyler Childers

icon-location-pin Ravinia Pavilion, Suburbs
icon-calendar

While working as a mailman in Chicago in the ‘60s and regularly performing at open mics, John Prine's simple and impactful folk music caught the ear of Kris Kristofferson, launching his career as a professional singer-songwriter. Several decades later, Prine's eloquent songcraft has garnered prominent fans such as Bob Dylan and Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon. At this special performance just north of his hometown, Prine will look back on his storied career and debut material from The Tree of Forgiveness—his first album of new songs in nearly 13 years. Contemporary country singer-songwriter Tyler Childers opens the show.

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Nickelodeon SlimeFest
Photograph: Jeff Schear
Music, Music festivals

Nickelodeon SlimeFest

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
icon-calendar

After drenching attendees in buckets of green goop last summer, Nickelodeon's SlimeFest returns to Northerly Island to make every ‘90s kid's dreams come true with two days of family-friendly fun and music. When you're not searching for the nearest slime spout, you'll be able to take in sets from headlining acts like rapper Pitbull, pop singer-songwriter Bebe Rexha, YouTube star JoJo Siwa and recent The Masked Singer winner T-Pain. Plus, you can meet Nickelodeon stars, dance at a slime disco or dive down a gigantic inflatable slide. Tickets for Nickelodeon SlimeFest go on sale Friday, March 29 at 10am.

359.mu.mu.ls.buddyguy.jpg
Photograph: Paul Natkin
Music, Folk, country and blues

Buddy Guy + Blues Traveler + Shemekia Copeland

icon-location-pin Ravinia Pavilion, Suburbs
icon-calendar

As one of the last remaining legendary Chicago blues players, Buddy Guy is a performer who epitomizes a very specific era in the city's musical history, when juke joints were an essential part of local nightlife. If you've never caught him playing at his eponymous Chicago club, you know what to expect: Screaming vocals, blazing guitar solos and a few random expletives. At Ravinia, Guy is joined by blues vocalist Shemekia Copeland and rock act Blues Traveler—a band best known for its hit song "Run-Around" that was probably added to lineup simply because its name contains the word "blues."

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The Comet is Coming
Photograph: Fabrice Bourgelle
Music, Jazz

The Comet is Coming

icon-location-pin Sleeping Village, Avondale
icon-calendar

Jazz with a cosmic scope is nothing new, especially in Chicago, where bandleader Sun Ra developed the experimental, science fiction-influenced sound that infused bebop and free jazz with interstellar grooves. Led by woodwind-player Shabaka Hutchings, London trio the Comet is Coming has similarly astral ambitions for its output, combining elements of jazz, electronica and psychedelic rock. The group's latest album, Trust In The Lifeforce Of The Deep Mystery, layers growling bass clarinet and saxophone melodies atop cascading synthesizers and rhythms, creating music with decidedly futuristic aspirations that unabashedly draws upon the past.

Taste of Randolph
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Randolph

icon-location-pin 900 W Randolph St, Downtown
icon-calendar

Taking place on the same street occupied by some of Chicago's best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drinks and music. You'll find food from more than 16 restaurants (on Randolph Street and beyond) being served as well as two stages packed with performances throughout the day. This year's lineup include indie rockers Real Estate. R&B act Anderson East, synth-pop duo Holy Ghost!, Vulfpeck guitarist Cory Wong and New York rockers Cults. Donations made at the entrance to the festival support the West Loop Community Organization.

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Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Folk, country and blues

Country LakeShake Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
icon-calendar

Country music doesn't get a lot of love on major Chicago summer music festival lineups, but the annual Country LakeShake gives cowboy hat-wearing fans a place to see some of the favorite Nashville stars. Taking place at the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, this year's edition of the county fest features headlining sets from Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. Props to whoever programmed the event's Friday lineup, which is almost exclusively made up of female artists, including Maren Morris (who provided the vocals for Zedd's hit "The Middle") and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina.

Ruido Fest
Photograph: Maria Madrigal
Music, Latin and world

Ruido Fest

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

Moving to Union Park for the first time this summer, Rudio Fest fills a notable void in Chicago summer festival calendar by championing the diverse sounds of Latin American pop, electro and rock en español. Headlining acts on the 2019 lineup include Californian norteño (Mexican polka music) band Los Tigres del Norte and a collaboration between Argentinian pop-rock group Enanitos Verdes and Spanish boy band Hombres G. Other notable performers include Mexican psych-rockers El Tri and experimental pop artist Helado Negro.

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See more June 2015 concerts

Festivals in June 2019

Music, Classical and opera

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

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

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

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

ACTIVATE

icon-location-pin Various locations throughout Chicago,
icon-calendar

Chicago Loop Alliance's pop-up party series returns to alleys and other unexpected downtown locations this summer, giving you a good reason to hang out on a street after work. Joining the city's celebration of the Chicago Year of Theater, all four ACTIVATE events will be centered around the local performing arts community, including drag performers, lighting designers, stage decorators, comedians and circus acts. The location of each party is typically announced a few weeks before the event takes place. Don't forget to RSVP for ACTIVATE to receive a complimentary drink ticket (good for beer, wine or cocktails) when you show up.

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

Chicago Blues Festival

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

Chicago honors its legacy as a city filled with 12-bar melodies by hosting the world's largest blues music festival, bringing living legends and local players to Millennium Park for a three-day celebration. This year's lineup of headlining acts includes “King of the Chitlin' Circuit” Bobby Rush, soul singer-songwriter Bettye LaVette and gospel blues singer Ruthie Foster. Snag a spot on the lawn to secure a great view of the always-packed evening performances at Pritzker Pavilion, or stroll through the park to catch sets from local musicians on the Blue Festival side stages.

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

Spring Awakening Music Festival

icon-location-pin Sears Centre, Suburbs
icon-calendar

Chicago's largest EDM festival returns each June, armed with some of the biggest DJs and electronic acts in the world. This year, Spring Awakening takes over Poplar Creek at 59-90 Entertainment District in Hoffman Estates (just west of the Sears Centre), welcoming a slate of headliners that includes DJ Snake, Zedd, Martin Garrix, Rezz, Griz and DJ Illenium. 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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Things to do, Festivals

Craft Brews at the Zoo

icon-location-pin Lincoln Park Zoo | Chicago, IL, Lincoln Park
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Head to Lincoln Park Zoo for this after-hours tasting event, featuring beers, food pairings, live DJs and prime views of the venue's animal residents. This year, attendees can choose from two evening sessions, each offering more than 120 craft beers to taste. If you've ever wanted to drink a beer within eyeshot of a rhinoceros, this is the place to make your dreams come true.

Taste of Randolph
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Randolph

icon-location-pin 900 W Randolph St, Downtown
icon-calendar

Taking place on the same street occupied by some of Chicago's best-known restaurants, this West Loop fest boasts six blocks of food, drinks and music. You'll find food from more than 16 restaurants (on Randolph Street and beyond) being served as well as two stages packed with performances throughout the day. This year's lineup include indie rockers Real Estate. R&B act Anderson East, synth-pop duo Holy Ghost!, Vulfpeck guitarist Cory Wong and New York rockers Cults. Donations made at the entrance to the festival support the West Loop Community Organization.

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Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Folk, country and blues

Country LakeShake Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
icon-calendar

Country music doesn't get a lot of love on major Chicago summer music festival lineups, but the annual Country LakeShake gives cowboy hat-wearing fans a place to see some of the favorite Nashville stars. Taking place at the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, this year's edition of the county fest features headlining sets from Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. Props to whoever programmed the event's Friday lineup, which is almost exclusively made up of female artists, including Maren Morris (who provided the vocals for Zedd's hit "The Middle") and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina.

Chicago Pride Parade 2018
Photograph: Jordan Avery
LGBT

Pride in the Park: Iggy Azalea + Steve Aoki

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

This year marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in Chicago and the city is observing the occassion with a gigantic one-day festival in Grant Park. On the Saturday before the Chicago Pride Parade on the city's North Side, Pride in the Park will bring revelers to the Loop for an entire afternoon of performances and entertainment. Australian rapper Iggy Azelea and EDM cake-thrower Steve Aoki headline the the festival, joined by R&B singer (and reality TV star) Tamar Braxton and Kathy Sledge of disco group Sister Sledge. Plus, Ru Paul's Drag Race contestants like Shea Coulee, Alexis Michelle and Coco Montrese will also be appearing at the fest, which will take over Bulter Field north of Buckingham Fountain. A portion of proceeds from the event will benefit local organizations like the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Center on Halsted and Stonewall Sports.

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Logan Square Arts Festival
Photograph: Christopher Dilts
Things to do, Festivals

Logan Square Arts Festival

icon-location-pin Illinois Centennial Monument, Logan Square
icon-calendar

Each summer, stages, tents and food trucks spring up around the Illinois Centennial Monument for a weekend that celebrates local art, food, beer and music. The Logan Square Arts Festival is one of the neighborhood's most beloved events and a reminder of the importance of community in an area of the city where demographics are changing as rapidly as new condos and high-rises can be built. In addition to a full slate of local artists, printers and makers, this year's festival will feature sets from Philadelphia rockers Hop Along, New Zealand indie-pop group the Beths, Brooklyn electronic act Future Generations and more.

Free events in June 2019

Music, Classical and opera

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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-location-pin Center on Halsted, Lake View
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

icon-location-pin Various locations throughout Chicago,
icon-calendar

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

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

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.

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

Chicago Blues Festival

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

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

icon-location-pin Printers Row, Downtown
icon-calendar

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-location-pin Various locations throughout Chicago,
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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More to explore

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