Looking for free ways to keep occupied this summer? Some additional options are headed to Chicago this week by way of the Chicago Park District, which will launch its annual "Night Out in the Parks" programming beginning Wednesday, June 9.
Launched in 2013, the family-friendly Night Out in the Parks program works with more than 100 local organizations to bring arts, culture and entertainment events to parks throughout the city—everything from science demos to live music and dance performances. The festivities kick off this year at McKinley Park, where the nonprofit See Chicago Dance will host a scavenger hunt featuring dance performances and prize-winning opportunities. Later this week, you can also catch a performance from the Civic Orchestra at West Ridge's Indian Boundary Park (on Friday, June 11) and a live podcast event from the student-led group Blok by Blok at Burnham Skate Park (on Saturday, June 12).
Highlights of the rest of the summer lineup include the two-night Latin Jazz Festival at Humboldt Park on July 23 and 24, where you can hear upbeat performances from Latin jazz ensembles Luiz Ewerling & AMADA and James Sanders' Conjuto, plus the Grant Park Music Festival's month-long string of classical concerts running from July 2 through August 21. In August, the Goodman Theatre will bring Chicago-based folk music group Sones de México Ensemble's Zulema—a musical where a young girl guides listeners from Chiapas to Chicago to the tune of classic Mexican music—on a three-week tour across 21 Chicago parks, similar to last year's live performances of the Goodman's abridged outdoor play Fannie Lou Hamer: Speak On It! As always, Night Out in the Parks also features the summer movie screening series Movies in the Park, which launches next month with a showing of Sonic the Hedgehog at Oakdale Park on July 6.
Ready to get outside? Check out a full lineup of Night Out in the Park's summer events, which run through early fall, here. Don't forget to bring a blanket!