When it gets warm enough to spend afternoons and evenings outdoors, Millennium Park instantly becomes one of the city's busiest attractions, hosting a packed lineup of festivals, concerts, workouts and parties throughout the summer months. World-class programming, free admission, a generous BYOB policy and picture-perfect views of the skyline are just a few of the reasons that this section of Chicago's front lawn is regularly swimming with people. This morning, the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events revealed Millennium Park's 2019 calendar of events, which means that it's time to get head start on planning your picnics in the Great Field. Here are all of the free happenings you'll be able to enjoy in Millennium Park this summer.
Millennium Park Summer Music Series
There's no lineup for this popular free concert series yet, but we expect around 10 shows on this year's slate, which should be revealed in April or May.
Most Mondays and Thursdays, June 13–August 15 at 6:30pm, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Chicago House Music Festival and Conference
This year's celebration of house music begins with a conference for DJs, musicians and industry professionals at the Chicago Cultural Center and continues with two days of free performances in Millennium Park, including a set from London R&B collective Reel People and DJ/producer Tony Humphries.
May 23 at Chicago Cultural Center; May 24, 25 at Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Chicago Gospel Music Festival
Choirs and singers take the stage in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center during this two-day festival devoted to contemporary gospel music—expect a full lineup to be announced in April or May.
May 31–June 1, Millennium Park and Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Blues Festival
Bobby Rush, The Jimmy Johnson Band and Charlie Musselwhite headline the largest free blues festival in the world, where you'll find R&B, soul, rock and hip-hop performers as well as plenty of local 12-bar legends.
June 7–9, Pritzker Pavilion and Chicago Cultural Center
Chicago Jazz Festival
Just like the Blues Festival, this festival routinely features some of the biggest local (and international) names in jazz. Before the main event in Millennium Park, you'll be able to see smaller acts perform at neighborhood clubs and bars during the week leading up to the fest.
August 29–September 1, various locations including Millennium Park
Grant Park Music Festival
Classical music fans will flip for the extensive slate of performances planned for this annual fest, which features the award-winning Grant Park Orchestra and Chorus.
Most Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, June 12–August 17, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Chicago Mariachi Festival
In 2017, this event attracted more than 22,000 attendees, making it the largest mariachi festival in the United States. This year, the Mariachi Heritage Foundation is co-producing the event, which typically books from Mexico and the U.S.
June 30, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Millennium Park Summer Film Series
No lineup has been announced for the park's free screening series (expect that in April or May), but we do know that each film will be co-presented by a different Chicago theatre company, so you can likely look forward to plenty of musicals and Broadway adaptations.
Tuesdays, June 4–August 20 at 6:30pm, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Millennium Park Theatre Residencies
2019 is the Year of Chicago Theatre, so you'll find local theater companies taking over the stage at Pritzker Pavilion throughout the summer with performances of dramas, comedies and more.
July though October, Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Marking the conclusion of the SummerDance that brings dance instructors and live music to communities throughout the city, this end-of-the-summer event throws a giant party in Millennium Park where you can move your body to a variety of different music.
August 24, Millennium Park
World Music Festival Chicago
This annual celebration of music from around the globe closes out the festival season and takes place at venues throughout the city, but some of the biggest shows happen downtown at the Pritzker Pavilion stage.
September 13–29, various locations including Jay Pritzker Pavilion
Get fit beneath the Chicago skyline with guided pilates, yoga and tai chi workouts on the Great Lawn in Millennium Park.
Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, May 25–August 31, Millennium Park
Family Fun Festival
This family-friendly fest fills a tent in Millennium Park with music, arts and crafts and games for kids of all ages. A schedule hasn't been released for this year yet, but the 2018 lineup included painting, story time and weekly activities sponsored by various museums.
Monday through Friday, June 24–August 9, 10am–2pm, Chase Promenade North
YAS! Fest Youth Arts Showcase
Last year's inaugural event served as a showcase of the city's talented youth performers, artists and creators, capped off by headlining sets from Ravyn Lenae and Desiigner.
September 21, Millennium Park