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News / City Life

Things to do this week in Chicago: July 9–15

Flaming Lips
Photograph: Andrew Whitton

Plan out your week in Chicago with the city’s best concerts, culture, cuisine and more.


Happy Place at 1004 N Elston Ave
Dive into a ball pit in front of an inflatable double rainbow, enter the world's largest confetti dome and make all of your Instagram followers jealous at this pop-up exhibition of selfie-friendly installations.

“Charles White: A Retrospective” at Art Institute of Chicago
The latest retrospective at the Art Institute looks back on the career of Chicago-born and educated artist Charles White, a painter and muralist who was inspired by the socially-charged work of Diego Rivera.


“A Johnson Publishing Story” at Stony Island Arts Bank
Check out a collection of furniture, art, periodicals and more artifacts that were once housed in the Chicago offices of the publisher of Ebony and Jet magazines.

Navy Pier Water Flicks Summer Film Series at Polk Bros Park
Pitch Perfect, the 2012 film about an a cappella group that turned a song called “Cups” into a chart-topping hit, will be screened this week at Navy Pier's free summer movie series.


Taste of Chicago in Grant Park
The granddaddy of Chicago food festivals kicks off in Grant Park today, where it will remain through Sunday, July 15. You can trade tickets for a taste of Chicago's street fare—from the Billy Goat Tavern's cheezborgers to Eli's Cheesecake—or catch a free concert.

Brandi Carlile at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park
Americana singer-songwriter Brandi Carlile headlines the first free Taste of Chicago concert of the week, belting out impactful anthems about empathy and motherhood.

Victims of Duty at A Red Orchid Theatre
Michael Shannon, Chicago’s favorite tall, frightening son, returns to a role he first played back in 1995 in this absurdist detective story from Eugene Ionesco.


ACTIVATE at Sullivan Center Alley
The theme of this month's outdoor party in the Loop is “TunnelVision,” featuring projection-mapped art, a virtual-reality lounge, light sculptures and music from Bit x Bit and DreamBait. Make sure to RSVP to enjoy a free beverage when you arrive at ACTIVATE.


Jimmy Buffet at Wrigley Field
Parrotheads take over Wrigleyville for a day as Hawaiian shirt-clad “Margaritaville” singer Buffet returns to headline the home of the Cubs.

Black Star at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park
Hip-hop heavyweights Yasiin Bey (formerly Mos Def) and Talib Kweli join forces as Black Star at this free Taste of Chicago concert.

Windy City Smokeout at 560 W Grand St
Country acts Brett Young and Midland headline the opening night of this twangy barbecue festival, which features pitmasters from all across the U.S. music from the likes of Brett Eldredge and Brothers Osborne throughout the weekend. 

Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square
Head to Lincoln Square to see Matthew Sweet perform on the first night of this eclectic three-day street fest, which also features alt-country pioneers the Jayhawks, Americana explorer Pokey LaFarge and Appalachian folk duo the Handsome Family.


The Flaming Lips at Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park
Oklahoma weirdos the Flaming Lips bring psychedelia, streamers and costumed dancers to a free Taste of Chicago show.

Volleywood at North Avenue Beach
Hit the sand, grab a drink and see sets from DJs Matoma and Thomas Jack at this sun-soaked beach party and volleyball tournament.

Southport Art Festival at Southport Ave and Addison St
The Southport Corridor hosts its annual two-day art festival, where attendees can find deals at local businesses and shop for items from a variety of makers and local vendors.

Michael Che at Vic Theatre
The Weekend Update co-host gets out from behind the desk and onto the stage for a pair of stand-up sets featuring a barrage of witty observations.


Roscoe Village Burger Fest at Belmont and Damen Aves
Loosen your belt and prepare to taste grilled creations from local restaurants, such as Kuma's Corner and Bareburger, while enjoying live music and ample libations. 

Chinatown Summer Fair at 2200 S Wentworth Ave
Chinatown celebrates the arrival of summer at this annual event, featuring food, art, music and a traditional Lion Dance Procession.

George Clinton and Parliament Funkadelic; Petrillo Music Shell in Grant Park
Before the Godfather of Funk retires next year, catch his band closing out Taste of Chicago in the grooviest way possible. As usual, lawn seating is free.

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