Ever since the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus went out of business, one of the only remaining annual displays of acrobatics, dancing and other eye-popping feats is the Midnight Circus in the Parks series. Beginning in August, the touring circus sets up in a different Chicago park each weekend, welcoming guests into the Little Big Top tent for an evening of intimate performances, including trapeze artists, jugglers, tightrope walkers and more.
This year's tour takes place over nine consecutive weekends, bringing the Midnight Circus to nine Chicago parks throughout the city. It's the event's longest tour to-date and, in response to popular demand, organizers have added more Friday night shows. Each two-hour circus features a lineup of local acts, as well as performers from France, Canada and Australia. Attendees can bring a blanket and sit directly along the ring or snag a seat on the bleachers—either way, you'll likely find yourself closer to the action than at a conventional circus.
Tickets to each performance are $5–$22 and can be purchased in advance via the Midnight Circus in the Parks website, while kids 2 or younger can attend the show for free. As always, proceeds from the events are donated to the Chicago Parks District to fund improvements throughout the city's park system. Take a look at Midnight Circus in the Parks' complete 2018 schedule below.