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Southport Art Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events

The best Chicago summer festivals

Start making weekend plans filled with food, music and art with our guide to Chicago summer festivals and street parties

Emma Krupp
Edited by
Emma Krupp
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Do you feel that newfound warmth in the air? It's summer in Chicago—and all of a sudden, the city's streets and parks are full every weekend, thanks to the city's stacked lineup of festivals. After hosting a somewhat abbreviated season in 2021, Chicago's festival season is roaring back to life in full-fledged form this year, with everything from heavy-hitting summer music festivals like Lollapalooza and Pitchfork to beloved neighborhood fests on the calendar from June through September. We'll continue to update this list throughout the season as more fests announce lineups and additional details—in the meantime, take a look through some of the best summer festivals in Chicago this year.

RECOMMENDED: Things to do in the summer in Chicago

2022 Chicago festivals

  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Millennium Park

For classical music lovers who enjoy taking in a show set beneath Chicago's skyline, the annual Grant Park Music Festival is perennial favorite summer event. This year's series of classical concerts runs from June 15–August 20 with performances ranging from world premiere works and performances of symphonies by Mozart, Haydn and Shostakovich to an evening of classic Broadway arrangements and the annual Independence Day salute. Take a look at the complete schedule of events below and find more information on the Grant Park Music Festival website:

June 15: Mozart Symphony No. 35
June 17, 18: Mendelssohn Reformation Symphony
June 22: Schubert Unfinished Symphony
June 24, 25: Shostakovich Symphony No. 11
June 29, July 1: Britten Spring Symphony
July 2: Independence Day Salute
July 6: Cirque Goes to Hollywood
July 8, 9: Lights on Broadway
July 13: Haydn Drum Roll Symphony
July 15, 16: Beethoven Eroica Symphony
July 20: Dvorak Symphony No. 8
July 22, 23: Rachmaniov Piano Concerto No. 2
July 27: A Gospel Jubilee
July 29, 30: Mahler Symphony No. 9 
Aug 3: A Mariachi Fiesta
Aug 4: 60th Anniversary Choral Spectacular 
Aug 5, 6: Berlioz Symphonie Fantastique 
Aug 10: Franck Symphony in D Minor
Aug 12, 13: Tetzlaff Plays Shostakovich
Aug 17: Tchaikovsky Sleeping Beauty 
Aug 19: Haydn Creation

  • Music
  • Millennium Park

Head to Pritzker Pavilion every Monday and Thursday from June 20–August 18 for the 10-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which showcases a wide range of music from both emerging and well-established performers. The series kicks off on June 20 with performances from Afrobeat saxophonist Femi Kuti (son of iconic Nigerian musician Fela Kuti) and Moroccan-born electronic artist HAT; throughout the rest of the summer, catch acts like Ukrainian folk-fusion quartet DakhaBrakha (July 18), Afro-Cuban artist Cimafunk (August 11) and none other than Wilco frontman Jeff Tweedy (July 21), who will perform along with students from The People's Music School as opening act. 

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Washington Park

For nearly three decades, the African Caribbean International Festival of Love has brought reggae and world music performances, Afro-Caribbean food, games, crafts and more to Washington Park. This year, the fest will take place over Independence Day weekend, with a full lineup to be announced shortly—past performers have included acts like Busy Signal, Tink and Anthem Reggae Band. 

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Rogers Park

Formerly known as the Flatts and Sharpe Music Festival, this Rogers Park fest is expanding to a two-day format for its third year with live music, food and art vendors filling up a corner of Sheridan Road and Columbia Avenue. Catch performances from acts like Nashville blues crooner Sarah Potenza, Chicago rockers Satellite Union and Austin honky tonk trio Choctaw Wildfire, as well kid-friendly performers earlier in the day and a host of local art vendors. Hungry? Blow Wow Jamaican and The Oasis Tavern will be on hand with hearty eats. 

 

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Hyde Park

This Hyde Park street festival outside of the Promontory brings together some of the biggest names in Afrobeat music, a genre pioneered by musician Fela Kuti, who fused Nigerian instrumentation and rhythms with contemporary pop, funk and jazz. You'll catch sets from DJs spinning global tunes, plus access to local food, a fashion show, African board games and more fun activities.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lincoln Square

This midsummer block party staple returns to Lincoln Square in full-fledged form for the first time since 2019, bringing alt-country, folk and Americana jams—plus craft brews and snacks from local food vendors—to Lincoln Avenue. Admission is free, but consider tossing in a donation to benefit small business workshops, community efforts and scholarship programs at the Old Town School of Folk Music. 

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • United Center

After hosting an autumn edition of its yearly music fest last October, Spring Awakening Music Festival returns to a summer slot for 2022 (albeit in July instead of June). The 10th anniversary iteration of the electronic fest moves from Addams-Medill Park to the United Center, bringing three days of performances from artists like Zedd, Benny Benassi, Kaskade, Dillon Francis and more. Keep an eye out for afterparties throughout the weekend, too!

  • Things to do
  • Festivals

The Southport Corridor hosts its annual two-day art festival, bringing together a variety of artists and local vendors near neighborhood landmarks like the Music Box Theatre. Guests can peruse pieces, shop at Southport Avenue stores, take kids to an area packed with interactive games or sit down on a patio to enjoy food and drink specials throughout the weekend. All proceeds benefit the Southport Neighbors Association.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Bronzeville/Oakland

The Silver Room's block party bash returns as a ticketed two-day festival at Oakwood Beach, featuring performances from acts like house DJ Ron Trent, hip-hop duo Abstract Mindstate, Eshu Tune (aka comedian Hannibal Buress) and rapper Joey Purp, among many other musicians and genres. Plus, don't miss experiences throughout the weekend, from Afro Karaoke—which invites participants to perform karaoke in a concert setting—to capoeira demonstrations. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lower West Side

This three-day Pilsen food festival takes its inspiration from the Tianguis, a traditional Mexican and Central American bazaar. As its name suggests, guests are invited to sample plenty of tacos and tamales prepared by local restaurants using techniques from across Latin America. Between bites, cruise vendor stalls, tour stunning art installations, sip a cold one inside the Modelo beer garden and dance to live Latin music.

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