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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

Wicker Park Fest 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
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Warm weather aside, one of the best things about May through September in Chicago is the sheer variety of summer festivals that take over the city's streets, parks and public spaces. You can catch your favorite bands headlining summer music festivals, sample the latest creations from Chicago breweries at beer festivals or explore a different neighborhood at a street festival. There are even entire events devoted to some of the best burgers in Chicago and Chicago-style hot dogs. Feeling a little overwhelmed? We've assembled a month-by-month breakdown of our favorite summer festivals in Chicago—all you have to worry about is finding the time to visit as many of them as possible.

RECOMMENDED: Things to do in the summer in Chicago

Chicago summer festivals in June 2019

Chi-Soul Fest
Photograph: Vocalo
Music, Funk, soul and disco

Chi-Soul Fest

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
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In celebration of Black Music Appreciation Month, Navy Pier hosts that annual Chi-Soul Fest, welcoming local soul music artists for two days of free concerts throughout the waterfront venue. On Friday, Marqueal Jordan hosts the Chi-Soul Sisters Concert on the Lake Stage, with performances from Terisa Griffin, Carol Riddick, Joyce Hurley, Mys Michelle and Simone Green. Saturday afternoon's slate of shows kicks off at 2pm and features a preview of the Silver Room Block Party in Polk Bros Park, local funk group Bumpus and a late-afternoon showcase curated by Chicago trumpeter Sam Trump.

Juls
Photograph: Courtesy the artist
Things to do, Festivals

Passport Vibes: Afrobeat Street Festival

icon-location-pin The Promontory, Hyde Park
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This Hyde Park street festival 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. Passport Vibes will feature sets from British-Ghanaian DJ Juls as well as local Afrobeat selectors like Bonsu, Dee Money and Top Donn. In addition to plenty of tunes, the fest will also feature local food, a fashion show, African board games, an Afrobeat yoga class and an opportunity to show off your pipes at AfroKaraoke.

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Cobra Starship at Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

World's Largest Block Party

icon-location-pin Old Saint Patrick's Church, West Loop
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While it may not set any world records with its attendance, this annual bash at Old St. Patrick's Church is a beast of a block party, benefiting the institution's social justice and outreach programs. World's Largest Block Party fills a parking lot near the church with food, beer, a bags tournament and music from local cover bands 16 Candles and 7th Heaven. Lock down your ticket before June 10 to score a free drink upon arrival or show up between 5 to 6pm on June 21 for free entry to the event.

Chicago celebrates a month of gay pride with all its colors, June 21, 2015.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Pride Fest

icon-location-pin Halsted St, Boystown
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Prep for Chicago's annual Pride Parade with this massive block party, now a highly anticipated, two-day tradition of its own. Situated in the heart of Boystown, the event offers food and drinks from local vendors as well as musical entertainment with strong queer followings.

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Photograph: Greater Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce
Things to do, Festivals

Ravenswood on Tap

icon-location-pin Ravenswood and Berteau Aves, Lake View
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The stretch of Ravenswood Avenue that calls itself "Malt Row" hosts this annual festival, which features drinks provided by the neighborhood's diverse craft brewing scene. You'll find beer from Band of Bohemia, Begyle Brewing, Dovetail, Empirical, Half Acre and more, in addition to food from local restaurants and live music.

Ruido Fest
Photograph: Maria Madrigal
Music, Latin and world

Ruido Fest

icon-location-pin Union Park, West Loop
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Moving to Union Park for the first time this summer, Rudio Fest fills a notable void in Chicago summer festival calendar by championing the diverse sounds of Latin American pop, electro and rock en español. Headlining acts on the 2019 lineup include Californian norteño (Mexican polka music) band Los Tigres del Norte and a collaboration between Argentinian pop-rock group Enanitos Verdes and Spanish boy band Hombres G. Other notable performers include Mexican psych-rockers El Tri and experimental pop artist Helado Negro.

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Windy City LakeShake Country Music Festival, June 20, 2015 at Northerly Island, Chicago.
Photographer: cousindaniel.com
Music, Folk, country and blues

Country LakeShake Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
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Country music doesn't get a lot of love on major Chicago summer music festival lineups, but the annual Country LakeShake gives cowboy hat-wearing fans a place to see some of the favorite Nashville stars. Taking place at the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, this year's edition of the country fest features headlining sets from Miranda Lambert, Keith Urban and Luke Bryan. Props to whoever programmed the event's Friday lineup, which is almost exclusively made up of female artists, including Maren Morris (who provided the vocals for Zedd's hit "The Middle") and American Idol runner-up Lauren Alaina.

Lucy Stoole photographed at Double Door
Photograph: Andrew Nawrocki
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago is a Drag Festival

icon-location-pin Cheetah Gym Andersonville, Andersonville
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A city filled with fierce drag queens deserves a festival devoted to the diverse performers—from Chicago and beyond! The inagural Chicago is a Drag Festival comes just in time for the 50th Chicago Pride celebration, gathering local stars and national headliners for an afternoon or fun, posing and dancing in Andersonville's Cheetah Gym parking lot. RuPaul’s Drag Race winner Raja, Miss Continental winner Candis Cayne and Spikey Van Dykey headline the fest, joined by local talent like T Res, Lucy Stoole, Kat Sass, Imp Queen and Aunty Chan. If you're looking for a Pride party with a killer soundtrack and some serious style, this is the place to be.

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Chicago Pride Parade 2018
Photograph: Jordan Avery
LGBT

Pride in the Park: Iggy Azalea + Steve Aoki

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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This year marks the 50th anniversary of LGBTQ Pride celebrations in Chicago and the city is observing the occasion with a gigantic one-day festival in Grant Park. On the Saturday before the Chicago Pride Parade on the city's North Side, Pride in the Park will bring revelers to the Loop for an entire afternoon of performances and entertainment. Australian rapper Iggy Azalea and EDM cake-thrower Steve Aoki headline the festival, joined by R&B singer (and reality TV star) Tamar Braxton and Kathy Sledge of disco group Sister Sledge. Plus, Ru Paul's Drag Race contestants like Shea Coulee, Alexis Michelle and Coco Montrese will also be appearing at the fest, which will take over Butler Field north of Buckingham Fountain. A portion of the proceeds from the event will benefit local organizations like the Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago, Center on Halsted and Stonewall Sports.

Photograph: Heidi Zeiger Photography
LGBT

Pier Pride

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
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Navy Pier’s annual LGBTQ Pride celebration is billed as a family-friendly day of performances and partying downtown. The lakefront event has quickly established itself as a Pride-weekend alternative, with organizers claiming it’s the largest such event outside of Boystown. Take a spin on the Ferris wheel or splurge on Rainbow Cones for the whole family—an ideal way to celebrate Chicago Pride.

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Logan Square Arts Festival
Photograph: Christopher Dilts
Things to do, Festivals

Logan Square Arts Festival

icon-location-pin Illinois Centennial Monument, Logan Square
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Each summer, stages, tents and food trucks spring up around the Illinois Centennial Monument for a weekend that celebrates local art, food, beer and music. The Logan Square Arts Festival is one of the neighborhood's most beloved events and a reminder of the importance of community in an area of the city where demographics are changing as rapidly as new condos and high-rises can be built. In addition to a full slate of local artists, printers and makers, this year's festival will feature sets from Philadelphia rockers Hop Along, New Zealand indie-pop group the Beths, Brooklyn electronic act Future Generations and more.

Playboi Carti
Photograph: Gunnar Stahl
Music, Music festivals

The Lyrical Lemonade Summer Smash

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
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Chicago hip-hop blog Lyrical Lemonade expands its annual summer concert to a two-day festival in Douglas Park this year, bringing along a lineup featuring some of the hottest rappers in the world as well as plenty of rising acts. Atlanta emcees Playboi Carti and Lil Yachty headline the Summer Smash on Saturday, while "Lucid Dreams" rapper Juice WRLD and controversy-courting artist Kodak Black close out the fest on Sunday. You'll also find an impressive array of notable SoundCloud rappers on the bill, including breakthrough acts like Blueface and Trippie Redd as well as performances from soon-to-be-famous names like DaBaby and Yung Bans. If you want to witness the future of hip-hop, this is the place to be.

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Back Lot Bash
Photograph: courtesy ILDK Media
LGBT

Back Lot Bash

icon-location-pin Cheetah Gym Andersonville, Andersonville
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Celebrating 15 years in 2019, Back Lot Bash boasts music and entertainment with serious sapphic appeal. The three-day festival is hosted in Andersonville and celebrates LGBTQ women with programming from local musicians. Hoping to get the kids in on the Pride festivities? Back Lot Bash hosts a family-friendly day for everyone to enjoy.

Mariachi Herencia de Mexico
Photograph: Courtesy Mariachi Herencia de Mexico
Music, Music festivals

Chicago Mariachi Festival

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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The Mariachi Heritage Foundation and the National Museum of Mexican Art welcome world-class mariachi ensembles to Pritzker Pavilion for a day of free performances (and dancing)—it's the largest event of its kind in the United States. This year's lineup includes Mexican singer Aida Cuevas, Chicago-based student ensemble Mariachi Herencia de México, Mexico City band Mariachi Juvenil Tecalitlan and the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley outfit Mariachi Aztlán. Leave the booze at home for this one—there is no outside alcohol permitted at the Chicago Mariachi Festival.

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pride parade 2017, jordan avery
Photograph: Jordan Avery
Things to do

Chicago Pride Parade

icon-location-pin Pride Parade Route, Uptown
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Chicago's LGBTQ community and its allies gather in Boystown to celebrate with a rainbow-colored parade that attracts over one million attendees. This year, the annual extravaganza celebrates 50 years with a commemorative theme, Stonewall 50: Millions of Moments of Pride. Head to the parade route early to grab a prime spot before the procession starts rolling down Halsted and Broadway between Montrose and Diversey.

LGBT

Pride North

icon-location-pin Glenwood Ave,
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Those who like their Pride a little more chill can head north to Rogers Park, where this street festival just off the Morse Red Line stop offers lower-key entertainment across two stages and three dance floors.

Chicago summer festivals in July 2019

331.wk.EyesToTheSkiesFestival43.jpg
Photograph: Sara Mays
Things to do, Festivals

Eyes to the Skies Festival

icon-location-pin Lisle Community Park, Suburbs
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In Lisle, the Fourth of July features plenty of airborne eye candy, including fireworks and hot air balloons. Balloons launch every morning and evening, filling the sky with colorful inflatables of all shapes and sizes (for an additional fee, you can even go for a ride on one of them). When the sun sets, the balloons come down and the fireworks begin. Attendees can also check out the festival's carnival, kids area, live music and craft fair. As always, admission to the morning balloon launches (which typically begin at 5:30am) is free.

Chosen Few DJs Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Chosen Few DJs
Music, Music festivals

Chosen Few DJs Picnic and Festival

icon-location-pin 63rd St and Hayes, Woodlawn
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In 1990, a group of Chicago house DJs and a small group of friends gathered in Jackson Park for an impromptu concert. Today, the Chosen Few DJs (Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hachett, Alan King, Andre Hatchett, Terry Hunter and Mike Dunn) spin tracks for thousands of fans each summer, joined by special guest performers like producer David Morales, Motown star Thelma Houston, disco singer Taana Gardner and house music vocalist Lady Alma. Attendees can rent a spot for a tent on the lawn or grab general admission tickets and spend the entire day grooving on the dance floor.

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383.384.wk.FestivalofLife20.jpg
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

African Caribbean International Festival of Life

icon-location-pin Washington Park, Washington Park
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Fourth of July weekend in Washington Park means reggae, soccer, dancing and delicious Afro-Caribbean food. The African Caribbean International Festival of Life promotes cultural awareness by bringing together more than 200 vendors selling handmade goods and traditional dishes.

West Fest
Photograph: Courtesy West Fest
Things to do, Festivals

West Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Ave between Damen Ave and Wood St,
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Taking place on the weekend after the Fourth of July, you can count on West Fest to continue the celebration with delicious food, cold beverages and a music lineup stacked with exciting local bands and intriguing touring acts. This year, the street fest boasts sets from Welsh indie-rockers Los Campesinos!, experimental pop artist John Maus, dark electronic duo Boy Harsher and psychedelic Columbian outfit Combo Chimbita. The event also features a Pet Fest and a Kids Fest, stocked with activities for your little ones and four-legged friends.

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Photograph: Ben Macri
Things to do, Festivals

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

icon-location-pin Belmont and Damen Aves, North Center
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It's no secret that we unabashedly love burgers, so you can imagine how much we're anticipating Roscoe Village's annual celebration of succulent, beef patty cuisine. Loosen your belt and prepare to taste grilled creations from more than 12 local restaurants while enjoying live music and ample libations. Don't forget to vote for your favorite—the most popular burger of the weekend earns the visitors' choice award.

Southport Art Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events
Things to do, Festivals

Southport Art Festival

icon-location-pin Southport and Waveland Avenues,
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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 or sit down on a patio to enjoy food and drink specials throughout the weekend.

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Attendees sip craft beers and enjoy an eclectic music lineup at Square Roots Festival in Lincoln Square, July 13, 2014.
Photograph: Kristine Kuczora
Things to do, Festivals

Square Roots Festival

icon-location-pin Lincoln Square, Lincoln Square
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Alt-country, folk and Americana music take the spotlight at Square Roots, a street festival that takes over the main drag of Lincoln Square. When you're not parked in front of a stage, you'll find open jam sessions, dance parties and family-friendly activities that make this fest feel like a gigantic neighborhood block party. The event also features multiple craft beer gardens, food from local restaurants and a market stocked with goods from area businesses.

Taste of Chicago
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Chicago

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Since 1980, Grant Park has been hosting what has become the granddaddy of food festivals. You know the drill: Trade tickets for a taste of Chicago's street fare from some of the city's most beloved eateries. As always, there will be music at Petrillo for you to listen to while you devour your turkey leg, Eli's Cheesecake or deep dish pizza.

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Old Dominion
Photograph: Courtesy RCA Nashville
Music, Folk, country and blues

Windy City Smokeout

icon-location-pin United Center | Chicago, IL, United Center
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Spend a weekend eating barbecue and listening to country music at the Windy City Smokeout, which fills a parking lot with some of the country's best pitmasters and a stacked lineup of twangy musicians. Sample smoked meats cooked by barbecue masters from Texas, Georgia, North Carolina and Tennessee (as well as local favorites like Smoque and Bub City) while you listen to tunes from the likes of Chris Young, Old Dominion, Cole Swindell and Ashley McBryde. Dust off your cowboy hat, fill your pocket with moist towelettes and dig into a weekend of delicious meat and music.

Los Comales
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Tacos y Tamales Festival

icon-location-pin 16th St and Peoria St, Lower West Side
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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 authentic local restaurants. Between bites, cruise vendor stalls, sip a cold one inside the Modelo beer garden and dance to live Latin music.

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Things to do, Festivals

BenFest

icon-location-pin St. Benedict's Parish, North Center
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If you're really lucky, you'll walk away from BenFest with $10,000 in your pocket. Even if you don't win the cash raffle, there's still plenty to see and do at this annual benefit for the St. Benedict Parish in North Center, including live music and a 3-on-3 basketball tournament for the kids.

Photograph: Shutterstock
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Craft Beer Festival

icon-location-pin Lincoln Ave at Addison St., North Center
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If the foamy, flat macrobrewed suds served in a plastic cup that most street festivals serve aren't your idea of a good time, head to Lakeview's celebration of craft beer. You'll find more than 70 local, regional and national craft beers from 35 brewers on offer at this event. Purchase tickets before making your way to the tasting area each day from 1–8pm—each ticket is good for one 3 ounce sample of beer.

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pitchfork 2018
Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Music, Music festivals

Pitchfork Music Festival

icon-location-pin Union Park, West Loop
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Curated by tastemaking music publication Pitchfork, this summer music festival typically boasts performances from the most of-the-moment acts. Taking place in Union Park, this year's lineup features headlining sets from pop-rock trio HAIM, Swedish electro-pop star Robyn and Motown R&B legends the Isley Brothers. The rest of the bill is equally exciting, featuring acts like Stereolab, Charli XCX, Pusha-T, Mavis Staples and Kurt Vile. With only three stages set amid a small park, it's easy to move around the fest and see all of your favorites while discovering some new music along the way. While you're there, don't forget to snag a souvenir from the record fair and sample some of the Chicago cuisine being cooked by local restaurants.

Silver Room Block Party
Photograph: Christopher Dylan Andrew
Things to do, Festivals

Silver Room Block Party

icon-location-pin Silver Room, Hyde Park
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Don't want to deal with the crowds in Union Park? Head to Hyde Park where cultural storefront the Silver Room is organizes an expansive block party, complete with three outdoor stages in addition to performances at businesses and venues throughout the neighborhood. In addition to live music, local food and plenty of libations, this year's block party also features a roller skating rink (soundtracked by a lineup of DJs) and basketball tournaments.

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Photograph: Kaitlin Hetterscheidt
Things to do, Festivals

Chinatown Summer Fair

icon-location-pin Wentworth Ave and Cermak Rd, Armour Square
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Chinatown celebrates the arrival of summer at this annual event, featuring food, art and music. The festival opens with a traditional lion dance procession and continues with performances, kung fu demonstrations and cuisine from Chinatown restaurants.

Things to do, Festivals

Taste of River North

icon-location-pin Ward Park at N. Kingsbury and W. Erie,
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River North may not have as many culinary institutions as neighborhoods like the West Loop, but there are some good eats to be found in the area—and you'll be able to try a lot of it at this tasty gathering of local eateries. While you're digesting, you'll enjoy tunes from local cover bands and plenty of beverages.

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Photograph: Courtesy South Loop Beer & Cider Fest
Things to do, Festivals

South Loop Beer & Cider Fest

icon-location-pin Chicago Women's Park and Gardens, Near South Side
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Head to the South Loop for an afternoon of beer and cider samples served in Chicago Women's Park. featuring more than 100 beverages provided by some of the region's most popular breweries and cideries. The outdoor festival also welcomes a lineup of Chicago food trucks and live performances from local musicians. All proceeds from the festival will benefit Chicago Women's Park and Gardens.

Fiesta del Sol
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Fiesta del Sol

icon-location-pin Cermak Rd and Loomis St, Lower West Side
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One of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest returns to the heart of Pilsen, brings a carnival, delicious food from local vendors and a lineup of traditional music to the neighborhood's streets. Unlike many other summer festivals, Fiesta del Sol is a proudly booze and tobacco-free event, making it ideal for families.

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Wicker Park Fest 2017
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Things to do, Festivals

Wicker Park Fest

icon-location-pin Milwaukee Ave between North Ave and Paulina St, Suburbs
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Wicker Park may be overrun with big-time restaurants, boutiques and shoe stores, but the neighborhood still clears out Milwaukee Avenue for a street celebration each summer. The main attraction of the annual fest is the music lineup, which typically features some notable touring acts and a long list of local performers. You'll also find plenty of delicious food, sales at local shops, daily fashion shows and twentysomethings watching the festivities from rooftops and balconies.

Chicago summer festivals in August 2019

lollapalooza 2018
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan
Music, Music festivals

Lollapalooza

icon-location-pin Grant Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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Taking over the fields of Grant Park for four days each summer, Lollapalooza is a behemoth of a music festival, welcoming an estimated 100,000 attendees to a sea of stages, brand activations and concession stands set beneath the beating sun. This year, pop princess Ariana Grande, rapper Childish Gambino, alt-rock duo Twenty One Pilots, rockers the Strokes, psych act Tame Impala and EDM hit-makers the Chainsmokers headline the main stages. Some people come for the music, some come for the people-watching and others come to get drunk on a blanket in the middle of a field—there's no wrong way to Lolla.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

icon-location-pin Stockton Dr and LaSalle Dr, Loop
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The Chicago History Museum organizes this celebration of one of the city's most famous dishes, serving creative franks from some of our favorite hot dog stands. While you're chowing down on neon green relish and sport peppers, you can listen to live music or attend a lecture that will teach you about the history of the Chicago-style hot dog.

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Festival Cubano
Photograph: Courtesy Festival Cubano
Things to do, Festivals

Festival Cubano

icon-location-pin Riis Park, Belmont Cragin
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Back in Riis Park, the three-day Festival Cubano brings together musicians, dancers and food for a weekend of cultural celebration. Begin by checking out the festival's more than 30 Cuban vendors, who will be serving dishes such as jibarito sandwiches, ropa vieja, lechón and tostones. Once you're full, play a game of dominos, shop for hand-rolled cigars, watch boxing matches or catch a performance from Cuban musicians.

Photograph: G Nagata
Things to do, Festivals

Ginza Holiday Festival

icon-location-pin Midwest Buddhist Temple, Lincoln Park
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Celebrate Japanese culture, food and entertainment at the annual Ginza Holiday Festival. Meet and buy crafts from master craftsmen (called Waza), who will be flown in from Tokyo to share their skills. Live martial arts, Taiko drumming, ukulele performances, classical dances and Japanese food (teriyaki, sushi, Spam musubi, Hawaiian shave ice and more) give Chicagoans a taste of Japan.

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Northalsted Market Days
Photograph: Kaitlin Hetterscheidt
Things to do, Festivals

Northalsted Market Days

icon-location-pin Halsted and Roscoe Sts, Boystown
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Northalsted Market Days is the largest two-day street festival in the Midwest, welcoming 100,000 to the streets of Boystown for an LGBTQ-friendly summer celebration. Headlining acts at this year's fest include former Prince collaborator Sheila E., "Don't Let Me Down" singer Daya and Swedish pop duo Icona Pop. When you're not dancing in the streets, you can chow down on fried foods, shop for colorful local goods or head to an afterparty at a nearby club.

Retro on Roscoe
Photograph: Courtesy Retro on Roscoe
Things to do, Festivals

Retro on Roscoe

icon-location-pin Damen Ave and Roscoe St, North Center
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Antique vendors and classic cars fill six blocks of Roscoe Village at this throwback street market, where everything old is new again. The music lineup is usually equally nostalgic, featuring tribute acts that perform hits from the ‘80s and ‘90s.

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The Big North
Photograph: Courtesy Half Acre
Things to do, Festivals

The Big North

icon-location-pin Half Acre Brewery Balmoral, Lincoln Square
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Half Acre Beer Company throws its annual bash at its expansive Balmoral Brewery, welcoming guests into its taproom, production space and patio to enjoy drinks, music and more. This year's event will feature more than 60 beers, including wyld varieties, barrel-aged brews and some never-before-seen creations. Los Angeles psych-rock outfit the Allah-Las, garage rockers the Cowboys and local quartet Skip Church provide the live soundtrack for the evening, accompanied by some interactive experiences and surprises. Tickets include a tasting glass, koozie and one food token that can be redeemed at the festival.

North Avenue Beach was the perfect place to watch aerial acrobatics at the Chicago Air and Water Show on August 15, 2015.
Photograph: Anthony Soave
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Air and Water Show

icon-location-pin North Avenue Beach, Lincoln Park
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Don't be surprised if you get a neck ache from looking up during this two-day event. Join throngs of people at North Beach and surrounding areas to catch air and watercraft demonstrations, including the U.S. Navy Blue Angels, the Royal Air Force Red Arrows and the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights.

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Sangria Festival Chicago
Photograph: Courtesy Sangria Festival Chicago
Things to do, Festivals

Sangria Festival Chicago

icon-location-pin Humboldt Park, Humboldt Park
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Humboldt Park transforms into an outdoor tapas bar during this boozy bash, which pairs bites from local restaurants with pitchers of red wine and chopped fruit. Lay our a blanket to sip sangria on the lawn, put color on a canvas at the festival's painting station or watch flamenco dancers sway to Spanish music.

Mamby on the Beach
Photograph: Courtesy React Presents
Music, Music festivals

Mamby on the Beach

icon-location-pin Montrose Beach, Uptown
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One of Chicago's only remaining lakefront music festival moves to a new stretch of sand this summer, relocating to Montrose Beach from its former home at Oakwood Beach. Boasting three stages, beach games and plenty of picturesque spots for a selfie, the expanded event will feature headlining sets from rap collective Brockhampton, deep house producer Zhu, synth-pop singer Troye Sivan, Porter Robinson's retro techno project Virtual Self, electro-pop duo Sylvan Esso and electronic musician Flying Lotus.

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Lagunitas Beer Circus
Photograph: Lagunitas Brewing Company
Things to do, Festivals

Lagunitas Beer Circus

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
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The Chicago outpost of Lagunitas Brewing Company throws a Beer Circus in Douglas Park (the same place where Riot Fest is held), with more than 100 performers, two stages of live music, food trucks, games and more diversions. In addition to a menu that includes one-of-a-kind Lagunitas brews, you'll be able to take in burlesque, sideshow acts and aerialists.

Eddie Palmieri
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Jazz

Chicago Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Some of the biggest names in jazz come to Chicago for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park during this annual festival. This year's lineup features the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, legendary pianist Eddie Palmieri and a tribute to Nat King Cole (led by his brother, Freddy Cole). In the week leading up to the festival, you'll be able to catch free shows at venues like Constellation, Hungry Brain and PianoForte Chicago.

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North Coast Music Festival
Photograph: Keith Griner
Music, Music festivals

North Coast Music Festival

icon-location-pin Huntington Bank Pavilion, Downtown
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Entering its 10th summer in Chicago, change is in the air for the North Coast Music Festival in 2019. The Labor Day weekend music festival is vacating its former home in Union Park and moving to the Huntington Bank Pavilion on Northerly Island, where it will host a two-day event (down from its usual three days of music). And while past North Coast lineups have included jam bands, indie rockers and hip-hop acts, its 2019 slate of performers is squarely focused on electronic artists, including headlining sets from EDM titan Bassnectar and Diplo's dancehall project Major Lazer. Spread across two stages, the rest of the lineup features Jai Wolf, Flux Pavilion, Tchami, Juaz, Gorgon City and more than 20 other acts.

Photograph: Courtesy of Smack Shack
Things to do, Festivals

The Great American Lobster Fest

icon-location-pin Navy Pier | Chicago, IL, Streeterville
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Navy Pier hosts a Labor Day weekend feast featuring mountains of fresh seafood flown in from the East Coast. Each attendee recieves a 1.25-pound steamed red lobster or a lobster roll, served with corn-on-the-cob, potatoes, a dinner roll, lemon wedges and melted butter. Once you're full, head to the stage, where you can catch live music all weekend.

Chicago summer festivals in September 2019

Eddie Palmieri
Photograph: Courtesy DCASE
Music, Jazz

Chicago Jazz Festival

icon-location-pin Multiple venues
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Some of the biggest names in jazz come to Chicago for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park during this annual festival. This year's lineup features the Art Ensemble of Chicago, jazz vocalist Cécile McLorin Salvant, legendary pianist Eddie Palmieri and a tribute to Nat King Cole (led by his brother, Freddy Cole). In the week leading up to the festival, you'll be able to catch free shows at venues like Constellation, Hungry Brain and PianoForte Chicago.

Photograph: Jaclyn Rivas
Shopping, Markets and fairs

Renegade Craft Fair

icon-location-pin Division St between Damen Ave and Ashland Ave, Wicker Park
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Renegade Craft Fair's fall festival takes over Division Street in Wicker Park, where makers from across the nation will be selling their handmade art and wares, including jewelry, pottery, prints, T-shirts and more. When you're not browsing the offerings of more than 400 vendors, you'll enjoy food from local restaurants, cool drinks and hot tunes being spun by Chicago DJs.

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riot fest 2018
Photograph: Kate Scott
Music, Music festivals

Riot Fest

icon-location-pin Douglas Park, North Lawndale
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It's the social event of the season for anyone with a denim jacket covered in patches hanging in their closet. Riot Fest brings a lineup of rock, hip-hop and punk acts to Douglas Park for a three-day carnival of music (there's even a Ferris wheel), where attendees can eat corn dogs and enjoy some of the final gasps of warm summer weather. We don't know when the festival's lineup will be released—and you probably shouldn't ask the fest via Twitter, unless you're willing to be the subject of a biting retort.

The annual Chicago Gourmet festival features tastings, cookoffs, book signings and more.
Photograph: Max Herman
Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Gourmet

icon-location-pin Millennium Park | Chicago, IL, Millennium Park
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The annual three-day festival kicks off Friday with its Hamburger Hop throwdown, where you can taste creative patties cooked by a stacked lineup of chefs. On Saturday and Sunday, Millennium Park hosts the Grand Tasting event, filling the Great Lawn with cooking demos, tasting pavilions and a wine sampling. This year's event features local celebs such as Diana Dávila, Joe Flamm, Rick Bayless and more.

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