Southport Art Festival
Photograph: Courtesy Star Events

The best festivals in Chicago for 2024, from street to summer fests

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

Jeffy Mai
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Do you feel that newfound warmth in the air? It can only mean one thingfestival season is here. The city's streets and parks will be full every coming weekend thanks to a stacked lineup of fests, fairs and more. You'll find everything from heavy-hitting summer music festivals like Lollapalooza and Pitchfork to beloved neighborhood block parties on the calendar from May 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 festivals in Chicago this year.

RECOMMENDED: The best things to do this summer in Chicago

Top Chicago festivals 2024

  • Things to do
  • Suburbs

The oldest music festival in North America plays host to more than 100 shows throughout summer, featuring big-name headliners like James Taylor, Violent Femmes, Ben Platt and Samara Joy. Check out the full schedule of artists coming to Highland Park this year and don't forget to pack a picnic.

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  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Greater Grand Crossing

The South Side Jazz Coalition hosts a series of free monthly jazz performances every summer on the steps of St. Moses the Black Parish in Greater Grand Crossing. Bring a lawn chair, some snacks and prepare to hear some top-notch music from the Chicago jazz community—plus, every performance ends with a jam session. 

  • Music
  • Hyde Park

Catch live outdoor jazz performances on the first Friday of every month this summer as part of Jazz in the Court, a free concert series hosted at Harper Court in Hyde Park. Performers this year include Hurricane Reggae Band (June 7), Tony Carpenter (July 5), Thaddeus Tukes (August 2) and Corey Wilkes (September 6).

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  • Things to do
  • Morgan Park

The songs and stories behind the Chicago Blues will be showcased this summer with a concert series in public parks. Enjoy free performances that celebrate the lives and artistry of legends Muddy Waters, Memphis Minnie, Willie Dixon, Otis Rush, Koko Taylor, Lillian Green and more. Check the website for the full schedule.

  • 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 12–August 17 with performances ranging from world premiere works and performances of symphonies by Mozart, Mendelssohn 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.

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  • Music
  • Millennium Park

Head to Pritzker Pavilion on select Mondays and Thursdays from July 1–August 8 for the seven-part Millennium Park Summer Music Series, which showcases a wide range of music from both emerging and well-established performers. Check the official website for the full list of artists and schedule.

  • Movies
  • Millennium Park

Pack your own popcorn, bring a blanket and enjoy another season of free outdoor movie screenings during the Millennium Park Summer Film Series. You can grab a seat in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion or spread out on the Great Lawn as you watch flicks on a 40-foot LED screen. This year's lineup includes E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Jurassic Park, Coco, Barbie, American Fiction, Wonka and Ferris Bueller's Day OffFor the full schedule, check the official site.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • West Loop

Pitchfork returns to Union Park during its usual weekend in July—and as ever, the lineups are packed with some of the most of-the-moment indie, hip-hop and electronic acts. Catch headlining sets from psychedelic sold band Black Pumas, English DJ Jamie xx and '90s icon Alanis Morissette.. Plan on arriving early, discovering some new music and weaving your way through the crowds to find a spot in the shade.

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  • 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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  • Things to do
  • Millennium Park

Millennium Park celebrates its 20th anniversary with a special four-day event, featuring free performances by Fruko y Sus Tesos, the Grant Park Orchestra, Common and The S&S Chicago Experience. Family-friendly programming, new public art and on-site activations will also take place throughout the weekend.

  • Music
  • Music festivals

Dance on the sand at Chicago Sport and Social Club's annual Volleywood festival, which boasts a day of live music, food and interactive experiences on the sands of North Avenue Beach (it's the city's last remaining beachfront music fest). British DJ TroyBoi and electronic duo The Knocks headline the EDM-centric event—snag general admission tickets or spring for a cabana for you and 11 of your friends, stocked with beer, refreshments and private restrooms.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • River North
Taste of River North
Taste of River North

River North is home to a diverse collection of restaurants—and you'll be able to try a lot of it at this tasty neighborhood gathering. While you're digesting, enjoy tunes from local cover bands and plenty of beverages. This year's event will also feature a wine tasting on Friday, and a dog parade on Saturday.

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  • Festivals
  • North Park

Celebrate the anniversary of Colombian independence at this festival taking place at Northeastern Illinois University, where you'll find live music, food vendors, a circus, a kids' area, games and more. Headlining acts on the music stage include Grupo Niche, Jorge Celedon, Hernan Gomez, Henry Fiol and more.

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  • Festivals
  • North Center

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 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.

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  • Festivals
  • Lake View

The stretch of Ravenswood Avenue that's dubbed "Malt Row" hosts this annual festival, which features drinks provided by the neighborhood's diverse craft brewing scene alongside bites from local restaurants, shopping vendors, axe-throwing and live music. The two-day event spotlights beers from Half Acre, Cultivate by Forbidden Root, Dovetail, Spiteful, Hop Butcher for the World, Begyle and more, plus cocktails from KOVAL Distillery—hop heads will want to try some of the special tappings.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Wicker Park

When it comes to street festivals, the annual Wicker Park Fest is usually one of the season's largest (and most crowded) events, attracting thousands of people to a stretch of Milwaukee Avenue that's crowded with bars, chain restaurants, boutiques and shoe stores. Jam out to live music—you'll also find plenty of food from local vendors, well-stocked beer tents, sales at surrounding shops and a dedicated kids area.

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  • Festivals
  • Lower West Side

One of the largest Latino fests in the Midwest returns to the heart of Pilsen, bringing a carnival, delicious food from local vendors and a lineup of traditional music to the neighborhood's streets. The four-day event takes place along a stretch of Cermak Road (between Ashalnd and Morgan) and can draw as many at one million people every year—we recommend showing up early before the crowds stream in during the evening.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Hyde Park

The annual Bantu Fest prides itself on bringing people, cuisine and culture from more than 30 different countries together for a two-celebration of Chicago's (and the world's) diversity. When you're not sampling tantalizing dishes from around the globe, you can take in sets from local musicians and enjoy the sights during a summer afternoon on Midway Plaisance.

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  • Washington Park

GhanaFest is back to celebrate the rich history and culture of the West African country. The 36th annual event will feature a village with vendors in fashion, arts and crafts, as well as a variety of Ghanaian eats, live music and performances, a parade of local chieftains and queen mothers, and more.

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  • Festivals
  • Armour Square

Chinatown celebrates the arrival of summer at this annual event—featuring food, art and music—which became a two-day fest beginning in 2021. The festival opens with a traditional lion dance procession and continues with performances (including a K-pop breakdance competition), kung fu demonstrations, arts and craft exhibits and cuisine from Chinatown restaurants. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Sheffield & DePaul

Local restaurants bring their most famous dishes outside for three days of tastings at this Lincoln Park street festival. You'll find loads of vendors lining Lincoln Avenue, including area businesses and eateries, as well as one main music stage and a kids carnival area stocked with activities, face painting, games and more. Don't forget to try the fest's whiskey tasting, which offer 16 samples of Midwestern spirits curated by Delilah's.

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  • Festivals

Make the short trip across state lines to downtown Whiting, Indiana to chow down on Eastern European dumplings and gawk at residents who don pierogi costumes. You can compete in the Pierogi Toss, enter an eating contest, participate in a parade or boogie down in the polka competition, all in honor of the little pierogi.

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Millennium Park

Chicago's biggest music festival welcomes 400,000 attendees to Grant Park for a four-day music festival that's packed with some of the biggest names in pop, rock and hip-hop. SZA, Tyler, The Creator, Blink-182, The Killers and more headline the fest this year, joined by acts like Future X Metro Boomin, Hozier, Stray Kids, Melanie Martinez and Skrillex. Check out our comprehensive guide to Lollapalooza, including the full lineup and schedule, for more info.

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  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Douglas

Pay homage to Bronzeville's history as a hub for jazz and blues at this beloved annual music fest, which returns to King Drive (outside Mariano's Bronzeville) for a day-long roster of performances curated by music producer Frank Goss III, plus food and drinks from local vendors. This year's lineup features Rick Parma, Chris Miskel, Corey Wilkes and Marqueal Jordan.

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  • River West/West Town

Set amid the Chicago Brewing District, this jam-band focused street festival invites guests to take in multiple sets from live music while enjoying a cold beer. Local brewers will be pouring beer all weekend long, accompanired by an array of West Town restaurants and food trucks. Find a tie dye shirt and get ready to dance.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Edison Park

This far Northwest Side neighborhood gets in on street festival season fun with a three-day affair packed with live music, activities for the kids and delicious food. Stop by to see a host of performances or show off your skills in a bags tournament before digging into grub served by local vendors. 

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  • Festivals
  • Boystown

Northalsted Market Days is one of the largest street festivals in the Midwest, welcoming 100,000 people to the streets of Northalsted (formerly known as Boystown) for an LGBTQ-friendly summer celebration of music, food and dance. You can expect a long list of performers across five stages—check out the Northalsted Market Days website for a complete schedule.

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  • Art
  • Fairs
  • River North

This community art fest sets up in Printer's Row, with nearly 100 artists showing off jewelry, paintings, upcycled artworks and more interesting items. When you're done shopping, take a break with a drink or snack and some live music. Little ones can hang out in the Kids Art Zone with face painting, art projects and more.

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  • North Center

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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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Streeterville

Navy Pier hosts this Air and Water Show weekend feast featuring mountains of fresh seafood flown in from the East Coast. At the Great American Lobster Festival, hungry attendees can sign up for the Lobster Meal Experience that includes one drink voucher and 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 and the Air and Water Show all weekend.

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  • Festivals
  • River North

This annual River North block party celebrates America's military service members with an evening of live music, delicious food and drinks to sip. Proceeds from the event benefit the USO of Illinois.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

You'll find more than 100 artists selling paintings, drawings, sculptures, glass, ceramics, pottery, photography, jewelry and more at this popular arts festival in Rogers Park, which is celebrating its 23rd year in 2024. Stroll through the art fair to take home your very own masterpiece and catch performances on two music stages from various acts. Plus, enjoy street food and craft brews from local businesses.

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  • Humboldt Park

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 live salsa and Brazilian dance music.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Evanston

This festival in Evanston features works by more than 150 juried artists along with eats from local food trucks. Attendees can browse a selection of paintings, photographs, handmade jewelry and sculptures, or try to show off their own talents by taking a live painting class.

  • Art
  • Outdoor art
  • Evanston

Chicago's sole chalk art festival transforms Howard Street into a lovely, chalk art-covered canvas over the course of a single day. Head east of the Howard Red Line stop between Paulina and Ashland to tour 3D chalk designs by internationally-renowned artists and try food from local vendors, or get in on the action yourself by purchasing a 4x4 square of sidewalk to design for $25—don't worry, chalk is included.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • North Lawndale

The Firehouse Community Arts Center of Chicago in North Lawndale hosts this community block party, featuring an afternoon of hip-hop performances, breakdancing and more. Guests will also be able to check out a graffiti showcase, a bounce house, games and enjoy barbecue from local vendors.

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Suburbs

For some, Labor Day weekend means cookouts and enjoying some of the final days of summer among family and friends. For other, it means crowding in front of a stage with a bunch of strangers and dancing to the sound of bone-rattling bass drops. North Coast Music Festival brings some of the biggest names in EDM to Bridgeview, IL for three days of beats and pyrotechnics in and around SeatGeek Stadium. The lineup includes headlining acts like Above & Beyond, ILLENIUM, Seven Lions, SLANDER, Subtronics and Chase & Status. And with multiple stages to explore, you should have no problem finding the house, techno, progressive and trance music that you want to dance to.

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  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • West Loop

The fourth annual ARC Music Festival is scheduled to take over Union Park during Labor Day weekend, celebrating Chicago's house music roots and welcoming an international lineup of dance music artists. Taking place across three days, the fest features acts like U.K. brothers Disclosure, Belgian techno DJ Charlotte de Witte, New York icon Armand van Helden, Australian house producer Dom Dolla, EDM pioneer Kaskade and more. Additional Chicago performers include local house music legends Derrick Carter and DJ Lady D. See shows at multiple stages spread throughout the park, enjoy food from local chefs and attend afterparties at over 13 venues.

  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Loop

As is Labor Day weekend tradition in Chicago, some of the biggest names in jazz will gather for a series of shows at Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park and the Chicago Cultural Center during this annual festival. Visit the Chicago Jazz Festival webpage for the full lineup and schedule.

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  • Festivals
  • West Loop

In need of some new home decor? Shop more than four blocks of art available for purchase at this family-friendly festival, where you'll also find two days of live music and plenty of solid dining options nearby.

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  • Festivals
  • Jefferson Park

Feast on potato pancakes, kielbasa, pierogi, blitzes and more at this annual Polish celebration (the largest in the country) during Labor Day weekend. Once you're full, stick around to take in performances from polka bands and tribute acts, grab drinks in a beer garden, shop from local vendors, watch traditional dance groups or try your luck in a casino.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Washington Park

The yearly festival—which celebrates art, music and food from across the African diaspora—returns this Labor Day weekend. Head to Washington Park to wander around a recreated African village complete with vendors, stilt walkers, African fine art and fabrics, a quilt pavilion, drum circles and more interactive features; plus, catch live music from various acts. When you get hungry, swing by the Bank of the Nile food court that features food from across the African continent and beyond. 

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Millennium Park

The Taste of Chicago is again being held in September this year instead of its usual first weekend of July. The annual festival will feature dozens of vendors and food trucks, plus musical performances. And just like last year, the Taste of Chicago will be preceded by a series of day-long fests throughout the summer (at Rogers Park, Pullman Park and Marquette Park) before heading to Grant Park for the three-day main event.

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  • Music
  • Classical and opera
  • Uptown

Fed up with the cover bands and DJs that typically perform at Chicago's street festivals? Thirsty Ears Festival provides an alternative to the usual summer programming, with local organization Access Contemporary Music presenting a lineup of classical music performances ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Taking place in Ravenswood on Wilson Ave between Hermitage Ave and Ravenswood Ave, the festival features two days of performances and a miniature version of the Sound of Silent Film Festival (where ensembles accompany silent film screenings). You'll also find plenty of beer, food trucks and a kids zone stocked with activites and performances for the little ones.

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  • Festivals
  • Lake View

For one weekend each year, Southport Corridor becomes a mecca for taco lovers in Chicago during the Lakeview Taco Fest. More than 10 restaurants offer their take on the tortilla-wrapped dish, serving delicious creations throughout Saturday and Sunday. You'll also be able to take in Mexican wrestling shows, performances from local bands and kid-friendly activities, plus special beer and taco pairings. 

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • River North

Calling all book nerds! The Midwest’s biggest free outdoor literary festival returns this September for its 39th year with everything from a huge outdoor book market spanning five blocks (Dearborn Street from Ida B. Wells Drive to Polk Street, and Polk Street from State Street to Clark Street) to talks with artists and authors.

  • Things to do
  • Morgan Park

This two-day music festival on the South Side brings together acts from all parts of the country, including Mojo Thunder, Caution, Brandon Good, The Leadfoot Band, Stereotypes and more. The tunes will be paired with barbecue-inspired Mexican street fare, so expect to feast on plenty of tacos filled with spicy smoked meats.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Greektown

Enjoy feta, tzatziki, roasted chicken and more signature Mediterranean flavors at this three-day festival in Greektown, where you'll find lots of tasty dishes cooked by some of the neighborhood's most beloved restaurants. Stick around for performances from Greek and American bands. Opa!

  • Things to do
  • Lincoln Square

Celebrate the arrival of fall in Lincoln Square at the Chicago German-American Oktoberfest, which sets up two gigantic tents in the neighborhood to serve liters of beer, stacks of pretzels and more German delicacies. The weekend also features a parade up Lincoln Avenue, live performances from four German bands and carnival games for the kids.

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  • Things to do
  • Millennium Park

Celebrate Mexican Independence Day with the inaugural Grito Fest, which will be the first time in over a decade city-sanctioned festivities take place downtown. You can expect to enjoy authentic food and drink offerings from a variety of local vendors, mariachi and ballet folklórico performances, family-friendly activities and much more.

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  • Festivals
  • Boystown

Take a look at art from more than 150 juried artists at this annual event in Lakeview East, where you can also catch live music. Visit a variety of food and drink booths when you get hungry, or head over to the Kidzone to entertain little ones with origami demos, circus performances, live music and other attractions. The fest, which stretches along Broadway from Belmont to Hawthorne, goes until 7pm on Saturday and Sunday.

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Dunning

Take a stroll down Ravenswood Avenue to see art, live music and theater at this local festival centered around the neighborhood's industrial corridor, showcasing dozens of artists and local venues including Begyle Brewery, Lillstreet Art Center, Koval Distillery, VIN312 Winery and more. This year—the festival's 22nd—swing by the outdoor beer garden for local brews and food trucks, or listen to some live tunes across two stages.

  • Music
  • Music festivals
  • Suburbs

Get ready, punk rockers! Riot Fest is returning from September 20-22 with a laundry list of rock, punk, metal and emo artists. It's always one of the biggest music fests of the season thanks to a must-see lineup of both legacy acts and emerging newcomers. This year, the festivities are taking place at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview, and the headliners will include Fall Out Boy, Beck and Slayer.

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  • Music
  • Jazz
  • Loop

The Hyde Park Jazz Festival returns to venues throughout its namesake neighborhood in September. As always, Hyde Park Jazz Festival's shows are free to attend—for a complete list of performances, visit the festival's website.

  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Millennium Park

Chicago Gourmet, the annual food festival hosted by the Illinois Restaurant Association, returns this year with a four-day slate of programming and events in celebration of the city's dining scene. Nosh on a variety of delicious bites and sip wines at events like Tacos & Tequila, Hamburger Hop, Grand Cru and the brunch-centric Rise & Shine Gourmet. You can view a full festival schedule on Chicago Gourmet's website, where you can also buy tickets to individual events. 

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals
  • Lake View

Taking place in and around Lakeview’s St. Alphonsus church, this autumn fête features the requisite selection of suds, brats, pretzels and two stages of Bavarian music (and a bunch of cover bands). Stick around for a separately-ticketed craft beer festival on Friday and Saturday night.

  • Music
  • Latin and world
  • Loop

Explore music from around the globe during this annual festival, now in its 24th year, which brings a wide array of performers to venues across the city for free musical performances. Experience sounds and subgenres from regions like Brazil, South Korea, Senegal and more. For a full list of performances, visit the festival's website

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  • Things to do
  • Festivals

Artists take over neighborhood shops during the annual West Town Art Walk, which showcases the creative talents of area residents and businesses. The festival celebrates all kinds of art, including visual, fashion, musical and culinary—choose your own adventure by customizing where you start your art walk, which can be launched at any of the fest's participating businesses as well as two main event headquarters. Need assistance walking? Flag down one of the art walk's free pedicabs for a ride. 

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