The best free things to do in Chicago in August

Concerts, street festivals, the Air and Water Show, movies screenings and more free things to do in August
Air & Water Show Sunday, August 21, 2016
Photograph: Neal O'Bryan

August is the penultimate month of summer in Chicago, which means that it's packed with excuses to get outside and soak up the warm weather, including many events that are free to attend. August is the final month to check out a free Millennium Park film screening or concert, so mark your calendar unless you want to wait until next summer. You can also watch a free taping of the NPR show Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!, attend the Chicago Air and Water Show or catch a free music festival. Explore all the gratis fun you can have this month with our list of the best free things to do in Chicago in August.

Free things to do in Chicago in August

Tuesdays on the Terrace at the MCA
Photograph: Ashlee Benes
Music, Jazz

Tuesdays on the Terrace

icon-location-pin Streeterville

Each Tuesday, the Museum of Contemporary Art hosts a free concert in its Anne and John Kern Terrace Garden—admission to the museum is also free for Illinois residents. This month's performers include Mwata Bowden (Aug 7) Charles Heath Quartet (Aug 14), Ernest Dawkins (Aug 21) and Ari Brown (Aug 28).

The Park at Wrigley
Courtesy Chicago Cubs

Music Box Theatre Movies at Gallagher Way

icon-location-pin Wrigleyville

Gallagher Way (the plaza formerly known as the Park at Wrigley) tapped their neighbors at the Music Box to program free outdoor screenings on Wednesday evenings when the Cubs are on the road. The theater selected a series of mostly family-friendly films (all PG-13 or less). This month's film lineup includes Grease (Aug 8) and Space Jam (Aug 22).

Camp a Comedy Show
Photograph: Courtesy Camp
Comedy, Stand-up

Camp: A Comedy Show

icon-location-pin North Center

Audiences at comedy shows don't get much more supportive than the ones that fill Camp every week in the Village Tap's beer garden. The summer camp-themed showcase gives comedians a place to test out new material and take risks, whether they're developing a new set of jokes or working out the kinks of a wacky character. Hosts Tessa Orzech and Samantha Berkman act as counselors, keeping the evening lively with sketches and unexpected hijinks.

Photograph: Kelly Peloza
Things to do, Literary events

Tuesday Funk

icon-location-pin Uptown

This eclectic reading series is where good writing and good beer mix. Every month five local writers and authors put together pieces to read while you order off Hopleaf's extensive beer menu.

Photograph: Martha Williams

The Paper Machete

icon-location-pin Uptown

This twice-weekly “live magazine” is a cavalcade of culture, politics and wit featuring journalists, actors, comedians and musicians offering idiosyncratic reports on the news of the day. Head to Uptown’s iconic Green Mill for drinks, hot takes and laughs; the longstanding Saturday afternoon edition tends to run about two and a half hours, while the new “Cocktail Hour” Wednesday show is a tight 90 minutes with no intermission.

Keith Haring Chicago Mural
Photograph: Marcelino Y. Fahd
Art, Contemporary art

"Keith Haring: The Chicago Mural"

icon-location-pin Loop

In 1989, acclaimed artist Keith Haring came to Chicago to create a gigantic 488-foot-long mural in collaboration with 500 Chicago Public School students. After remaining on display at Midway Airport for several years, 36 panels of the mural will return to the Loop, going on display alongside a selection of Haring's photographs, correspondence, designs and his now-iconic drawings.

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