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July Chicago festival calendar

Summer is in full swing at these top Chicago festivals, with lots of food, music and fun for the whole family

Photograph: Crowds take in new bands and indie rock icons at Pitchfork Music Festival 2013.
By Time Out Chicago staff, compiled by Zach Long |

July is a time for summer indulgence, when a delicious burger can be followed by a set by your favorite band, an evening of fireworks, or a party in the streets at a Chicago festival. Whether you're hanging with the hipsters at Pitchfork Music Festival or quaffing brews with the beer nerds at Sierra Nevada Beer Camp, you'll find a summer festival that matches your tastes. Before you head to the beach, take a look at our list of the best music, food and art festivals that are happening this month.

Music, Music festivals

Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic

The Chosen Few, a group of seminal house music DJs that formed in the late '70s, reunite to spin some records with their friends at this annual music festival. The party goes down in Jackson Park, where you'll be able to get your groove on with 45,000 other fans.

Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Lakeview

Formerly known as Rock Around the Block, this Lakeview festival combines live music with mouth-watering cuisine from local restaurants and vendors. The whole family can find something to do at this festive summer event which benefits the West Lakeview Neighbors organization.

Things to do, Festivals

Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival

For these artisans, there's room to grow. 100 juried artists offer up botanic-themed or plant-made paintings, jewelry and photography are on sale at the fest. Demos for budding artists and family activities are also expected to sprout up throughout the weekend.

Things to do, Festivals

Taste of Chicago

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. Hopefully what you gain in weight, you'll lose from your wallet. The music lineup at Petrillo is as strong as it's ever been, with AWOLNATION (Jul 9), Janelle Monáe + Gary Clark Jr. (Jul 10), Nickel Creek + Emmylou Harris (Jul 11), Jeff Tweedy (Jul 12) and Aloe Blacc + The Wailers (Jul 13). We can't wait to see what band Rahm awkwardly dances to this year!

Things to do, Festivals

Square Roots Festival

The Square Roots festival returns to Lincoln Square for a weekend of brews, food and music presented by the Old Town School of Folk Music and the Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce. More than 30 regional craft breweries will be tapping kegs so that you can wash down food from various local eateries. Once you're full, go see some bands play on one of the festival's various stages.

Comedy, Stand-up

The Comedy Exposition

A new DIY comedy festival, organized by local comedians and producers, is coming to three different neighborhoods this July. The fest will consist of showcases at multiple venues in a different ’hood each night: Lakeview on Friday July 11, Wicker Park on Saturday July 12 and Logan Square on Sunday July 13; the lineups will be a mix of local and out-of-state stand-ups chosen from submissions by the organizers, and headliners including Andy Kindler, Sean Patton, Aparna Nancherla, Adam Cayton-Holland, Ryan Singer and Sean O'Connor.

Things to do, Festivals

Irish Fest

Jig to live bands like Gaelic Storm and the Tossers at this 29th annual celebration of Irish heritage. Use the luck of the Irish to win a mashed-potato-eating contest or singing showdown, or meet your match at the Hooley Hook-Up event.

Music, Folk, country and blues

Windy City Smokeout

The annual celebration of grilled meats and country music returns to River North with ample amounts of pork, beer and tunes from the likes of Brett Eldredge and the Randy Rogers Band. Attendees will be able to sample smokey culinary creations from the likes of Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, Lillie's Q and Smoque.

Things to do, Festivals

Tour de Fat

Ft. Collins’ New Belgium Brewery brings its signature celebration of bikes and beer to Palmer Square for another year of freaky fun. The day begins with a bike parade and continues with vaudeville acts, circus performers and live music in Palmer Park. The environmentally conscious festival raises funds for local non-profits and culminates with one lucky attendee trading his or her car in for a brand new bicycle.

Things to do, Festivals

West Fest

Befitting its location on the hip Chicago Avenue corridor, West Fest can be counted on for a greater sleeper of a summer street fest bill. Empty Bottle books the main stage, bringing its typical blend of garage and art rock, while local house folks spin on the DJ stage.

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