The sun is shining, the mercury is rising and Chicago festivals have hit the streets. June is one of the best months to get outdoors and start enjoying all that the city has to offer, whether you're a fan of hot dogs or music festivals. From neon-clad bros at Spring Awakening to the colorful revelers at the Pride Parade, everyone can appreciate one of Chicago's hottest months. Put down your summer reading (just for a moment) and take a look at our list of the best music, food and art festivals that are happening this month.
In its eighth year, Do Division, the street shindig booked by Empty Bottle and House Call Entertainment, holds down the last weekend in May, really kicking off the summer festival season. Shopping is merely one diversion. The vendors' wares along Division Street are rivaled only by the excess of street-side eye candy—other pretty, young things who bring their sartorial A-game. Then, of course, there is the music. Headliners include High on Fire and JC Brooks (Fri), Bass Drum of Death (Sat) and, on the strongest day, J Mascis and People Under the Stairs (Sun).
The newest series of events presented by Chicago Loop Alliance transforms mundane, downtown alleys into glowing laser light shows. Each month, the party will move to a different alley in the city, transforming the space for a single evening. The June event will take place in the Chicago Theater alley, incorporating art curated by the King Art Collective and music by The Galaxie and DJ Madrid.
The Back of the Yards neighborhood knows how to throw a party, shutting down three blocks to make room for carnival rides, games, food vendors and live music. Head down to 47th Street and Damen if you want to eat a taco, take a ride on a Ferris wheel and win a gigantic stuffed animal.
Get your lit fix as the city's historic former bookmaking hub hosts the Midwest's biggest free outdoor ode to literature. Publishers, booksellers, literacy and cultural organizations advocate books and related merchandise in different lanuages and genres, while authors participate in panels and discussion. The kiddies can enjoy special activities at the Lil' Lit Park.
This 30-year-old street festival celebrates Memorial Day with a showcase of regional tribute bands accompanied by plenty of libations and food from local vendors. We're still waiting for the music lineup, but last year's event included Journey and Dave Matthews cover acts.