Festivals in Chicago: Make the Best of the Summer

Festivals in Chicago: Make the Best of the Summer

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There are only two months left to make the most of your summer. Here in Chicago, we make the most of the weather before we have to burrow back inside for the brutal winters. One way we do that is by regularly blocking off busy streets and setting up booths full of merchandise, food, and other goodies. If you’re in the city, or planning a visit, take part in the obsession with weekend festivals all over town!

The Fest Effect

As I like to call it. Bring extra cash (or don’t, if you don’t want the temptation) and avoid those greedy ATM fees, because there is a ton of stuff to buy. Shops have tents full of art, gear, and other products to sell you, some may even have a discount for the event, some may not-knowing there’s no other way this audience can access them. There’s something about good weather, live music, and crowds that make me more likely to spend money I don’t have on overpriced shit I don’t need.

chicagofests - Festivals in Chicago: Make the Best of the Summer

Festivals You Might’ve Missed

The festivals this summer started as early as April, and the majority are in the June and July months. Here’s what you’ve missed already, but can try to catch next year!

April 21-23

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
Cost: $30-$50/day

May 19-21

Cost: $10
Official kickoff festival for Chicago, held in Lakeview.

May 20-21

Lincoln Park Wine Festival
Cost: $50 daily, $20 for DD’s

May 27-28

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest
Cost: Free

May 26-28

Mole de Mayo
Cost: Free
A festival for competing chefs and Mexican restaurants.

May 28

Bike the Drive

Cost: $46-$65
Basically you’re biking on Lake Shore Drive to support walking, biking, and public transit efforts.

June 2-3

Chicago Gospel Music Festival
Cost: Free

June 2-4

Do Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale
Cost: Free
Live music, food, and shopping. Typical festival, and popular in town.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest
Cost: Free

June 8-10

Story Arc Comedy Sketch Festival
varies with each show

June 9-11

Andersonville Midsommarfest
Cost: Free
A famous Chicago festival, celebrating Swedish traditions.

Chicago Blues Festival
Cost: Free

Fiesta Back of the Yards
Cost: Free
Celebrates and features all sorts of different cultures.

Old Town Art Fair
Cost: Free

Ribfest Chicago
Cost: Free
Honestly one of my faves.

Spring Awakening
Cost: $69-$319
A weekend of DJs and beats dropping.

June 10-11

Green Music Fest

Pilsen Food Truck Social
Cost: Free

Printer’s Row Lit Fest
Cost: Free

Wells Street Art Festival
Cost: Free
The funny thing is-this physically bumps up against the Old Town Art Fair, so you can catch them both in tandem.

June 15-18

Women’s Funny Festival
Cost: $15-$100

June 16-17

Craft Brews at the Zoo
Drink at the Lincoln Park Zoo!

June 16-18

Oakley Festa Pasta Vino
Cost: Free
Italian culture and food

Taste of Randolph Street
Cost: Free
All about the restaurants in the area.

June 17-18

Chicago Pride Fest
Cost: $10 suggested donation
Halsted and Addison streets

Gold Coast Art Festival
Cost: Free

June 24

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy
Cost: Free
Check out some music and vendors while you support 30 teams racing their boats.

June 23-24

Back Lot Bash
Cost: $20-$100
Music fest

Old St. Pat’s World’s Largest Block Party
Cost: Free
If there’s any block party to catch, it’s this one.

June 23-25 (Today is the last day!)

Mamby on the Beach
Music fest on the beach. Lineup this year includes Flying Lotis, MGNT, and Walk the Moon.

Windy City Lake Shake
Cost: $100-$600
This is an annual country music fest out at Northerly Island. Musicians this year feature Miranda Lambert, Rascal Flatts, Little Big Town, and Rig & Rich.

Photo May 27 11 04 21 AM 1024x768 - Festivals in Chicago: Make the Best of the Summer

Festivals Remaining

The above may be in the past, but there is still time to get your fest on! Check out some of the remaining events below.

Happening as I’m Writing This Post

June-August 19

Grant Park Music Festival
Cost: Free
10 weeks of classical music concerts in Millennium Park.

June 13-August 29

Millennium Park’s Summer Film Festival
Cost: Free
Movies playing at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion every Tuesday.

June 10-September 17

Varies, check site.
Old school fest. Some of the artists playing throughout the series of weekend concerts: John Legend, Aretha Franklin, Willie Nelson, Beach Boys, Sheryl Crow, Santana, John Mellencamp, and Stevie Nicks.

June 30-July 2

Windy City Ribfest in Uptown
Cost: $5

July 1-2

Chosen Few Picnic
Cost: $50-$1500
Musician lineup includes Wayne Williams, Alan King, and Tony Hatchett.

Live on Lincoln
Cost: $10 donation
Brand new this year, with all kinds of live music.

July 5-9

Taste of Chicago
Cost: Free, paid food tickets
One of the top outdoor food festivals in the country.

July 7-9

Millennium Art Festival
Cost: Free

Ruido Fest
Cost: $50-$250
Spanish rock festival

Square Roots-Craft Brew & Music Festival
Cost: $10 donation

West Fest
Cost: Free
One of the top festivals in Chicago.

July 8-9

Roscoe Village Burger Fest
Cost: Free

July 14-16

Cost: $65-$165
Lineup includes Solange, George Clinton and the Parliament Funkadelic, and Jamila Woods.

Chicago Open Air
Cost: $120-$400
Lineup includes Ozzy Osbourne, Kiss, and Rob Zombie.

July 15-16

Colombian Fest/El Gran Festival Colombiano
Cost: $10
Celebrates Colombian culture and history.

Southport Art Festival
Cost: Free

July 16

59th Dearborn Garden Walk
Cost: $30-$35
Check out over 20 private gardens on an architectural tour.

Chinatown Summer Fair
Cost: Free

Soulful Chicago Book Fair
Cost: Free

July 18-21

Redeye’s Bud & Burgers
Cost: $5 reservation
Not so much a festival as it is a burger dinner.

July 21-23

Art Fest Michigan Avenue
Cost: Free

Taste of River North
Cost: Free

July 22-23

Chicago Craft Beer Festival
Cost: $35-$45

Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk
Cost: $7-$10

July 29

Bantu Fest
Cost: Free
Celebrates culture and diversity among many nations.

July 29-30

Taste of Lincoln Avenue
Cost: Free

Wicker Park Fest
Cost: Free
One of the top festivals in Chicago.

August 3-6

Cost: An arm and a leg. Check out their ticket exchange.
If you don’t know what “Lolla” is, you’ve been living under a rock. And it’s probably too late to get tickets anyway.

August 4-6

Jeff Fest
Cost: Free

August 5

Morgan Park House & Soul Music Festival
Cost: Free

August 5-6

Edge Fest
Cost: Free

August 11-13

62nd Annual Ginza Holiday Festival
Cost: $5 donation
Celebrates Japanese culture.

Chicago Hot Dog Fest
Cost: Free

Retro on Roscoe
Cost: Free

August 18-20

Festa Italiana
Cost: $5 donation

August 19-20

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
Cost: Free

August 20

Sangria Fest
Cost: $35-$55

August 25-27

Logan Square Food Truck Social
Cost: Free

Taste of Greektown
Cost: Free

August 31-September 3

Chicago Jazz Festival
Cost: Free

September 1-3

North Coast Music Festival
Cost: $149-$199
Lineup includes Deadmau5, Gucci Mane, and Ween.

September 8-10

Throwback Music Fest
Cost: Free

September 9-10

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

September 13-17

EXPO Chicago
Exposition of Contemporary and Modern Art.

September 15-17

Riot Fest
Lineup includes Nine Inch Nails, Wu-Tang Clan, and M.I.A.

September 16-17

Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest
Cost: Free

West Loop Art Fest
Cost: $10 donation

September 24

Aahh! Fest
Cost: $150
Huge music festival but feels like a block party.

September 29-October 1

Oktoberfest Chicago
Cost: Free

Have a Blast!

Well, there you have it. A smorgasbord of festivals for you to enjoy on your weekends this summer. Schedule a visit if anything vibes with you. Did I miss any? Do you have any favorites? Comment below and join the conversation!

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