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2018 Hottest Summer Festivals in the Chicago Loop

When the heat cranks up, the streets fill with people and the city gains boundless energy. From electrifying live performances to some of the best food and beverage the city has to offer, the Chicago Loop is packed with summer festivals and cultural celebrations. So—bust out your sandals and enjoy summer in the Windy City.

Music Festivals

May 26 – September 23

Chicago Loop

The sound of summer in Chicago is the sound of music festivals. Although Lollapalooza is the apex of its kind, there are plenty of other free music fests in the Loop for you to get your groove on and grace the outdoors. Make the most of Chicago’s best season with the best musical experiences the city has to offer.

 

Chicago Ale Fest

June 1 – 2

Butler Field, Grant Park

Early Admission | General Admission

Bordered by the Chicago skyline and Lake Michigan, Chicago Ale Fest will feature more than 200 American craft beers, live music and some of Chicago’s favorite food trucks. Don't miss out on one of the most anticipated summer craft beer events of the year.

 

Printers Row Lit Fest

June 9 – 10

Printers Row

Free admission

 

The Chicago Tribune Printers Row Lit Fest, the Midwest’s largest literary festival, is an annual book fair and literary festival held in the Chicago Loop. The festival features readings, author conversations, book signings, a poetry slam and a book fair. Let's get lit!

Gold Coast Art Fair

June 16 – 17

Butler Field, Grant Park

Free admission

Photo: City of Chicago

Rated as one of the top 30 juried art festivals in the country, the Gold Coast Art Fair at Grant Park welcomes more than 300 artists from around the world to the Chicago Loop. Exceptional artwork of all mediums, ranging in price from $25 to $25,000, will draw hundreds of thousands of art enthusiasts to Grant Park’s beautiful Butler Field. Celebrate the summer season with an art-filled experience at the 60th annual Gold Coast Art Fair with incredible demonstrations by artists, live music and interactive art projects.

 

Make Music Chicago

June 21

Citywide

Free Admission

Every year, musicians of all kinds pour onto the streets, parks, plazas and porches of Chicago to share their music with friends, neighbors and strangers, and celebrate the rich musical diversity of our communities. Make Music Chicago invites everyone to discover their ability to make music, regardless of age, ability or preferred musical style.

 

Chicago Mariachi Festival

June 24

Millennium Park

Free admission

 

Enjoy traditional mariachi and Mexican dance performances at the largest mariachi event in the U.S., attracting more than 22K patrons to Millennium Park. This festival, presented by The Mariachi Heritage Foundation, is the 3rd Annual Chicago Mariachi Festival.

 

Chicago Vegandale Food and Drink Festival

June 30

Butler Field, Grant Park

Tickets

Hot and cold stations will be bringing you all your favorite comfort food classics from fried chicken and wings to burgers, ice cream and more. With an anticipated 60,000+ hungry visitors, Vegandale has geared up to serve more vegan and vegan-curious eaters than ever before. Have a happy feast!

 

Taste of Chicago

July 11 – 15

Grant Park

Taste of Chicago is the nation's premier outdoor food festival showcasing the diversity of Chicago's dining community. The delicious array of food served at Taste of Chicago is complemented by music and exciting activities for the entire family.Stay hungry!

 

Black Harvest Film Festival

August 4 – 30

Gene Siskel Film Center

Each year since 1994, the Gene Siskel Film Center has presented the Annual Black Harvest Film Festival, a vibrant celebration of independent films that tell the stories and explore the images, heritage and history of the worldwide Black experience. Check out these thought-provoking and awareness-raising films.

 

Windy City Wine Festival

September 7 – 8

Buckingham Fountain

Presented by U.S. Bank, the Windy City Wine Festival provides an opportunity to sample more than 300 wines from around the world. Learn about new and exciting varieties from the experts while treating yourself to signature dishes from local restaurants.

 

Chicago Turkish Festival

September 13 -15

Daley Plaza

 

Sip Turkish coffee, enjoy live music and traditional dances and eat baklava and orchid ice cream while learning about Turkish culture at this three-day festival. You can also browse grocery stands, handmade ceramics and jewelry.

 

Bon Appetit’s Chicago Gourmet

September 28 – 30

Loop

Each September, celebrity chefs headline cooking demos on two stages at this concert of culinary delights. Popular wine & mixology seminars serve up the coolest trends in a glass while an excellent line-up of delicious food, wine, spirits and beer tastings keeps the crowd rockin' and rollin'. Get your tickets today before it's sold out.


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