July Events in the Loop
July is synonymous with our nation’s independence, which Chicago fervently celebrates with BBQ and explosive fireworks. Besides the Fourth of July hoopla, however, there are a ton of summer-perfect things to do in the Chicago Loop. From movies on a rooftop and in the park to can’t-miss musicals and summer festivals, be sure to use our guide to make the most of this steamy month.
Wednesdays, May 30 - October 3, 2018
From toe-tapping musicals and rocking documentaries to sweeping scores and unforgettable soundtracks, music and movies have always been in perfect sync. Cinema/Chicago, together with the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events and various consulates and cultural partners, presents Reel Music, a free weekly film series that celebrates music in movies from around the world.
Be sure to arrive early as seating is on a first-come, first-served basis and is limited to theater capacity.
June 5 - August 21
Starting 6:30 p.m.
Photo by City of Chicago
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) is pleased to announce the lineup for Millennium Park Summer Film Series. New this year, each screening in the series will be programmed in collaboration with a local independent film festival providing a season-long sampling of the themes, ethnicities and genres seen in the more than 50 film festivals presented annually in Chicago. Films will be screened on a state-of-the-art, 40-foot LED screen with English subtitles or captioning unless otherwise noted.
The screening is free and open to the public. Bring your lawn chair or blankets, and enjoy the movies. If you don't have these outdoor items, take advantage of Macy's Picnic Basket promotion. Whatever your style is, you will find a wide variety of outdoor picnic sets perfect for a movie at the park.
June 13 - August 18, 2018
As the nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind, the Grant Park Music Fest features the Grammy-nominated Grant Park Orchestra led by Artistic Director and Principal Conductor Carlos Kalmar and the award-winning Grant Park Chorus led by Chorus Director Christopher Bell. Make it an alfresco picnic while enjoying 32 spectacular summer concerts.
For as little as $26, you can have access to reserved seats close to the stage with a One Night Pass.
June 22 – September 9, 2018
Photo by Art Institute of Chicago
In 1904, Danish silversmith Georg Jensen (1866–1935) founded one of the world’s most celebrated design companies: the eponymous Georg Jensen. After emerging during a fruitful period in Danish art and culture, Jensen’s practice in Copenhagen continued to evolve, contributing to the meteoric rise of Scandinavian design in the United States and around the world. This exhibition tells a sweeping story of the creation of a global identity for Danish design and the changing ideals for modern living across the 20th century. Explore the first major American presentation of Jensen silver tableware and products for the home.
June 22 – December 31, 2018
Photo by American Writer’s Museum
“Agitate! Agitate! Agitate!” is a quote from activist Frederick Douglass who was one of the greatest public speakers in American history, so it’s only fitting that the new exhibit in his honor at the American Writers Museum (AWM) is entitled Frederick Douglass AGITATOR. Frederick Douglass escaped from slavery to become one of the most eloquent voices of abolitionism, and his words remain a touchstone for anyone fighting inequality or pushing America to fulfill its promise of ensuring equality for all. Explore Fredrick Douglass as an activist, orator and self-taught writer at American Writers Museum's Roberta Rubin Writer’s Room.
June 23 - July 29
Photo by The Goodman Theatre
Join Macy’s to support and empower veterans and military families through its give-back campaign, "Macy's Salutes Those Who Serve." With a $3 donation made in-store or online at macys.com, customers will receive, as a thank you, a 25 percent off coupon that can be used on select merchandise. One hundred percent of the donations will benefit three veterans and military family-focused organizations: Blue Star Families, Bunker Labs, and Team Rubicon.
Thursdays – Sundays, June 28 – August 25, 2018
Grant Park, Spirit of the Music Garden and other Chicago Park District locations
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 music fests in the Chicago Loop for you to get your groove on and grace the outdoors. Make the most of Chicago’s best season with these musical experiences.
June 30 – September 9, 2018
Heartbreak Hotel follows the tender story of Elvis Presley in the early years of his burgeoning career as he and Sam Phillips create the music that will forever change their lives. As Elvis’s career skyrockets, both lifting and shattering the lives of those he loves, a secret love story is revealed, a betrayal is discovered, and “Colonel” Tom Parker changes the course of history, all in just 18 short months.
This brand new musical features hit songs from the King himself as well as the legends who influenced his iconic music, with chart-toppers including “Blue Suede Shoes,” “That’s All Right Momma,” “Shake, Rattle, and Roll,” and, of course, “Heartbreak Hotel.” This is where the story begins… “take a walk down lonely street.”.
Now playing through July 15
Image by Broadway In Chicago
For six straight decades, only one unstoppable force has flat-out dominated popular culture – breaking down barriers, pushing boundaries, and letting nothing and no one stand in her way. The Cher Show is her story, and it’s packed with so much Cher that it takes three women to play her: the kid starting out, the glam pop star and the icon.
The Cher Show is 35 smash hits, six decades of stardom, two rock-star husbands, a Grammy, and Oscar, an Emmy and enough Bob Mackie gowns to cause a sequins shortage in Chicago, all in one unabashedly fabulous new musical.
July 1 – September 30, 2018
Photo by Art Institute of Chicago
Sargent (1856–1925) became the most sought-after portraitist of his generation on both sides of the Atlantic. Born in Italy to American parents, he traveled the world in search of subjects and worked professionally for more than 50 years creating vibrant, lively paintings. Learn about the full range of Sargent’s talents, tracing his Chicago connections while also illuminating the city’s vibrant art scene at the turn of the 20th century at the first major exhibition of the painter’s work at the museum in over 30 years.
8:30 -12 a.m.
Watch the true story of Molly Bloom, a beautiful, young, Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game, while enjoying craft cocktails and complimentary popcorn.
July 3 – 22
Photo by Joan Marcus
Brought to life by a groundbreaking all-female creative team, this irresistible new hit features original music and lyrics by 6-time Grammy nominee Sara Bareilles (“Brave,” “Love Song”), a book by acclaimed screenwriter Jessie Nelson (I Am Sam) and direction by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus (Hair, Pippin, Finding Neverland). “It’s an empowering musical of the highest order!” raves the Chicago Tribune.
Inspired by Adrienne Shelly’s beloved film, WAITRESS tells the story of Jenna – a waitress and expert pie maker. Jenna dreams of a way out of her small town and loveless marriage. A baking contest in a nearby county and the town’s new doctor may offer her a chance at a fresh start, while her fellow waitresses offer their own recipes for happiness. But Jenna must summon the strength and courage to rebuild her own life.
Experience Chicago’s Independence Day fireworks on one of Shoreline Sightseeing’s July 4th Fireworks Cruises. New in 2018, Shoreline’s Red White and Brew Cruise, featuring craft beer samplings of Chicago’s own Revolution Brewing, food and DJ entertainment departs from Shoreline’s dock at the Michigan Avenue Bridge.
July 4th Architecture Fireworks Cruises feature a dramatic nighttime guided architecture tour while the Lake Fireworks Cruise offers a panorama of the city’s famous skyline and landmarks.
July 5, 2018
Grammy-nominated singer-songwriter, producer, actress and activist Janelle Monáe has announced her return to touring with her upcoming North American Dirty Computer Tour, making a stop at The Chicago Theatre on July 5.
Fellow Wondaland artists Alexe Belle and Isis Valentino, known together as the soulful duo St. Beauty, will join the tour as a special guest. Monáe made a big splash with the recent announcement of her upcoming Dirty Computer album, releasing buzzworthy visuals for hot singles “Make Me Feel,” “Django Jane” and “PYNK,” giving fans an exciting peek in to the creative vision for her new music.
8 – 9:30 p.m.
Join Shoreline Sightseeing and Zanies Comedy Club on July 6 for the funniest cruise of the summer—the Comedy Cruise! The comedian lineup includes John Dacosse from the Steve Cochran show on WGN Radio and Pat McGann, who has been featured on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert and is an all-around Zanies favorite. Take in the laughs and stunning nighttime views of Chicago as Zanies’ funniest comedy acts perform on this 90-minute evening Comedy Cruise.
Tickets for the Comedy Cruise are $49 per person. The cruise departs from Shoreline Sightseeing’s dock at Polk Bros Park—the southwest corner of Navy Pier. Boarding will begin at 7:45 p.m.
July 10 – August 19
After the prize comes the pressure. Five years after receiving career-defining awards, Ernest Hemingway faces a looming deadline for a story about the rivalrous matadors of Pamplona. In declining health and consumed by the demise of his fourth marriage, he must now conquer the despair that threatens to engulf him.
July 11 – 15
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!
5 – 1 p.m.
ACTIVATE the Sullivan Center Alley on July 12 with the muse, EVO, as your guide. TunnelVision transforms a historic space into a pixelated abyss, bringing Chicago's underground digital media scene to the mainstage. Step through EVO's portal and experiment with music, technology, visual art and interactive media-all in the dock of a building that embodies the city's visionary spirit and post-fire innovation.
The event is free and open to the public.RSVP for a free drink ticket.
6 – 8:30 p.m.
Learn new ways to pair awesome beers from local breweries with your favorite summer classic dishes.
July 12, 2018
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm
In this selective and likely provocative overview of art and design in Chicago, scholars Jonathan Mekinda and Maggie Taft will explore the idea of the “modern” and its various meanings and affiliations in the city between 1910 and 1970. Through a consideration of two works from each decade, Mekinda and Taft will explore how artists, designers and Chicagoans at large came to define the present as “modern” in relation to both the past and the future and thereby laid the groundwork for the rise of the now ubiquitous “contemporary.”
Celebrate summer with a delicious afternoon with Chef Stuart O'Keeffe. Learn from the master chef as he shares stories and culinary secrets while serving up some of his delicious recipes for you to try. Before the demo explore the latest in cookware and gadgets that will be available for purchase just outside the culinary studio. With your purchase of $30 or more, you will receive a $10 Macy's gift card and a copy of Chef O'Keeffe's cookbook The Quick Six Fix which he'll sign for you after the demo!
July 13, 2018
5 – 9 p.m.
The Fine Arts Building Studios open its doors to the public on the evening of the second Friday of every month to connect with the community and share its work in a casual and relaxed setting. It’s recommended to start your tour by taking an elevator to the 10th floor, and then take the stairs down, stopping at each of the Open Studios for a unique cultural and architectural experience.
July 13, 2018
The official Kingdom Hearts video game concert series is back on tour! The acclaimed, world-class quality orchestral performances will move tens of thousands more fans around the globe!
After celebrating the 15th anniversary of the Kingdom Hearts video game series in major cities with the launch of the first-ever official orchestral concert tour in 2017, the Kingdom Hearts Orchestra World Tour concert series will be back on the road for a second wave of worldwide performances. For the first time, more cities around the world will have the chance to discover the acclaimed concert, produced under the supervision of game director Tetsuya Nomura himself, with the music program supervised by the game’s original soundtrack composer Yoko Shimomura. Miss it not!
July 17, 2018
Photo by Chicago Architecture Foundation
The Basilica de la Sagrada Família in Barcelona is one of the world's great buildings. Hear noted engineer Tristram Carfrae explain how architect Antoni Gaudi’s masterpiece--under construction since 1882--will be completed with state-of-the-art practices.
July 17 – 29, 2018
Photo by Broadway In Chicago
The Color Purple is the 2016 Tony Award winner for Best Musical Revival. Hailed as “a direct hit to the heart” (The Hollywood Reporter), this joyous American classic has conquered Broadway in an all-new “ravishingly reconceived production that is a glory to behold” (The New York Times) directed by Tony winner John Doyle.
With a soul-raising score of jazz, gospel, ragtime and blues, The Color Purple gives an exhilarating new spirit to this Pulitzer Prize-winning story. Don’t miss this stunning re-imagining of an epic story about a young woman’s journey to love and triumph in the American South. It’s the musical sensation that New York Magazine calls “one of the greatest revivals ever.” Experience the exhilarating power of this Tony-winning triumph!
7 - 9 p.m.
AceBounce is celebrating its second anniversary bringing all-night free ping pong along with premium cocktails and food to the Chicago Loop. Experience all the trappings of an over-the-top birthday, complete with ice sculptures, a red carpet photo booth, and a larger than life birthday cake. The best part? The presents are going to the guests. Expect gifts ranging from freebies like free brunch to the grand prize: 2 four-day passes to Lollapalooza. So while they’re indulging in a birthday blow out, they’re giving all the love to the loyal patrons who have helped them reach this milestone.
July 19, 2018
5:30 p.m. – 7 p.m.
Henry David Thoreau once said, “This world is but a canvas to our imagination.” At the intersection of public art and public spaces, are progressive designers, artists, and real estate developers. The result is creative output that enhances communities. How do these projects start? Where do ideas come from? And how are collaborations coming together?
Join panelists Cody Tilson of Digital Kitchen, Zack Cupkovic of R2 Companies, Tanner Woodford of the Chicago Design Museum, Joe Lawton of VDT, Josette O’Neil of Cushing, and moderator Stephen Monaco of Monaco and Company to discuss ideas, how public art is making an impact in commercial real estate and why it's trending. The event is organized by Cushing.
8 – 9:30 p.m.
Shoreline Sightseeing is teaming up once again with Chicago’s hometown brewery, Revolution Brewing, to bring you a one-of-a-kind beer experience. Enjoy seasonal craft beer tastings, creative appetizer pairings, live music and remarkable views along a 90-minute Chicago River Cruise. It departs Shoreline’s dock at Polk Bros Park—at southwest corner of Navy Pier—at 8 p.m.
July 20 and 27
10 a.m. and 12 a.m.
Photo by Lyric Opera of Chicago
From the moment you enter the beautiful and impressive foyer, you’ll be in for a special, one-hour experience with an engaging Lyric docent who will give you behind-the-scenes insights into the vibrant world of grand opera. See the inside of the art-deco Ardis Krainik Theatre, enjoy an up-close-and-personal view of the orchestra pit where the acclaimed Lyric Orchestra plays, and then journey on to backstage destinations where you’ll learn about the vast array of skilled professionals who bring operatic stagecraft to life. Tours start and end in the Lyric Opera House Rice Grand Foyer.
8:30 -12 a.m.
Relive all the dancing and romancing of this ’80s classic while you sip on craft cocktails and snack on complimentary popcorn–27 stories above it all.
6 – 8:30 p.m.
Host the perfect summer gathering by learning tips and tricks for entertaining and the best bites to serve.
July 26, 2018
Photo by Chicago Architecture Foundation
Water is key to a thriving Chicago. Join us for a panel discussion to hear diverse perspectives on how good design can help us better co-exist with water in the future.
Sample acclaimed wines from Illinois’ oldest and largest family-owned winery while gliding along the Chicago River. This cruise features a short wine course, generous tastings of a selection of Lynfred wines and light refreshments, all while enjoying the breathtaking views of the Chicago Shoreline at night. All cruises will depart from Shoreline’s dock at Polk Bros Park at the southwest corner of Navy Pier. Boarding begins 15 minutes prior to departure time. A cash bar will be available.
8:30 -12 a.m.
Enjoy an adventure into the year 2045 where unlikely hero Wade Watts struggles to save humanity while sipping on cocktails with complimentary popcorn—27 stories above it all.
If you are driving to the Loop, you can easily reserve a parking spot ahead of time with the mobile app iParkit. also offers multiple convenient parking garages. You can purchase your spot ahead of time from its website. If you are going to be drinking, we recommend you take a Lyft for a safe ride back home.