Summer Events In Chicago
There's no place on earth better than Chicago in the summertime. After what feels like six months of harsh winter and four months of cold rain, the city transforms into a magical, energetic paradise. Sidewalk patios seemingly materialize out of thin air, people flock to the beaches, and street festivals pop up each weekend. Whether you're in town for meetings at Merchandise Mart or embarking upon an urban adventure, you'll absolutely fall in love with Chicago this summer.
Your summer fun begins at Kinzie Hotel.
Catch a Ballgame
While baseball loyalties can be a divisive topic amongst locals, we can all agree that there are few things better than a cool breeze, a cold beer, and the crack of the bat on a sunny Chicago day. Whether you're rooting for the Sox or cheering on the world-champion Chicago Cubs, you'll have an awesome day at the ballpark.
Put on your Cubbie blue, jump on the Red Line, and head north to the Friendly Confines at Wrigley Field. Even if you're not a baseball fan, the historic park, iconic red brick and ivy, and inimitable energy are worth the price of admission.
When it comes to game day on the northside, the experience doesn't end with the final pitch. After the game, you'll find swarms of people keeping the party alive on Clark Street at dozens of Wrigleyville bars and restaurants.
Take a look at the 2018 Chicago Cubs schedule to see if the Cubs are playing during your upcoming visit to Chicago!
Guaranteed Rate Field
Take the Red Line south to Chicago's historic Bridgeport neighborhood and get ready to cheer on the go go White Sox! Formerly known as US Cellular Field (and Comiskey Park), Guaranteed Rate Field offers a slightly more modern ballpark experience than its northside counterpart. With an extensive craft beer selection at the Craft Kave in the bullpen bar, maple-glazed bacon on a stick (sections 112 and 528), and killer carnitas at 35th Street Tacos (section 127), Guaranteed Rate Field embodies the spirit of Chicago.
Whether you're planning an epic ballpark tour or just want a taste of the local culture, you'll have a blast at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Go to the Beach
With over 18 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline, Chicago turns into a die-hard beach city once the weather breaks. For great people watching, a pickup game of volleyball, and awesome views of the city, head to Oak Street Beach, located 1.2 miles from Kinzie Hotel. Just a mile down the shore, Ohio Street Beach features a more relaxed atmosphere under the nostalgic glow of Navy Pier's iconic Centennial Wheel.
If you're traveling with your pup, make the trek north to Chicago's fenced-in, dog-friendly Montrose Beach in the city's Uptown neighborhood.
Chicago's lakefront isn't all swimming, splashing, and sunbathing. The Chicago Lakefront Trail also features 18 miles of bicycle, jogging, and walking paths along the picturesque Lake Michigan shoreline. If you feel like taking a ride, you can rent a bike from any Divvy Station throughout the city, take in the sites, and maybe stop off at Lincoln Park Zoo, located just off the Lakefront Trail.
Nothing says summer in Chicago like a locally-brewed beer or a refreshing cocktail on a sunny afternoon. With hundreds of great outdoor patios and dozens of street festivals, Chicago's makes its love of summer abundantly clear, one pint at a time. If you find yourself with a free afternoon, don't miss the chance to take part in one of the city's absolutely favorite pastimes.
Chicago's Best Patios
Once summer hits, there's no shortage of patios in any of Chicago's neighborhoods. Steps from Kinzie Hotel, you'll find Peruvian-inspired cocktails and fresh seafood at Tanta's rooftop bar, crisp fresh beers atop Rock Bottom Brewing, or riverfront views with craft cocktails at River Roast.
Just a few minutes west on Randolph, the West Loop offers more great options. For beer, bacon, bocce ball, and more bacon, Kaiser Tiger is the place to be. For a more refined experience, unwind with wines on tap in City Winery's vinous and relaxed outdoor patio.
If you feel like traveling beyond the downtown area, we recommend checking out the backyard vibes, fried chicken, and negroni slushies at Parson's Fish & Chicken in Logan Square or Big Star's always-bustling hipster honkytonk, taco, and whiskey haven.
During the summer months, Millennium Park is in full bloom and offers something for everyone. Once you've taken your obligatory selfie in front of the Bean, enjoy a stroll through the park's scenic and serene Lurie Gardens or bring some wine, snacks, and a blanket to the Jay Pritzker Pavilion for a picture-perfect evening picnic.
Summer Concert & Movie Series
Millennium Park hosts free, public evening events six nights a week at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. During these events, you're welcome to bring your own blankets, food, beer and wine, and lawn chairs to the park's soft, spacious, lawn. Outside food and beverages are not allowed in the seated pavilion.
On Mondays and Thursdays, the park hosts a rotating selection of indie, blues, jazz, African, Caribbean, and rock acts from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Wednesday night is movie night at Millennium Park. Once the sun goes down, the park plays family favorites and Chicago-based classics. This year's film series includes The Blues Brothers, Wayne's World, the Shining, Caddyshack, the Princess Bride, and more.
On Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays, performances by the Grant Park Orchestra will fill the cool evening air with the sounds of Beethoven, Wagner, Stravinsky, Tchaikovsky, and other classical composers.
From Howlin' Wolf to Wilco, from the Smashing Pumpkins to Kanye West, Chicago has always been a city that both produces and appreciates exciting, groundbreaking music. During the summer, Chicago celebrates this rich tradition with every type of music festival imaginable. All across the city, Chicago's internationally-acclaimed, neighborhood-based, and niche fests embody the eclectic musical spirit of Chicago.
Chicago Blues Fest
Be part of one of Chicago's greatest summer traditions with three days of blues, soul, and good times at the 34th Annual Chicago Blues Festival. See blues legends like Ronnie Baker Brooks, John Primer, and Billy Branch headline at the Pritzker Pavilion or catch up-and-coming acts and local stalwarts as you bounce around the festival's three side stages.
Even if you're not a die-hard blues fan, the people watching, awesome food vendors, and great city views make for an all-around good time.
June 8 - 10, 2018 | Millennium Park | Free Admission
Every year, Lolla finds new ways to outdo itself. This year, the iconic, urban, eclectic festival will span four days and feature a diverse lineup of rock, hip hop, indie, EDM, experimental music, and nostalgia acts. Highlights from this year's lineup include hometown hero The Weekend, Arctic Monkeys, Post Malone, Zedd, Portugal. The Man, Camila Cabello, Logic, and more!
Lolla does have verified resellers with tickets available.
August 2 - 5, 2018 | Grant Park | Prices From Verified Resellers May Vary
Pitchfork Music Festival
Hipster heaven once again descends upon Chicago as the 2018 Pitchfork Music Festival takes over the West Loop's Union Park. This year, the festival will bring indie legends, exciting emerging artists, independent rappers, and plenty of innovative oddball acts. Performers this year include Fleet Foxes, Tame Impala, Julien Baker, Courtney Bannett, The War On Drugs, Blood Orange, and more!
July 20 - 22, 2018 | Union Park | $175.00 for 3-Day Passes, $75.00 for Single Day Passes
Neighborhood Street Festivals
While large-scale music festivals are a blast, you'll find the city's musical heart and soul at Chicago's neighborhood festivals. Most of these events are free (with a small suggested donation), feature local and national touring bands, have great food vendors, and embody the Chicago's local culture. Chicago street fest highlights include Do Division Fest, Taste of Randolph Street, West Fest, Green Music Fest, and Wicker Park Fest.
Just About Every Weekend | All Across Chicago | Usually Free, With a Small Suggested Donation
Architectural Boat Tour
Chicago's architectural boat tours are a great way to see the city and are easily the best guided tours in town. Tours by Wendella and Chicago's First Lady provide fascinating and engaging history lessons as you cruise down the Chicago River and out on to Lake Michigan. In addition to receiving an engaging, 90-minute introduction to Chicago's history, you'll also be able to take in amazing views of the city's spectacular skyline and sip beers and wines in the summer sun.
Advanced tickets are available online, and in-person tickets are usually available on the dock the day of the tours.
Taste of Chicago
Sample food from dozens of Chicago restaurants at the world's largest food festival. Each summer, the five-day, outdoor, epicurean extravaganza welcomes foodies from around the country to grab samplers of dishes from institutions like Manny's, the Billy Goat, Lou Malnati's, and Ricobene's, as well as some of Chicago's most unique food trucks.
The festival also features nightly concerts at Grant Park's Petrillo Music Shell. Headliners at the 2018 Taste of Chicago include Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals, Twin Peaks, and others to be announced.
July 11 - 15, 2018 | Grant Park | Free Admission