The Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival Guide (2023)

Summer is festival season, and the Windy City and its surrounding areas are home to some of the best summer festivals in the United States, attracting visitors from all over the world. From good food and live entertainment to art fairs and family-friendly carnival rides, there is something for everyone to enjoy.

Downtown Chicago has its fair share of festivals, but many other neighborhoods and suburban areas have fantastic fairs and festivals as well. It’s a great way to explore Chicagoland and see some new neighborhoods!

Without further ado, here is the Ultimate Chicago Summer Festival guide for 2023.

If you want to search by neighborhood or certain criteria, click on the Events Calendar tab and type in the search bar, or sort by venue or category. 

Some festivals will be listed in more than one category in this post. For example, The Taste of Polonia Festival is under “Food Festivals” and “Cultural Festivals”.

Music Festivals

Nearly every festival has live music performances, but Chicagoland has quite a few festivals dedicated specifically to music. Many of these festivals have an admission fee, and some require tickets to be purchased in advance.

Some music festivals in Chicago are 18+ and 21+, but all of the festivals below allow kids.

Recurring Festivals

Rockin in the Park 

Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day Weekend | More Details

Rockin’ in the Park is a festival with FREE concerts in Parkway Bank Park in Rosemont. Each week they feature a different cover band, usually centered around Rock Music. From a Beatles cover band, to a Lady Gaga/Queen performance, there’s something for everyone! The full schedule is listed here.

All “Rockin’ in the Park” concerts will run from 7 p.m. – 10 p.m. Admission to “Rockin’ in the Park” is free. Outside food and coolers are prohibited. Parking is available at the Parkway Bank Park parking garage and is free with validation from any of the park’s venues.” -From the Parkway Bank Park Website 

Live on the Lake

Memorial Day Weekend-Labor Day Weekend | More Details

Navy Pier’s live outdoor music series is returning this summer in the Bier Garden!

Enjoy some rides on the pier, some live music, delicious food, and some fireworks on Saturday nights!

Grant Park Music Festival 

Many Dates Throughout the Summer | More Details

The Grant Park Music Festival is an annual festival presented by the Department of Cultural Affairs that features classical music, performed by a world-class orchestra and chorus, over the span of ten weeks.

It’s one of the oldest festivals in Chicago and used to be held in historic Grant Park, but now most concerts take place the in the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. Several performances take place at other parks around the city.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series  

Many Dates Throughout the Summer | More Details

The Millennium Park Summer Music Series features a variety of musical performances at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park.

Ravinia Music Festival 

Many Dates Throughout the Summer | More Details

The Ravinia Festival is one of my favorite ways to spend an evening in the summer. It’s a music festival in Highland Park, and you can purchase pavilion seats or lawn seats

People bring elaborate picnics for the lawn seats, and it can be perfect for kids. Bring some board games, let them run around a little, and enjoy

There are a few shows especially for kids at various times throughout the summer as well.

It’s a must for music lovers!

North Center Summer Concert Series 

Many Dates Throughout the Summer | More Details

The North Center Summer Concert Series features free concerts at the Northcenter Town Square on Damen Avenue every Wednesday from 7:00pm-8:00pm.

This is one of the best free family events in the neighborhood, and it returns July 5th.

SummerDance 

Many Dates Throughout the Summer | More Details

Dancers of all ages and skill levels are invited to take part in introductory dance lessons by professional instructors followed by live music and dancing.

The 2023 Summer Schedule will be released soon.

One Weekend Festivals

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

June 3 | More Details

This FREE inspirational music festival brings audiences of all ages and backgrounds together to celebrate the power of Gospel music.

Chicago Blues Festival

June 8-June 11 | More Details

Chicago Blues Festival shares the great Chicago-born music tradition of blues music while shining a spotlight on the genre’s contributions to soul, R&B, gospel, rock, hip hop, and more.

Chicago House Music Festival

June 24-June 25 | More Details

Chicago House Music Festival and Conference will present DJs and panel discussions at the Chicago Cultural Center, highlighting key industry topics and the various sounds and styles of House Music, the genre born in Chicago that has gone on to revolutionize dance music internationally.

Presented in conjunction with the Taste of Chicago pop-up in Humboldt Park on June 24, the House festival brings a full day of DJs to the mainstage, including DJ Roy Davis Jr., DJ Psycho-B, NoshaLuv, DJ Emmaculate, and DJ V from Chicago, with more to be announced. Newly added, on Sunday, June 25 as part of ancillary festival programming, local House DJs will spin at the historic Maxwell Street Market (800 S. Desplaines) from 12noon to 2pm. Additional festival lineup and conference details to be shared in the coming weeks.- From chicago.gov

Out of Space  

July 27-July 30 | More Details

An Evanston Music Festival hosted at the beautiful Canal Shore Golf Course.

Children are also welcome at this event with a guardian, and music fans under the age of 4 years old are welcome for free. Children between the ages of 4-15 years old will require a half-priced children’s ticket which will be available for purchase at the gate. Children 15 and over will require a full-priced adult ticket.

Windy City Smokeout 

July 13-16 | More Details

Chicago’s greatest country music festival! Kids 10 and under are free.

Winnetka Music Festival  

June 16-June 17 | More Details

A music festival in downtown Winnetka, with The Wallflowers headlining on Friday, and Michael Franti and Spearhead headlining on Saturday.

Winnetka Music Festival returns to the North Shore with two days of music and interactive experiences for the whole family, alongside food, beer, wine, and great music. Over the course of the two days we’ll welcome 20+ artists across 4 stages throughout the festival grounds.

Concerts for Conservation 

July 14-July 22 | More Details

Brookfield Zoo will host a summer concert series, Concerts for Conservation! Enjoy four incredible evenings of live music while relaxing in our beautiful park surrounded by wildlife and nature. Get ready to bring your appetites, blankets, lawn chairs, family, and friends! -From the Brookfield Zoo website

Pitchfork Music Festival 

July 21-July 23 | More Details

One of Chicago’s greatest music festivals at Chicago’s Union Park. Kids 10 and under are free!

Lollapalooza

August 3-6 | More Details

Chicago’s biggest music festival, and it’s great for teens. Headliners include Billie Eilish, Karol G, Kendrick Lamar, The 1975, Odesza Tomorrow x Together, Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Lana Del Ray.

Children 8 years-old and younger will be admitted free of charge with a ticket-holding adult. Limit 2 children per ticketed adult.

Thirsty Ears Festival

August 12-August 13 | More Details

This classical music festival features stellar ensembles and soloists performing music from Beethoven to Shostakovich to Reich and everything in between on the main stage.

There will also be beer and wine, vendor booths, kid-friendly activities, and food trucks.

LatiNxt Music Festival  

August 27-August 27 | More Details

This free two-day festival will feature a variety of cutting-edge music from the Latin American diaspora with a focus on new musical trends. Music performances will take place at Navy Pier’s Lake Stage, Beer Garden, and Wave Wall with an array of artisan vendors.

The LatiNxt Festival is curated by Future Rootz, a collective of Latinx musicians, artists, taste-makers, and cultural innovators.

-From the Navy Pier website

Chicago Jazz Festival 

August 31-September 3 | More Details

The Chicago Jazz Festival returns with free jazz performances celebrating all forms of jazz in Millennium Park, at the Chicago Cultural Center and citywide. Produced by DCASE and programmed by the Jazz Institute of Chicago (JIC)

The Chicago Jazz Festival is a Labor Day weekend tradition that promotes all forms of jazz through free, high-quality music programming. The festival showcases Chicago’s local talent alongside national and international artists to raise awareness and appreciation for one of the city’s most beloved art forms.

-From the City of Chicago website

Hyde Park Jazz Festival

September 23-September 24 | More Details

Presented on 14 stages across Hyde Park, this remarkable two-day free festival showcases collaboration between academic, cultural and community institutions, and local businesses to present over 30 bands in a variety of settings throughout the Hyde Park neighborhood. Over 20,000 jazz fans and enthusiasts will gather at the event to enjoy more than 18 hours of free, nonstop jazz performances.

-From the Hyde Park Jazz Festival website 

Art Festivals 

Art festivals are a collection of local artists and craft vendors showcasing their original art alongside food vendors, local businesses, and live music. It’s a great way for artists to sell some of their work and an opportunity for families to support artists and local vendors while having some family fun.

Most art festivals are comprised of juried artists, meaning a panel approved the artists to be included, so you can expect a certain level of quality.

Art festivals typically offer free admission, and many have family-friendly activities like craft demonstrations, bounce houses, face painting, and more. 

Barrington Art Festival

May 27-May 28th | More Details

This beloved art fest fills the streets with 120 artists selling paintings, sculptures, jewelry, clothing, and more! There will be live music, art fest bingo, spin art, sand sculpture, coloring, and drawing for the kids.

Deerfield Art Festival

June 3-June 4 | More Details

This art festival has over 85 original artists and live music. They’ll have Italian ice, empanada, churros, lemonade, bingo, spin art, sand sculpture, coloring, drawing & more.

Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival

June 3-June 4 | More Details

The Hinsdale Fine Arts Festival hosts 85-100 artists and fun for the entire family throughout the shady trees of Burlington Park.

57th Street Art Fair in Hyde Park

June 3-June 4 | More Details

Experience the oldest juried art fair in the Midwest. There will be work from over 200 artists, kids’ activities, musical performances, and great food! 

Riverside Arts Weekend

June 10-June 11 | More Details

A  juried craft show with a children’s art project, food and drink vendors, live music and dance performances, and more.

Old Town Art Fair

June 10-June 11 | More Details

220 juried artists, a garden walk, music stages, and a children’s corner with face painting, crafts, and mad science.

Wells Street Art Festival

June 10-June 11 | More Details

125 juried artists, cuisine, music stages, kids art activities, and more!

Artists of the Wall Festival

June 17-June 18 | More Details

 This local favorite annual event is truly unique and fun for the whole family. Since 1993, people have been painting a wall in Rogers Park as a community. Come check out the creations at this great event. 

Gold Coast Art Fair

June 17-June 18 | More Details

This award-winning art festival features 200 juried artists from around the country. Paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, mixed media, and more will be available for purchase. Live music stages in various locations along with delicious local food, beer, and a wine tent add to the festive atmosphere. 

Logan Square Arts Festival

June 23-June 25 | More Details

Featuring 30 bands over three days and the work of 70 local artists, makers, and artisanal vendors.

Burr Ridge Art Fair

June 24 | More Details

This art fair takes place at the beautiful Village Green in Burr Ridge. Artists from around the country will be showcasing their paintings, jewelry, furniture, ceramics, wearables, fashion, accessories, 3D art pieces, sculptures, and more. There will be live music, various food and drink options at nearby restaurants, and a variety of activities for kids, including face painting and a giant graffiti wall. 

Naperville Fine Arts Fair

June 24-25 | More Details

Children can paint in the petite Picasso area, and there will be a balloon artist.

Southport Art Fest

July 8-July 9 | More Details

Just next to Wrigley Field, the two-day festival will showcase handmade crafts, and a wide range of art mediums, including oil, acrylic, watercolor, jewelry, sculpture, photography, wood, glass, paper, metal, and mixed media.

Millennium Art Festival

July 14-16 | More Details

This three-day festival in Millennium Park on Michigan Avenue is one of the top festivals for art lovers.

Guests will see an array of original artwork, including paintings, ceramics, photography, furniture, and more, at all price points.

Street food vendors, local bands, and artist demonstrations add to the festive vibe of the show.

Glencoe Art Festival

July 22-July 23 | More Details

The festival, which covers Glencoe’s downtown, features more than 90 juried artists showing and selling paintings, sculpture, ceramics, glass, jewelry and more!

Family-friendly (and dog-friendly, too!), there are activities just for kids and live artist demonstrations, as well as non-stop live music along with restaurants and cafes on the festival route offering delicious meals and tasty treats.

Admission is free and there is plenty of nearby free parking.

The show is also wheelchair and stroller accessible.

Geneva Arts Fair

July 29-July 30 | More Details

A juried arts fair in historic downtown Geneva.

Art at the Glen

July 29-July 30 | More Details

“More than 140 juried artists from near and far will showcase and sell their one-of-a-kind pieces in a variety of mediums, including painting, photography, ceramics, furniture, jewelry, wood, fiber, and more!

Non-stop live music on three stages and activities and art projects for kids add to the family-friendly vibe. Festival food and several restaurants just steps away from the artists’ booths ensure that no one will go hungry!

The show is accessible and wheelchair friendly. Admission and parking are free.”- From the Art at the Glen website 

Mini Fest

July 30 | More Details

Founded by Sydney Walters, Mini Fest is a non-profit event bringing art education to the youth at a fraction of the cost. Connecting like-minded people from around Chicago, we are working to build a reachable network of entrepreneurs, creatives, and entertainers.

  • Free Activities
  • Mini Art Workshops
  • Artists & Small Shops
  • Live Music
  • Food Trucks

Mini Fest’s goal is to spark creativity while making memories and welcomes all ages and genders!

The event is FREE, but some activities/crafts cost between $2-$6.

Wilmette Art Fair

August 5-August 6 | More Details

“In addition to the extraordinary artwork, festival-goers will enjoy live music, fun art activities for kids and great food at the Wilmette Art Fair. Nestled amongst many upscale retail shops, galleries, cafes and restaurants, the festival completes a day of shopping and browsing in the charming Village of Wilmette.”-From the Wilmette Art Fair Website 

Lincolnshire Art Festival

August 12-August 13 | More Details

“More than 80 juried artists from around the country display and sell their work including paintings, sculpture, jewelry, ceramics and more! Live music, festival food, and an excellent selection of beers from Half Day Brewery add to the weekend festivities. Admission to the festival is free and there is plenty of nearby parking. The show is also handicap accessible and wheel friendly. “-From the Lincolnshire Art Festival website 

Printers Row Art Festival

August 12-13 | More Details

“90 juried artists from near and far! While strolling the show you’ll see incredible art from painters, street artists, jewelers, up-cycling artists, photographers, woodworkers, sculptors and more – at all price points!

There’ll be lots of live music, and local restaurants, cafes and bars will offer a multitude of eating and drinking options. The gorgeous architecture throughout Printer’s Row makes for a magnificent backdrop for this show, highlighting the beauty, culture, and creativity of the area!

Admission is free, and there is nearby parking, as well as a convenient parking garage one block away on Harrison. The show is wheelchair and stroller accessible.”-From the Printers Row Art Fest website

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest

August 18-August 20 | More Details

For over twenty years, The Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest (GAAF) has presented a free, weekend-long arts festival featuring over 100 artist booths, open studios, and live entertainment on outdoor stages.  Attendees view and purchase handmade artworks directly from the creators.  The Fest brings free live music, performances and art demonstrations — along with street food and craft beer from local merchants on the cobblestone streets of the Glenwood Avenue Arts District in Chicago’s historic Rogers Park neighborhood.

Friday 8/18: 6pm-10pm Friday Night Cobblestone Jam
Saturday 8/19: 11am to 9pm  Artists’ Market 
Sunday 8/20: 11am to 7pm  Artists’ Market

-All information from the Glenwood Avenue Website 

Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest

August 18-August 20 | More Details

130 juried artists from around the country will show and sell their art including paintings, jewelry, mixed media, photography, sculpture, ceramics, one-of-a-kind furniture, home accessories and more!

Live music on three stages, great food, drinks, and tasty treats from local restaurants, and a variety of kids’ activities, create a fun and festive family-friendly event.

Admission is free and there is plenty of parking. The show is wheelchair and stroller accessible. -From the Evanston Art and Big Fork Fest website

The Forge Art Walk

August 26-August 27 | More Details

Live entertainment, interactive art demos, fine art displays, classes, and shopping opportunities! Be inspired not only by the art but by the incredible views found only at the reclaimed landscape of America’s largest adventure park.

Bucktown Arts Fest

August 26-August 27 | More Details

An art festival in one of Chicago’s most popular neighborhoods.

Visit the Kids’ Tent at Holstein Park for art projects for kids!

Glen Ellyn Festival of the Arts

August 26-August 27 | More Details

Enjoy this outdoor lakeside fine arts festival with more than 50 booths, award-winning artists, a fiber fest, and space to wander, relax and listen to live folk music.

West Loop Art Fest

September 2-September 3 | More Details

The hugely successful West Loop Art Fest returns for its fifth year on Saturday and Sunday, September 2nd and 3rd in the heart of Chicago’s vibrant West Loop. Featuring four blocks of amazing art, the West Loop Art Fest is not to be missed!

The West Loop Art Fest is the perfect destination for a late summer shopping experience or ambient evening stroll. A diverse range of art mediums will be on display and available for purchase, making this show a must-go event this summer. With interactive art, wine tastings, children’s crafts and live music, this is a fun filled weekend for the whole family! There is nothing quite like the West Loop Art Fest, and this free event is perfect way to enjoy a summer weekend in Chicago.

-From the West Loop Arts Fest website 

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts

September 9-September 10 | More Details

The Lakeview East Festival of the Arts showcases more than 150 juried artists featuring paintings, sculpture, photography, furniture, jewelry and more. These original pieces are for sale in a wide range of price ranges. In addition to the art, the Festival has become a center of activity for the weekend with live demonstrations, entertainment stages, family activities and a garden oasis.

-From the Lakeview Festival of the Arts website

Art on the Fox

September 9-10 | More Details

A fun-filled festival weekend is in store as Art on the Fox makes an exciting return to the charming streets of Downtown Algonquin!

Hosted by the Village of Algonquin, the fest will showcase the work of 75 juried artists, along with live musical performances and family-friendly activities including sand art, face painting, a graffiti wall, and an interactive kid’s art tent! In addition to exceptional artwork in a variety of price points and mediums, including paintings, ceramics, glass, jewelry, sculpture and more, guests will also be able to enjoy all that the newly renovated downtown Algonquin has to offer including several restaurants just steps away!

-From the Art on the Fox website 

Riverwalk Fine Art Fair

September 16-September 17 | More Details

120 juried artists at this Naperville fine art walk.

Deer Park Art Show

September 16-September 17 | More Details

Held on September 16 and 17, this show rocks to live music and is stroller-friendly, kid-friendly, and upbeat! Artist demonstrations, artist booth chats and interactive activities for kids add to the fun. Admission is free, and there is plenty of parking.

-From the Deer Park Art Show website 

Edgewater Arts Festival

September 16-September 17 | More Details

Head to this artsy neighborhood for an arts festival featuring all mediums. There will be food, music, beautiful handmade goods, an awesome kids area, and more!

Ravenswood Art Walk

September 16-September 17 | More Details

Open studios and galleries, pop-up performances and activations, and an outdoor arts market featuring 50+ local makers, live music and dance, food trucks, and a Malt Row beer garden, and more!

Food Festivals

Nearly every festival in and around the city of Chicago features local food vendors, but food is the focus of the festivals listed below.

Windy City Hot Dog Fest

June 3-June 4 | More Details

Some of Chicagoland’s favorite hot dog stands will compete for who has the best hot dog! And you get to be the judge! Plus, in addition to tasty dogs, patrons will get to listen to great local and regional acts on the event’s mainstage. Don’t miss the kids’ area, arts & crafts vendors, and a top dog parade on Sunday!

Vegandale

June 10 | More Details

Vegandale is a huge vegan food festival with music, art, and more. It can be crowded and hot, so use your judgment bringing kids!

Taste of Highland Park

June 23-June 24 | More Details

A delicious food festival in Highland Park.

Chicago Food Truck Festival

June 24-June 25 | More Details

Enjoy some of the best food in Chicago at the Summer Food Truck Festival. Admission is free, but then you pay for any food you’d like. There will be games and live music as well!

Taste of Oak Brook

June 3 | More Details

Roscoe Village Burger Fest

July 7-July 9 | More Details

World Music and Food Fest

July 15 | More Details

Highwood Taco Fest

July 20-July 23 | More Details

Rogers Park Taco Crawl

July 20 | More Details

Local restaurants will serve their signature tacos while you stroll Clark St. and get to know the community.

Tacos y Tamales Festival

July 21-July 23 | More Details

  • The Best (and most authentic) Tacos y Tamales Chicago has to offer
  • Wide Variety of Tamales from several regions of Latin America
  • Handmade Tortillas
  • Local Art Installations
  • Merchant Vendors
  • Authentic Mexican Chefs
  • Strong Presence of Latin Music and Dance Performances
  • Amazing Arts & Entertainment
  • Beer Garden featuring Modelo’s portfolio of products
  • Suggested Donation benefiting local community organizations in Pilsen

Taste of Lincoln

July 21-July 23 | More Details

One of Chicago’s best street fests!

  • An amazing line-up from bands all over the Midwest.
  • Local food favorites
  • Arts & crafts
  • Kids’ Carnival is BACK with non-stop activities for your littles including inflatables, arts/crafts and performances.

Highwood Garlic Fest

August 17 | More Details

“Held in conjunction with Highwood’s Evening Gourmet Market, this foodie fest showcases a plethora of dishes with the ever-popular taste (and scent) of garlic, with a garlic trivia contest, garlic tattoos and hennas, live music and plenty of family-friendly activities to entertain all evening long.  Not to worry, there will be loads of mints on hand!

Known for its culinary and medicinal purposes, attendees will have the opportunity to sample various garlic creations from out-of-the-ordinary garlic-infused chocolate, cookies, ice cream, fudge, funnel cakes and garlic-infused cocktails, to the classic, savory options like pastas, sandwiches, sauces and spreads, and vote for their favorite!”-From the Garlic Fest Website

Ribfest

August 18-August 20 | More Details

50,000 lbs of pork, live music, and family fun in a great neighborhood.

Family-friendly entertainment is located in the Northcenter “Kids Square!”
4100 N Damen Ave: Saturday and Sunday Only: 12 PM – 8 PM$10 suggested donation at the gate for individuals or $20 for families.

Taste of Greektown

August 25-August 27 | More Details

Hellenic pride will take center stage when this acclaimed annual culinary fest on Halsted Street in Chicago’s happening West Loop returns for its 33rd year. As most Chicagoans know, this strip of Halsted has been the epicenter of the city’s acclaimed Greek restaurant scene for decades. Quite simply, Taste of Greektown is a romantic weekend celebration for lovers of Mediterranean culture.

Blending Old World traditions with a 21st century freshness, the tantalizing food and spirits from neighborhood eateries will again be the main attraction. There will also be plenty of music and entertainment including Greek bands and games for both kids and families. Opa!

-From the Taste of Greektown Website 

Lakeview Taco Fest

August 26-August 27 | More Details

More than 10 local eateries challenge themselves to make the tastiest tacos.

The fest also features special beer, two music stages, crowd-pleasing Mexican wrestlers, activities for kids, and visitors can text vote for Chicago’s “Best Taco.”

A $10 suggested donation benefits the Friends of Lakeview.

Taste of Polonia

September 1-September 4 | More Details

Enjoy a true Polish cultural experience with live music, dance performances, authentic Polish food and beer, exhibitions, local merchants, a casino, beer garden, a Kids Stage and area filled with great activities.

  • Bounce inflatables, climbing wall, face painting, clowns
  • Casino
  • Tastings & cooking classes
  • Exhibits
  • Carnival rides & games
  • Over 30 vendors & craft beer tent

Kids 12 and under are free

Wing Out Chicago

September 2-September 3 | More Details

WingOut Chicago is excited to announce its new home at Gallagher Way!! Now in the shadow of Wrigley Field, patrons can indulge in all the flavors from Chicago’s top vendors while also enjoying adult beverages and Live Music.

From Classic Buffalo, Honey Chili, Jerk, Wood Smoked, Sweet and Spicy, Spicy Garlic, Buffalo Blue, Asian Ginger, Southern BBQ, Habanero Hot, and more… Over 20 varieties will be represented in all for patrons to try.

Adding more ‘flavor’ to the mix will be a live music stage and block party atmosphere, completing a picture-perfect setting for all in attendance.

-From the Wing Out Chicago website 

Taste of Chicago

September 8-September 10 | More Details

Chicago’s favorite food festival returns a bit later this year.

World Dumpling Fest

September 9 | More Details

Join the Chicago Cultural Alliance to celebrate and experience diverse cultures throughout Chicago and the world through performance, art, and DUMPLINGS! Dumplings are served from neighborhood-based ethnic restaurants in and around Chicago and aims to highlight the diversity of cultural and community the city has to offer.

Located just off the Logan Square Blue Line Station, this one of a kind event will feature cultural performances, live music, interactive crafts, drinks and of course, dumplings. This is a free event and dumplings are purchased using Tasting Tickets which are available to purchase onsite or via the ticket link below.

-From the World Dumpling Fest website 

Apple Fest

September 30-October 1 | More Details

Family fun, food, music, and a delicious way to kick off fall!

Neighborhood Festivals 

Neighborhood festivals typically take place on the main street of a certain neighborhood or town, and while typically free, there is usually a suggested donation to benefit the community. Chicago street festivals are a great way to explore different neighborhoods. There is always good music from local bands, local food, free entertainment, and sometimes there is a carnival area as well.

Cream of Wheaton

June 1-June 4 | More Details

Cream of Wheaton features arts & crafts, a carnival, food vendors, live music, and more!

Do Division

June 2-June 4 | More Details

This is one of the best street festivals of the year, and they have a family fun fest with a petting zoo, mega slide, kids’ music, and more.

LaGrange Pet Parade

June 3 | More Details

Enjoy one of the most talked about parades in Chicagoland as tens of thousands of people watch floats, bands, kids and pets in costume!

Jonquil Park Family Festival

June 3 | More Details

The festival will feature children activities, inflatables, games, a puppet show from Jabberwocky Marionettes and music from Mr. Nick Davio, who holds teaching artist positions at The Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago Children’s Theatre.

Old Canal Days in Downtown Lockport

June 9-June 11 | More Details

Old Canal Days” feature a carnival, artisan market, parade, fireworks show, music, and more.

Andersonville Midsommarfest

June 9-June 11 | More Details

One of the best neighborhoods in Chicago, and there’s great food, music, and a bustling community having a good time!

HomerFest

June 22-June 25 | More Details

4 days of live music, a carnival (including sensory-friendly hours), and great food!

Rotary Grove Fest

June 22-June 25 | More Details

A festival with carnival rides, music, a beer garden, and more.

Frontier Days in Arlington Heights

June 30-July 4 | More Details

There will be a market, live music, carnival rides, family fun, a 4th of July parade, and more!

Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest

June 30-July 4 | More Details

The festival includes live bands, food vendors, adult beverages (beer, wine and hard seltzers), carnival, business expo and craft fair, Family Day, fireworks and many other family activities.

Lake Forest Festival and Fireworks

July 4 | More Details

The 16th Annual Lake Forest Festival and Fireworks show! This year’s musical entertainment is Run Forrest Run, with opening band Fletcher Rockwell! After the show, enjoy the fireworks!

West Fest

July 7-July 8 | More Details

West Fest Chicago features local restaurants, food trucks, food vendors in the West Town neighborhood.

Kids Fest will have train rides, bounce houses, pony rides, and a live entertainment stage.

Pet Fest features a dog obstacle course, paw painting, pet retail, and services booths, plus various pet-related demonstrations throughout the day.” -From the West Fest website 

Square Roots in Lincoln Square

July 7-July 9 | More Details

Lincoln Square Ravenswood Chamber of Commerce is hosting the Square Roots Festival. The festival presents live music, family fun, local restaurants and vendors, and the best craft beer showcase of any Chicago street fest, a Kids Zone & interactive workshops in the Old Town School of Folk Music.

Fiesta Del Sol

July 27-July 30 | More Details

“Fiesta Del Sol is a free four-day family friendly Latino festival, located in the heart of one of Chicago’s most attractive communities – Pilsen.

This event spans an eight-block space down Cermak Road and can be seen from miles around because of the carnival’s Ferris Wheel and the bright lights of over 100 booths showcasing some of the best tacos, tamales and tostadas in town.

It draws over 1.5 million people during the four days of the festival and has become a major economic engine for local businesses.  Well known artists, as well as up and coming talent, perform on our three stages.

Don’t miss out on any of the fun for the whole family!” –From the Fiesta del Sol website 

Wicker Park Fest

July 28-July 30 | More Details

“As one of Chicago’s most anticipated summer festivals, and dubbed “Chicago’s Best Street Festival of the Summer ” by the Chicago Tribune,

Wicker Park Fest is one of Chicago’s top-drawing festivals, attracting visitors from across Chicagoland and the country with its fantastic music line-up.

Wicker Park Fest reflects the neighborhood’s rich musical heritage, vibrant nightlife and acclaimed restaurants. Building on the area’s unique character, the weekend celebrates the neighborhood with eclectic music, great local food, arts and crafts, and retail vendors.”-From the Wicker Park Fest website 

Jeff Fest

August 4-August 6 | More Details

A street festival in Jefferson Park with food, music, fun and more!

Beyond music and food, the Kids’ Zone area on the north side of the park features a ton of cool activities for families. It’s also where one will find the fest’s groovin’ “Community Stage.”

Edison Park Fest

August 11-August 13 | More Details

Food, family fun, music, and more!

Retro on Roscoe

August 11-August 13 | More Details

“Three stages will be spread amongst an eminent six-block stretch in Chicago’s favorite Roscoe Village. Live music will play oldies and throwbacks along with popular hits to keep festival goers moving through the hot summer nights!

After eating some small bites make sure to head over to the family area that offers prime inflatables, delectable crafts, balloon artists, face painting, music, rides and more. Once the kids have their dose of entertainment, put the pedal to the metal with the Antique and Classic Car and Motorcycle Show. Presented by Four Treys Bar, Retro’s Antique Car Show will showcase over 50 antique, classic and muscle cars throughout the festival weekend.”-From the Retro on Roscoe website

Palatine Street Fest

August 25-August 27 | More Details

Downtown Palatine Street Fest has been the premier suburban street festival since 2000.  Palatine Street Fest features live music, local cuisine, and family entertainment and activities over a three-day period in late August.  

We are excited to announce that Street Fest will kick off on Friday with the ultimate 80’s Dance Party featuring Sixteen Candles. Saturday’s co-headliners will be local favorites Modern Day Romeos and ARRA, and Sunday featuring Mike & Joe and American English.

​This year’s featured local cuisine will cover everything from ice cream to pizza to Mexican food plus more. Visit the beer or wine tents for an adult refreshment while you’re checking out the entertainment. Have any questions? Feel free to email us at streetfest@palatine.il.us. –From the Palatine Street Fest website 

Skokie’s Backlot Bash

August 25-August 27 | More Details

Live music, a carnival, food, a 5k, bingo, entertainment and more.

Naperville Jaycee’s Last Fling

September 1-September 4 | More Details

The Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling is a family-friendly community festival which takes place over Labor Day Weekend near Downtown Naperville and, for many, is a fun way to say farewell to summer!

The Last Fling offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages to enjoy including: music, food and beverage vendors, a Family Fun area, a carnival, unique special events, a business Expo, a parade and more!

Frankfort Fall Festival

September 2-September 4 | More Details

Each year during Labor Day weekend, over 250,000 visitors gather to the charming Village of Frankfort to enjoy the Frankfort Fall Festival. The festival welcomes over 300 artisans from all over the United States to exhibit their elite products and services.

In addition, many of Frankfort’s local organizations collaborate by sponsoring special events that highlight Frankfort Fall Festivities. ADMISSION IS FREE and there is something for everyone from carnival rides to main stage entertainment, to walking tacos and funnel cakes, Frankfort Fall Fest has it ALL!

-From the Frankfort Festival of Commerce website 

Schaumburg September Fest

September 2-September 4 | More Details

An outdoor festival featuring entertainment on three stages, a carnival, arts & crafts show, craft beer & wine area, Taste of Schaumburg, Bingo, free pony rides on Saturday, fireworks on Sunday evening, and a Labor Day parade on Monday. Free Admission and Shuttle Bus Service.

-From the Schaumburg September Fest website 

Winfield Good Ol’ Days

September 8-September 10 | More Details

Live music, trolley tours, a  parade, a kid’s zone with bouncy houses, face painting, food, and so much more!

Top Things to do in Chicago this Weekend (5/19-5/21)

Cultural Festivals 

Cultural Festivals celebrate particular cultures in the melting pot of Chicago. It’s a great way to sample cuisines from all over the world, while enjoying music and supporting local artisans.

Maifest in Lincoln Square

June 1-June 4 | More Details

This German festival will have live music, authentic German food, good beer, and more!

Lincoln Park Greek Festival

June 2-June 4 | More Details

Lincoln Park Greek Fest transports you to Greece with authentic Greek food, music, dance, and traditions.

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas in Humboldt Park

June 8-June 11 | More Details

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas or “Puerto Rican Festival” celebrates Puerto Rican culture with food, music, cultural performances, art, and a family carnival. Some events are free, some events require a purchased ticket.

Scottish Festival and Highland Games

June 16-June 17 | More Details

Highland Dancing competition, children’s activities, dogs of Scotland, a British Car show, a Celtic rock stage, knobbly knees contest .kilts, candy, jewelry and of course shortbread and haggis!

Kids 12 and under are free!

Swedish Days in Geneva

June 21-June 25 | More Details

Celebrates the Swedish heritage with a craft beer tent, a carnival, a Kids’ Day, nightly entertainment, and a parade are part of the festivities.

Dragon Boat Race for Literacy

June 24 | More Details

“The Chinese Dragon Boat Race dates back to over 2,000 years and is a popular sport among Chinese and Asian communities all over the world. Started in 2000, the Chicago Dragon Boat Race for Literacy is a family-fun activity enjoyed by visitors from all over the city and surrounding suburbs.

The Dragon Boat Race for Literacy has been successfully held by Chinatown Chamber for the past 20 years, which carries over the spirit of Chicago, promotes Asian culture, and aims to help the neighborhood literacy programs.”-https://www.chicagochinatown.org/

International Festival of Life

July 1-4 | More Details

The 30th Anniversary of the African/Caribbean Festival of Life. There will be Jerk, seafood, and vegan food, and lots of musical performers, crafts, etc.

Kids 12 and under are free!

Colombian Fest

July 14-July 16 | More Details

Celebrate Colombia with food, music, drinks, and fun!

Fiesta Del Sol

July 27-July 30 | More Details

“Fiesta Del Sol is a free four-day family friendly Latino festival, located in the heart of one of Chicago’s most attractive communities – Pilsen.

This event spans an eight-block space down Cermak Road and can be seen from miles around because of the carnival’s Ferris Wheel and the bright lights of over 100 booths showcasing some of the best tacos, tamales and tostadas in town.

It draws over 1.5 million people during the four days of the festival and has become a major economic engine for local businesses.  Well known artists, as well as up and coming talent, perform on our three stages.

Bantu Fest

July 29-July 30 | More Details

The Bantu Fest is Chicago’s biggest multi-cultural festival that brings over 50,000 people from over 30 different countries to celebrate Love, Peace & Unity.

Bantu Fest is a one-of-a-kind event that promotes cultural exchange and diversity among nations. The event is designed to entertain, as well as educate people of all nations on countries featured, through Music, Food, Culture, History, and more

Destination Asia Festival

August 4-August 6 | More Details

Explore the diverse cultures of Asia through music, dance, food, and more. Join in throughout the weekend for a fun-filled experience that will transport you across the globe.

Bud Billiken Parade

August 12 | More Details

This historic parade is the second largest parade in the United States, and the largest black parade in the world.  It’s an important celebration of music, food, dance, and laughter in the African American community. It marks the beginning of the school year, and over $25,000 in scholarships is awarded to applicants, and 100,000 school supplies are given to students.

Taste of Greektown

August 25-August 27 | More Details

Hellenic pride will take center stage when this acclaimed annual culinary fest on Halsted Street in Chicago’s happening West Loop returns for its 33rd year. As most Chicagoans know, this strip of Halsted has been the epicenter of the city’s acclaimed Greek restaurant scene for decades. Quite simply, Taste of Greektown is a romantic weekend celebration for lovers of Mediterranean culture.

Blending Old World traditions with a 21st century freshness, the tantalizing food and spirits from neighborhood eateries will again be the main attraction. There will also be plenty of music and entertainment including Greek bands and games for both kids and families. Opa!

-From the Taste of Greektown Website 

Taste of Polonia

September 1-September 4 | More Details

Enjoy a true Polish cultural experience with live music, dance performances, authentic Polish food and beer, exhibitions, local merchants, a casino, beer garden, a Kids Stage and area filled with great activities.

  • Bounce inflatables, climbing wall, face painting, clowns
  • Casino
  • Tastings & cooking classes
  • Exhibits
  • Carnival rides & games
  • Over 30 vendors & craft beer tent

Kids 12 and under are free

Long Grove Irish Days

September 2-September 4 | More Details

All eyes will be smiling when the historic shopping district of Long Grove presents Irish Days, a celebration of Irish culture, music, food, and drink.

German-American Oktoberfest

September 8-September 10 | More Details

Celebrate German culture in Lincoln Square with beer, pretzels, live music, spaetzle, kids activities, and. more!

Scandinavian Day Festival

September 10 | More Details

Enjoy celebrating the cultures of Scandinavia, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Finland, and Iceland, at this one day festival in South Elgin. There will be food, dance, crafts, and an ABBA salute!

Glendale Heights Oktoberfest

September 14-September 24 | More Details

Experience live entertainment daily including strolling German “Oompah” entertainers in one of the most authentic festival tents. There will be a selection of German Beers and German Food. To round out the Glendale Heights Oktoberfest experience, there will be vendors with German products, souvenirs, hats, steins, and much much more.

West Loop Bavarian Block Party

September 16-September 17 | More Details

The Bavarian Block Party will center on an authentic celebration of German culture, complete with popular German foods such as bratwurst and pretzels along with traditional American fare.

The Bavarian Block Party will similarly feature live music, including a mix of German polka bands as well as local rock and pop groups.

Naperville Irish Fest

September 22-September 23 | More Details

Live Irish music, dance, food, and more!

Oktoberfest in Highland Park

September 30 | More Details

Celebrate German culture with German music, food, and more!

Carnivals

Cream of Wheaton

June 1-June 4 | More Details

Cream of Wheaton features arts & crafts, a carnival, food vendors, live music, and more!

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas in Humboldt Park

June 8-June 11 | More Details

Fiestas Patronales Puertorriquenas or “Puerto Rican Festival” celebrates Puerto Rican culture with food, music, cultural performances, art, and a family carnival. Some events are free, some events require a purchased ticket.

Old Canal Days in Downtown Lockport

June 9-June 11 | More Details

Old Canal Days” feature a carnival, artisan market, parade, fireworks show, music, and more.

“Grad’s and Grease” Summer Carnival in Highwood

June 9-June 12 | More Details

Dress in attire from “Grease”, and enjoy this summer carnival with rides, games and food.

HomerFest

June 22-June 25 | More Details

4 days of live music, a carnival (including sensory-friendly hours), and great food!

Rotary Grove Fest

June 22-June 25 | More Details

A festival with carnival rides, music, a beer garden, and more.

Frontier Days in Arlington Heights

June 30-July 4 | More Details

There will be a market, live music, carnival rides, family fun, a 4th of July parade, and more!

Palatine Jaycees Hometown Fest

June 30-July 4 | More Details

The festival includes live bands, food vendors, adult beverages (beer, wine, and hard seltzers), carnival, business expo and craft fair, Family Day, fireworks, and many other family activities.

Lake County Fair

July 26-July 30 | More Details

“Celebrating its 94th year, the Lake County Fair offers excitement for the whole herd. From Ferris wheels to funnel cakes, there’s something for everyone at the Lake County Fair. Enjoy motocross, monster trucks, demolition derby, pig races, livestock competitions, and more. All grandstand and arena events are free with admission!”- From the Lake Country Fair website

DuPage County Fair

July 28-July 30 | More Details

There is something for everyone at the Fair. Plenty of entertainment, animals, food, exhibits and carnival rides. Fun for all ages.

Will County Fair

August 23-August 27 | More Details

A county fair with lots of family-friendly activities, great food, and more!

Skokie’s Backlot Bash

August 25-August 27 | More Details

Live music, a carnival, food, a 5k, bingo, entertainment, and more.

Naperville Jaycee’s Last Fling

September 1-September 4 | More Details

The Naperville Jaycees’ Last Fling is a family-friendly community festival which takes place over Labor Day Weekend near Downtown Naperville and, for many, is a fun way to say farewell to summer!

The Last Fling offers a wide variety of attractions for all ages to enjoy including: music, food and beverage vendors, a Family Fun area, a carnival, unique special events, a business Expo, a parade and more!

Frankfort Fall Festival

September 2-September 4 | More Details

Each year during Labor Day weekend, over 250,000 visitors gather to the charming Village of Frankfort to enjoy the Frankfort Fall Festival. The festival welcomes over 300 artisans from all over the United States to exhibit their elite products and services.

In addition, many of Frankfort’s local organizations collaborate by sponsoring special events that highlight Frankfort Fall Festivities. ADMISSION IS FREE and there is something for everyone from carnival rides to main stage entertainment, to walking tacos and funnel cakes, Frankfort Fall Fest has it ALL!

Schaumburg September Fest

September 2-September 4 | More Details

An outdoor festival featuring entertainment on three stages, a carnival, arts & crafts show, craft beer & wine area, Taste of Schaumburg, Bingo, free pony rides on Saturday, fireworks on Sunday evening, and a Labor Day parade on Monday. Free Admission and Shuttle Bus Service.

-From the Schaumburg September Fest website 

Winfield Good Ol’ Days

September 8-September 10 | More Details

Live music, trolley tours, a  parade, a kid’s zone with bouncy houses, face painting, food, and so much more!

planes flying in sky as part of an air and water show

Other Festivals 

These Illinois Festivals are super fun family events, but they don’t exactly fit in the other categories.

Jonquil Park Family Festival

June 3 | More Details

The festival will feature children activities, inflatables, games, a puppet show from Jabberwocky Marionettes and music from Mr. Nick Davio, who holds teaching artist positions at The Old Town School of Folk Music and Chicago Children’s Theatre.

Chicago Pride Fest

June 17-June 18 | More Details

Celebrate the LGBTQ+ community at Chicago’s Pride Fest!

The 2-day street festival in the Northalsted neighborhood features live music on 3 stages, a Youth Pride Space for teens, best of Chicago drag performance, Proud Pet Parade, dance exhibitions, Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, high heel race for prizes, guest speakers and over 150 food and merchandise vendors, the Chicago Pride Parade, and more!

Pride in the Park

June 23-June 24 | More Details

Celebrate Pride with a music festival in Grant Park.

Kids Fest 2023

July 8 | More Details

Kids’ Fest is a family fun day brought to you by the Forest Preserves of Cook County and other community partners. Highlights include canoeing, climbing, and archery. Also enjoy, art making, games, nature exploration and a chance to celebrate the start of summer.

Forge Fest

July 14-July 16 | More Details

Celebrate The Forge’s birthday at this weekend long community event! Featuring an incredible music line-up,  discounted activities, vendors and an amazing firework display.

World of Faeries Festival

August 5-August 6 | More Details

A fairy-themed festival with balloon twisters, mermaids, crafts, tea times, harpists, and a family quest.

Clark After Dark

August 17 | More Details

“USO of Illinois’ annual Clark After Dark block party celebrates America’s military service members and their families. In 2023, they will be celebrating their 15th anniversary! Proceeds from the event benefit the USO of Illinois program and services that serve more than 326,000 military personnel and military families of Illinois.

$10 General Admission Tickets (donation to the USO of Illinois) will get you access onto the street to enjoy food, drinks and live music. General Admission and VIP Tickets available.”-From the Clark after Dark Website 

Bulls Fest

August 19-20 | More Details

Bulls Fest is back this summer on August 19 and 20 at the United Center! The free, two-day festival – the largest interactive basketball experience in Chicago this summer – will celebrate all things basketball and one of the world-famous sports teams, The Chicago Bulls.

Bulls Fest will feature plenty of opportunities for basketball fans to play the game including a large-scale 3v3 tournament with brackets ranging from Elite adults all the way down to 8 years old and up with male, female and co-ed brackets. Youth clinics will also be available for younger basketball players of all skill levels.

Register your 3v3 team today to take advantage of early bird pricing and sign up to be the first to hear about upcoming Bulls Fest announcements. For more information about the Fest, visit the Bulls website.

-From the United Center website 

Chicago Air and Water Show

August 19-August 20 | More Details

The Chicago Air and Water Show presented by the City of Chicago is the largest free show of its kind in the country. The show can be viewed over Lake Michigan from Fullerton to Oak Street, with North Avenue Beach as the focal point.

Celebration de los Arboles

September 16-September 17 | More Details

Experience the diverse cultures of Latin America through music, dance, and food in The Morton Arboretum.

Price included in Arboretum admission.

Conclusion

Chicago and its suburbs offer a wide range of summer festivals that cater to different interests, tastes, and age groups. 

Overall, the summer festivals in Chicago and the suburbs offer an opportunity to celebrate the city’s diversity, creativity, and community spirit. Whether you are a local or a visitor, you can immerse yourself in the vibrant atmosphere, meet new people, and create lasting memories.

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