Why Chicago Festivals are a Unique Experience

Why Chicago Festivals are a Unique Experience

Summertime in Chicago has fantastic outdoor festivals, where locals showcase their art, music, food, and other talents for full days of fun. Crowds gather for these festivals to expand their minds, indulge their senses (especially taste buds!), and relish in Chicago’s beautiful weather and architecture.

So, if you’re traveling to Chicago this summer, you’ll want to check the events calendar for festivals each weekend. A warning—you may find three or four going on at once to choose from! Too many exciting events is a great problem to have when visiting Chicago. Here are a few that really stand out.

Taste of Chicago

Eager to enjoy some of Chicago’s best cuisine? You can taste it all at Taste of Chicago from July 10 to July 14. The largest food festival in the world, it spans five days at Grant Park in downtown Chicago. And beyond delicious bites and booze, there’s also live music on various stages to keep attendees engaged and excited for the day’s festivities.

With food trucks, Chicago barbecue, pop-up eateries, and more, there’s no shortage of tasty items to try. Some vendors do vary based on the day, like the food trucks, so check beforehand if there’s one in particular that catches your eye.

Northerly Island

A 119.70-acre peninsula that extends into Lake Michigan off Museum Campus and is just south of the Adler Planetarium and east of Soldier Field, it’s a great destination for nature lovers, and in the summertime, there are festivals and other fun things to do there for a leisurely day. You’ll find strolling paths, playground areas, and amazing views of the Chicago skyline. It’s also a prime spot for fishing.

You can also go to Hamilton: The Exhibition, going on now. You’ll find interactive games and displays, projections, full-scale statues, and art installations that will blow you away as you dive into Alexander Hamilton’s life, as well as the story of the American Revolution. To finish, you can watch the opening number in 3D—how cool is that?

Art Festivals

Throughout summer, there are various art shows in Chicago from local artists displaying antiques, sculptures, jewelry, crafts, paintings, and more. These are very accessible and walking friendly, so you can take a bike to the festival, drop it off, and walk around the fair for an afternoon of fun. Chat with artists to learn more about their styles and visions, and buy a few items to take back home! There’s Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival, Artfest Michigan Avenue, Printer’s Row Art Fest, and more.


Summer in Chicago wouldn’t be the same without Lollapalooza, which takes over the city from Aug. 1 to Aug. 4 at Grant Park. With artists from around the world performing and various vendors making fantastic food and drinks, it’s a four-day party in Chicago. A few artists to note – Ariana Grande, Flume, The Strokes, and The Chainsmokers, but the lineup is huge, so check out who is playing and get a 4-day pass, or pick a day that’s your favorite.

This summer, create a festival bucket list to get the best of Chicago’s music, art, food, and culture. There’s something going on each weekend, so find a neighborhood that appeals to you for the day and see what’s going on!

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