The Best Summer Events in Chicago

Summer’s about to come to a close, so if you haven’t yet, make your way to a pool or beach, or enjoy the last roundup of outdoor events, music festivals, or food and art fairs.

Of what remains of the season, here are the best summer events in Chicago


August 3-6, 2017
Grant Park

Now celebrating over 20 years in operation, the Windy City hosts Lollapalooza–a music festival that brings 160,000+ people at Grant Park. Festival goers are looking forward to performances from Lorde, The XX, Foster the People, Vance Joy, Zara Larsson and more. Headlined by three-time Grammy winner Chance the Rapper, the festival features art exhibits, food booths and crafts stalls. The festival has served as a platform for nonprofit and political groups, as well as both popular and underground artists showcasing their crafts.

Millennium Park Summer Music Series

June to August
Jay Pritzker Pavilion, Millennium Park

The Millennium Park Summer Music series brings the best of both emerging and established local and international artists of various genres for free outdoor concerts every Monday and Thursday, running from June to August. For August, catch Gaby Moreno, Youssou N’Dour, Wild Belle and Joshua Nelson, among other acts.

Chicago SummerDance

June to September
Grant Park & Neighborhood parks throughout the city

Sweat the stress away at Chicago’s Summer Dance. Running from June 23 to September 10, this event happens Fridays to Sundays at Grant Park’s Spirit of the Music Garden, and Thursdays and Saturdays from July 13 to September 14 at several neighborhood parks around the city. Move to the beat of live bands and DJs at open-air grounds, with lessons by professional dance instructors.

Chicago Hot Dog Fest

August 11-13, 2017
Chicago History Museum

Now on its fifth year, The Chicago History Museum brings together some of Chicago’s best hot dog vendors to celebrate the city’s favorite weenie. Over 35,000 hot reds are consumed during this celebration of Chicago’s signature dish.

If you fry it I'll probably eat it.

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Bud Billiken Parade

August 12, 2017
King Drive

Said to be America’s largest African-American parade, this year’s Bud Billiken parade focuses on the theme “Honoring Hometown Heroes” and features Chance the Rapper as parade grand marshal. The parade culminates with a picnic at Grant Park.

It's almost time! The 88th Annual @bud_billiken_parade starts at 10am. #budparade #budbillikenparade

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Chicago Jazz Festival

August 31-September 3, 2017
Chicago Cultural Center, Millennium Park

A Labor Day tradition, this annual event brings in some of the best local and international jazz artists together at Chicago’s Millennium Park.

Chicago Fringe Festival

August 20-September 10, 2017
Jefferson Park

Organized by a group of individual Chicago artists coming together, the Chicago Fringe Festival is a performing arts festival that showcases both traditional and non-traditional performances, giving all artists a chance to produce shows that are otherwise not seen.

North Coast Music Festival

September 1-3, 2017
Union Park

A music and arts festival bringing the best folk, rock, hip hop, DJs and performance and installation artists together over Labor Day weekend. This year’s lineup features Deadmau5 & Eric Prydz, Gucci Mane, Big Boi and Ween, among others.

Author: Maddy Osman, an SEO Content Strategist who has a passion for blogging. Her lifestyle blog, ChicagoCheapAss, shows young adults how to find the best deals and values in Chicago!