Chicago’s summer festivals hit a fever pitch in July. Here’s a hit list of where you can listen to live music ranging from house to country, sample some of the best foods in the city, and get out into vibrant ethnic neighborhoods at the best 2017 Chicago July festivals.
SCENE: The so-called “Woodstock of House Music” has been transforming Jackson Park into an enormous dance party since 1990, with an estimated 40,000 people on hand for the annual get-down. Renowned DJs Wayne Williams, Jesse Saunders, Tony Hatchett and friends rock the park with high-vibe grooves.
SCENE: Craft beer and folk music—a match made in heaven! This low-key fest brings Lincoln Square to life with multiple stages programmed with a diverse mix of artists, from local indie acts to group jams featuring Old Town School of Folk Music teachers and students. Local craft brewers like Two Brothers, Lagunitas, 5 Rabbit and others pour heavenly hops all weekend long.
SCENE: After dedicating a dozen years to promoting emerging artists, Pitchfork is THE place to witness the birth of a band. More than 40 acts perform over the three-day fest, with established acts like LCD Soundsystem and Solange anchoring a slew of talented up-and-comers.
SCENE: One of Chicago’s most popular street festivals, Wicker Park Fest attracts music lovers with more than 40 bands performing on three different stages. The eclectic neighborhood is celebrated with great local food, arts and crafts vendors, and a kids’ area for little hipsters.
SCENE: Nearly 1.5 million people get their fill at this foodie-friendly gathering every year. It’s the most comprehensive of all Chicago food fests, flooding the city’s iconic lakefront park with tasty treats, live music, celebrity chefs, cooking demonstrations, a ChicagoMade Marketplace and much more.
SCENE: What’s the only thing more American than eating a burger outside in the summertime? Eating MANY burgers under the summer sky—and the Roscoe Village Burger Fest is the place to do it. Whether beef, turkey, bison, chicken, veggie or black bean is your burger jam…you’ll find the primo patties here.
SCENE: Country music, BBQ and craft brews—a ménage made in heaven! More than 40,000 guests will descend upon this folksy fest, which draws some of the best BBQ and brewing talent in the Midwest, as well as top-tier country music acts. This year’s headliners include Jake Owen, Kip Moore, Jana Kramer and Lee Brice.
SCENE: With more than 70 craft breweries within city limits, there’s an ever-growing audience for Chicago’s own hop heaven. Held in conjunction with the Sheffield Music Festival and Garden Walk, this suds-soaked event showcases specialty, seasonal and small-batch beers from local, regional and national brewers.
SCENE: This four-day ethnic jam features native music, folkloric dance performances, region-specific artisan goods, hands-on kids’ activities, games for all ages—as well as contemporary music from local, national and international R&B, blues, reggae, jazz, gospel, hip hop and world music acts.
SCENE: Now in its 39th year, this annual one-day event effortlessly blends ancient and modern as the Far East meets the Midwest. Authentic regional and traditional Chinese food, music and performance mix with more Americanized offerings—including a mobile petting zoo for kids and a “cutest baby” contest.
SCENE: The largest Latino festival in the Midwest, the family-friendly Fiesta del Sol draws more than a million visitors per year to the diverse Pilsen neighborhood. Live music offerings include Latin pop acts, as well as banda and cumbia—the perfect way to dance off all of that amazingly authentic street food.