Chicago events calendar for July 2016. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
July 2016
July 2016

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

Dating comedy

July 1 & 3, 2016 (also June)

2.1 miles north

Based on actual online-dating conversations, #DateMe: An OKCupid Experiment is a comic mix of original music, improvisation, and multimedia elements at Up Comedy Club. Discount tickets $20.

Windy City RibFest

July 1 - 3, 2016

6 miles north

Windy City RibFest in Uptown has food, beer, wine, bands, arts & crafts, and afternoon kids’ activities at W Lawrence Ave. & Broadway. Donation.

American music festival

July 1 - 3, 2016

10 miles west

FitzGerald’s American Music Festival features 40 Americana/roots bands and BBQ in Berwyn.

Hot-air balloons & fireworks

July 1 - 3, 2016

28 miles west

Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival has colorful hot-air balloon launches, flights, and evening balloon glows, as well as a carnival (starts Wednesday), food court, craft booths, a kids’ area, live music, and nightly fireworks at 9:45 p.m.

Festival of Life

July 1 - 4, 2016

2 miles west

African/Caribbean International Festival of Life features arts, crafts, food, soccer, and 50 acts from reggae to gospel at Union Park. Discount tickets $15.

Festival in Mount Prospect

July 1 - 4, 2016 (begins June 30)

24.2 miles NW

Mount Prospect Lions Club Festival is a big carnival with food vendors, a beer and wine tent, evening entertainment, a car show July 2, and fireworks June 30 and July 4 at Melas Park. Schedule.

Frontier Days

July 1 - 4, 2016 (begins June 30)

26 miles NW

Frontier Days Festival has family activities, live music, a carnival, a parade, and a weekend craft market at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. Event guide. Free.

Oak Fest

July 1 - 4, 2016 (begins June 30)

26 miles SW

OakFest offers live music, a carnival, food vendors, bingo, a Sunday car/bike show, and July 4 fireworks at 159th & Central Avenue in Oak Forest. Schedule. Free.

Naperville RibFest

July 1 - 4, 2016

31 miles SW

Naperville RibFest has great food, plenty of music, and free fireworks July 4 at 9:30 p.m. at Knoch Park in Naperville.

Northwest festival

July 1 - 4, 2016

35 miles NW

Northwest Fourth-Fest has carnival rides June 30 to July 4, music July 1 to 3, a weekend craft fair, fireworks July 3 at 9:30 p.m., and a parade July 4 at 9 a.m. at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates.

Family musical

July 1 - 10, 2016 (also June)

0.5 miles SW

Catch The SpongeBob Musical before it heads to Broadway and see who saves the underwater world from disaster at Oriental Theatre. Discount tickets $54.

Outdoor theater

July 1 - 16, 2016 (also June)

11.9 miles west

A speech expert attempts to transform a cockney flower girl into a proper society lady in Pygmalion, the witty satire by George Bernard Shaw that inspired the musical “My Fair Lady” at Oak Park Festival Theatre. Discount tickets $15.

Concert at Ravinia

July 1 - 30, 2016

25.1 miles north

Hear a concert at Ravinia Festival in Highland Park.

Little Shop of Horrors

July 1 - 31, 2016 (also June)

3.4 miles north

Little Shop of Horrors is a comic-horror rock musical (a boy-meets-girl, plant-eats-world love story) with demented humor and goofy songs at American Blues Theater in Greenhouse Theater Center. Discount tickets $27.

Funny classic play

July 1 - 31, 2016 (also June)

5 miles north

The Importance of Being Earnest is Oscar Wilde’s humorous satire of Victorian society’s strict moral codes, full of one-liners and double entendres, at Athenaeum Theatre. Discount tickets $22.

Don Quixote musical

July 1 - Aug. 14, 2016 (begins June 22)

27.8 miles north

Broadway musical Man of La Mancha is about a young couple, an aging knight and a dream at Marriott Theatre in Lincolnshire. Discount tickets $30.

Classical music festival

July 1 - Aug. 20, 2016 (begins June 15)

Chicago locations

Grant Park Music Festival is an outdoor classical music series at Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park. The rear seats are free, or bring a blanket or lawn chairs.

Witty comedy about friends

July 1 - Aug. 28, 2016 (also June)

7.5 miles north

An after-dinner game reveals secrets among friends turning 30 in This, “The best new play to open off Broadway” [New York Times 2009] at Windy City Playhouse. Discount tickets $13 to $28.

Movies in the Parks

July 1 - Sept. 5, 2016 (begins June 13)

Chicago locations

Watch Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. Free.

Blue Man show

July 1 - Oct. 2, 2016 (also June)

4.5 miles north

Blue Man Group puts on an exciting show that combines comedy, theater, music, and special effects at Briar Street Theatre. Discount tickets $36.

Cardboard boat regatta

July 2, 2016

26 miles west

Watch crazy cardboard boats float or sink at the Cardboard Regatta on Lake Ellyn in Glen Ellyn. Bring a picnic or buy food and beer. Free.

Music & dance picnic

July 2 - 3, 2016 (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.)

9 miles south

Dance to soulful house music (both live and DJ) at The Chosen Few DJs Music Festival, formerly called The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic, in Jackson Park.

Botanic Garden Art Festival

July 2 - 3, 2016 (members July 1)

24 miles north

Browse 100 booths of botanic-inspired arts and fine crafts offered by juried artists in pretty gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival in Glencoe. Members’ day is Friday. Free except parking.

Comedy dinner

July 2 - Oct. 19, 2016 (also June)

4.5 miles north

We Gotta Bingo delivers corny, bawdy, slapstick humor, lasagna, bread, and salad, as you participate in a bingo game between rival parishes at Chicago Theater Works. Discount tickets $35, child $10.

Book of Mormon musical

July 3 - Aug. 14, 2016 (begins June 29)

0.8 miles south

The Book of Mormon is an outrageous comedy in the vein of South Park that has won nine Tony Awards, at The PrivateBank Theatre. Discount tickets $35 to $175.

Fireworks

July 4, 2016

Chicago area (more cities)

Best Fourth of July fireworks shows:

Daytime cruise

July 4, 2016

0.9 miles east

The Daytime Booze Cruise offers a live DJ, dancing, a cash bar, and views from a a three-floor yacht on Lake Michigan, departing from DuSable Harbor. Discount tickets $29.

Fireworks party

July 4, 2016 (6:30 p.m.)

1 mile east

Get a rooftop view of the Fourth of July fireworks above Navy Pier at Freedom Fest, which has DJ music, BBQ for sale, and a cash bar. Standing room only, except VIP. Discount tickets $23.

Glen Ellyn Fourth of July

July 4, 2016

27 miles west

Fourth of July in Glen Ellyn includes a morning run, noon parade of floats and bands, afternoon carnival, bands, dancing, and fireworks at dusk. Free.

Highland Park festival

July 4, 2016

27 miles north

Fourth Fest includes a children’s bike and pet parade at 9:30 a.m., parade of floats & bands at 10 a.m., carnival rides, food and music at 11 a.m., battle of the bands at 4 p.m., and fireworks at dusk. Free.

Millennium Park movies

July 5 - Aug. 30, 2016 (Tuesdays from June 21)

0.5 miles south

Get a seat or sit on the lawn to see films on a 40-foot screen at Millennium Park Summer Film Series. Free.

Rocking dinner show

July 5 - Sept. 27, 2016 (7:30 p.m. Tuesdays)

0.8 miles NW

Hear hits from the rock and roll era at Rock Baby Rock featuring a band and vocalists with optional dinner at Hard Rock Cafe. Discount tickets $20.

The Taste

July 6 - 10, 2016

1.5 miles south

Taste of Chicago features 33 restaurants selling food, a beer hall, a wine garden, a kids’ zone, and first-rate music that’s free if you sit on the lawn in Grant Park.

Adult variety show

July 6 - 30, 2016 (also June)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground. Reviews.

Discount tickets $7.

Dinner cruise

July 6 - Aug. 12, 2016 (also June)

1 mile east

Enjoy a buffet meal, DJ dance music, and views of the Chicago skyline aboard the Spirit of Chicago Dinner Cruise, leaving Navy Pier.

Discount tickets $78.

Jazz at the aquarium

July 6 - Sept. 14, 2016 (Wed. from June 22)

2 miles south

Hear musicians and vocalists, see views from the terrace, buy cocktails & food, and visit the aquarium at Jazzin’ at the Shedd at Shedd Aquarium.

Free foreign films

July 6 - Sept. 28, 2016 (Wednesdays from June)

0.4 miles south

See a different comedy film each week at International Screenings Program at Chicago Cultural Center. Free.

Railroad Days

July 7 - 10, 2016

33 miles west

West Chicago Railroad Days has a car show, carnival, kids’ activities, live music, beer garden, Saturday fireworks, and a Sunday parade in Pioneer Park, West Chicago. Free.

Magic lounge

July 7 - 30, 2016 (also June)

7 miles north

Chicago Magic Lounge is an old-school magic show with close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts at beautiful Uptown Underground. Discount tickets $13.

Millennium Art Festival

July 8 - 10, 2016

0.5 mile south

The Millennium Art Festival features artwork, food from local restaurants, and live easy-listening music on Lake Street at Michigan Avenue. Free.

West Town street fair

July 8 - 10, 2016

3 miles west

West Fest has cutting-edge music on 3 stages, a kid fest on Wolcott Ave., a dog fest, and local vendors on W Chicago Ave. from Damen to Wood. Donation.

Lincoln Square music festival

July 8 - 10, 2016

8 miles NW

Square Roots Festival offers a mix of music from local indie rockers to world stars. Enjoy nightly dance parties, open jams, 40 selections of craft beer, and family activities on Lincoln Ave. (Montrose to Wilson). Donation.

Irish fest

July 8 - 10, 2016

9 miles NW

Irish American Heritage Festival has Irish music and dance on 5 stages, a folk tent, food vendors, clothing, jewelry, beer, wine, and family activities at Irish American Heritage Center.

Japanese animation festival

July 8 - 10, 2016

16 miles NW

Anime Midwest features a costume masquerade, vendors, video games, concerts, dances, guest speakers, and panels at Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

Baseball & fireworks

July 8 & 22, 2016 (7:10 p.m.)

5.5 miles south

Watch the White Sox play a game followed by fireworks at U.S. Cellular Field. Discount tickets $13.
  • July 8 - Atlanta Braves
  • July 22 - Detroit Tigers

Scavenger hunt

July 9, 2016

0.9 miles NW

Teams run around the city solving clues to win prizes in the Chicago Challenge, which ends at a bar for awards and a costume contest. Discount tickets $20.

Bikes & beer festival

July 9, 2016

6 miles NW

Parade on bicycles through the city, hear bands, dance, and drink beer to support charity at Tour de Fat at Palmer Square. Free registration.

Get painted as you run

July 9, 2016 (9 a.m.)

6.1 miles north

Wear a white shirt and get bombarded by color as you run the Color in Motion 5K at Montrose Beach.

Hamburger festival

July 9 - 10, 2016

5.3 miles NW

Enjoy fine beef, veggie, and turkey burgers with toppings or BBQ, plus music, arts & crafts, and a kids’ zone at Roscoe Village Burger Fest on Clybourn Avenue (from Diversey to Barry). Donation.

African art festival

July 9 - 10, 2016

9 miles south

The Arts and Crafts Festival at DuSable Museum features traditional, ethnic, and experimental fine arts and crafts with African-American themes. Free.

Musical about marriage

July 9 - Aug. 28, 2016

4.8 miles north

One young couple plans to marry and another to divorce in Tomorrow Morning, a show about impending change and the power of love at Theater Wit. Discount tickets $15.

Renaissance fair

July 9 - Sept. 5, 2016 (weekends)

49 miles north

Watch knights joust, shop an artisan market, mingle with costumed minstrels, play games, and attend shows at Bristol Renaissance Faire in 16th century England (i.e. Kenosha, WI).

Wine & dessert walk

July 10, 2016 (3 to 6 p.m.)

5.2 miles north

A ticket to Lakeview East Wine & Sweets Stroll includes 12 wine samples and sweet bites in neighborhood shops for age 21+.

Basketball tournament

July 10 - 12, 2016

3 miles south

Watch teenage teams compete on 60 courts at the Tournament of Champions at McCormick Place.

Millennium Park music

July 11 - Aug. 25, 2016 (begins June 6)

0.7 miles SE

Millennium Park Summer Music Series (formerly Downtown Sound) features great music artists Monday and Thursday evenings in Millennium Park. Free.

French celebration

July 14, 2016

0.7 miles SW

Bastille Day features French food, entertainment, music, magic, and a kids’ corner at Daley Plaza. Free.

Evening cruise

July 14 & 26, 2016

0.7 miles east

An After Work Cruise on Anita Dee II offers amazing views from the open top deck, dancing, and pricey drinks, departing from 200 N Breakwater Access.

Half marathon & fitness expo

July 15 - 17, 2016

Chicago locations

The free Health and Fitness Expo is Fri. & Sat. at McCormick Place. The 5K is Saturday, and the Rock ’n’ Roll Chicago Half Marathon & 10K are Sunday in Grant Park, followed by an after-festival at Butler Field.

Country BBQ

July 15 - 17, 2016

1.5 miles NW

Windy City Smokeout features barbecue, country bands, and beer at 560 W. Grand Ave. on the river.

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 15 - 17, 2016

2.5 miles west

The free-spirited Pitchfork Music Festival features alternative rock, rap and hip-hop, electronica, and dance music in Union Park.

Family festival

July 15 - 17, 2016

6 miles NW

BenFest serves food, beer, music, and activities for kids on the grounds of St. Benedict’s parish, with a vendor market on the adjacent street. Donation.

Greek festival

July 15 - 17, 2016

15 miles NW

The Big Greek Food Fest of Niles features authentic Greek food, live music, and dancing in Niles.

Tropical rock party

July 15 - 17, 2016

40.3 miles west

Summer Chi.ill [sound] is a new event promising music, entertainment, food, and drink with a New Orleans & Bourbon Street theme at Pheasant Run Resort.

Pole dancing contest

July 15 - 17, 2016

41 miles west

Great Midwest Pole Dance Convention has workshops, contests and vendors at Pheasant Run in St. Charles.

1960s rock musical

July 15 - 31, 2016

13.6 miles north

Tony Award winner Hair features the music, culture, and controversy of hippies who oppose the Vietnam War at Northwestern University. Discount tickets $15.

Family art festival

July 16, 2016 (10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.)

1 mile south

Make art and explore special activity stations during Kaleidoscope Family Festival in the Ryan Education Center at the Art Institute of Chicago. Free.

Ale festival

July 16, 2016 (1 to 5 p.m.)

36 miles west

Naperville Ale Fest showcases 200 craft beers with live music and restaurant food on the beautiful grounds of Naper Settlement. Discount tickets $50.

Southport street fair

July 16 - 17, 2016

6 miles north

Southport Art Festival is a mellow event with live music, artists, food, and a kids’ area on N Southport Ave. at Waveland. Donation.

Festival of Colombia

July 16 - 17, 2016 (12 to 10 p.m.)

9.8 miles NW

Colombian Fest has top musicians, DJs, arts & crafts, cultural exhibits, vendors, a kids’ zone, food, beer, and wine at the Copernicus Center. Children 12 and younger are free.

Clark Street festival

July 16 - 17, 2016

10 miles north

Enjoy multi-cultural food, art, music, and dance at Celebrate Clark Street Festival [sound] on N Clark St. from Morse to Estes. Kids’ activities. Donation.

Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival

July 16 - 17, 2016

13 miles north

Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival offers international songs, dance, art, and food in Dawes Park. Free.

Northbrook arts festival

July 16 - 17, 2016

23.7 miles north

Art in the Park has juried art, live music, food, and hands-on kids’ art activities at Village Green in Northbrook. Free.

Dearborn Garden Walk

July 17, 2016 (12 to 5 p.m.)

2 miles north

Dearborn Garden Walk admits you to 20 award-winning gardens (some with live jazz or classical music), a garden exhibition, and an architectural walking tour of historic Dearborn Street.

Chinatown Summer Fair

July 17, 2016

3 miles south

Chinatown Summer Fair features a dragon and lion dance procession, food vendors, artisans, live music, martial arts, and a children’s area on S. Wentworth Ave. at Cermak Rd. Free.

County fair

July 20 - 24, 2016

41 miles west

Kane County Fair is an old-fashioned fair with farm animals, a petting zoo, midway, live music, bull riding, truck pull, and fair food in St. Charles.

Adult zoo night

July 21, 2016 (6:30 to 10 p.m.)

2.5 miles north

Leave the kids at home and head to Adults Night Out at Lincoln Park Zoo to experience unique animal chats and live entertainment if you are age 18+. (Cash bars are available for age 21+.)

Show about magic

July 24 - Aug. 21, 2016

2.8 miles NW

Death and Harry Houdini is the story of America’s greatest magician, in a show that includes original music, dance, film, and magic acts at Chopin Theatre. Discount tickets $35.

Hall & Oates

July 22, 2016 (7 p.m.)

32.4 miles SW

Daryl Hall & John Oates play classics like “Maneater” and “Private Eyes” (also appearing: Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings and Trombone Shorty & Orleans Avenue) at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre. Discount tickets $29 to $85.

Taste of River North

July 22 - 24, 2016

1.5 miles NW

Enjoy food from local restaurants, shop from local vendors, and hear live music at Taste of River North at Ward Park (Kingsbury & Erie). Donation.

Disability Pride Parade

July 23, 2016

1 mile south

The Disability Pride Parade goes from the library to Daley Plaza for a 12:30 post-parade event. Free.

Parade of boats

July 23, 2016

1 mile east

Watch hundreds of boats leave for the ritzy Race to Mackinac at the Ashore Thing party at the east end of Navy Pier. Free.

Hip hop festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

2.4 miles west

Chicago Hip Hop Day Festival features emcee battles, B-Boy and B-Girl (breakdancing) exhibits, graffiti artists, and turntablism on N. Loomis St. Free.

Wicker Park music festival

July 23 - 24, 2016 (12 to 10 p.m.)

3.5 miles NW

Wicker Park Fest brings cutting-edge local and national acts to three stages on Milwaukee Ave. from North Ave. to Paulina St. Go early for the best shopping and the calmest crowd. Donation.

Beer festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

4 miles NW

Chicago Craft Beer Festival features beer tasting and live music at Sheffield Ave. and Webster Ave., at the same time and location as Sheffield Music Festival. Discount tickets $25.

Sheffield Avenue festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

4 miles NW

The Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk features two stages of live music, self-guided tours of 80 gardens, guided architectural tours, food and drink, and kids’ activities at N Sheffield Ave. & Webster. Donation for tours.

Latin American festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

4.5 miles NW

Taste of Latin America is a neighborhood festival with cooking demonstrations, food, world music, beer and wine tents, a kids’ area, and arts & crafts on Division Street (California to Rockwell). Free.

Greek Festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

8 miles west

Assumption Church serves Greek food, music, dance, and children’s activities at the Greek Festival.

North Shore art festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

17 miles north

North Shore Festival of Art features juried artists, live music, and art projects for kids at outdoor Westfield Old Orchard Shopping Center in Skokie. Free.

Pet expo

July 23 - 24, 2016

28 miles NW

Windy City Pet Expo has vendors, adoptions, and demos at Schaumburg Convention Center. Free entry.

Vegetarian festival

July 23 - 24, 2016

30 miles west

Veggie Fest features a food court, kids’ activities, demos, exhibits, speakers, and music in Lisle. Free.

Film festival

July 24 - 31, 2016

25 miles NW

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (BWiFF) screens dozens of bold and innovative films with new and exciting story elements at AMC Randhurst 12 in Mount Prospect.

Lollapalooza

July 28 - 31, 2016

1.5 miles south

Lollapalooza is a four-day music festival with more than 100 popular alternative rock, punk rock, heavy metal, and hip hop bands; comedy and dance; and craft booths in Grant Park.

Latino festival

July 28 - 31, 2016

4 miles SW

Fiesta del Sol delivers live entertainment, local art, diverse cuisine, carnival rides, but no alcohol on W. Cermak Rd. between Morgan and Ashland. Free.

Prairie festival

July 28 - 31, 2016

25 miles NW

Wood Dale Prairie Fest offers live music, carnival rides and games, food vendors, bingo, and Saturday fireworks at the Town Square in Wood Dale. Free.

Disney musical

July 28 - Aug. 7, 2016

0.7 miles SW

Newsboys take on a ruthless newspaper tycoon to fight for what’s right in the high-energy Broadway hit Newsies at Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Discount tickets $45.

Art and music festival

July 29 - 31, 2016

10 miles NW

Jeff Fest Arts & Music Festival offers live music, art, food, craft beer, and a kids’ corner in Jefferson Park at 4822 N Long Ave. No pets. Donation.

Margarita tasting

July 30 - 31, 2016 (12 to 8 p.m.)

10.1 miles south

Chicago Margarita Festival promises live music, dancing, games, and margaritas (6 ounces) and beer (6.4 ounces) for sale at South Shore Cultural Center.

Glencoe art festival

July 30 - 31, 2016

24 miles north

Glencoe Festival of Art offers fine works from 110 artists, live music, kids’ activities, and food vendors in downtown Glencoe. Free.

Bloody Mary festival

July 31, 2016

28 miles north

Buy samples and then vote for your favorite at Bloody Mary Fest, which includes food vendors, live music, kids’ activities, and a 5K race in Highwood.
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© July 2016 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.