Chicago events calendar for July 2015. 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 2015

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do in July 2015 with this calendar of events.

Events are listed by starting date, and all dates are confirmed. Mileage is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

American music festival

July 1 - 4, 2015

10 miles west

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

Frontier Days

July 1 - 5, 2015

26 miles NW

Frontier Days Festival has family activities, live music, a carnival, July 4 parade, and weekend craft market at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. Flyer. Free.

Oak Fest

July 1 - 5, 2015

26 miles SW

OakFest offers live music, a carnival, food vendors, bingo, July 4 fireworks, and a Sunday car/bike show at 5420 159th Street in Oak Forest. Flyer. Free.

Northwest festival

July 1 - 5, 2015

35 miles NW

Northwest Fourth-Fest has carnival rides July 1-5, music concerts July 3-5, parade 9 a.m. Sat., fireworks 9:30 p.m. Sat., and a weekend craft fair in the Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. Site map.

Classical music festival

July 1 - Aug. 22, 2015 (begins June 17)

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.

Movies in the Parks

July 1 - Sept. 3, 2015 (also June)

Chicago locations

See 240 Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. Free.

Jazz at the aquarium

July 1 - Sept. 9, 2015 (Wednesdays)

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.

Ravinia music festival

July 1 - Sept. 12, 2015 (also June)

23 miles north

See nationally known performers at Ravinia Festival, billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival at Ravinia Park in Highland Park. Discounted shows:

Hot-air balloons & fireworks

July 2 - 4, 2015

28 miles west

Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival has colorful hot-air balloon launches, flights, and evening balloon glows. Also add a carnival, food court, craft booths, a kids’ area, live music, and nightly fireworks.

Naperville RibFest

July 2 - 5, 2015

31 miles SW

Naperville RibFest has great food, plenty of music, and fireworks on the Fourth of July at Knoch Park in Naperville.

Free music

July 2 - 23, 2015 (Mon. & Thurs.)

0.7 miles SE

Downtown Sound features great music artists evenings in Millennium Park. See schedule. Free.

Estefan musical

July 3 - 5, 2015

0.5 miles SW

On Your Feet! is a musical about the Grammy winning husband and wife team of singers Emilio and Gloria Estefan at Oriental Theatre. Discount tickets $59.

Festival of Life

July 3 - 5, 2015

2 miles west

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

Windy City RibFest

July 3 - 5, 2015

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.

Japanese animation festival

July 3 - 5, 2015

16 miles NW

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

To Kill a Mockingbird

July 3 - 18, 2015

12 miles west

To Kill a Mockingbird is the Pulitzer Prize winning story of a black man framed for a crime he did not commit, live outdoors at Oak Park Festival Theatre.

Discount tickets $14.

Drama about parenthood

July 3 - 19, 2015

6.5 miles north

Our New Girl refers to the Irish nanny who steps into the immaculate home of two yuppie parents, in this psychological thriller at The Main Stage.

Discount tickets $20.

Superhero musical

July 3 - 19, 2015

10 miles north

Superheroes and villains clash onstage with the fate of the world in their hands at Soon I Will Be Invincible in Lifeline Theatre. Discount tickets $12.

Hilarious play

July 3 - 26, 2015

0.5 miles SW

Winner of the Tony Award for best play, Vanya and Sonia and Masha and Spike is a zany farce about a dysfunctional family with themes & characters from Chekhov at Goodman Theatre. Discount tickets $60.

Sweet comedy

July 3 - 26, 2015

20 miles NW

Never the Bridesmaid is an award-winning locally written play about a brother and sister who so far have had no luck with love, at Oil Lamp Theater in Glenview. Discount tickets $18.

Magic show

July 3 - 31, 2015

0.7 miles south

The Magic Parlour [sound] is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel. Discount tickets $49.

Beaches musical

July 3 - Aug. 16, 2015

18 miles west

Based on the emotional film, Beaches follows the friendship of two women through trials and triumphs, live at Drury Lane Theatre. Discount tickets $30.

Johnny Cash show

July 3 - Aug. 30 2015

7.5 miles north

Ring of Fire features the story & music of legendary Johnny Cash at Mercury Theater.

Discount tickets $23.

Late-night variety show

July 3 - Sept. 26 (10 p.m. Fri. & Sat.)

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 $6.

Rock legends concert

July 3 - Sept. 27, 2015

3.8 miles north

Million Dollar Quartet recreates the night Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash, and Carl Perkins played together at Sun Records and includes 21 rock hits sung live at Apollo Theater. Discount tickets $37.

Blue Man show

July 3 - Dec. 27, 2015

4.5 miles north

Blue Man Group returns with a new stage show that combines comedy, art, science, visual effects, and music at Briar Street Theatre.

Discount tickets $36.

Fireworks

July 4, 2015

Chicago area (more cities)

Best Fourth of July fireworks shows:

Fireworks party

July 4, 2015 (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.

Fourth of July at the museum

July 4, 2015

2 miles north

The Chicago History Museum offers patriotic music, a children’s parade at 10:45 a.m., a reading of the Declaration of Independence, and free museum admission for state residents. Free.

Music & dance picnic

July 4, 2015

9 miles south

Dance to soulful house music (both live and DJ) at The Chosen Few Old School Reunion Picnic in Jackson Park.

Glen Ellyn Fourth of July

July 4, 2015

27 miles west

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

Highland Park festival

July 4, 2015

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 6 p.m., and fireworks at dusk. Free.
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Botanic Garden Art Festival

July 4 - 5, 2015 (members July 3)

24 miles north

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

Zombie escape

July 4 - Aug. 2, 2015

1 mile south

You and 11 others are Trapped in a Room with a Zombie: Still Hungry on a chain. Solve clues and escape, at Fine Arts Building. Discount tickets $21.

Tribute to the ‘80s

July 4 - Sept. 5, 2015

4.5 miles north

Revisit the songs, movies, TV, and pop-culture of 1980s America in The Power of Prom, a new musical comedy at Annoyance Theatre.

Discount tickets $10.

Comedy brunch

July 5 - Oct. 25, 2015 (Sundays 11 a.m.)

2.3 miles north

Second City’s Sunday Bloody Mary Sunday begins with a brunch buffet, including limitless Bloody Marys and mimosas, followed by an improv comedy show at UP Comedy Club. Discount tickets $35.

Innovative theater

July 7 - 12, 2015

6 miles NW

Physical Festival includes four creative theater shows that tell stories physically and visually at Links Hall.

Discount tickets $9.

Feel-good musical

July 7 - 26, 2015

0.7 miles SW

The Broadway show Kinky Boots, based on a true story about a shoe factory owner and a drag queen, features an inspiring and joyful score by Cyndi Lauper at Cadillac Palace Theatre. Discount tickets $72.

Millennium Park movies

July 7 - Sept. 1, 2015 (Tuesdays from June)

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.

The Taste

July 8 - 12, 2015

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.

Madcap comedy

July 9 - Aug. 16, 2015

26 miles NW

Moon over Buffalo features mistaken identities, outrageous plot twists, and slapstick comedy set in the 1950s at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Discount tickets $19.

Magic lounge

July 9 - Sept. 24, 2015 (8 p.m. Thursdays)

7 miles north

Chicago Magic Lounge is an old-school magic show with great close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts in beautiful Uptown Underground for age 21+. Discount tickets $12.

Jazz: Wynton Marsalis

July 10, 2015 (9 p.m.)

16 miles NW

Hear the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra play with Wynton Marsalis at North Shore Center for the Performing Arts in Skokie. Discount tickets $40.

Basketball tournament

July 10 - 12, 2015

3 miles south

Watch teams compete on 60 courts at the NIKE National Invitational at McCormick Place.

Lincoln Square music festival

July 10 - 12, 2015

8 miles NW

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

Irish fest

July 10 - 12, 2015

9 miles NW

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

Dramatic play

July 10 - 26, 2015

12 miles north

The Glass Menagerie by Tennessee Williams is the haunting story of an overbearing mother, her poetic son, and shy daughter, living lives of illusion in the Depression at Piccolo Theatre in Evanston.

Discount tickets $8.

Scavenger hunt

July 11, 2015

0.5 miles west

Teams run around the city solving clues to win prizes in the Chicago Challenge, which ends at Bar Louie for awards and costume contest.

Discount tickets $25.

Parade of boats

July 11, 2015

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.

Bikes & beer festival

July 11, 2015

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.

Musical about Andersonville

July 11, 2015

9 miles north

The Andersonville Players share funny facts and fiction about Andersonville in Yes, Andersonville! at pH Comedy Theater.

Discount tickets $11.

West Town street fair

July 11 - 12, 2015

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.

Hamburger festival

July 11 - 12, 2015

5 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 Belmont at Damen. Donation.

Taste of Lakeview

July 11 - 12, 2015

5 miles NW

Taste of Lakeview [sound] has food, music, arts and crafts on N Lincoln Ave at Belmont. Donation.

African art festival

July 11 - 12, 2015

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.

Railroad Days

July 11 - 12, 2015

35 miles west

West Chicago Railroad Days [sound] has a car show, carnival, kids’ activities, live music, beer garden, Sat. fireworks, Sun. parade at Reed-Keppler Park. Free.

Anne of Green Gables

July 11 - Aug. 2, 2015

2.8 miles SW

Based on a bestseller, Anne of Green Gables is about an adopted girl who grows up in rural Prince Edward Island, at Provision Theater. Discount tickets $11.

Family musical

July 11 - Aug. 23, 2015

1.1 miles north

Based on a children’s book, Fancy Nancy features a girl with a big personality, great songs, and clever lyrics at Broadway Playhouse. Discount tickets $19.

Walking tour & brunch

July 11 - Oct. 31, 2015 (weekends 9:30 a.m.)

0.4 miles SE

River Walk Brunch Tour is a one-mile guided walk along the Chicago River, which includes a buffet brunch at Houlihans. Discount tickets $25.

Romantic comedy outdoors

July 23 - Aug. 22, 2015

12 miles west

The Two Gentlemen of Verona is Shakespeare’s comedy about first love. This version is set in the decadent 1980s and performed in the garden at Oak Park Festival Theatre. Discount tickets $14.

Campy burlesque

July 11 - Sept. 5, 2015 (10:30 p.m. Saturdays)

4.5 miles north

Burlesque is More is an entertaining and funny combination of striptease and improvisation at Annoyance Theatre and Bar.

Discount tickets $10.

Music of Tim Burton films

July 14, 2015 (8 p.m.)

25 miles north

Danny Elfman’s Music From the Films of Tim Burton includes a choir and photos from Tim’s beautiful and strange films (Batman, Beetlejuice, Nightmare Before Christmas, Edward Scissorhands, etc.) at Ravinia Pavilion in Highland Park. Discount tickets $25.

County fair

July 15 - 19, 2015

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.

Half marathon & fitness expo

July 17 - 19, 2015

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.

Taste of River North

July 17 - 19, 2015

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.

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 17 - 19, 2015

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 17 - 19, 2015

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 17 - 19, 2015

15 miles NW

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

Pole dancing contest

July 17 - 19, 2015

41 miles west

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

Winston Churchill

July 17 - Sept. 13, 2015

3 miles north

The Chicago Tribune calls Churchill, a one-man show about the prime minister who led Britain in her finest hour, “very enjoyable and surprisingly emotional” at Greenhouse Theater Center. Discount tickets $17.

Disability Pride Parade

July 18, 2015 (11 a.m.)

1 mile south

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

Family art festival

July 18, 2015

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.

Music festival

July 18, 2015

25 miles south

Eddie Money is the headline act at Weishfest this year at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.

Ale festival

July 18, 2015

36 miles west

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

Sheffield Avenue festival

July 18 - 19, 2015

3.5 miles NW

The Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk features live music, self-guided tours of 100 gardens, guided architectural tours, food and drink, and kids’ activities at N Sheffield Ave. & Webster. Donation.

Sausage festival

July 18 - 19, 2015

5 miles north

SausageFest Chicago has locally made sausages and live music inside and outside at the historic Cubby Bear. Discount tickets $20.

Southport street fair

July 18 - 19, 2015

6 miles north

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

Clark Street festival

July 18 - 19, 2015

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 18 - 19, 2015

13 miles north

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

Dearborn Garden Walk

July 19, 2015 (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 19, 2015

3 miles south

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

Film festival

July 19 - 26, 2015

26 miles NW

Blue Whiskey Independent Film Festival (BWiFF) screens dozens of bold and innovative films with new and exciting story elements at Star Cinema Grill in Arlington Heights.

Magic show

July 22 - Oct. 28, 2015 (Wednesdays)

3.3 miles north

The Magic Cabaret entertains with mind-boggling sleight of hand and audience participation in small Greenhouse Theater Center. Discount tickets $10.

Art and music festival

July 24 - 26, 2015

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. Free for ages 12 or younger, 65 or older, or if your name is Jeff with ID.

Fun obstacle course

July 25, 2015

5 miles south

Race through 12 giant obstacles like a water slide, moon bounce, and foam pool on the 5K Wipeout Run at U.S. Cellular Field. Photos.

Discount tickets $64.

Pet expo

July 25, 2015

28 miles NW

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

Taste of Lincoln Avenue

July 25 - 26, 2015

3.5 miles north

Hear 28 music acts on 3 stages, see juried art, visit vendors, and take the kids to a carnival with games, pony rides and petting zoo at Taste of Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton to Wrightwood.

Wicker Park music festival

July 25 - 26, 2015

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.

Greek Festival

July 25 - 26, 2015

8 miles west

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

North Shore art festival

July 25 - 26, 2015

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.

Bloody Mary festival

July 26, 2015

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.

Light show

July 28, 2015 (8 p.m. monthly)

5 miles north

A laser performance artist draws characters & scenes on a glow-in-the-dark screen as you hear hilarious voices, sound effects, and music at The Laser Comedy Show at Stage 773.

Discount tickets $9.50.

Anthony Bourdain

July 30, 2015 (7:30 p.m.)

1 mile south

CNN food and travel expert Anthony Bourdain speaks candidly and answers audience questions at Auditorium Theatre. Discount tickets $63.

Latino festival

July 30 - Aug. 2, 2015

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 30 - Aug. 2, 2015

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.

Racy musical

July 30 - Aug. 29, 2015

3.4 miles NW

Stanley in the Name of Love is a dance pop musical with gay characters and an outrageous story line premiering at The Den Theatre. Discount tickets $10.

Lollapalooza

July 31 - Aug. 2, 2015

1.5 miles south

Lollapalooza is a 3-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. Affordable tickets sold out.
Next month:August 2015
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July 2015 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.