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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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.

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. 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. Free.

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.

Magic show

July 1 - Aug. 26, 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.

Movies in the Parks

July 1 - Sept. 3, 2015 (begins June 4)

Chicago locations

Watch 240 Movies in the Parks. Free. Schedule

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.

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.

Superhero musical

July 2 - 19, 2015 (begins May 29)

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.

Free music

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

0.7 miles SE

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

Intense Nazi drama

July 2 - 26, 2015 (begins June 27)

5 miles north

The Nazis murdered Jews, gypsies, dissidents, and the disabled. Bent is a dramatic story of two Berliners that reveals the Nazi treatment of homosexuals, at Strawdog Theatre.

Discount tickets $13.

Sweet comedy

July 2 - 26, 2015 (begins June 25)

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.

Pop-rock concert

July 3, 2015 (7 p.m.)

32 miles south

Train plays new music and past hits at First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre, Tinley Park. Discount tickets $38.

Festival of Life

July 3 - 5, 2015

2 miles west

African/Caribbean International Festival of Life [website has sound] has 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.

Ravinia music festival

July 3 - Sept. 12, 2015 (begins June 13)

23 miles north

Ravinia Festival is billed as America’s oldest outdoor music festival, with a long series of performances at Ravinia Park in Highland Park.


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 perfect view of the Fourth of July fireworks from the rooftop of Navy Pier at Freedom Fest, which offers DJ music, BBQ for sale, and a cash bar. No seating.

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, parade of floats and 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.

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.

Millennium Park movies

July 7 - Aug. 25, 2015 (Tuesdays, starts June 23)

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.

John Fogerty

July 8, 2015 (8 p.m.)

2.4 miles SE

John Fogerty performs hits he wrote for Creedence Clearwater Revival (Proud Mary, Born on the Bayou, Bad Moon Rising, Fortunate Son) at FirstMerit Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. Discount tickets $30.

The Taste

July 8 - 12, 2015

1.5 miles south

Taste of Chicago features 40 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.
July 2015

French day run/walk

July 9, 2015

3 miles north

Celebrate the French with a 5K or 8K run/walk plus an after-party at the nature museum at Bastille Day 5K & 8K Run, Walk & Block Party in Lincoln Park.

Basketball tournament

July 9 - 12, 2015

3 miles south

Watch teams compete on 52 courts at the NIKE National Invitational at McCormick Place.

Railroad Days

July 9 - 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.

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 music 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 $15.

Scavenger hunt

July 11, 2015

Downtown Chicago

Teams run around the city solving clues to win prizes in the Chicago Challenge, which ends at a restaurant with awards and a costume contest.

Naked bike ride

July 11, 2015

0.7 miles SW

The World Naked Bike Ride to raise awareness of bikers begins at Boston Common bandstand. Free. [This official page requires logging into Facebook.]

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 entry.

Musical about Andersonville

July 11, 2015 (also May/June)

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.

Campy burlesque

July 11 - 25, 2015 (Saturdays from May)

4.5 miles north

Burlesque is More gets high marks for its entertaining and funny combination of striptease & improvisation at Annoyance Theatre and Bar.

Discount tickets $10.

Tribute to the ‘80s

July 11 - 25, 2015 (from May)

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.

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 is 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.

Disability Pride Parade

July 18, 2015

1 mile south

The Disability Pride Parade goes up Dearborn from Van Buren to Daley Plaza. 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.

Run with the bulls

July 18, 2015 (2 p.m.)

10 miles SW

It’s insane! Run with real bulls for $75 or watch for $11 at The Great Bull Run at Hawthorne Race Course.

Music festival

July 18, 2015

25 miles south

Rodney Atkins 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 Seattlement. 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 80 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.

Southport street fair

July 18 - 19, 2015

6 miles north

Summer on Southport [sound] is a mellow event with live music, vendors, food, and a children’s festival 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 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 Centennial Park. Free.

Dearborn Garden Walk

July 19, 2015

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 dragon and 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.

Art and music festival

July 24 - 26, 2015

10 miles NW

Jeff Park Arts & Music Festival (Jeff Fest) offers live music, art, food, craft beer, and a kids’ corner in Jefferson Memorial Park at 4822 N Long Ave.

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. See photos.

Pet expo

July 25, 2015

28 miles NW

Windy City Pet Expo has vendors, adoptions, demos in the Odeum Expo Center. Free except parking.

Taste of Lincoln Avenue

July 25 - 26, 2015

3.5 miles north

Shop 100 vendors, hear 30 music acts on 3 stages, see juried art, and take the kids to a free afternoon carnival with pony rides and a petting zoo at Taste of Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton to Wrightwood. Donation.

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 best-behaved 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 has 120 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.

Band and fireworks

July 29, 2015

20 miles SW

Bring a blanket or chairs to watch Summer Concert and Fireworks at Saint Xavier University. Free.

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.


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.

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 $9.
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.