Chicago events calendar for May 2015. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Chicago, Illinois.

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May 2015

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do in May 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.

Bach festival

May 1 & 3, 2015 (also April 10)

Chicago locations

Bach week festival is a series of four classical music concerts in North Chicago and Evanston.

Musical theater

May 1 - 3, 2015 (begins April 10)

1 mile SW

Carousel features the beautiful songs of Rodgers and Hammerstein at Civic Opera House.

Discount tickets.

Art and antiques

May 1 - 4, 2015 (preview April 30)

1 mile east

Chicago International Art, Antique & Jewelry Show is at Navy Pier, with a preview party Thursday.

Film festival

May 1 - 7, 2015

6 miles north

Billed as the first film festival to be created and curated entirely by film critics, Chicago Critics Film Festival is held at the Music Box Theatre.

Polish parade

May 2, 2015

1 mile south

Polish Constitution Day Parade celebrates ratification of the Polish constitution in 1791 and is billed as the biggest Polish parade outside Poland. Begins 11:30 at Buckingham Fountain. Goes up Columbus. Free.

Children’s kite festival

May 2, 2015

6 miles north

Kids can fly free paper kites, run around outdoors, get their faces painted, and do crafts at Chicago Kids and Kites Festival on Cricket Hill near N Lake Shore Dr. & Montrose. Free.

Zombie Pub Crawl

May 2, 2015

8 miles north

Zombie Pub Crawl for adults begins at the pH Comedy Theater.

Beer and wine festival

May 2, 2015

28 miles SW

Tinley Park Brew & Vine Festival features 20 breweries, 10 vintners, and a dozen restaurants at Tinley Park Convention Center.

Elmhurst Art in the Park

May 2 - 3, 2015

17 miles west

Elmhurst Art in the Park is a juried show of fine art, craft, and design, held rain or shine at Wilder Park in Elmhurst. Free.

Gluten-free expo

May 2 - 3, 2015

28 miles NW

Sample and purchase products from 100 vendors and attend classes at Gluten & Allergen-Free Expo at the Schaumburg convention center.

Touch a Truck

May 3, 2015

21 miles north

Children can touch and explore heavy machinery & emergency vehicles and meet the drivers at Touch a Truck Family Festival at Fields Chrysler in Northfield, which includes food, music, and a kiddy train.

Art festival in homes

May 5 - 25, 2015

Chicago locations

Chicago Home Theater Festival transforms 20 homes into neighborhood sites for art, performances, and films. It has a pre-party and a closing-night event.

Stages, Sights & Sounds

May 7 - 20, 2015

Chicago locations

Stages, Sights & Sounds is a global performance festival that appeals to families, with original work from Europe and Canada. Chicago Humanities Festival is a similar event for adults in the fall.

Small press festival

May 8 - 9, 2015

2.5 miles west

A zine is a cheap, self-published, underground publication. Chicago Zine Fest offers panel discussions Friday, and exhibitions by 200 writers, artists, and publishers Saturday on the Near West Side. Free.

American Beer Classic

May 9, 2015

2 miles south

American Beer Classic has hundreds of beers, beer seminars, live music, and field tours at Soldier Field.

Baseball pub crawl

May 9, 2015

5 miles north

Cover Your Bases is a baseball themed pub crawl. You get a T-shirt printed with a baseball field, and cover the bases with stickers from bars you visit.

Small art fair

May 9, 2015

16 miles NW

Arts & Crafts Adventure is a nice juried show at Hodges Park in Park Ridge. Repeats Sept. Free.

Mother’s Day brunch & art

May 10, 2015

1 mile south

Enjoy a brunch buffet at Terzo Piano or a relaxed a la carte brunch at the Museum Cafe in the Art Institute of Chicago. Reservations advised.

Mother’s Day music

May 10, 2015

7 miles north

Enjoy coffee, cake, and classical piano at Kaffee, Kuchen & Klavier at Dank Haus German Center.

Mother’s Day brunch & zoo

May 10, 2015

14 miles SW

Make a reservation for a champagne Mother’s Day Brunch at the Brookfield Zoo.

Mother’s Day brunch & garden

May 10, 2015

24 miles north

Treat Mom to an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch followed by a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Make reservations mid-February.

Underground film festival

May 13 - 17, 2015

7 miles NW

Chicago Underground Film Festival (CUFF) shows independent, experimental, and documentary films from around the world at the Logan Theatre, followed by nearby after-parties.
May 2015

Beer at the conservatory

May 14, 2015

5 miles west

Enjoy craft beer and small plates at Beer under Glass at the Garfield Park Conservatory.

Craft beer week

May 14 - 24, 2015

Chicago locations

Chicago Craft Beer Week features hundreds of craft beer events in the greater Chicago area, from special $4 tastings of rare beers to beer dinners. It’s sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

Urban arts festival

May 15, 2015

1 mile south

Manifest is a full day of student art, poetry, music, and culture in and around Columbia College. Free.

Wine tasting

May 15 - 16, 2015

1.5 miles SW

Choose from 250 wines to taste at Wine Riot in the Great Hall at Union Station, and track your favorites on the free mobile app. Repeats Oct.

Art fair indoors & outdoors

May 15 - 16, 2015

10 miles west

What’s Blooming on Harrison is indoors Friday evening and outdoors Saturday, with arts and crafts, artist demos, live music and dance in Oak Park. Free.


May 15 - 17, 2015

5 miles NW

Mayfest [website has sound] is bands in a giant tent, festival food, pretzels, and beer. Saturday is kids’ day. Sunday is a pet pageant & expo. At 3100 N Ashland Ave. (Don’t confuse with Maifest on May 28.)

Anime convention

May 15 - 17, 2015

16 mile NW

Anime Central (ACen) is the largest Midwest anime, manga and Japanese popular culture convention, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare.

Architectural tour

May 16, 2015

Greater Chicago area

Tour innovative homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the Wright Plus walk.

Riverside Arts Weekend

May 16 - 17, 2015

12 miles SW

Riverside Arts Weekend (RAW) has a juried arts fair, fashion show, outdoor theater, and jazz & folk music at Guthrie Park in Riverside. Free.

Festival of cultures

May 16 - 17, 2015

15 miles NW

Experience ethnic folk music and dance, exotic food, unique arts and crafts, international children’s games, beer tasting, a bazaar, and cultural exhibits at the Skokie Festival of Cultures in Oakton Park. Free.

Oak Brook art fair

May 16 - 17, 2015

19 miles west

Spring Festival of Fine Craft features art, artists in action, and music in Oak Brook. Repeats Sept. Free.

Japanese children’s festival

May 16 - 17, 2015

24 miles north

Learn about children’s celebrations in Japan at Malott Japanese Garden Children’s Festival. Listen to koto harps and shakuhachi flutes, hear folktales, and watch a tea ceremony at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe. Free except parking.

Elmhurst Museum Day

May 17, 2015

19 miles west

Elmhurst Museum Day includes the museums of art, history, and minerals plus a free trolley that connects them all. Free.

Rhubarb Festival

May 17, 2015

62 miles south

The Rhubarb Festival features rhubarb and strawberry pies and jams, a baking contest, kids’ games, and live music at Kankakee County Museum. Free entry.

California wine tasting

May 20, 2015

Location uncertain

Try wines from 40 West Sonoma Coast vintners at West of West Wine (WOW) Festival.


May 22 - 24, 2015

23 miles west

Billed as the state’s largest BBQ competition, Red, White, and BBQ has live music, craft vendors, a carnival, beer tent, and barbecue in Westmont. Free.

Irish festival

May 22 - 25, 2015

26 miles south

Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest offers music, theater, storytelling, dancing, and family entertainment on six stages in Oak Forest.

Wisconsin chocolate festival

May 22 - 25, 2015

80 miles north

ChocolateFest includes a carnival, family activities, food vendors, chocolate decorating & eating contests, music, and a beer garden in Burlington, WI.

Memorial Day Parade

May 23, 2015

0.5 mile SW

A wreath laying ceremony is 11 a.m. at the Eternal Flame on Daley Plaza. The Memorial Day Parade at noon has high-school marching bands, drum and bugle corps, veterans’ groups, and active duty military on State St. from Lake to Van Buren. Free.

Pop music party

May 23, 2015

7 miles north

Watch Europe’s pop singing competition live from Austria at Eurovision Song Contest Viewing Party at Dank Haus. Free, with beer and snacks for sale.

Belmont-Sheffield music fest

May 23 - 24, 2015

5 miles north

Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with local bands, food, drink, and street vendors at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival on N. Sheffield from Belmont to School. Donation.

St. Charles art show

May 23 - 24, 2015

45 miles west

St. Charles Fine Art Show is billed as an award-winning show by 100 juried artists with live music in downtown St. Charles. Free.

Spectacular bike ride

May 24, 2015 (morning)

1 mile south

Register to ride your bike on 15-mile Lake Shore Dr. when it closes to vehicles for five hours during Bike the Drive, and attend an after party at Butler Field.

Wine at Botanic Garden

May 27, 2015

24 miles north

Try wines from 10 wineries and light fare at Grapevines & Wines in McGinley Pavilion at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.


May 28 - 31, 2015

8 miles NW

The German festival known as Maifest Chicago serves beer, brats, sauerkraut, and music in Lincoln Square at Lincoln Ave. and Leland Ave. Free. (Don’t confuse with Mayfest on May 15.)

Gospel music festival

May 29 - 31, 2015

Chicago locations

Hear gospel choirs and soloists at the Chicago Gospel Music Festival on Friday at Chicago Cultural Center and the weekend at Ellis Park in Bronzeville. Free.

Millennium Art Festival

May 29 - 31, 2015

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.

Division Street festival

May 29 - 31, 2015

4 miles NW

Do Division Street Fest & Sidewalk Sale has rousing live music, a sidewalk sale, a fashion show, and a family fun fest (Sat. & Sun.) on Division Street between Damen and Leavitt. Donation.

Wine festival

May 30, 2015

11 miles west

Sample 150 wines from 15 local wineries and taste artisan foods at Uncork Illinois in Oak Park.

Deerfield art festival

May 30 - 31, 2015 (preview May 29)

27 miles north

Deerfield Festival of Fine Arts has arts & crafts, food, music, kids’ area at Deerfield Rd. & Park Ave. Free.

Disco party

May 2015 (undated)

16 miles NW

Put on your polyester and head to Rosemont for disco music and ‘70s contests at the Disco Ball Crawl.

Palestine Film Festival

May 2015 (undated)

0.5 mile SW

The Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors as well as films about Palestine at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Fashion show

May 2015 (undated)

0.5 mile south

Fashion 2015 presents designs by 300 students at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago at Millennium Park’s Chase Promenade.

Beer festival

May 2015 (undated)

4.6 miles SW

Try beer from new breweries at Mash Tun Festival’s New Wave Brewers Bash at Co-Prosperity Sphere.

Lilac festival

May 2015 (undated)

27 miles west

Enjoy lilac-themed events at Lilac Time in DuPage, including concerts, plant sales, tours, a formal ball, a stroll through Lilacia Park, beer and wine tasting, 5K, and an art & craft fair.

Hobbies on display

May 2015 (undated)

8.2 miles NW

Share creative hobbies and ingenious do-it-yourself projects at the Chicago Northside Mini Maker Faire at Carl Schurz High School. Free.

Vegetarian parade

May 2015 (undated)

1.3 miles south

The Chicago Veggie Pride Parade includes guest speakers and a costume contest in Grant Park. Free.

Pet parade

May 2015 (undated)

17 miles SW

The LaGrange Pet Parade includes marching bands, floats, clowns, and a creative costume contest. It begins at Cossitt Ave. and LaGrange Rd. Free.

Run with dogs

May 2015 (undated)

37 miles NW

Dash for the Dogs is a 5K followed by awards and food to benefit Animal House Shelter in Barrington.

Wine tasting

May 2015 (undated)

0.8 miles north

Taste domestic and imported wines with hors d’oeuvres at Around the World in 80 Sips at the Museum of Contemporary Art.
Next month:June 2015

May 2015 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois.