Chicago events, festivals, things to do – July 2018

July 2018
best events in Chicago

Windy City RibFest

July 1, 2018 (begins June 29)

7.6 miles north

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

Botanic Garden Art Festival

July 1, 2018 (begins June 29)

24 miles north

Browse 95 booths of botanic-inspired arts and fine crafts offered by juried artists in pretty gardens at the Chicago Botanic Garden Art Festival in Glencoe. Free except parking.

Hot-air balloon festival

July 1, 2018 (begins June 29)

28 miles west

Lisle’s Eyes to the Skies Balloon Festival has colorful hot-air balloon launches, flights, and evening balloon glows, plus a food court, craft booths, a kids’ area, live music, and nightly fireworks at 9:45 p.m. Carnival rides begin earlier on June 27.
CityPass Chicago

Frontier Days

July 1 - 4, 2018 (begins June 29)

26 miles NW

Frontier Days Festival has family activities, live music, a carnival, a food pavilion, a beer & wine garden, a parade (July 4 at 10 a.m.), and a weekend craft market at Recreation Park in Arlington Heights. (Closed on Monday July 2 except for carnival rides.)

Fireworks shows

July 3 - 4, 2018

Chicago area (more cities)

Some of these events are all-day family festivals.

Oak Fest

July 3 - 8, 2018

26 miles SW

Oak Fest 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.

Glen Ellyn Fourth of July

July 4, 2018

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, 2018

27 miles north

Fourth Fest includes a 10 a.m. parade of floats and bands, followed by carnival rides, food and music at 11 a.m., and then evening fireworks.

Naperville RibFest

July 4 - 7, 2018

31 miles SW

Naperville RibFest has great food, plenty of music, and fireworks at 9:30 p.m. on July 3 at Knoch Park in Naperville.

Festival in Mount Prospect

July 4 - 8, 2018

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 1, and fireworks June 30 and July 4 at Melas Park. Schedule.

Northwest festival

July 4 - 8, 2018

35 miles NW

Northwest Fourth-Fest has carnival rides, concerts, a craft fair, and fireworks at Sears Centre Arena in Hoffman Estates. The parade is on Hassell Road. See schedule.

Wine tasting

July 6, 2018 (6 to 9:30 p.m.)

36 miles NW

A ticket to Uncork Barrington includes 20 samples of wine (one ounce each) plus appetizers in downtown Barrington for age 21+.

Millennium Art Festival

July 6 - 8, 2018

0.5 mile south

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

West Town street fair

July 6 - 8, 2018

3 miles west

West Fest has cutting-edge music on two stages, a weekend kid fest on Wolcott Ave., a weekend pet fest, and local vendors on W. Chicago Avenue (from Damen to Wood). Donation.

Japanese animation festival

July 6 - 8, 2018

16 miles NW

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

Renaissance fair

July 7 - Sept. 3, 2018 (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 (also known as Kenosha, WI).

Basketball tournament

July 10 - 12, 2018

3 miles south

Watch teenage teams compete on 76 courts at the Tournament of Champions at McCormick Place.

The Taste

July 11 - 15, 2018

1.5 miles south

Taste of Chicago has 40 restaurant booths, food trucks, a beer hall, a wine garden, a cocktail lounge, and first-rate concerts (free if you sit on the lawn) in Grant Park.

Railroad Days

July 12 - 15, 2018 (uncertain)

33 miles west

West Chicago Railroad Days [sound] has a carnival, kids’ activities, live music, a beer garden, and a parade Sunday at 1 p.m. in West Chicago. Free.

Country BBQ

July 13 - 15, 2018

1.5 miles NW

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

Lincoln Square music festival

July 13 - 15, 2018

8 miles NW

Square Roots Festival offers a mix of music from local indie rockers to world stars. Enjoy nightly dance parties, open jams, 30 selections of craft beer, local food, and family activities on Lincoln Avenue (from Montrose to Wilson). Donation.

Irish fest

July 13 - 15, 2018

9 miles NW

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

Electronic music at the beach

July 14, 2018

2.9 miles north

Volleywood Electric Beach is an electronic beach party with DJ music, a beer garden, and a volleyball tournament at North Avenue Beach for age 21+.

French celebration

July 14, 2018

8.3 miles north

Bastille Day has French music, entertainment, beer & wine for sale, a kids’ corner, and an outdoor movie at Lycée Français de Chicago in Ravenswood. Free.

Ale festival

July 14, 2018

36 miles west

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

Hamburger festival

July 14 - 15, 2018

5 miles NW

Enjoy BBQ or burgers (beef or veggie or turkey), plus music, arts & crafts, and a kids’ zone at Roscoe Village Burger Fest on Belmont Avenue (from Damen to Oakley). Donation.

Southport street fair

July 14 - 15, 2018

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.

Dearborn Garden Walk

July 15, 2018

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 15, 2018

3 miles south

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

Wine & dessert walk

July 15, 2018 (uncertain)

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+.

County fair

July 19 - 22, 2018

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.

Art festival

July 20 - 22, 2018

0 miles

Shop for a wide variety of art made by 100 juried artists at the new Artfest Michigan Avenue. Free.

Pitchfork Music Festival

July 20 - 22, 2018

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 20 - 22, 2018

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.

Festival of Colombia

July 20 - 22, 2018

8.2 miles NW

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

Festival in Forest Park

July 20 - 22, 2018

11.7 miles west

Forest Park Music Fest offers two stages of bands, arts and crafts, food vendors, beer gardens, carnival games, and Saturday family activities on Madison Street (from Des Plaines to Circle Avenues).

Disability Pride Parade

July 21, 2018

1 mile south

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

Parade of boats

July 21, 2018 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

1 mile east

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

Beer festival

July 21 - 22, 2018

4 miles NW

Chicago Craft Beer Festival features beer tasting and live music at Sheffield Ave. and Webster Ave. on the same weekend as the nearby Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk.

Sheffield Avenue festival

July 21 - 22, 2018

4 miles NW

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.

World arts festival

July 21 - 22, 2018

13 miles north

Evanston World Arts & Music Festival (formerly Evanston Ethnic Arts Festival) offers international songs, dance, art, and food in Dawes Park. Free.

North Shore art festival

July 21 - 22, 2018

17 miles north

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

Prairie festival

July 26 - 29, 2018

26 miles NW

Wood Dale Prairie Fest offers live music, carnival rides and games, food vendors, bingo, and fireworks (9:15 p.m. Sat.) at the ballfields in Wood Dale. Free.

African festival

July 28, 2018

8.7 miles south

Dance to live African music, shop from diverse vendors, visit the children’s village, and eat food from 30 countries at Bantu Fest at Midway Plaisance Park near U.C. Free.

Taste of Lincoln Avenue

July 28 - 29, 2018

3.5 miles north

Hear 20 music acts on two stages, see juried art, shop vendors, visit SausageFest, taste wine, and take the kids to an afternoon carnival on Altgeld Street with games, pony rides and petting zoo at Taste of Lincoln Avenue from Fullerton to Wrightwood. Donation.

Glencoe art festival

July 28 - 29, 2018

24 miles north

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

Puerto Rican festival & parade

July 28 - 29, 2018

42 miles west

Aurora Puerto Rican Heritage Festival has live music, Caribbean cuisine, and arts & crafts at RiverEdge Park, plus a parade Sunday at noon in downtown Aurora.

Classical music festival

July 2018 (undated)

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.

French Restaurant Week

July 2018 (undated)

multiple locations

French Restaurant Week includes special deals at a dozen restaurants on the days between America’s Independence Day and France’s Bastille Day.

Green home tour

July 2018 (undated)


See 13 sustainably built and energy-saving homes on the self-guided GreenBuilt Home Tour.

Movies in the Parks

July 2018 (undated)

Chicago locations

See 250 Movies in the Parks, if weather allows. Free.

French films

July 2018 (undated)

0.5 miles SW

Journeys Through French Cinema screens nine great films that built France’s cinema legacy, all with English subtitles at Gene Siskel Film Center.

Millennium Park movies

July 2018 (undated)

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 on Tuesdays. Free.

Hamburger tasting

July 2018 (undated)

0.7 miles SW

A ticket to Battle of the Burger includes samples from top contestants and Guinness beer at Daley Plaza (50 W. Washington Street) for age 21+.

International festival

July 2018 (undated)

0.7 miles west

Celebrate the cultures of Chicago’s 28 sister cities with food, drink, and music at Unifest on the River on the Chicago Riverwalk (from Wells to Franklin). Free.

Millennium Park music

July 2018 (undated)

0.7 miles SE

Millennium Park Summer Music Series features great music artists Monday and Thursday evenings in Millennium Park. Free.

Family art festival

July 2018 (undated)

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.

Margarita tasting

July 2018 (undated)

1 mile east

Chicago Margarita Festival [website has sound] promises live music, dancing, games, and margarita tasting at Navy Pier for age 21+.

Jazz at the aquarium

July 2018 (undated)

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.

Music and beer party

July 2018 (undated)

2.4 miles SE

Tour de Fat is “a mix of musicians, circus performers, vaudeville acts, magicians, comedians, and mind-blowing provocateurs” with Fat Tire beer at Huntington Bank Pavilion at Northerly Island. Children 12 and younger are free. Standing room only.

Wicker Park music festival

July 2018 (undated)

3.5 miles NW

Wicker Park Fest brings cutting-edge local and national acts to three stages on Milwaukee Ave. from North Avenue to Paulina Street. Go early if you want to avoid crowds. Donation.

Tasting party

July 2018 (undated)

3.6 miles SW

Bites & Booze Festival features drinks paired with food, a mixology stage, a craft cocktail corner, a rooftop bar, and a dance floor on three floors of Lacuna Artist Lofts.

Latino festival

July 2018 (undated)

4 miles SW

Fiesta del Sol delivers live entertainment, local art, diverse cuisine, and carnival rides at 1400 W. Cermak Road. No alcohol. Free.

Gospel music

July 2018 (undated)

7.9 miles south

Taste of Gospel promises 25 gospel artists on stage and 23 restaurants selling food in Washington Park.

Sustainable food festival

July 2018 (undated)

8.6 miles SW

Closed Loop Food Fest features food trucks, DJs and live bands, yoga, and workshops about growing food in environmentally friendly ways at The Plant. Donation.

African art festival

July 2018 (undated)

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.

African book fair

July 2018 (undated)

10 miles south

Soulful Chicago Book Fair “is a celebration of literacy and literary arts found throughout the African Diaspora” with food vendors on E. 61st Street (from Cottage Grove Ave. to M.L.K. Drive). Free.

Hard-core rock festival

July 2018 (undated)

15.4 miles SW

Chicago Open Air brings an all-star lineup of 40 rock & heavy metal artists to Toyota Park.

Ravinia music festival

July 2018 (undated)

23 miles north

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

Bloody Mary festival

July 2018 (undated)

28 miles north

Buy samples and then vote for your favorite at Bloody Mary Fest, which has food vendors and live music at Everts park in Highwood. Free admission.

Obstacle race

July 2018 (undated)

35 miles NW

Badass Dash is a timed 4.4 mile race with 40 obstacles of walls, slides, water, and mud, plus awards and beer at Sears Centre Arena. Canine and child options.

Watch football practice

July 2018 (undated)

59 miles south

Register online to visit Chicago Bears Training Camp at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais. Free.

Thomas Train ride

July 2018 (undated)

67 miles NW

Day Out With Thomas includes a 20-minute train ride, stories, videos, music, and crafts for kids at Illinois Railway Museum in Union.

Rooftop fireworks

July 2018 (undated)

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.