Chicago events May 2018. Things to do in Chicago.

Best events for 12 months

Chicago events May 2018

Palestinian film festival

May 2 - 3, 2018
0.5 mile SW
The Chicago Palestine Film Festival exhibits and promotes films by Palestinian directors as well as films about Palestine at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

Bach festival

May 4, 2018
Chicago locations
Bach Week Festival is a series of four classical music concerts in North Chicago and Evanston.

Cinco de Mayo dance

May 4, 2018 (9 to 10:30 p.m.)
4.6 miles NW
Cinco de Mayo Dance Party is a beginner salsa dance class for singles and couples with Mexican refreshments at Duet Dance Studio for age 21+. You can bring your own alcohol.

Critics film festival

May 4 - 10, 2018
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 5, 2018 (11:30 a.m.)
1.3 mile south
Polish Constitution Day Parade celebrates ratification of the Polish constitution in 1791 and is billed as the biggest Polish parade outside Poland, on S. Columbus Drive (from Balbo Street to Monroe Street). Free.

Chicago Beer Classic

May 5, 2018
2 miles south
Chicago Beer Classic has hundreds of beers, food vendors, games, and activities on the grass at Soldier Field for age 21+.

Kite festival

May 5, 2018
6 miles north
Children can fly free paper kites, run around outdoors, get their faces painted, and do crafts at Chicago Kids and Kites Festival at Cricket Hill in Lincoln Park. Free.

Zombie Prom

May 5, 2018 (8 p.m.)
6 miles north
Dress as a zombie or get a makeover for $10, and then join the undead for contests, a live band, and a buffet at the Chicago Zombie Prom at the Cubby Bear.

Hobbies on display

May 5, 2018
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.

Beer festival

May 5, 2018 (2 p.m., VIP 1 p.m.)
33 miles NW
A ticket to Ballpark Brew Fest includes 25 samples of beer (3 ounces) from 50 breweries, with food for sale at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium.

Elmhurst Art in the Park

May 5 - 6, 2018
17 miles west
Art in Wilder Park is a juried show of fine art, craft, and design, which is held rain or shine in Elmhurst, with food for sale in Wilder Mansion. Free.

Chicken wings festival

May 6, 2018
3 miles SW
Restaurants compete to win the “Best of Fest” award at WingFest, and your ticket includes unlimited samples at UIC Pavilion for age 10+. No pets.

Urban arts festival

May 11, 2018
1 mile south
Manifest is a full day of student art, live performances, fashion shows, original game design, and literary readings in and around Columbia College. Free.

Cinco de Mayo

May 11 - 13, 2018
15.4 miles SW
Viva Cinco De Mayo Festival has live music, Mexican food, arts & crafts, a carnival, and family activities outdoors at Toyota Park. Children age 12 and younger are free.

Tour tiny homes

May 11 - 13, 2018 (10 a.m to 8 p.m.)
32.4 miles NW
Tiny homes are getting big attention, and now you can visit 20 of them during Chicago Tiny Home Show at Schaumburg Boomers Stadium, easily reached by Chicago Metra Rail Line. Moms get free admission.

Science talks

May 12, 2018
1 mile west
Hear six experts talk about fascinating science subjects ranging from animals to engineering at Chicago Science Fest, with exhibits about electric cars, biology, and edible bugs at the Merchandise Mart.

Yoga event

May 12, 2018
1 mile south
Wanderlust 108 combines three events in one: a 5K run/walk, 75 minutes of yoga with DJ music, and 30 minutes of guided meditation, plus other activities at Butler Field in Grant Park. Optional lunch.

Pop music party

May 12, 2018 (2 p.m.)
7 miles north
Watch Europe’s pop singing competition live from Lisbon at Eurovision Song Contest Viewing Party at Dank Haus. Free, with beer and snacks for sale.

Small art fair

May 12, 2018
16 miles NW
Arts & Crafts Adventure is a friendly juried show at Hodges Park in Park Ridge. Repeats in Sept. Free.

Pilsen craft fair

May 12 - 13, 2018
3.5 miles SW
Shop from independent artisans at Renegade Craft Fair, with food trucks and craft cocktails for sale on Halsted Street (from W. 18th Street to S. Canalport Avenue). Free.

Mother’s Day restaurants

May 13, 2018
Chicago locations
OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day.

Gospel Brunch

May 13, 2018
0.4 miles west
Take Mom to the Gospel Brunch [website has sound] for a fine buffet of Southern and Creole-inspired food and joyful singing at the House of Blues.

Mother’s Day Brunch - zoo

May 13, 2018
2.5 miles north
Make a reservation for the Mother’s Day Brunch buffet with live music at the Lincoln Park Zoo. Mom gets a free mimosa.

Mother’s Day house walk

May 13, 2018 (12 to 5 p.m.)
12 miles north
Tour six historic homes plus the Dawes House on the annual Mother’s Day House Walk in North Evanston.

Mother’s Day garden brunch

May 13, 2018 (SOLD OUT)
24 miles north
Treat Mom to an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch followed by a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Wine in the garden

May 17, 2018 (6 to 8 p.m.)
24 miles north
Try wines from eight wineries and light fare at Grapevines & Wines in McGinley Pavilion at the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe for age 21+.

Beer at the conservatory

May 18, 2018 (6 p.m., VIP 5 p.m.)
5 miles west
Enjoy craft beer and food trucks at Beer under Glass indoors and outdoors at Garfield Park Conservatory.

German party

May 18, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
7 miles north
Celebrate spring and the arrival of Maifest at the Stammtisch - Maifest with traditional white asparagus and Maibock beer in the 6th floor lounge at Dank Haus. Free admission, with food and drinks for sale.

Small press festival

May 18 - 19, 2018
multiple locations
A zine is a cheap, self-published, underground publication. Chicago Zine Fest offers panel discussions Friday evening, plus exhibitions by 200 writers, artists, and publishers on Saturday. Free.

Dog party

May 19, 2018 (9 a.m. to noon)
2.5 miles south
Register online for a 5K walk along the lakefront with your dog at 9 a.m., or arrive at 10 a.m. for the activities, vendors, and entertainment during Bark in the Park on the green near Soldier Field.

Food trucks at the zoo

May 19, 2018 (6:30 to 9:30 p.m.)
2.5 miles north
The Food Truck Social features dozens of trucks selling food and beverages, plus activities, DJ music, and an opportunity to wander Lincoln Park Zoo after hours.

Running music festival

May 19, 2018
2.7 miles south
Night Nation Run includes a pre-party with dance music, a 5K run/walk with a starting-line light show, party zones along the course, and an after party stage show with DJs and special effects at Soldier Field.

Beer tasting

May 19, 2018 (5 p.m., VIP 4 p.m.)
4.8 miles NW
Ultra Fresh provides drink tickets to sample “beer packaged within the last five days” with food trucks and live art at Right Way Signs of Chicago.

Baseball pub crawl

May 19, 2018
5 miles north
Cover Your Bases is a baseball-themed pub crawl that includes 10 bars, beginning at Murphy’s Bleachers. You get a T-shirt printed with “bases” that you cover with stickers from the bars you visit.

Prom party

May 19, 2018 (8 p.m.)
5.4 miles NW
Both men and women are welcome at the Red & Wild Feminist Prom, which promises DJ music, dancing, party pics, booze, and a silent auction at The Living Room to support woman-owned feminist media.

Asian-American party

May 19, 2018 (7 to 11 p.m.)
6.5 miles SW
Dress up for the Lunar Ball to enjoy music, dancing, restaurant tasting, an open bar, and a silent auction at Zhou B Art Center in Bridgeport.

Street fair

May 19, 2018
10 miles west
What’s Blooming on Harrison offers arts and crafts, artist demos, live music, and dance in Oak Park. Free.

Architectural tour

May 19, 2018
11.8 miles west
Tour innovative homes and buildings designed by famous American architect Frank Lloyd Wright on the Wright Plus Housewalk in Oak Park.

Antiques show

May 20, 2018
1 mile west
The Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show promises 100 vendors of fine antiques and decorative & fine arts on floor 7 of the Chicago Merchandise Mart.

Wine tasting

May 20, 2018
4 miles north
Taste 80 wines at Lincoln Park Wine Festival, which has tented wine and food pavilions, live music, and crafts at Jonquil Playlot Park.


May 20, 2018
5 miles NW
Mayfest features bands in a giant tent, festival food, pretzels, and beer at 3100 N Ashland Ave. Saturday includes a kids’ day from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. [Not to be confused with Maifest listed under May 31.]
Hilton Hotels

Nerdy comedy

May 20, 2018
5 miles north
If you love comedy about nerdy subjects like Star Trek, Dungeons and Dragons, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Jane Austen, then The Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival will keep you laughing at Stage 773.

Wine tasting

May 20, 2018 (3 to 6 p.m.)
9 miles north
Andersonville Wine Walk offers you a choice of three different routes that each have 10 retail shops serving wine to adults.

Riverside Arts Weekend

May 20, 2018
12 miles SW
Riverside Arts Weekend (RAW) has a juried arts fair with live music, a children’s corner, and a food court at Guthrie Park in Riverside. Free.

Meet the authors

May 20, 2018
13 miles north
Evanston Literary Festival includes dozens of author readings and workshops on its schedule. Free.

International festival

May 20, 2018
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.

Anime convention

May 20, 2018
16 mile NW
Anime Central (ACen) is billed as the largest Midwest anime, manga, and Japanese popular culture convention, at the Hyatt Regency O’Hare and the convention center in Rosemont.

Elmhurst Museum Day

May 20, 2018 (1 to 5 p.m.)
19 miles west
Elmhurst Museum Day includes the museums of art, history, and minerals, with a free trolley connecting all three. Free.

Lilac festival

May 20, 2018
27 miles west
Enjoy lilac-themed events at Lilac Time in Lombard, including concerts, plant sales, tours, a formal ball, a stroll through Lilacia Park, beer and wine tasting, 5K, and an art & craft fair.

Civil War event

May 20, 2018
33 miles west
See a Civil War encampment, meet actors like Abraham Lincoln and Harriet Tubman in costume, hear a brass band, watch a battle at 2:30 p.m., buy food, and shop from vendors during Civil War Days at Naper Settlement.

Doggie dash

May 20, 2018
37 miles NW
Dash for the Dogs is a 5K run/walk and a one-mile family walk, followed by awards and food in Barrington, with the proceeds benefiting Animal House Shelter.

Rhubarb Festival

May 20, 2018
62 miles south
The Rhubarb Festival features rhubarb and strawberry pies and jams, a baking contest, kids’ games, and historic tours at Kankakee County Museum. Free entry.

Craft beer week

May 20 - 25, 2018
Chicago locations
Illinois Craft Beer Week [formerly Chicago Craft Beer Week] typically offers hundreds of craft beer events in the greater Chicago area, from special tastings of rare beer to beer dinners. It’s sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

Charity wine tasting

May 22, 2018 (5:30 to 9 p.m.)
22 miles SW
A ticket to Wine and Cheese Pairing includes a guided “wine 101” tasting with gourmet cheese at Franklin’s Public House in Palos Heights for age 21+.

Tropical musical

May 23 - June 17, 2018
18 miles west
South Pacific is the Rodgers & Hammerstein story of Americans living in exotic lands during World War II, dealing with love, prejudice, and cultural differences at Drury Lane Theatre.

Ticket deal $37 to $45

BBQ tasting

May 24, 2018 (5:30 to 9 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
A ticket to Smokin’ Pork in the Park gets you unlimited baby back ribs from competitors, plus macaroni & cheese, cornbread, coleslaw, and watermelon outside the Park Grill.

Magic show

May 24 - 27, 2018
3.1 miles NW
The Rosenkranz Mysteries is a “truly unusual and immensely likable magic show” [Chicago Tribune] by a local medical doctor who performs tricks and illusions at Royal George Theatre.

Ticket deal $25 to $38

Roaring Twenties musical

May 24 - 27, 2018
4.8 miles north
It’s 1928, the world is at peace, and the stock market is booming, but issues of life and death face diverse characters we meet as they share their hopes and dreams in the lobby of the Grand Hotel at Theater Wit.

Ticket deal $28

R & B music festival

May 25, 2018 (7:30 p.m.)
1 mile south
Dress up in black attire for All Black Affair featuring Kindred Family Soul, Jon B, Carl Thomas, Ginuwine, Dru Hill, and a cash bar at Auditorium Theatre.

Ticket deal $46 to $73

Tropical beer tasting

May 25, 2018 (6 p.m.)
2.6 miles north
“Sip on tropical-inspired craft beer from more than 60 local and out-of-state breweries and sample gourmet small bites” at Good Libations at Theater on the Lake for age 21+. Creative tropical attire is welcome.

Magic show

May 25 - 26, 2018
0.7 miles south
The Magic Parlour is an evening of close-up magic by an award-winning magician in the beautiful Palmer House Hilton Hotel.

Ticket deal $49

Mexican food festival

May 25 - 27, 2018
5.2 miles SW
Mole de Mayo features “mole” and other foods, a crafts market, two stages of entertainment, and a wrestling ring in historic Pilsen (at Ashland & 18th Street). Donation.


May 25 - 27, 2018
23 miles west
Billed as the state’s largest BBQ competition, Red, White, and Bar-B-Q has live music, craft vendors, a carnival, beer tent, and barbecue in Westmont. Free.

Big music festival near Peoria

May 25 - 27, 2018
144 miles SW
Summer Camp Music Festival typically attracts 20,000 fans watching 125 bands on 9 stages in Chillicothe.

Irish festival

May 25 - 28, 2018
26 miles south
Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest offers music, dancing, food, beer, wine, room, vendors, and children’s activities in Oak Forest.

Adult variety show

May 25 - July 21, 2018
7 miles north
Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, song, and variety acts for age 21+ Fridays and Saturdays at Uptown Underground.

Ticket deal $12 to $14

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2018
0.5 mile SW
A wreath laying ceremony is 11 a.m. 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 Street (from Lake to Van Buren). Free.

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest

May 26 - 27, 2018 (noon to 10 p.m.)
5 miles north
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with local bands, entertainers, food, drink, and street vendors at the Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival on N. Sheffield Avenue (from Belmont to Roscoe). Donation.

Art fair in Barrington

May 26 - 27, 2018
38 miles NW
Barrington Art Festival features 130 juried artists, live music, food, and children’s activities. Free.

Games convention

May 26 - 28, 2018
15.3 miles NW
Wolfcon is for players of board games, computer games, and role-playing games at The Pavilion near the airport. Held in May and November.

Dramatic movie music

May 27, 2018 (3 p.m.)
0.5 miles south
Chicago Philharmonic plays excerpts from the original scores of Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean, Wonder Woman, The Magnificent Seven, etc. during Hollywood Heroes at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Ticket deal $20

Spectacular bike ride

May 27, 2018 (opens 5:30 a.m.)
1 mile south
Register to ride your bike on 15-mile Lake Shore Drive when it closes to vehicles during Bike the Drive, and join the after-festival until noon at Butler Field.

Dirty Dancing

May 30 - June 3, 2018
0.7 miles SW
See the romantic story Dirty Dancing, with passionate dancing and hit songs from the movie live at Cadillac Palace Theatre.

Ticket deal $29 to $59


May 31 - June 3, 2018
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. [Not to be confused with Mayfest listed under May 18.]