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
(begins April 21)
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.

J.C. Superstar

May 2 - 20, 2018
1 mile SW
Jesus Christ Superstar is Andrew Lloyd Webber’s epic rock musical with unforgettable songs, high-energy dance, and powerful storytelling at Lyric Opera House.

Ticket deal $39 to $101

CityPass Chicago

Roaring Twenties musical

May 3 - 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

Bach festival

May 4, 2018
(begins April 27)
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.

Lilac festival

May 4 - 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.

Magic show

May 4 - 25, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
0.5 miles west
Magic & Mystery is an evening of astonishing magic, mind reading, and hypnosis by professional magician Mat LaVore at the Den Theatre.

Ticket deal $20


May 5, 2018
0.5 miles south
Ballet Chicago performs condensed versions of three beloved story ballets (Swan Lake, The Creatures of Prometheus, Hansel and Gretel) at Harris Theater in Millennium Park.

Ticket deal $18 to $25

Magic show

May 5, 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

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.

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.

Free coffee & pie

May 6, 2018
(12:30 to 3 p.m.)
4. 1 miles NW
Awake and Bake promises coffee from 5 shops, pie from 7 bakers, and entertainment at The Chop Shop & 1st Ward. Register free online, one person at a time.

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.

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.

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.

Meet the authors

May 12 - 20, 2018
13 miles north
Evanston Literary Festival includes a dozen author readings and workshops on its schedule, plus a book fair on May 12. 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.

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
24 miles north
Treat Mom to an elegant Mother’s Day Brunch followed by a walk through the Chicago Botanic Garden in Glencoe.

Adult night at the planetarium

May 17, 2018
(6:30 to 10:30 p.m.)
2.5 miles SE
Adler After Dark offers open access, unlimited shows, entertainment, and no-host bars at Adler Planetarium for age 21+. May theme is Planetary Prom: Fire & Ice.

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+.

Antiques show

May 17 - 20, 2018
1 mile west
The Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show promises 100 vendors of fine antiques and decorative & fine arts at Chicago Merchandise Mart.

Nerdy comedy

May 17 - 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 Chicago Nerd Comedy Festival will keep you laughing at Stage 773.

Beer at the conservatory

May 18, 2018
(6 to 9 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 Open Haus with traditional white asparagus and Maibock beer at Dank Haus. Free admission, with food and drinks for sale.

Small press festival

May 18 - 19, 2018
2.5 miles west
A zine is a cheap, self-published, underground publication. Chicago Zine Fest offers panel discussions Friday, plus exhibitions by 200 writers, artists, and publishers Saturday on the Near West Side. Free.


May 18 - 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.

Anime convention

May 18 - 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.

Craft beer week

May 18 - 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 beers to beer dinners. It’s sponsored by the Illinois Craft Brewers Guild.

Architectural tour

May 19, 2018
Greater Chicago area
Tour innovative homes and buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright on the Wright Plus Housewalk.

Dog walk

May 19, 2018
2.5 miles south
Walk a 5K along the lakefront with your dog during Bark in the Park, followed by games and activities 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, activities, live music, and an opportunity to wander Lincoln Park Zoo after hours.

Running music festival

May 19, 2018
2.7 miles south
Night Nation Run is a 5K run/walk to multiple stages that have EDM dance music, lights, lasers, and glow sticks at Soldier Field.

Ticket deal $30

Baseball pub crawl

May 19, 2018
5 miles north
TBOX Baseball Bar Crawl is a baseball-themed pub crawl starting at Murphy’s Bleachers. You get a T-shirt printed with a baseball field, and then cover the bases with stickers from bars you visit.

Ticket deal $10

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.

Charity dinner

May 19, 2018
26.7 miles NW
Hunger to Hope includes a three-course dinner, live music, an international craft market, and a live auction at Renaissance Schaumburg Convention Center.

Riverside Arts Weekend

May 19 - 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.

International festival

May 19 - 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.

Civil War event

May 19 - 20, 2018
33 miles west
See a Civil War encampment, meet actors in costume, watch a battle at 2:30 p.m., buy food, and shop from vendors during Civil War Days at Naper Settlement.

Wine tasting

May 20, 2018
(3 to 6 p.m.)
9 miles north
Andersonville Wine Walk has two different routes with a dozen retail shops serving wine to adults.

French classical music

May 20, 2018
(7:30 p.m.)
12.7 miles north
Paris in the Springtime stars the Rembrandt Chamber Players performing four works by French composers at Nichols Concert Hall in Evanston.

Ticket deal $19

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, plus the plant conservatory, with a free trolley connecting them all. Free.

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 to benefit Animal House Shelter in Barrington.

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.

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, and coleslaw outside the Park Grill.

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.

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. Creative tropical attire is welcome.

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).


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 100 bands on 7 stages in Chillicothe.

Irish festival

May 25 - 28, 2018
26 miles south
Chicago Gaelic Park Irish Fest offers music, theater, storytelling, dancing, and family entertainment on five stages, and free carnival rides in Oak Forest.

Memorial Day Parade

May 26, 2018
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 Street (from Lake to Van Buren). Free.

Belmont-Sheffield music fest

May 26 - 27, 2018
5 miles north
Celebrate Memorial Day weekend with local bands, 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.

St. Charles art show

May 26 - 27, 2018
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.

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.

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
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.


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.

Art festival in homes

May 2018
Chicago locations
Chicago Home Theater Festival transforms 10 homes into neighborhood sites for art, performances, and films. It has a pre-party and a closing-night event.

Beer & music fest

May 2018
0.5 miles west
Local Brews Local Grooves features craft beer from 18 breweries and 10 bands on two stages at House of Blues for age 21+.

Short play festival

May 2018
0.5 miles west
See dozens of locally written short plays at The One Minute Play Festival at The Den Theatre.

Battle of the Bands

May 2018
0.8 miles NW
Arrive early to see four local bands compete in Battle of the Bands at the Hard Rock Cafe for all ages. Free.

Tasting event

May 2018
1.7 miles west
The Chicago Tribune Dining Awards promise you a taste of “Chicago’s best restaurants, food trucks, and breweries” at Venue One.

Art party

May 2018
4.4 miles SW
The Crystal Ball is a “colorful event” that includes food, drink, art, live music, performances, workshops, a silent auction to support artists, and an after-party at Chicago Art Department in Pilsen.