Chicago events calendar for May 2017. Best festivals, fun things to do, weekend street fairs, kids activities, and free entertainment in Chicago, Illinois.

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Best events for 12 months
May 2017
May 2017

Enjoy the best Chicago events, festivals, and things to do with this calendar of events.

Distance is from the Wrigley Building in downtown Chicago, Illinois.

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Latino film festival

May 1 - 4, 2017

Chicago locations

See 100+ films from Latin America, Brazil, South America, Spain, Portugal, and the U.S. during the Chicago Latino Film Festival at AMC River East 21 theaters and venue partners throughout Chicagoland.

Meet the authors

May 1 - 11, 2017

13 miles north

Evanston Literary Festival includes a dozen author readings and workshops on its schedule. Free.

Short play festival

May 2 - 3, 2017 (8 p.m.)

0.5 miles west

See dozens of locally written short plays at The One Minute Play Festival at The Den Theatre.

Films about Palestine

May 3 - 4, 2017

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.

Cinco de Mayo dance

May 5, 2017 (9 to 10:45 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.

Small press festival

May 5 - 6, 2017

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.

Bach festival

May 5 & 7, 2017

Chicago locations

Bach Week Festival is a series of three classical music concerts in North Chicago and Evanston on April 28, May 5, and May 7.

Cinco de Mayo

May 5 - 7, 2017

15.4 miles SW

Viva Cinco De Mayo Festival has live music, food, arts & crafts, a carnival, and family activities outdoors at Toyota Park.

Whiskey tasting

May 6, 2017 (1 to 4 p.m.)

0.7 miles west

River North Whiskey Festival features 30 varieties of whiskey, bourbon, and scotch on Kentucky Derby Day at Old Crow Smokehouse.

Polish parade

May 6, 2017 (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 6, 2017

2 miles south

Chicago Beer Classic has hundreds of beers, food vendors, and seminars on the grass at Soldier Field for age 21+.

Kids’ kite festival

May 6, 2017 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

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 6, 2017

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 6, 2017 (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 6 - 7, 2017

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. Free.

Fitness expo

May 6 - 7, 2017

17 miles NW

See martial arts, power-lifting, strongman, and wrestling competitions plus 200 vendors of fitness products and services at TheFitExpo Chicago at the Rosemont convention center.

Lilac festival

May 6 - 21, 2017

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.

Wine in the garden

May 11, 2017 (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 & music fest

May 12, 2017 (5 p.m.)

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+.

Urban arts festival

May 12, 2017

1 mile south

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

Film festival

May 12 - 18, 2017

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.

Battle of the Bands

May 13, 2017 (9 p.m., doors 8 p.m.)

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.

Food trucks at the zoo

May 13, 2017 (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.

Art party

May 13, 2017 (7 to 11 p.m.)

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.

Baseball pub crawl

May 13, 2017 (12:05 p.m.)

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.

Pop music party

May 13, 2017 (doors 1 p.m., show 2 p.m.)

7 miles north

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

Small art fair

May 13, 2017 (9 a.m. to 5 p.m.)

16 miles NW

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

Mother’s Day restaurants

May 14, 2017

Chicago locations

OpenTable lists restaurants that offer special brunch, lunch, and dinner menus on Mother’s Day.

Mother’s Day cruise

May 14, 2017

1 mile east

Take a brunch or dinner Chicago Mother’s Day Cruise from Navy Pier.

Mother’s Day run/walk

May 14, 2017 (9 a.m.)

6.8 miles north

Join the 5K/10K Komen Chicagoland Area Race for the Cure at Montrose Harbor to help cure breast cancer.

Mother’s Day house walk

May 14, 2017 (12 to 5 p.m.)

12 miles north

Tour five historic homes, two coach houses, the Dawes House, and Levere Memorial Temple on the annual Mother’s Day Housewalk in North Evanston.

Mother’s Day Brunch - zoo

May 14, 2017 (SOLD OUT)

14 miles SW

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

Mother’s Day garden brunch

May 14, 2017 (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.

Tasting event

May 17, 2017 (6 to 9 p.m.)

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.

Beer at the conservatory

May 18, 2017 (5:30 to 9:30 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 19, 2017 (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.

Antiques show

May 19 - 21, 2017 (party May 18)

1 mile west

The Chicago Antiques + Art + Design Show promises 100 vendors of fine antiques and decorative & fine arts at Chicago Merchandise Mart.


May 19 - 21, 2017

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 2 p.m.

Anime convention

May 19 - 21, 2017

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.

Stamp show

May 19 - 21, 2017

23.9 miles NW

See postage stamp exhibits and shop from 50 dealers at Compex in Arlington Heights. Free.

Architectural tour

May 20, 2017

Greater Chicago area

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

Science talks

May 20, 2017

1 mile west

Hear eight experts talk about the science of cannabis, sleep research, gene therapy, prosthetics, and more at Chicago Science Fest, with exhibits about solar power, electric cars, and edible bugs at the Merchandise Mart.

Running music festival

May 20, 2017 (evening)

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.

Street fair

May 20, 2017

10 miles west

What’s Blooming on Harrison offers arts and crafts, artist demos, live music, and dance in Oak Park. Free.

Alternative-rock concert

May 20, 2017 (1 p.m.)

31.8 miles south

PIQNIX is an all-star lineup of alternative-rock bands headlined by English synth-pop band “The 1975” at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre in Tinley Park.

Wine tasting

May 20 - 21, 2017

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.

Riverside Arts Weekend

May 20 - 21, 2017

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 20 - 21, 2017

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 20 - 21, 2017

19 miles west

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

Japanese children’s festival

May 20 - 21, 2017

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.

Civil War event

May 20 - 21, 2017 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

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.

Dog walk

May 21, 2017 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

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.

Wine tasting

May 21, 2017 (3 to 6 p.m.)

9 miles north

Andersonville Wine Walk has two different routes with a dozen retail shops serving wine to adults.

Elmhurst Museum Day

May 21, 2017 (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 21, 2017 (morning)

37 miles NW

Dash for the Dogs is a 5K runwalk and a one-mile family walk, followed by awards and food to benefit Animal House Shelter in Barrington.

Rhubarb Festival

May 21, 2017 (10 a.m. to 4 p.m.)

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 24 - 25, 2017

Chicago locations

Chicago Craft Beer Week features 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.

Mary Poppins

May 24 & 27, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

4.8 miles north

Magical nanny Mary Poppins sings catchy tunes and works her charms on an English family at Mercury Theater. Discount tickets $34 to $42.

Disney’s Aladdin

May 24 - 28, 2017

0.7 miles SW

Aladdin is a love story with “beauty, magic, comedy and breathtaking spectacle” at Cadillac Palace Theatre. Discount tickets $62 to $78 (not Saturdays).

Art festival in homes

May 24 - 29, 2017

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.

Blue Man show

May 24 - 29, 2017

4.5 miles north

The colorful show by Blue Man Group combines comedy, theater, music, and special effects at Briar Street Theatre. Discount tickets $39 to $46.

Sketch comedy

May 24 - 31, 2017 (7 p.m. Wed. & Thurs.)

2.1 miles north

The Second City’s Fast, Loud & Funny promises an “in-your-face indictment of the modern condition” including social media, dating, and auto-tuned relationships at Up Comedy Club. Discount tickets $7 to $13.

Parody of “Hamilton”

May 24 - June 29, 2017

3.1 miles NW

Spamilton is a “smart, silly, and often convulsively funny” parody with “surreal Broadway musical mash-ups” [New York Times] at Royal George Theatre. Discount tickets $49 to $65.


May 24 - Aug. 31, 2017

multiple locations

These discount ticket prices include all taxes and fees.

BBQ tasting

May 25, 2017 (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.

Stories of hope

May 25, 2017 (8 p.m.)

6.9 miles north

Hope in 90 Minutes is a series of short acts about “hopeful souls, the absence of hope, and hope gone wrong” at The Public House Theatre. Discount tickets $7.50.

Magic lounge

May 25 - June 29, 2017

7 miles north

Chicago Magic Lounge is an old-school magic show with close-up magic, bar magic, table-hopping magicians, and main stage acts at Uptown Underground for age 21+. Discount tickets $12 - $14.

Comedy dinner show

May 25 - Sept. 9, 2017

5.8 miles north

You’re invited to fictitious Tony ‘n Tina’s Wedding at Resurrection Church, followed by a real Italian dinner at Chicago Theater Works, with plenty of comedy improv and audience interaction. Discount tickets $59 to $69.

Mexican food festival

May 26 - 28, 2017

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 26 - 28, 2017

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 26 - 28, 2017

144 miles SW

Summer Camp Music Festival typically attracts 20,000 fans watching 100 bands on 7 stages in Chillicothe.

Irish festival

May 26 - 29, 2017

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.

Adult variety show

May 26 - June 23, 2017 (10 p.m.)

7 miles north

Kiss Kiss Cabaret is a fun mix of burlesque, off-color comedy, music, magic, and variety acts at Uptown Underground for age 21+. Discount tickets $14.

Magic show

May 26 - July 22, 2017 (9:30 p.m.)

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. Discount tickets $49.

Memorial Day Parade

May 27, 2017

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.

Smart comedy

May 27, 2017 (7:30 p.m.)

5 miles north

The Liar is a young man who arrives in Paris and begins his search for love and adventure by spinning tall tales, which lead to hilarious consequences at Athenaeum Theatre. Discount tickets $15.

Mediterranean wine

May 27 - 28, 2017

2 miles SW

The inaugural Greektown Mediterranean Wine Fest promises European wine, food from Greek restaurants, Greek bands, dancers, and DJs on Halsted Street (from Van Buren to Jackson). Discount tickets $49 for two people.

Belmont-Sheffield music fest

May 27 - 28, 2017 (12 to 10 p.m.)

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 27 - 28, 2017

38 miles NW

Barrington Art Festival features 130 juried artists, live music, food, and children’s activities. Free.

St. Charles art show

May 27 - 28, 2017

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.

Memorial weekend cruise

May 27 - 29, 2017

0.7 miles east

Enjoy great views and a cash bar on a Memorial Day Weekend Cruise aboard the Anita Dee I, departing from DuSable Harbor. Discount tickets $9 to $20.

Rock musical: Hair

May 27 - July 1, 2017

26 miles NW

Tony Award winner Hair features the music, culture, and controversy of hippies who opposed the Vietnam War at Metropolis Performing Arts Centre in Arlington Heights. Discount tickets $19.

Spectacular bike ride

May 28, 2017 (5:30 to about 9:30 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.


May 29, 2017 (7 p.m.)

2.1 miles north

Second City’s Improv All-Stars delivers an hour of hilarious improvised comedy with plenty of audience interaction at Up Comedy Club. Discount tickets $9.

Dinner cruise with fireworks

May 31, 2017 (7 p.m.)

1 mile east

Enjoy a three-course meal aboard the luxurious Odyssey, including a champagne cocktail and views of the Chicago skyline plus fireworks at 9:30 p.m., departing from Navy Pier. Discount tickets $94.

Underground film festival

May 31 - June 4, 2017

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.
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© May 2017 calendar of events in Chicago, IL. Best events, fairs, festivals, and things to do in Chicago, Illinois. ord-05