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CHICAGO FESTIVALS

Extraordinary special events and anniversaries (Lollapalooza 25th, Joffrey Ballet 60th) combine with favorite food festivals, mega music events, parades & annual celebrations in 2016.

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2016 is poised to be an epic year in Chicago! The event schedule is packed so plan your city getaway using this complete festival calendar guide below.

JanFebMarchAprilMayJuneJulyAugSepOctNovDec

Search by month above, or consider these highlights. Coming to town are some major NEW sporting events this year, including:

  • America's Cup 2016 (June 10-12) Chicago makes maritime history with Lake Michigan as the first freshwater venue to host the international sailing competition
  • Copa America Centenario Soldier Field will be hosting three group stage matches as part of the event: Jamaica vs. Venezuela (June 5), USA vs. Costa Rica (June 7) and Argentina vs. Panama (June 10); and the semifinials (June 22)
  • The Rugby Weekend (November 4-5) Ireland versus All Blacks, plus the USA Eagles to take on Maori All Blacks in a historic weekend doubleheader

And Chicago will continue to do things BIG in 2016, from:

  • NFL Draft (April 28 - 30) and its massive outdoor fan festival
  • the largest annual outdoor dancing series in the US (Chicago SummerDance)
  • the oldest and largest free air exhibition of its kind (Chicago Air & Water Show)
  • the largest free blues festival in the world (Chicago Blues Festival)
  • the nation's only free, outdoor classical music series of its kind (Grant Park Music Festival)

What makes Chicago's festival season so great is that many of the top-tier events are completely FREE — including the major ones like the Chicago Jazz Festival and Chicago World Music Festival.

But it's also the sheer variety of festivals, fairs and events that fill the calendar that makes for a one-of-a-kind itinerary for every visitor. See the Chicago River dyed emerald green. Dig in at the ultimate food festival. Parade the streets with gay pride flags. Bike beautiful Lake Shore Drive with 20,000 cyclists; fill the sky with hundreds of kites; or even race against teams of Chinese dragon boats.

This is your guide to the biggest and best of Chicago in 2016.

 

JANUARY 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: January

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival
January 7 – 17

Rhinoceros Theater Festival
January 16 – February 28 

Tomorrow Never Knows Festival
January 13 – 17

Chicago Boat, Sports & RV Show
January 14 – 18

Chicago Cubs Convention
January 15 – 17 

Fillet of Solo Festival
January 15 – 31

SoxFest
January 29 – 31 

Chicago Restaurant Week
January 22 – February 4

IKC Dog Show
January 27 – February 31

Randolph Street Market Festival
January 30 – 31

 

FEBRUARY 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: February

Chicago Restaurant Week
Through February 4

Snow Days Chicago at Navy Pier
February 7 – 8

Chicago Theatre Week
February 11 – 21

University of Chicago Folk Festival
February 12 – 13

Chicago Auto Show
February 13 – 21  

Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration
February 8 – 22

Lunar New Year Parade
February 13 

Chinatown Lunar New Year Parade 
February 14

 

MARCH 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: March

St. Patrick's Day Downtown Parade & River Dyeing
March 12

Chicago Flower & Garden Show at Navy Pier
March 12 - 20

Southside Irish Parade
March 13 

Northwest Side Irish Parade
March 13 

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo
March 18 – 20

Good Food Festival
March 24 – 26 

Macy's Flower Show
March 20 – April 3 

 

APRIL 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: April

Chicago Dance Month
April 1 - May 1

Macy's Flower Show
Through April 3  

Assyrian New Year Parade
April 3

Chicago White Sox Opening Day at US Cellular Field
April 8  

River North Beer Fest
April 9  

CHIRP Record Fair
April 9 

Chicago Cubs Opening Day at Wrigley Field 
April 11

CIMMfest: The Chicago International Movies & Music Festival
April 14-17  

Chicago Pinot Days
April 16

Hellenic Heritage Parade (Greek Independence Day Parade)
April 17

2016 NFL Draft and Fan Festival
April 28 – 30 

Chicago Zine Fest
April 29 - 30 

One of A Kind Show and Sale | Spring Show
April 29 - May 1 

Baconfest Chicago
April 30 - May 1

 

MAY 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: May

One of A Kind Show and Sale | Spring Sale
Through May 1

Cinco de Mayo Parade (Little Village)
May 1

Chicago Improv Festival
May 2 – 8

James Beard Foundation Awards
May 2 

Chicago Kids and Kites Festival
May 7  

Chicago Symphony Orchestra Spring Festival
May 7 – 23

Chicago Craft Beer Week
May 14 - 24 

Mayfest
May 20 - 22

Frank Lloyd Wright Trust presents Wright Plus Housewalk
May 21

Lincoln Park Wine Festival
May 21 - 22 

Bike the Drive
May 24 

Chicago Memorial Day Parade
May 28

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
May 28 - September 3

Randolph Street Market Festival
May 28 - 29

Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
May 28 - 29

Mole de Mayo
May 27 - 29

Maifest
May 28 – 31

 

JUNE 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: June

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
Through September 23

Maifest
June 2 - 5

Pivot Arts Festival
June 2 - 12

Chicago Gospel Music Festival
June 3 - 4

Do Division
June 3 - 5  

Taste of Little Village: Flavors of Mexico
June 3 - 5

57th Street Art Fair
June 4 - 5 

Lincoln Park Greek Fest
June 5 - 7 

Copa America Centenario
June 5, 7, 10   

Millennium Park Music Series
June 6 - August 25 

Andersonville Midsommarfest
June 10 - 12 

Ribfest Chicago
June 10 - 12

Chicago Blues Festival
June 10 - 12

America's Cup World Series
June 10 -12

Spring Awakening Music Festival
June 10 - 12  

Pilsen Food Truck Social
June 11 - 12  

Remix Chicago: Chicago's Recycled Art Fair 
June 11 - 12 

Wells Street Art Festival
June 11 - 12

Grant Park Music Festival
June 15 – August 20

Puerto Rican Festival & Parade
June 16 - 19

Chicago Ale Fest
June 17 - 18 

Brew to Be Wild
June 17 - 18 

Oakley Festa Pasta Vino
June 17 - 19

Taste of Randolph
June 17 - 19

Windy City Lake Shake
June 17 - 19 

Chicago Pride Fest
June 18 - 19

Green Music Fest
June 18 - 19

Puerto Rican People's Parade (Humboldt Park)
June 19

Dew Tour at Grant Park Skate Park
June 20 - 21 

Make Music Chicago
June 21 

Millennium Park Summer Film Series
June 21 - August 30

Copa America Centenario
June 22

Gold Coast Art Fair
June 24 - 26 

Gold Coast Greek Fest
June 24 - 26

Logan Square Arts Festival
June 24 - 26

Chicago SummerDance
June 24 - September 11  

Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
June 25

Rachael Ray's Feedback Festival
June 25

Randolph Street Market Festival
June 25 - 26  

Back Lot Bash
June 25 - 28  

Chicago Pride Parade
June 26

 

JULY 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: July

Grant Park Music Festival
Through August 20 

Millennium Park Music Series
Through August 25

Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Through August 25

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
Through September 3

Chicago SummerDance 
Through September 11

African/Caribbean International Festival of Life
July 1 - 4

Chosen Few Picnic: House Music Festival
July 2 - 3 

Windy City RibFest in Uptown
July 1 - 3

Fourth of July Fireworks at Navy Pier
July 4

Taste of Chicago                             
July 6 - 10

Millennium Art Festival
July 8 - 10 

Square Roots Festival
July 8 - 10 

Ruido Fest
July 8 - 10 

West Fest
July 8 - 10  

Tour de Fat
July 9

Roscoe Village Burger Fest
July 9 - 10    

Irish American Heritage Festival
July 10 - 12 

artfest Michigan Avenue
July 15 - 17  

Windy City Smokeout
July 15 - 17

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 15 - 17

Southport Art & Music Fest
July 16 - 17

Chinatown Summer Fair
July 17

Dearborn Garden Walk
July 17

Taste of River North
July 22 - 24 

Chicago Yacht Club Race to Mackinac
July 23 

Wicker Park Fest
July 23 - 24   

Chicago Craft Beer Festival
July 23 - 24 

Sheffield Music Festival & Garden Walk
July 23 - 24

Taste of Latin America
July 23 - 24

Tall Ships Chicago 2016 at Navy Pier
July 27- 31

Fiesta del Sol
July 28 - 31

Lollapalooza *25th annual*
July 28 - 31 

Chicago Margarita Festival
July 30 - 31

Randolph Street Market Festival
July 30 - 31


AUGUST 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: August

Grant Park Music Festival
Through August 20

Millennium Park Music Series
Through August 25  

Millennium Park Summer Film Series
Through August 30 

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
Through September 3

Chicago SummerDance
Through September 11

Chicago Hot Dog Fest
August 5 - 7 

South Loop Beer & Cider Fest
August 6

Edge Fest
August 6 - 7

Taste of Lincoln Avenue
August 6 - 7 

Wrigleyville SummerFest
August 6 - 7 

Tacos & Tamales Festivale
August 6 - 7

Ecuador Parade (Albany Park)
August 7

Ginza Festival Chicago
August 12 - 14

Retro on Roscoe
August 12 - 14

Reggae Fest Chicago
August 13

Northalsted Market Days
August 13 - 14 

Pakistan Independence Day Parade (West Rogers Park)
August 14

West Loop Art Fair
August 17 - 18   

Clark After Dark
August 18  

Festa Italiana
August 19 - 21

Edison Park Fest
August 19 - 21 

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest
August 19 - 21 

Windy City Carnival
August 20

India Independence Day Parade
August 20

Chicago Air & Water Show 
August 20 - 21 

Albany Park World Fest
August 20 - 21

South Shore Summer Festival
August 21

Chicago Dancing Festival *10th anniversary*
August 23 - 27 

Taste of Greektown
August 27 - 28

Bucktown Arts Festival
August 27 - 28

Randolph Street Market Festival
August 27 - 28

Transamerica Chicago Triathlon
August 28 


SEPTEMBER 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: September

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks
Through September 3

Chicago SummerDance 
Through September 11

Chicago Jazz Festival
September 1 - 4

Chicago Fringe Festival
September 1 - 11

Great American Lobster Fest
September 2 -  3 

North Coast Music Festival
September 2 - 4 

African Festival of the Arts
September 2 - 5

Taste of Polonia
September 2 - 5 

Beverly Brews Fest
September 3

Festival Boricua
September 3 - 4

Ciders & Sliders Fest
September 3 - 4

Chicago's Best Summer WingFest
September 5

Chicago Latino Music Festival
September 8 - December 1

Windy City Wine Festival
September 9 - 10

Hip Hop Summerfest
September 9 - 11

German Day Festival & Von Steuben Parade
September 9 - 11 

World Music Festival Chicago
September 9 - 25 

Lakeview East Festival of the Arts
September 10 - 11

Pilsen Mexican Indpendence Day Parade
September 10

Renegade Craft Fair
September 10 - 11 

Ravenswood ArtWalk
September 10 - 11 

26th Street Mexican Independence Day Parade
September 11 

Guatemalan Independence Parade
September 11

Festival de La Villita
September 11 - 13    

Riot Fest & Carnival
September 16 - 18      

Sam Adams' Lakeview Taco Fest
September 17 - 18   

City Made Fest
September 17 - 18

West Loop Art Fest
September 17 - 19

Double Ten Parade (Chinatown)
September 18  

EXPO Art Week
September 19 - 25

EXPO Chicago
September 22 - 25

Chicago Gourmet
September 23 - 25

Oktoberfest Chicago
September 23 - 25 

Hyde Park Jazz Festival
September 24 - 25 

AAHH! Fest by Common
September 24 - 25

Randolph Street Market Festival
September 24 - 25

Oyster Fest Chicago
September 30

West Town Art Walk & West Town Food Truck Social
September 30 - October 1

 

 

OCTOBER 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: October

Chicago Latino Music Festival
Through December 1 

Fulton Market Harvest Fest
October 2

Ear Taxi Festival
October 5 - 10

Rocktober Beerfest
October 7 - 9

Chicago Marathon
October 9

Columbus Day Parade
October 10 

Chicago International Film Festival
October 13 - 27   

Open House Chicago presented by Chicago Architecture Foundation
October 15 - 16

Logan Square Food Truck Social
October 15 - 16

Chicago Ideas Week
October 17 - 23  

The Halloween Gathering Festival & Parade
October 22

Randolph Street Market Festival
October 29 - 30  

Day of the Dead in the City of Chicago
October 30 

Northalsted Halloween Parade
October 31

 

NOVEMBER 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: November

Chicago Latino Music Festival
Through December 1  

SOFA Art + Design Fair
November 3 - 6

The Rugby Weekend
November 4 - 5

McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink in Millennium Park
November 13 – March 6, 2017  

Christkindlmarket
November 18 – December 24

Randolph Street Holiday Market
November 19 - 20

The Magnificent Mile Lights Festival
November 21

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony at Daley Plaza
November 22 

Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park
November 22 - December; Fridays 

McDonald's Thanksgiving Parade
November 24 

Randolph Street Holiday Market
November 26 - 27  

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
November 27 – January 1, 2017

Wreathing of the Lions at the Art Institute of Chicago
November 27

West Town Winterfest
November 28 

 

DECEMBER 2016


Chicago Festivals Guide: December

Caroling at Cloud Gate in Millennium Park
Through December 18: Fridays

Santa House at Daley Plaza
Through December 24  

Christkindlmarket
Through December 24  

ZooLights at Lincoln Park Zoo
Through January 1, 2017

Winter WonderFest at Navy Pier
December 1 – January 8, 2017

McCormick Tribune Ice Skating Rink in Millennium Park
Through March 6, 2017 

One of A Kind Show and Sale
December 1 - 4  

Holiday Magic at Brookfield Zoo
December 3 - 18 Saturdays and Sundays;
December 26 - 31 daily 

Renegade Craft Fair Holiday
December 3 - 4 

Polar Palooza
December 3 - 4

Randolph Street Holiday Market
December 10 - 11

St. Lucia Festival of Lights
December 13

New Year's Eve Fireworks at Navy Pier
December 31

Chi-Town Rising: NYE Celebration
December 31

 

  The Ultimate Chicago Bucketlist

Don't Stop There!

Chicago is a year-round place to be, with incredible sights — think a 110-ton "Bean" and 42-foot-long T.rex — plus an incredible array of live music clubs, showstopping theaters, beautiful beaches and more. Not to mention food... street food, late-night eats, sweet treats, chef-driven cuisine, ethic food... every type of food! Plan your visit around one of the mega fests above and pair that with this ultimate Chicago bucket list.

 

Please note that dates are subject to change. Visit individual event websites for details and the latest updates.

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