Plan a visit to Chicago this Summer for Hot Events, Music Festivals, Theater and More

March 11, 2013

Choose Chicago
Public Relations

CHICAGO - Go ahead; try to keep a schedule this summer when you visit Chicago. We almost guarantee you'll find the abundance of music festivals, theater, new museum exhibits and uniquely Chicago events like the Taste of Chicago will make your head spin, but in a good way. Lucky for you Choose Chicago is here to help navigate among the skyscrapers, sandy beaches and everything in between.


MB Financial Bank Bike the Drive
June 6 - June 9
The highly trafficked Lake Shore Drive is shut down for a day as thousands of cyclists pedal the 30-mile-long street.

Chicago Blues Festival
June 6 - June 9
The largest free blues festival in the world features famed performers who play to more than a half million music fans.

Twix Presents: TBS Just for Laughs Chicago
June 11 - June 16
Some of the country's funniest comedians and popular headliners will be in Chicago for a week long laugh fest.

Grant Park Music Festival
June 12 - August 17
Bring your picnic blanket and spread out at the Grant Park Music Festival taking place at the Jay Pritzker Pavilion in Millennium Park while listening to the nation's only free outdoor classical music series, now in its 79th season. 

Chicago Pride Fest and Parade
June 21 - June 23
This weekend event turns East Lakeview into an enormous celebration of the LGBT community with a massively popular parade on June 23.

Taste of Chicago
June 9 - June 13
One of the world's largest food festivals takes over Grant Park with live musical performances and, of course, a showcase of the best area restaurants.

Rock n' Roll Half Marathon
July 21
Leave your headphones at home, this 13 mile run features live music every mile. The race starts and finishes in Grant Park.

August 2 - 4
Grant Park plays the role of the world's largest sold out stadium as hundreds of thousands of music lovers gather for this annual festival

Chicago Air & Water Show
August 17 - 18
The largest free show of its kind in the country brings people to the lake front for a jaw-dropping demonstration of boats and planes.


Belmont-Sheffield Music Festival
May 25-26
Where to find it: Lakeview - N. Sheffield Ave. between Belmont Ave. and School St.
Boasting some of the best local music acts in town, this fest is where you can explore arts, crafts and fashion while enjoying a variety of food and drink.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival

June 20-23
Where to find it: Various locations
Renowned gospel artists perform on stages throughout the city, including Ellis Park.

Pitchfork Music Festival
July 19-21
Where to find it: Union Park
A launching pad for major music careers, Pitchfork is where you can discover more than 40 of independent music's best bands and artists.

Chicago Jazz Festival
August 29-September 1
Where to find it: Millennium Park
This 35th annual free event is known for attracting some of the top names in jazz for four days of blowout tunes.

North Coast Music Fest
August 30-September 1
Where to find it: Union Park
This free-spirited fest, which bills itself as "Summer's Last Stand," features hip-hop, electronica and jam bands as well as food vendors and craft beer.


May 17-19
Where to find it: Lakeview - Ashland Ave. and Barry Ave.
German food, dancing and plenty of beer are the mainstays of this festive summer event.

Andersonville Midsommarfest
June 7-9
Where to find it: Andersonville - Clark St. between Foster Ave. and Catalpa Ave.
Join more than 50,000 people for two family- and LGBT friendly days of music, entertainment, food and artisans showcasing their wares.

Wells Street Art Festival

June 8-9
Where to find it: Old Town -Wells St. between Division St. and North Ave.
See eclectic pieces of art - from paintings to glasswork- by more than 250 juried artists at this fest, one of the city's largest and most acclaimed fine arts happenings.

Puerto Rican Parade
June 15
Where to find it: Loop - Columbus Dr. and Balbo Dr.,
Celebrate Puerto Rican culture with this family-friendly procession of floats, folk dancers, reggaetón music and salsa dancers.

Old St. Pat's World's Largest Block Party
June 28-29
Where to find it: Loop - Old St. Patrick's Church
Meet and mingle with new people and single Chicagoans amid live music from big name bands and great food.

Fourth of July Fireworks
July 4
Where to find it: Navy Pier
Watch the sky light up during a spectacular fireworks show choreographed to a patriotic score.

Windy City Ribfest
July 5-7
Where to find it: Uptown - Lawrence Ave. and Broadway St.,
The best local and national ribbers mix it up with three days of classic and hot music acts at this fifth-annual summer festival.

Chinatown Dragon Boat Races
July 13
Where to find it: Chinatown -Ping Tom Memorial Park
Watch teams compete in a race along the Chicago River on beautifully decorated dragon boats, plus explore music, food, crafts and performances from Chicago's cultural centers.

Green City Market Chefs' BBQ Benefit
July 18
Where to find it: Lincoln Park
See nearly 100 of the city's celebrity chefs partner with Chicago farmers to create dishes from a bounty of local foods, from meats to produce to cheese.

Chinatown Summer Fair
July 21
Where to find it: Chinatown - Wentworth Ave. between Cermak Rd. and 24th St.
Enjoy the best in Asian cultural entertainment, including a Dragon and Lion Dance Procession, live music, food, Chinese arts and crafts exhibits, street vendors, a children's play area and more.

Northhalsted Market Days
August 10 - 11
Where to find it: Boystown - North Halsted Street
The Midwest's largest two day street festival attracts over 100,000 people gather to celebrate the LGBT community, enjoy live music, and shop for arts and crafts.

The Magnificent Mile Shopping Festival
August 23- September 2
Where to find it: The Magnificent Mile
The nation's first shopping festival celebrates its third year with stylish events, fashion shows, culinary demos, concerts and more.


Field Museum

"Scenes from the Stone Age: The Cave Paintings of Lascaux"
March 20-September 8, 2013

In September 1940, four teenagers stumbled across engravings of animals in a cave in southern France. Little did they know they'd stumbled across priceless works from our early ancestors more than 20,000 years ago. The Field Musuem is unveiling a monumental re-creation of the cave with full-size replicas of the artwork, including some never-before-seen paintings.

"Creatures of Light: Nature's Bioluminescence"
March 7 - September 8

Explore the mysterious world of creatures that blink, glow, flash and flicker, from glowworms to illuminated deep-sea fish.

Museum of Science & Industry

"Animals Inside Out"
March 14 - September 2

The makers of BODY WORLDS give you the chance to explore the inner workings of some of the world's most impressive animals.

The Art Institute of Chicago

"Tradition Transformed: Late Roman and Early Byzantine Treasures from the British Museum"
November 11, 2012-August 2013

In November 2012, the Art Institute of Chicago celebrated the opening of the new Mary and Michael Jaharis Galleries of Greek, Roman, and Byzantine Art with a special presentation of late Roman and early Byzantine treasures from the British Museum. The exhibition features more than 35 incomparable examples of late antique and early Byzantine art produced between A.D. 330-700 in the period's great cultural capitals, including Rome, Constantinople, and Alexandria.

"Picasso and Chicago"
February 20 - May 12

Picasso and Chicago tells the story of this unique 100-year relationship between the artist and the city. It documents the development of Picasso's career alongside the growth of Chicago's collections and cultural institutions. The exhibit brings together over 250 of the finest examples of the artist's paintings, sculpture, prints, drawings and ceramics.

"Impressionism, Fashion & Modernity"
June 26 - September 22

Travel back to 1860-1880s France to see the worlds of art and fashion collide through nearly 80 major figure paintings, portraits, photographs, advertisements and contemporary costumes.

Chicago History Museum

"Inspiring Beauty: 50 Years of Ebony Fashion Fair"
March 16, 2013 - January 5, 2014

Relive the experience of the Ebony Fashion Fair, as garments from Oscar de la Renta, Christian Dior and more tell the story of this world-renowned fashion show.

Shedd Aquarium

"Stingray Touch"
April 27 - Fall 2013

Shedd Aquarium invites guests to explore the underwater grace and wonder of stingrays in a new hands-on special exhibit. The outdoor seasonal exhibit will allow guests to see - and feel - the texture and movement of these gentle gliding animals.


Book of Mormon
Through September 8
Broadway in Chicago
From the creators of South Park comes an irreverent and hilarious take on organized religion. Winner of nine Tony Awards, Book of Mormon will warm audiences with one of Broadway's hottest musicals.

Catch Me If You Can
April 2-14
Cadillac Palace Theatre

Relive the incredible true story of Frank W. Abagnale, Jr., a teen who runs away from home in search of the glamorous life.

Head of Passes
April 4 - June 9
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
In this world-premiere play, Shelah's family and friends plan a surprise birthday party, but the festivities are overshadowed by revelations that point to a dark family secret.

Still Alice
April 10 - April 19
Lookingglass Theatre
This world-premiere adaptation of the award-winning novel follows professor Alice Howland at the peak of her career studying the human brain when her own mind begins to falter.

The Happiest Song Plays Last
April 13 - May 12
Goodman Theatre
Catch the world premiere of this poignant production of an Iraq-war-veteran-turned-action-hero in Jordan and his cousin halfway around the world.

Anything Goes
April 23- May 5
Cadillac Palace Theatre
Set sail aboard the S.S. American with this Tony Award®-winning musical as etiquette and convention get tossed out the porthole when two unlikely pairs set off to find true love.

April 24 - May 5
Auditorium Theatre
With the Joffrey Ballet, Chicago-born choreographer Lar Lubovitch brings his rhapsodic interpretation of Shakespeare's classic tale.

By the Way, Meet Vera Stark
April 27 - June 2
Goodman Theatre
This sly satire pulls back the curtain on old Hollywood with a fictional look at the life of headstrong African-American actress Vera Stark.

Henry VIII

April 30 - June 16
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
This classic tale of England's most extravagant king is told in the breathtaking surroundings of the Chicago Shakespeare Theater.

West Side Story
June 11-16, 2013
Oriental Theatre
The Broadway hit returns to Chicago to, once again, tell the story of star-crossed lover Tony and Maria. Live one of the greatest love stories every told and sing along to classic tunes like "Something's Coming" and "I Feel Pretty."

Big Lake Big City
June 19-August 11
Lookingglass Theatre
Directed by ensemble member David Schwimmer, this modern noir takes a tongue-in-cheek look at Chicago through the story of Detective Bass and a maze of double-crosses and double-identities.

The Jungle Book

June 22-July 28
Goodman Theatre
One of the greatest childhood books of all-time comes to the stage in this tale of Mowgli's adventures growing up in the animal kingdom.

June 27-August 25
Steppenwolf Theatre Company
This dramatic thriller reveals what happens to two American expats living in Paris after a fateful encounter in their rented apartment.

FOR MORE INFORMATION:  Visit Choose Chicago's website at choosechicago.com. Or download the Choose Chicago mobile app for free, available for iPhone and Android platforms. Events, dining options, arts, nightlife and much more can be found when you download via iTunes for the iPhone platform and the Google Play Store for the Droid version.


In February 2012, Mayor Rahm Emanuel announced that the Chicago Convention & Tourism Bureau (CCTB) would join forces with the tourism-focused portion of the Chicago Office of Tourism and Culture (COTC) to form the new organization, Choose Chicago. The combined efforts created Chicago's sole marketing and tourism organization. Choose Chicago focuses all of the city's efforts to attract visitors for business, pleasure, and culture.

Chicago welcomed 43.6 million domestic and overseas visitors to Chicago in 2011.  Recently released data from the U. S. Travel Association reveals that visitors to Chicago throughout 2011 generated $12 billion in total direct spending, (up 7.8%) over 2010.  That spending yielded more than $725 million in tax revenues (up 17.8%) and more than 128,000 jobs (up 3.1%) over 2010.

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