Every season is festival season in Chicago. Chicago’s world-renowned fests and events celebrate food, music, culture, art, and history throughout the city. Check out the guide below to explore events traditionally held each month in Chicago. Make sure to check with event organizers for the latest information and see our events calendar for more things to do in Chicago.

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MayJuneJulyAugust September
OctoberNovemberDecember

October

Pride Fest

Pride Fest: This annual LGBTQ+ celebration (typically held in June) draws people from all over the world to the streets of historic Northalsted for an over-the-top festival.

Chicago Marathon: Runners from all over the world come to Chicago to run a scenic 26.2 miles through the city’s neighborhoods.

Chicago Beer Festival: Sip seasonal brews from more than 60 local breweries while wandering through the iconic Field Museum.

Logan Center Bluesfest: Headliners span generations and genres at this third annual fest held at the University of Chicago.

Chicago International Latino Theater Festival: Discover emerging voices in the local Latino theater community during this multi-faceted fest.

Chicago International Film Festival: After more than five decades, North America’s longest-running competitive film festival gets bigger and better each year.

Open House Chicago: This one-of-a-kind (free!) architecture festival takes you inside many of Chicago’s coolest buildings, skyscrapers, and more.

Historic Pullman House Tour: Tour the interiors of private homes, from workers cottages to landmark mansions,  during this unique event in historic Pullman.

Lincoln Square Apple Fest: Celebrate the fall harvest with apple pie, apple cider, artisan goods, and more.

Lincoln Park Wine Festival: Sip wines while strolling through an open-air market of sommeliers, food tastings, and live music.

Columbus Day Parade: A celebration of Chicago’s Italian community, the festivities include a mass and wreath laying ceremony.

Arts in the Dark: Celebrate the artistic side of Halloween at this twilight parade, featuring puppets, performers, whimsical floats, and more.

Northalsted Halloween Parade: In the Northalsted neighborhood, this spooky spectacle includes a costume contest, trick or treat for dogs, dance performances, and more.

November

Magnificent Mile Lights Festival: A beloved tradition, this spectacular holiday event includes a parade and the official lighting of the trees along iconic Michigan Avenue.

Christkindlmarket Chicago: Grab a mug of hot wine and stroll through this magical holiday bazaar, styled after traditional German Christmas markets.

Intersect Chicago: Held at Navy Pier, this long-running art fair focuses on three-dimensional artworks along with talks and events.

Festival of Barrel Aged Beers: Taste the rarest, most exclusive wood and barrel-aged beers from more than 100 brewers at this cult-favorite competition.

Caroling at Cloud Gate: Join in on this holiday sing-a-long held in front of “The Bean” in Millennium Park.

Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony: A holiday favorite, the annual lighting of the towering tree in Millennium Park is always spectacular.

Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo: This over-the-top light display, which includes more than one million twinkling bulbs, is a beloved local tradition.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden: Be awed by this magical outdoor light show that takes over these sprawling Glencoe gardens.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum: Each winter, the trees at this Lisle nature attraction come to life with festive lights and music.

Thanksgiving Parade: Head to historic State Street to catch giant floats, dancers, horses, special guests, and more.

Ice skating in Millennium Park: Grab your skates and check out the two scenic (and free!) ice rinks that pop up in iconic Millennium Park each winter.

December

Christkindlmarket

One of a Kind Show and Sale: Find unique items, housewares, jewelry, gifts, and more handmade by local creators.

Historic Pullman Candlelight House Walk: This magical neighborhood event includes tours of stunning historic homes decked out for the holidays.

Christkindlmarket Chicago: Grab a mug of hot wine and strol through this magical holiday bazaar, styled after traditional German Christmas markets.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden: Be awed by this magical outdoor light show that takes over these sprawling Glencoe gardens.

Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo: This over-the-top light display, which includes more than one million twinkling bulbs, is a beloved local tradition.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum: Each winter, the trees at this Lisle nature attraction come to life with festive lights and music.

Ice skating in Millennium Park: Grab your skates and check out the two scenic (and free!) ice rinks that pop up in iconic Millennium Park each winter.

New Year’s Eve Fireworks at Navy Pier: Ring in the New Year with a breathtaking fireworks display over Lake Michigan.

January

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic
Lightscape at Chicago Botanic

Winter Wonderfest at Navy Pier: This annual holiday celebration includes an indoor wonderland of rides and games.

Lightscape at Chicago Botanic Garden: Be awed by this magical outdoor light show that takes over these sprawling Glencoe gardens.

Illumination: Tree Lights at The Morton Arboretum: Each winter, the trees at this Lisle nature attraction come to life with festive lights and music.

Zoolights at Lincoln Park Zoo: This over-the-top light display, which includes more than one million twinkling bulbs, is a beloved local tradition.

Chicago Sketch Comedy Festival: Chicago has a long comedic history, and this annual fest of established and emerging comedians continues the tradition.

Fillet of Solo Festival: This multi-venue theatre every celebrates Chicago’s enduring storytelling tradition.

Chicago Ale Fest: Chicago is one the world’s top craft beer cities, and this biannual beer fest will give you a taste of the best local breweries.

Rhinoceros Theater Festival: The longest-running fringe festival in Chicago features works from local and national artists.

Cubs Convention: Fans, players, coaches, and alumni come together each year for signings, Q&As, and more at the longest-running fan fest in the country.

Soxfest: Meet Sox players past and present at this annual convention for the South Side team.

First Bites Bash: Kick off Chicago Restaurant Week with this all-inclusive tasting events, featuring some of the city’s best restaurants.

Chicago Restaurant Week: The biggest culinary celebration of the year, this annual event showcases the very best of Chicago’s acclaimed restaurant scene with two weeks of dining deals.

Winter Brew: Beat that cabin fever at this cozy beer fest, hosted in the Lincoln Square neighborhood.

Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration: Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chicago with traditional performances, colorful parades, culinary events, and more.

Ice skating in Millennium Park: Grab your skates and check out the two scenic (and free!) ice rinks that pop up in iconic Millennium Park each winter.

February

Chicago Chinese New Year Celebration: Celebrate the Lunar New Year in Chicago with traditional performances, colorful parades, culinary events, and more.

Chicago Restaurant Week: The biggest culinary celebration of the year, this annual event showcases the very best of Chicago’s acclaimed restaurant scene with two weeks of dining deals.

Chicago Theatre Week: Experience Chicago’s theatre scene, from under-the-radar gems to Broadway in Chicago, with discounted tickets.

University of Chicago Folk Festival: Hear folk greats and emerging artists during this long-running music festival in Hyde Park.

Chicago Auto Show: For more than 100 years, this auto show has presented domestic and imported passenger cars and trucks, sport utility vehicles, and experimental/concept cars.

Chicago Flamenco Festival: Join flamenco performances and workshops at this joyous multi-venue festival.

Randolph Street Market Festival: This sprawling, lively antique market sets up shop in the trendy West Loop several times a year.

Rhinoceros Theater Festival: The longest-running fringe festival in Chicago features works from local and national artists.

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo: The largest pop culture convention in the Midwest showcases comic books, cosplay, video games, anime, TV shows, movies, books, and more.

Ice skating in Millennium Park: Grab your skates and check out the two scenic (and free!) ice rinks that pop up in iconic Millennium Park each winter.

MarchFlower & Garden Show at Navy Pier

Ice skating in Millennium Park: Grab your skates and check out the two scenic (and free!) ice rinks that pop up in iconic Millennium Park each winter.

C2E2: Chicago Comic and Entertainment Expo: The largest pop culture convention in the Midwest showcases comic books, cosplay, video games, anime, TV shows, movies, books, and more.

Chicago Flamenco Festival: Join flamenco performances and workshops at this joyous multi-venue festival.

Southside Irish Parade: A tradition enjoyed by generations of Chicagoans, this family-friendly parade draws thousands of revelers each year.

Northwest Side Irish Parade: Traditionally held the Sunday before St. Patrick’s Day, this parade is a celebration of faith, family, and heritage.

St. Patrick’s Day Downtown Parade & River Dyeing: One of the most famous St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in the world, the annual parade in downtown Chicago is accompanied by an emerald green river.

Chicago Flower & Garden Show: Experienced and budding gardeners will love this sprawling flower and garden show, with displays, workshops, and more.

Eataly’s SpringFest: Eat your way around Italy at this massive food hall’s all-inclusive food and wine festival.

Macy’s Flower Show: Flowers become art at this annual show, which decorates Macy’s State Street location.

Chicago White Sox home opener: Head to Guaranteed Rate Field to catch the White Sox play their first home game of the season, complete with their classic fireworks.

Chicago Cubs home opener: The area around historic Wrigley Field, known as Wrigleyville, comes to life each spring, starting with the Chicago Cubs first home game.

April

crowd of people sitting outside Wrigley Field

Chicago Dance Month: This month-long celebration of dance brings performances across genres to venues throughout the city.

Chicago Latino Film Festival: Catch movies screenings with a focus on breaking stereotypes and celebrating Latino heritage and culture.

Chicago Cocktail Social: Mixologists from around the city come together for a night of craft cocktails, gourmet bites, and live music.

Expo Chicago: A leading international art fair that brings more than 100 exhibitors from around the world to Navy Pier.

Baconfest Chicago: Local restaurants showcase their best bacon dishes during this tasting event.

Macy’s Flower Show: Flowers become art at this annual show, which decorates Macy’s State Street location.

I Heart Halal: This lifestyle festival showcases all things halal, including food, entertainment, and fashion, at iconic Navy Pier.

Made in Chicago Market: Browse works by local artists and makers during this market that takes place three times a year.

Chicago Humanities Festival’s Springfest: This celebration of ideas features the most interesting thinkers, artists, and creators from all over the world.

One of a Kind Show and Sale | Spring Show: Find unique items, housewares, jewelry, and more handmade by local creators.

Randolph Street Market Festival: This sprawling, lively antique market sets up shop in the trendy West Loop several times a year.

May

Navy Pier Summer Fireworks: These spectacular fireworks traditionally light up Chicago’s lakefront twice a week all summer long.

Chicago City Markets: Shop locally grown produce, artisanal goods, ready-to-eat foods, and more at these neighborhood farmers markets.

Chicago Humanities Festival’s Springfest: This celebration of ideas features the most interesting thinkers, artists, and creators from all over the world.

Manifest Urban Arts Festival: This student led fest highlights the city’s creative spirit through live events and showcases.

Maifest: Get a taste of German heritage at this annual gathering known for giant beers, traditional foods, and lively bands.

Chicago Zine Fest: Small press and independent publishers show off their wares at this inclusive event.

Mole De Mayo: In the historic Pilsen neighborhood, this outdoor food fest is dedicated to finding the best of the Mexican staple, plus live entertainment and craft vendors.

Belmont-Sheffield Music Fest: The charming Lakeview neighborhood plays host to this Memorial Day festival, with tribute bands, artisans, and beer and wine vendors.

Illinois Craft Beer Week: Discover breweries from all over the state during this week-long ode to all things craft beer, kicking off with a grand tasting in a scenic conservatory.

Mayfest: Kick off summer at the Lincoln Park festival, with live music, drinks, and vendors.

Taste Of Mexico in Little Village: Known as the ‘Mexico of the Midwest’, Little Village hosts this summer cultural celebration and carnival each year.

Chicago Kids and Kites Festival: A family favorite, this free event lets kids of all ages create, decorate, and fly their own kites.

Randolph Street Market Festival: This sprawling, lively antique market sets up shop in the trendy West Loop several times a year.

Chicago Wine Fest – Spring: Sip and savor premium wines from all over the world, accompanied by hors d’oeuvres and live music.

Chicago Beer Classic: This beer tasting event is held at legendary Soldier Field, featuring local, regional, and national brewers.

Bike The Drive: Enjoy a scenic ride down Chicago’s scenic Lakeshore Drive, which is shut down to cars just one day each year.

Chicago House Music Festival: Hear house music in the city where it was born during this free music fest in Millennium Park.

Chicago Gospel Music Festival: This free outdoor festival, celebrating the Chicago-born genre, brings together  traditional choirs, contemporary urban gospel artists, and more.

Chicago Memorial Day Parade: The long weekend in Chicago is always marked by a downtown parade and wreath laying ceremony.

James Beard Foundation Awards: These prestigious awards, traditionally hosted at the Lyric Opera, honor the best and brightest of the culinary world.

June

a guitar player

Tuesdays on the Terrace: The Museum of Contemporary Art offers free live music each week in highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community.

Pivot Arts Festival: This live and virtual event will celebrate of contemporary performance focused on the theme of reimagining a better world.

Division Street Summer Stroll: Explore Wicker Park during this weekend of sales and specials from local businesses.

Puerto Rican Parade: This annual parade celebrates Puerto Rican culture and heritage in the Paseo Boricua area of Humboldt Park.

Music Box Garden Movies: Catch an outdoor film in the newly expanded garden space every night of the week at this beloved Lakeview theatre.

Millennium Park Music Series: Grab a spot on the grass and enjoy free weekly concerts by local and national artists.

Millennium Park Summer Film Series: Watch free movies under the stars at this beloved summer event, screening family favorites, cult classics, and beyond.

Ravenswood On Tap: Sip your way through Ravenswood, one of Chicago’s top craft beer neighborhoods and home to many small craft producers.

Chicago Summerdance: Learn to salsa, waltz, swing, and more during these free open-air dance lessons.

Old Town Art Fair: A long-standing Old Town staple, this open air market has been showcasing artists from all mediums for more than 70 years.

Wells Street Art Festival: This juried art fest and sale draws artists from all over the world to the charming Old Town neighborhood.

Andersonville Midsommarfest: For more than 50 years, this summer festival has celebrated Andersonville’s Swedish heritage, LGBTQ+ pride, and vibrant local business community.

Do Division Street Fest: This popular neighborhood fest features two live music stages, a variety of local retail and food vendors, and a dedicated family fun area.

Puerto Rican Fest: This lively parade and festival has been taking over the Humboldt Park neighborhood for more than five decades to celebrate Puerto Rican pride.

Craft Brews At Lincoln Park Zoo: Explore one of the oldest zoos in the country with a cold beer in hand during this outdoor tasting event.

Chicago Pride Parade: One of the largest Pride celebrations in the world, the Chicago Pride Parade marches through the historic Northalsted neighborhood the last Sunday of June.

Chicago Pride Fest: Celebrate Pride in the country’s oldest official gay neighborhood at this lively fest, featuring live music, dance queens, local food, and more.

Cinepocalypse: This acclaimed horror movie fest brings premieres, special guests, and more to the historic Music Box Theatre.

Lincoln Park Greek Fest: Greek heritage is on full display at this neighborhood street fest, with authentic food, music, and dancings.

Chicago Underground Film Festival : This offbeat film fest features a curated line-up of eclectic and avant-garde offerings.

Hyde Park Summer Fest: Enjoy local beers, food, music, and more at this popular neighborhood festival.

Craft Beer Festival at The Morton Arboretum: Just outside Chicago, this sprawling natural area hosts an annual beer tasting event on their lovely grounds.

Logan Square Arts Fest: Held in the heart of Logan Square, this art-focused fest also includes live music and food and drinks.

57th Street Art Fair: The city’s oldest juried art fair, this free event showcases the works of more than 200 artists each year.

Ribfest Chicago: It’s all about ribs and rock music at this family-friendly North Center street fest.

Pride in the Park: This Grant Park music festival celebrate Pride month with live music, drag performances, local food, and more.

Chicago Blues Festival: One of the city’s most legendary music festivals draws hundreds of thousands of fans and blues icons from all over the country.

Taste of Randolph: The West Loop is a foodie’s dream, and this food fest lets you taste the neighborhood’s best spots.

Grant Park Music Festival: This 80-year tradition brings free classical music to Millennium Park all summer long.

July

Rainbow Ice cream at Taste of Chicago

Windy City Smokeout: It’s like a weekend-long tailgate at this popular country music festival, known for drawing in the industry’s top names.

Taste of Chicago To Go: Known as the biggest free-admission food fest in the country, Taste of Chicago will offer cuisine from restaurants across the city for carry-out and delivery.

Grant Park Music Festival: This 80-year tradition brings free classical music to Millennium Park all summer long.

House City: This new, nine-part series of free events will showcase the Chicago-born genre of house music through pop-up performances in various neighborhoods.

Chinatown Summer Fair: Celebrate the start of summer at this annual fest with cultural demonstrations, traditional dances, and food from Chinatown restaurants.

Wicker Park Fest: This weekend fest celebrates the eclectic neighborhood it calls home with over 50 bands on four stages, local food, a kids’ area, and more.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: The Museum of Contemporary Art offers free live music each week in highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community.

Chicago Auto Show: Don’t miss this special summertime edition of the largest auto show in North America.

Chicago Latin Jazz Festival: The scenic Humboldt Park will host this drive-in concert series featuring a line-up of the hottest Latin jazz ensembles.

Millennium Art Festival: This juried art showcase also brings live music and food to Michigan Avenue in Chicago’s Loop.

Jazzin’ On the Steps: The South Side Jazz Coalition kicks off it’s summer series with a return to free jazz on the steps of St. Columbanus Catholic Church.

Music Box Garden Movies: Catch an outdoor film in the newly expanded garden space every night of the week at this beloved Lakeview theatre.

Summer workouts in Millennium Park: Throw on your workout gear and head to the Great Lawn, where you can join free yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and tai chi classes.

Southport Art & Music Fest: Southport Corridor comes to life with a fine art show, featuring jewelry, sculpture, photography, and more.

Bucktown Neighborhood & Garden Walk: Stroll through urban gardens while enjoying live music during this unique event showcasing the Bucktown neighborhood.

Fiesta Del Sol: A multi-day Mexican festival in the Pilsen neighborhood, this annual event is a family favorite.

Jeff Fest: Also known as the Jefferson Park Arts & Music Festival, this neighborhood park takes over idyllic Jefferson Memorial Park.

Lollapalooza: One of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world, Lollapalooza brings top artists and local bands to lakefront Grant Park.

August

DJ on stage at Lollapalooza facing the crowd
Lollapalooza

Lollapalooza: One of the largest and most iconic music festivals in the world, Lollapalooza brings top artists and local bands to lakefront Grant Park.

Northalsted Market Days: An iconic Pride event, Market Days boasts all-day lineups of live music on multiple stages, unique vendors, and DJs and dancing in a historic neighborhood.

Millennium Park Music Series: Grab a spot on the grass and enjoy free weekly concerts by local and national artists.

Chicago in Tune: This new music festival will feature free and ticketed events at venues around the city and iconic Millennium Park.

House City: This new, nine-part series of free events will showcase the Chicago-born genre of house music through pop-up performances in various neighborhoods.

Uptown Art Week: This week-long showcase will feature more than 150 pieces of public art, along with live paintings, interactive art activities, and more.

Taste of Greektown: Get a taste of Chicago’s vibrant Greektown with lively bands, dance troupes, and tons of traditional food.

Flavors of Albany Park: This melting-pot community shows off their culinary diversity, with more than 50 local restaurants participating.

Jeff Fest: Also known as the Jefferson Park Arts & Music Festival, this neighborhood park takes over idyllic Jefferson Memorial Park.

Wells Street Art Festival: This juried art fest and sale draws artists from all over the world to the charming Old Town neighborhood.

Ruido Fest: Billed as Chicago’s only Latin alternative music festival, Ruido Fest offers a weekend of music in Union Park.

Summer Smash Festival: This outdoor multi-stage music festival is returning to Douglass Park with a new three-day format and some of the biggest names in hip hop.

Wine and Art Walk at Morton Arboretum: Just outside Chicago, this sprawling natural area hosts an art fair and wine tasting event on their lovely grounds.

Summer workouts in Millennium Park: Throw on your workout gear and head to the Great Lawn, where you can join free yoga, Pilates, Zumba, and tai chi classes.

Chicago Summerdance: Learn to salsa, waltz, swing, and more during these free open-air dance lessons.

Grant Park Music Festival: This 80-year tradition brings free classical music to Millennium Park all summer long.

Sundays on State: Join this free, interactive block party featuring art, culture, shopping, dining, and more.

Meet Me on The Mile: The iconic Magnificent Mile will host pop-up activations that include free live entertainment and street closures for exclusive pedestrian access.

Jazzin’ On the Steps: The South Side Jazz Coalition kicks off it’s summer series with a return to free jazz on the steps of St. Columbanus Catholic Church.

Tuesdays on the Terrace: The Museum of Contemporary Art offers free live music each week in highlighting artists from Chicago’s internationally renowned jazz community.

Sangria Festival: Sip sangria while enjoying Latin American food and music at this Humboldt Park festival.

Edison Park Fest  This neighborhood tradition supports local businesses and raises funds for the community.

Glenwood Avenue Arts Fest: This arts-centric fest has taken over the streets of Rogers Park for the past 20 years, with artists, craftworkers, live music, and more.

Titan Walls: Watch local and national artists create colorful murals during this art fest at District Brew Yards.

Chicago Triathlon: Athletes from around the world come to compete in this sporting event, which includes a triathlon, super sprint, and kids’ event.

SeptemberChicago Jazz Festival

Printers Row Lit Fest: The largest free outdoor literary showcase in the Midwest features speakers and exhibitors across genres.

Chicago in Tune: This new music festival will feature free and ticketed events at venues around the city and iconic Millennium Park.

Pitchfork Music Festival: This multi-genre music festival is known for it’s cutting-edge line-up and laidback vibe.

African/Caribbean International Festival Of Life: Reggae music is at the heart of this Washington Park festival, along with the lifestyle and culture of various African and Caribbean nations.

Sundays on State: Join this free, interactive block party featuring art, culture, shopping, dining, and more.

Meet Me on The Mile: The iconic Magnificent Mile will host pop-up activations that include free live entertainment and street closures for exclusive pedestrian access.

Roscoe Village Burger Fest: Find the best burger in the city at this local favorite, all while enjoying live music and cold drinks.

Riot Fest & Carnival: One of Chicago’s biggest music fests, Riot Fest brings rock, punk, and a full carnival to Douglass Park.

Hyde Park Jazz Festival: This free festival celebrates the rich tradition of jazz on Chicago’s south side, featuring a diverse group of musicians each year.

House City: This new, nine-part series of free events will showcase the Chicago-born genre of house music through pop-up performances in various neighborhoods.

Chicago LIVE Again! at Navy Pier: A free outdoor festival celebrating the city’s arts and entertainment, with live performances from esteemed cultural groups and artists.

Chicago Summerdance: Learn to salsa, waltz, swing, and more during these free open-air dance lessons.

¡Súbelo!: Head to the vibrant Pilsen neighborhood for this celebration of Latinx music and culture.

ARC Music Festival: This new fest in Union Park celebrates house music, a Chicago-born genre, over Labor Day weekend.

Puerto Rican Festival: In Humboldt Park, this vibrant street fest showcases Puerto Rican culture and history.

Millennium Park Music Series: Grab a spot on the grass and enjoy free weekly concerts by local and national artists.

Chicago Gourmet: This high-end food festival features tastings, demos, and intimate dinners with the country’s best chefs.

Wright Plus Architectural Housewalk: For one day only, tour the interiors of private residences and landmark buildings designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and his contemporaries.

North Coast Music Festival: This annual Labor Day weekend music festival includes electronic music, hip hop and rock acts, plus art installations and food vendors.

Sam Adams’ Lakeview Taco Fest: Enjoy the last few days of summer with tacos, margaritas, entertainment, and more at Southport Corridor.

Chicago International Latino Theater Festival: The city’s Latino theater community is on display during this month-long festival.

Global Peace Picnic: The scenic boathouse in Humboldt Park will be the backdrop for this afternoon of family-friendly activities and international music performances.


Explore more Chicago festivals:

Chicago’s top food festivals

Chicago’s top music festivals

Chicago’s free summer music festivals

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