West Fest

It's July. Time to celebrate American Independence and the fact that 2013 is half over. If you haven't made it count by now, you might want to start. What better a way to do that than to hit the streets this month and mingle with Chicago's finest. Watching top notch musical acts and getting your taste buds on some of the city's best local restaurants isn't a bad way to spend your time either. Luckily you can do so at these street festivals. Enjoy!

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African/Caribbean International Festival of Life at Union Park (July 4 - 7)

African Caribbean Festival of Life

We love America, but it doesn't have to be the only culture you celebrate this 4th of July weekend. This beautiful gathering welcomes people of all ages and colors to celebrate African and Caribbean culture through song, food and art. Bring your dancing shoes because there's enough reggae, Latin and R&B on the schedule to get anyone moving. Adult tickets are $15 at the gate and $5 for kids. 

Windy City Ribfest at Lawrence and Broadway (July 5 - 7)

Ribfest

We realize that after mentioning ribs you probably don't need much more enticing to get you out to this fest but in case you're BBQ-ed out from the 4th you should know that a great musical lineup including alt-country crooners Cracker, Dave Mathews cover band Trippin Billies and this writer's favorite local funk and R&B band The Right Now accompanies this rib-centric three-day affair. There is a $5 suggested donation at the gates. 

Taste of Lakeview at Lincoln and Belmont (July 6 - 7)

Everybody loves Lakeview. It's one of the most popular neighborhoods in the Chi and a big part of that popularity comes from its food option. Taste of Lakeview will feature popular eateries Jet's Pizza, Old Crow Smokehouse, John Barleycorn and more. Sing along to a generous handful of the city's most popular cover bands. 

Irish American Heritage Festival (4626 N. Knox Ave.) (July 12 - 14)

Irish American Heritage Festival

Believe it or not, Chicago doesn't just celebrate Irish culture on St. Patrick's Day. Enjoy a weekend of traditional Irish fare, dancing food. And beer. No Irish celebration would be complete without beer. Enjoy nationally acclaimed bands like The Tossers, The Killdares and the Chicago Celtic Pipe Band. Tickets are on sale for $8 per day - not bad. 

Windy City Smokeout at Rush and Illinois (July 12 - 14)

Windy City Smokeout

In 2012 Bub City debuted and simultaneously took over the River North barbeque bar scene. Now its spreading the love with this first year downtown country-themed street festival featuring its own BBQ and that of Smoque and Lillie's Q. They're even bringing in nationally acclaimed restaurant The Salt Lick from Texas. That plus a three-day lineup of rootin' tootin' country music will be sure to make this one finger-lickin' good fest. You can buy one day tickets for $30 go all three for $60. 

Square Roots Festival at Lincoln and Montrose (July 12 - 14) 

Square Roots

Lincoln Square is one of the Northside's most cherish and tightly knit communities so it makes sense that the neighborhood comes together once a summer to throw a big party for itself. Over 30 types of craft beer, local business showcases and a truly eclectic musical lineup curated by the Old Town School of Folk Music that will feature everything from country to reggae to Brazilian to house. The festivals asks for a $10 donation upon entrance, $20 for families. 

Roscoe Village Burger Fest at Belmont and Damen (July 13 - 14)

Burger Fest

Mmm, burgers. We love ‘em. We know you do too. So get out there and sample meaty treats from Chicago's leading burger spots like Butcher & The Burger, Rockit Burger Bar, 25 Degrees and plenty more. Check out bands like rockers The Ivorys, Talking Heads cover act This Must Be The Band and ‘80s cover rockers Wedding Banned. A $7 donation is suggested. 

West Fest at Chicago and Damen (July 13 - 14)

West Fest

West Town is quickly becoming Chicago's leading hipster ‘hood and this festival showcases it perfectly. It's got one stage full of today's top indie acts like Tortoise and Born Ruffians and another packed with dance inducing DJ sets. But that doesn't mean this neighborhood is too cool to have a little fun. There's a kid-friendly sector with activities like bean bag throws and balloon darts. Plus -- best of all -- West Fest also encompasses Pup Fest! So bring your four-legged friend (and don't forget the $5 suggested donation). 

Taste of River North at Kingsbury and Erie (July 19 -21)

Taste of River North

Steakhouses, cantinas, fondue. River North is a swank dining neighborhood and there's no better (or cheaper) way to sample all that it has to offer than this street festival. Local veteran pop punkers Lucky Boys Confusion perform along with a mess of other Chicago rockers. For a full list of restaurants and performers, check the website

Ben Fest at St. Benedict Parish (2215 W. Irving Park) (July 19 - 21)

Voted Chicago's best family-friendly summer festival by the Chicago Tribune, Benfest is a block party that you won't want to miss. Expect to find bands for kids and adults, a 3-on-3 basketball tournament and a $10,000 cash raffle. Don't forget to have fun -- as if we needed to remind you. Admission for parents is $7 and $5 for kids. 

Sheffield Garden Walk & Music Festival at Sheffield and Webster (July 20 - 21)

Garden Festival

Take a self-guided walk through Lincoln Park and check out the beautiful gardens that help make it one of the prettiest neighborhoods in Chicago. With a nice list of local bands to boot (our favorites are JC Brooks & The Uptown Sound, Poi Dog Pondering and Funkadesi) this is going to be a fun one. There is a $10 suggested donation. 

Celebrate Clark Street at Morse and Estes (July 20 - 21)

Celebrate Clark Street

Cultures collide at this Rogers Park festival meaning it's going to be and eclectic lineup and food and music for the whole family to enjoy. Family activities like face painting, art galleries and shopping will be on site. There is a $5 suggested donation per person or $10 for the whole family. 

Chinatown Summer Fair at Wentworth and Cermak (July 21)

Chicago's Chinese culture summer celebration is one of the biggest in the Midwest and provides a fun day for folks of all ages. You can enjoy traditional Chinese arts, crafts, food and musical acts along with martial arts and dance demonstrations. If you've got a hankering for good Chinese food, you need to get to Chinatown this weekend. 

Fiesta del Sol at Cermak and Loomis (July 25 - 28)

Fiesta del Sol brings the largest Latino festival in the Midwest to the Pilsen neighborhood every year. Attracting more than 1 million attendees this festival is a combination of art, music, food, culture and more. Also, you'll definitely want to check out House of Sol -- a mini festival within Fiesta del Sol that celebrates Chicago's house music traditions. 

Jeff Fest at Lawrence and Long (July 26 - 28)

This is the Jefferson Park neighborhood's time to shine. And that they will if this fest proves to be as fun as it looks. Two stages of live music, food trucks on standby and an appearance by the Urban Folk Circuit -- Chicago's traveling craft market. There's a $7 donation for this one. 

Taste of Lincoln Avenue at Lincoln and Fullerton (July 27 - 28)

Taste of Lincoln

Just a block from DePaul University, Taste of Lincoln Avenue is now entering is celebrating its 30th birthday this summer and its never been bigger. Forty musical acts will hit the stage and 250 food and art vendors will be represented. Get sidetracked at the Lillith Street Craft Fair or get your kiddos over to the Kids Carnival. There are six blocks of entertainment to indulge in. 

Wicker Park Fest at North and Milwaukee (July 27 - 28)

Wicker Fest

Here's the thing about Wicker Park Fest: we could tell you how great the Wicker Park neighborhood is, about all the delicious food that will be there, how great the shopping is. However, the simple truth is that there's really just one thing that drives tens of thousands of people to this festival every summer: the music. Three stages packed with musical acts from across the country, Wicker Park Fest is often called "the poor man's Lollapalooza" -- meaning you'll see much of the same quality in performers on the stage and save yourself about 300 bucks! This year acts like Ted Leo and the Pharmacists, Cults and the elusive Meat Puppets top the bill. A $5 suggested donation is requested upon entrance. 

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