ACTIVATE Street Festival Chicago

Pop-up alley parties are a thing in Chicago! The Chicago Loop Alliance is extra busy this summer as they continue their popular ACTIVATE event series. In their own words, ACTIVATE, "transforms iconic Loop alleys into pop-up urban experiences. Combining the talents of Chicago's most creative minds, the events feature art, music, and more in unique urban settings." Find out everything you need to know with this party primer and check the schedule for all the upcoming dates.


What can you expect at an ACTIVATE event?

Many people in one space (an alley), celebrating art and culture. A live DJ and flowing drinks mean the fun keeps going all night long. While surprises like fire performers, can-can dancers, oversized art installations and giant inflatable balloons are just a few of the types of oddities mixing things up.



How do you attend ACTIVATE?

RSVP to receive a complimentary drink! The event goes from 5-10PM on these dates:

  • Thursday, June 9
  • Thursday, July 14
  • Friday, August 5
  • Thursday, September 15
  • Thursday, October 13

Each event on the calendar has a specific theme. The first ACTIVATE on May 13 was "touch" and the remaining events focus on the remaining senses, culminating in a celebration of the senses for the final event. The June 9 ACTIVATE plays with the theme "hear" with a silent disco lineup planned... meaning dance to music only heard through individual headsets. Quite a sight indeed!


But where is the event held?

You won't know until 2 weeks beforehand, but that's part of the magic! As long as the weather is nice, ACTIVATE is usually held in a large downtown Chicago alley. Sign up for email updates to be notified of locations.


How does ACTIVATE fit into the larger community?

ACTIVATE has been going strong for 2 seasons, and so far they've projected an estimated $900,000 economic impact on Loop businesses. Over 30,000 have attended these events, and Loop businesses offer additional incentives for them to stay after with their "Linger Longer" program.

All drink sales benefit local organizations with artistic connections. At the last event, proceeds went to Snow City Arts.

ACTIVATE wouldn't be possible without the support of its gracious sponsors including Lagunitas, with additional support from Bai, Columbia College Chicago, Homeadvisor, KIND, Perrier, PNC, School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Skinnypop, TimeOut, Vitacoco and Zipcar.


Ready? Now go! RSVP in advance at to receive one free drink (21+).