With Lollapalooza out of the way, you might be thinking that all of the outdoor music fun for the month is over. Not true. In addition to the nationally recognized Chicago Jazz Festival and North Coast Music Festival, both taking place over Labor Day weekend, there is also a slew of street festivals happening throughout the city. Fill your weekends up with these fun fests.
Street festivals can go a bit deeper than hot dogs and cover bands. Why not spend the weekend learning about a new culture, one that's over 300 years old. The Waza, a federation of artisans who strive to keep the Japanese Edo period alive through their work, come together in Old Town the second weekend in August every year. Art won't be the only aspect of the culture present at Ginza Fest. Authentic dancing, food and, of course, plenty of Sapporo can be found. The live music programming on Saturday night should be especially fascinating. Yoko Noge's Japanesque Band combines traditional Japanese folk and Chicago blues music. A $7 donation is suggested upon entrance.
Didn't get your fill of Boystown during Pride Weekend? We don't blame you! One of Chicago's most enjoyable neighborhoods brings a second round of partying to the summer with Northalsted Market Days, a festival celebrating LGBT and Lakeview pride with an especially great musical lineup to boot. This year boasts pop stars like Neon Trees, Mary Lambert, Karmin and Aaron Carter. A $10 donation is suggested.
It's about time! New York is perhaps the only city as well known for its hot dogs as Chicago is and it's time we start celebrating that distinction. This first year festival welcomes local restaurants offer their best between-the-bun creations while ‘90s cover bands keep the summer vibes rolling. Admission is free.
The summer's biggest blast from the past is back for another year and it's bringing all the throwback fun with it. From metal to hip hop to pop, cover bands will be bringing the old school hits all weekend long while you can check out more than $2 million in antique cars on display. A $10 donation is suggested.
Car fan? You'll love this! More than 200 tricked out cars and bikes will be on display at this family-friendly Pilsen festival. Check out food vendors and live music while you're there and vote for your favorite ride! There is a $5 entry fee.
What better place to celebrate Chicago's Italian community than the constantly evolving Little Italy neighborhood. If you think you're the biggest Italian food fan of all, enter yourself in the meatball eating contest (or just stick to a nice, evenly paced diet of pizza and pastas). You'll experience first-hand what wine-making is like when you kick off your shoes in the grape stomping area. Live music and dancing on three stages also rounds out the weekend. A $5 donation is suggested.
It's the fifth anniversary of this Cuban cultural celebration and it's going bigger than ever. Three full days of live Latina music will fill Riis Park and you can bet the food will be worth the trip out west alone. Have a competitive edge? Enter the domino competition! Tickets are $10 at the gate before 5 p.m., $15 after (or buy tickets in advance).
North Side Summerfest at Lincoln and Damen (August 15-17)
Summer never ends when there's a street festival on the North Side. Sip a piña colada while grooving to live bands. Or prove how Chicago you really are by entering the hot dog eating contest. A $5 suggested donation is requested upon entrance.
Need weekend plans as well as a new piece for your living room? Done! Head to Rogers Park for a display from more than 100 artists of all crafts and live music ranging from electronic to country. On Sunday, prepare for freshness as the Glenwood Farmers Market opens up for business inside the festival grounds.
Edison Park's annual summer fair in Monument Park packs in the activities like you wouldn't believe. The street fest usuals like live music and food vendors can be expected, but it's the parade, martial arts display, juggling classes, "Cold-Blooded Creatures" animal show, ventriloquist acts and more that set this festival apart. For a full entertainment lineup, check the website.
Albany Park is one of Chicago's most diverse neighborhoods with more than 70 languages spoken and business owners from over 40 countries. This year it's celebrating with a weekend party complete with food, musical and artisanal displays representing all of the cultures that call Albany Park home. Oh yeah, did we mention there will be carnival rides?!
Chicago has long been thought of as an entrepreneurial haven and stat-up hub so it's nice to see the city showing that off. Fulton Fest higlights the products and services coming out of Chicago's near west side. Come find out what it's offering.
Thanks to bringing in local promoters Silver Wrapper to handle musical bookings, this Logan Square fest is now one of the most anticipated lineups of the summer. This year is no different. The Dean Ween Group and Greensky Bluegrass will headline along with notable local and national acts like Digital Tape Machine, Conspirator and JC Brooks & the Uptown Sound. A $5 entrance donation will benefit St. Luke's Lutheran Church of Logan Square.
Encased meats. Need we say more? Head to St. Michael's Church in Old Town this weekend for a delicious street fest. Pig out on offerings from local meat experts like Chicago's Dog House, Paulina Meat Market, Haute Sausage and others; crown the new Sausage King and be blown away by a Medieval Times Tournament!
Chicago's Greek Town comes alive this weekend for two days of Hellenic pride. Obviously the food is the star at this street festival, but live music and a new fine arts area can also be found inside the grounds. Is this the part where we say, "Opa"?
Art, music, food - it seems like everything gets a festival in Chicago but this is the local fashionistas' time to shine. Fashion Fest features an outdoor runaway show and more than 50 booths from local designers and salons. A $5 suggested donation is requested.
This writer is particularly excited about this addition to Chicago's street festival scene. The Big Easy heads north for the weekend and runs in tandem with the Chicago Fashion Fest. Throw back a few Hurricanes and helpings of gumbo while enjoying brassy bands with that undeniable NOLA sound. A $5 donation will grant you entrance into both fests.
The South Loop neighborhood is quickly becoming one of the most popular residential neighborhoods in the city and this is the perfect chance to check it out. Local bands like The Damn Choir, The Lifeline, Martin Van Ruin, The O'Mys and others take the stage for two days of fun and a kids' zone makes the fest fun for all.
Did you know the average person produces 4.3 pounds of trash every day? Find out how to be kinder to your world at this recycling-focused festival. Local sustainability enthusiasts join food vendors and bands like Panda Riot over the weekend in Ravenswood. DIY craft workshops are also offered throughout both days.