Nothing celebrates the joy of summer better than the annual Chicago SummerDance Festival. Combine the beauty of Grant Park's Spirit of Music Garden with warm weather and the fun of live music and dance, and you have the ultimate  Chicago weekly summer event. And it's all free!  

These weekly al fresco dance parties kick off every Friday, Saturday and Sunday (6pm on Fridays and Saturdays, and at 4pm on Sundays) in the the Spirit of Music Garden and on Thursdays at 6pm at eight neighborhood parks across the city.  Every live show includes a dance lesson with expert instructors before the live music begins. Participants can show off their new dance moves accompanied by live rhythms.The fest runs from June 23-September 14, 2017 and features 48 different bands, DJs and genres.

Check out these SummerDance highlights:

Alma Afrobeat

Alma Afrobeat Ensemble: June 25

Move to the contagious beat of West African grooves mixed with pop, Latin and jazz, during the energetic Alma Afrobeat Ensemble performance. Noted West African dance choreographer Idy Ciss will supply the dance instruction.

Bomba Con Buya: July 13

Lose yourself in the swirling melodies of Puerto Rican bomba and plena, traditional folk music that's grounded with African percussion. At the Humboldt Park Boathouse, enjoy dance lessons with Ivelisse Diaz, from the cultural school, Escuelita Bombera de Corazon.

DJ Naveen Kumar: August 27

Dive into the vibrant spirit of Bollywood with a dynamic set of Bollywood movie classics. A teacher from Bollywood Groove will demonstrate the spins and gestures need to create your own musical choreography.


The 21st Annual Chicago SummerDance also features a new SummerDance Celebration in Millennium Park on August 26 and a citywide footwork and steppin' SummerDance-Off throughout July. Learn more at From catching concerts in Millennium Park to building sandcastles along the Chicago beaches, explore more free things to do in Chicago parks.

Photos courtesy of Chicago SummerDance