Happy weekend, Chicago! I hope the Taste didn't keep you too full, because there are a handful of events this weekend ready to fill your belly. There are plenty of things to do in Chicago this weekend, whether you're looking for a craft brew festival, a BBQ feast, a nationally acclaimed music festival, family friendly entertainment, or a special birthday celebration for our very own Navy Pier. Don't forget to check out our July festivals list so you don't miss anything. And if you're a big planner, we also have our August schedule ready!


Hornerfest Craft Brew Festival
July 14 // $40 & up

Spare four hours of your Friday night to head up north to Horner Park Brew Fest, a Brown Line ride away. This low-key festival is full of local favorites. Breweries from around the city will be featuring more than 30 craft beers, including Lagunitas, Half Acre, Dovetail Brewing, Old Irving Brewing, Empirical, and much more, for a fundraiser. In addition to craft beer, food trucks will be lined up to offer a variety of delicious treats. Lastly, Chicago’s own local band will be performing live music to energize the crowd as they sip on their favorite beer. For additional tasting events celebrating Chicago breweries, check out our curated list of Chicago beer festivals.


Windy City Smokeout
July 14-16 // $40 & up


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Shake to some country music with a craft beer in hand and saucy ribs to chow on at Chicago’s Windy City Smokeout this weekend. With the best in BBQ and craft beer to feature from around the country, there is so much to enjoy at this festival. There will be over 30 performances on two stages, an abundance of bars to pour your craft beer, a hog brunch with an array of tasty sides, a Southern inspired seafood happy hour, one large Budweiser sponsored happy hour, and so much more. Check out full weekend event schedule and ticket information online now — the party starts today!


Pitchfork Music Festival
July 14-16 // $55 & up


The internationally acclaimed Chicago music festival has been around for now 12 years, celebrating great music at reasonable prices. Over 40 bands will be playing throughout the weekend in Union Park, highlighting both new and emerging music. Not only is this welcoming festival offering a weekend full of music, but additional activities that will also make it worth the money. Independently run, Pitchfork seeks to support Chicago’s local art scene and food communities. Head to the website to check out Pitchfork music lineups and prices for the weekend.


Bucktown Garden Walk
July 15-16 // FREE


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This family friendly local block party will highlight local green spaces and offer a trolley tour around the neighborhood of Bucktown. Local schools and businesses will host nature inspired fun for kids and also fur babies! This neighborhood gathering will include food trucks, refreshments, entertainment, and more. Even if you don’t live in the neighborhood, head up to Bucktown to appreciate the local gardens and discover the unique beauty it offers to Chicago. Take a look at the full Garden Walk weekend guide.


Navy Pier's 101st Birthday
July 15-16 // FREE

Navy Pier Chicago

On July 15, Navy Pier will be celebrating 101 years of growth from acting as a dock for freights with a few events of entertainment to being one of the most visited attractions in the city of Chicago. New performance lawns in Polk Brothers Park now offer free entertainment for guests to experience and inspire and made their debut just this week.

Saturday's birthday bash will be the official kick-off day to celebrate the new space with an opening ceremony beginning at 11 am. Throughout the day, there's dancing and cultural performances, while at night enjoy a free, star-studded outdoor concert, Lakefront Swing, at 7:30pm with a fireworks finale at 10:15pm — check out the schedule of events. On Sunday July 16, Chicago Latin Jazz Festival will make its last stop on its five-week celebration with a pier performance featuring a Tribute to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Sepulveda & the Turn Around.

In addition to their birthday celebration, Navy Pier is hosting a handful of events this summer. On Mondays, Water Flicks features water-themed movies on the Lake Stage through August 28. Wiggleworms, the children’s current live music series, will continue at City’s Stage on Wednesday/Saturday mornings through August 18. Plus you can get a view of the Aon Summer Fireworks from Polk Bros Performance Lawns Wednesday/Saturday evenings. For more information, head to the Navy Pier events calendar.


Chinatown Summer Fair
July 16 // FREE

Chinatown Fair 2013 -4

Chinatown is a neighborhood filled with cultural appreciation and history. This weekend at the Chinatown Summer Fair, Chicago is celebrating with art and music, artisans, ethnic cuisine options, family-friendly activities, and much more! The iconic Dragon and Lion Dance Procession will also be featured, so stop by for a visit at this beautifully diverse section of the city and see what it's all about.


Soulful Chicago Book Fair
July 16 // FREE

Soulful Chicago BLACK HISTORY Book Fair - Image

The soulful South Side is celebrating the literary arts, specifically throughout the African movement. Unique perspectives are being shared by hundreds of authors, poets, and musicians. This opportunity to share their stories aims to give voice to creators who may often go unnoticed. Not only will there be blocks of different genres, but tasty food will be offered throughout the experience as well. 


More things to do in Chicago this weekend... hit up a new rooftop, check out the top brunch spots, hop on a brew cruise or dig into some ice cream. See more ideas on our blog, browse ready Chicago itineraries or get your free Chicago Official Visitors Guide: our summer primer is available online or you can order a free copy today.

Additional photo credits: Navy Pier (Ranvestel Photographic), Chinatown Summer Fair (Adam Alexander Photography)